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September 19, 20113 Comments

The Transmedia Approach

Integration is chaos.  With so many agency / channel specialists – clients waste a ton of money paying for redundancies in their big agency fees.  Furthermore, when Kellogg wrote the textbook on marketing integration years ago, I know that what they describe in their scenario planning was not what marketers are attempting to pass off as an integrated marketing plan.

Today, 'Integrated Marketing' is defined as a multi-channel plan using the same message across all channels.  What we know now is that one size does not fit all! The same message or conversation doesn’t work in all media channels.  We know customers behave and consume media differently in each channel and therefore often impressions are wasted.

All brands have a story to sell
While I create television spots, banner ads, mobile apps and websites, I do not believe that individually they can convey a brand’s story or experience.  Nor should we be attempting to try and shove years of innovation into 30 seconds.  It’s plain silly.  In this Post Digital economy, we have the tools, data and know-how to create smarter marketing and engaging brand stories.

Story-selling & Transmedia
Ten years ago, I began a building brand plans based on behavioral insights, media opportunities, and storytelling.  I began calling it Experience Planning. In reality it was Transmedia Planning.   

The basic premise of transmedia is that rather than using different media channels to simply retell the same story, you utilize these channels, their communities and functions to communicate different elements of the story.  Its success relies on fragmenting a narrative and making each platform do what it does best which, in turn, extends the life and longevity of the story.  Contrary to some thinking, this practice isn’t device-driven (Television, Laptop, Kindle, Nook, iPad), but is platform driven as it is the platform that subtly dictates and influences audience reactions, social and behavioral trends and user experiences.   The bottom line is that with a solid transmedia strategy in place everything remains connected by the same central narrative and theme, but each channel excels at what it does best, rather than bending to fit a central idea that’s being repurposed for multi platforms.

Building Brand Experiences with Transmedia Plans
With storytelling at the heart of our business model it’s not surprising that our entertainment and lifestyle clients were some of the first to embrace a transmedia approach. In fact, when working on the Matrix Film Franchise with Joel Silver Pictures in 2001, we used a transmedia approach to connecting our story in film, games and on the web.  We did this to create a story that can only be experienced by engaging with all of the different forms of content. The result, warner bros began using this as a way to put “butts in seats” for years to come.

Once we saw the success of the plan and method we saw it as an opportunity to test the same method to sell brand stories, just the way entertainment properties sell content.
 
Could it work in consumer-packaged goods?
Yes. Here is an example of a transmedia plan we created for Knob Creek.

Screen Shot 2011-09-18 at 4.44.43 PM

Could it work on Financial Services? 
Yup! Here is an example of how we used in at Chase.

Screen Shot 2011-09-18 at 4.50.04 PM

 

Could it work for a big box retailer? 
Sure it can! Here is a sample of how we used transmedia planning to create a new retail experience for do it yourselfers.

Screen Shot 2011-09-18 at 4.48.24 PM

 

What we were doing began to catch on, as we have seen a new crop transmedia story-telling companies emerge.  Some of are some of my favorite examples:

Transmedia + Communities
Now that people are powerful media channels on social media platforms like facebook, twitter and google+, a transmedia approach to selling your brand’s story couldn’t be more important.  In the post-digital world, meeting awareness objectives is more complex than running the same spot on TV, YouTube and in pre-roll. In order to have real-time conversations, you have to tell / sell and engage people in a story that is worth repeating.

The latest evolution of the approach is called ARG (alternate reality games). ARG includes a gaming element and encourages community participation. Real world examples of this type of Transmedia planning can be experienced with content properties like: Why So Serious?, the ARG for Batman: The Dark Knight and I Love Bees, the ARG for the Halo 2 game.  We used ARG when we took Dibs to teens.

In a world where creativity is measured by performance, this is an approach we know works.  The greatest part of all of living and working in the post-digital era is that the data and tools exist to create highly targeted transmedia plans that create measurable earned media for a brand.

Does your brand need a social data-driven transmedia plan?  Contact @substanceNYC or shoot us your marketing objectives to newbiz [@] wearesubtance dot com

The Transmedia Approach via @jpenabickley

May 11, 20083 Comments

ON: Speaking To The Consumer

Direct, Advertising, Digital, Search, Retail, Promotions, Word Of Mouth (on and on and on) –  are all used to create awareness, attempt to convert consumers and inspire their loyalty once we have their attention.   We are all marketers.  If your fees come out of a marketing budget – you are a marketer.

