Digital insights


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In this new report, Engauge executives share their perspectives on the most important challenges and opportunities facing the advertising industry, revealing thought-provoking ideas about what it takes to truly engage consumers in today’s culture.

Emerging technology insights include evaluations of the most important platforms for digital marketing and what to expect from interactive TV, as well as key takeaways from the retail industry on managing convergence.

The report also features critical perspectives on important issues in contemporary culture, including privacy concerns in the social media ecosystem, and the radical reorientation of the relationship between brands and consumers.

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Digital insights

  1. 1. 1 EIGHT QUESTIONS ANSWEREDDigital Insights
  2. 2. contents What is the role of creativity for brands today? Mike Bednar, chief creative officer | 03 What’s the most important tech platform today in digital marketing? Raghu Kakarala, svp, creative technologist | 05 What can brands learn from retailers’ embrace of convergence? Shannon Delaney, director of behavioral brand planning | 07 What can brands expect from interactive TV in 2011?Excerpted from The Engauge 2011 Digital Outlook. Tomer Tishgarten, vice president of technology | 09 Download the full report @ How can brands stay relevant to consumers today? David Grzelak, executive director, brand planning | 11 Is social media amplifying an aspect of human nature that mass media didn’t activate? Patti Ziegler, chief marketing officer | 13 What social media metrics matter today for brands? Cover Image: Scott Hildebrand, chief consumer relationship officer | 15 Sabbath Photography Licensed under Creative Commons. Can privacy survive in the social media ecosystem? To learn more, visit Mya Frazier, director of trends and insights | 17
  3. 3. Q 3POINT OF VIEW What is the role of creativity for brands today?Welcome to the democratization of creativity. What do I mean? vibrancy of reality. It chose dialogue over monologue. The opinionWell, let’s go back—starting a few centuries to a few years ago. of a teenager from Antioch, Wisconsin became as valuable as theCreativity was, by its nature, elitist, owned by few and awed by many. postulates of a tenured Harvard professor. Anything was possible, andIn order to create, you needed tools, a location and resources, not the unexpected became the expectation.merely talent. The prohibitive costs and time commitments relegatedcreativity to those with the capacity to pursue it—the funded painters Emotion hijacked logic. It was no longer necessary for logic pathsand poets, the industry-backed musicians and filmmakers. to move rigidly from awareness to persuasion. No, it was marketing anarchy where the targeted audience usurped brand positioning rightIt was no different in business. Ad agencies possessed all the time, from the hands of unsuspecting and talent to create. Consumers sat back passively and watchedor listened. Because agencies, bankrolled by marketers, could afford Now, what consumers say—in blogs and microblogs, on socialto create the message, we had control. We owned the influence; we networks, in email chains, on socialized sites and video sharingcommanded the mediums. We held all the creative cards. platforms—is the voice of your brand. And it can change in a nanosecond without rhyme or reason. Like it or not, this is the newThen technology came along and reshuffled the deck completely. world of creative influence.In the hands of the many, the voice of creativity changed. Itstone became collaborative. It eschewed production polish for the Some brands will resist, some will reluctantly accede. But those brands
  4. 4. 4 Mike Bednar chief creative officer READ MIKE’S BLOG: ENGAUGECREATIVITY.COMthat not only embrace but also join their new creators will triumph. Here’sthe secret to why: Brand positioning, by its very nature, is emotional. Itsfoundations are, and have always been, built on constantly shifting sands.Perception is reality. And consumers have always held the ultimate control—they’ve either believed or they haven’t. They’ve created images of brandsin their own minds. Now they simply have the ability to create the outward-facing image. Consumers accept the creative messages of other consumersmore readily than from marketers.So give them the tools to create, unleash experiences and invite them in. Letthem influence your brand’s direction, not the other way around. Trust themto know as much about themselves as your precious research does. Allowthem to disagree, to argue—at least they’re talking. Create two-way content;share everything you have—without hesitation.Their creativity is limitless and infinitely effective. When it’s built around yourbrand, it becomes the most powerful marketing tool any brand could possess.
