This plans book was created for a student advertising competition in 2007-2008. I was a production and product innovation team leader. The commercial that I produced can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW5Ba6nkrfc
We are Chariot, a communications company that propels brands
with high-impact marketing solutions. We act as the vehicle, turning
goals into reality and ideas into market share. We will guide you on
the journey to brand leadership. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Chariot has identiﬁed our target as Digital Natives, a group of 18-24 year The launching point of the campaign is the positioning of AIM as an
olds that grew up with AIM as a tool for connecting with their peers; it was important platform for Digital Natives to access and share relevant
their communication lifeline. Constant connection to friends continues to information – “AIM provides instant sharing of experiences with my most
be essential for Digital Natives. As Digital Natives live in a world of ever- important online communities.” Young people crave sharing of experiences,
evolving communication and social networking, they demand new and access to information and access to their peers instantly. We want AIM to be
exciting communication alternatives. However, they perceive that the AIM their hub.
brand has remained static since it was initially released in 1999. While Digital
Our campaign will be delivered in two phases. The Re-Engage Stage focuses
Natives still frequent the AIM client, they do so because their friends are
on the convergence and consolidation of the AIM products. An innovative
there, not because of a strong brand preference. Digital Natives are moving
campaign will both announce these improvements and give the brand a
on with their lives and they believe AIM has not moved on with them.
needed makeover. AIM's new theme line, “Keep Sharing” expresses the most
Here lies the problem. important reason why Digital Natives engage in social media.
Brand loyalty may be lacking now, but we have unearthed two critical The Continuous Conversion Stage is the next step in helping AIM become
ﬁndings about Digital Natives. First, they desire innovation and relevant within the social networking sphere. This will be accomplished by
technological convergence of products. Second, they face more personal introducing a new social utility website, cVie; a place Digital Natives can visit
transitions during the ages of 18 to 24 than at any other time in their lives. to embrace and manage the important transitions in their lives. Powered by
AIM, this original social utility will quickly become an invaluable resource 1
Within Digital Natives we have identiﬁed three market segments which
for Digital Natives.
represent an outstanding opportunity to signiﬁcantly build loyalty to and
usage of AIM products: Social Seekers, Digital Distributors and Ambitious Our plan will provide opportunities for Digital Natives to become highly
Advancers. These segments represent 70 percent of the Digital Native usage engaged with the campaign. Our executions integrate into the lives of Digital
of social media. Natives through what we call “connections.” These connections eliminate
traditional communication silos. Our product development, advertising,
The aforementioned insights are the inspiration for our campaign. However,
media, public relations, event marketing and cause branding operate together
it is much more than just an advertising campaign. It is an exciting and
to make AIM an insisted part of their online communities.
uplifting set of programs which includes a new positioning for AIM,
important product improvements, product and brand consolidation, the We provide AIM with the incredible opportunity to become a relevant and
creation of a dynamic new product and an exciting communications campaign desired tool for Digital Natives. Not only does our campaign give AIM the
that returns AIM to its initial leadership position in the online community. ability to re-engage current users, it also allows it to continuously evolve with
With Chariot’s campaign, AIM revolutionizes communication. Again.
Research Key Findings
Getting closely acquainted with the Digital Native market was the ﬁrst step Chariot has identiﬁed the strongest insights from our primary and secondary
in developing our plan. The objectives we established for our research were: research. We used these ﬁndings to engineer our strategy and creative executions.
• To understand how Digital Natives view AIM and AIM Social Media
• Discover how Digital Natives interact with social networks, cell phones, Interactions with social media
instant messaging and the Internet
• Examine how the important values of Digital Natives inﬂuence their lives • Digital Natives look for a “custom cocktail” of advice, both professional
• Determine how online environments represent differing demographics and personal
and lifestyles • Online networks that converge their properties into a simple format are the
most successful with Digital Natives
Secondary • Digital Natives no longer surf the Internet, instead they have a core group
of websites they visit on a daily basis
• Created a library of over 500 articles focusing on Digital Natives and • User-generated content remains prominent, but it doesn’t matter where
the industry the content comes from as long as it is peer recommended
• Implemented the “Chariot Pulse Tracker” which monitors websites that are • Digital Natives are demanding more sophisticated technology, but crave
2 favored by Digital Natives intuitive function and simplicity in design
• Monitored blogs about and by Digital Natives and their engagements
with social media Transitions from adolescence to adulthood
• Subscribed to and analyzed podcasts to deepen our knowledge of Digital
Natives' attitudes towards social media and industry trends • Digital Natives experience more transitions than any other age group
• Digital Natives face more ﬁrsts than any other point in their lives
Primary • These transitions create anxiety in Digital Natives' lives and are the focus
of their concerns
• Participated in Cultural Convergence Consortium in
Digital Natives' perception of AIM Social Media
• Employed projective account planning techniques such as collages, video
diaries and brand parties to deepen our understanding of Digital Natives • The AIM brand is viewed as adolescent, even though this age group
• Conducted 15 focus groups to get a more intimate understanding of how enjoys its utility
Digital Natives live and engage with social media • Often, users do not realize that products such as Mapquest, MoviePhone
• Conducted an interactive survey that returned over 1,500 responses and TMZ are part of the AOL and AIM networks
in 35 states
• Administered a targeted survey to Digital Natives about transitions
• Interviewed Lisa Johnson, a leading consultant on Generation Y
• Interviewed Dr. Ross MacMillan, an expert on the transitions from
adolescence to adulthood
• Interviewed Henry Jenkins, head of the New Media Lab at MIT
In‐Depth Learning Johnson to further discuss her research. She blends captivating case studies
of successful and innovative brands with interviews of inﬂuential thinkers
and Digital Natives to create a list of ten consumer cravings. We discovered
MIT: Cultural Convergence Conference four main points to emphasize when marketing to an exclusive group of
On November 16th, Chariot team members ﬂew consumers who are savvy, sophisticated and particular.
to Cambridge to attend the Culture Convergence • Common Ground: Digital Natives crave the ability to be connected with
Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of like-minded people who share similar goals and interests.
