Congratulations Motrin. You just proved why every brand needs to understand Social Media

November 16, 2008

Are you still trying to convince your management why your brand should be monitoring Social Media?  Well if you are a Consumer Packaged Good brand (or any brand really), just look at what happened to Motrin over the past couple of days and the reaction of Motrin Moms.

A simple search on Twitter of #motrinmoms will show you that they pissed off a lot of people with their latest ad around “babywearing.”  Mommy Bloggers are not people you want to mess with and you sure better understand the sandbox you are playing in if you do them wrong.  For instance, just look at this Consumer Generated Media that has already popped up in response.  Not exactly brand content you want at the top of search results.

The Lesson for Brand Managers:

Motrin screwed up.  It happens.  But in today’s world of Social Media, the place they really screwed up was in not monitoring what people were saying about the brand.  This PR disaster is happening underneath their nose and no one on the brand is responding.  Not their advertising agency, not their Public Relations group and not the brand itself.   The unfortunate fact is that company’s haven’t trained Brand Managers to respond quickly to situations like this.  That needs to change….and it needs to change fast.

People are going to be talking about your brand, with or without the Brand Manager‘s permission.  This simple fact is reason enough that you should be monitoring the conversations around your brand.  Motrin is just the latest brand to learn this lesson the hard way.

UPDATE – Well it looks like Motrin is trying to respond.  If you commented on their website, it looks like their VP of Marketing has a response that is being sent out (Thanks to Amy Gates for the lead).  And the Motrin.com site has been taken down for now, but thanks to the power of YouTube, you can still see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmykFKjNpdY (Thanks Bill Seaver)

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Seth Godin: The Marketer’s Attitude

November 12, 2008

Seth Godin remains one of my favorite writers.  He was the first “marketer” I ever read and I have promo copies of both Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside sitting on my desk at work.  Needless to say, I’m a big fan.  His latest post was one I had to share in its entirety. The bolds are the parts I liked the most.  I wish more marketers thought this way.

Here’s what I’d want if I were hiring a marketer:

You’re relentlessly positive. You can visualize complex projects and imagine alternative possible outcomes. It’s one thing to talk about thinking outside the box, it’s quite another to have a long history of doing it successfully. You can ride a unicycle, or can read ancient Greek.

Show me that you’ve taken on and completed audacious projects, and run them as the lead, not as a hanger on. I’m interested in whether you’ve become the best in the world at something, and completely unimpressed that you are good at following instructions (playing Little League baseball is worth far less than organizing a non-profit organization).

You have charisma in that you easily engage with strangers and actually enjoy selling ideas to others. You are comfortable with ambiguity, and rarely ask for detail or permission. Test, measure, repeat and go work just fine for you.

You like to tell stories and you’re good at it. You’re good at listening to stories, and using them to change your mind.

I’d prefer to hire someone who is largely self-motivated, who finds satisfaction in reaching self-imposed goals, and is willing to regularly raise the bar on those goals.

You’re intellectually restless. You care enough about new ideas to read plenty of blogs and books, and you’re curious enough about your own ideas that you blog or publish your thoughts for others to react to. You’re an engaging writer and speaker and you can demonstrate how the right visuals can change your story.

And you understand that the system is intertwined, that your actions have side effects and you not only care about them but work to make those side effects good ones.

The cool thing about this list is that it’s not dependent on what you were born with or who you know. Or how much you can lift.

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Forrester Research is a tremendous partner for Brand Managers to keep their marketing edge

November 11, 2008

2008 Forrester Consumer Forum

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2008 Forrester Consumer Forum.  While I have worked with Forrester for several years, it has only really been the past few months that I have started going deep with their research.  After reading through several of their reports and seeing their analysts speak at the Forum, I have come to the conclusion that Forrester Research should be a trusted partner for every Brand Manager out there.

That probably seems like a pretty bold statement so let me explain.  First, if you aren’t familiar with Forrester, here is their description on their website:

Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester focuses on the business implications of technology change. Uniquely, Forrester guides marketing executives, business strategists, and IT professionals to create a unified technology plan that gains business advantage.

Now what makes Forrester such a strong partner for Brand Managers (and business leaders overall)?  Well a couple of things have really stood out for me:

  1. An experience tailored to your business needs: Unlike many of their competitors, Forrester custom tailors your experience based on your role at a company.  You can choose from 19 different roles ranging from Marketing Leadership to Consumer Market Research to CIO.  Doing so allows you to quickly see what research & info is most important to someone in your role.
  2. Timely research to help you answer the tough questions: Has your management been asking you how your brand will survive and thrive in the market downturn?  Did you have an answer to their question?  If you were working with Forrester, you would.  Right now they are providing Market Downturn Alerts on research that can help you gain a strategic edge while competitors are scrambling.
  3. Analysts that push you to think about “what’s next”:  Anyone can give you facts and figures.  Forrester is unique because their analysts take research and then use it to push you to think about what’s around the corner.  Just in the past few months, they have published such great reports as Brand Matters To Socially Connected Consumers, Fight the Recession with an In-House Agency, and Ubiquitous Marketing.

