The RIGHT Future is HERE! Do you see it?

November 24, 2010 1 comment

Regardless of which field you’re in, you’re probably familiar with the adage ” People are your most important asset.” This statement however is missing a word. The RIGHT people are your most important asset!

Yesterday, I wrote a post where I argued that rather than focusing on the “what” we need to figure out the “who” to take traditional ad agencies through the digital revolution. While the focal point of my argument was that ad agencies need great leaders, Anthony Kalamut (@SouthsideAdguy), Professor and Program Chair of Creative Advertising at Seneca College (@SenecaCr8tive) in Toronto, directed me to a great article published last week in Forbes titled Are You Listening To The Future of Advertising? written by Scott Goodson. you can read the entire piece here.

We might not have crystal balls to look into and see what the future holds, but why look to some distant time when the “future” is present among us? The Future of advertising is Shivani Sharma, Carina Bouganim, Ashton France, David Taller, Kataryna Topol and al. These guys get it, they live it, they breathe it, they walk the walk and talk the talk. When the next JetBlue begins its AOR search via Twitter, these guys will take action, they’ll be locked and loaded to engage. Your agency better have these guys on payroll. How’s that for social media ROI?

Ad Age Insights argued in its The On-Demand Generation white paper that an Anderson Analytics’ annual survey of college students found that “94% of college-aged kids visit social networking site at least once per week, spending an average of 10.6 hours per week on those sites.” By the time this generation graduates and enters the workforce they’ll have plenty of experience with all things digital. You won’t have to train them, just give them the football and watch them run with it, you might learn a thing or two in the process.

We’re facing a changing industry, having the RIGHT people means your agency will easily adapt to trends. You don’t want folks that join your squad based solely on the name you’ve built for yourself.  When comes time to change tires because of a flat, you’ll see these people hitchhiking. The young guns however, will roll up their sleeves, get on their knees and help you change tires.

Secondly, having the RIGHT people spares you the trouble of having to motivate and tightly manage. They don’t need motivation, they’re full of energy, ambitious, opinionated, they have this inner-drive to produce best results and want to take part in the creation of something great. As a great leader you’ll let them. The results you’ll get will blow your hat off. You’ll have a team of equals, ready to ferociously debate eyeball-to-eyeball trying to figure out the best answers. They’ll call BS, BS and what you’ll have is multiple outstanding candidates and when comes time to step down, selecting the superstar successor will be a walk in the park.

shareholders don’t want the genius with a thousand helpers because when the genius leaves, the helpers are lost. Look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

So tell me Are You Listening To The Future of Advertising? looking forward to reading your comments!!!


More Like Phil, less like Pat: how traditional ad agencies can survive

November 23, 2010 3 comments

This afternoon, two school buses pulled up to let two groups of students crowd the local subway. The first one freshly painted, new as if this were its first time out. The second, older, the years of service had clearly done their deed on this bus but there it was still running and with no sign of slowing down. Before the first bus could come to a full stop, the students inside were already getting up and making their way to the front while the driver urged them to stay seated. The scene in the second one was completely different, the pupils kept their seats until the driver turned the handle and released the door to let them out. This made me think of the question that’s on every advertiser’s mind now: What’s does the future look like for the industry? While most of the buzz is on how traditional agencies can survive the digital revolution, I’d like to know which people will lead traditional shops and take them from their current state to great agencies that will consistently deliver great results and exceed client expectations?

The Ad industry does not have a Paul the Octopus it can turn to, and none of us can accurately predict what the future holds but to begin figuring out the what and the how, we need to figure out the who. Thus, the answer to the question does not lie outside the box but inside.

Transformations, revolutions, whatever you choose to call them have occurred before this digital revolution began sending shivers down the spine of top creative directors, planners, media strategists and AEs. Every time, agencies have adapted. As Forrester pointed out in its March report on the evolution of the agency relationship, we’re entering an Adaptive marketing era in which “mass media is no longer the foundation of marketing communications, and marketers who change their thinking, will lay the groundwork for partners that are more agile, can build long-term relationships with active customers and communities, and can use data to drive real-time decisions.” Further, what this tells us, in the words of Harry S. Truman, is that “You can accomplish anything in life, provided you do not mind who gets the credit.”

