Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hola! Que tal!

If you're a marketer in the US market, you're going to need to brush up your Spanish.

According to Univision - the number 1 Spanish website in the US, the Hispanic population is growing at the rate of 40%; compared with 10% for the population as a whole, and only 3% for non-Hispanic whites.

Going forward, 95% of all teen growth will come from Hispanics.

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Friday, 29 October 2010

On the front foot

Credos, the AA's Front Foot's think-tank launched on Thursday night to great aplomb, with the great and the good in attendance at Unilever HQ!

It was good to see DCMS and BIS minister for the creative industries Ed Vaizey talking the talk about advertising; economically significant, leading, highly creative, globally competitive, strong in self-regulation. He preached a non-interventionist approach and applauded the industry for its savvy, intellectual calibre and entrepreneurship.

Ironic that on the same day Marketing magazine's front page predicted that the ad business (particularly media owners) would be deprived of £ 750 million of Government expenditure on marcoms.

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The ultimate question

According to US brand owners the ultimate question they want the answer to is 'How likely would you be to recommend my brand'?

The net promoter score was mentioned three times in the course of two days by some of the world's biggest marketers at the recent Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Masters of Marketing event.

If you don't know how it's calculated, it goes like this. People are asked to choose a number between 1 and 10 where 1 is low. People who choose between 1 and 6 are called detractors. Those choosing 7-8 are passives. Only those choosing 9 or 10 are considered to be promoters.

So how do you work out the score? You subtract detractors from promoters. Simples.

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

'A bit of a salesman'

So said David Cameron in the closing minutes of his address to the CBI conference on Monday.

"I've been called a bit of a saleman in the past...and that's what the country needs right now!"

Go for it, David.

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Where will the UK's future demand come from?

This was the question asked at the CBI's annual conference on Monday.

Fortunately the creative industries got a headline mention twice; from both PM David Cameron and Minister for Business Vince Cable.

The mood of the conference was upbeat, all things considered. 'No' to a double dip when the delegates were polled by Jon Snow; 'yes' to new jobs and business growth.

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

i am r u?

I read the BBC piece yesterday about 'i' the new national newspaper being launched to sit alongside The Independent - and for just 20p.

Against a background of falling circulation for its own title and all other qualities, and the Murdoch move to put online content behind a paywall, the Independent's owner - Alexander Lebedev - is hailing this as a radical departure.

Not that radical really. Just re-purposing some of the content - especially sports - from the main newspaper. The worry for the Independent is that the brand extension might actually pull out readers from the more expensive newspaper. Its play on 'independence' is also far less compelling these days, given the independent comment available via web commentators and friends who don't have to wait for a paper version the next day - whatever the cost.

In behavioural economics terms, 'i' may only be 20p but it's 20p more than the now ubiquitous free Metro or the 'free' internet. If I was a sports fan, I might already have received updates via e-mail before I left home or via mobile during my journey. I might pick up Metro en route to check out anything I'd missed and then then go online later if I wanted to read something in more depth - all for no perceived charge, though of course it's all paid-for somewhere down the line, usually by advertising.

Rather than 'it is, are you?' I think today's message is 'why pay more?'

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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

"Be the change you want to see"

Or so says Cindy Gallop, founder of 'If we ran the world'.

"People hate advertising in general, but love advertising in particular. We have to make people love advertising in general."

Not a bad motto for the UK Advertising Association (AA)!

To do this Cindy says we need to move from making good advertising to "making advertising good".

"The new marketing reality is complete transparency. Real time responsiveness doesn't give you time to think and strategise."

Which brings us on to Action Branding.

Not PR, spin or greenwashing. It's not about saying, it's about doing. Not about telling, but being.

Rock on, Cindy!

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Get this on your Christmas list!

(At least, that's what Marilyn Mersereau, Senior VP, Corporate Marketing and CISCO Systems thinks.)

Check out UMI - Cisco's latest electronic gadget for the home.

What does UMI stand for? "It's you, it's me, it's all of us together."

Plug it into your TV to create 'telepresence for the home'.

Face to face chats to bring families together even when they are physically apart.

I don't know if it's available in the UK, but in the US you can get it at Best Buy for $599!

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Monday, 25 October 2010

Canvas of content for today's netizens

I was reading a piece in WARC news this morning about Unilever's response to a "radical transformation" in US media habits by creating a "canvas of content" whereby ideas will be rolled out to the multiple screens now available to US consumers.

