Archive for the 'the marketplace' Category

When Did Being “Social” Mean Internet?


There was a time when being social was about people getting together over anything from cocktails to Sunday mass. Today, the word “Social” conjures up an entirely different meaning. For Gen X to Z, we think Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.

For boomers it might be the Saturday night ritual of dinner and a movie. For folks like my mom, “Social” means a game of cards, scones and tea with her mates. That’s social. Old school. 

However, I’m seeing poeple in their seventies hopping onto Facebook to see what they’re children are doing or networking with friends about the next bocci tournament. 

Indeed the web, and the amazing applications that come with it, has accentuated the proliferation of being social.

To this end I find it amazing that when advertisers think “Social” they think of the web first, yet when they think “Marketing” most think of TV first, web second.  How old school is that?  


Helping People First

The other day I started thinking about where ad people rank on the Morale Ladder.

I’ve heard from numerous sources that we’re comfortably snug between crack dealers, prostitutes and litigators. I don’t know which one appeals to me more. For the last 15 years I’ve been writing copy for ads, architecting ads, selling ads, you get the idea.

I spent 3 years in Europe learning how to write ads. I spent 2 years at the first true digital agency in Toronto (Modem Media… wurd up!) learning how to architect ads and write for ads in the online space. Good times.

As I get older I can’t help but think it’s time I started doing something bigger. Something better.

A few years ago I considered quitting advertising all together to become a fire fighter. Seriously. My wife had to talk me out of it. I wanted to help people more than save a life. OK, the calendar thing is cool but I just wanted to help people.

When I architect sites for my clients, I want to help the consumer more than I want to help my client. Naturally, happy consumers help clients in so many ways. Sometimes I want to tell consumers “Stay Away from This”

Then along comes the “un-agency” trend.

Idris Mootree, Online Spin, Jon Campbell… they’re all talking about it. David Armano summed it all up for me:

“If some agencies don’t fix their culture problems—they may find themselves with talent who look the part but don’t actually play it.”

Now is the time for innovation and helping people first.

Today I announced my resignation from Capital C. The immediate goal is to rekindle my consultancy practice with a focus on experience planning and social media. The blogosphere has guided me in my decision, and I know they will be there for inspiration and consultation.

BTW – Drop me a line if you know anyone looking for a planner. I’m officially for hire.

The Myth of Brand Engagement – Debunked

This is in response to a post by Cam Beck over at Marketing Profs. In it, Mr. Beck states that no amount of “brand engagement” is going to make people think more about a brand. Here’s my response:

While I agree that a company’s brand isn’t as important to its audience as it is to the company, I strongly disagree that no amount of “brand engagement” is going to make people think more about a brand.

Let’s start from within.

Did you know, for example, that companies like SAS in North Carolina offer sports facilities, subsidized child-care, early schooling and a primary health-care centre, free to staff. The latter is increasingly being studied by other firms as they struggle to contain the growth of health-care costs. In fact, when Google was planning the Goolplex, they went to SAS for inspiration.

What does this mean?

SAS’s turnover rate is approx. 4% a year, compared with 20% in the software industry as a whole. If that’s not keeping your staff engaged, then what is?

Now let’s look on the outside.

Apple keeps their consumers engaged with products that continue to push our creativity. From the start, when Apple Computers made a PC that was simple to use, their focus was always on the end user: how can we make a better PC? How can we make a person better at being creative? Then Apple Computers made different computers at faster rates and newer designs, things people wanted to display in their homes and/or offices as works of art.

I remember an old employer buying a first generation iMac for the front reception desk so that when clients arrived, they saw it. No one else in the office had one. I call that brand engagement.

Then Apple made the iPod and iTunes. Enough said.

Then came the retail experience, launched at a time when all the “experts” said Steve was crazy to think of going bricks and mortar. That it would never succeed. Guess what?

20% of Apple revunue comes from their retail outlets.

Then came the iPhone. Do I need to say anything else?

What’s interesting to note is how Apple dropped the word computers from their name. They no longer consider themselves a computer brand; they’re an experience brand that continues to engage consumers with more design at more touchpoints.

