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®.
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.
Apple. Virgin. Southwest. JetBlue. Crunch. Snapple. Groupon. BlueFly. Zappos. The Motley Fool. What do these brands have in common? They’re challengers, and successful ones at that.
They’ve mastered the art of zagging where others have tended to zig. They’ve taken on the goliaths of their industries and come out on top. The truth is, it’s a challenging world out there, and every marketer these days needs to be a successful challenger or go down.
Market leadership doesn’t create an exception. Look at Citibank and IBM, for example. By becoming their own best competition, they’ve looked like ready challengers, reinvented their businesses and continued to grow.
Here’s what challengers do differently:
1) The top dog is INVOLVED. Intimately.
Some folks think the reason they got degrees and big titles was so that they could independently run their own empire. Some of these people are actually pretty smart. But nine times out of ten, this attitude will do them in.
A boss is not a meddler to be avoided. If you were playing chess, you wouldn’t leave your Queen in the background and try to fight it out endlessly with your lesser pieces. Or would you?
Forget the org chart. Every player on the board is on your team. Use them!
If you want to make things happen @speed, you want the least distance between you and your boss. And you want to access the power your boss has to smooth situations and to make good tactical decisions into great strategic initiatives. Plus, you want the power to change things that you’re not personally responsible for, because changing those things will make all the difference in your ability to create success. So, you bring your boss in as a collaborator and ally. As much as possible, you lead hand in hand. It’s the challenger’s way to use every last person.
2) The advertising conversation and the business conversation are THE SAME CONVERSATION.
Don’t separate what you’re doing from why you’re doing it, even for a moment. You never want to be the one saying, “But we failed with work that was on the strategy we were given!” That is a level of responsibility, but it’s the wrong level.
You want to be responsible for the success of the enterprise. You want the brand and business to reach its full potential. You want to use not just your authority but your influence. Because nothing beats being a part of something great and you don’t want to leave that to chance.
In this context, great advertising is advertising that works for the business and brand. It brings the business strategy to life. It creates the connection that reflects the intentions of the business while both suggesting and fulfilling its promise.
This is where experience meets selling meets branding.
3) The work is seen as the ultimate weapon for conquering the competition.
Where is the unfair advantage to be found? You are not in a position to outspend. You’re not going to break the law. Or trying to change it to favor you. But you can pack more power into the product, the packaging, the service, the story, the propaganda. You can be smarter about the technology, the testing strategy, more ingenious and industrious about the optimizations.
You can win it in the marketplace of ideas. So, do that.
4) The brand is seen as a precious asset and the ultimate defensive fortification against copycats and commoditisers.
Challengers build unique brands and they value them above all else. Customers are intensely loved, but they come and go. Employees are highly valued, but the sort who are attracted to a challenger business can only be held by a great brand. A unique culture and point of view is often the only thing to hold onto in the perfect storm of growth.
A brand is armor and a full tank of gas. A brand is everything. And you only need a business to build one!
5) The VISION of the top dog drives the advertising.
Steve Jobs met every other week for intensive sessions with Lee Clow, the creative chairman of his advertising agency. In the most successful challenger businesses, the vision for the brand and advertising comes from the top. No question about it.
That kind of courage and purity of vision can’t be bought. It can’t be outsourced. No committee could sustain it. For a business that has its founder to get the full advantage of that fact, the vision must be owned and driven from the top.
6) The vision of the agency and the vision of the client are complimentary and synergistic.
The mutual inspiration society should include client and agency, vigorous discussions, sharing inspiration, lots of choices, and plenty of going back to the well.
The most sophisticated team wins.
7) Decisions get made in meetings, not just in between.
In big, bloated bureaucracies, meetings only ratify decisions that are made elsewhere. Which is why most people in those places feel that there time is wasted in meetings. Because it is.
But you don’t have time to waste. So you’re not going to protect your own ego or anyone else’s by pretending for a second to agree with what you don’t. You’re going to have real conversations. In front of whoever is there. And when some people complain about that and they try to negotiate with you to stop the open, inclusive, challenging, passionate dialogue, you are going to say, “I understand how you feel. And, no. Absolutely not. Because that would be replacing occasional discomfort with the endless pain of mediocrity and failure. Which you wouldn’t tolerate for long… you’d be gone. So, no! Let’s just agree to be respectful to each other, to put the good of the work first, and to say exactly what is on our minds.”
Many people have learned to start a fire from the bottom, with kindling and firestarters underneath, then small twigs, and larger wood on top.
Expert firestarters will tell you to reverse that method – for more certain results, start with the top.
Brands built around a powerful emotional match – a single emotional strike zone ignited by a powerful emotional idea that sits above and informs every brand touchpoint – tend to grow faster and burn hotter.
Many marketers try to build a cohesive brand and a self-perpetuating business through offers, promotions, personalization and other performance marketing techniques. Starting from the bottom creates an unruly fire that needs constant tending and that often fails to achieve the integrity and heat of a self-perpetuating blaze.
Starting from the bottom leads to a common marketing malady –the balkanization of target.
Today personalization and micro-segmentation are all the rage. Performance marketers have built a multi-billion dollar industry, but much of the value they capture in the short-term is at the cost of the long-term brand and enterprise value of their clients.
Make no mistake, igniting action is essential to the creation of value, but action at the cost of brand is unsustainable and irresponsible.
Often the process of building a sustainable and growing blaze starts with putting the brand back together again.