When times get tough, management is going to start asking the difficult questions about every decision a Brand Manager makes.  Having a strategic partner like Forrester Research in your corner gives you the confidence (and the numbers) to back-up your plans.   And with that confidence, you can take advantage of the downturn to gain market share and take your brand to the next level.

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Politics aside, Wassup 2008 is a brilliant marketing video

October 25, 2008

I’m not going to say where I stand on the political spectrum, but I have to give props where they are due for a brilliant piece of marketing.  Election 2008 will go down in history as the year politics forever became Brand Marketing.

Thanks to Mitch Joel for the tip.

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Nike continues brilliant “Leave Nothing” campaign with “Fate” spot featuring LT & Polamalu

October 21, 2008

Thanks to Beyond Madison Avenue for the lead


Five lessons on brand building from Jim Stengel, P&G’s former Chief Marketing Officer

October 20, 2008

Jim Stengel, former P&G CMO

Jim Stengel, P&G ex-CMO

This month, Jim Stengel officially retired as Chief Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble.  As the leader of the largest spending marketing organization in the world, Jim was often named the most influential marketer and brand-builder in the industry.  Last week, he gave his final speech as P&G’s Chief Marketing Officer, speaking at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, FL.

Here is Mediapost’s summary of Stengel’s five lessons of brand building:

Lesson One: Put people at the center of all you do.

Treat your people the way you would want your customers treated. “We too often forget brands are people. It’s the collective intent of people behind them,” he says.

“I have learned in my career that the most important legacy is the impact you will have with the people you work with. We all have rough months, rough years, which blend together, but what you will remember is relationships and people.”

Lesson Two: Engage your heart and mind in everything you do.

Says Stengel, “We need balance. Too often as an industry we approach everything with head, not heart. We often talk within P&G of personal relationship as a metaphor for marketing. How many of us internalize that and apply it to how we approach business and customers?”

“If we thought about everything we do in marketing, if they all tried to emanate from this idea of great relationship we would do and measure things differently.”

He offered brands other than P&G’s as examples: Apple, Southwest Airlines, online shoe company Zappos, and Amazon.com. “What we find with the strongest brands is they have strength and competitive advantage in emotional areas that drive brand,” he said.

Lesson Three: Results.

“In our industry we tend to make things complicated, focusing on activities that don’t drive brand,” said Stengel. “Why are CMO tenures short? Look at organization designs across companies; they are all over the place Too much spend goes to short term and tactical that doesn’t build loyalty and relationship with consumers.”

He asked, rhetorically, why many CEO’s and CFO’s don’t value marketing. “Because too much we focus on a bustle of activities, not the few things that drive growth of brand. Sales are important but if you don’t look at other measures of brand health, you are being short sighted.”

Lesson Four: Creativity is about solving problems.

We too often have the wrong discussion with agencies. We talk fees, etc, short term stuff, not how to come together about how to create a powerful brand.”

Lesson Five: Have a purpose.

“I am devoting the next chapter of my life to this mission. He cautioned that, by purpose, he doesn’t mean cause-based marketing, but an inspirational, motivational reason for being. “For example, Nike’s purpose is to build self esteem, to be an inspiration for athletes around the world.”  The purpose of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish? “To bring optimism to children. Old Spice? To help guys navigate the seas of manhood,” he said.

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Maker’s Mark uses community engagement to turn the ordinary into extraordinary

October 17, 2008

Photo by DRP on Flickr

I’m a proud member of the Maker’s Mark Ambassador Program.  And as a new resident of Kentucky, its a good thing I am because they take their bourbon seriously around these parts.  In fact, I actually think love of bourbon is a requirement for living in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

But seriously, I’m happy to be a member of the Maker’s Mark Ambassador program because it is one of the sharpest relationship marketing programs out there.  First off, it’s the envy of the liquor industry.  Second, one of the perks of the program is that I get a bottle out of my very own barrel (which is pretty cool).  And third, the company has an amazing ability to treat their Ambassadors like they are part of the company with small, little perks.

I was reminded of that simple fact this week when the company posted on their Ambassador blog about an upcoming website redesign (side note: this great blog was spearheaded by Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer).   Now let’s face it.  A website redesign isn’t exactly sexy news.  In fact, most people probably wouldn’t even notice it.  But Maker’s was able to reach out to their Ambassador program and make the community feel special by giving them a peak inside.  Here is what they posted about the launch:

Just wanted to drop you a note on a cool sneak preview (sort of). Sometime between now and Monday, MakersMark.com will look a little different. We’re launching a redesign but aren’t telling anyone but you for now. Certainly, anyone who goes there can see it, but we really want to get your feedback and let you have dibs on checking it out.

So, go to MakersMark.com sometime over the weekend or early next week and check out the new digs. Keep in mind that moving a big ole website involves a lot of complicated technical stuff I couldn’t begin to pronounce, much less explain, so if you see the site is down or something, we’re in the middle of the move. Just be patient and come back later.

Though a simple gesture, it really says something special about Maker’s Mark.  It shows that they understand their community and more importantly they know how to talk to them.  By talking to the community in a real, authentic voice, they are able to turn the simple redesign of an ordinary website into what I perceive to be an extraordinary brand interaction.  Well done guys.

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