A BLOG ABOUT EXPERIENCE BRANDS – marketing
At this year’s FutureM, a conference dedicated to exploring the future of marketing, I convened a panel to talk about the future of storytelling. I was joined on the panel by representatives from a diverse set of perspectives including a brand, a public relations agency and an academic lecturer:
Jenna Lebel, Director of Social Marketing at Liberty Mutual
Mike Farber, Partner at LaunchSquad
Chad O’Connor, Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University
Over the course of the panel, we discussed several major topics pertaining to current stature and future of storytelling for brands.
Technology & StorytellingStories, once limited to oral tradition, have now been transformed by an influx of easily accessible multimedia vehicles. Each panelist offered a point of view on how technology has impacted the stories they see brands telling, resulting in a few major trends:
Speed to Story: With the ease of digital publishing brands enjoy today, there is an unprecedented ability for organizations to create and distribute stories at a faster pace than ever before. The panel agreed that this is an immensely valuable opportunity, when leveraged correctly by brands. But with that power also comes great responsibility – several brands have mis-stepped in damaging ways by failing to maintain a high strategic bar with their storytelling.
Authenticity: With the rise of technology has come a broader pallet that brands can use to tell their stories, including social media platforms. These platforms, originally dominated by consumers, naturally lend an increased sense of authenticity to previously stodgy corporate voices. For the first time, brands are speaking to consumers on a one-to-one, human basis.
Contextual Storytelling: While some marketers are decrying the limitations that are implicit in shrinking screen sizes associated with wearables, the panel sees opportunity on the horizon. The ability to tell more contextually relevant stories across devices and screens means that formats may be smaller, but the stories will be smarter. Further, growth in consumption of mid and long-form video content on sites like YouTube reflect a new consumer willingness to dwell for the most valuable content.
Voice of StorytellersWith new platforms to tell stories, the storyteller has changed as well. The panel explored who the voice of stories should be, what happens when brands get it right and what happens when they miss the mark.
Corporate vs. Individual: One tension that has emerged as brands have adopted the role of publisher is whether stories are most effectively told through a corporate voice or individual’s voice from within the corporation. Broadly, the panel agreed that it depended on the organization, but that keeping branding of stories to a minimum helped consumers see more value in them and allowed them to appear less as advertising gimmicks.
Consumer As Storyteller: The panel discussed the impact of user-generated stories or co-created content as part of the ongoing storytelling movement. It was agreed that consumers are most valuable when they are motivated by an outstanding brand experience – rather than incentivized to chime in. Cautionary tales like #McDStories remind brands of the risk of contrived calls for consumer voices.
Brand As Curator of Stories: Liberty Mutual was recognized for the strength of its Rise campaign for the Sochi Olympics, which celebrated athletes that were able to come back from setbacks – a value shared by the brand. When brands can strike the right balance between its values and stories, they can effectively serve as curators that consumers rely upon.
Stories of the FutureFinally, the panel reflected on trends in storytelling and what the future could hold. The panel agreed that a taming of a storytelling ‘Wild West’ is in order as brands move forward, bringing a new level of sophistication and discipline to the way brands work with stories. Additionally, practical concerns pertaining to costs, value and a continuing evolving media landscape surfaced.
Real-Time vs. Right Time: A high level of attention has been given in recent years to the idea of ‘real-time marketing’, leading brands to establish newsrooms and studios to publish on the brand’s behalf opportunistically. In the frenetic energy of catapulting posting to real-time, some brands (most recently DiGiornio, which posted a tweet in bad taste as an accidental part of a domestic violence movement) have lost a sense for when the right time is to tell stories. The panel expects brands to grow more calculated and less reactionary in their posting on an ongoing basis.
Non-Linear Stories: With consumer attention continuing to fragment and move to an on-demand model in the future, the panel expects that brands will have to be more active – taking actions that create stories worth talking about across channels. These non-linear stories will be less controlled and will rely upon a diverse set of manifestations to get the message across.
Scaling Stories: With brand investment in storytelling all over the place, ranging from Red Bull’s best-in-class content production to more conservative brands’ hesitance to do much at all, organizations will have to weigh the high cost of producing compelling story-based content on an ongoing basis with their ability to distribute that content and generate business results. While this journey will be ongoing, it will be a natural part of the maturation of the role of brands as storytellers.
How is your organization thinking about the way it will communicate its stories in the future? Is the brand you work on dynamic enough to create stories worth telling?

