Category Archives: We Were Inspired

We Were Inspired

Nielsen’s Consumer 360: 3 Quotes and What They Mean for Today’s Marketers

Written by: Clare Dussman
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If there was an overall theme to all of my learnings at Consumer 360, it was digital maturity. It’s no longer about your next pilot or stats to prove the validity of the space; it’s about being smart and digitally savvy across all of your business units. If not, you may be vulnerable to someone who is.

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“Data is the new oil.” – Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba

Although not a new phrase, it’s worth taking note that one of the most powerful men in the Chinese technology world is openly stating that data will join the ranks as one of the most prominent trade goods. As a commodity, data needs to be judged for more than just its size, but also for quality and scarcity, whether that means the immensity of data in developed markets or the scarcity of data in developing economies.

“Leaders are all about purpose, never about me.” – Retired General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

This quote is powerful, especially as you think of how companies lead. As consumers expect more and more corporate transparency, companies without a clear purpose will struggle to become passion brands. Some companies already do a great job of conveying their purpose, like Ritz Carlton’s “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Or maybe like Google you require a Ten Commandments-esque format that includes Google’s well-known phrase “You can make money without doing evil,” and company rally calls like “Great just isn’t good enough.” Powell claimed when a group is lead by a purpose and not by a single charismatic leader, everyone is empowered to make decisions and drive success.

“Millennials don’t need to feel the fruit.” – Conference Attendee

As we discussed the tension between mobile commerce and brick and mortar, we agreed that the differences in shopping behavior between the generations raised with digital and the generations raised without digital require a revision of conventional shopping experiences. Especially as we looked at rapid changes in grocery, we acknowledged that quick delivery and low tolerance for waiting has driven many millennials to digital alternatives of the grocery experience.

Extending Virtual Reality at SXSW 2015

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Another year, another SXSW Interactive is in the books. Each year I look to get inspired, reconnect with publishers and 3rd party partners and look for new or incremental innovation that can add value for my clients. This year, one of the areas that caught my attention was the advancement of 3rd party integration and applications tied to virtual reality experiences.

In 2014, one SXSW exhibit in particular received a lot of attention for creating an immersive Virtual Reality Game of Thrones experience courtesy of Oculus Rift. 2015 did have its share of branded experiences tied to Oculus, see Samsung below, but a majority of 3rd parties were focused on showcasing how they create value through integrating VR and mobile devices as they prepare to go to market.

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Samsung – I had the opportunity to experience the Samsung Gear VR headset while at SXSW. The Samsung Gear VR is powered by an Oculus Rift headset that integrates with the Galaxy Note 4. The approach of serving as an extension of an existing device that can scale through various media and applications is the right approach to allow optimal personalization of experiences through devices and media entities that consumers already consume.

The #GalaxyLife VR exhibit was a rich experience that I definitely enjoyed. My tour featured a Mountain Dew branded snowboarding adventure. There are pros and cons to the experience as it was immersive, although the audio was a bit lacking. If you have not tried the core Oculus Rift experience and this was your first foray into VR it is an impressive experience. For the average consumer, consuming media, be it VR cinema, gaming or 360-degree experiences can all be achieved through the Samsung Gear headset.

This type of VR experience is ideal for branded integrations as the experiences are tied to the mobile device and with the right SDK, it is possible to extend immersive content experiences through the Samsung Gear VR.

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Google – One of the more unique takes on a similar premise to the Samsung Gear VR came from Google. Google Cardboard is a simple, inexpensive way to enjoy VR-based experiences through either Android or iPhone devices. When the Google team handed me the device, it was about the size of an iPad Mini. After a few minutes of folding I had an instant VR viewer that I could view media from VRSE or other Google Cardboard supported applications.

As with most things Google, there are Android and Unity SDK’s available to easily integrate Cardboard into existing VR applications to ensure that it is supported. The experience is surprisingly rich and the fact that it is inexpensive and also supports iPhone VR applications is a plus. Google Cardboard is a great tool to introduce younger audiences to enhanced VR experiences. It definitely passed the test with my crew of 12, 10 and 7 years of age. And with the simple design, I am not concerned about how they would handle the device.