  5. 5. 5 QPOINT OF VIEW What’s the most important tech platform today in digital marketing?Social is no longer an optional add-on; it’s the new default. Facebookreached an epic milestone in November, accounting for a quarter ofall webpage views in the U.S., according to Hitwise. For some brands,social presences are now the primary platform for brand expression andinteraction. In 2011, their owned-media channels will be augmented by and community managers—but success in social is rarely attributable to how much money you throw around. Rather, social campaigns live or die as a result of creativity, commitment and mindset. Creativity, in particular, matters more than ever. Unlike traditional media like TV, brands can’t “rent” an audience for thirty seconds by buying a spot intraditional homepages, rather than the other way around. a popular program. In social media, brands have to build and retain their own audience.However, those tech-savvy brands are the exceptions; the bulkof marketing has not kept pace with the advance of innovation. Marketers bemoan the proliferation of platforms because of theBrands should also recognize that successful owned-media channels increase in required resources. They continue to view these platformson Facebook, Twitter or YouTube can be launched with minimal as “tactics,” rather than an invaluable extension and expression oftechnological sophistication and very little up-front investment. It’s not consumers themselves. Brands should take solace in the fact thatcompletely free—somebody has to pay the salaries of dedicated staff these technological changes have reinvigorated engagement.
  6. 6. 6 Raghu Kakarala svp, creative technologist FOLLOW RAGHU ON TWITTER @INTERPOLATESocial and mobile have increasingly become essential “life tools” formainstream users. Over 20% of U.S. consumers visit social networkingsites and blogs on their mobile phones, according to comScore, and it’sexpected that half of all U.S. consumers will have a smartphone by the endof 2011. If consumers are allocating their time and money, what’s holdingback brands?Today’s early adopter is often an average consumer, rather than theneighborhood techno whiz. That’s why it’s not too early to begin testingemerging technologies like connected TV, where brands can come alivethrough addressable commercials, or social TV, with mobile apps thatenable audience participation. These technologies may be logical nextmoves for brands that have already mastered their owned-media channel.
  7. 7. 7 Q POINT OF VIEW What can brands learn from retailers’ embrace of convergence?Every day, shopper expectations get higher and higher, and the brandthat is present in every channel on every device is the one that isgoing to have the best chance to make a real connection with them.Not long ago I stumbled across an Altimeter report, “The Riseof Social Commerce,” that talked about the enlightened state of Consumers shop in stores while using their phones to check competitive pricing, read product reviews and ask their network of friends for their thoughts and experiences. The more considered the purchase, the more highly social it becomes as anxiety to make a good decision drives consumers to reach out for real-world input. Accepting and enabling these behaviors is the first step. Best Buy gets a nod for“frictionless commerce” in which social and retail are integrated for early adoption by putting Internet-connected terminals inside stores toa completely redesigned shopping experience that’s truly consumer- allow consumers to do that very thing.centric. Even for non-retail brands, there are benefits to adopting ane-commerce mindset when it comes to convergence. But why We now see the integration of Facebook Connect with brands’ ownstop there? site-registration processes. In addition to making the log-in process simpler, Facebook Connect provides a detailed picture of customers.The future of marketing is frictionless engagement. I call it brand The data goes far beyond demographics. We know what books theynirvana and define it as the removal of barriers that inhibit consumer read, events they attend, brands they care about and who their friendsdecision making. are. Amazon is leading the way by making the site your experience,
  8. 8. 8 Shannon Delaney director of behavioral brand planningreminding you to buy gifts for friends’ birthdays and suggesting books andmusic you should buy based on your “likes.”Sometimes people are so excited about a great score or the pure joy ofsomething they recently purchased, they want to share it with the world inreal time. And yet, recently, a client asked, “Shouldn’t we wait to launch oursocial presence and spend six weeks doing focus groups to ask people whatthey really want from our social offering?” My answer: “Why wait? Every day isanother day that you aren’t present in a place that they expect you to be andeven more important is you have a social focus group right there.”To truly influence consumer behavior, you need to recognize that digitalretail and social are not isolated channels. Seamlessly integrated and highlypersonalized experiences will lead to frictionless engagement. That’s not onlynirvana for brands; it’s also heavenly for consumers.