At this year’s FutureM, a conference dedicated to exploring the future of marketing, I convened a panel to talk about the future of storytelling. I was joined on the panel by representatives from a diverse set of perspectives including a brand, a public relations agency and an academic lecturer:

Over the course of the panel, we discussed several major topics pertaining to current stature and future of storytelling for brands.

Technology & Storytelling
Stories, once limited to oral tradition, have now been transformed by an influx of easily accessible multimedia vehicles. Each panelist offered a point of view on how technology has impacted the stories they see brands telling, resulting in a few major trends:

  • Speed to Story: With the ease of digital publishing brands enjoy today, there is an unprecedented ability for organizations to create and distribute stories at a faster pace than ever before. The panel agreed that this is an immensely valuable opportunity, when leveraged correctly by brands. But with that power also comes great responsibility – several brands have mis-stepped in damaging ways by failing to maintain a high strategic bar with their storytelling.
  • Authenticity: With the rise of technology has come a broader pallet that brands can use to tell their stories, including social media platforms. These platforms, originally dominated by consumers, naturally lend an increased sense of authenticity to previously stodgy corporate voices. For the first time, brands are speaking to consumers on a one-to-one, human basis.
  • Contextual Storytelling: While some marketers are decrying the limitations that are implicit in shrinking screen sizes associated with wearables, the panel sees opportunity on the horizon. The ability to tell more contextually relevant stories across devices and screens means that formats may be smaller, but the stories will be smarter. Further, growth in consumption of mid and long-form video content on sites like YouTube reflect a new consumer willingness to dwell for the most valuable content.

Voice of Storytellers
With new platforms to tell stories, the storyteller has changed as well. The panel explored who the voice of stories should be, what happens when brands get it right and what happens when they miss the mark.

  • Corporate vs. Individual: One tension that has emerged as brands have adopted the role of publisher is whether stories are most effectively told through a corporate voice or individual’s voice from within the corporation. Broadly, the panel agreed that it depended on the organization, but that keeping branding of stories to a minimum helped consumers see more value in them and allowed them to appear less as advertising gimmicks.
  • Consumer As Storyteller: The panel discussed the impact of user-generated stories or co-created content as part of the ongoing storytelling movement. It was agreed that consumers are most valuable when they are motivated by an outstanding brand experience – rather than incentivized to chime in. Cautionary tales like #McDStories remind brands of the risk of contrived calls for consumer voices.
  • Brand As Curator of Stories: Liberty Mutual was recognized for the strength of its Rise campaign for the Sochi Olympics, which celebrated athletes that were able to come back from setbacks – a value shared by the brand. When brands can strike the right balance between its values and stories, they can effectively serve as curators that consumers rely upon.

Stories of the Future
Finally, the panel reflected on trends in storytelling and what the future could hold. The panel agreed that a taming of a storytelling ‘Wild West’ is in order as brands move forward, bringing a new level of sophistication and discipline to the way brands work with stories. Additionally, practical concerns pertaining to costs, value and a continuing evolving media landscape surfaced.

  • Real-Time vs. Right Time: A high level of attention has been given in recent years to the idea of ‘real-time marketing’, leading brands to establish newsrooms and studios to publish on the brand’s behalf opportunistically. In the frenetic energy of catapulting posting to real-time, some brands (most recently DiGiornio, which posted a tweet in bad taste as an accidental part of a domestic violence movement) have lost a sense for when the right time is to tell stories. The panel expects brands to grow more calculated and less reactionary in their posting on an ongoing basis.
  • Non-Linear Stories: With consumer attention continuing to fragment and move to an on-demand model in the future, the panel expects that brands will have to be more active – taking actions that create stories worth talking about across channels. These non-linear stories will be less controlled and will rely upon a diverse set of manifestations to get the message across.
  • Scaling Stories: With brand investment in storytelling all over the place, ranging from Red Bull’s best-in-class content production to more conservative brands’ hesitance to do much at all, organizations will have to weigh the high cost of producing compelling story-based content on an ongoing basis with their ability to distribute that content and generate business results. While this journey will be ongoing, it will be a natural part of the maturation of the role of brands as storytellers.

How is your organization thinking about the way it will communicate its stories in the future? Is the brand you work on dynamic enough to create stories worth telling?

