Being Agency Of Record

A while back there was an ongoing discussion about the future of the advertising agency. That time it was not about them moving into service design and products, the way it is now (agencies are always needing to change into something else it seems, or at least talk about it), but it was about digital agencies vs. tradtional agencies as “agency of record”. Did the traditional ones get it? Would the digital ones grow up? It turned out it wasn’t so dramatic, and I would say that the agencies acting like good consultant are probably the ones still referred to as AOR. Why? Because good consultants don’t have one truth, as in It’s all digital now or social media is where it’s at or TV is dead – X is the answer etc.

No, good consultants start with their clients and then look for what seems to be true for clients’ situations. Quite nuanced. Less of an agenda, other than end results. More open and likely to identify connections and not just dots.

This is why Heiselman thinks that advertising will become a sales tool not a brand building one. The only way to clinch the deal is to offer a deal, and that is my big concern. If people are constantly bombarded with special offers, they will soon become sensitized to them.
– Nigel Hollis, in Will advertising become a transactional tool

> Data driven, contextual (dumb or otherwise), centered around offers.

Advertising vehicles that allow you to “engage” and have “conversations” with your brand’s heavy users by promising precision targeting provide very limited opportunity to grow your business. In fact, they often distract you from your proper objective – attracting new customers.
– Ad Contrarian, The Hidden Danger Of Precision Targeting

> On the belief that people want to engage with brands. For some, often few, that is the case, but it’s definitely not be all end all.

What are people’s aspirations? How does the brand play a role in it? I would employ anthropologists and psychologists and look at cultural analyses. We should be doing that with channels and places and spaces that consumers are engaging with every day. While advertising has tended to be more channel-orientated I’m not sure we, as strategic planners, have been putting the same emphasis on understanding as we should have. That’s what I’m hoping to bring.
– Abigail Posner, Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development, Google, on “How brands can humanize their digital experience (PSFK)

Those consultants, agencies and other companies who want to understand how things relate, that don’t love specific tools and solutions more than others, are the AORs. By understanding what needs to be done while not necessarily being able to do all themselves.

brands – coming alive to the world!

There were a couple of things shared last week that just made a full circle, like a triangulation that zeroed in on an often discussed matter in advertising (and brand management). That of brands being a bit like humans. Or not. Having POVs on issues, showing humor or not, being in the know and so on. Complex like humans. But let’s not get too deep into that.

Absolute Vodka

Absolute Vodka, with their artistic heritage, doing their view on what’s available to us all; more possibilities than ever to communicate and express our individuality. Less and less must conform to furmulas, more styles are in-style at the same time than ever before. You are never more than a couple of keystrokes or swipes away from your “cultural peer groups” wherever they may be in the world. Individuality and uniqueness for everyone.

Campbell Soup

Campbell Soup
image source

At first, Campbell opposed the Warhol artwork but thought again. Today, they’re recognizing that the Warhol artwork evokes so much more than a can of soup and welcome being part of pop art history by working with the Warhol Foundation to celebrate the 50 year anniversary. One can only hope they build on that and keep going beyond that, seen as it’s basically a boring ol’ can.

Oreo Cookies

Oreo Mars Rover Ad
image source

Brilliant ads with this little cookie as canvas.

“Oreo turns out to be really respiratory. When it celebrates Elvis, the Mars landings, or Bastille Day, it comes alive to the world around it. Playful, even. After all, who celebrates French holidays? And the brand has recently taken on the image of the Liberty Bell, the Dark Knight, and the Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower.”

– Grant McCracken in HBR

“It comes alive to the world”, what a fitting way to express it. Brands who look outside their immediate self, recognising and tapping into the world around us.