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Intel and 3rd Parties – The SXSW Gaming Pavilion featured multiple extensions of the Oculus hardware with various groups working to create new integrations that could bridge the gap between traditional gaming and VR. Intel and CybertronPC showcased one of CybertronPC’s gaming rigs that supported an Oculus experience. This experience drew quite a crowd as onlookers wanted to catch a glimpse of PC gaming + Oculus.

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Another 3rd party that caught my attention was Sixense’s STEM System. This was a Full-Body Presence VR system vs. just an Oculus Visual experience. The system provides motion controls, haptic feedback and additional spatial awareness in the VR experience to create a full-body controlled experience in game. The demo featured a lightsaber duel, think Microsoft Kinect in terms of open-space, body-controlled motion but with a fully immersive Oculus Rift visual experience.

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We are inching closer to mass consumer availability and I have been impressed how much has been developed within a single year. I still have my doubts as to whether or not Facebook’s Oculus Rift based experiences as they exist today will appeal to the mainstream consumer. We are still at the nascent stage of the technology and I do believe that augmented, virtual reality and digital overlays will become a part of our lives as some point in the next 10 years – it just may not be a bulky headset, it may be something as simple as a bionic contact lens.

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I definitely enjoyed playing with the new hardware and look forward to what the future may bring at SXSW 2016.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

SMWNYC: Day 1 Recap

Written by: Sarah Shapleigh
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Last week I had the privilege of attending the Social Media Week conference in New York City. It was overwhelming and enlightening at the same time, and I walked away so energized and excited about the career path that I have chosen.

“Measuring Attention and Intention, with The New York Times.”

In my first session, Michael Zimbalist, SVP Ad Products and R&D at The New York Times, discussed the evolution of digital advertising. Previously, advertising promised intention – a user action (usually a click) is a proxy for intent to purchase. Google developed AdWords, which allows you to target users based on their intentions.

Now, with the rise of video advertising and social media, digital advertising has shifted. Essentially, it has become a method to capture people’s attention. This migration from the bottom of the purchase funnel to the top has completely changed the game for digital advertising. Marketers now need to shift their focus to storytelling, leverage social marketing, and use different measures of success. Overall, Zimbalist argued that attention is a deliverable in its own right and that marketers who use content to win consumer’s attention will have a distinct advantage when the time comes for those consumers to take action.

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“From Fans to Advocates: How to Build Community and Grow #BrandLove”

The second session I attended was presented by HootSuite. HootSuite’s Jeanette Gibson, VP Community & Customer Experience, and Dr. William Ward, Director of Education Strategy, shared best practices and real-world examples of how a strong community of fans and followers can be a powerful tool in activating others to get involved and fall in love with your brand.

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Gibson started her presentation by sharing some statistics, including:

  • It costs 80% less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one
  • 25% increased engagement on community sites can result in 25% increase in revenue
  • 92% of companies view customer service as one of their top priorities
  • 60% use customer service as a competitive differentiator
  • Yet, few companies deliver an outstanding experience

In order to grow brand love, brands must leverage stories, experiences, and momentum in order to inspire fans by curating experiences and stories that surprise and delight.

Gibson then went on to break down the steps necessary to seed brand love: Relationships, Add Value, Engage Employees, Advocacy, and Insights.

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Gibson and her colleague, Dr. Ward, discussed the HootSuite Ambassador Program and how it has been helping drive their business. The HootSuite Ambassadors have the opportunity to connect with other likeminded industry leaders as well as advocate HootSuite’s products/services, share HootSuite content to their networks, provide regional insight and feedback, and create a stronger regional presence for HootSuite both online and offline. Ambassadors also strengthen the support community by providing 1:1 support in online forums and chats.

HootSuite often gamifies the experience for their ambassadors. One way they did this was by initiating a 60-day race to see which ambassador could answer the most support questions in exchange for an incentive (the most requested was a LinkedIn recommendation).

The HootSuite ambassador program is one way that HootSuite is using their existing community to spread the word and grow brand love.

