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DiMassimo Goldstein blog

Welcome to our blog! Each week, our inspiring action content creators work hard to update this page with the latest and greatest in the world of DiGo.

The Age of the Selfifesto®.

By Tom Christmann,

A lot of our clients here at DiMassimo Goldstein are direct-model. I know. I know. That sounds awful, right? That word — “direct!” — strikes fear in the hearts of us modern marketers. But that’s because many of us are thinking about it from the wrong side. Sure, direct-model brands sell directly to consumers. And they have for hundreds of years. This has led to some of the worst advertising in the history of advertising. The Snuggie. The Clapper. Encyclopedia Brittanica.

But think about direct-model consumers. The ones who keep coming back, that is. They are more apt to feel like they’re part of the brand. Like they’re in a club. Maybe it’s a Dollar Shave Club. Or maybe they’re season ticket holders to a sports team. (Yes, sports teams are direct-model businesses.) Or maybe they’re Tesla drivers. Or BMW drivers.

Direct-model consumers are also more willing to want to be a part of the marketing message. In fact, they take it upon themselves to be a part of it. On YouTube. On Instagram. On Twitter. And, while you can’t script what they say, you can harness them to craft the right message for prospects who might be just like them but haven’t tried your brand yet.

That’s just what we did for Weight Watchers this year. They wanted to celebrate their members losing 15% more weight on the new Beyond The Scale plan. But more importantly, they really wanted people to notice that there was a new Beyond The Scale plan. So we sent out a package to key members. In it was a rough script based on things we’d heard on the internet: How the change to the new plan was scary. And how at first they didn’t like it. And, finally, how it worked. Of course, we didn’t force them to read the script. We also asked them to tell their own weight loss stories. And to tell us what foods they loved the way Oprah famously loved bread.

Were we crazy? We were asking a bunch of non-directors to film themselves using smartphones and webcams. We had no idea what we’d get back. We even asked them to capture footage of themselves doing exercise and cooking healthy foods. This is what production companies call “B-Roll” because it generally goes under voice-over and is used to give the film a wider range of visuals. Were they ready for this?

Of course, we had cast real consumers before. We had made documentaries about them. We had done testimonials. We had even used phone interviews as the voiceover on a campaign with real traders for our Tradestation client. But we had never handed over the whole production to them.

But guess what? It worked.

Not only did they know how to frame the shots and do multiple takes (thank you selfie culture), they loved every minute of it. In the end, we had a spot featuring real consumers (some were even famous YouTubers) that actually felt real. We had people sharing and liking the spot because they recognized friends and people they followed on social media. And it literally cost zero dollars to shoot. Zero dollars. Best of all, when we edited it together with music, it truly felt like the celebration of real success we had always wanted.

We started joking that maybe we had created a new genre of ad. But what would we call it? Ladies and gentlemen, DiMassimo Goldstein presents: The Selfifesto®!

So, how are you engaging your customers in your advertising? Let’s chat. Email me at tom@digobrands.com

 

Dollar Shave Club Us, Please!

By Mark DiMassimo

Unilever recently announced its purchase of Dollar Shave Club for a cool billion dollars in cash, and now our mobile devices are buzzing with prospective clients beseeching us…

“Dollar Shave Club Us, Please!

Well, I’m not one to say, “I told you so!” But, I’m going to make an exception this time.

I’ve been talking up Dollar Shave Club for the past four years. In the beginning, when the company’s launch video went viral, people thought I made a lot of sense. Six months later, they thought I had fallen behind the times, and within a year many suspected I had developed a troubling obsession with a quirky little mail order outfit.

But, I kept at it. I wrote a case study on Dollar Shave Club, showing how the company had perfectly executed all the Ten Signs of an Inspiring Action Company.

I interviewed Dollar Shave Club’s creative director, Alec Brownstein, for my Inspiring Action podcast.