Just as I have stated that we are all creative, and all responsible for the consumer experience - no matter the medium - we are also all speaking directly to consumers and all our work should be asking people to act, buy and take action now.

Clients are not buying tactics like a TV commercials, direct mail, viral videos, widgets or banner ads. Clients worth working with are buying ideas.  If they are not buying ideas from you, it is likely you do not have a consultative relationship with that marketing organization.  No one tactic can drive the volume of sales needed to have an effective sales driving campaign.  A piece of direct mail without the amplification of a phone call, television ad, or search result has yet to drive sales with any substantial volume.  And when they are not in concert with each other  (like a great band)  they are merely noise - not music.  The only way to capture the attention of consumers who are bombarded with millions of messages is to be consistent in our message and and make sure that each of the mediums are working in harmony with each other.

If you sell tactics, what happens when that tactic becomes too expensive, proves in effective on its own or is outsold by a competitive channel agency with a new bright shiny object? In my experience, you and your agency are OUT. Out of money, out of interest and out of options.

Stop selling agencies as tactical “machines”!  In the service economy there is no respect or substantial money in the “machine” or production aspect of what we do.  There is how ever substantial money in the creation and articulation of an idea.

Ideas Sell

What is an idea?  In marketing, an idea generates desire for the product or service you are selling.  A great idea creates desire with entertainment and a compelling and valuable call to action.

Like every creative in the business I have a copy of Ogilvy On AdvertisingDavid Ogilvy was famous for creating his agency's slogan: "we sell or else."   That still holds true today.  What David knew was that the he could not sell without an idea. The once constant in every effective case study I have read, written and studied is that the idea in conjunction with the right media sold the product.

If you never create an idea that creates desire – people will not look at the product you are selling as something they need.

The only way to do that is to deliver an idea that is worthy of a consumer conversation that is long lasting.  You have to answer the consumer question – what’s in it for me.  Don’t sell products…sell passions.  No one does this better than American Express, Doritos, Mercedes, Adidas, Coke, Nike and The Gap.

Delivering Consumer Relationships To Brands

All the years I have spent working on brands and consumer retention programs I have found that it is NOT the tactic that makes a consumer love us. 

It is what we say, how we act and their perception of our product’s effect on their lives.

Customer Relationships 2.0 starts with more than a welcome letter or gift.  Now more than ever it involves acknowledgment and the amplification of consumers voices who profess their love or hate for you through earned media such as comments, videos, blogs and photos.

The voice of the consumer is paramount to delivering product re-sell and service retention.

ON: Speaking To The Consumer via @jpenabickley

May 13, 20071 Comment

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas

One of the things that I hear from marketers at packaged goods companies is that they want integrated strategic thinking that leads to big ideas. 

Very few agencies are able to offer this as they were set up in silos to create areas of expertise in Broadcast, Interactive or even Promotions.  As the mediums have fused, there isn't any medium that is NOT digital.  The importance of  "Big Ideas" that tell consumer a story generally are worthy on a consumers conversation.

This features a few brands that delivered on "Ideas" that were relevant to broad audiences in world of converged marketing channels.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=52162&doc=emerging-media-18239

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas via @jpenabickley

May 13, 20071 Comment

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas

One of the things that I hear from marketers at packaged goods companies is that they want integrated strategic thinking that leads to big ideas. 

Very few agencies are able to offer this as they were set up in silos to create areas of expertise in Broadcast, Interactive or even Promotions.  As the mediums have fused, there isn't any medium that is NOT digital.  The importance of  "Big Ideas" that tell consumer a story generally are worthy on a consumers conversation.

This features a few brands that delivered on "Ideas" that were relevant to broad audiences in world of converged marketing channels.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=52162&doc=emerging-media-18239

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas via @jpenabickley

May 13, 20071 Comment

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas

One of the things that I hear from marketers at packaged goods companies is that they want integrated strategic thinking that leads to big ideas. 