Execs, need to leave their self-interest and egos at the door if they want to take their agencies through this digital revolution. A traditional shop can only become a great shop and breakthrough if the person driving the bus is a great leader. A great leader will bring DISCIPLINE that will happen at three levels: PEOPLE, THOUGHTS, and ACTIONS. I only want to deal with the PEOPLE stage for this post.

When you look at the 90s Chicago Bulls and the modern-day Lakers what common denominator exists? Phil Jackson! Behind his quiet and reserved persona this self-effacing guy showcases fierce resolve to do whatever is necessary to turn raw, untamed talent into great talent. He is able not only to shift his own ego and self-interest away from himself but teaches his players do the same and focus on the greater goal of the organization. We need more humble Phils than high-profile Pat Riley at the exec level. Only the Phil Jackson will be able to take traditional shops through this revolution.

Why do I think the Phil Jackson type are the beginning of the answer? Rather than walking in with over the top strategies, and impose their visions, the Phil Jackson types will first get the right people on the bus (Kobe) and let the wrong ones off. With the right players in the right seats, an agency will begin having DISCIPLINE THOUGHTS.

Where do you think the great leaders will emerge? Have your say in the comments section.


October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Surely, you’ve reached a point where you feel overwhelmed, you’ve lost sight of what’s important and don’t know which action to take next?As a result, you’re frustrated, and lack patience?One of my friends is going through this stage. To help, I suggested the first thing she must do is getting organized.

Until that conversation, I’ve never really paid attention to the immense place “organized” takes up in our everyday life. Being organized has an impact not only on yourself, but on those that depend on you. could be anyone from your kids, to your parents, to your co-workers. Being organized means you’re functioning within a formal structure, a coherent whole. For parents, being organized could mean, ensuring they get familiar with their kids’ school schedules, and after school activities and coordinate their own schedules around the former. For students, being organized could mean dividing their time efficiently and effectively between classes, assignments, friends, and family. whatever the case, “organized” is everywhere, it’s personal, it’s public, it’s essential. You can’t get past it, put it to the side, or delegate it. It’s your responsibility, your first step to becoming efficient . So what is one suppose to do when they’ve lost their mojo?

Something that seems to work for me is to stop everything, and take a step back before panic sets in. I then analyze what is causing me to be less productive, look at how I can switch it up and I start making the necessary changes. Doing this is challenging because while you stop to take a moment, the world around you continues to move. The trick is to find idle times where you can devote yourself to getting organized and where minimal impact is felt by those around you. Getting organized takes time. The sooner you start the better off you’ll be. Don’t let disruptive events corner you.

We all get hit with the occasional “I’m so lost, I don’t know what to do.” but we’ve always known what to do. We just sometimes forget how to do it. So go ahead my friends, get organized. Do it now, not tomorrow, not next week, now. You’ll bear the fruits sooner than you think. How do you get organized? let us know in the comment section.


October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

If the porn industry is hanging on by a thread because of web 2.0, why is it that ad campaigns still rely on sex? Sex isn’t selling anymore! October is breast cancer awareness month and like every year ad people are looking for creative ways to build awareness around this terrible disease. So, you’ve probably noticed bizarre status updates in your news feed that had you reading twice to make sure you weren’t dreaming. This year, Facebook’s awareness mission has female users post status updates like ” I like it in the locker room”. While the campaign has gone viral, I question the impact it will have on finding a cure for the disease by raising donations to fund more research. Oh my bad guys (men) I forgot to let you know what your female friends are referring to: They are telling you where they like to leave their purses.

Get it? breast cancer=terrible disease=needs more research to find a definite cure=let’s tell people where we like to leave our purse in a way where their vivid imaginations let them believe we’re talking about places where we enjoy…. you know….

