Category Archives: Conferences

Best Practices for Operating at the “Speed of Culture” – sparks&honey and Reebok Break it Down

As a part of Advertising Week 2014, the 4A’s hosted its Competitive Edge series on Sept. 29, bringing together top agency and brand executives to debate the value of operating at the intersection of cultural intelligence and business innovation.

The session kicked off with a video clip from the new HBO show, “Last Week Tonight,” in which anchorman John Oliver explored recent examples of brands’ Twitter #fails. From the DiGiorno mixup with the trending #WhyIStayed hashtag to various brands tweeting misguided 9/11 content, the clip raised some very interesting points about when it is the right time for a brand to engage in real-time social practices.

Terry Young, CEO/Founder of ad newsroom sparks&honey, and his colleague Imari Oliver, VP, Director of Creative Strategy, and good friend, David Oksman, U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok, spoke about best practices for brands that want to operate at the “speed of culture” in a session entitled, Leading Culture and Collaboration.

Why do so many brands struggle with creating authentic social conversations? According to Young, brands need to identify places, trends, dialogue and topics that they want to be attached to as a first step. When thinking about everything that is happening in social – it can seem overwhelming and random, so brands need to sort through everything and zero in on the select areas of opportunities, he said. Moving at the “speed of culture” isn’t an easy feat but it’s essential for brands that want to be successful in today’s world.

Oksman’s advice: Brands need to be strategic rather than opportunistic.  Just like an athlete, brands can develop muscle memory when it comes to identifying trends/cultural elements to attach to  – that is what drives nimbleness, Oksman said.

Culture is the pulse of the social world and there are two types – “slow culture” and  “fast culture,” according to Young. 3D printing, autonomous cars, and the sharing economy are examples of “slow culture” – these affect companies and brands over a long term. Memes and viral videos though are examples of “fast culture” that impacts culture and consumers in the short term.

The panelists concluded that when brands are looking to operate at the “speed of culture” they should be asking themselves three things:

  • What makes sense for their brand?
  • Which aspects of real-time trends and culture are a fit with the brand’s core messaging and essence?
  • Does the brand want to enter an existing conversation or create a new one?

Because isn’t creating conversations what it’s all about?

(INSERT PICTURE FROM PANEL)  From left to right: Terry Young (CEO/Founder of sparks&honey), David Oksman (U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok) and Imari Oliver (VP, Director of Creative Strategy at sparks&honey) with panel moderator, Advertising Age reporter, Malika Toure

From left to right: Terry Young (CEO/Founder of sparks&honey), David Oksman (U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok) and Imari Oliver (VP, Director of Creative Strategy at sparks&honey) with panel moderator, Advertising Age reporter, Malika Toure

AWXI: Authentic Storytelling with Data

Day one at Advertising Week saw a consistent theme from the advertisers that descended upon New York City. The kickoff keynote panel was moderated by WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell with executives from Live Nation, Amazon CBS, and ESPN to talk about data, storytelling, distribution and more.

“Consumers don’t think about branded content, they ask if it changed the experience for them,” said Russell Wallach, President of Live Nation’s Media & Sponsorship division. “They feel good about brands that enhance experiences for them.”

Mr. Sorrell pushed the panelists to discuss how they work with data and agencies. Most everyone on the panel agreed that first party data was their primary resource for talking to marketers, but agencies had an unusual role in the middle.

“We see that our agencies tell different things, so it can be hard for us to understand exactly what is going on. Some of our longest partnerships, the ones that have gone on for years, have been direct with the brand’s marketing team,” said Wallach.

A panel later in the day hosted by DDB focused on how to build an influential brand, and the panel continued the morning’s session with a focus on data.

“We’ve almost become data poets,” said Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4A’s. “We take the data that we want and use it to tell stories to our audiences.”

“Brands need to understand the influence they can bring and make a long-term commitment,” said Jeremy Levine, SVP of Digital Sales at Live Nation. “To market with music, they need to be in for the long haul, not a one-off event. We have the data to help that partnership”

Much credit was given to Omnicom agency sparks & honey for hosting daily “culture briefs” that look at the pulse of the conversation by consumers, with an eye towards social media trends.