Very few agencies are able to offer this as they were set up in silos to create areas of expertise in Broadcast, Interactive or even Promotions.  As the mediums have fused, there isn't any medium that is NOT digital.  The importance of  "Big Ideas" that tell consumer a story generally are worthy on a consumers conversation.

This features a few brands that delivered on "Ideas" that were relevant to broad audiences in world of converged marketing channels.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=52162&doc=emerging-media-18239

ON: Emerging Media + Big Ideas via @jpenabickley

December 19, 2006No Comments

ON: MySpace Beatdown of Yahoo

Picture_8
The debate over which site had the most November page views reflects
the difficulty of tallying Web traffic, and billions of ad dollars are
at stake.  On the Web, the competition for most popular site can be as intense as
the race for the pennant or even the Presidency. So news that
up-and-comer MySpace.com beat incumbent Yahoo! (YHOO) for most monthly page views for the first time in November understandably grabbed headlines.

According to comScore Networks, News Corp.'s (NWS)
MySpace racked up 38.7 billion page views in November, compared with
38.1 billion for longtime leader Yahoo. But the dispatches concerning
the upset were the online equivalent of the famous headline "Dewey
Beats Truman."

Almost immediately, the results were called into question. UBS (UBS)
analyst Benjamin Schachter left voicemail messages for investors and
reporters warning against making decisions on comScore's potentially
unreliable data. Yahoo was still the undisputed leader, measured by
other key metrics, including unique visitors and time spent on the
site. Besides, Nielsen//NetRatings (NTRT),
comScore's main competitor, still had Yahoo leading page views in
November: 33.4 billion, vs. 29 billion for MySpace and the rest of News
Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media properties.

Focusing on Ad Impressions

Picture_9
The discrepancy has revived complaints about the accuracy of
reporting agencies' results, which often differ from companies' own
audience measurements (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/23/06, "Web Numbers: What's Real").
It also underscores the rivalry between comScore and
Nielsen//NetRatings for recognition as the most trusted source for
Web-traffic data. The winner, if one emerges, may set the standard for
how site popularity is measured, influencing how marketers dole out
billions in online ad dollars each year. Recognizing the high stakes in
that tussle, comScore and Nielsen//NetRatings both are refining their
tactics.

For starters, in the first quarter of 2007, comScore plans to change
how it determines the amount of advertising a Web company shows its
audience. To do that, comScore will focus on ad impressions, or the
number of times an ad shows up on a page, rather than the number of
times a Web page is viewed. The results can vary, depending on how a
Web page is designed.

For example, Yahoo and Google (GOOG)
are among companies that use a technology called Ajax that can change
an ad, influencing the number of ad impressions, even if the user
doesn't refresh or click to a different page. Yahoo attributed the 9%
drop in its page views, which allowed MySpace to overtake it, to its
inclusion of Ajax. Thus, page views—long used by industry analysts to
estimate how many ads a company can serve and, thus, potential
revenue—is no longer a reliable measurement.

Time Spent on a Site

ComScore is also planning to launch a set of entirely new ad metrics
in the second quarter of 2007, according to comScore Chief Executive
Officer Magid Abraham. "We are developing some proprietary metrics that
are a much better replacement for page views and are actually a better
measure of engagement," says Abraham.

Abraham is tight-lipped about specifics, but he says the new
techniques will better reflect the influence of new technologies. The
company will focus more on time spent on a site than page views. It's
worth noting that, by that estimate, Yahoo is the clear winner. Its
users spent 42.7 billion minutes on its pages in November. MySpace's
users spent a total of 13.8 billion minutes, says Abraham. 

Nielsen//NetRatings is also working on its measurement techniques in
response to new technologies. The firm developed a proposal several
months ago on how to track Ajax and improve tracking on other
technologies such as streaming media, says Manish Bhatia, NetRatings'
vice-president of global operations and U.S. sales.

Getting Certified

Changing the metrics alone, however, isn't enough to satisfy
everyone. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization of
advertisers and major Web companies, is calling for an external audit
of both comScore and NetRatings by the Media Ratings Council, the body
that certifies measurement practices of media ratings firms such as
radio's Arbitron (ARB).
"At this point, the only thing we know is that the results are
consistently different. What we don't know is why," says Sheryl
Draizen, IAB's senior vice-president and general manager. "The
differences between the numbers reported by comScore and NetRatings are
obviously a big issue for the industry as a whole."

