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April 23, 20121 Comment

Coke’s new comprehensive “liquid” marketing strategy

The media landscape is a very different beast today than it was even 5 years ago. Then agency-led television commercials dominated how we channel our marketing. The very fact you are reading this here proves that things have changed.  With splashes of Henry Jenkins’ spreadable media concept, experiential marketing, Sir Ken Robinson’s whiteboard execution and Coke’s sophisticated marketing aplomb, the videos take us on a discovery that is as startling as it is revelatory.

Coca Cola have always been at the forefront of innovation. In this video Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at The Coca-Cola Company is the person responsible for leading global creative vision and strategy for the Company's portfolio of global brands. He explains how Coke will leverage the opportunities in the Post Digital landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to peoples lives. 

The challenge of content creation in an enlightening way, reminds us that every contact point with a customernis a point of judgement that should tell an emotional story.  The importance of a content fludity model is also referenced. What is most surprising during the nearly eighteen viewing minutes is how willfully the soft drink marketer peels back the layers of their organization to reveal what’s been working and what hasn’t.

What these videos do is demonstrate is that the world has changed and the largest marketing organization in the world has changed with it. Have you moved from one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling or from consumer insights to provocations thus potentially adding value and significance to people’s lives.  For those of us who have been building liquid and linked content through transmedia storytelling this is simply refreshing. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Coke’s new comprehensive “liquid” marketing strategy via @jpenabickley

March 28, 2012No Comments

Writing Your Next Symphony

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Harold R. McAlindon

Over the last few days, I have sat in a number of business meetings with fortune 500 marketers who all seem to have the same problem. There is a huge data conundrum.  Everyone of them spoke of the large agency partners having either too little of an understanding of their data across all channels or that their digital &  direct agencies who were in analysis paralysis and could not produce assets that met the data and technology demands of the new mediums. (Often referred to as perishable assets.)  Now that we are in post-digital era where people and our customers leave digital finger prints behind on everything they touch, why have the people who are supposed to be experts at the customers not figured out how to deliver new value to the Post-Digital client?

One of my early mentors, Marc Beeching once said, "The best stories are like a great piece of music. They have a beginning, middle and an end.  Sometimes you have to decide which pieces go where"  I think that analogy holds true for the data conundrum brands are in.  

Much of the Industrial Age and the Information Ages required focus and specialization.  But as white collar work has gotten routed to Asia and reduced to software, there is a new premium on the opposite aptitude: putting the pieces together, or what I call a Symphony.  What is in greatest demand today isn't more analysis, but synthesis-- seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries and being able to combine disparate pieces in to an arresting new whole.

For marketing & brand leaders and digital & traditional agencies alike who do not wish to follow their competitors down a path to a commoditized value exchange -- which is the typical path that many continue to travel -- They have a choice. Live in the past or get down to imagining and forging a new trail to the profitable future.

I have quickly found that you must marry your creative skill sets to a vastly uncomfortable place to survive. Dare I say "Data Synthesis".  As a creative leader you must act like a composer or a great conductor (my favorite is Gustavo Dudamel) .  Ask yourselves which symphony will you write for your brand or clients?  Will it tell a story? Will it have empathy? What meaning will it carry?  How will it be designed?

Next time your clients or potential clients ask you to show them your value -- create a symphony.  

Your audience will listen and remember you. 

Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Writing Your Next Symphony via @jpenabickley

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

March 30, 2011No Comments

on: the future of retail

This week's presentation was a ton of fun to research. Who doesn't like to shop...non-stop? The Future of Retail: A Post Digital Approach to Shopper Marketing was an exercise in innovation and imaging the future of shopping.

While we are well into a the third decade of eCommerce and a new thriving generation of mCommerce technology has emerged, a number of ideas have surfaced as a beta of a new economy of commerce and consumerism. It begins by realizing that the aging of the Baby Boom generation is giving way to the coming of age of Generation Y, which has caused seismic shifts in consumer demand and shopping habits. Retail stores that have adapted [i.e. Best Buy, Sephora, Levi's ] to the new consumer demographics have begun to thrive in spite of the great recession.

Beyond a perpetually evolving, decentralized shopping experience, retailers must begin to contemplate the impact of digital and social medias on the path to purchase. In this presentation I pose a simple challenge to the audience; If the the entire world can be a store; how would your customers make instant purchases regardless of time and place?

on: the future of retail via @jpenabickley

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