I, too, have a dream

March 31, 2016

Nothing inspires and mobilizes us like a great vision, artfully told. It’s human nature, we’re more easily persuaded through emotionally charged ideas than with dry facts. Yet, despite of this being a well known convention, many brands fail at clearly articulating and expressing their vision of why they bring value to the world, and why we should buy them/follow them/use them/share them.

Jim Stengel argues that brands that have a purpose  and manage to bring it to life in a powerful way will always outperform brands that don’t. Brands that have “ideals”, connect better with consumers, are more easily differentiated vs. others and ultimately drive higher purchase intent.


Copyright 2016 The Jim Stengel Company, LLC.  

It makes sense. The challenging part is, of course, in crafting a great ideal, and even more challenging, consistently delivering on it. But every journey starts with one step. Eben Pagan said it best: “Clear Visions Create Causes” .

There, go forth and dream.


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March 28, 2016

Gamification has had more than its fair share of hype over the last 10 or so years. At times it feels like understanding and harnessing its power to drive human behavior would usher a new era of business and indeed society.

And yet, for the most part only a handful of companies in the social media and tech space (in addition to gaming companies, of course) are truly leveraging its potential.

Creating a leaderboard, or rewarding users with badges and points by interacting with one’s brand does not a gamified campaign make. That’s why I like Yu-kai Chou’s framework – it’s comprehensive enough for the most sophisticated of companies, and simple enough to grasp the full array of possibilities and opportunities of gamification for the smallest of brands or indeed, communication/engagement campaigns.

Check it out and level up:

The Gamification Framework Octalysis converts any campaign into actionable steps by breaking down motivation into 8 Core Drives.

Octalysis Framework

Source: Octalysis: Complete Gamification Framework – Yu-kai Chou

Third time’s a charm

March 27, 2016

You have to give it to Seth Godin. His blog, started as early as 2002, is one of the most enduring sources of modern marketing philosophy anywhere in the world. Gurus come and go, but Seth has had a remarkable staying power for decades. But my point is not that. My point is that having the discipline of writing a thoughtful blog post every day (on average) for as long as he has is nothing short of superhuman.

Well, back to Brandr. This is more of thought experiment than a journalistic endeavor, so as we embark on the 3rd attempt to regularly share observations from the world of brands, brand strategy, brand design and marketing in general, let’s keep in mind that ancient Latin saying: “Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum“, the great thing is to know when to speak, and when to keep quiet.

Ok, at the count of 3.


Photo credit: Chris Foster

Back online and “Groupon, told you so”

May 5, 2012

After a pretty long hiatus I promised myself to make time to get back again to collecting and curating great articles in brand and marketing strategy and color them with my own take. So what better way to (re) start than by putting a bit more spotlight on the meteoric rise and what looks like a meteoric crash of the once touted:

We have lift off.

“the fastest growing company in history”.

As early as 2011’s edition of SXSW, everybody was talking about Groupon Envy; some folks in the industry commented at the time that a social media bubble was forming in the valley and the only company with a clear revenue model and a bright future was Groupon.

The chain of events was fast and tumultuous as if it was scripted: Becomes talk of the town, goes from hundreds to more than 8,000 employees in less than 2 years, hundreds of competitors swarm the daily deal market, tries to innovate with better targeting and real-time deals, launches IPO and… in a matter of months, the stock price sinks to half of its initial offering, and everybody realizes that their product has essentially become irrelevant.

Some had predicted Groupon’s dim future, but the voices are getting much louder now, and Groupon’s sales force are starting an exodus. Call it the canary in the mine. From Venture Beat:

Here’s the deal: I’m outta here.

According to a former salesperson at Groupon, top sales talent is leaving the company as its troubles mount. As of this morning, Groupon reached another all time low, trading on the NASDAQ at $10, half off its $20 IPO price. In just the month of April, the stock lost 42% of its value.

Sales people are leaving for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that volumes on each deal are declining. This is something I’ve noticed lately. It’s not uncommon for a deal in the San Francisco area to sell fewer than 100 units.

Full article here: http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/03/top-sales-talent-leaving-groupon-as-its-woes-mount/

Read it and weep. Or not.


