Q&A: Tom Nicholson (Pt 3): Social Retailing in the Age of the Empowered Consumer

OD_Tom_Nicholson In Part 1 and Part 2 of we learned about social retailing pilots for Nanette Lepore and Bloomingdales that resulted in a 3x increase in sales.










In part three of this exclusive source interview for my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, Tom Nicholson - the father of social retailing - talks about the dynamic of using social media to lure shoppers into stores, and then keeping them there - longer and more profitably.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO: Part 3: Social Retailing in the Age of the Empowered Consumer

(Approx 4:34)


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Top 10 Best in Mobile Marketing 2013 (Video)


GenWowAwards-2013Who had some serious mobile mojo this past year?

One of the best signs for the future of mobile marketing comes in the fact that so many of our favorites appear on a number of other lists of GEN WOW winners for 2013 - indicating a level of integration we had not yet seen in the evolution of what is obviously the most measurable, personal and direct link to consumers ever created.

It's also worth noting that none of these have much to do with anything called "mobile advertising" of the "Oh, look, Facebook has mobile ads now" variety.

Most, in fact, involve highly engaging experiences involving games, helpful information or actual utilities.

Our purely subjective favorites of the year include:

10. (Tie) Stride Gum: Chew the Future Mobile Game

Sure, the promotional video is going to make your skin crawl. But this branded game from Stride and W+K does seems like a fun way to have your game and chew it, too. That's because the game uses your iPhone camera to detect your mouth movements to control the onscreen hero, Ace (bonus points for including the ability to share images of your crazy jaw action to share on social media.) Let's just hope the flavor lasts long enough to win during gameplay, though. Otherwise, the whole adventure may leave a, er, bad taste in your mouth. 

10. (Tie) Lexus: AR Print Ad

This year, Lexus was pushing the limits again - just in time for this year's big SI Swimsuit Issue. There was that 3D projection mapping experience on an LA Hotel a while back. And last October, the brand brought a print ad to life with the help of a handy iPad. This time out, Lexus went a bit simpler, keying into QR codes - the scanning of which reveals models hidden in SI print ads for the new IS. And as you'll see in our list of Top 10 Best in in Digital Out-of-Home 2013, it was also just the opening act in an integrated camapaign that included Sport Illustrated's first-ever 3D projection mapping experience on the facade at Caesar's Las Vegas (the development of which comes from Go2 Productions, the same team that worked on our 3D projection experience for a recent client event featuring a private concert by TRAIN).

9. (Tie) Nivea: Print Ad Charges Your Mobile Phone Via Solar

Okay, not technically mobile marketing, but print in the service of mobile. Here, NIVEA has found a way to let you keep enjoying those summer rays - without having to worry about your mobile phone going dead. This print ad from GiovanniDraftFCB in Brazil is just the latest example of print meeting digital for some very cool results (see recent Fanta-flavored, iPod-amping print ads for a few more).

9. (Tie) Samsung: Skip Ahead

As an Apple devotee, it pains me to say that Samsung's marketing in the mobile wars is increasingly impressive (and scathing) - especially the ads mocking iPhone fans waiting in long lines for the next iPhone. And in 2013, this effort from BBDO New Zealand raises the bar. Galaxy fans could skip ahead by tweeting. Brilliant. And you won't believe the results.

 8. Disney: Infinity Action! Mobile AR App

What JJ Abrams did for "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible" with the ActionFX app, Disney's doing with its treasure trove of characters via its new Infinity Action! app. As a tie-in with its new Infinity game, this app allows you to create short videos using a host of popular Disney characters and 30 different animations and props, that they can then share on their soc-nets. Kids (and a fair number of parents) are certain to love this - and it's a great way to turn advertising into a participatory experience.

7. Chipotle: Scarecrow

It's looking like Chipotle has scored big with a new mobile campaign centered on YouTube video and mobile game.  As Venture Beat reports, Chipotle and Moonbot Studios produced an animated film and mobile game as part of its overall "Food with Integrity" campaign. Here's the thing: As a branding initiative, it's generating boffo results. In its first two weeks, the YouTube video saw 6.5 million views. And within four days of the mobile game's release on the App Store, it was downloaded 250,000 times, making it the top 15 free iOS apps in the U.S.