Technology. Hosted by media expert Henry Jenkins, • Eliminate the Lemons: Digital Natives value the previous experiences of
the two-day event explored how the business landscape people with similar interests and values for guidance, insight and support.
is evolving in response to the integration of content and brands, emerging cultural • Co-Create: Digital Natives want to remix branded material and make it
and technological advancements and the increasingly prominent role consumers their own.
play in shaping media. Key speakers included representatives from MTV • Dynamic Design: Digital Natives are attracted to design that reﬂects the
Networks, Yahoo Inc., Naked Communications and the NBC program Heroes. brand’s unique personality and is consistent among all branded spaces.
Henry Jenkins: One of America’s most respected Dr. Ross MacMillan: Expert on transitions from
media analysts adolescence to young adulthood 3
Henry Jenkins is an expert on the collision between old and new media and To gain an academic perspective on the transitions
has authored nine books on media and pop culture. Our interview uncovered of young adults, we interviewed Professor
seven imperatives to consider when marketing in the environment of MacMillan of the Life Course department at the
cultural convergence. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Chariot
uncovered three points of emphasis from
• Everything is subject to change without notice; everything is perishable this interview.
• Digital Natives are no longer loyal to speciﬁc media channels—it’s all
about the content • Digital Natives experience more life transitions
• Digital Natives demand the ability to adjust privacy settings than any other age group.
• Digital Natives are living their real lives online, it is not just a fun addition • There is no other point in the life cycle where as
to real life many as six signiﬁcant transitions happen in
• The creator of content no longer determines the ﬁnal translation of the message such a relatively short period of time.
• Entertainment means nothing unless it has relevance to a brand • Thanks to the broader network of information
• The media industry is shifting from a monologue to a dialogue—marketers social media provide, receiving guidance about
must learn to talk with the Digital Natives, not at them life’s transitions is no longer limited to advice
from a friend-of-a-friend.
Lisa Johnson: Digital Native Guru
After reading Lisa Johnson’s book Mind Your X’s and Y’s: Satisfying the 10
Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers, we set up an interview with Ms.
Industry Analysis Surfs Down, Dude
Trend: Digital Natives were not born yesterday. They have grown up with the
Media Convergence Internet and do not blindly surf; they browse with a purpose. When Digital
Natives encounter an organized website that provides them with instant
Trend: The boundary between the Internet and mobility has become blurred. access to all of their needs, there is little reason to leave. This results in a high
As a result, accessibility and multitasking have become imperative pieces stickiness for all-inclusive social networks. Digital Natives depend on just a
in the online world. Digital Natives not only enjoy, but require the high- few sources to complete everyday online tasks.
tech aspect of having all communication tools in one place. Although only Implication: AIM cannot be one-dimensional. It is imperative to incorporate the
three and one half percent of US mobile subscribers currently access social features and functions of other AOL and AIM websites to improve stickiness.
media with their phones,1 twenty-ﬁve percent of Digital Natives said social
networking would be a priority, second only to e-mail.2 Competitive Analysis
Implication: AIM can spark this wildﬁre by offering easily accessible and
comprehensive mobile tools.
Social Networks: The Big Two
Sophisticated Technology Made Simple As the leading social networking website
4 in the U.S., MySpace goes beyond just
Trend: As social media is becoming more sophisticated, consumers are connecting friends. Through its open network forum users are able to explore
still demanding user-friendly products with a simple interface. Advances undiscovered connections. Digital Natives are drawn to this artistic website
in technology allow more feature-rich products that are more intuitive in because of its emphasis on new media, self-expression and promotion.
function. However, only a few elite brands such as Google and Apple have MySpace supports grass roots media, which is free from the constraints of
been able to implement this idea successfully. labels and has been integral in the success of many artists including rap
Implication: AIM must present user-friendly products with sophisticated superstar Soulja Boy. With a do-it-yourself interface MySpace has been criticized
infrastructures. for its cluttered design, steep learning curve and vulnerability to spam.3
Recommendations Rule This social networking powerhouse began as a website
for college students and has extended its reach to a
Trend: Digital Natives’ strong trust of peer opinions has led to a rise in user- mainstream audience. Digital Natives see Facebook as
recommended content as the main driver in viral media. Digital Natives an outlet for social voyeurism void of security issues. In comparison to
value the opinions of friends and peers with similar interests over suggestions MySpace, its main competitor, Facebook’s core advantage emphasizes
from marketers, government and other ambiguous parties. Currently, effective communication. Its easy to navigate interface and breadth of privacy
online content is popular because of consumer referrals and initiates digital controls has lead to strong brand equity and praise among the Digital Native
distribution through social communities.
Implication: AIM must facilitate a forum for the sharing of ideas rather than
dictating to Digital Natives what is important. 1 Mobile Social Networking Has 12.3 Million Friends in the US and Western Europe. M:Metrics. August 15, 2007.
2 Webcredible Study. utalkmarketing.com January 22, 2008.
3 Press Release, (2007, July 12). MySpace Outperforms
market.1 Recently, Facebook revealed they are launching an in-browser Social Media Tools
instant messaging feature.2 This gives Facebook potential to be a major
Portals: Portals such as Google, MSN and Yahoo! provide a one-stop
competitor in instant messaging in addition to their existing presence in
destination where users can access e-mail, news, groups and browse the
Internet. Portals are the ultimate embodiment of convergence.
Beyond “The Big Two” there is an inﬂux of new niche websites entering the
Texting: Text messaging has evolved into a premiere form of communication
online space,3 17,1194 and counting. While they are prevalent in number, their
for Digital Natives. Currently, text messaging is the most convenient way to
audiences remain minimal. Although these pose a potential threat to become
engage in quick connections.
the “next big thing” they are seldomly accepted as leading social networking
websites by Digital Natives. Gaming: Gaming offers multiple social networking outlets through Flash
games, online gaming, PC gaming and console games. Digital Natives range
from casual users to die-hard fans that live vicariously through the game.
Acquired Social Networks
Blogs: Blogging has become journaling for the 21st century. Digital Natives
On March 13th, 2008 AOL acquired the social
use blogs as a canvas for expression and personal soapboxes.
networking website Bebo. Bebo’s audience of 40 million
will substantially add to AOL’s current user base. As an entertainment hub, Fantasy Sports: Fantasy sports websites allow Digital Natives to connect with
Bebo currently has a strong following in the U.K., Ireland and New Zealand; friends and compete in the professional world of sports. Popular fantasy
however, it continues to gain popularity in the U.S. According to AOL chairman sports destinations include Yahoo! Fantasy Sports and ESPN Fantasy Sports.
and CEO Randy Falco, “Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal
Online Video: Digital Natives enjoy watching short videos and user-created
communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media.”5
content. YouTube dominates this category by allowing its users to provide
entertainment that can be passed along and popularized by their peers.
This messaging service closely follows AIM in the U.S.
market. Owned by the parent company Microsoft, MSN
has the advantage of being linked to the Windows operating system. Its
sophisticated design allows for a professional and mature tone.6
Rapid growth and popularity has led to its third place
1 Chariot’s MySpace and Facebook Brand Party focus group.
position in the U.S. market. Much of its success is attributed
2 Arrington, Michael. quot;Facebook to Launch Instant Messaging
to its in-browser integration with Gmail. Like Google Search, its chat capabilities
Service.quot; Tech Crunch. (2008, March 14)
give consumers exactly what they want: simplicity and smart design.7 3 Holahan, Catherine, (2007, March 14). Social Networking Goes
Niche. Business Week, www.businessweek.com
With a strong hold on the adolescent market, Yahoo! 4 www.ning.com
Messenger cannot be overlooked. Currently ranking 5 Shields, Mike. quot;AOL to Acquire Bebo for $850 Mil.quot; Mediaweek.
fourth among competitors, Yahoo!’s young demographic creates potential for (2008, March 13)
future growth. 6AIM Case Study, (2007). pg. 6
7 Chariot’s Social Media Survey, 1,510 participants, (2007, Oct.)
Brand Analysis SWOT Analysis
The following is a SWOT analysis of AIM and its social media products
Digital Natives' attitudes towards AIM: The Four Truths Strengths
1. Familiarity Eighty percent of Digital Natives have used AIM2
Digital Natives are familiar with and trust the AIM brand; AIM enjoys
Leader amongst instant messenger services within the United States
over eighty percent unaided brand awareness.1
(twenty-two million users per month)2
2. The Original
For most Digital Natives, AIM was their ﬁrst exposure to online social A broad range of social media and content
media. Since then, there has been a proliferation of new social media Weaknesses
brands, which have leapfrogged AIM.
AIM is viewed as a product for teens
AIM emerged into the market when Digital Natives were entering middle AIM users frequent this service because “their friends are there” not
school. As they have matured, they feel that AIM has remained static. because of a brand preference
Consequently, they associate AIM with their youth and view it as
AOL’s broad array of social media products lack a coherent branding
6 primarily designed for a younger audience.
4. Forced Loyalty
Digital Natives are loyal to AIM because it's where their friends
congregate; not because the brand speaks to them. AIM is an accepted, Current IM platforms do not incorporate multimedia sharing
but not an insisted brand.
The desire for a consumer to have multiple social networking accounts
Lack of a website that is focused to help with life’s transitions
Large social networking websites are becoming dominant and are
constantly evolving (Facebook, Myspace etc.)
Social networking is something you might grow out of not grow up with
The emergence of alternative instant messaging services from media
giants such as MSN and Google
A movement toward in-browser chat services
The continual introduction of new social networking websites
1 AIM Clariﬁcation Memo #1 (Oct. 17, 2007).
2 AIM Case Study, 2007.
Consumer Insights The landscape has changed and Chariot has adapted. We dug deep into the
lives of Digital Natives and their interactions with social media. Through
research, surveys, expert interviews and extensive discussions with Digital
Meet the Digital Native Natives, we have deﬁned what they crave in social media. Their criteria are:
For the ﬁrst time ever, a generation has grown up tethered to technology.
These 18 to 24 year olds are “native speakers” within the digital language of
I pay attention to ads that are designed for me and not for everyone.
social media which includes cell phones, video games, instant messaging,
social networks and the Internet. Digital Natives have come of age in a social 2. Control
I want to be in charge of my online privacy.
media environment. Because of this, they embrace new technology faster and
more seamlessly than preceding generations. Technology is an integral part 3. Escape
of Digital Natives’ ascent to independence. By contrast, Digital Immigrants My life is hectic. Give me my daily dose of entertainment.
(Gen X and Boomers) have had to adapt to this new environment and no 4. Discovery
matter how fast they learn they will always compute with a “digital accent.” I don’t want brands to be pushed upon me; I want to discover them.
Digital Natives make up 74.2 million Americans born between 1980 and 1997. 5. Order
They value teamwork versus individualism, political action versus apathy, I want you to sift through the clutter for me.
the conventional versus the in-your-face views of the 80s and 90s. The result 6. Brand Candy 7
is a generation that is more numerous, more afﬂuent, better educated, more I crave design that is simple, yet sophisticated.
technically advanced and more culturally diverse than any preceding generation. 7. Customization
This social freedom has created new expectations about socialization and Don’t hand me a ﬁnished product, give me something I can remix and
community. Community is no longer ﬁnite or restricted by geographic make my own.
barriers or existing peer relationships. Unlike any generation before, Digital 8. Corporate Citizenship
Natives’ deﬁnition of community is mobile, spontaneous, demands a less I want to do business with a company that gives back to the community
rigid time structure and relies on loose connections that can be sandwiched and is transparent about its business practices.
between day-to-day deadlines.
The consumer mindset has shifted, but advertisers, primarily Gen X and
Boomers, mistakenly keep selling the rebellious and sullen teenager lifestyle
of the 90s.
And it just does not work.
8 Core Transitions for the Digital Native Health & Wellness
As Digital Natives grow out of their teenage years, they are confronted with As Digital Natives move to new cities, they have questions about where to
a new independence, which is manifested in multiple transitions. We have exercise or where to receive health care.
identiﬁed eight transitions central to their lives. In most cases they are facing
these transitions for the ﬁrst time. Auto
Digital Natives are looking for assistance when searching for their ﬁrst new
Career or used car.
When Digital Natives move from jobs that barely pay the rent to entry level Fashion
positions, they have questions about where to look for jobs, how to write a
standout resume and how to answer interview questions. What to wear, what to wear? With all these new milestones, Digital Natives
are concerned about the details of wearing just the right thing at just the
right time for work and for play.
