This guest article is written by Jim Signorelli, CEO of StoryLab Marketing in Chicago and author of StoryBranding: Creating Standout Brands Through The Power Of Story.
Finding your authentic brand's story is not a luxury for the touchy-feely. Given our overloaded channels of communication and the general lack of trust (and boredom) with advertising messages, finding your brand's true emotional core and expressing it through your brand's story is a must.
But first, you must know what you're looking for.
If you ask any storywriter, "what are you trying to say through your story?" chances are you will get some expression of their worldview or values. If you ask the same question of a marketer, you might get something that resembles a unique selling proposition or what is now commonly referred to as an elevator speech. Brand stories are something very different than elevator speeches, and far more powerful.
Advertising Age just published a round up of last week's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and took a look at five of the hottest topics discussed. There was controversy surrounding the judging of the Media Lions. There was the acknowledgement of technology's increasingly important role in advertising. There was the growing debate over the relevance of effectiveness in judging work. There was the shifting viewpoint among giants P&G and Unilever over the importance of copy testing. And there was a bit of hang wringing over the increase in the number of clients (as compared to agencies) attending the festival and whether or not Cannes will transform itself from a festival of creativity into a global marketing event.
And it is this last point that, in our mind, is worth further exploration. It appears Cannes is undergoing the same seismic shift our U.S.-based SXSW has experienced over the last few years. Just as Cannes was once a small conclave of agency types, SXSW was once a small conclave of early adopter widget heads. Now, both events have, rightly so in our opinion, expanded to include other elements of their respective domains.
It's funny how quickly things change. When Adrants launched in 2001 and then became a business in 2003, things were still pretty traditional. Banners ruled. DSP stood for digital signal processing (not demand-side publishing). RTB was something Wall Street did. There was no social media. There was no social business. There was no content marketing. And there were certainly no brands producing their own content. Because God forbid the line between advertising and editorial be crossed.
See PayPerPost. We trashed them and CEO Ted Murphy. But times change and what was once unacceptable is now, mostly the norm. We're good friends with Ted Murphy now and, like many other publications, now sell "content sponsorship" deals all the time. Even Adrants, which always prided itself on cutting through the bullshit and keeping the ad industry honest now straddles the line.
Today, that line that used to exist between advertising and editorial is becoming ever more difficult to see. It's not as if "pure" editorial was never before influenced by marketers intent on insuring their message play out in as many places as possible. It's just that the "vetting" that used to exist between marketer and consumer has mostly disappeared.
Last night at Galapagos Art Space in New York, the long-awaited debut of the Cornelius Trunchpole documentary, Art & Corny, premiered. For over two years, Cornelius Trunchpole, famous ad man from the sixties, has been promising a comeback. And if the documentary is to be believed, the man has, indeed returned.
In the documentary, produced by contagiousLA, industry luminaries such as Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, Steve Hayden, Gerry Graf, Barbara Lippert, Michael Wolf, J. Walter Thompson II and, yes, George Parker discuss the effect Trunchpole had on them.
This guest article is written by redpepper founder Dave McMullen.
Most ad agencies live and die by a single metric. Some measure everything about it and all around it. Others ignore it and just hope they get it. It's the fuel that drives the modern advertising business.
It's the billable hour.
In order to grow profitably, agencies need to hire more people and bill them out at a minimum of 65-75 percent of their day. Unfortunately selling, assigning, and working by the hour and for the hour is not very motivating. And this can cause problems in an agency's culture by killing the inspiration needed to find creative solutions to problems.
Sadly, in the ad business, copycatting is all to prevalent. Sometimes it's unintentional. Sometimes it's just chance. Sometimes it's an agency "repurposing" old work for a new client. Sometimes it's the client asking a new agency to "repurpose" the work of another agency.
Whatever the case may be, it's always a sticky situation. We'd like to believe maliciousness is never in play. We can't really ever be sure though.
The latest case of copycatting comes from Work Labs, a company that prides itself for creating brands designed for the everyday worker. One of these products was Work Beer, a microbrew brand that was developed in 1999 and brewed for a short time by Main Street Beer Company. In 2005, Work Labs developed an ad campaign for the microbrew.
Yesterday, Work Labs Founder Cabell Harris contacted us (after it had been called to our attention by another source) to tell us his 2005 campaign for Work Beer looked strikingly similar to a 2012 New Belgium campaign for Shift Beer. You can see each campaign side by side here.
This guest post was written by Kevin Dugan, a full-time marketer, a long-time blogger and a proud Cincinnatian.
Some of you have probably seen TidyCats #lifestinks campaign. It's online with a campaign site encouraging consumers to Tweet about why life stinks and with videos designed to go, uh, feral perhaps. It's offline too with TV spots, out of home ads - even a mobile tour.
It's all designed to make sure we understand that TidyCats covers up the smell of used cat litter. Who knew?
There are so many things wrong on so many levels with this new Scion iQ campaign. But first, the gist of the campaign. To tout the fact that despite the iQ's small size four adults can still fit in the vehicle, four commercials feature four groups of people in the car eating donuts and drinking milk while the vehicle does...ahem...donuts in a donut shops' parking lot.
So what's wrong with the strategy? Aside from the fact, it's fun to watch people get tossed around a car while trying to eat, is it really smart for the brand to associate itself with what's being communicated in the ads - unsafe driving? Yea, yea, yea. We all know...don't try this at home. But you know, sadly, there are just enough idiots in this world who will see this, try it, crash and then try to sue Scion for their idiocy.
This SXSW coverage is brought to you by Red Square Agency. The agency that also brought you startling birds with a brass horn.
When you peruse the SXSW panel listing prior to making your way to the annual nerd-fest in Austin each year and you come across a panel entitled Social Media is a Bubble and SXSW is a Fad, interest is piqued. The panel aimed to explore if, in fact, social media is a bubble about to burst and whether or not SXSW has simply jumped the shark and become too large.
The panel, which was moderated by Attention Founder and CEO Curtis Hougland, kicked of with what, for a second, seemed like the introduction of some kind of new killer app that would ensure that your social media activity would always rise to the top. A few seconds in, it was clear the app was a joke but, because of the app's "boom! there it is" approach to popularity was an integral component, it did get everyone to shout "boom" before they asked a question. Which, of course, was funny. But even funnier was one woman who came to the session late and had no idea why she had to say "boom" before she asked the question.
This SXSW coverage is brought to you by Red Square Agency. The agency that also brought you speling.
ClickZ has an interesting piece on B2B brands an SXSW. As we wrote last year, SXSW has overwhelmingly been taken over by marketers leaving the geeks to grumble about their presence. Hey, things change. Go with it. There's really nothing else you can do.
Of the presence of B2B brands at SXSW, Eloqua's Jesse Noyes told ClickZ, "Some people tend to think of 'South By' as more of a consumer-facing event where the next big thing like Twitter gets launched. But you have a lot of B2B brands setting up booths next to B2Cs. You'll go to a panel and see the head of marketing for Adobe sitting next to Pepsi on stage. That's what makes it great."