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Brands And Digital Culture:It Doesn’t Have To SuckWashington University Olin School Of Business‘Brands And Social Networks...
Hello, I’m Avin.    I’m an Account Planner.2
Simply said,I try to serveas a guide for brandand agency teams,navigating an alwayschanging landscape.                    ...
I help makeconnections thatenable people andbrands to createstories together.                    4
Spanning causes,retail, automotive,CPG, and financial.                      5
A few things I’ve learned:It’s not easy. Or free. Or turnkey.Or an intern’s job. Or a reason to freak out.Or a task to pus...
Source: David Armano, Logic And Emotion Dec 2010                                                   7
My hope for todays discussion:Provide some actionable lessons + ideasthat you can implement for your brands.              ...
5 things to consider for your approach.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend...
5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best frien...
5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best frien...
We’ve been obsessing over platforms, ratherthan focusing on the underlying behaviors.   Pre 2005   2006 - 2007        2008...
It’s a natural reactionto technological disruption.                        13
Technology changes, but it’s still about peopleconnecting and sharing with other people.                        14
“Communicationstools don’t becomesocially interestinguntil they becometechnologicallyboring.”        - Clay Shirky, Author...
A key difference: being a social brand,vs using social media.                    VS                         16
17
Reinventing a dustybrand in a low-interestcategory.                          18
What most people don’t realize is they spent     years testing out different ideas, and refining.                          ...
Then they found the perfect person.The man your man...well, you know the rest.                       20
An inherently social idea easilylent itself to transmedia storytelling.                          21
22
23
After that much media attention, and months     passed, the idea still draws people in.                                   ...
“It’s one of the reasonsanyone buys anything;not just to own aproduct, but to becomea part of the story.”                 ...
Implications.Technology comes and goes- don’t get caught in the technolust trap.Just because a platform exists, doesn’t me...
5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best frien...
Marketing, as marketers envision it.                        Advertising                Retail             Direct          ...
Marketing, as people experience it.                   My Needs                 My Desires            Role For Brands That ...
Things Real PeopleDon’t SayAbout Advertising                     30
Truth is, people don’t really carewhether your ideas are digital or traditional.                         31
Just make it useful, stupid!                                              By the Summer of 2010, over 35% of all USAA cust...
Digital culture is                                               no longer just                                           ...
34
35
Strategy: force reappraisal of savings cultureamong young Americans.Challenges: • Facing the worst economic recession in a...
Put savings into a familiar context.                         37
Rather than run ads talking about savings,it showed people the tangible rewards.                        38
“From saying things atpeople, to doing thingswith and for people.”        - Gareth Kay, Director Of Brand Strategy        ...
Implications.Great ideas don’t have clear distinctions between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ elements.Aside from the geek continge...
41
5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best frien...
43
6 out of 10 people now    own a DVR (or other    time-shifting device).                             - Comcast Corporation ...
45
And yet...    46
Source: MediaPost Dec 2010                             47
48
49
50
Film itself isn’t in question, but when, where,     and how it can be experienced has changed.Source: Morgan Stanley State...
52
53
Strategy: get teens to take action by highlighting     the disrespectful behavior of Big Tobacco.     Challenges:         ...
Film was a crucial way to start a dialogue.                               Product InnovationShards Of Glass Announcement  ...
Deeper meaning came through robust activityacross all Truth social platforms.  Let people discuss the                     ...
Implications.Technology has liberated film- identify the ideal role for your initiatives.Contrary to conventional wisdom, s...
Let’s take a breather. In summary:Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop...
Overtime session.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘...
Problem: brands haven’t let go of an outdated      model for how people make decisions.Source: Forrester Technographics 20...
61
Constant technological shifts have enableda more complex and non-linear process.                       62
Our digital world is full of depth and nuance. From everyday distractions...        ...to enabling true cultural movements...
Shared                                                                                                                    ...