They plan to do this through 'superdistribution' - in other words syndicating it beyond corporate web properties to those areas where today's consumers or 'netizens' will see it.

Unilever don't see the future as 20 seconds OR, in the traditional sense of media buying of A or B; they see it as 20 seconds OR in the Boolean sense whereby you may see their idea on TV or on the iPad or on the web but that idea will live and grow with each individual medium rather than be transplanted on to it.

To the consumer, the brand proposition should be seamless.

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Sunday, 24 October 2010

The P&G way

Marc Pritchard, global marketing officer, the Procter & Gamble company, gave an impressive motivational keynote at the recent Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) conference.

You can see his platform in full via YouTube courtesy of the ANA marketers. For those who don't have time to view, here are some of the highlights:

"Brand building is the of the most positive forces in the world for doing well, and doing good." Marc Pritchard, speaking at the ANA conference, Thursday 14th October

Marc's tips for marketers:

1. Change the definition of why our brands exist - seek our the bigger purpose that fits with their core benefit
2. Change our understanding of marketing - not marketing to but 'serving with'
3. Change the definition of who we serve - 'people' not consumers, a deeper definition
4. Change our advertising - to tap those deeper human insights
5. Change from small incremental ideas to big ideas that build brands and make people into brand ambassadors.

Marc's view of how to make integration work:

It takes fundamental management change. P&G have cut out the silos, brought all their internal marketing disciplines together into 50 brand groups led by 50 brand franchise leaders.

They've done the same with their agencies too: creating 50 brand agency leaders/partners with responsibility for weaving all P&G agencies into a cohesive team.

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Friday, 22 October 2010

China: yes they can

I was reading an article in Advertising Age yesterday - "Oh, to Be a Millennial in China" - and it struck a real chord with me.

The can-do confidence of China's urban young people is palpable. They
talk in terms of 'when' not 'if', and their aspirations have no bounds.
Their first car is a 4 x 4 not a Fiat 500. They wear designer clothes
from day 1. And they're highly mobile. Because China is a land of
opportunity, rather than stick around in one place and get bored,
they'll move on; change career, change City, change country, if it

That was certainly the IPA's experience on our visit to Shanghai with
IPA members as participants in the UK Expo programme earlier this year.

Definitely a force to be reckoned with; eager to assimilate new
knowledge and exceed it.

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

It may be winter outside but

Russians are the heaviest social networkers on the planet.

This is according to a new study from Comscore, as reported in Netimperative today.

It seems that in August 2010 more than 74% of the Russian 'online population' visited at least one social networking site, ranking it top in terms of worldwide social networking engagement. Israel was second and the UK came fourth.

They've clearly discovered something to keep the cold out.

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We live in "unusually uncertain" times

Jim Speros is the Executive VP and CMO of Fidelity Investments, America's largest financial services company, so he knows a thing or two about financial markets.

In his view, "consumers have reset the way they spread their dollars. There's a new frugality." This is mostly because consumer confidence is at an all time low, at 50% of the rate it was when the index started in 1985.

It's not suprising, really, when you look at the facts post credit crunch:

- slowed economic growth
- struggling local economies at state and municipal levels
- low interest rates (barely 1%)
- new taxes
- concerns over the European debt crisis (in Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland)
- foreclosures up 288,000 for the third quarter
- unemployment at 9.6% for 2 consecutive months
- stock market volatility - in 41% of trading days over the last year, the market has spiked or dropped 100 points or more!

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Compare and contrast: so many choices

Knowing what to compare yourself to can make - and break - a business. Ask Nick Southgate.

What makes people buy a new TV? If you're a manufacturer of high spec teles, you might be disapponted to find that things like the number of HDMI sockets, or compatibility with the soon to be important DNLA wireless standard are pretty low down the list, or don't make it at all. Much more important are "Will it be better than my old one?" "Will it cost more than a Sony?" "Will it make it easier to understand than my brother's?" "Can I get it quicker online or in a shop?"

You're also being compared to coping without it, with spending the money on a holiday, to making the old one do, to buying it in a year's time. Or with doing nothing at all.

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When status counts

Went to the Royal Charter Ceremony of the Worshipful Company of Marketors last night!