#storytelling #futurem #speakers #brand experience #future of storytelling #marketing #brands

Planning For (And Against) The Second Screen from Jack Morton Worldwide

Today, 90% of media consumption is screen based. In 2014, the number of mobile devices in the world will exceed the global population. By 2018, there will be 1.4 connected mobile devices per person. That means that, as people move through the world, they will increasingly move with at least one other screen in hand (and even more devices on hand).

While the Second Screen revolution may have started with distracted television viewers, today, the multi-screen world demands marketers who know how to plan for it. I had the pleasure of giving a talk on Second Screen Strategy at the 2014 Event Marketing Summit in Salt Lake City, UT. My presentation breaks down consumer behavior into actionable advice specifically for event marketers. That said, the trends in behavior and multi-screen adoption apply to all brands that seek to connect with the people who matter most to them in an increasingly screen-based world.

So as you design any type of experience – digital, live, retail or otherwise – consider how you’re planning for, against or, at the very least, with consideration for how your brand plays in a multi-screen context.

#second screen #multi-screen #cross-screen #marketing #advertising #strategy #branding #ben grossman #jack morton

Brand As Verb: Principles of High Performing Experience Brands from Ben Grossman

80% of leaders say their brands offer a superior customer experience. Only 8% of customers agree. Meanwhile, marketers are tortured by the fact that the number one way people learn about and buy from their brands is the hardest one to control: word-of-mouth. In today’s world of new realities it doesn’t pay for brands to stand by, continuing to trumpet their “creative messaging.” After all, 74% of people advocate for brands by describing their experiences with them.

Brands that break through are brands that take action… brands that are more than nouns. Brands must see themselves as verbs. That’s the premise of my new presentation that I just presented at the CSE Expo in Toronto, Canada. In the presentation, I outline five major principles that we have found at Jack Morton drive the high performing experience brands with which we work and a few examples (some our work, some the work of others) that showcase each principle.

So beyond the five principles and the examples, here are a few key questions to ask that can put you on the path to “Brand As Verb” nirvana:

1. Taking Action: Is your organization spending more time thinking about what to post next, or what it should do that’s actually worth posting about?

2. Turning Negatives Into Opportunities: What’s the worst element of your brand’s customer experience as it currently stands? If it’s impossible to change the core of what makes it negative (like KLM can’t eliminate middle seats), what other type of value could your organization add to overcome the negative?

3. Outside In Thinking: Is your organization’s leader one of the 80% that believe you’re delivering a superior customer experience? Get out of your echo chamber by assembling a customer advisory board or fielding some primary research to give you and your colleagues a dose of reality.

4. Helping Advocates Advocate: Many brands say they want advocates, but what could your brand reasonably expect advocates to talk about? Consider realistic advocacy scripting exercises and what experiences you need to create that truly deserve to be talked about.

5. Conversationally Led Planning: What conversations are already underway that you could be part of in an authentic, ‘on the way’ spirit? Before you let your brand’s product introductions (or lack thereof) drive your marketing or editorial calendar (again), consider letting consumers drive what you do next.

If you had to add a section of “Brand As Verb” standards to your “Brand As Noun” brand guidelines, what would they be? What do you want consumers to know, think, feel and do as a result of an experience with your brand?

#brands #marketing #advertising #brand as verb #brandasverb #ben grossman #inspiration #trends

Demystifying the hype around “local” and “real time marketing” - final musings on Social Media Week NYC 2014
As marketers, we often get tripped up by our own jargony terminology, and the buzzwords “local” and "real time"are two of the fuzziest.
Regarding “local,” the lightbulb went off for me in the distinction between “local” and “location” in mobile marketing.
Location: Technology (GPS targeting) 
Local: A way of life—content focus. 
Of course there is a common thread here. Both drive relevancy (the biggest #SMW buzzword of all).
Location, or GPS-enabled services are relevant to consumers because they provide convenience and efficiency.
But, brands also create relevance in local’s more intangible sense by recognizing and responding to the fact that humans are hardwired to form emotional connections with their surroundings-whether that’s an obsession with a hometown team or the local forecast. 
The paradox of the digital age is that while we may expect universal connectivity to neutralize local pride as the web becomes our shared neighborhood,the opposite is true.  Local pride has never been more valuable, and brands that can connect to local culture, community, stories, in their content will come out ahead.
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Real-Time marketing…what is it and does it merit the hype?
We’re all familiar with Oreo’s real-time Super Bowl Dunk in the Dark tweet feat. While this tactic’s initial appearance truly disrupted the marketing, its imitation by other brands has not generated even a fraction of Oreo’s initial impact. Unfortunately, this is more of a one-trick-pony, and further, this kind of real-time experiment is a costly one for marketers looking for that needle in the hay stack. 
So is there any substance to the “real-time” hype? 
Yes! Today, Brands can Stretch their owned media miles with the predictive marketing model. Founded on the same principles of messaging responsiveness, this ethos extends past the real-time war-room and positions brands to create highly contextualized, targeted content that delivers deep significance and meaning to consumers. 
Why? Because “relevance trumps timeliness,” in content marketing. 