If that’s not brand engagement then sign me up for fire fighter school because clearly, I’m not getting it.

Why Do We Support This?


Many will tell you that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports.

It might explain why it’s taking the Toronto Maple Leafs so long to win, but I have another hunch.

My club, which I can only afford to watch on TV, is the second richest club in the franchise yet continues to play worse each year.

When I do turn on the TV, the best seats in the rink are filled with guys in Gucci suits sucking back a Pepsi in a plastic cup.

Those same seats are empty for the first few minutes of each period because the Gucci guys are mingling at the bar, checking their Blackberry or adjusting their $300 tie. Meanwhile, the nosebleeds, which cost about $30 when you can get them, are teeming with fans.

Their hearts are in the right place, but their bums are not.

Of course, this is business. But it’s messing with our game. Toronto signs 1 star like Sundin. He’s an amazing athlete but a ridiculous price.

It’s not about the experience anymore; it’s about profit. We’re well on our way to being in last place in our division yet the Gucci guys still come.

I wonder if they talk about their club as they drive into their Bay St. garages? Do they hang around the water cooler and talk defense? I bet a lot of the nosebleeds do.

What Marketing Executives Need to Know


Read an article from Jeremiah and things became crystal clear:

Web Marketing no longer is limited to your corporate site.

Let go of the concept of ‘driving traffic to your website’ as a sole measurement of success. The web, its message, and your battles are now fought on the open and distributed web.

Trusted decisions between prospects and customers are made on these social communities and networks, so the savvy executives need to go there.

I see 2 lines of communication. On the X axis is traditional; Y is peer-to-peer. The more communication a brand places on the Y axis, the more control that brand puts into the consumers’ hands.

Such a simple formula, yet most marketers don’t get this. I failed math. Twice. Yet to me, this is so crystal clear.

What does it take to build trust with young consumers?

Outlaw Consulting has released a report on the ‘most trusted brands’ amongst young consumers. Called the 2007 Trusted Brands Index, it reveals which are brands that earned the trust and loyalty amongst young trendsetters across US.

It has some interesting take for brands across the world who are looking at these consumers. Take a look:

Top 15 Most Trusted Brands

1. Apple 60.9
2. Trader Joe’s 57.4
3. Jet Blue 46.4
4. In-N-Out Burger 38.8
5. Ben and Jerry’s 33.6
6. Whole Foods 32.4
7. Adidas 31.8
8. American Apparel 31.2
9. Target 29.4
10. H&M 28.9
11. Levi’s 26.4
12. Volkswagen 24.8
13. Converse 24.5
14. Vitamin Water 18.5
15. Red Stripe 17.5

* Clean and Simple Equals Hip – Simplicity reigns supreme in the eyes of young trendsetters, at least when it comes to brands. Many of their favorite companies, from Apple to smaller newcomers like Method, have a reputation for keeping things as stripped down and unadorned as possible – not just in product design, but also in the way they package or market their offerings.

Dorky: The New “Cool” – Not all brands can pull off the old-school authenticity of Adidas, the bleeding-edge design of Apple, or the gritty sexiness of American Apparel. But Outlaw’s research revealed that some of Trendsetters’ favorite brands aren’t cool at all – in fact, some were described as downright dorky. Yet they have won the love of young hipsters by being original, quirky, friendly, and simply being themselves.

Happy Employees are the Best Marketing Tool – When the panelists were asked to explain why they love their favorite stores, they talked a lot about the employees. According to the results, perceptions related to worker job satisfaction have a huge impact on young consumers’ feelings about a brand. Whether instilling pride in doing business with that company or making their interactions with that company more enjoyable.

“Overall, what resonates most with young adults is authenticity,”

Google Buys Feedburner


Feedburner is web feed management company. Google bought them yesterday for $100 million.


Google’s RSS advertising program has been in a perpetual closed beta since 2005. This acquisition is going to rekindle that program.

What does this mean?

RSS feeds + Google’s Adsense = Adsense for Feeds

Get ready for RSS advertising bombardment.

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January 2019
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