Photo credits: NASA, Moon Angel

YouTube still Video King – but Facebook growing fast

August 18, 2010

It’s no secret that the video destination of choice for most users is YouTube, but the last figures from comScore uncover other interesting dynamics:

  • Hulu, which ranks only 10th in unique users, well below Yahoo!. Microsoft and Facebook, actually logs in more minutes per viewer than all of these 3 competitors combined. This is obvious given that their business model is based on long format programming, but it’s easy to oversee that duration of engagement is one of the most attractive features for advertisers.
  • Vevo only launched earlier this year but has now climbed to the top 5 video sites, ahead of Viacom, Fox, Metacafe and Disney.
    I predict this may become eventually the 2nd most popular video site for 3 reasons:  The infrastructure support of Google, the marketing investment of  the leading music labels and the laser focus on high quality music videos, often providing official and exclusive content that users can’t get anywhere else.  A recipe hard to beat when attracting the 15-29 year old demographic.

Read more about these stats on Inside Facebook’s story here.

Photo credit: Kofoed

Success. How to get it.

August 16, 2010


Success. Everybody wants it, some achieve it, even fewer know how to get it constantly…

It’s not [only] hard work.

It’s not [only] luck.

Here is the full  TED talk on the 8 secrets of Success.

Photo credit: AnnieGreenSprings

Uncoventional Wisdom in Advertising

May 5, 2010

As the saying goes, “Common sense is the less common of the senses”; equally, Conventional Wisdom is often misplaced as well especially when it comes to what drives a higher ROI in advertising.

For years, the traditional marketing school has emphasized Share of Voice and heavy media up weights as the solution to cut through. A recent study published by Ipsos, aggregating thousands of ads among multiple categories shows that this is not the case. The study shows in fact that content and creative power explains up to 75% of the variances between ads that are recalled and those who are not.

Other interesting insights:

  • Creative pools (e.g. a set of ads under the same creative idea but with various executions) should be aired sequentially, not concurrently.
  • Adding an additional touch point is better than over focusing in one channel.
  • Continuous TV plans are more efficient than burst plans. This is because your ad should be the last one seen prior to a buying decision.

The full PDF is available here.

Photo credit: Francisco Diez

Brian Solis webinar with Radian6 | Top 10 takeaways

April 4, 2010

Fresh off his appearance at the 2010 SXSW, Brian Solis (@BrianSolis) did a seminar recently sponsored by Radian6 on Social Media and to chat about his new book Engage. Great discussion and great Q&A. Here is a short top 10 takeaways and my thoughts to ponder as to why it’s relevant for brands:

  1. Think beyond “Social Media”. We’re starting a new era in society and how we communicate with one another.
    Companies and channels come and go but the trend towards integration, collaboration and openness will only accelerate.

  2. Social Media engagement affects every step of the purchase experience; from discovery to usage. Brands need to map out this customer journey and identify how can they deliver relevant content and experiences through each touch point.

  3. Myth: “Social Media is Free (and easy)”. It’s certainly not, but it can be extremely cost efficient if brands can harness the potential of great content, great customer service and great brand/product experiences. As for the easy part, brands need to make a commitment to develop their social media capabilities to at least working level (listen to conversations and act upon them). 

  4. Most credible source of information is other consumers (38%), closely followed by brands themselves (37%). Journalists, Marketers and other brands lag far behind. Source: eMarketer.

  5. Customer Engagement starts with LISTENING (and Research in a broader sense). Conversations among consumers, positive and negative are happening whether brands acknowledge them or not.

  6. The sentiment on conversations for all brands ranges from positive to neutral to negative. It’s the marketer’s role to change this sentiment from neutral to positive (easier) and from negative to at least neutral. How? Define a conversation flow: Identify and engage with tools suitable for such task. Some are free, others like Attentio and Radian6 are worth exploring and investing in them.

  7. Social Media is closer to Experiential Marketing than to Traditional Marketing. Empathy and attention are crucial. Customers know and expect to be listened to.

  8. Engagement can’t be done randomly. Brands need to strategize participation and engagement. 

  9. Brands need to go beyond SEO (still paramount) to SMO, Social Media Optimization. Brands need to ensure their content is findable and shareable. Keywords, titles, descriptions, tags and a planned syndication will separate your brand from the rest.

  10. Most importantly, brands need to become more human. Customers interact with the people representing the brand. As Brian puts it: Become the person you want to inspire.

The last point is perhaps the most important. Brands today can’t afford to be aloof and distant; give your brand a human voice, be authentic, honest and open — and start engaging!

Photo credit: briansolis.com