Jan 24 2011

Life Lessons from Ad Man Rory Sutherland

by Andrew DiFiore

A very entertaining and insightful conference from ad man Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, on TEDTalk. I particularly like the bit about Shreddies breakfast cereal and the process of creating intangible value.

Jan 10 2011

Ads Worth Spreading Challenge

by Andrew DiFiore

The next great passion of Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson of TED Conferences aggregated advertising research from a number of authorities (e.g. Forrester, Nielsen, Yankee Group) and discovered the market value of one hour of attention is worth $1 in print, $0.25 on TV, and less than $0.10 on the Internet, suggesting that the industry has yet to figure out how to best capitalize on the nearly 2 billion people online (carrying over the interruptive ad model is not the way to).

To help figure it out, TED is inviting the business community to submit videos to the Ads Worth Spreading Challenge by February 7, 2011. Up to 10 winning ads/videos will premiere at TED2011 in Long Beach, CA, February 28-March 4, 2011, before 1,500+ thought leaders as well as subsequently appear on TED.com for free for one week in March. Winners will also appear on the YouTube homepage and as ads across YouTube content.

Appearing as post-roll after every  TEDTalks videos for a week, the company claims, is about 2 million impressions (views). That’s a pretty sweet deal! Learn more on how to enter here.

Oct 19 2009

If we build it better why don’t they come?

by Jeff Propper

One of the most often asked question of small and medium businesses is: “how can we unseat our competition”? Often times, the incumbent supplier has the benefit of a long-standing relationship, along with a reputation of quality products and services.  This is understandably, a serious issue when you may have a better solution, at a better price and even better service.  I call it the “if we build it better why don’t they come?” syndrome.  They don’t come because customers don’t want to take chances.  Most people will avoid risky decisions, even when their current supplier makes mistakes.

How do we change this behavior?

It can be changed, but it takes time and money. What’s more, it takes building a reputation. Creating a promise and making good on it time after time, influencing your target market, and in other words, even SMBs must build a brand!  Sometimes, simply saying the word “brand” sends shudders through the very beings of senior management.  “Build a brand? Those are only for big companies who can afford it—not us!”

Let’s take it one step at a time.

Building a brand for your SMB doesn’t have to cost multi-millions of dollars, but in order to be successful you must think SYNERGY. Remember we’re talking about a building process, not an instant solution. In the brand building process you start with the basics, and those basics include asking the right questions:

  • Assess who you are: What is your company’s corporate culture?  What is the perception of the company in the marketplace?  Does your reputation reflect the true nature of your company? What is it about your company that makes you better/different than your competition?
  • What do you stand for? What core values best describe your company?
  • What can your company promise? A distinct, clear, attainable brand promise must be articulated.  Example: GE.  imagination at work.  The perception of a high quality company dedicated to turning imaginative ideas into leading products and services that in-turn make our lives better.

Building your brand is not just advertising.

Your brand must be incorporated into every aspect of your company. From your corporate culture and customer interface, to advertising, social media, internet marketing and public relations.  Your brand personality must come through consistently.  Example: The Body Shop has developed programs that reflect its core identity called Values and Campaigns.  It contributes to rain forest preservation efforts, is active in women’s issues and even has a program called COMMUNITY TRADE that embodies their commitment to trading fairly and responsibly with suppliers.  The Body Shop’s vision carries right through to the in-store experience.  Walk into a store, and you’re greeted by a salesperson wearing a T-shirt with both the logo and a social message.

In the end, building a brand for your SMB takes time, effort, commitment and money.  It’s not a quick fix.  It’s a long-term strategy that leads to growth, profitability and stability. After all, don’t you want your company to be your customer’s “supplier of choice” no matter what?

Oct 1 2009

Display Ad Follow Up: What is 16% of Clicks Worth?

by Andrew DiFiore

As a follow up to my earlier post Google Makes Good on New DoubleClick Ad Exchange, AdAge reports that the number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years and only 16% of US Internet users are clicking. Nevertheless, ComScore maintains that display ads are still effective when paired with Paid Search. This is probably true enough but I would add to the mix optimized Landing Pages. And of course, good creative and a compelling offering helps.

Personally, I never felt impressions or click-throughs were a valid measurement of ROI in the digital world. Yes, there is something to be said about the value of people just seeing your brand but I’m not convince this is enough to justify the costs. It is too easy to exaggerate these numbers and their significance on engagement.

Displays ads (and the way they are measured) are transplants from print where advertising is passive, one-way. If the copy is clever, the imagery provocative, and the message on point, you can acquire mind-share in the reader’s brain (whether she realizes it or not). Mind-share is fleeting in our information saturated world (the average American is exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages a day, blah, blah, blah) which is why you must repeat your message often and everywhere. We all know that.

But online display ads don’t have to be passive. This is the Web, baby! You can create a multimedia experience that interacts with the visitor, maybe even “know” what she is doing, and be the empathic gateway to a meaningful exchange. Now that’s mind-share that sticks. Don’t know what I mean then check out Nike’s The Human Race 10K (kinda eerie).

In short, display ads have their place in the marketing mix. But to be truly effective at engagement, think outside the box. Better still, think: online there is no box.

Read the entire AdAge article here.

Sep 23 2009

Commoditizing creativity?

by Jeff Propper

The reality is, I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I just received an e-mail promo that iStockphoto will be offering logos for a one time purchase.  They are asking designers to submit their logo designs, and are offering $5 to designers who are part of the first 10,000 approved logos submitted by Jan. 1, 2010.  At the end of the day, these logos will be sold one time only, for a purchase price between $150 and $700, and will be customized to fit the buyer’s needs.

For me, the prospect of diminishing the value of something as important as a company’s mark seems ludicrous, but at the same time, stories of how little Nike paid for the swish, or how Twitter’s logo was simply purchased off the shelf from a stock house, gives credibility to the notion that why should a company pay thousands when a few hundred will do?  I’ve also heard stories of how companies were disappointed when they saw other businesses using the same cut-rate logo they thought was their own.  There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I believe you get what you pay for.

I supposed for the art purchasing community this is terrific — 10,000 logos to choose from, and cheap to boot.  The design community appears to want to embrace it, with potential exposure to millions of prospective logo purchasers to buy your logo—once.   I guess you can make a million dollars designing logos; all you have to do is design and sell about a million of them!

I welcome your opinion.