I wrote about the company in at least six different blog posts and posted about them frequently on social networks, imploring marketers to learn what Dollar Shave Club exemplified: how to drive up brand value while driving down cost-per-acquisition.

Why the passion? Here’s why:

1) Dollar Shave Club showed us how a tiny company with a social-led brand response acquisition strategy can take share from giants. (Proctor & Gamble’s market cap is something like $232 billion!)

2) Dollar Shave Club showed us that the direct economy is taking over, and the billion dollar purchase shows us that the Unilevers of this world know it too.

The Wall Street Journal said, “Dollar Shave Club’s direct-to-consumer model gives Unilever unique consumer data and insights, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

According to Bloomberg, Unilever and P&G are masters at traditional marketing, mostly offline, but they struggle with the direct-to-consumer brand-building at which upstarts like Dollar Shave Club excel. 

“These startups conduct authentic-seeming conversations with customers over social media, while the consumer products conglomerates take to Twitter and Facebook mostly to address customer complaints,” said Ryan Darnell, a principal at Basset Investment Group, which invests in such e-commerce startups as luggage seller Raden.

3) Dollar Shave Club showed us that the ultimate role of social-led, mobile-driven marketing is to drive down overall cost-per-acquisition while driving up brand value. They weren’t free media purists. They bought TV commercials and other paid media, and they optimized the efficiency and impact of the mix.

4) Dollar Shave Club showed us where the jobs are going, and what the modern definition of lean is. According to the New York Times story, $1 Billion for Dollar Shave Club: Why Every Company Should Worry, “The deal anecdotally shows that no company is safe from the creative destruction brought by technological change. The very nature of a company is fundamentally changing, becoming smaller and leaner with far fewer employees.”

5) Dollar Shave Club built a real brand because they thought of brand in the largest sense – Big Brand — not just as logos and standards, but as the entire customer and market experience. According to Bloomberg, “The key to Dollar Shave Club’s appeal is not so much its online prowess but the fact that it built a powerful brand in four years.”

6) Dollar Shave Club exemplifies the Ten Signs of an Inspiring Action Company, which mark brands that tend to outperform in driving sales growth and brand value. The company knew what it was against – ridiculously high priced grooming products for men, starting with shaving. It knew what it was for – affordable grooming you could brag about. Dollar Shave Club’s leaders knew what their target aspired to be and do – well-groomed and smart, not cheap and face-nicked. And they knew their devotees loved being members of a cool club with lots of well-designed visual signs of their membership.

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7) Dollar Shave Club used technology and system to shorten the cycle of test and optimization and to speed growth. The New York Times showed how small the company was able to remain by leveraging technology to the fullest, contrasting Dollar Shave Club to the giants that are shedding jobs by the thousands, searching for “efficiencies.”

8) Finally, Dollar Shave Club dramatized their brilliant brand idea with a few iconic actions that got us all talking, sharing and working on promoting the company for free! First, of course, was their brilliant viral video. But notice something about it that is absolutely key – it isn’t just a quirky “viral” video, but it’s also a fully functioning hard-hitting brand response television commercial as well! Later, it would run on television as well. Internet cool? Check. Hard-working sales generator? Check!! Stretches the media budget? Check!!! Generates lots of free media mentions, social shares and word-of-mouth? Check!!!!

The next action that got us all talking was when they started advertising on television – becoming one of the very few “e-commerce” start-ups to do so, and said that their ultimate goal was for HALF of their media to be paid and for half of their media to be earned!

The next thing they did was launch moisturized wipes with an equally funny video that also made the rounds.

And, finally, the sale to Unilever for that iconic number – a billion dollars, in cash no less!

Dollar Shave Club Us, Please! We suppose we’re not the only agency that is receiving that request these days, but we may be the only one that is 100% delighted. Because the main reason I’ve been writing, talking, podcasting and preaching about Dollar Shave Club these past four years is because this is exactly what we do for the excellent, disruptive, direct model, brand response, inspiring action marketers whom we are proud to call our clients.