As there is usually a long time-lag between an advertising exposure and the actual act of purchase, effective advertising requires long-term memory (Ehrenberg et al. 1997, p.9). This associations in long-term memory are built on the one hand by repetition and on the other hand through all kinds of other brand exposures, such as WOM, brand usage, POS or even recalling memories. Once associations are stored in the long-term memory, they are hardly ever completely forgotten. As people build highly individualized memory-structures, “[p]ublicizing a brand is [.] about what consumers do with the advertising rather than what advertisements do to consumers […]” (Ehrenberg et al. 1997, p.10). So with long-term memory in mind, advertising’s task is then to find creative ways to publicise the brand, refresh and build new memory traces and “to make the brand distinctive rather than differentiated” (Sharp 2010a, p.353).

http://sophisticated.at/blogs/thomas/2012/09/3-2-1-3-advertising-as-creative-publicity/

Brands can act a bit human in more ways then ever before given social norms soaking the very fabric of most media technologies and platforms for communications. But brands are moved forward by organizations, and those organizations aren’t exactly littered with individuals who understand that we tend to buy more easily from brands who occupy a larger share of our memory. And that those memory structures do not have to be internally worshipped facts about exactly why to buy, and instead be thrilled that “…this ‘mere publicity’ perspective might actually be liberating for creatives, as advertising then becomes “making distinctive and memorable publicity for the brand out of next to nothing” (Ehrenberg quote from Thoma’s thesis).

weak positioning; drinks for women, undrinkable for women

Stuff like this makes me go oh come on! An energy drink for women that should be avoided by pregnant women. Important to note is that there are energy drinks, not aimed at women specifically, that are all right for pregnant women to drink. Now that’s a disconnect between product and marketing if I ever saw one.

An energy drink for women, that should not be drunk by pregnant women

ta turen till dig på vinnarum casino

Ta Turen Till Dig

Det är inte första gången jag jobbar med poker och casino, dvs spänning, underhållning och den ständigt hägrande chansen att vinna stålar. Vilken är den största drivkraften om man nu ska välja mellan de tre? Ingen – det är en onödig diskussion, även om alla spelbolagsrepresentanter säger sig ha en klart bild på hur landet ligger. En som gör dem unika och tydligt annorlunda gentemot konkurrenterna. Jag håller ju aldrig riktigt med, men vi släpper det.

Vinnarum är ett svenskt Casino (ja, det kan faktiskt spela en viss roll att det är svenskt) uppbackat av Bonnier Gaming (ja, ännu viktigare garant) där strategiarbetet satte fingret på ett ganska intressant fenomen tycker jag. Inom casino och poker representeras ju i kommunikation nästan alltid någon aspekt av skicklighet, tur eller underhållning. När det gäller just tur har vi en tendens att tala i termer av antingen/eller. Inte bara “antingen har du det eller så har du det inte”, utan även som i “antingen så har man tur, eller så är man skicklig”. För de som känner sig skickliga kan detta med att ha tur vara direkt avtändande.

Men faktum är att det finns en hel del forskning kring tur, och det faktum att det inte är helt upp till antingen fru fortuna eller din exceptionellt begåvade hjärna. Nej, de två sitter ihop. Det tyckte vi var en jäkligt intressant och sporrande tanke som resulterade i uppmaningen att “Ta turen till dig. Aktivt alltså; se till att få tur.

Läs mer om tur, skicklighet och hur de samspelar i Richard Wiseman’s bok “The Luck Factor”

Vinnarum “Turmetoder” from Tre Kronor Media & Create on Vimeo.

ta turen till dig - vinnarum

Vad tänker du själv när okänt nummer ringer?

intertextuality galore by Nike

I thought more than once in 2011 that, gosh it must be the year of intertextual ideas and executions given the vast amount of internet culture based ads. In Sweden, this was led by ComHem going all-in by trying to own associations to internet memes and all that’s beautiful with that.

Here’s a new, lovely, example from Nike. As usual the execution is perfect.

brand loyalty is rarely more than having first dibs


flick by programwitch

I was wearing Carhartt jeans the other day. Also a Carhartt shirt and a Carhartt jacket. Am I a big Carhartt fan? Well I’ve got a few shirts yes, I’ve got one jacket and one pair of jeans. I wouldn’t call me brand loyal, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that.

Without repeating all that’s been said about the concept of brand loyalty and it being contrasted and questioned, even disproven, in Byron Sharps book How brands grow, I’ll add my two cents, and it’s really just a way of thinking about it.

“Brand loyalty is having first dibs”

That’s what it comes down to, and little more than that. I’m not loyal to Carhartt, but I’ll swing by their store in search of a new pair of jeans before any other, if convenient enough. They have the first chance of maintaining their track record, but it takes little for me to walk out and into another store. We tend to equate, or define, loyalty with the latter part; it taking little for me to walk out and the fact that loyalty should be about me not easily doing that. But it’s more about the former; a brand simply having first dibs. We’re looking for a bit too much in the loyalty concept. If first dibs is what we equate with brand loyalty, we have the research and data to back it up, as opposed to over inflated wishes for loyalty beyond reason.