Both comScore and NetRatings say they have begun working with the
MRC to get certified. But Draizen says the process is not happening
fast enough. "It should be a major priority for them," she says. "It is
a real issue to have such different numbers in the marketplace."

For Internet companies and advertisers, determining whose numbers
are correct is more important than just crowning the rightful platform
king. At stake are the tens of billions of advertising dollars destined
for the Web. Internet advertising is estimated to reach $16.4 billion
this year, according to research firm eMarketer. The number is expected
to grow to $25.2 billion in 2010. Which companies get that money,
particularly dollars earmarked for promoting brands and not just
directly selling merchandise, will depend largely on who can verify
their ad inventory and the size, composition, and engagement of their
audience.

May the Best Metric Win

ComScore and NetRatings each believes its own methods the best.
ComScore insists that its method of allowing new measurement methods
will establish it as the clear innovator. It also boasts that it is
able to better measure college students because it offers its software
for download over the Internet in exchange for games, screensavers,
security software and other items. "We feel we have the advantage,"
says Abraham.

Nielsen has an edge with its study panel, which was selected via
random telephone polls and thus, according to Bhatia, more
representative of the general population. He argues that only a
particular kind of computer user is comfortable downloading free
software over the Internet. "Fundamentally, the quality of the result
comes from the quality of the underlying panel," says Bhatia.

Who will win? That will depend largely on who is able to respond
fastest to the new technologies that impair the relevance of old
metrics, says Peter Daboll, a former president of comScore who now
heads Yahoo's global market research department. "Internal server log
data, panels—all have their limitations," says Daboll. "I think frankly
we just need more innovation."

 

 

ON: MySpace Beatdown of Yahoo via @jpenabickley

December 19, 2006No Comments

ON: MySpace Beatdown of Yahoo

Picture_8
The debate over which site had the most November page views reflects
the difficulty of tallying Web traffic, and billions of ad dollars are
at stake.  On the Web, the competition for most popular site can be as intense as
the race for the pennant or even the Presidency. So news that
up-and-comer MySpace.com beat incumbent Yahoo! (YHOO) for most monthly page views for the first time in November understandably grabbed headlines.

According to comScore Networks, News Corp.'s (NWS)
MySpace racked up 38.7 billion page views in November, compared with
38.1 billion for longtime leader Yahoo. But the dispatches concerning
the upset were the online equivalent of the famous headline "Dewey
Beats Truman."

Almost immediately, the results were called into question. UBS (UBS)
analyst Benjamin Schachter left voicemail messages for investors and
reporters warning against making decisions on comScore's potentially
unreliable data. Yahoo was still the undisputed leader, measured by
other key metrics, including unique visitors and time spent on the
site. Besides, Nielsen//NetRatings (NTRT),
comScore's main competitor, still had Yahoo leading page views in
November: 33.4 billion, vs. 29 billion for MySpace and the rest of News
Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media properties.

Focusing on Ad Impressions

Picture_9
The discrepancy has revived complaints about the accuracy of
reporting agencies' results, which often differ from companies' own
audience measurements (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/23/06, "Web Numbers: What's Real").
It also underscores the rivalry between comScore and
Nielsen//NetRatings for recognition as the most trusted source for
Web-traffic data. The winner, if one emerges, may set the standard for
how site popularity is measured, influencing how marketers dole out
billions in online ad dollars each year. Recognizing the high stakes in
that tussle, comScore and Nielsen//NetRatings both are refining their
tactics.

For starters, in the first quarter of 2007, comScore plans to change
how it determines the amount of advertising a Web company shows its
audience. To do that, comScore will focus on ad impressions, or the
number of times an ad shows up on a page, rather than the number of
times a Web page is viewed. The results can vary, depending on how a
Web page is designed.

For example, Yahoo and Google (GOOG)
are among companies that use a technology called Ajax that can change
an ad, influencing the number of ad impressions, even if the user
doesn't refresh or click to a different page. Yahoo attributed the 9%
drop in its page views, which allowed MySpace to overtake it, to its
inclusion of Ajax. Thus, page views—long used by industry analysts to
estimate how many ads a company can serve and, thus, potential
revenue—is no longer a reliable measurement.