“The New DIY – Drones, Makers, and Bots: A Fireside Chat with Martha Stewart and CEO of The Barbarian Group, Sophie Kelly.”

I was extremely excited to attend my last session of Day 1 – and see Martha Stewart in person. I was also interested in learning about the evolution of the DIY industry. Pinterest and Etsy have made incredible technological advances that have impacted DIY and spurred what has become known as the Maker Movement. Referred to by Fast Company as “one of the most disruptive new trends in the entire economy,” the Maker Movement has created a collaborative world where makers can access technologies to prototype, create, and iterate faster than ever before.

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Martha Stewart talked about her love of technology and how it has impacted both herself personally and her business. She emphasized, “we have to evolve as quickly as technology is evolving around us.” Her passion for technology has never wavered, from buying her first IBM computer in 1982 (with a table attached to it) to playing with her personal drone collection on her farm with her grandchildren.

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Stewart shows image of her farm taken by one of her drones

Stewart talked passionately about her American Made initiative, which spotlights the next generation of great American makers, including entrepreneurs, artisans, and small business owners. As part of the American Made initiative, there is an annual contest that invites makers from around the country to submit a homemade item that falls into one of four categories: crafts, design, food, and style. The executive editorial team at Martha Stewart Living magazine serves as category judges and Martha Stewart serves as the head judge with final say. Stewart’s American Made program drives home her view that DIY can be a painter with a paintbrush or someone with metal in their garage or a photographer with their iPhone. Stewart was clearly passionate about this program and the community of makers around the country.

When asked one thing that people don’t know about her, Stewart replied that she was one of the first investors in Google. She also invested in a home grocer company that she described as a “total flop.” However, it looks like Martha Stewart ended up just fine.

Stewart looks forward to what’s next for the Maker Movement for her brand. Her immediate plans revolve around international expansion of the Martha Stewart brand. She recently visited China, because the middle class is “100 million and growing and they need stuff, and to be able to afford it.” Providing quality products at a price they can afford will take the Martha Stewart brand to the next level.

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MakerBot 3D printer and Martha Stewart products on display

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Martha Stewart products on display

The session ended with a drone jousting tournament between Stewart and Sophie Kelly, CEO of the Barbarian Group and moderator of the session. After a valiant effort by Kelly, Stewart came out on top. As Kelly put it, “Of course you won, you’re Martha Stewart!”

See video below:

 

 

The Marketing Arm Digital – September 2014 Newsletter

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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We published our monthly newsletter! Check it out below, and to see it in all its glory with working links, click HERE.

Sept-Newsletter.2014

The Marketing Arm Digital – August Newsletter

Written by: Digitally Approved
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We published our monthly newsletter! Check it out below, and to see it in all its glory with working links, click HERE.

August-Newsletter.2014

SXSW 2015 – What Will Advertising Look Like in the Year 2020

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Now through September 5th, 2014 is the time to vote on panels & presentations for SXSW Interactive 2015. I have submitted a presentation for consideration and would greatly appreciate your support.

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My proposed topic is What Will Advertising Look Like in the Year 2020. This is an in-depth extension of my previously published iMedia article of the same name. Here is a brief outline of the proposed presentation. I will also roll out the new consumer engagement platform called #DatabaseOfYou during this presentation.

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Presentation Description

Where should marketers and brands place bets over the next five years? What is hype over substance? Taking all of this into consideration, I interviewed my strategy teams in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas to map the state of digital marketing in the year 2020. We had fun with discussions of drones, crypto currency, the internet of people, and more. While the team agreed fundamentally about certain platforms making an impact, there were pros and cons to impact and feasibility. The following panel is the consolidated and highly visual vision of the future of advertisting in the year 2020. This presentation will take a look back at transformational media moments that give clues to the future state of advertising. We will then look at the role of integrated mobile, converged media, connected life and the digital ecosystem of the future. Presentation Cameos by Drones, Terminators, the Jetson’s, Marty McFly, Grumpy Cat and more!!!

Questions to be Answered

 

The presentation will focus on the three predicted core pillars of advertising in 2020 (Content, Data, Channels). The pillars will fuel the discussion and points of connection between where technology is going and how to stay relevant with a information overloaded consumer.

