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Fallon Brainfood x VCU Brandcenter: The Engagement Opportunity

Aki Spicer, Fallon's Director of Digital Strategy conducted a workshop at VCU Brandcenter's Executive Training Program for account planners.

"The Engagement Opportunity" outlines the evolving role and function of strategic planning in this age of digital and social technologies and proposes a methodology for integrated creative ideation.

Fallon Brainfood x VCU Brandcenter: The Engagement Opportunity

  1. “The Engagement Opportunity" @VCU Brandcenter Executive Training Program 2010 “Planning in a Digital Age”
  2. Hi. I am Aki Spicer. Veteran Planning Director at Fallon Now leading Digital Strategy Blogger Author User Co-Founding "Officer of Good" for Planning For Good Forging standards and practices for social media analytics here at Fallon Want to help bring planning into the age of participation
  3. Not another doomsday prophecy presentation. I promise.
  4. A close look at the problems opportunities now facing strategists.
  5. Toolkit of actionable (field-tested) frameworks.
  6. Building on the roots of planning…
  7. So, why "Digital Strategy?"
  8. Shift happened. You can’t outspend your way across the network. You can’t outshout your way across the network. You have to outsmart your way across. Your ad is here. Matthew Hurst/Nielsen, “Mapping the Blogosphere”, 2007,,
  9. Shift Happens.
  10. Shift Happens.
  11. Shift Happens. "Our traditional agencies have always been built around an old production model (websites, films)...nothing against production, but production has been commoditized - strategy isn't...we are aggressively trying to build (agency) relationships around strategy and analytics going forward." Jim Cuene, Director of Interactive, General Mills Speaking on panel: “How Digital Has Changed the CMO Role” @ Forrester Consumer Forum, October 2009
  12. Shift Happens.
  13. But…agencies aren't necessarily getting it right. And clients are getting impatient. Tick. Tick.
  14. A reboot is in order for the "digital discipline".
  15. Someday, this debate won't matter…we'll all be "digital". Someday. -ish. Right?
  16. Until then…there is the Digital Strategist. Boldly going.
  17. Digital Strategy seeks to bridge the gaps betwixt technology, the creative idea, the target as user, the business objectives and the brand. Computer Artistes Code Monkeys Clients understand neither. Clients trust neither. •  Innovation-led •  Tech-led •  Not ROI-minded •  Math-minded •  Uncompromising/Unapproachable •  Agreeable/Complacent •  Disconnected from customer •  Disconnected from brand (values (values and capabilities) and big ideas) •  Expensive •  Expensive Ideas, not solutions Efficiency, not ideas
  18. Digital Strategists are bringing grounded creativity to technology. Computer Artistes Code Monkeys User Insights Big Picture Integration Social Content Strategy Web Entertainment Transactions (ideas, not solutions) Mobile and Everyware(efficiency, not ideas) Tools and Apps Data Analytics Innovation Pipeline
  19. The problem(s)/opportunity of our digital age.
  20. “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” Marshall McLuhan 22
  21. Liminal Space 23
  22. “Nicholas Negroponte declared the digital revolution over in 1998, but it took adland 12 more years to rework its basic creative, technological, philosophical and procedural assumptions.” Teressa Iezzi Advertising Age, May 23 “Post-Digital Era Brings Traits of Web to Real World”
  23. “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?” Bruce Mau, Massive Change
  24. Insights in. Insights out. Whatever the device or channel, it is always about leveraging the human motivation. *ie, Less about the model phone this monkey is using - and more understanding about what is the monkey doing/seeking?
  25. Some rules of (digital) planning in the new age:
  26. Everyone participates. 28
  27. "The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect - to help people work together - and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world.” Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of the internet
  28. “What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.” Tim O’Reilly-writer, activist, futurist, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media
  29. Successful brands have embraced “people powered ideas” and "back pocket solutions" by offering true benefit in their marketing.
  30. Technology is converting viewers to users, and users (ideally) to advocates. Viewing. Participation. Advocacy. But advocacy isn’t free: It comes when value compels evangelism.
  31. The Fallon process is built to enable participation and utility to consumers, in order to unlock their value for brands. If you invest in your consumers, they'll invest in you.
  32. The way we define it: We make Generous Interactions™ for your brands.
  33. Insights we've gleaned about Generous Interactions amidst this liminal space.
  34. “…Most of our campaigns utilize digital media as an enabler medium, having both on and offline components, because the truth is most of our lives and emotions we share take place in the real world.” Johannes Leonardo ECD Leo Premutico Ad Age May 23 “Post-Digital Era Brings Traits of Web to Real World”
  35. From "above-the-line" and "below-the-line" towards just blurred lines…
  36. The implications Blurred Lines have on planning •  Become a generalist •  Widen your skillsets •  Learn to speak fluent(ish) geek •  Platform ideas, not channel tactics •  Conducting brand strategy across design thinking, usability and UX (user experience), IA (information architecture), functionality, data flow and web/social chatter analytics, media and connections planning.