“You have to have a fluid strategy with an ear to the ground, because things change so rapidly and you need to be ready,” said DDB President Mark O’Brien.

Several hiccups from brand’s real time social campaigns were discussed and the agreement was that global brands want to have an influence everywhere, but they must feel authentic.

“Global brand, local touch,” said Hill.

Financial Times Future of Marketing – Millennials, Music, and Data

Russell Wallach, President of Media and Sponsorship at Live Nation, spoke on how the world’s largest live-entertainment company uses data to reach consumers at the second annual Financial Times Future of Marketing Conference on Sept. 17, which brought together executives across a variety of industries.

“The journey of the fan experience, from ticket purchase to the end of the show months later, can be improved by data, and fans welcome anything they can to enhance those moments,” said Wallach.

And what is the future of marketing? The answer is Millennials, known as the most “social” generation ever because of their global, digital connectedness. Many agreed that music is at the intersection of marketing to this group.

“We have first party data from our over 200million-plus user database,” said Wallach. “So that presents a great opportunity for our brand and agency partners to develop unique properties.”

Wallach listed examples that included a recent investment in electronic dance music (EDM) by 7Up to target millennials and Hispanics and working with Kellogg’s to create a summer concert series targeted towards tweens.

To close out the day, Bruce Flohr, co-founder of GreenLight Media & Marketing, sat down with Marc Roberge, lead singer of O.A.R. to talk about how they market themselves to brands. “Music is worthless, yet everyone loves music,” said Flohr. “Everyone walks around with earbuds on, you can’t escape it, but the music has no tangible value.”

“The U2 deal with Apple really put the nail in the coffin for selling albums and completely devalues music,” said Roberge. “We now look for brands who want to partner with us. We want to understand why a brand chose us, and make sure it fits for everyone involved.”

Everyone agreed that the future for marketing is bright but cluttered as brands try to navigate every channel to reach their audience.

Audience Measurement 2014: The Leadership Mandate

This year’s the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement (AM) 2014 focused on the Measurement Mandate and an immediate call-to-action for analysts to embrace the future of programmatic buying and cross platform measurement and lead their respective organizations through the considerable changes brought by today’s complex media environment.

Gayle Fuguitt, President and CEO of The ARF’s opening address set the tone for the event. In it, she explained there is a code red problem facing the industry. For example, the ARF’s research found that less than 10 percent of marketers say that mix models help them understand cross-platform advertising. Fuguitt emphasized that analysts must recognize this to be a transformative moment.

“This is not a measurement mandate, but rather a leadership mandate,” said Fuguitt. “We need to collaborate within our organizations, across organizations and across the world and we need to listen to each other and converge.”

Gayle Fuguitt

In his address Bob Lord, Global CEO of AOL Platforms, delved into the power of convergence and how it can transform industries at the intersection of business and technology.  Lord believes that measurement is key to truly understanding consumers and creating a brand strategy that meets consumers’ needs.

“Convergence of technology, media and creativity allows us to imagine and enable customer experiences like never before,” said Lord.  “Technology, media, and creativity operating within the context of business strategy can transform a marketing problem.”

Bob Lord

Lord also discussed his five principles when using data to better the consumer experience. He explained that brands need to put the consumer at the center and understand what motivates them and their journey to trying or using a product. Marketers must start thinking of their brand as a service and be aware of the fact that they are in the business of fulfilling consumer needs. It is also crucial to reject silos; consumers don’t care about inter-department issues and neither should businesses. Brands also need to act like a startup and employ agile methodology and prototyping. Finally, brands must embrace diversity in order to raise ROI’s on company performance.

AM 2014 wasn’t only a discussion of big data and ways to improve audience measurement across platforms. It was also a look at those who are solving measurement challenges and generating significant business results. In that spirit, the first annual Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was announced at the conference, an award that honors the legacy of media leader, Erwin Ephron.

Bill Harvey, Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of TiVo Research and Analytics, was the first winner of this prestigious award. He has spent over 35 years in the media research industry and has pioneered thinking in New Media, industry data, and audience measurement standards.