Is this the best idea we could come up with? What exactly are the goals of this campaign? I’m guessing the goal is to build awareness around breast cancer. If that’s the case, do you think picturing where such and such would like to get down and dirty leads me to Google breast cancer and then make a donation? Did the people behind this poor effort think of conversions?Further, if you want to play the sex card, at least include an image or something (although that will not have me thinking about breast cancer either). I thought cheesy advertising was just for the Sham Wow or the Snuggie.

Besides, sex is no longer shocking. it’s on TV during prime time, it’s on Perez Hilton’s gossip site where you regularly catch a “nip slip” or an up-skirt shot of some celebrity. So drop the sex act and use your noggin. it’s too easy to push out a concept like that. Why? first I don’t think this will increase donations for the cause. Second it’s just a bad campaign.Finally, it’s just unclear what you want us to do, the CTA is completely absent.

This is what you can do (click) I’m not an affiliate of this campaign.


October 1, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday, emarketer asked how can luxury retailers create a better online shopping experience? While the question focuses on how the current state of e-commerce can be taken to the next level to better meet the wants and needs of affluents, I wonder if affluents will increasingly turn to the internet to south their indulgence in luxury goods?

2/3 of e-commerce growth in Q2 of 2010 is credited to affluents. Despite this promising figure, luxury retailers remain inactive and fail to take advantage of this new breed of online shoppers. Luxury brands are defined by their inaccessibility and exclusiveness which feed our need to look wealthy. While internet usage continues to surge across all demographics, buying luxury goods online can never mimic the in-store experience that’s offered to the affluents. three reasons exist that point to this argument.

1) When shopping in an Hermes store or purchasing a IWC watch from a high-end jeweler, the mere action of walking out with the branded shopping bag creates a sense of pride and self-accomplishment that cannot be replicated online despite all the social sharing tools that exist.

2) In general, women go shopping in pairs. They not only value their friend’s opinion when purchasing a designer garment but also engage in experiences that transcend that taking place in stores. These outings are occasions during which shoppers have the opportunity to catch up with each others’ lives this, usually over lunch, drinks, or the occasional pampering at the local spa. While time has become a commodity for most of us, the occasional getaway with friends on a shopping trip is still of essence and very much valued. Thus, making the complete disappearance of in-store purchasing unlikely.

3)Finally, the white-glove treatment that is customary to luxury brands can never quite render the same way online. True luxury brands not only offer their customers with a certain level of intimacy that exists online but they usually throw in the occasional champagne glass along with other delicacies.

So while the recession has caused affluents to increase their research for deals, value, and quality and has prompt a surge in online shopping, the return to a more stable economic climate will likely see affluents getting together and invading the Fifth avenues of the world and take part in that rich experience that many covet but only few enjoy.

What do you think? Do you see sharp declines in the level of in-store purchases of luxury goods happening soon? Have your say in the comment box below.

3 steps to supercharge your online voice

September 14, 2010 1 comment

There’s a saying that goes: ” You don’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets”.

scream by Jason Prini

I think the same holds true for building influence in the digital world and making your voice resonate. Yesterday I watched Rafael Nadal reach his first grand slam at the tender age of 24. As I was sitting there in awe at the surgical precision with which he operated on Djokovic, I realized that this guy didn’t get there by sitting on his couch watching the many greats before him play. He studied them carefully and applied his learnings to his game. His prowess did not come from a single practice with uncle Toni, it came from persistence, determination, and confidence. But beyond that, his success didn’t happen overnight.

I’ve fallen prey to the notion that people around me compliment my writing and have always told me that this is what I should be doing. Well folks let me tell you something I’ve learned from the past month or so: there’s no paper, publisher, or media company knocking at my door asking that I join their ranks. On the contrary, I am sitting in dead silence. I even ring the door bell myself to see if it works properly. The problem is not that my writing sucks (or at least I’d like to think it doesn’t), the problem is that I approached this blogging thing the wrong way. There are an endless number of reasons that explain why my digital voice is not attracting loads of people to my blog but as I continue to examine the latter, here are three ways to remedy the problem that I’d like to share with you:

1) No good comes to those who wait

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been told that good things come to those who wait. Think again my friends, none of that is true. Especially in the digital galaxy. If you wait around for readers to come to your site, blog, fan page etc… you might wait a hot minute like my friend would say. The endless number of sites, blogs and fan pages available on the internet suggests you can’t wait around for your tribe to form around you. You have to go out and find your audience and let them know that you have this neat piece of  digital land that they can come to so that you can build a community. In my case, I’ve given commenting on other people’s spaces little to no effort. When you get into this blogging game, you have to go out and deliver valuable opinions on other blogs or you’ll be admiring your posts solo for a very long time. What I should do is check out a promising site or two and hang around there to see if I can be useful, helpful, and relevant.