For Digital Natives, a key step towards independence is the move from their
8 parents’ home into a place of their own. This move raises questions about
neighborhoods, safety, leases and mortgages.
Digital Natives are now entering the confusing world of sophisticated
ﬁnances including: IRAs, 401Ks and college loans. They are seeking a place
for sound advice from their peer networks.
For Digital Natives, life is not all about work and they are sure to make room
for travel. As they ﬁnd themselves personally responsible for their travel
accommodations, they look for destinations that ﬁt their lifestyle and budget.
Relying on their parents’ policies, Digital Natives are generally unaware
of the process of researching and choosing health, property, auto and life Henry Jenkins Blog, “Reconsidering Digital
Lisa Johnson. “Mind your X’s and Y’s: Satisfying the 10
cravings of a new generation of consumers.” Cohn Study
Segmentation Non‐Targeted Digital Natives
We identiﬁed three additional segments of the Digital Native market that
Chariot has identiﬁed the following six segments that represent the ways
do not represent the best opportunity for AIM at this time. They are Giga
Digital Natives engage with social media. Three of these segments represent
Gamers, Endless Expressionists and the Digitally Disconnected. Giga
AIM’s best opportunity to increase brand recognition and accelerate usage
Gamers are plugged into the world of interactive games and use social
of AIM products. We have named them the Ambitious Advancers, Digital
networks to “meet and compete,” primarily for entertainment purposes.
Distributors and Social Seekers.
Endless Expressionists use social media as an image creator and express
their feelings and talents in order to present a carefully constructed virtual
self. The Digitally Disconnected rarely use the Internet because of economic,
Goal-oriented: Ambitious Advancers are focused on the road to success, educational and social disadvantages.
paving the way with the newest tools and technologies. For Ambitious
Advancers, experience is currency and it is more valuable and prized than
material belongings. They use social media to project a professional image,
ﬁnd opportunities and get a foot in the door. But these go-getters are not all
business. Unlike their parents, they demand a balance between work and play.
Sharers of social media: Rarely a day goes by when Digital Distributors are
not scavenging for fresh videos, jokes, music or pictures to share with their
friends and co-workers. Sharing gives them social currency—credibility that
reﬂects an individual’s value in a network.
Constantly in-the-loop: Digital Natives utilize social media to be constantly
included in on-going social chatter. Whether it is planning a party or
engaging in harmless cyber stalking, Social Seekers need to be in the loop.
For them, e-mail, social networks, cell phones and the Internet are windows
into the interests and relationships of their peers. Social media allow them
unprecedented access into the lives of their friends in a way no other
generation could imagine.
Chariot’s Brand Performance Model These ﬁve strategies are:
1. Brand consolidation. Consolidating current AIM products.
Our proprietary Brand Performance Model illustrates how we will meet
2. Improvement of AIM products. Adding functionality and brand news to
campaign objectives to:
1. Increase trial and usage of AIM products by ﬁfteen percent– 3. Increase awareness and interest. Delivered thought advertising, PR,
Brand Consumption promotions and viral marketing.
2. Bridge the gap between AIM messaging and AIM social media– 4. Increasing AIM brand relevance. Make the AIM brand relevant to Digital
Brand Leverage Natives through our campaign and product development.
3. Increase AIM brand awareness 5. Keeping the brand fresh and interesting. Regularly add new products and
improve existing products to keep the brand current, interesting and helpful.
In addition, Chariot believes it is important to increase the overall perception
of the AIM brand. If Digital Natives do not feel the AIM brand understands
These ﬁves strategies will guide our product improvements and creative
them and is built for them then it will be extremely difﬁcult to increase its
executions to meet our campaign objectives. Increasing trial and usage by
usage. This overall perception of the brand is called Brand Health. We have
ﬁfteen percent will result from meeting the other three objectives. Bridging
added a fourth objective to improve AIM’s brand health.
the gap between AIM messaging and AIM social media will be achieved
Chariot’s solution will take AIM from where it is today to where it needs by consolidating existing AIM products. To increase brand awareness we
to be in order to reclaim its role as a leader among Digital Natives. Our will ﬁrst improve the AIM client by adding features and creating news
model’s stepping stones represent AIM moving from where it exists today – value. Chariot will then promote these changes with a communications
disconnected and outdated to becoming a more relevant brand in the mind of plan incorporating advertising, PR, promotions and viral marketing. AIM
Digital Natives. The model symbolizes the convergence of our ﬁve strategies Brand Health will be enhanced through a combination of our product
that lead to a more important, more valued and more heavily used AIM. improvements, new product development and communication strategies. We
will keep the AIM brand fresh and useful, making the brand healthier. These
strategies will be brought to life in our phased campaign strategy.
AIM Leadership Position
• A cohesive brand architecture
Brand Performance Model: • “The Social Network of Choice”
• The leader and innovator in the online space
Present AIM Position • No longer an accepted brand but an insisted one
• Continually fresh and interesting
• Largest IM user base
• Perceived as a product for teens
• Individually branded and disconnected properties
• Low awareness of products in the AIM network
• Outdated Imagery and Design
Brand Positioning Statement:
AIM provides instant sharing of experiences
with my most important online communities.
Our new brand positioning statement expresses the most important reason We have developed a phased approach to drive increased usage of AIM
that Digital Natives go to the Internet: sharing. It acknowledges the need for instant messaging, social media products, and to fuse them together online
instant access, an asset that AIM already owns. and within the minds of Digital Natives. For August 2008–August 2009, a
two-phase approach is recommended.
Our new brand positioning statement helps AIM move from the juvenile
image that Digital Natives currently have of the brand to a new leadership The ﬁrst phase is the Re-Engage Stage. It is designed to energize AIM
position among online communities. products and the brand image while re-introducing Digital Natives to the
relevancy and sharing capabilities that AIM provides. The communication
AOL has presented Chariot with the opportunity to transform AIM entities
plan for this phase places AIM in a position to not only continue its instant
and execute progressive advertising and promotions. The objectives 11
messaging leadership, but also to emerge as a leader in online social media.
are complex, challenging and exciting. We will not only achieve these
determined goals, we will prepare AIM to reclaim their quot;heritage as a leader The second phase of Chariot's solution is called the Continuous Conversion
and innovator in the online community space.quot;1 To do this we have created a Stage. In this stage, we continually add news value and relevance to the AIM
plan that is both innovative and provides an outline for sustained growth. product suite. This is an ongoing process; a series of improvements that allow
us to continually convert Digital Natives into loyal AIM users. In the ﬁrst
year, we propose a major new product introduction designed to build AIM
brand leadership in the valuable social media arena.