65
Strategy: turn a concert seriesinto a cultural pulse for (RED).Challenges: • No paid media. • Under $250K production (star...
We created an in-depth, highly involveddigital roadtrip for (RED) fans.                       67
Content creation came exclusively from fanson the ground- (RED) served as a curator.                                    We...
69
Implications.Brands are far more interesting when they are multi-dimensional. Embrace your personality.People are not stup...
Overtime session.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘...
‘Social’ and ‘mobile’ are increasingly inseparable.Source: JeSS3 Strategic Consultancy August 2010                        ...
Culture is rapidly adopting the mobile web.Source: Morgan Stanley State Of The Internet Nov 2010                          ...
But marketers have responded by spending     more on intrusive ads people don’t want.Source: Nielsen “State Of Mobile Apps...
1.At the core, there seem to be two key problems.             Starting with the brand, instead of mobile behavior 2.      ...
1.How can you best facilitate mobile decisions?                            Incentive                                 Infor...
77
Integration WITHIN mobile, not just OF mobile.                                Games                Utility 2.             ...
79
Implications.Mobile behavior requires looking to new sources for inspiration. Get out of the marketing bubble.Get granular...
OK. Done for real this time. In summary:Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best frien...
Depending on how you look at it, these areincredibly fun or incredibly scary times.                     82
What kind of organizational culturalwill you shape and develop? • Will you encourage experimentation? (you should) • Will ...
If you’re interested in staying connected...?        avin.narasimhan      facebook.com/                              linke...
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Presentation I gave at the end of February 2011 at The Olin School of Business @ Washington University in St Louis. Part of a new marketing seminar series they've started with the goal of bringing different types of industry folks into their classrooms to give lessons of both success and failure to future brand managers and CMOs. My session specifically was around what role digital platforms can play for brands, and to discuss some broad ideas about how it works and doesn't work.

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Brands And Digital Culture: It Doesn't Have To Suck

  1. Brands And Digital Culture:It Doesn’t Have To SuckWashington University Olin School Of Business‘Brands And Social Networks’ Marketing SeminarFebruary 24th, 2011 1
  2. Hello, I’m Avin. I’m an Account Planner.2
  3. Simply said,I try to serveas a guide for brandand agency teams,navigating an alwayschanging landscape. 3
  4. I help makeconnections thatenable people andbrands to createstories together. 4
  5. Spanning causes,retail, automotive,CPG, and financial. 5
  6. A few things I’ve learned:It’s not easy. Or free. Or turnkey.Or an intern’s job. Or a reason to freak out.Or a task to push to a silo-d ‘digital’ team. 6
  7. Source: David Armano, Logic And Emotion Dec 2010 7
  8. My hope for todays discussion:Provide some actionable lessons + ideasthat you can implement for your brands. 8
  9. 5 things to consider for your approach.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 9
  10. 5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 10
  11. 5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 11
  12. We’ve been obsessing over platforms, ratherthan focusing on the underlying behaviors. Pre 2005 2006 - 2007 2008 - Present 2011 - ? 12
  13. It’s a natural reactionto technological disruption. 13
  14. Technology changes, but it’s still about peopleconnecting and sharing with other people. 14
  15. “Communicationstools don’t becomesocially interestinguntil they becometechnologicallyboring.” - Clay Shirky, Author And Futurist 15
  16. A key difference: being a social brand,vs using social media. VS 16
  17. 17
  18. Reinventing a dustybrand in a low-interestcategory. 18
  19. What most people don’t realize is they spent years testing out different ideas, and refining. 2007 2008 2008 2009 Strange yet intriguing main characters, perfect comedic timing, odd situational humorSource: Bud Caddell “The Art Of Repetition And Recombinance” Aug 6th 2010 19
  20. Then they found the perfect person.The man your man...well, you know the rest. 20