The fact that it’s more about first dibs, and little more, means the pressure is on the brand to continue to satisfy me. And that’s brand loyalty seen from the other end.

social media the organisational change agent


Photo thanks to riklomas

I came across two new reports on how connectedness, new touchpoints and feedback loops are affecting organisations, the marketing function and “where it sits”, and also increased customer centricity. They sum up the greater context, and the combined reasons, for some of the organisational changes (or needs for) that need to happen. One report from McKinsey (We Are All Marketers Now) and one from Forrester commissioned by Dell (Social Listening).

Forrester found that organizations across various industries that have implemented listening and digital engagement initiatives are starting to see impressive business returns.
– Forrester

You often hear negative voices on showing ROI from social media within marketing and it’s a fair point because getting measurements right isn’t that easy and, obviously, neither is actually generating a positive ROI. But a positive ROI should be delivered through social media implemented into, and used by, the whole organisation and not just marketing, which changes the ROI conversation, the investments and the over-all value it brings. You might even argue that it redefines marketing, which is what McKinsey are arguing.

In the era of engagement, marketing is the company… In essence, companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine…
– McKinsey

In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience.
– McKinsey

Which means there’s an increased need for designed and coherent interactions that stem from a better agreed understanding of who the brand is and its meaning in people’s lives. If it’s too much for one person to be responsible for customer engagement, then companies (realistically larger size ones) might consider having one for every function within the organisation, who can then liaise with each other in order to cross the boundaries that exist between sales, marketing, customer service etc.

The marketing organisations new look, 4 key dimensions identified by McKinsey

Distribute more activities
If marketing is the company, the distribution of marketing activities changes.

More councils and partnerships
As distribution of activities change, new needs for synchronization and collaboration cross-boundaries emerge.

Elevate the role of customer insights
With more and better feedback loops and data waiting to be tapped – all aspects of the company can and must benefit.

More data rich and analytically intense
Apparently Zynga generates and captures five terabytes of customer data every day. Wow!

Helping companies understand and benefit from social media is enough to realise that we’re looking at some major organisational issues. It’s all organisational, and organisations are tricky. It’s complex and it’s slow. It means shifting incentives, responsibilities and accountabilities. Many companies are going to have huge problems for a long time, and some companies offering organisational change management are going to get rich…

Social media is helping bring companies closer together internally, and perhaps it’s even the strongest catalyst for better cooperation, cross-department co-operation and incentivising for over-all collaboration. Quite an important roll.

amex, small businesses and the concept of sponsorship

I vote for this guy not only because it looks delicious but because he seems like such a great guy.

But It’s a tight race because these guys are doing exactly what I’m missing; fast food that’s good for you. I just want some good ol’ fashion husmanskost on the go, but all I can find is fat dripping pizza on every damn corner. Hate that.

And I’m very impressed with the Amex Open Forum initiative and the momentum they have. Even though I’m disappointed by the card (at least in Sweden and online). From the small business saturday idea (below), to partnering with Facebook to provide “an Amex way” of paying for ads, and Vote Big Break above.

Being involved in a sponsorship strategy for another big global American brand, I can’t but help but reflect over the role of sponsorship. Simplified being about 1, brand awareness, and letting context/sponsored event/team/sport/etc indicate what the brand supports and affiliates itself with and thus 2, manifest position/meaning by getting a brand attribute rub-off effect. But there’s so many examples of very weak sponsorship strategies where all you get is your logo out there with very little meaning attached to this.

Not so long ago, It was impossible for Amex to do what they’re doing here, which is sponsoring small businesses and everything that comes with that; having to struggle, be a smart marketer (perhaps first time at it), smart with money, doing a bit of everything (balance sheets and tax laws anyone?), and being frustrated with hardly making ends meet. Sponsoring them by doing things for them is something that simply could not be done before. Not with this massive reach and impact. To a large extent this falls under sponsoring in my book. Supportive sponsoring. Extremely targeted and relevant. I think the concept of sponsoring is changing quite a bit.