Apparently it was in 1135 that the very first livery company - the Weavers - was awarded the Royal Charter. So it's only taken marketing another 875 years. It's in recognition of the company's services to the profession and to the City.

Seriously though, the pomp and ceremony was spectacular - particularly the pikemen. The Guildhall surroundings were awesome. And HRH The Duke of Edinburgh added a touch of glamour.

Congrats to Past Master Keith Arundale and Present Master Venetial Howes for making it happen.

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Monday, 18 October 2010

A strong marketing constitution

The enthusiasm for the marketing profession and marketing output was palpable at this year's US Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) conference. Keynote speakers got standard ovations; when creative output or business results are shown people cheer
and clap.

There was a real sense of pride and purpose. And a sense of importance. No wonder the conference was named 'Masters of Marketing'.

The ANA even have a Marketers' Constitution, with 10 behaviours that masters of marketing should exhibit; and they recognise companies and individuals who have been outstanding performers. Food for thought, for the UK's browbeaten marketers.

So what does the Marketing Constitution say?

1. Marketing must become increasingly targeted, focused and personal.
2. Marketing must build real tangible brand value.
3. Marketing must become more effective - more creative, insightful and accountable.
4. Marketing must become more integrated and more proficient at managing multi-platforms.
5. The marketing supply chain must become more efficient and productive.
6. The marketing supply chain - agencies, media and suppliers - must become more responsive and effective.
7. Marketing leaders must be better highly skilled diverse leaders.
8. Marketing must be indisputably socially responsible.
9. Marketing must be unencumbered by inappropriate legislation or regulation.
10. The marketing discipline must be elevated and respected.

Perhaps it's time for the Marketing Society to dust off its Marketing Manifesto?

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Sunday, 17 October 2010


Check out

It's exactly what it says on the tin! Uploads of text messages from people when they're worse for wear!

Three good reasons to go there:

- it's hysterically funny
- its modern poetry - SMS as artform
- it's a riveting social and cultural snapshot of our times!

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Upping your game in social media

Here are the tips and techniques for doing social media well emerging from the opening session at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference, led by Peppercom:

1. Sometimes silence is the best answer to negative conversations. Think about what influence/weight the comments have. Listen to see if the thread of comment continues or begins to die down. Don't reignite it if there is no need.

2. Redirect, rather than go back and forth on the conversation.You don't always have to get involved in the conversation. If the indication is that the threads are getting more and more volatile and are unlikely to correct themselves, try and diffuse the conversation by redirecting it to your company's url where the facts of the matter are clearing displayed.

3. Appoint a Chief Listening Officer. Like Dell and Kodak have, to symbolise the shift from one way to two way.

4. Create social media guidelines for your company. What you CAN do, rather than what you can't do. What language to use, what tone of voice. How to protect your brand while still adopting an open source approach.

5. Keep the conversation going. Don't build expectations and then disappoint. No two week wonder, followed by silence.

6. Develop a digital social media council to break down the silos in your organisations and get everyone who needs to be involved; from Legal and IT to HR and Marcoms to PR and outside agencies.

7. Institute a 'quick request' system for social media to get round compliance issues. A half day response rather than the more usual 4 day. "Four days is four years in the digital landscape."

8. Don't wait until you have a crisis to get involved.. If you haven't been there before this is probably the worst time to start. If you have, and have built up a community around your brand, this is your opportunity to leverage it to counterbalance the negative conversations around you.

9. Put in place a monitoring service and a rapid response programme. Colour code your online reports to make it easy to see what the temperature of the conversations is. Train the right people up to take a brief and respond.

10. Don't let a "22 year old intern loose on your social media strategy just because they're a digital native". Getting the right messages and the right tone of voice is a marketing responsibility.

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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Economic reality check!

According to Paul Krugman, Op-Ed columnist at the New York Times and Nobel Economic Prize winner, the US economy is going through its worst crisis since the 1930s. And there's little chance of it ending very soon. The Obama stimulus has not succeeded in restoring full employment. There's been a lot of talk but insufficient investment.

The immediate problem is that people don't want to spend. While on an individual basis this might be seen to be a good thing, on a collective basis it can have a bad impact. There's inadequate demand even though there's no problem with supply.

To compensate there's a lot of talk about looking to exports for growth. But Paul remains sceptical. "Who is going to be the customer for this export boom?" he asks. The US, Japan and Europe are all in the same position. Export growth cannot be open to all.