  21. An inherently social idea easilylent itself to transmedia storytelling. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. After that much media attention, and months passed, the idea still draws people in. Over 3.5 million views in the first week, and that doesn’t even include millions more on broadcast tvSource: AdAge February 2011 24
  25. “It’s one of the reasonsanyone buys anything;not just to own aproduct, but to becomea part of the story.” - Jay-Z, Decoded 25
  26. Implications.Technology comes and goes- don’t get caught in the technolust trap.Just because a platform exists, doesn’t mean it’s right for your brand/product/goals.Never underestimate how much you can learn by listening to what people expect from you. 26
  27. 5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 27
  28. Marketing, as marketers envision it. Advertising Retail Direct Social Web Marketing The Brand Promotions/ Events POS Digital Experience 28
  29. Marketing, as people experience it. My Needs My Desires Role For Brands That Bridge Intersecting Realities 29
  30. Things Real PeopleDon’t SayAbout Advertising 30
  31. Truth is, people don’t really carewhether your ideas are digital or traditional. 31
  32. Just make it useful, stupid! By the Summer of 2010, over 35% of all USAA customer checks were processed via the banks mobile app.Source: Netbanker and Banking.com July 2010 32
  33. Digital culture is no longer just geek culture.Source: FastCompany Jan 2011 Feature 33
  34. 34
  35. 35
  36. Strategy: force reappraisal of savings cultureamong young Americans.Challenges: • Facing the worst economic recession in a generation. • A culture already inclined to spend over save. • Intense distrust and even hatred for the financial world (justifiably so). • Despite knowing a change was needed in their finances, most were paralyzed with fear. 36
  37. Put savings into a familiar context. 37
  38. Rather than run ads talking about savings,it showed people the tangible rewards. 38
  39. “From saying things atpeople, to doing thingswith and for people.” - Gareth Kay, Director Of Brand Strategy Goodby, Silverstein and Partners 39
  40. Implications.Great ideas don’t have clear distinctions between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ elements.Aside from the geek contingent, simpler is almost always better.Focus on platforms that allow for fast iteration, refinement, and relaunch. 40
  41. 41
  42. 5 things to consider for your approach.3Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 42
  43. 43
  44. 6 out of 10 people now own a DVR (or other time-shifting device). - Comcast Corporation Research August 2010Source: MSNBC Today Show 8/17/2010 44
  45. 45
  46. And yet... 46
  47. Source: MediaPost Dec 2010 47
  48. 48
  49. 49
  50. 50
  51. Film itself isn’t in question, but when, where, and how it can be experienced has changed.Source: Morgan Stanley State Of The Internet Nov 2010 51
  52. 52
  53. 53
  54. Strategy: get teens to take action by highlighting the disrespectful behavior of Big Tobacco. Challenges: • Limited paid media budget + timeframe. • Highly sensitive legal issues. • Toxic cultural and political environment dominated mass media. • Perception among teens that tobacco is a ‘lesser evil’.Source: Arnold + American Legacy Foundation Strategy Development Summer 2010 54
  55. Film was a crucial way to start a dialogue. Product InnovationShards Of Glass Announcement Company Recall 55
  56. Deeper meaning came through robust activityacross all Truth social platforms. Let people discuss the Provoke and incite action Content + entertainment resource issue together 56
  57. Implications.Technology has liberated film- identify the ideal role for your initiatives.Contrary to conventional wisdom, shorter is not always better.People don’t care about production value and perfect editing- just get it made, and get it out. 57
  58. Let’s take a breather. In summary:Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile is more than just ‘mobile’. 58
  59. Overtime session.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 59
  60. Problem: brands haven’t let go of an outdated model for how people make decisions.Source: Forrester Technographics 2008 60
  61. 61
  62. Constant technological shifts have enableda more complex and non-linear process. 62
  63. Our digital world is full of depth and nuance. From everyday distractions... ...to enabling true cultural movements 63