1) How can media of the past predict the future state of advertising?

2) What role will mobile + wearables play in 2020?

3) How can media fragmentation and personalization unlock new opportunities for converged media?

4) What role will the internet of things and connected life play in predictive advertising?

5) Who will be left standing as major players digital ecosystem players in the year 2020?

Here is a preview of some of the initial visuals tied to the presentation.

 

I would greatly appreciate your support with a vote. You can vote here. In order to vote you must create an account at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com

Then you can simply search for Tom Edwards and give it a thumbs up to submit your vote.

SXSW - Tom

Thank you in advance for your support! It is much appreciated.

Follow Tom Edwards @Blackfin360

Clios In The House

Written by: Digitally Approved
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In the ad world, there is no higher achievement than the Clio. In Advertising, it is the equivalent to the Oscars. If you are a Mad Men watcher, then maybe your remember when Don accepted the Clio for his work on GloCoat. But Peggy was insulted that he didn’t thank her.  Then Roger held the Clio hostage unless he acknowledged that it was a team effort.  But we digress.

clios

There are a number of Clio awards given for specific industries and they recently handed out statues for outstanding work in Sports. We were lucky enough to receive two of them and we’d love to give a shout out to the tremendous work exhibited by the entire creative teams at The Marketing Arm with special nods to Brandon Stuart and Marc Gilbar who accepted the awards for the Callaway Golf “Hit the Links” and PepsiMax “Test Drive 2” campaigns.

Wearables & The Quantified Self Movement

Written by: Tom Edwards
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I was recently asked by ADWEEK about opportunities for brands and fitness wearables. The discussion focused on utility and the future of the quantified self movement and whether hardware or software is the way to go. The final portion of the conversation was focused on fashion vs. function and the importance of aesthetics for mass adoption. Below is my full commentary.

Brands and Utility

For the right brand there is a significant opportunity to capitalize on the quantified self movement and create new streams of revenue. Market analysts project significant upside for wearable tech over the next few years.

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SOURCE Business Insider

The value for brands comes in the form of ongoing engagement and value to the consumer. By providing active utility the brand is taking something that used to provide a passive function and unlocks behavioral patterns of the consumer, activity and in some cases emotional data and any positive results can be equated with the brand.

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The other point to consider is the quantified self data and utility will ultimately be a part of a larger connected ecosystem. In the near future data from a fitness tracker can coincide with smart grid technology to predict your needs. An example would be you just returned from a long run, your tracker communicates with your smart fridge and it prepares to dispense your favorite after work out beverage while ordering more via a real time delivery service such as Amazon Fresh.

Predictive

Hardware vs. Software

Brands like Nike were at the forefront of the quantified self movement. The Fuel band resonated with innovators and early consumer adopters. With success came competition from device manufacturers that had a longer heritage and provided additional utility. They expanded beyond fitness to include emotional measurement, sleep sensors, etc… which began to move away from the Nike value proposition. The learning from this was the real value was less in the hardware and more in the data collected and the visualization of results.

Nike_Fuel_Band

The industry shift that brands like Nike see on the horizon is the shift from hardware and more around software and data. What this means is that brands like Nike see the day coming soon where it is less about the hardware and more about sharing and visualizing the data that is collected through whatever the device, be it smart clothing, watches, glasses, etc… and making thier API’s available.

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Fashion vs. Function

One of the primary barriers associated with wearables has been tied closely to aesthetics. A rubber bracelet that glows is not always the ideal choice for the fashion conscious. And for the early & late majority of consumer adopters, going beyond simple utility will be important for mass adoption.

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Recent studies have shown that women outnumber men among prospective buyers of wearable technology devices. What I see happening in the short term are a number of partnerships such as the announced Tory Burch and Fitbit partnership or cross-industry hiring, similar to Apple hiring Burberry’s former CEO to bridge the gap between aesthetic form and function.

Tory Burch & Fitbit Partnership

Fitbit & Tory Burch

Here is a link to the ADWEEK commentary

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Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360