“Bill challenges conventional thinking, and has a rare ability to translate ideas into action,” said Fuguitt. “The Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was part of the greater goal of AM 2014 to support, inspire, and promote the analytical minds that will lead organizations through this period of dynamic change.”

Bill Harvey & Gayle Fuguitt

The overarching message of AM 2014 was the need for analysts to embrace new ways of thinking in order to keep their seat as the C-suite’s most trusted advisor, a mission that the ARF will continue in future events and research.

 

 

4A’s PR Forum: 8 Tips for Pitching Reporters

The 4A’s, the leading trade association for ad agencies, held its second 4A’s Public Relations Forum, this year at J. Walter Thompson’s beautiful NYC offices on May 14, and the event drew a packed house.

Dubbed “24/7 Always On Communications,” the event brought together business journalists and hundreds of communications professionals from PR agencies and ad agencies to discuss changes in news gathering and media relations practices.

Top reporters from outlets including Fast Company, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, Adweek and USA Today, as well as PR practitioners from agencies including, CP+B, FCB and Mullen lent their expertise on topics concerning reputation management and crisis communications. Additionally, executives from Twitter and Facebook discussed how social media engagement and real-time communications continues to change the world of earned media.

Still, media relations is the bread and butter of the PR practice, and journalist speakers talked about how technology and emerging media channels continue to impact their profession.

Below are eight insights that PR practitioners should keep in mind when engaging with the media in this 24/7 “Always On” world.

  1. Technology works. Almost all reporter panelists said that if you sent an email, “we got your pitch, and there’s no need to follow up four or five times to check.”  That said, if you want to follow up once, Laura Petrecca  from USA Today suggests writing “FOLLOW UP” in your subject line to make your point clear.
  2. Relationships are key. Reporters are much more apt to take your call if they know you. The takeaway?  Build those connections now; they will pay off for years to come.
  3. Sometimes it’s just about luck: Ever wonder why the pitch you spent hours writing got no response but the one that took ten minutes got an immediate reply?  The truth is, there isn’t a real answer other than timing. As Fast Company’s Editor Bob Safian pointed out, “It’s like getting a parking spot in the mall at Christmas time – it could take one minute, it could take 20. It depends what’s happening on that specific day and time — don’t take it personally.”
  4. The “aha” moment. Reporters and editors are looking for something new and surprising for their readers. If your pitched doesn’t elicit an “a-ha” moment it will be deleted.
  5. Remember the “why.”  When pitching a story, it is essential to include the “why.” While this may seem like a given, the Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica said it was surprising how many pitches she reads that bury the “why.” Remember to include the business challenge or impetus for your storyline.
  6. Social media is critical. Reporters use social media to inform their stories and gauge hot topics of the day, so PR professionals should align pitches with topics reporters seem to have on their radars. As Twitter’s Melissa Barnes reminded the audience, “Not only are stories being discussed on the platform, sometimes they are breaking on Twitter.” With social comes more competition than ever for reporters, so it’s imperative to stay close to the real-time conversation and how it’s informing journalism.
  7. Deadlines don’t exist. They have become almost irrelevant.  Everything is so real-time that reporters don’t always have time to respond to your pitch.
  8. Be concise. Suzanne Vranica says that actually, a one-sentence pitch via phone is more effective than a three-paragraph email. Take that to heart.

 

Digital Denizens: Reporting from the Future

“Digital Denizens: Reporting from the Future” panel. From left to right: Michael Learmonth, Ad Age; Todd Wasserman of Mashable; Brian Braiker Digiday reporter; moderator is Jill Kelly, Chief Communications Officer of Digitas.

Creating a Mo’vement at Erwin Penland’s Food For Thought

At Erwin Penland’s seventh annual Food For Thought, an “unconventional convention” in Greenville, S.C., we were treated to amazing, inspirational speakers – from the Mayor of New Orleans to the founder of Movember and so much more. In addition to being served delicious food the content has really given us something to think about.

On Wednesday, April 30, the first full day of the event, Adam Garone, CEO/co-founder of Movember took the stage to tell us about his mission to raise awareness of men’s health and eventually cure prostate and testicular cancer. Movember had humble beginnings—it started among a group of friends in Australia, grew to 30 supporters, and within the first year, had 450 participants.