If you too want to drive brand value up while driving cost-of-sales down, let’s talk.

 

Mark DiMassimo Joins the Info Junkie Podcast

Recorded in front of a live studio audience at the beautiful Time Square office of LDI Color Toolbox, longtime friends Mark DiMassimo and IT guru Thomas Clancy Jr. of Valiant Technology took the stage for what turned out to be a very special episode of the Info Junkie meets the Inspiring Action Podcast.

In this hour long episode, DiMassimo and Clancy explore the world of podcasting, field questions from a live crowd, impersonate Rush Limbaugh, discuss different ways to successfully motivate people and much much more.

Tune in to the full episode below!

 

Pokémon GO and the Future of Mobile Social-Driven Brand Response

By Mark DiMassimo

You are immersed in a game on your mobile device, searching for Pokémon characters as you walk down a street. Suddenly, you see that there is a “Pokémon gym” up ahead, just outside a corner bodega. You collect a few Pokémon and go inside to reward yourself with a cool drink. You end up picking up a bag of chips as well. You have no idea you’ve just been advertised to. And perhaps you weren’t. You were lured!

Pokémon Go debuted on July 6th, stirring up the nostalgia experienced by many millennials who spent hours with their faces glued to Gameboys in the early 2000s. Gotta Catch em All, as the saying goes.

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Niantic, the developer behind the virtual reality game, was once a start-up created within Google in 2010. Not unexpectedly, Pokémon Go is not its first foray into the virtual reality field; a game called Ingress and an app named Field Trip came first, employing the same type of augmented reality model.

With the exploding popularity of Pokémon Go, it’s not surprising that Niantic CEO John Hanke told The Financial Times, “Niantic intends to allow retailers and other companies to sponsor locations on Pokémon Go’s virtual maps.” As a result, the potential for direct response marketing, in-game advertising, and “advergaming” with Pokémon Go is immense — especially considering that today we are primarily choosing to interact with brands and people through our mobile devices!

Location-based pit stops, special zones, and hot spots where individuals can come to connect for exclusive content are areas worth investigating. For example, a brand could “sponsor” an already established gathering zone in the game: a Pokémon gym. Imagine a Coca-Cola-branded Gym or Jamba Juice-branded gym with products and services from each company available nearby or at a discount for “Pokémon trainers” – who don’t even need to be aware that they’ve been advertised to.

On the grassroots level, Pokémon Go is being used in ingenious ways by small businesses and companies to attract customers. Let’s take the example that opened this piece. L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City, Queens, saw a 75% spike in revenue when a manager spent $10 to buy lures and virtually placed them outside the restaurant. (Lures are in-game purchases that attract Pokémon to a particular location. The Pokémon then attract people who want to capture them – millennials who have been chasing around pocket monsters the entire day are often interested in pizza and beer so they can revive and recuperate). Similarly, savvy bars and pubs across the country are offering discounts to Pokémon Go players, in some cases actually choosing factions within the game to support and providing even more exclusive deals.

However, in terms of marketing and advertising, the larger area for exploration might be one that Niantic has already experimented with in its previous game, Ingress. AXA, a French insurance brand, partnered with an Ingress in-game company (Visur Technology) to create a branded “shield” that was the most powerful in the game. In exemplifying one of DiMassimo Goldstein’s 10 Promises, the company escaped the false choice between selling and brand building. The Inspiring Idea was to “protect people both in the real world, and the augmented one.” What compounded the success of this venture was that the AXA shield was initially only available at AXA portals, meaning players would have to travel to AXA business locations to access the shield. As a result of the initiative, in a five-month period:

• Over four million Ingress players were exposed to the AXA brand promise
• Over 600,000 Ingress players visited AXA agencies in real life
• AXA agencies generated over three million in-game actions in Ingress
• Over five million AXA Shields were deployed in Ingress
• AXA representatives interacted with over 55,000 Ingress players during “anomalies” (an Ingress game term)

AXA built its brand name by showing that the service it offered “protected” people in the virtual reality world through its ultimate shield, in real life through its insurance policies, AND by selling!

