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July 6, 2014No Comments

The Future of Digital Television

Investment banker Terence Kawaja, founder and CEO of LUMA Partners, is a big-time player in the advertising technology field. His advisory firm, LUMA Partners, has worked to help companies like Google and Yahoo make multimillion-dollar acquisitions, and his industry knowledge makes him one of the tech world's most respected minds. Kawaja has built this presentation after talking to people in the digital media business as well as people in the traditional "linear" television industry.

See a softer side of Kawaja in this four-minute music video Kawaja wrote and produced from the Cannes Lions advertising festival.

May 29, 2014No Comments

360 < 365

Business ideas from the least expected players will disrupt your brand faster than advertising can save it.

The proof is clear no matter what industry you are in:

  1. AirBnB books more rooms that the W Hotels
  2. ZipCar has more daily engagement than Hertz

For each of these brands they have challenged common conventions and made the marketing shift from, 360 degrees of channel interruption and "integration" to creating ideas that deliver 365 days of customer connection.

Ever since I began writing this blog in June 2006 we have conversed about convergence of the digital and physical and Transmedia Brand Experiences. Now that almost every marketer on the planet has a laser focus on the customer experiences I think that it is safe to say that product, campaign and business ideas should be looked at and measured with the same lense. There is no discernible difference between the brand idea and the action a brand takes to endear customers its business.

Moreover when we look at our own customer/client landscape, we know that marketers are now responsible for leading the C-suite to solve real business problems, not just communications problems.

I think that it's safe to say the world has converged and the new equation for marketing and creative success is no longer 360 degrees of one channel idea - but an enduring idea that inspires 365 days of customer connection.

360 < 365 via @jpenabickley

December 16, 2013No Comments

Building A Brand For The Next Generation of Start Ups

One of the more rewarding experiences I recently had was sharing my brand building methodology with a group of woman leading the next generation of start ups at the Woman's Defense League.  

Q: How do you begin building a brand that people will care about?  
A: First and foremost its about understanding what a brand is, who it is for and what is the defining action your brand will take for your customers.

Building A Brand For The Next Generation of Start Ups via @jpenabickley

July 20, 20121 Comment

Hot Wheels World Record: Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X Games Los Angeles

In a world where Hot Wheels is battling video games for the hearts, minds and thumbs of young boys everywhere, team Hot Wheels drivers, Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy set a Guinness World Record racing two vehicles through a six-story double vertical loop at the 2012 X Games in Los Angeles!   This epic activation helps keep them relevant. 


Hot Wheels World Record: Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X Games Los Angeles via @jpenabickley

November 2, 20111 Comment

Generation X Taking The Torch From Baby Boomers

We were the generation once labeled "slackers," detached and melancholic.  Now that most of us are flirting with forty, reality doesn't bite nearly as much it seemed when we were younger. According to the "The Generation X Report," from the University of Michigan's Longitudinal Study of American Youth, there are a number of myths can be corrected with the latest data.

Who are the Gen X-ers?

 We were born from 1964 to 1981. (Some argue that 1961 is the year that X starts - but most experts indicate that we start at about 1964 and 1965)

Shift The Damn Spotligtht Already!

As the cultural spotlight gradually shifts away from retiring Baby Boomers, the analysis bolsters findings in a recent marketing study from JWT Intellegence, "Gen X: Flirting With 40,"(embeded below) which stated that Gen X has matured into a group of "technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists."   Recent media coverage of rants and reflections from Gen Xers in Gizmodo and The Atlantic has also generated intense discussion, fueling debate over whether a passing of the torch from Boomers is under way. This debate is making the case for marketers to shift their budgets from traditional methods of marketing.

Let's Dispell Some Gen X Myths

Myth #1: Gen Xers are slackers.

Reality: Generation X devotes more hours to work than average and pursues continuing education.

  • Compared to a national sample of all U.S. adults, Gen Xers are more likely to be employed and are working significantly more hours above average, according to the study. In Generation X, 86% is employed and 70% devote 40 or more hours to work each week. For those holding a doctorate or professional degree, that number shoots up to 50 or more hours. Also, 79% Gen X women work.
  • Kids from "The Breakfast Club" era weren't so strung out on emotional issues that they passed up learning: Half of Gen Xers have completed a post-secondary degree and 9% are enrolled in continuing education.


Myth #2: Generation X is hopelessly single and pessimistic about marriage.

Reality: A higher percentage of Gen Xers stay married than Boomers, and most want to be married.

  • Having spent their formative years in the era of growing divorce rates (divorce peaked in 1980) might lead to speculation that Gen X would run away from marriage en masse. In reality, two-thirds of Generation X is married and 71% report having children in the home. Additionally, divorce has been declining since 1996, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • 83% of Gen Xers said finding the right person to marry and having a happy family life is very important.