Today, Movember is an established, global organization that has used the power of conversation starters – yes, those crazy mustaches we see throughout November – to create change and support men’s health issues.

Garone shared his Top 10 tips and lessons in creating a thriving organization:

1.Do something you love. Passion creates persistence and infectious enthusiasm

2.Naivety is a good thing.

3.Be disruptive

4.Strong leadership with a clear vision and great team are essential

5.Technology is a core asset and key accelerator

6. Word of mouth is the most effective way to build a brand people love

7. Inspire your customers to be your ambassadors

8. What you say ‘no’ to defines you more than what you say ‘yes’ to

9. The art of storytelling is key

10. Never underestimate the power of a room full of people

Blurred Lines: The Fine Line between Ads and Editorial at Advertising Week Europe

As part of DGC’s annual exchange program with Eulogy! – in which one DGC’er and one Eulogite have the opportunity to work from each other’s offices for a full week – I’ve been lucky enough to not only be in London, but also attend Advertising Week Europe.

I am less than 48 hours into being in London and have already experienced a couple of sessions with the likes of News Corp and Mashable execs. Here is a brief snapshot:

The Future of News & Advertising

This unique fireside chat between Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corporation, and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Global, brought two luminaries to the stage. They spoke to numerous pressing topics today from the future of traditional media, to who’s to blame for failing with digital advertising.

Native advertising was definitely one of the hot topics of discussion. Sorrell explained how the boundaries between the editorial and business sides are breaking down and that it’s fine as long as there is transparency along the way. In fact, both executives agreed that, in an ideal world, consumers would prefer to opt-out rather than opt-in, and people will pay for content if it is good. Thomson also admitted that quality content can be expensive, so it’s critical to identify more ways to increase the monetization of such content. He further explained that the value of content creation proves more than ever that distribution is important.
The session wrapped up with Thomson and Sorrell debating over whether numerous industries, including that of public relations and public affairs, have been creatively or destructively disrupted by digital. Only time will tell…

Fast Company Founder’s Conversation 

This much anticipated session shed a new light on the editorial direction of Mashable. The fireside chat featured Bob Safian, Editor of Fast Company, casually asking questions of Pete Cashmore, the very well-known CEO and Founder of Mashable. And once again, native advertising was a hot topic. Pete agreed that it’s a good thing as long as it’s a win-win for all involved, and that a reader’s best interest is always kept in mind.

The message Pete drove home throughout the session was Mashable’s seemingly transformed focus on its editorial content – no longer restricting its walls to social media and other such related topics. His vision is to bring forth what the world cares about across the board on various topics – even weather.

Pete called out that journalism is a part of Mashable’s DNA. It was evident that the outlet wants to shift its perception of being more like a New York Times than that of say a BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post. That said, Pete still feels strongly that Mashable will always target its core audience of early adopters as they are “likely at the cutting edge of everything – not just technology.”

Something Pete Cashmore mentioned in his session was proven true today: the proliferation of technology has changed the playing field, with anyone and everyone having the ability to be successful from anywhere – not just Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley. It’s safe to say that Advertising Week Europe will continue to grow in its presence over the coming years.

It was a whirlwind of a first day! I’m looking forward to attending additional sessions during my trip and will be back at week’s end with more key takeaways and learnings. In the meantime, follow the conversation @digennaro and check out some pics here to get a snapshot of my week in London and Advertising Week Europe.

Closing Remarks from Re:Think 2014

Following an exciting few days at the New York Marriott Marquis, the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference has come to a close, after more than 168 paper submissions were presented from the top companies in business. With key insights from industry luminaries like Keith Reinhard, Carolyn Everson and Lee Garfinkel, the days were jam-packed with valuable insights and takeaways for attendees to take back to their desks and influence their work.

We caught up with Gayle Fuguitt, CEO and President of the ARF, for her biggest takeaway from the conference and how Re:Think 2014 ushered in a new era for the ARF.