  9. 9. Q 9 POINT OF VIEW What can brands expect from interactive TV in 2011?Interactive TV represents a hybrid medium where on-demand content adopters are already vested. They are astute consumers with the high-and Web applications meet the biggest screen in your home—the est expectations, highest technology-specific investment and highesttelevision. Consumers with Interactive TV sets use built-in applications potential for engagement in the near term. They’ll be experimenting(widgets) to access content such as YouTube videos, Flickr photos and with the applications to figure out, essentially, what the new technologyPandora music, along with social media from Facebook and Twitter. can really deliver. If their expectations and interests are fulfilled, these initial experiences will help shape mainstream consumer behavior ofTelevision set manufacturers have been eager to roll out interactive the future.TV (a.k.a iTV or connected TV) with the hope that it would spark con-sumer demand like high definition did in years past. However, current Brands have an opportunity in 2011 to dip their toe into this mediumbarometer readings indicate that these smart displays are poised for and begin to experiment on a limited budget by turning to a set-toplukewarm interest at best among mainstream consumers. Research box, such as the Logitech Revue with Google TV. This device representsfrom Forrester has confirmed that approximately 40% of users who an alternative component within the typical home entertainment center,own interactive TVs either failed to connect their TV to the Internet or and in many cases, consumers who want interactive TV will opt for suchconnected their display yet failed to use this feature. a device rather than replacing their TV display. This is particularly true for the most tech-sophisticated crowd, who may be in no hurry to ditchWhile the mainstream consumer may be out for now, early technology their traditional, expensive, 42-inch, high-definition displays.
  10. 10. 10 Tomer Tishgarten vice president of technology FOLLOW TOMER ON TWITTER @TOMERIFIC OR ON HIS BLOG ALLTHATIKNOW.COMThe Logitech Revue is powered by the popular Android mobile operatingsystems. Developers that have built mobile applications will be able to technicallyrepurpose them once the Google TV software development kit is available.When Google rolls out the Android Marketplace in early 2011, marketers anddevelopers will finally be able to deploy their custom applications and fullyexperiment with this technology. Additionally, Apple is expected to follow suit byexpanding support for third-party iOS apps on their Apple TV device.By jumping into this category in 2011, with apps and related media like interactivesocial and video content, brands have serious potential for high-visibility impact inthis much-watched space.Marketers can bring a creative touch to the technology, delivering eye-popping content that unleashes the exciting possibilities of the new medium.Technology consumers, manufacturers and the media are all waiting for the trueinnovators to step forward.
  11. 11. 11 Q POINT OF VIEW How can brands stay relevant to consumers today?In order for a brand to become “social” and do so in a meaningfuland relevant way, brands must get beyond thinking and definingthemselves solely as a set of product benefits. Why? Becauseproduct benefits are a short and uninteresting topic for socialconversations and they certainly don’t add any badge value ormeaning to the brand that makes them “like-worthy” to our Branding today requires a new approach—an approach that doesn’t start with a proclamation about what we are or how we want consumers to feel about us, but with an understanding of consumer culture and the cultural meaning that surrounds the consumption of our brand. Branding is no longer done from the inside out; it works from the outside in. Letting the values, beliefs and attitudesnarcissistic and in-control consumer. of consumers shape and define our brand so that our positioning doesn’t just create category relevancy, but cultural relevancy.Today, in a world of over-choice, where product benefits and featuresare quickly and easily copied by competitors and where buzz terms This is a big and necessary shift in the way we approach social, dialogue and interaction have replaced the safety of simply Letting consumers define your brand makes for more relevantsending out ads into the market, the whole notion of positioning connections and increases the meaning of your brand in the livesa brand upon its unique space within a category has become as of consumers. It takes us beyond the package and product to aantiquated as defining a cell phone by its ability to make a phone call. positioning that allows brands to become alive and infinitely more
  12. 12. 12 David Grzelak executive director, brand planning READ DAVID’S BLOG AT DAVIDGRZELAK.COMinteresting in the day-to-day lives of consumers. The minute we, asmarketers, put ourselves in the context of a category, we immediatelylimit the usefulness and meaning that our brand can have in themarketplace. We reduce ourselves to features and attributes, butthinking of our brand through the lens of consumer culture opens upan endless source of inspiration and imagination.So while we may see narcissism in the behaviors of consumers insocial media, we, as brands, must let go of ours. Nothing good comesout of a conversation between two narcissists, and it may just be timefor brands to replace our narcissism with a little bit of humility and finallyrecognize that consumers do, in fact, define and own brands.