Surely, such potential applications for Pokémon Go are already being crafted behind closed doors, in creative and strategy departments all across the country. Perhaps the solution to capitalizing on this new virtual reality medium lies in the hybridization of in-game advertising and advergaming and applying it to virtual reality games – the same way AXA was able to integrate its shield into actual gameplay.

Imagine: A Pokémon center that heals your Pokémon, sponsored by a hospital or pharmaceutical company; maybe all the Duane Reades in NYC could be Pokémon centers where trainers could go to recharge their Pokémon and recharge themselves with snacks and beverages.

New York Sports Clubs creating an in-game “potion” or “rare candy” that makes your Pokémon level up faster – one you can access only after you’ve spent the allocated amount of time “working out” at one of its facilities.

A Pokéball equivalent of a Masterball only available from a company whose brand promise is certainty (to the uninitiated Poké trainers, Masterballs have a one in 65,536 chance of failing – so, an almost 100% guaranteed catch rate).

One thing is certain: mobile and social-driven brand response is the marketing of today. The media conversation, which used to begin with television and then with Google, now begins with Facebook. Social leads. With most of us opting to do most of our interacting from our mobile devices, Facebook, Pokémon GO, and other media that put social-mobile first will become leading advertising media. Those of us who seek efficiency and effectiveness in driving brand value up while driving cost-per-acquisition down need to be where the action is.

The possibilities are as great as the creative team that rubs up against them.

For more on how to drive up brand value while you drive down cost-per-acquisition, read about The Ten Signs of An Inspiring Action Company. Inspiring action companies like Dollar Shave Club, Air BNB and Warby Parker consistently outperform their categories in building brand value and revenue.

Interested to know what Inspiring Action Marketers are obsessed with today? Find out here.

 

This research says there’s a trade-off between short-term and long-term results. It’s terrific research. It’s also wrong.

By Mark DiMassimo

Here’s the difference between research and brand response marketing:

Research is descriptive. It works from observation of what has occurred.

Brand response marketing is creative, inventive and synergistic. Brand response marketing creates new realities.

This excellent survey looks at many hundreds of marketing campaigns run over several decades and observes that those that performed best in the short run tended to perform worst in the long run. And vice versa. While those in the middle tended to perform best on both sales and brand measures in the long run.

If you’re quite sure you’re going to still have your job in the long run, no matter what you do, then I suppose you can settle for that. You can play the averages.

But, what if you’re like most mortals? What if you actually have to have excellent short-term results in order to earn the privilege of earning excellent long-term results? What if you need to sell and build a brand?

Then, you need more than a paradox, which essentially tells you what you already know — your job is difficult and you’re going to need to achieve a result that is both uncommon and far from the center of the Bell Curve.

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Here’s good news for you: Most of the cases considered in the survey were created by normal marketers. Many of them inadvertently sold out their brands to achieve an acceptable acquisition cost. Some of them knew it and didn’t even care.

Others built brands without a care in the world about the efficiency of their acquisition marketing. Some of these cared more about their reputation for doing famous campaigns than they did about generating results. But many more were probably guilty of nothing more than misplaced faith in the myth that building a brand can solve all problems. It can’t.

And the results of all of those marketers’ campaigns are the data behind this study. In fact, the marketers you will compete with today will be much like these.

But you don’t have to be!

Brand response is not about reducing short term response in order to build long-term brand!

Is that the way Dollar Shave Club got to a billion-dollar valuation in just a few years? Is that they way companies like American Express, at their best, build a new product? Of course not.

Because it’s possible to discover an idea that will organize and change everything An idea based on an insight. And when you know how to apply that idea to brand response creative, you’re likely to measure an extremely favorable change in your acquisition data.