Based on what Chariot has learned about Digital Natives’ online habits and The Re-Engage Stage resolves these obstacles with product improvements,
preferences, we have identiﬁed obstacles within the current AIM client and AIM the integration of AIM client with Social Media properties and a new
Social Media properties that limit the ability to achieve the campaign objectives. integrated branding architecture.
Digital Natives thrive on sharing information, stories, experiences and
1 Randy Falco, AOL CEO
embrace innovative technologies that improve access to their friends.
Obstacle: Although AIM has the largest instant messenger user base, give Digital Natives an outlet to keep sharing their experiences and favorite
competitive threats are weakening Digital Natives’ reliance on AIM as their media while connecting with their most important communities. AIM will
only means of online messaging. The AIM client has neither adapted with converge media sharing technologies with information-rich communication
cutting edge technology nor undergone signiﬁcant updates in recent years. capabilities to create a platform that is unrivaled by competing instant
Solution: Technology updates to the AIM client, including multimedia messaging and social media providers.
sharing, will drive increased usage.
Obstacle: The AIM properties, while valuable and useful, are individually Product Executions
branded, located in their own online space and disconnected from the
AIM client. This inhibits the ability to bridge the gap between chat and
social media products online and within the minds of Digital Natives. To better represent the AIM client and AIM social media, Chariot has
Solution: Digital Natives crave online content that is delivered with intuitive updated the AIM logo. The new logo is derived from the well known chat
navigation and transparent connection points. They crave both simplicity bubble, but with a much more inviting shape. We have changed the word
and functionality. By linking AIM properties together, their services and AIM to all lower-case letters to make the logo feel more friendly to Digital
features will highlight and support each other, providing greater utility for users. Natives. We also use the main color of AIM, orange, as the primary color
on the logo, but we make it brighter. Orange combines the red from the old
12 Obstacle: The current branding architecture confuses Digital Natives about logo with yellow, which is associated with happiness. Orange represents
which properties are owned by AIM or AOL, if either. This impedes the enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination and success.
ability to bridge the gap between AIM messaging and AIM social media. Orange has been proven to increase oxygen supply to the brain, produce an
Solution: We will introduce a new branding architecture that encompasses invigorating effect, stimulate mental activity and it is highly accepted among
the AIM client and AIM Social Media properties, resulting in greater brand young people.1 This new logo design will assist in improving Digital Natives
unity. We will select speciﬁc products and features that best enhance digital perception of AIM, and better represent AIM as a company with more to
sharing and provide Digital Natives with better opportunities to create offer than just chat.
Obstacle: Current AIM properties are graphically outdated and do not
appeal to Digital Natives’ aesthetic tastes, preferences and expectations for
online media sources. The lack of updates has caused the AIM brand to lose
relevancy, and AIM has become dated in the minds of Digital Natives.
Solution: A refreshed graphic design layout with updated color schemes,
navigation links and customization options serve as signals for Digital
Natives that AIM is now relevant to their online needs The AIM client is
currently the most valuable asset that AIM has. Leveraging the existing
user base and brand recognition of AIM to drive the evolution of instant
communication will set AIM apart from competitors and set the foundation
for future advancements. The technology enhancements to the AIM client 1 http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html
AIM Universe The AIM Aptus Buddy List is now a direct connection between instant
messaging and AIM social media. Screen names listed are hyperlinked to
AIM Aptus: The new downloadable AIM client, AIM Aptus, delivers faster AIM Proﬁles, and AIM Groups are a subset of the Buddy List organization.
and clearer video and audio chat through a peer-to-peer platform, rather AIM Aptus users are able to message and video chat with buddies from their
than the current server-based connection. Digital Natives can now connect AIM Groups. AIM Aptus fulﬁlls Digital Natives’ desire for organized access
and share multimedia messages with the buddies and groups directly to their online communities.
through AIM Aptus.
Chariot chose the name AIM Aptus to differentiate this update from
the previously numbered versions of AIM. Aptus means connected and
appropriate in Latin. It is also a connection of the words “apt” and “us,” a subtle
and humorous way to highlight the renewed relevance for Digital Natives.
Aptus is modern, innovative and unique, making it memorable for searching.
A partnership with Snap
Shot™, an internal link
tool, provides users with
an innovative interactive 13
Link enhancements with
destination page previews
are shown directly from
the chat window when a
user hovers over the word.
The Snap Shot™ technology
allows Digital Natives to
access information from
external websites directly
from their chat windows.
An expandable video player is extended from the AIM Aptus chat windows
when users initiate video chatting or share a video message. AIM Aptus allows
users to watch videos and TV episodes while chatting with their Buddies and
Groups. When a user clicks the video sharing button, they are taken to a menu
featuring the major online video sites, such as AOL Television, ABC.com and
Hulu.com. They can browse and search content and choose what to watch with
their buddies. Experiences are not only shared through AIM, they are created.
AIM Home: The AIM Home page is the entry
point to the AIM Universe. Users can download
AIM Aptus, access AIM People Connection
and learn how AIM Developer tools, such as
Userplane, can enhance their blog or individual
website. AIM users can search for information
within the AIM Universe through a Google
enhanced search bar within the Global Header.
Navigation is done through a single browser
window and essential information is displayed
above the webpage fold. The cohesion of the
AIM Universe and the resources that it provides
to Digital Natives will increase usage of AIM
Aptus, AIM People Connection, AIM Proﬁles, AIM
Developers and the features within these websites.
AIM Proﬁles: Digital Natives can update their
AIM Proﬁles to reﬂect interests, favorite TV
shows, and other expanded buddy info. These
preferences automatically add reminders to their
AIM Calendar about when their favorite TV
shows are on or when a group chat relating to
their top interests is active. Digital Natives can
also elaborate on their experiences through AIM
Journals and by uploading media. AIM Proﬁles
will be positioned as a tool that helps Digital
Natives customize and share their AIM Universe.
AIM Groups: Chariot will position AIM Groups as the primary place for
AIM Developer Tools: Bloggers, web designers, and developers are now Digital Natives to group chat and share video or other media with a group
able to access Open AIM and Userplane through a central location. We of people who share their interests. AIM Groups are accessible through AIM
will position Userplane as a simple and essential tool that allows bloggers Home, the AIM People Connection portal and the AIM Aptus Buddy List.
to connect with the AIM Universe from their own websites, not just an
application for web developers. Developers working with Open AIM are now
linked to the entire AIM Universe, which will help them understand and
capitalize on opportunities for AIM Aptus plug-ins and extensions.
AIM Comments: Chariot will position AIM
Comments as the essential tool for sharing
opinions in a forum that transcends individual
websites. Using the already established AIM
OpenID system, AIM users can comment on
a variety of content across the Internet simply
by using their AIM screen name. Within AIM
People Connection, AIM users can comment
on news stories and other users’ AIM Proﬁles,
AIM Journals posts and photos. All comments
for a single item will stay on that page, rather
than redirecting to an overall message board
format. Popular comment threads will move
to the top of an RSS feed so AIM users will
always know what their friends and peers are
AIM Polls: We will position AIM Polls as the
most convenient place to gather information
and express themselves on relevant issues.
AIM users can create polls and pose questions
about issues they care about. Users can also
instantly view current standing on a poll
when they vote. AIM Polls are archived and
AIM Universe Model:
AIM People Connection: We will make AIM People Connection stand out
from other social media by positioning it as a forum for Digital Natives to
discuss issues important to them. Digital Natives can use AIM Comments
and AIM Polls to talk about top AOL news stories, which they can access
from the AIM People Connection home and AIM Aptus. AIM People
Connection also provides a place for like-minded Digital Natives to come
together in AIM Groups. Enhanced navigation among AIM Proﬁles, AIM
Comments, AIM Polls, and AIM Groups from the AIM People Connection
portal drives Digital Natives within the AIM Universe and increases usage
across the board.
AIM Aptus Mobile Connections
As the cell phone becomes the social medium of choice, Digital Natives’ use
Our media selections, advertising, public relations activities and promotional
them to be in constant communication with their friends. AIM Mobile lets
programs function seamlessly to create an engaging brand experience. This
them take their IM on the go. AIM Aptus Mobile mirrors the sleek, modern
plan is integrated. Traditional silos are eliminated.
style of the AIM Aptus downloadable client. Instant picture, audio and
video sharing will make AIM Aptus Mobile Digital Natives’ favorite way to We aim to connect with Digital Natives in meaningful and engaging ways.
connect. The application can be downloaded for free directly from the AIM Every touch point with Digital Natives is an opportunity to increase brand
website or through their phones’ Internet capabilities. health and brand awareness, in turn increasing brand consumption: the trial
and usage of AIM products. These principles drive our new approach to
AIM Aptus Mobile includes a new feature to physically connect Digital
connecting with Digital Natives.
Natives. AIM Mobile Buddy Finder uses GPS technology provider WHERE™
to present embedded maps within AIM Aptus Mobile chats. Through their
phones, friends will be able to chat, locate each other or pick a hangout spot. Connections Objectives
Additionally, they can use Mapquest to send directions to addresses or • Provide opportunities for participation in every message.
buddies’ locations. • Drive Digital Natives to other media platforms where they can interact
further with AIM.
16 • Create brand presence in media environments Digital Natives
Monetization already frequent.
The Re-Engage Stage increases AIM usage turns • Partner with brands Digital Natives embrace and respect, emphasizing
AIM Aptus and the AIM Universe into more valuable other Time Warner properties that can add value to the campaign.
monetization tools within the AOL family. Video
advertising, recently available through Platform A, Core Connections Strategies
is an innovative format for advertisers to incorporate
Timing: In the Re-Engage Stage our connections schedule corresponds with
interactive messages directly into Digital Natives’
major media events, such as season premieres and the 2008 election. This
AIM Aptus and other AIM Universe properties.
allows AIM to ﬁt seamlessly into their lives and remain relevant. To maintain
Sponsored AIM Groups and AIM Polls let brands
a connection with Digital Natives, the Re-Engage Stage will have constant
invite users to participate. The revolutionary in-chat
media presence from September 2008–August 2009.
media player in AIM Aptus creates a possibility for
entirely new ad models, including allowing Digital Geography: Our campaign is national in scope. Most of our Re-Engage Stage
Natives to browse and search for sponsored content executions exist online to reach Digital Natives at their moment of receptivity
the same way they search for their favorite TV shows. to an online service. The Re-Engage Stage will emphasize a multimedia
approach that mixes the visibility of traditional media with the viral and
word-of-mouth opportunities of online and event marketing for the greatest
possible integration with Digital Natives.
Creative Strategy Executions
The Re-Engage stage is focused on the AIM brand. Every execution reﬂects
the new AIM brand positioning statement: AIM provides instant sharing of Internal Campaign
experiences with my most important online communities. Chariot will help Before our new campaign is introduced to the public, it is essential that AIM
Digital Natives discover that AIM is their leading tool in the evolution of employees and internal stakeholders be introduced to the changes to the AIM
interaction. When communicating with Digital Natives, it will be imperative brand, the client and products, as well as the new advertising campaign. We
to introduce them to messages that they can relate to. Digital Natives are want everyone at AIM to be excited about the new developments and to be
maturing and the ways they communicate, share experiences and think proud of the innovative leadership position that AIM is taking. To create this
pride, we will launch an internal campaign two weeks before the launch of
about themselves and the world are evolving. Every execution is designed to
show that AIM has evolved and adapted to the pace of the Digital Natives. consumer advertising.
The Re-Engage Stage will introduce Digital Natives to the new and improved
This internal campaign will also include informational presentations that
aspects of AIM, with an emphasis on characteristics such as the new
will explain updates and product developments. There will be posters and
applications, simple navigation and personalization. Although we have
newly branded ofﬁce supplies, mouse pads, pens and mugs. This allows the
maintained the AIM brand personality of being approachable, witty, savvy,
employees to be constantly exposed to the new brand image, and take pride
passionate and friendly, this is not the same AIM Digital Natives knew in the
in the evolution of AIM.
past. The tones and themes of our work demonstrate that AIM is now a more 17
functional, more fun and a more relevant one-stop resource. In addition, to build anticipation each employee of the AIM team will be
paired with another AIM team member. The pairs will engage in “video
snacking” and watching TV online through the AIM Aptus when they are
Keep Sharing™ back in the ofﬁce. This will allow them to explore the new changes together,
Chariot has introduced a new theme line for the AIM brand: “Keep Sharing.” and share their online communities with each other.
It is simple, direct and speaks to and preempts the most important social
reasons why Digital Natives go to the Internet: sharing. Through this
tagline, AIM acknowledges that Digital Natives have always used online
“Keep Sharing” campaign
communication to share with one another throughout the development of Informing Current Users: One important way to
new technologies. It is an implied promise that AIM will be there in the increase usage of AIM is to not only attract new users,
future with the products and tools to make the sharing between people but to also further engage current users. Chariot will
continually better. It is also a profound invitation to keep sharing and when excite the current users and make them aware of the
you do, use AIM as the tool to do so. The theme line of “Keep Sharing” will updates. We will utilize the advertising space on the
further connect the creative executions, not only through the Re-Engage top of the Buddy List to create a rich-media roll over
Stage, but also throughout all future advertising executions. banner ad with a demonstration of the video sharing
feature of AIM Aptus.
Also, Chariot will use the AIM Member Message
e-mail to inform current users of the new updates.
:30 Spot (Televisions, Online and Cinema)
AIM Aptus triumphs in the sharing of experiences, breaking the limits of past communication methods. The
camera walks through the whimsical world of progressing communication. The ﬁrst frames are supported with
delicate instrumental music. The last frames have a gradually accelerating electronica song in the background.
Evolution of a Message: Television and Print: Television viewing for Digital Evolution of a Message: Museum Exhibit:
Natives is on the rise, both online and on TV. We will not buy day parts. Digital Natives’ museum attendance has
Instead, Chariot will purchase advertising space on speciﬁc programs that been soaring, increasing forty percent in the
appeal to Digital Natives including the CW, Comedy Central, and last ﬁve years. AIM will leverage this rise by
Hulu.com. We focus on shows such as The Ofﬁce, The Colbert Report, Gossip creating an “Evolution of a Message” exhibit
Girl and Project Runway that reach a large amount of Digital Natives. We will that will be unlike any art collaboration
also post our spots on YouTube.com and play them in movie theaters before they have ever seen and will create a buzz in
Fall 2008’s expected blockbusters. local media. By partnering with interactive
art companies such as Mine-Control and
There is no brand better suited to owning the evolution of a message than AIM.
UnitedVisualArtists as well as independent
AOL was many Digital Natives’ ﬁrst foray into the Internet, and AIM was most
artists, AIM will create a collaborative and
Digital Natives’ ﬁrst step into the world of social media. This spot and graphic
cohesive experience. Each artist will create
help show that AIM will continue to be the leader in the online community.
a communications technology exhibit. For example, an artist may choose
Our commercial is created to inform Digital Natives of new and exciting to design an interactive wall where museum patrons can send smoke
improvements that have been made to AIM. Secondly, since Digital signals to each other by waving their hand over the projected ﬁres. The
Natives currently see AIM as dated, it will update the AIM image by being next exhibit will have large ﬂat-screen monitors for Digital Natives to share
entertaining, engaging and stylish. media through AIM with 19
attendees at other exhibits.
The spot takes Digital Natives to a whimsical world and leads them through
The ﬁnal exhibit will be a
recognizable images of the evolution of messaging that they easily identify.
display of potential future
When the evolution depicts changing Internet communication, it displays AIM
and AOL as consistent leaders of innovative message technologies. We introduce
to show that AIM will
the new AIM Aptus’ features as cutting edge, relevant and provocative.
continue evolving as a leader
Chariot maintains congruity with the established AIM brand personality by in the ﬁeld of communication.
focusing on a “witty” and “friendly” tone. Conversational copy provides a
personal touch. Digital Natives will revel in the improved client’s capabilities
as AIM Aptus triumphs over all past technologies.
In addition to television, we utilize the “Line of Communication” (see below)
in print as a graphic representation of the evolution of a message. The unique
horizontal viewpoint is ﬂexible for a variety of media placements that
capture the attention of Digital Natives.
Outdoor Promotion for the Museum: Chariot provides Digital Natives with Political Partnerships: In the November 2008 election, most Digital Natives
an opportunity to discover the AIM sponsored museum exhibit, appealing will be engaging in the political system for the ﬁrst time. They are searching
to their love of exploration. In order to receive tickets to the exhibit, they for innovative ways to get involved and have their political opinions heard.
will take a picture of an outdoor promotional sculpture and text it to AIM08. AIM will provide Digital Natives with two unique ways to get involved in
The GPS tagged image will send a picture text of a ticket back to the user. the election excitement.
The sculpture symbolically illustrates the museum exhibits’ message of the
Rock The Vote Partnership
evolution of communication. Multiple sculptures will be placed around the city.
AIM will partner with Rock the Vote to appeal to Digital Natives’ craving
for nonpartisan political information from a source they trust. Rock the Vote
incorporates politics into trends and pop culture in Digital Natives’ everyday
life to popularize voting and increase voter turnout. Rock the Vote mobilizes
youth to create positive change through the political community; this
appeals to their desire to be involved and have their voices heard. Using AIM
Aptus and AIM Groups, AIM will provide Rock the Vote with a platform for
those involved to discuss the issues they care about.