  13. 13. 13 Q POINT OF VIEW Is social media amplifying an aspect of human nature that mass media didn’t activate?If every person wants to be a brand and every brand wants to be aperson, where does that leave marketing? What does it say about ourculture that young girls want to become celebrity brands like MileyCyrus, while companies and products are competing to be our friends?Brands were once the cornerstones of consumer culture, but with the face it, though, brands are lucky consumers let them in to the party in the first place. Rather than barring the door, they’ve brought brands into their social scene. They’ve taken us inside their houses, they’ve shared their thoughts, they’ve expressed sincere interest. We may be living in a nation of narcissists, but consumers are actually encouraging brands to behave more like people—in otherrise of social media, consumers have increasingly subsumed brands. words, more like them.They’re now the producers and the consumers. Brands are sidelined toserving “content,” which, sadly, makes marketers sound like caterers— People have always projected—we put on our best face in public.ferrying drinks to VIPs at a cocktail party, desperately hoping everybody But that kind of social projection used to happen in privatelikes the appetizers. encounters, smaller settings. It wasn’t mediated. The message wasn’t packaged and broadcast across global networks like TwitterAdvertising, long acknowledged as both tastemaker and toastmaster and Facebook. People weren’t building their own personal American culture, is now mostly a facilitator. It’s the hired help. Let’s They weren’t marketing themselves.
  14. 14. 14 Patti Ziegler chief marketing officer READ PATTI’S BLOG AT PATTIZIEGLER.COMJacob Lewis, co-founder of teen literary social salon, observedthat in the past there was no expectation that famous authors wouldcorrespond with their readers. “That’s not true now,” says Lewis. “There’sbeen a fundamental shift. When kids today interact with the authors theylove, they expect a response. They demand a response. Reading isn’t apassive experience for them; it’s a social one. People want to participate.”Which means it’s a mistake to get too preoccupied with notions ofnarcissism, because there’s also a brighter side to this paradigm—a vibrantculture that finds value in creating and contributing, not just consuming.Brands aren’t celebrities. They’re not people and they’re not peers. But theycan be very useful friends. And that’s worth considering in this new creativecontext. There’s a party going on—now go serve those canapes.
  15. 15. 15 Q POINT OF VIEW What social media metrics matter today for brands?As an industry, we’ve spent a lot of time asking ourselves: What’sthe value of a Facebook friend? But that’s always been the wrongquestion. And, ultimately, an impossible one to answer. Thenecessary and logical questions to ask instead are: What is there to readership figures or viewers of a TV show. And just like those metrics, it doesn’t speak to impact or relevance. It indicates audience. And just like the mass market of the distant past, Facebook’s aggregate audience is massive. It reached 70% of the U.S. Internet audience inlearn in the social media space? And how can we use this knowledge 2010, up from 48% in 2009, according to a recent report byto create more meaning in the lives of consumers and, therefore, J.P. Morgan.value for a brand? As with any technological innovation, especiallythose accompanied by a radical shift in social and cultural norms, And yet we remain essentially toddlers in the social media spacefiguring out what it all means for marketing practice doesn’t happen when it comes to metrics. The only thing we’ve figured out is how toovernight. Yes, fans are a measurable outcome, but not necessarily count things. We need to move from talking about X or Y brand beingthe best metric. Fan counts are simply what is available. Marketers mentioned 10,000 times to “what did these consumers actually say?”gravitate by habit to these measurements because they are similar to It’s essentially a move from quantitative to qualitative data analysis.