For more Re:Think 2014 highlights, see below for a small sampling of the great coverage that ran this week:

Advertising Age: How Big Data Shapes AT&T’s Advertising Creative

Direct Marketing News: Video: Three Questions with the ARF’s Gayle Fuguitt

The Makegood: Why the Best Advertising is Formed When Art Meets Science

Re:Think 2014: Great Insights, Great Innovation, Great Results

Day Two at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference was about rethinking ideas to derive better insights, and ultimately better creative executions and results.

Lee Garfinkel, CEO of FCB Garfinkel, gave the first keynote of the day said the industry needs more clarity and simplicity in using smart research to inform smart advertising. Rather than wasting time thinking outside of the box, he encourages people to think about how to get out of the corner. “Science won’t get you great ideas alone. You need the gut instinct of great thinkers.”

Garfinkel’s other call to action was to come up with the great idea that will change the mind of the consumer. Demonstrated by his own iconic Diet Coke example from 1994,  he explained how the soft drink faced several challenges — from being too generic to being seen as for “women on a diet.” Garfinkel realized they couldn’t fix all of Diet Coke’s needs at once. “We asked the right question to get the right answer. The question was ‘which one of these should we address first?” Diet Coke’s response? “Make us relevant again.’”

Garfinkel and his team did just that, creating a spot that alleviated many of these issues and helped Diet Coke re-gain market share. The spot speaks for itself:

The second session keynote of the day was a fireside chat between Kim Brink, VP Marketing at NASCAR, and 4A’s EVP Michael Donahue, titled “Branding 180% Turnaround.” One of NASCAR’s marketing challenges is that people perceive it as a sport only popular in the South, without a huge reach. Conversely, the race car brand is second to the NFL in terms of recognition and hosts as many as 70 million fans at their events every year.

NASCAR’s goal was to have consumers rethink the brand. By tapping into insights around what its most rabid fans love about the sport, NASCAR was able to exact that passion and leverage it for new fans. The exercise allowed NASCAR to find its brand voice, which Brink acknowledged they didn’t previously have. NASCAR then signed their first ad agency, Ogilvy + Mather, and leveraged the insights about what rabid and casual fans love most, to create a dynamic spot that went on to be listed as the “Best Sports Commercial of the Year” in 2013.

The overarching message today was that marketers need to challenge their creative thinking by starting the process with smart research and clear insights.

 

Insights from Day One at ARF Re:Think 2014

The DGC team has been live from Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)  Re:Think conference in New York City this week, soaking up all of the intelligent conversations and insights being shared around analytics and insights.

Day One focused explicitly on consumer engagement and how to make better decisions across platforms. Here are some of our key learnings from the first day:

Carolyn Everson, VP of Marketing Solutions, Facebook (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Mobile is now. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, admitted that even the largest social network in the world was caught off guard by the rise of mobile. But the reality is, that with over five billion phones currently in use, consumers are constantly on the go – and usually active on more than one device. More than one-third of those five billion people are using at least three or more devices in a given day, and 60 percent of consumers start a task on one device and end on another. So what’s the next step in mobile’s evolution? Personalization.

 

Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Understand your fans. Peter Espersen, head of co-creation at LEGO, shared how the brand sought to understand the fans, tap into their passion for LEGOs, and then in fact produce what the fans want. After several petitions, LEGO created several limited edition series, including the infamous DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future, a Minecraft series, and the very first fan-petitioned LEGO, the Shinkai 6500, a Japanese submarine. Espersen explained that no one would have seen the fan demand for Shinkai or Minecraft but, given that LEGO allowed its fans’ voices to be heard, it created what was wanted.

 

 

Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Insights can help create the story. When you leverage insights in the right way, you can tell the story the consumer actually wants to hear. That was the takeaway from ad legend Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide. Reinhard showed a famous State Farm ad from the 1960s, featuring the still-iconic “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle, and a real State Farm insurance agent based in Hawaii. “The insight was that the hometown neighbor is always there, which led to the “Like a Good Neighbor,’” said Reinhard, “Consumers could get their own personal neighborhood State Farm agent.” The tagline is still used today.

 

***

The conversation was positive and encouraged the audience to question how brands are engaging with consumers. Even if you’re doing something right, you can always look at new data or find another angle that resonates in a new way, generating more insightful campaigns and buzz.

%d bloggers like this: