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Brands and businesses are stubborn.
And why wouldn’t they be? They’re run by humans, and we’re the most stubborn species of all.
We don’t just hate change, we loathe it. We run the other way and resist it at all costs.
And businesses, like humans, are also creatures of habit. They love their routines, and when successful, they love them even more. In these routines, they’re safe – so they repeat them until they become automatic.
But this behavior is dangerous, and for businesses, it’s downright deadly.
By nature, CEO’s and CMO’s fixate on control, and change is the antithesis of control. It brings upon the very thing they work so hard to avoid: uncertainty. It can mean abandoning the strategies and practices that got them where they are today – and worst of all, it almost always means more work.
But the world is changing, and to be successful, your brand and business must change with it.
It’s how IBM, a company that was selling cheese slicers 106 years ago is now leading the conversation on Artificial Intelligence.
It’s how Marvel, a comic book company that went bankrupt in 1996, now has two of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.
It’s how our inspiring client, Weight Watchers, transformed from a weight loss brand to a vibrant community of empowered members to achieve seven straight seasons of growth.
And it’s how The New York Times, a publication founded in 1851, is topping the podcast charts with its sponsored program, The Daily.
You may call these companies game changers, and that’s fine – but the truth is they didn’t change the game, they just reacted more quickly than their competitors when the game itself changed.
So how’d they do it?
They took actions. Brave and courageous actions in the face of discomfort. They opened doors their competitors wouldn’t – and most of those competitors are still locked out.
They hired planners – planners who became obsessed with the future. They examined trends and thought flexibly. They kept their eye on the bigger picture, when everyone else was focused on the smaller portraits of the present.
The unknown isn’t safe, but it’s where you need to play if you want to win.
So think ahead. Imagine possibilities that seem decades and decades away. The way you think consumers make decisions today will be different than the way they make decisions tomorrow.
Become a leading brand of 2020.
Take action. Define the alternative future you exist to prevent.
The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.
What do you believe about people? What do you think they work for? What motivates them?
You have a people theory whether you know it or not. No one could long survive in a society without some operating theory of what will work in interactions with other people.
When I was in college, I interned at a psychiatric hospital on the acute care ward. People came in at their absolute craziest. Sometimes they were truly stark raving mad. But for the most part, these people were successful more than half of the time in navigating interactions with other people.
On the other hand, even the most successful don’t have perfect social records. They misjudge people or themselves. They make mistakes.
They too have people in theories in action.
A leader should be as conscious of his or her people theory as possible. Look for your patterns. Write stuff down. Question your assumptions. It’s not easy, but it’s less painful than expensive mistakes.
This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann chats with his long-time friend and former boss, Bill Oberlander, the executive creative director at OBERLAND. Bill has worked as a creative executive at many top agencies, including JWT New York, Cossette New York, McCann Erickson, Ogilvy & Mather, and Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. Working on such global accounts as Microsoft, Intel, Snapple, Target, Coach, Bloomberg, and Nikon. Bill has helped reinvent brands with his iconic and transformational campaigns.
Tune in as Bill and Tom discuss what it takes to break into advertising in New York City, why philanthropy is important for both brands and people, and how today’s creatives can build a portfolio that gives Bill goosebumps.
- [0:00 – 2:05] Intro
- [2:06 – 5:17] Bill and Tom discuss working together at Kirshenbaum
- [5:18 – 8:23] Bill’s childhood in South Amboy, NJ, attending an all-boys Catholic high school, and dreaming of a future in the arts
- [8:24 – 13:25] Studying business communications and visual communications at the University of Delaware, and falling in love with advertising
- [13:26 – 15:17] Moving to NYC, couch surfing, and landing his first advertising gig
- [15:18 – 19:49] Becoming an art director at McCaffrey & McCall
- [19:50 – 30:57] Learning the ropes at McCann, working on the Coca-Cola account, and scheduling his first shoot without client approval
- [30:58 – 35:08] Being recruited by Richard Kirshenbaum as his art director, and faking it until he made it
- [35:09 – 41:13] Bill’s first big campaign at Kirshenbaum: El Presidente Spiced Brandy
- [41:14 – 48:49] Reinventing Snapple with the famous “Snapple Lady” campaign
- [48:50 – 56:49] Working at Robin Hood Foundation, the importance of building brands with purpose, and launching Oberland
- [56:50 – 61:16] What Bill looks for when reviewing portfolios today
- [61:17 – 62:44] Outro
“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.
The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo.
I love game changers. They drive the world forward. They are the natural force in national selection. They are the good guys of business. And I want them to win. I want them to end up on top.
But, often they don’t. Because game changing and game winning don’t automatically go together. Think about it this way: Innovation creates a window of opportunity. The window opens with the introduction of the change. It closes when the new way is copied, tweaked, improved and deployed by the competition.
What the game changer does between the opening and the closing of that window is everything. If you move quickly to own the change, to own it in the marketplace, to own it in the minds of your target audience, then you make it much more difficult for your much larger and richer competitors to co-opt that innovation.
Between the opening and closing of the window, there is DIGO.
We marketers spend so much time on our marketing, we can be forgiven for thinking that it’s the first and last word about the brand.
Perhaps there was a time when this was more or less true. Not today.
Today, the conversation about brands, services and products is never more than a couple of clicks away. People have more tools than ever to find out what other people really think about the things we sell. Advertising is a smaller and smaller part of the conversation.
That’s why an integrated growth plan must start with the behaviors and beliefs of the audience. It needs to embrace the entire brand experience. The customer journey becomes the road map. By prioritizing the touch points with the greatest leverage, real results improvement can often be achieved in short order.
So, what about the 57%? That’s the part of the buying process that a prospect typically engages in before they talk to someone from the company. The other 43% is important, but the whole 100% is where the winners play.
People pay us to get people to do things.
Isn’t that what you get paid for too?
Think about it. Whether you’re making a product, delivering a service, designing, marketing, innovating or financing – doesn’t the result happen only when you get people to actually do something different?
Actions are the fundamental currency. No actions, no cash.
So, success in business – and in achieving any worthy end – is a battle between manipulation and inspiration.
Manipulation is when we use tricks to get people to do things.
Inspiration is when they do those things because those things are meaningful and satisfying to them.
A business can be built on manipulation for a while. Offers. Urgency. Price manipulations. Sales. Scarcity. Emotional hyping. There is a whole business literature of tricks. Direct and interactive marketers have proven them. Persuasion designers have honed them. Behavioral economists have proved them in double-blind studies.
Manipulation works. For a while.
But manipulation doesn’t satisfy. In fact, it sucks meaning. Organizations that rely too heavily on manipulations build a house of cards, without coherence, loyalty or passion.
Inspiration, as Simon Sinek has said, starts with Why.
When people are doing because they are inspired to do, they value their own actions differently. We saw this when we attracted more customers for an online broker by offering a stuffed monkey (really) than by offering $350 dollars cash, just for signing up.
The monkey meant, “I’m in this crazy tribe.”
The money meant, “I’ll take the bribe.”
Which do you think acquired more valuable customers? Correct. The monkey.
Which do you think acquired more customers in the first place? Also, the monkey.
Most people are surprised by that. Knowing all I do about inspiring action, I was also surprised.
This broker built an incredibly powerful and valuable brand. It inspired passion that converted into fast growth, intense engagement and rock solid loyalty.
Want a metric to measure and manage this by? Call it your Inspiring Action Quotient.
How much do you lead, market, attract, convert and build through Inspiration? That’s the numerator, the number on top.
How much do you manipulate in order to generate the actions that grow your business? That’s the denominator.
Inspiration over Manipulation.
Inspiration/Manipulation = Inspiring Action Quotient
The higher your score, the more brand value you’re building, the brighter your future.
Simple and difficult as that.
Now let’s inspire some action.
In the latest episode of “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann sits down with creative maestro Dan Kelleher, Chief Creative Officer at Deutsch. Dan has worked at many of the world’s most renowned agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, Cliff Freeman & Partners, and DeVito/Verdi. His work for brands such as BMW, DIRECTV, General Mills, FedEx, and Guinness has earned some of the industry’s top awards. Bill Clinton once said that his favorite commercials were the “Cable Effects” spots for DIRECTV, which Kelleher helped bring to life. Dan was also responsible for bringing us the BMW Super Bowl ad, “Newfangled Idea,” which Ad Age ranked among the best Super Bowl ads of all time.
Tune in to hear Dan discuss how perseverance paved his path to success, what today’s creatives can learn from the “funny vs. not funny” wall, and why honesty is the key to great client relationships.
- [0:00 – 1:35] Intro
- [1:36 – 7:04] Growing up in Plainfield, New Jersey, being passionate about art and deciding that medical illustration wasn’t the right field for him
- [7:05 – 11:35] The Rocky of advertising: how perseverance landed him his first job in the print production department of Ammirati & Puris
- [11:36 – 20:39] Working on his portfolio, attending ad school, and learning the ropes from great bosses
- [20:40 – 29:32] Getting hired in his first creative role as junior art director at DeVito/Verdi
- [29:33 – 34:36] Moving to Cliff Freeman & Partners and selling his first TV spot for Staples
- [34:37 – 43:44] Lessons for young creatives from the “funny vs. not funny” wall
- [43:45 – 49:14] Dan and Tom discuss their time at BBDO working for Gerry Graf
- [49:15 – 54:32] Working at BBDO, getting more client interaction, and filming with Burt Reynolds
- [54:33 – 59:50] The importance of honesty in developing great client relationships
- [59:51 – 62:24] The value of building a strong agency culture
- [62:25 – 69:20] What Dan looks for in a portfolio today and his one piece of advice for young creatives
- [62:21 – 70:50] Outro
“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.
Facebook is thirteen years old.
So it’s not exactly breaking news that we live in a direct-led and socially connected world. We’ve been living in it for over a decade now. It’s not going to change our lives; it already has. The way we talk. The way we think. The way we act. As people. As consumers. And, for those paying attention, as brands.
Even the line between brand and consumer is becoming blurred. With brands like Lyft and Airbnb, the platforms themselves have become communities where brand values and benefits are communicated through daily interactions, rather than through headlines. Actions, not ads, have become the coin of the realm.
46-inch TVs sitting in living rooms have become 7-inch smartphones constantly moving. From couch to desk to coffee shop to grocery store. From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to Instagram to Snapchat. Seamlessly. “Word of mouth” has become “likes,” “shares,” “comments,” and “snapchat follows.”
People are literally carrying your brand around in their pockets. So it makes sense that marketing has become more personal. Now, more than ever, people want to be a part of the brand. They expect to have a voice.
And this is why we invented The Selfifesto® – a new and innovative co-creation process that puts your brand’s most devoted fans at the center of the process to bring the brand truths to life.
Tapping into today’s selfie-culture, we ask brand loyalists to record videos of themselves on their smartphones. Then we package the video into an ad where they become the stars. We provide the brief, strategy, concept, scripts, and editing, but each consumer is their own director, actor, and camera operator. An ad co-created between the brand and consumer. It’s not just our campaign; it’s theirs as well.
In return, the brand develops a greater understanding of their target audience, increasing customer satisfaction through the back-and-forth interaction. A community is built, and engagement is only further intensified when the superstars themselves spread the spots online.
It’s an experiment we first tried with WeightWatchers a few months back, and then again with Affinity Federal Credit Union. Real customers with real stories… a celebration of their success with the brands, all for a fraction of typical production costs.
No one knows your consumers better than they know themselves, and when you give them the voice they want and invite them to join the conversation, some amazing things can happen. Remember, a brand is not what you tell people it is. A brand is what people tell people it is.
If you want to learn more about how we can do this for you and your brand, we’d love to talk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on The Selfifesto®.