  64. Shared Language Advertise Habits Specials Range And Formation Akeelah And Options The Bee Ordering Barista Better Coffee System Culture Mission Post-digital era brands Used Starbucks Brand can be complex too. Grounds Experience Sofas And For Gardners Ambience Social Responsibility Fair Trade Africa Hearmusic PRODUCT Coffee Connection Jazz Label (RED) Partnership Cause Music Hearmusic Publicity Cultural Cafes In-Store Connection In-Store Burn Your Performance Own And Art Compilation AlbumSource: John Grant, Brand Manifesto 2008 64
  65. 65
  66. Strategy: turn a concert seriesinto a cultural pulse for (RED).Challenges: • No paid media. • Under $250K production (start to finish). • Small venues, limited total audience reach. • A tanking economy squeezing even affluents disposable $. 66
  67. We created an in-depth, highly involveddigital roadtrip for (RED) fans. 67
  68. Content creation came exclusively from fanson the ground- (RED) served as a curator. We asked fans for their help: If you’re tweeting, use hashtag #rednights Tag your photos #rednights on Flickr Use #rednights and #red on Youtube DL the fan toolkit and spread the word 68
  69. 69
  70. Implications.Brands are far more interesting when they are multi-dimensional. Embrace your personality.People are not stupid. Give them credit.No one outside of the marketing department worries about ‘multiple messages’ or ‘brandschizophrenia’. 70
  71. Overtime session.Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile lifestyles, not just mobile devices. 71
  72. ‘Social’ and ‘mobile’ are increasingly inseparable.Source: JeSS3 Strategic Consultancy August 2010 72
  73. Culture is rapidly adopting the mobile web.Source: Morgan Stanley State Of The Internet Nov 2010 73
  74. But marketers have responded by spending more on intrusive ads people don’t want.Source: Nielsen “State Of Mobile Apps” Sept 2010 74
  75. 1.At the core, there seem to be two key problems. Starting with the brand, instead of mobile behavior 2. Lumping mobile into one amorphous blob 75
  76. 1.How can you best facilitate mobile decisions? Incentive Information Providing monetary value Educating, providing (coupons or promotions), brand, product or service or an exchange of brand news,or answering currency (contests, questions and prizes) commentary. Curating or developing Giving people a content, ideas and platforms mechanism to make a for entertainment & involvement beyond brand decision, find products, or messaging. accomplish a task. Entertainment Utility 76
  77. 77
  78. Integration WITHIN mobile, not just OF mobile. Games Utility 2. Text Social Promos Mobile Integration Experience Location Mobile Site Aware Incentives Mobile Payment 78
  79. 79
  80. Implications.Mobile behavior requires looking to new sources for inspiration. Get out of the marketing bubble.Get granular with ideas- plan for the tactical as well as the strategic.Fast, simple, and clean UX are paramount. Don’t underestimate their value. 80
  81. OK. Done for real this time. In summary:Being a social brand is about more than media.Complexity is a marketers best friend.Stop worrying about ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’.Rethinking the role of film.Mobile is more than just ‘mobile’. 81
  82. Depending on how you look at it, these areincredibly fun or incredibly scary times. 82
  83. What kind of organizational culturalwill you shape and develop? • Will you encourage experimentation? (you should) • Will you embrace failure? (within acceptable limits) • Will you refuse to use the phrase ‘that’s how it’s always been done’? (yes, please) • Will you push folks like me and demand constant innovation? (I can take it) 83
  84. If you’re interested in staying connected...? avin.narasimhan facebook.com/ linkedin.com/ @avin_narasimhan @gmail.com avin.narasimhan avinnarasimhan avin.posterous.com avin_narasimhan nahmisaran avin_narasimhan 84
  85. 85
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Presentation I gave at the end of February 2011 at The Olin School of Business @ Washington University in St Louis. Part of a new marketing seminar series they've started with the goal of bringing different types of industry folks into their classrooms to give lessons of both success and failure to future brand managers and CMOs. My session specifically was around what role digital platforms can play for brands, and to discuss some broad ideas about how it works and doesn't work.

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