Steven Colbert Campaign Contest
20 AIM will give Digital Natives the opportunity to submit a two-minute mock
presidential advertisement on AIM (aimgroups.com/election2008) promoting
themselves as a candidate. This allows Digital Natives to voice their own
political agenda and speak to the issues they deem most important. AIM
users will be able to discuss, debate and vote for their favorite mock political
advertisements. AIM will partner with The Colbert Report so the best political
advertisement, as determined by user votes, will be featured on the show
Gossip Girl Screen Name Competition: The CW captured 18 to 24 year old before the November 2008 election. The winner will also make a guest
women with the 2007 introduction of Gossip Girl, a drama featuring the lives appearance the day it airs.
of Manhattan’s Upper East Side social elite.1 To target these viewers, AIM will
introduce a contest where viewers can create an AIM screen name for Serena
van der Woodsen, a main character on the show. This contest will encourage
viewers to submit their screen name idea to AIMGossipGirl, created in
conjunction with this promotion. AIM ofﬁcials will determine the top ten
screen names and encourage users to then vote for their favorite via an AIM
poll. Voters will be driven to the poll from the CW Gossip Girl website and
during the end credits of episodes. The winning screen name will be used
in future episodes of Gossip Girl, featuring Serena using AIM Aptus features
and displaying the chosen screen name.
Userplane Partnerships: In addition to social networks, Digital Natives also Cause Branding: Junior Achievement Worldwide
express themselves online through blogs and personal websites. Chariot will
Eighty nine percent of Digital Natives, more than any other generation,
show bloggers and personal website creators that Userplane is a useful and
will switch to a brand associated with a good cause.1 Digital Natives crave
easy tool for them to enhance their personal online space.
active participation with social causes instead of just donating money to
Instead of using traditional advertising, Userplane will be incorporated into them. Chariot believes that AIM should become a lead sponsor of Junior
popular blogging websites such as Blogger.com, and into domain purchasing Achievement Worldwide, a foundation committed to providing in school
websites such as GoDaddy.com. For example, when a user creates a new post and after school programs that prepare students for the transition from high
on Blogger.com, in addition to the usual formatting options, they will see school to the responsibilities of adult life after graduation.
an option to “record audio or video using Userplane AV Blogger.” This will
JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and
create awareness and drive more bloggers to incorporate Userplane into their
preparing young people to succeed. A partnership with this program will
not only enhance the AIM brand image, but also provide Digital Natives with
Embedded Video Sharing: Digital Natives’ most important online the opportunity to volunteer and develop critical skills.
communities include video sharing platforms where television shows can
AIM will promote an internship opportunity using its social media platforms
be viewed. (The video ad message will be presented through an AIM Aptus
by asking applicants to create a video essay. AIM will host an eight weeklong
conversation.) The conversation will cater to the chosen TV show and will
internship on a major college campus where the chosen participants will
demonstrate how people can share their television experience through AIM. 21
develop a series of short video seminars. Each video will use an interactive
The AIM Aptus box will fade near the end of the advertisement, and there
format to discuss various facets of ﬁnancial literacy, work readiness and
will be a seamless transition from the example in the advertisement to the
entrepreneurship. These educational videos will be distributed to public
full-length online television show. Integrating advertising that displays the
schools nationwide and be used by teachers as a free and engaging resource.
video-sharing feature of AIM Aptus in an environment where it is immediately
In addition, an on-going program will make it easy for Digital Natives to
relevant will capture the interest of Digital Natives. The fresh and witty instant
become connected and volunteer with any of JA’s global ofﬁces.
message dialogue portrays the AIM brand image as authentic and relevant.
1 Cone 2006 Millennial Study
CONTINUOUS CONVERSION STAGE
Product Strategy Introducing cVie
The Re-Engage Stage creates an integrated AIM Universe and positions the Chariot has created cVie for introduction in January of 2009. cVie was created
AIM brand as highly relevant, functional and evolved. AIM will become a to address the aforementioned opportunity in the marketplace. In every
CONTINUOUS CONVERSION STAGE
brand that Digital Natives value and a brand they eagerly choose, but more execution, cVie will be “Powered by AIM,” leveraging the renewed brand
importantly, a brand they like. With this refound brand health, AIM will health of AIM created by the Re-Engage Stage.
“reclaim its heritage as a leader and innovator in the online community
cVie allows Digital Natives to share experiences about important transitional
space.” AIM will not just re-establish its leadership—it will always keep it by
“ﬁrsts” with the peers they trust. Digital Natives most value the advice
constantly being at the forefront of online interaction. AIM will no longer play
from peers they trust, peers who are going through the same transitions
catch-up because it will keep rolling out updated products, new products and
simultaneously, rather than by searching for advice through search engines
improved services that speak to the needs and interests of Digital Natives.
or hearing it from people who they feel are out of their loop. By sharing
The ﬁrst of these will be a brand new online community unlike anything else
experiences in cVie, Digital Natives are able to understand, accept and most
on the Internet.
importantly, embrace these transitions with the help of their social connections.
Our research taught us that from age of 18 to 24, Digital Natives experience
more transitions than at any other time in their lives. Existing social media The origin of cVie
products focus on either purely social interaction, like Facebook and
22 The cVie format was inspired by the timeline and sharing functions of the
MySpace, or purely professional
connections, like LinkedIn. AIM property circaVie. Shortening “circaVie” to “cVie” freshens the name
No online network, social or and differentiates the websites. The name cVie has two meanings of its own.
professional, currently exists to cVie alludes to the CVs that Digital Natives create to help get their ﬁrst real
help Digital Natives understand, job, a major transition in their lives. “Vie” also means “life” in French, so cVie
embrace and share these important could be taken to mean “see life” in the way that Digital Natives are using
transitions. With AIM Aptus their friends’ support and shared enthusiasm to see life in new ways and to
leading the way for AIM to reclaim discover new opportunities in their lives’ transitions.
its position as the leader of online
communication, AIM is now How cVie works
poised to be the forum for Digital cVie leverages the unique timeline interface of circaVie, a media-sharing
Natives’ discussion and sharing website within the AIM Universe. cVie allows Digital Natives to create
of their transitions. The next step, multimedia posts to their timelines with the option to include photo albums,
in what we call our Continuous video clips, audio and website links to share their experiences regarding
Conversation Stage, Chariot will transitions. These timeline posts are arranged chronologically, making it
introduce Digital Natives to a new possible for Digital Natives to see which of their friends have most recently
online community unlike any they experienced similar transitions they are facing, learn from them and share
have ever seen before—not just a their own advice.
social network, but a social utility.