Time Spent on a Site

ComScore is also planning to launch a set of entirely new ad metrics
in the second quarter of 2007, according to comScore Chief Executive
Officer Magid Abraham. "We are developing some proprietary metrics that
are a much better replacement for page views and are actually a better
measure of engagement," says Abraham.

Abraham is tight-lipped about specifics, but he says the new
techniques will better reflect the influence of new technologies. The
company will focus more on time spent on a site than page views. It's
worth noting that, by that estimate, Yahoo is the clear winner. Its
users spent 42.7 billion minutes on its pages in November. MySpace's
users spent a total of 13.8 billion minutes, says Abraham. 

Nielsen//NetRatings is also working on its measurement techniques in
response to new technologies. The firm developed a proposal several
months ago on how to track Ajax and improve tracking on other
technologies such as streaming media, says Manish Bhatia, NetRatings'
vice-president of global operations and U.S. sales.

Getting Certified

Changing the metrics alone, however, isn't enough to satisfy
everyone. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization of
advertisers and major Web companies, is calling for an external audit
of both comScore and NetRatings by the Media Ratings Council, the body
that certifies measurement practices of media ratings firms such as
radio's Arbitron (ARB).
"At this point, the only thing we know is that the results are
consistently different. What we don't know is why," says Sheryl
Draizen, IAB's senior vice-president and general manager. "The
differences between the numbers reported by comScore and NetRatings are
obviously a big issue for the industry as a whole."

Both comScore and NetRatings say they have begun working with the
MRC to get certified. But Draizen says the process is not happening
fast enough. "It should be a major priority for them," she says. "It is
a real issue to have such different numbers in the marketplace."

For Internet companies and advertisers, determining whose numbers
are correct is more important than just crowning the rightful platform
king. At stake are the tens of billions of advertising dollars destined
for the Web. Internet advertising is estimated to reach $16.4 billion
this year, according to research firm eMarketer. The number is expected
to grow to $25.2 billion in 2010. Which companies get that money,
particularly dollars earmarked for promoting brands and not just
directly selling merchandise, will depend largely on who can verify
their ad inventory and the size, composition, and engagement of their
audience.

May the Best Metric Win

ComScore and NetRatings each believes its own methods the best.
ComScore insists that its method of allowing new measurement methods
will establish it as the clear innovator. It also boasts that it is
able to better measure college students because it offers its software
for download over the Internet in exchange for games, screensavers,
security software and other items. "We feel we have the advantage,"
says Abraham.

Nielsen has an edge with its study panel, which was selected via
random telephone polls and thus, according to Bhatia, more
representative of the general population. He argues that only a
particular kind of computer user is comfortable downloading free
software over the Internet. "Fundamentally, the quality of the result
comes from the quality of the underlying panel," says Bhatia.

Who will win? That will depend largely on who is able to respond
fastest to the new technologies that impair the relevance of old
metrics, says Peter Daboll, a former president of comScore who now
heads Yahoo's global market research department. "Internal server log
data, panels—all have their limitations," says Daboll. "I think frankly
we just need more innovation."

 

 

ON: MySpace Beatdown of Yahoo via @jpenabickley

September 19, 2006No Comments

The Agency Consortium

Rm_website_infographic_adv

In my quest to develop a panel of incredibly smart movers and shakers from all facets of the interactive agency world, I am spearheading a digital marketing consortium.  The consortium members will meet quarterly to discuss moving the needle for their clients in the areas of interactive websites, media planning / buying and content distribution.

The consortium will discuss how smart interactive strategies combined with the right media exchange buying model can move fortune 500 brand clients from old school buying models to passion building experiences that yield actionable data on consumers that interact with their programs. 

To get more information or join "The Agency Consortium" email me at jpena-bickley@rightmedia.com

Check out the Right Media Agency Blog at http://blog.rightmedia.com/category/right-media-exchange/agencies/

The Agency Consortium via @jpenabickley

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Artificial intelligence (Ai)  is the tool of the modern magician. Amidst the great global reset, and another industrial and social revolution, Ai aided design (a.k.a Generative Design) unites math + magic to make what is has been invariable hard — seem remarkably easy.

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