New Year’s Resolution

31 12 2008

I admit it.  I like new year’s resolutions.  There is something about compulsively wiping the slate clean and starting fresh that really appeals to me.  It also aligns with my love of year-end, top 10 lists.  

In 2008, I decided to move from adopting resolutions to adopting a guiding theme for the year.  2008 was all about “The Year of Living Fearlessly” which got off to a bang with an unintended visit to a Brazilian nude beach.  2009’s theme is “Being Different Matters.”  I am not talking about different for different’s sake, but rather the authenticity and value that come from being yourself.  This will have personal implications for sure.  It will also resonate with my client work as I continue to help people and businesses differentiate themselves meaningfully in an ever-more competitive marketplace.

What’s your theme for 2009?


On Value

29 12 2008

I’m digging David Armano’s sentiments regarding value.  In a nutshell:

“Keep creating unexpected value”

This is a great marketing mantra for 2009. 

Holiday Retail Fallout pt. 1:”Spirit” vs. “Present”

29 12 2008

Looks like the ghost of Christmas Present is just that, a ghost.  

MediaPost ran an interesting article about the most popular search keywords this holiday.  Last year, the #1 search was “Christmas present,” with “Christmas shopping” coming in at #4.  This year, the top search was for “Santa letter,” followed by “Christmas wish list,” and “Christmas spirit.”  The words “present” and “shopping” didn’t even make it into this year’s top 10. Where did they go?  

Somewhere along the line, the more genteel word “gift” has replaced “present” and “spirit” has become something you search for.  

Marketers take note.  As San Francisco-based Kontera surmised (they provided the analysis for this report), we are faced with more thoughtful consumers now.  And if they’re more thoughtful in their spending, you can bet that they are seeking value and meaning in their purchases.  

It’s time to adjust those marketing messages for ’09.

TechCrunch Draws a Line in the Sand

19 12 2008

My friend Craig forwarded me this tasty little nugget.  It’s from Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch.  Boy is he PO’ed.  And for good reason.  

The gist of his vitriol:

We will honor [breaking news] embargoes from trusted companies and PR firms who give us the news exclusively, so we know there won’t be any mistakes. There are also a handful – maybe three – people who we trust enough to continue to work with them on general embargoes (if you are a PR person and wondering if you’re on that list, you’re not). But for the vast majority of news we get in our inboxes, we’re just going to fire it off to our readers ad hoc whenever we please.

The race for attention in the tech start-up world is full of desperation.  It reminds me of my days in the film industry.  Actually, it’s more akin to a room full of kids raising their hands shouting “Me! Me! Me!”

We marketers are going to have to think good and hard about how we develop campaigns that bring us the attention and recognition our products and services deserve.  [notice that bit there in italics]  We have to work hard to CREATE DISCOVERY for people like Arrington without cramming press releases down their throats.

Now, while I have your attention, I’d like to tell you about my newest client, SmartTouch…

Premium Viral: JCPenney’s “The Doghouse”

15 12 2008

“Viral video” is an overplayed, overused concept.  I think a lot of marketers and producers mistake being funny or clever as the magic key to creating viral content.  The key to viral is customer insight.  If you can make a connection to a universally-understood concept or characteristic and develop a story around that – whether it’s funny, sad or just plain poignant – your creative will stand a much better chance of catching on.  You want people to go “Oh yeah!  I’ve been there.”

A great example of this, is JCPenney’s (!!!!) “The Doghouse” video.  The insight:  give a practical gift to your wife over the holidays and you’re doomed.  The execution:  a prison spoof based on the “you’re in the doghouse” cliche.  This is freaking brilliant.  They understand women and they understand the men who want to buy the right thing for them this holiday.  Watch, enjoy and take notes on a truly great viral video.

Overly Optimistic Marketing?

15 12 2008

In a Pepsi-sponsored survey, StrategyOne discovered that Millennials, born between 1980 and 1990, share the attribute of optimism.  In fact, 95% of Millennials surveyed agreed with the statement that “it is important to maintain a positive outlook on life.”  These respondents also responded positively to words like “change,” “new,” “progress,” “hope” and “excitement.”  As all of this is part of the self-designated Pepsi Optimism Project, I’m wondering if this research is simply a vehicle for Pepsi to find what they’re looking for.  Are Millennials the only demographic with a statistically significant predisposition toward “progress” and “excitement?” [link to full AdAge article here]

It’s going to be interesting to watch Pepsi roll out their new optimistic branding (no doubt with a big splash at the Super Bowl) at a point in history where the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama will collide with a severe economic recession.  What will win out — eager new Pepsi or more-of-the-same Coke?  Feels like another election is upon us.