Starting with key segments and personas, the successful marketer looks for a singular “emotional strike zone” – a common emotional target that is shared.
The “emotional match” is the key idea or purpose that strikes that target and ignites passion.
The process looks like this:
Segments and personas -> Emotional Strike Zone -> Emotional Match
Once the team understands the emotional strike zone and the emotional match, attention is turned to accelerating the actions that create value and growth for the brand and business.
When you start from the top, you build a marketing blaze that becomes self-perpetuating. You set it and feed it and the heat does more and more of your work for you. Does it really work? Check out some of our clients’ recent public results.
Next Friday, May 5th, the agency will officially turn 21 years of age.
As an agency so focused on the future – accountable for building our clients brands and driving results – we seldom have the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the past.
But for this, our coming-of-age party, we will make an exception. We’re finally legal to drink, and there’s a lot to raise our glass to.
First and foremost, for 21 years of building truly inspiring partnerships with our clients, both old and new. Together, we’ve been able to bring so many beautiful and inspiring ideas to life. BIG ideas. Ideas that inspire people to make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits. These are the ideas that help change the world, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have collaborated on them with you.
To 21 years of always remaining true to our core values of love, courage, and understanding. While the industry has changed over the last two decades, our values have not. They are the pillars that this agency was founded on, and we’re proud to have never wavered from them.
To 21 years of being fully transparent and honest with our media, and using these practices to create powerful brand associations and increase acquisition efficiency. Where much of the industry has fallen short, we have not. We have and always will be completely accountable to our clients, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
To 21 years of designing phenomenal fulfillment experiences and iconic actions. These are the experiences that emotionally connect the brand to the consumer. They take brand advocates and turn them into devotees, and they start well before most people realize. Every interaction and every touchpoint is designed with the user in mind.
All the people, relationships, hard work, innovations, creativity and undying displays of empathy have made these past 21 years so rewarding.
So with that in mind, please join us at our agency next week as we celebrate 21 years in business. You can RSVP to the event on Facebook HERE. We’d love to see you there.
Our match has been struck, and it’s burning hotter and brighter than ever. We can’t wait to see this marketing blaze grow. Here’s to the next 21.
The DiMassimo Goldstein Team
“Your brand isn’t what you tell people it is. It’s what people tell people it is.” – Mark DiMassimo
A social world favors brands and businesses that are social to the core.
Too many marketers think of social as a channel, and others think of social as merely an opportunity or a challenge.
Social is more than that, as we’ve seen with the dramatically outperforming campaigns of a series of near-instant billion-dollar brands, from Dollar Shave Club to Warby Parker to The Honest Company. But social brand thinking can also relaunch, refresh and revive brands with their roots in the pre-social age.
We proved it for Memorial Sloan-Kettering when we shifted the center of its brand marketing from reiterating its superior care and outcomes to empowering and giving voice to heroic cancer patients through our “Talk Back to Cancer” campaign. The growth of Memorial Sloan-Kettering since the launch of that campaign has been phenomenal.
We proved it again when we helped Weight Watchers put its members in the center, using our patented Selfifesto® process, and helping to turn around recruitment.
Refreshing a brand for the social world means starting with reversed assumptions. Instead of thinking of a “target” whom we need to seduce, we think about how a prospect becomes a user and then becomes a brand-lover and loyalist.
We reimagine the brand from the user’s point of view. We realized that in a world of choice, what matters is people choosing to use our brand and our marketing as part of their own campaigns for themselves! If we become part of the user’s campaign to be more, better, happier … we win.
For us, the old way is anti-social thinking, and the new way is profoundly social thinking. Social brands just win.
We track all the KPIs on our brands, every single day. So, I can assure you that this isn’t some crunchy philosophy, but rather a key insight with geometric effect on the bottom line.
It’s simply the way brands outperform today.
I like awards.
There, I said it.
No, this doesn’t mean that I conduct my work with awards in mind. And it doesn’t mean that I’m selfish, or narcissistic. It means I’m human.
And yes, it’s possible to like awards and still be virtuous. In fact, most award winners are. They hold their work to a higher standard. They put in the extra hours. They care.
But they care about the award too, because awards carry influence, and award winners know that better than anyone.
Not just for the athlete or the recording artist, but for the restaurant owner, the real estate agent, and the business executive as well.
So I don’t feel bad when I say that awards matter, and you shouldn’t either.
That’s why I am so thrilled to announce that I have been named one of the judges for this year’s Gramercy Institute Financial Marketing Strategy Awards!
Having been to many of Gramercy Institute’s events over the last five years, I have been fortunate enough to experience firsthand just how much value this award can offer — and my business is better for it.
This particular award recognizes strategic excellence in financial marketing, and the winners will be invited to and recognized at a ceremony in front of the world’s best financial marketers. If this interests you, the deadline to submit an entry is February 15. You can enter and find additional information on the website HERE.
Wishing you an award-winning career.
-Mark DiMassimo, Chief
Our Chief Mark DiMassimo has been a very busy man these past couple of weeks, speaking with different journalists and providing commentary on this year’s big game. If you’ve missed any of articles, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look back on the biggest week in advertising!
- Mark talked stunts and events with Mae Anderson of the Associated Press. Her article can be read here.
- Mark chatted with Bertin Pellegrin of B on Brand to discuss the role of politics in this year’s commercials.
Read what Mark had to say about that buzz worthy Budweiser spot in this article for Quartz.
Thanks to all who followed along during the game!