In his view the US's best hope is for "major innovation on the part of the business sector which gets people reinvesting in new equipment."

No wonder 'innovation' featured heavily in most of the business presentations at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) conference. And 'growth' was the major topic of the day.

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Friday, 15 October 2010

When is £3000 not £3000?

Ask Rory Sutherland. What's more motivating? £ 3,000 off a new car or £3,000 for your old car?

In economic terms they're the same. In behavioural economic terms they're worlds apart.

Check out the IPA's Behavioural Economics pages for more information.

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The best and worst examples of 'transmedia.'

Transmedia's the new buzz word for communicating across media. Think paid media, editorial, experiential, communities and social networks, the blogosphere and twittersphere. In the new digital media ecosystem, all these channels interconnect and so must the messages we convey across them.

The penalties of not doing it well can get serious.

Take BP.

The BP PR and marketing team were known to be excellent in social media; they set up an expectation of being open and honest, addressed the good, the bad and the ugly in equal measure. Their ad campaign was great too. But, when oil spilled into the seas around America's Gulf Coast, and their CEO was called to account on global TV, he negated, at a stroke, all their hard work, leaving their reputation fractured. BG Global PR, a parody of the main BP site was more visited than their own. The outcry was palpable.

In the words of a BP marketing executive at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference: "It provided a terrific crash course in how to do transmedia well."
It will take a new CEO to restore the company's damaged reputation. And a centralised approach to transmedia communication! One team, one message, one tone of voice. One agency; Ogilvy.

So who does it well?

Southwest Airlines for one.

They're a service brand using external comms to lead a culture shift. They recognise that people are core to their business proposition and what works for them is a specific type of employee; one that's as passionate about their business as they are. Their "Nuts about Southwest" blog celebrates their internal culture. As well as publishing stories about their people they also post to the blog 99.9% of the external comments made about their company, taking the good with the bad.
It helped them deal with the sensitive issue of Kevin Smith - the guy who was too big to fit into one seat. And in Southwest Airlines the CEO stands by his employees. When a member of his cabin crew staff was assaulted by a drunken passage the fact that the CEO wrote to the passenger and told him he didn't want him flying on his airline any more, copying in his staff member hit the headlines.

Glee, the fictional high school programme with a glee club, do transmedia well too.

Glee started as a programme format on a passive medium - TV. But it quickly spread because the brand owners understood its values and their audience, and picked up on the vibe created by other media formats e.g. American Idol and the Twilight book series. Now you can buy Glee books; including a prequel - what happened before the TV show - and a (ficitional) 'autobiography' of a book signing. The music from the show has been packaged to download on i-tunes. The series is extended with the Glee show tour, where parents as well as teen fans get involved in live events. There's an app for your i-pad and i-phone, which picks up on the trend for karaoke, and allows you to change the pitch of your voice to make it in tune, add harmonies, record and upload your song to the Glee Facebook page. You can even join someone else's song as a performer. And every new platform and brand extension expands the business model and brings new revenue streams. That's joined up transmedia communication!

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"Forget viral. Think spreadable."

So said digital media agency Peppercom's Partner and Managing Director Deborah Brown at an afternoon workshop at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) annual conference in the US, which proceeded the conference proper.

"Viral is negative; think of a cold - it's something you don't want to catch. Spreadable media is content that people want to share." But in letting them share it, you have to be prepared to let them reinvent it, for their own purposes, and put it in a new context.

Take Susan Boyle. Her successful opening shot at singing on Britain's Got Talent spread around the world like wildfire. But it wasn't just passed on, it was also reinvented. Groups from conservative christians to karaoke reinterpreted her footage to further their causes. She became a symbolic representation of their own messages.

To become spreadable brands need to be able to loosen up; to let go, and go with the flow. It's counterintuitive, but it works, apparently.

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

When Bob Liodice met the ANA in the USA

Bob Liodice has by all accounts done wonders for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in the US.

When he started, who knows how many years ago, there were only 270 or so in the audience at the opening dinner at the ANA Annual Conference to celebrate the Masters of Marketing. This year, the 100th in the ANA's history, there were 1600. It was a sparkling occasion. I sat between marketing representatives from Southern Electric - the first energy company in the US to go into nuclear - and Sally Kennedy, another Brit, and erstwhile President of Cossette in New York. We were hosted by AETN and their country and western cabaret.

It was the usual marketing event - but with a twist. And the twist was in the scale! The Rosen Shingle Creek hotel is not just a hotel - it's a town, more or less. A 230-acres site just off Universal Boulevard boasting the best in golf, tennis, poolside entertainment and restaurants. It's a 10 minute walk from the Bell Desk to the conference reception. Almost like the walk to the furthermost gate at a busy airport.

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

One's relative, three's a crowd

Forget the theory of crowds.

According to Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, testing large groups of people does not guarantee you an accurate answer to a problem.  Herd instincts get in the way.

Take a jar of jelly beans. Ask people to guess the number inside. Prime one big group of people with numbers significantly lower than the real number. Prime another group with numbers significantly higher. We'll all stick close to the number first specified. Whether it's true or not. Our natural tendency is to make relative rather than absolute decisions or choices.  We're only human, after all!

Click here to view details of the IPA's Behavioural Economics programme

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Gap plugs the gap

This is an image of the GAP logo
I was reading a piece from Advertising Age earlier today about the proposed new GAP logo.

It seems that Marka Hansen, Gap North America president, has acknowledged that the proposed switch was a mistake.

The real story behind the logo - created by New York agency Laird & Partners - is that "given the passionate outpouring from customers that followed, we've decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap." In other words, they havelistened to the negative feedback from designers, bloggers and ordinary consumers among their 720,000 Facebook fans, They were allegedly already planning a crowdsourcing project to assess perception of the new logo. Of course, social media provides informal crowdsourcing on tap and actually may have saved Gap not only the cost of setting up such a project formally but making any logo changes at this stage.

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Brands don't become great by monitoring the past

I read an interesting piece from WARC News this morning about Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble leveraging the information available on social media to generate brand insights. Coca-Cola has been testing a system, developed by Netbase, which tracks commentary covering 75 million sources including Facebook and Twitter, alongside blogs and forums.

The article also provided a key quote from Stan Sthanunathan, vp, marketing strategy and insights at Coca-Cola, who said "Brands don't become great by monitoring the past," Sthanunathan added. "The challenge is to have a point of view on the future."

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Behavioural Economics: Brain Teasers

Brain teasers, put to participants at the IPA's BE event, in order to test their endurance: try them out!

What is a bedswerver (noun)?

a) a bed on castors for easy moving
b) a nurse on skates
c) an unfaithful spouse
d) a crank handle for turning a bed around

Tabula rasa means?

a) blank plate
b) blank slate
c) blank expression

Which of the following is a reflex response?

a) adaptation
b) constipation
c) salivation

Another name for learning is?

a) reinforcement
b) conditioning
c) associationism

What corporation aired the first commercial on television?

a) Microsoft
b) Bulova
c) Hanes
d) Ford

Mail me with your thoughts:

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Thursday, 7 October 2010

IPA Behavioural Economics summit

What do Camelot, P&G, Mini, Halifax, Sainsbury's, Birmingham Airport, EDF, Birds Eye, Aviva, VW, BT, Unilever, COI and Lloyds have in common?
They were all involved in IPA President Rory Sutherland's Behavioural Economics summit at Millbank Tower's Altitude on the evening of the 5th October.

We chose to call it a summit for two reasons: i) the spectacular 29th floor 360 degree views of London, obviously; ii)it was truly "a meeting of high-level leaders, called to shape a programme of action" - to work together with their roster agencies to take a 360 degree view of their business.

You can find details of our Behavioural Economics (BE) initiative on the main IPA site at

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

China International Advertising Festival

After 9 months of no contact from the China Advertising Association, an opportunistic meeting with the right person at our Going Global UK China conference jut over a week ago produced email follow-up in english within 12 hours. Looks like we could be heading for the China International Advertising Festival near Beijing in 2011 after all.

This is part of the IPA's China Global Outreach Programme. Thirty IPA members already have affiliate offices in China, either because they are part of an international network, or because they are headquartered in London but have chosen to make China a territory for global expansion.

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Friday, 1 October 2010

McCann's Olympics approach wins it for me

You can't fault McCann's emotive approach to the 2012 Olympics.

Those short films of the British Olympic win and the Olympic Torch Journey really pull on the heart strings. Eddie Izzard's explanation of what it's like to be a volunteer's a nice antidote though.

Hope my 'nudge' worked and my son's signed up now.

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