2) Stop thinking Chris Brogan, think Camille Desrosiers

While Chris’s blogs consistently deliver food for thoughts, you have to think who the next A-lister is going to be. Follow the old timers, those that have been in the game for a while and can deliver useful content with their eyes closed on a daily basis but don’t overlook the up and coming digital stars. Those are the ones you want to be around when Seth, Mitch, Gary, Brian, etc… decide its time to bring in some fresh blood. Camille is part of that group of up and comers that will take social media to the next level. You can check out her blog and work here (in French).

3) Practice “I listen to you but I don’t hear you”

My mother often asks me if I’m listening to her or just hearing her. The difference between the two is this: while she rants about how I should be doing this and not that, I hear it but I listen to the voices in my head telling me the complete opposite. Whether it be online or offline, try listening to what people are saying. Listening means you’ll have more than the silly “huh huh” as a response. You’ll actually start having conversations that will lead to ideas for blog posts, that will challenge your intellectual stance and will challenge that of others as well, mapping out new directions and helping you build connections.

I could go on for days with other tips that would avoid smothering my digital voice such as lack of consistency in my posts, lack of clarity in my CTA, or the fact that my voice isn’t particularly compelling but I’d like for you to take the stage and share some of the tactics behind reaching success in the digital arena? Have your say in the comments section below and let’s build a case study around the topic.

Categories: Social media

4 suggestions to engage women through social media

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The notion that women make up the majority of social media users is no novelty. They’ve rightfully taken their seats at the social media table and are determined to make their presence felt. Yet, some brands catering to women, find it difficult to engage the latter and enhance the relationships through social media tools.

For brands looking to engage women through social media, here are 4 recommendations you should consider:

1) Get with the program

Haven’t you received the memo? the focus groups, opinion polls, and surveys are so 2008! You want to build detailed customer profiles? social media’s got your back. It allows for a deep understanding of women lifestyles, their wants, and their needs. And all you have to do is sign up and plug your speakers and listen.

2)Caress their backs they’ll massage yours

Serve their interests effectively and you’ll experience unparalleled success. Women are bombarded with messages all day. don’t let your message be the one that supports “two Aleve takes the pain away”. Instead whisper in their ears. Connect with them on an emotional level. They should see themselves in your message.

3)Thick is the new Thin

Women want to be heard and they’ll tell you what they think about you. So develop think skin. Learn to face the brutal facts. When they tell you you’re not doing a good job, address their complaints and let them know that you’re working on fixing it. If the compliment you, follow your mother’s advice, thank them. Being mindful will shed light on weaknesses, and will bring about opportunities you haven’t identified, leading to business enlightenment. that’s worth more that any dollar amount spent on focus groups.

4) Tag team

If you’ve ever watched a wrestling match you know what I’m referring to. Partner up, include your target in your life. Open the doors to your plant if you have a product. If you want to give back to the community or embrace a cause, ask them which one they think is worthy. Have a poll on your facebook page. Inspiring your target making them feel they’re part of something will turn them into evangelists. they’ll bear the torch because they perceive you as someone doing good things.

In today’s competitive marketplace, you have to shape your brand around your community. Watching your competitors beat you to the social media games will only result in large sums invested in catch-up advertising. The time to act is now. We’re no longer experiencing let’s play it safe markets, it’s all about who will take the leap of faith and let their wings spread. If redbull gives you wings social media gives you a rocket and it sure ain’t science!

What other recommendations would you add? Have your say in the comment box.