Myth #3: Generation Xers are disengaged, existential isolationists.

Reality: Gen X is social.

  • There's a reason Gen X is called the "Friends" generation. The report states that Gen X has extensive social, occupational and community networks outside of the immediate family. Two-thirds of respondents entertain friends for dinner or participate in group cooking at least once a month.
  • One in 3 Gen Xers is an active member of a church or religious organization, and 29% volunteer in their community.
  •  95% of Gen Xers report talking with friends or family on the telephone at least once a week, and 29% say they do so at least once a day.

Myth #4: As former latch-key kids, Gen Xers are wimpy, neglectful parents.

Reality: About 84% of Gen X parents expect their children to earn at least a baccalaureate, and 39% expect their child to earn a graduate or professional degree.

  • 72% of parents of preschool children read to them three or more hours a week, and 83% of parents of secondary school students help with homework.

Myth #5: Generation X is depressed.

Reality: Generation X is actually pretty happy.

  • Two-thirds of Generation X are satisfied with their job; 24% of these workers rated their job at 9 or 10 on the satisfaction scale.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning very happy, the median happiness score was 8, with 29% of Gen Xers saying they were very happy scoring a 9 or 10.


As we, the 45 million strong, have been sandwhiched in between the Boomers and Millennials, we are the generation that can move from the shot gun position into the driver seat of the economy. (Shhhh... I think we may be the Job creators the politicians are taking about.)  We have a much more balanced approach and we are pragmatic as hell.  

Given that we are technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists, How will marketers motivate us to consider using their products and services?  Since we are NOT keeping up with Jones like the Boomers, what stories will you tell us to motivate new behaviors?


This report from JWT may give you a glimpse into the opportunities that you may have with Gex Xers:


Generation X Taking The Torch From Baby Boomers via @jpenabickley

September 18, 20111 Comment

Social Data Guided Media Plans

With every passing day, the benefit of social listening and data becomes more engrained in how we determine where we reach and market to people.

If you use social listening to identify marketing insights and innovations, you know the power of the outputs.  More than conversations, the data provides us knowledge of where those conversations are taking place.  We can also determine the volume of conversations as well as the influence of the people having those conversations at a particular URL.  That data combined with public traffic records now gives media planners the ability to pinpoint where their customers are engaged with content. 

The power of this data and knowledge can guide higher performing media plans.

Surprisingly, most media planners and buyers use antiquated methods to plan and purchase media.  Today, media buying companies rely on publishers to supply them with traffic stats and standard demographic data.  These are typically combined with third party reporting tools from firms like ComScore. 

Given the power of data @substancenyc is extrapolating out of our social listening exercises we decided to test a new way of building media plans.  Instead of using traditional methods of media planning we used our social listening tools to identify high volume conversations & influencer data to create a media plan that allowed our branded content to reach our target.

First we used social data to identify the right kind of customer.  Then we created a keyword list for our social listening tools to listen for. After that, we created an algorithm to extrapolate relevant conversations.  Once we identified the relevant conversations, we wrapped a volume metric around the URLs & places those conversations were talking place.  Once that was achieved we used a tools to identify the number of social influencers having the conversations.  Using the outputs of these simple exercises we created transmedia plan that effectively told our brand story.

Social Media


How did we know this was going to outperform a traditional plan?

We tested it. We tested a traditionally built plan against a social data guided plan. The result, the social data plan out performed the traditional plan by 19%.  The social data plan had more reach and conversion than the traditional plan. 

This test has transformed the way we are going to market for our clients.

What are you doing today that could change the way we do business tomorrow?  Let us know @substancenyc.


Social Data Guided Media Plans via @jpenabickley

January 6, 20111 Comment

on: the buying brain

Pradeep-book-imageDuring the holiday season I did some facinating reading.  On my list was The Buying Brain.  It was fanstatically facinating and informative.  If you are a marketer of any type this is a must read!

The Buying Brain offers an in-depth exploration of how cutting-edge neuroscience is having an impact on how we make, buy, sell, and enjoy everything, and also probes deeper questions on how this new knowledge can enhance customers' lives. "The Buying Brain" gives you the key to- Brain-friendly product concepts, design, prototypes, and formulation- Highly effective packaging, pricing, advertising, and in-store marketing- Building stronger brands that attract deeper consumer loyalty

Dr. A.K. Pradeep discusses the marketing implications of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people. The book looks to understand the human brain in biological terms. He used EEG brain wave studies, eye tracking, and other techniques to look at some of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people and the marketing implications of those differences.

In conducting his research, not only did Pradeep find significant differences between the brains of men and women, but he also found that the brains of mothers are significantly different than those of other women.

This is a highly readable guide to some of today's most amazing scientific findings, "The Buying Brain" is your guide to the ultimate business frontier - the human brain.

on: the buying brain via @jpenabickley



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