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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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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Paul Gillin unveils the Secrets of Social Media Marketing

October 13, 2008

Recently Paul Gillin, the author of The New Influencers, offered up 250 free galley copies of his latest book Secrets of Social Media Marketing.  The book arrived right before we left Arkansas and it turned out to be a great read for the road.  What I loved most was the honesty from Gillin upfront.  As he wrote in the beginning:

This book isn’t intended for the 10% of marketers who are on the leading edge.  It’s for the 90% who are still figuring out how to start.

Along these lines, Paul bluntly calls out the book as a “How To” guide for marketers to get into Social Media.  I think this step by step approach is exactly what most Brand Managers need and it is something that has been missing from most social media books out there.

Now with that in mind, here are my favorite quotes and facts from Secrets of Social Media Marketing:

“Embracing change is the only sure success strategy in a business world that is evolving faster than we have ever known.”

“[Marketers] spent decades refining tactics built around messages…they are now being told messages don’t matter.  They need to become Chief Conversation Officers.”

“It took 40 years for the TV to reach 2/3 of homes in the US.  The Internet did it less than 15 years.”

“47% of marketers cited ‘fear of loss of control’ as an impediment to social media adoption”

“Jupiter Research estimates that $12 billion dollars worth of TV advertising is blown away by TiVo and similar devices in 2007”

“Many marketers measure their importance and influence by the size of their budgets.  Social media campaigns are so cost-efficient that marketers may actually see their budgets – and their status – fall over time.  While this doesn’t make much sense, it is a fact of corporate life.”

And finally, I love this quote from my good friend and fellow P&G’er, Ted McConnell:

“How much control do you give up?  That’s like asking the person holding you up at gunpoint how much money to give them.” @ ad:tech 2006

Needless to say, this book has quickly gone to the top of my must read list for Brand Managers.

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Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup East with special discount for Hard Knox Life readers

October 8, 2008

On November 6 & 7, the Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup East will be “where today’s top brand, corporate and social marketers, media professionals, educators and others gather to share successful strategies on marketing to youth with technology.”  The conference is put on by my friend Anastasia Goodstein and should be a great event that I highly recommend.  Hard Knox Life readers can use the special code KNOX to save 10% on registration.

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Should a leader be tech savvy?

October 1, 2008

Today’s guest post is from Anthony Portuesi, Senior Sales Rep at Johnson & Johnson and author of DrivenLeaders.com. DrivenLeaders.com is a blog devoted to personal and professional development for the emerging leaders of tomorrow.

When we think of great business leaders, many things may come to mind; the ability to inspire, to motivate, to be a visionary, or perhaps to radically challenge the status quo. Each attribute demonstrates a cornerstone of strong leadership, but this being known, the question facing many in leadership positions today is – Do we need to include the “being tech savvy” to the list?

Is it necessary? Some argue yes, with the advancements in software and the impact technology has had in developing new markets and business opportunities, how can one not? Others dispute that good leaders need to keep abreast of current technological trends, but not necessarily have extensive knowledge of them to be successful. Maintaining that in the big picture it’s about leadership, not technical prowess.

The question can be argued from both points of view, each one having multiple real world examples with varying levels of success. Regardless, one overarching point remains clear. Business as we know it continues to evolve and leaders who are slow to embrace technology in any capacity are sure to fall behind the pack. Emerging technologies will continue to be a source of competitive advantage, drive new market opportunities and redesign our current organizational models.

I think Mark Somers, PhD and professor at the NJIT School of Management, said it best with the statement. “There is only one certainty in the current business environment — continual, rapid, unpredictable change. Much of that change will be technological in nature and the future will belong to business leaders who can leverage technology to capitalize on the opportunities that arise in this fast-evolving competitive arena.”

So the question remains, does a leader need to be tech savvy? Perhaps it may not as simple as a yes or no answer… My belief follows that of Mr. Somers. I think it is vital for those in leadership positions to understand the true impact that technology has on their position, not only on a macro-level to their market or industry, but also on the micro-level with the effect it has on how people interact and how it impacts daily work flow. With that working knowledge one would have the skill set to manage through the ever changing dynamics of business.

So what do you think? Should a leader need to be tech savvy? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts

DrivenLeaders.com is a blog devoted to personal and professional development for the emerging leaders of tomorrow. The pressure on new leaders to hit the ground running has never been greater, and the likelihood and cost of failure is escalating. As Gen-Y continues to become an increasing force in the workplace, the need to develop the necessary skills to be a successful leader grows ever more important. As a compilation of resources, thoughts and inspiration, Driven Leaders is as open forum for those interested in leadership and personal development.  If you enjoyed Anthony’s post, you should visit his blog and subscribe via RSS.

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5 Principles to Your Best Action Plan Ever

September 29, 2008

Today’s guest post is written by Bryan Radtke, P&G’s Shopper Based Design Brand Manager, Bengals fan, and all around good guy.  Special thanks to him for picking up the slack on Hard Knox Life while I am out this week.

A few months ago I embarked on the annual painful journey that is fiscal year action plan development. The goal of this exercise is similar to many companies…put down on paper the stuff you are going to focus on for the next year, get your management buy in and sign off, and finally file it away, never looking at it again until next year. Yay! Time well spent.

I’m not sure if it’s my old age (I’m 29), the additional responsibility I’ve gained in the past year, or simply a new found passion for productivity, but what I hate more than anything is inefficient use of time. The Action Planning process definitely felt inefficient, so something had to change…and fast.

I decided to look at Action Planning for what it truly can be; a personal strategy to achieving your business goals. Excited yet? Didn’t think so.

Think about it this way. Businesses and organizations that succeed do so more often than not behind a solid, well thought out and executed strategy. Chances are if you are reading this you have a decent amount of ambition and would like to succeed in everything you do, including your career.

Think of your action plan as your personal strategy to that success.

If that didn’t hook you then try this. The unfortunate truth is no job is secure in today’s highly competitive business environment, and that includes your job. You need to earn your employer’s loyalty and bulletproof your career by communicating the unique points of difference and VALUE you bring to the table. The action plan becomes a personal compass to ensure you are:

  • Adding unique value
  • Elevating those around you
  • Demonstrating strategic thinking and ambition

Here are the 5 principles I followed: Read the rest of this entry »


Upcoming guest writers on Hard Knox Life

September 28, 2008
Cincinnati skyline

Image by joseph a via Flickr

Over the next week, I will be making the move to Cincinnati to start my new assignment in Procter & Gamble Corporate Marketing.  Since I haven’t yet mastered the art of mobile blogging, I have asked a few of my peers and closest friends to keep the fires the burning here at Hard Knox Life with a series of guest posts.  Special thanks in advance to these guys for lending a hand during the move.  I have a feeling you are really going to enjoy reading what they have to say:

Depending on how long it takes to get everything set up at the new home, I should up and running again by October 6.  In the meantime, these guys will do an amazing job of providing interesting reading and I should be relatively active on Twitter.

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