Demystifying the hype around “local” and “real time marketing” - final musings on Social Media Week NYC 2014

As marketers, we often get tripped up by our own jargony terminology, and the buzzwords “local” and "real time"are two of the fuzziest.

Regarding “local,” the lightbulb went off for me in the distinction between “local” and “location” in mobile marketing.

Location: Technology (GPS targeting) 

Local: A way of life—content focus. 

Of course there is a common thread here. Both drive relevancy (the biggest #SMW buzzword of all).

Location, or GPS-enabled services are relevant to consumers because they provide convenience and efficiency.

But, brands also create relevance in local’s more intangible sense by recognizing and responding to the fact that humans are hardwired to form emotional connections with their surroundings-whether that’s an obsession with a hometown team or the local forecast. 

The paradox of the digital age is that while we may expect universal connectivity to neutralize local pride as the web becomes our shared neighborhood,the opposite is true.  Local pride has never been more valuable, and brands that can connect to local culture, community, stories, in their content will come out ahead.

#smwnyc #smw2014 #local #realtime #marketing

CES 2014 Changed Nothing (& Everything) from Jack Morton Worldwide

The 2014 International CES broke records left and right: more attendees, more (evolutionary, not revolutionary) innovations, and yes, more hype – just ask the estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide who were touched by the stories of CES. Over the past several years, I’ve been predicting a major evolution in what the International CES stands for and who would attend it. This year, I saw that evolution play out.

Making order out of the good, the gadgets, and of course, the “gosh my feet heart,” I was there through it all. The result? My newest Jack Morton white paper, which documents all brands, marketers and attendees need to know about CES 2014.

The 2014 International CES broke records left and right: more attendees, more (evolutionary, not revolutionary) innovations, and yes, more hype – just ask the estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide who were touched by the stories of CES. Over the past several years, I’ve been predicting a major evolution in what the International CES stands for and who would attend it. This year, I saw that evolution play out.

Making order out of the good, the gadgets, and of course, the “gosh my feet heart,” I was there through it all. The result? My newest Jack Morton white paper, which documents all brands, marketers and attendees need to know about CES 2014.

So are you, like us, already thinking about CES 2015? Here are a few of the top trends we identified to discuss with our clients:

  1. Personal Data Revolution: A robust discussion around the collection and management of personal data was in full swing at CES 2014. Startling news stories leading up to CES – ranging from the NSA’s aggressive surveillance to data breaches at Target, Snapchat and Skype – created a lively conversation about the potential and risks of leveraging personal consumer data.
  2. Innovate Through Partnerships: With the increased pace of innovation and the growing integration of technology into all aspects of life, some brands are finding that the only way to maintain relevance is to partner up.
  3. Technology & Analog Tension: Technology has infiltrated a significant portion of consumers’ lives and with “The Internet of Things” that trend is only set to continue. But any time the pendulum is swinging in one direction, there’s a natural undercurrent pulling it back to the other. At CES 2014, a healthy tension between a technology-laden life and a return to analog living was apparent.
  4. Modernizing Brand Presences At CES: So if everything really has changed as of CES 2014, the natural question is “How should modern brands show up at CES?”

I’ll look forward to seeing what progress the industry makes in 2014 (and of course, the inevitable products that totally fail too). In the meantime, I’ll be planning for January 6-9, 2015!

#ces #ces 2014 #brand #marketing #brand experience

Do go to Jack Morton’s workshop if you’re attending Eurobest!
Tim Elliott and Tim Leighton will be leading an Experience Brief Workshop » Here are the details » http://bit.ly/18jLe9g

Do go to Jack Morton’s workshop if you’re attending Eurobest!