  37. “…these are not life goals, but rather interaction goals… because the task a person is attempting to complete at any given moment is the most important task to that person, at that moment.” Robert Hoekman, Jr Designing the Moment
  38. From "target insights" towards "user insights"…
  39. In redesigning a bank rewards site, we realized that user engagement demands more than mere alignment of pantones and logotypes.
  40. The implications User Insights have on planning •  Widen your insight resources beyond the survey and the focus group •  Get granular about the moment, grease the wheels of micro actions •  Know more about our targets in the digital context (usage data, lifestyle needstates, device penetration, personas, usability and multivariate testing)
  41. “In 1997, the average click thru rate on online ads was 2.1%. In 2001 it was 0.5%. In 2008 it was 0.1%.” IABStats, @IAB
  42. From 00:30:00 towards 00:03:02… .”
  43. The implications 00:03:02 have on planning •  Prioritize messaging heirarchy •  Speed the action desired – what the hell do we want people to do? •  Champion relentless reductionism
  44. “We assume guaranteed failure when we simply cut+paste our traditional creative into digital environments.” Tomas Emmers Consumer+Market Insights Director Unilever @Digital Media Measurement Summit 2010
  45. From "360º execution" towards "brand molecule"... .”
  46. Extending our creative TV execution really didn't pay off for us when trying to tell/sell customers on the web about the new Country Chicken at Boston Market.
  47. The implications Brand Molecule has on planning •  Sourcing a macro "core idea" (not necessarily the creative execution) and guiding its adaptation throughout an explosion of media contexts and user insights •  Strategizing the right dress for each occasion •  Beyond entertainment and "likeability" plus information – utilities and facilitating transactions
  48. From paid media towards people-powered ideas…
  49. @WhiteRabbitInc invited people to play along and participate with our advertising across a wide range of touchpoints.
  50. The implications People-Powered Ideas have on planning •  Now that people are media, we need to outline 'what is the role for people to participate with our idea?' •  Integrating a new metric for what people are saying about our brand, Overheard™
  51. “The next great media company won’t have a website, it will be all spokes and no hub. It will exist as a constellation of connected apps and widgets that live inside other sites and offer a full experience plus access to your social graph and robust community features.” Steve Rubel Media Magazine, Sep 2009
  52. From hubs toward spokes…
  53. The implications Hub and Spokes have on planning •  Microsites and websites are not the center of your users' world •  Fish where the fish are biting •  One idea is no longer enough, you need lots of small ideas swimming out in the vast www and social sea
  54. “In this era defined by the personal Newsfeed, ‘fans’ expect their ‘friends’ to do more, not less.” 56
  55. From campaigns towards commitments…
  56. The implications Commitment has on planning •  Launch is simply the beginning…learn, iterate, reboot. Rinse and repeat. •  You're on the hook, what value do you bring users everyday?
  57. “The winner will be the one that figures out how to bring elegant organization to the disorganized social network that the internet already is.” Jeff Jarvis What Would Google Do?
  58. From Art Direction towards UX… .”
  59. From Art Direction towards UX… .”
  60. From Art Direction towards UX… .”
  61. .”
  62. The implications UX has on planning •  Love the user •  Less "impact" and "disruption", more "usage" and "experience" •  Informs messaging maps, metadata framework, SEO, taxonomy, technical copywriting, folksonomy, quality assurance, licensing evaluations
  63. And from Copywriter towards Content Manager…
  64. The implications Content Strategy has on planning •  Operate like a magazine publisher or talk show producer – conversation calendars and content development •  Get granular…what are we planning to offer our newfound "fans" and "friends" next Thursday? •  Real-time readiness – plan for responsiveness •  Informs messaging maps, metadata framework, SEO, taxonomy, technical copywriting, folksonomy, quality assurance, licensing evaluations
  65. Digital is putting hybrid disciplines onto the work and demanding "T-shaped" talent to pilot success.
  66. The implications T-shaped People have on planning •  Widen your source of good ideas and creativity •  Planners as doers, not just watchers
  67. "Creative agencies should get nervous. We're acquiring a lot of (good quality) content and ideas beyond our agencies (from publishers, PR agencies, hybrid models, UGC). We're increasingly cutting out the middle man.” Stephen Strong Global Director of Interactive Alberto-Culver
  68. From creation towards curation…
  69. The implications Curation has on planning •  Production is commoditized across a wider array of partners (beyond partner agencies, partner media and users, too!) – strategic guidance is vital now more than ever •  Now that people are media outlets, too, must outline a role for the users' content •  A brief that informs more disciplines (incl Media Connection and Interactive)
  70. “Traditional survey research is dead.” Kim Dedeker VP, Global Consumer and Market Knowledge Proctor & Gamble 72
  71. “We may have no choice but to move away from survey research.” Donna Goldfarb Consumer and Market Insights Unilever 73
  72. "’s as if a universe of focus groups is forming online. Tens of millions of people participate. Many write copiously. And, from a marketer’s point of view, many are gloriously indiscreet about practically everything." Stephen Baker, Author the Numerati
  73. From "ask research" towards "listen research"… Real Voices in Real Time. Overheard™ is Fallon's proprietary analytics tool for wiretapping social web chatter for insights and ideas – Real Voices in Real Time. Overheard™ listens for real time conversations about your brand throughout Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogs and plays back the key trends and insights hidden within (sentiment, viral reach and influence) to inspire winning creative ideas.
  74. From "because we can" towards "because they asked us to"
  75. The implications Overheard has on planning •  The social web’s impact demands that a brand is less what we say it is, and more what they say it is. •  Your brand may be uniquely permitted (or not) to join the conversation at The Social. •  Let fans’ points-of-passion guide your entry into the conversation. •  Already-existent advocacy may deserve to be amplified. Consider how to put a spotlight on this passion. •  Give people what they want. Watch and listen for what they already do to learn what they want.
  76. “The shock that the Internet caused [to the industry] is still not finished. We need to be ahead of the curve; otherwise we will not be able to accompany the client of tomorrow.” Maurice Levy CEO Publicis Groupe 78
  77. From "mastery" to "invention"
  78. Skimmer generously gives users some elegant organization of all your social touchpoints.
  79. Caprica's Open Mic App on Facebook invites fans to talk back to the show's cast and producers.
  80. The implications Invention has on planning •  Question: why have no agencies invented the groundbreaking inventions of our age? YouTube? Facebook? Twitter? •  Embrace experimentation and failure •  Jump in and invent something
  81. “A good engagement brief/idea uses action verbs – it asks people to do something.” 83
  82. Media that is driven by the language of actions demands clear input on what we want people to do with our ideas.
  83. Banners…how would you like people to participate?
  84. Websites…how would you like people to participate?
  85. Social…how would you like people to participate?
  86. Mobile…how would you like people to participate?
  87. From "simply said" towards the "engagement opportunity" Syfy's Alice Simply Said: Beloved Classic, Imagined Greater. Engagement Opportunity: Return to wonderland. Give people immersive personal experiences with a mythology they've left behind. Totinos Simply Said: Totino's is kids' favorite favorite thing. Engagement Opportunity: Demonstrate how Totino’s is Mom's co-conspirator in enabling kid smiles. Simply Said: For Back-to-School, Totino's gives Moms+kids (double box tops) more to smile about. Engagement Opportunity: Turn Moms' offline advocacy into online evangelism, with just a click. Syfy's Eureka Simply Said: Meet the people, behind the genius, behind the town of Eureka Engagement Opportunity: Talk with your favorite Eureka character. Really. Simply Said: Re-skin the site with the updated logotypes and pantones Engagement Opportunity: Demonstrate how users are rewarded for everything they do with the bank.
  88. Step 1: Understand the business issue that digital can help solve. From: “We need banners.” Define the Biz Problem. To: “Here’s what we’re trying to solve.”
  89. Step 2: Use proprietary Fallon tools to listen to consumers in the wild who talk about, and use, our brands. Overheard Define the Biz Listen In. Problem.
  90. Step 3A: Identify unmet consumer need surrounding the category or brand. Define Define the the Biz Listen In. “User” Problem. Problem. Differentiating Step: How can we add value for consumers by delivering utilitarian benefit?
  91. Step 3B: Define the role we want people to play in our ideas, and role of digital within the mix. Define the “User” Define Problem. the Biz Listen In. Problem. Role for Participation. Differentiating Step: Outlining a clear role that the groundswell may play in achieving objectives.
  92. Step 4: Invent solutions to the business problem, focusing on end user value and participation. Define the “User” Define Problem. the Biz Listen In. Invent. Problem. Role for Participation. Differentiating Step: Ideas live within a larger plan, and include a perspective on traditional media.
  93. Step 5: Listen to consumer reaction, and analyze (previously defined) participation metrics. Overheard Define the “User” Define Problem. the Biz Listen In. Invent. Listen Problem. Out. Role for Participation.
  94. Step 6: Less popular ideas go away, and those with promise are fueled. Define the “User” Define Problem. the Biz Listen In. Invent. Listen Adjust Problem. Out. Approach. Role for Participation.
  95. Thanks.
  96. Let's continue the conversation. This and other Fallon Brainfood presentations may be found at @akispicer #MNAMA