The right idea is inherently brand building, even as it sells harder — and here’s the thing: If it sells harder, it runs more and more people see it. If it builds the brand, and more people see it, then it builds the brand more effectively.

The fact that this synergy is rare — about as rare as successful product introductions — doesn’t mean it is unachievable. In fact, such brand response success can be reliably and predictably achieved. All that it requires is that you have the right people on the team and that they are doing the right things.

You can have better results in the short run that naturally lead to better results in the long run.

Don’t accept any less!

For more on how to drive up brand value while you drive down cost-per-acquisition, read about The Ten Signs of An Inspiring Action Company. Inspiring action companies like Dollar Shave Club, Air BNB and Warby Parker consistently outperform their categories in building brand value and revenue.

Interested to know what Inspiring Action Marketers are obsessed with today? Find out here.

 

DiMassimo Goldstein Named to Inc.’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies For The Third Year In A Row

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We’re very proud to announce that for the third year in a row, DiMassimo Goldstein has made the Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.

That’s three years in a row of award-winning growth. Three years in a row of growing by helping our clients grow. And three years in a row of Inspiring Action.

And in the spirit of the number three, this recognition means three very important things to us:

First, it means that our team members – the action heroes who deliver on our mission everyday —  are growing. They are growing their expertise and their chops. They are growing as employees and human beings. And, they are growing as inspiring action marketers.

Secondly, it means that the Inspiring Action tribe, those who want to help people make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits, is growing.

And most importantly, it means that the world-class marketers and inspiring clients that we have partnered with are growing. As a true and un-conflicted agent of the client, we can only grow if our clients grow. So, congratulations!

And thank you for joining us on this inspiring journey of growth.

We’re building our clients brands and business, simultaneously driving brand value up and cost-per-acquisition down. We’re leading with transparent, accountable media. We’re pioneering new approaches to social-led, mobile-driven brand response marketing. We’re building the world’s leading brand response agency on Inspiring Action principles. And we’re not slowing down.

-The DiMassimo Goldstein Team

 

Don’t Be Most CMOs

Written by James Nieman, Integrated Marketing Manager

The lifespan of a CMO can be short. Some barely last six months. Most don’t make it to see year three.

You don’t have to be most. And you won’t be.

Not if you have the right solutions. Not if you’re surrounded by the right people. Not if you hire the right agency.

And the right agency – the agency that employed CMOs have built fortunes with – is a brand response agency.

That’s because these CMOs – the type of clients that we work for – know that you don’t have to choose between brand building and brand selling. In fact, the idea that the two are mutually exclusive activities is a total myth.

That doesn’t stop most CMOs from believing it. That’s fine. You’re not going to be “most” CMOs… you’re going to be great.

Instead, the marketing campaigns that reap the most profit contain a combination of the two. All activity builds the brand. All activity drives response. We know this because it’s what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years. We know this because we’re the world’s leading brand response agency.

That synergy is hard to achieve. But, when the right people are working to achieve it, it works wonders.

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When Warby Parker set out to sell eyeglasses directly to the consumer, they knew they needed to be inventive. The home try-on program immediately increased sales, but it also created a unique buying experience that made them distinct. It was iconic. It drove brand value up while lowering the cost of acquisition.

You don’t work for Warby Parker – we know that. But you could work for the next Warby Parker. The next Dollar Shave Club. The next Casper.

So what can a brand response agency do for you?

A brand response agency gets you the short-term results you need:
– Increased sales
– Increased leads
– Lower cost of acquisition

So that you can impress your shareholders and bosses. You’ve already surpassed the CMO you were brought into replace.

But a brand response agency also works to:
– Increase brand value
– Reach and acquire totally new sectors of customers
– Develop brand devotees
– Achieve price elasticity for your products

A brand response agency helps you build a brand that you know will prosper in the future.

A brand response agency gets you to year four.

A brand response agency separates you from “most CMOs.”