Tim Elliott and Tim Leighton will be leading an Experience Brief Workshop » Here are the details » http://bit.ly/18jLe9g

#eurobest #jack morton #experience brief #brand experience #experience brands #advertising #advertising agencies #marketing #agency

New Adventures in Collaborative Consumption
The Wall Street Journal reports today on the latest addition to the collaborative consumption trend: Mud Jeans offers stylish but cash-strapped European consumers the chance to “rent” designer jeans for a small upfront deposit, monthly fee and the opportunity to buy or recycle jeans at the end of the lease period. 
Call that validation: we at Jack included the collaborative economy as trend #7 in our report on what will matter in 2014. Read it here > http://slidesha.re/18vQiqW 
According to the Wall Street Journal article, “According to a recent survey from the Observatoire Cetelem, a research arm of BNP Paribas SA’s consumer-credit firm, 68% of Europeans surveyed said they would buy secondhand products in the years to come, compared with 58% today, while 53% said they would barter for goods or services, versus 31% which said they do so already.”

Photo Source: http://www.vita.it/welfare/social-innovation/airbnb-pubblicato-il-sondaggio-sulla-sharing-economy.html

New Adventures in Collaborative Consumption

The Wall Street Journal reports today on the latest addition to the collaborative consumption trend: Mud Jeans offers stylish but cash-strapped European consumers the chance to “rent” designer jeans for a small upfront deposit, monthly fee and the opportunity to buy or recycle jeans at the end of the lease period. 

Call that validation: we at Jack included the collaborative economy as trend #7 in our report on what will matter in 2014. Read it here > http://slidesha.re/18vQiqW 

According to the Wall Street Journal article, “According to a recent survey from the Observatoire Cetelem, a research arm of BNP Paribas SA’s consumer-credit firm, 68% of Europeans surveyed said they would buy secondhand products in the years to come, compared with 58% today, while 53% said they would barter for goods or services, versus 31% which said they do so already.”

Photo Source: http://www.vita.it/welfare/social-innovation/airbnb-pubblicato-il-sondaggio-sulla-sharing-economy.html

#2014 trends #collaborative economy #collaborative consumption #brand experience #experience design #customer experience #marketing #agency #advertising agency

"Maybe 6 or 7 years ago you had the luxury of doing more brand advertising, but we don’t have that luxury anymore. If we’re going to spend money [on advertising] we have to drive traffic. We’re very retail oriented. We think like a brand, but act like a retailer."

- Mike Kappitt, CMO, Outback Steakhouse, in today’s Advertising Age.

#brand experience #retail #quote #marketing #insights

How to people learn about brands? Read more.

How to people learn about brands? Read more.

#infographic #Brand Experience #mobile #Word of Mouth #research #marketing

Somewhere along the line, all of us in Marketing became obsessed with Words. I’m not sure how or why it happened. But it did. And I must accept my fair share of the blame. All those positioning statements, messages, slogans, differentiators, USPs, facts and figures. 

Words, words, words. Blah. Blah. Blah.
So the creative process, more often than not, seems to be about finding the most clever construction of well chosen words followed by finding appealing ways to visually dramatise those words.
But why do we insist on always starting with the words; the quest for a magic formula? It probably goes back to the fact that all of us believe we are working in marketing communications; the science of telling people things and the art of making those things seem appealing.
There’s just one major problem - there’s no such thing as a captive audience anymore. Our ‘communications targets’ are not empty vessels waiting for our carefully constructed message to hit them between the eyes.
They’re people. With needs. With expectations. Who are in control. We’ve known that for years and yet still choose, in the main, to ignore it. But if we stop ignoring it and start listening then we’re duty-bound to ignite our creative processes with new questions. Not What should we tell them? but What can we do for them? How can we help them as people? How can we answer their needs? How can we meet their expectations? And how do we give them more control?
Sure, the answer will involve words somewhere along the way. But it will start by addressing needs. And not ours but theirs.

The trouble with Marketing Communications is right there in front of us: the world doesn’t need marketing and it doesn’t need communications.

It needs purpose, utility and ingenuity.

Somewhere along the line, all of us in Marketing became obsessed with Words. I’m not sure how or why it happened. But it did. And I must accept my fair share of the blame. All those positioning statements, messages, slogans, differentiators, USPs, facts and figures.

#marketing #insights #marketing communications #creative process