  16. 16. 16 Scott Hildebrand chief consumer relationship officerWe are at a very binary stage, asking whether something is good or bad.We must move on to intent. There is a richness in social conversations thatbrands need to tap. The future will be dashboards that will tell you how wellyour social media performed in terms of activity. We will get to the pointwhere we will be able to gauge how well a social campaign performed interms of brand perception. Once we understand how brands are perceived,we can start to alter those perceptions and drive category growth or abrand positioning against a competitor. And that’s certainly not counting ora superficial indication simply of popularity or buzz. That’s where analyticsmust improve—linking an individual with their ability to drive actions thatcreate value for a brand. It’s an uphill climb, but we will eventually arrive atthat level of granularity with our analytics.
  17. 17. 17 Q POINT OF VIEW Can privacy survive in the social media ecosystem?As our public selves merge perceptibly with our private selves on so-cial networks, our notions of what constitutes privacy—arguably eventhe very definition of privacy—is undergoing a radical revision.Mark Zuckerberg audaciously quipped in 2010 that privacy was no interests and schools attended—of the remaining users? The answer was perhaps predictable: Yes. It was the high degree of accuracy that was surprising. Even when given information on as little as 20% of users, the personal attributes of the remaining users could be broadly determined.longer a social norm. For most of the 550 million users of Facebook,the idea of a “private” profile on Facebook apparently persists. But, Put more simply, we are friends with people like us. Our networksin fact, there is no such thing. reflect commonalities easily inferred by even the most basic of algo- rithms. Just by joining—often under the illusion of privacy—we revealA recent study of online social networks started with this premise: ourselves. But few stop there. Instead, we share some of the the mostGiven the known attributes of some fraction of users in an online so- intimate details of our lives—children, marriage ties, school and workcial network, can we infer the personal details—geographic location, connections. We voluntarily make ourselves more vulnerable—but
  18. 18. 18 Mya Frazier director of trends and insightsvulnerable to what, really? RapLeaf? The People’s Republic of China? Thethreats remain largely abstract, opaque, seemingly academic. With everynew status update, we may be entering a Faustian bargain, but we reallycan’t see whose hand we’re shaking.As Facebook grows ever larger and more powerful, we’re increasinglycaught in a zero-sum game between participation and privacy. The emerg-ing cultural norms of transparency, openness and connectedness involvesome inherent sacrifices. The question remains whether these tradeoffs willbe worth it. FOLLOW MYA ON TWITTER @MYAFRAZIER OR ON HER BLOG MYAFRAZIER.TUMBLR.COM
  19. 19. © 2011 Engauge. All rights reserved. 19About EngaugeOne of the nation’s largest independent agencies, Engauge leveragescreativity and technology to develop transformational ideas that connectbrands and people. Engauge guides a growing roster of clients on the pathto realizing the power of digital channels by focusing on driving results andsustainable growth for brands. The agency’s client roster includes NationwideInsurance, DAD’S Pet Care, The Home Depot, Best Buy For Business, Chick-fil-A, Brown-Forman, Food Lion, Van Gogh Vodka, NGK Spark Plugs, Perkins,IHG, UPS, Logitech and more. Engauge, which has offices in Atlanta, Austin,Columbus, Orlando and Pittsburgh, is a portfolio company of Halyard Capital.For more information, contact:Patti ZieglerChief Marketing Officer614.573.1472pziegler@engauge.comEngauge375 North Front Street This report is an excerpt fromSuite 400 The Engauge 2011 Digital Outlook.Columbus OH 43215 Download the full report
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