6. RSA Insurance: Touch Screen Print Ad Offers Instant Car Insurance Quotes

What are the Geico lizard or old Mayhem going to make of this? More importantly, what might they do with it? An insurance company called RSA in the Middle East has created an interactive print ad that enables readers to ask for a quote, no mobile phone or other consumer device required, though the quote comes back via the reader's mobile phone (which obviously provides the brand with contact information it could use for follow up communications). As part of the brand's "Easy as Ever" promise, the medium is quite literally the message - an innovative "wow" moment that directly delivers on the brand's positioning.

5. Dutch Boy: Paintlist App

Paintlist is bringing new color to your playlist. 

The app, launched by Dutch Boy Paints, uses songs stored on your phone or the phone's microphone to identify a song, and then analyzes it to suggest several color palettes based on things like tempo and beat. 

As you might expect, fast, upbeat music favored by many millennials results in recommendations for vibrant colors - and slow, dramatic music results in more muted tones. 

4. (Tie) Haagen-Dazs: Mini Augmented Reality Concerto (YouTube Video, Above)

It might be the ultimate ice cream topping: This augmented reality concerto lasts just long enough for the ice cream to soften up just right. A very nice branding moment for connecting with certain customer segments.

4. (Tie) Domino's: Dance Fest Pizza Box AR

In fact, the whole package-top motif took off big time this year. In one GEN WOW-winning effort from Domino's Japan, an iPhone app featuring a hugely popular, yet completely make-believe, virtual music star named Hatsune Miku, enables you to point your phone at a pizza box and enjoy a special, augmented reality performance from Miku.

3. Huggies: Dad's Pregnant, Too

Call it Father's Day, come early. This device, synced to Mom's belly, is sure to result in a powerful moment for Dad. And it's a blockbuster way to cement the Huggies brand into these new parents' minds. Maybe every expectant father should do this.

2. Hell's Kitchen: Pizza Box Top AR Game

We've lost count of how many of our lists include this GEN WOW winner from a New Zealand-based pizza chain called Hell Pizza. its very cool augmented reality game continues the package-top trend this year, and pits pizza fans against (what else) zombies straight from, well, Hell. Righteous.

1. Smart Communications: TXT Books for Kids

Call it text books by texting. This year, DDB Manila and telecom company Smart Communications won the Mobile Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival with an effort that seems like the perfect mix of cause + commerce.

Agree with our list? What made yours? Share - and let's discuss what it all means as we look ahead to 2014 and beyond.


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Guest Post: SAP CMO Jonathan Becher - On Turbocharging Business Results Through Marketing Insights

Jonathan_becher2Jonathan Becher is one of the most tech savvy corporate CMOs today; one listen to my first conversation with him, and that much will be crystal clear.

And like me, he's a firm believer that distinction between B2B and B2C marketing are now non-existent – and that now more than ever, B2B marketers had better wake up that fact and start marketing to business audiences the way, say, Coca-Cola and others market to consumers.

In this GEN WOW guest post, Becher explores the power of marketing intel in achieving blockbuster business results.

Turbocharting Business Results through Marketing Insights

When apparel retailer Gap releases a new clothing design, marketing analysts look to a key customer segment as an early indicator of the product’s popularity: the people who work in its stores. “Our employees are also our target audience, so we know quickly by those first-day employee purchases if we have a hit on our hands,” said Seth Farbman, Gap’s global CMO. Based on those early results, marketing can rapidly adjust promotional campaigns or merchandising can change the mix of inventory in stores to accommodate anticipated demand. “The data is irrefutable because it’s real,” says Farbman.

The constant flow of information across a business has created an opportunity to increase the pace of decision making, to observe and react in the moment – just like humans do. Marketers are looking beyond examining historical data to predict the future. Instead, they are turbocharging the analysis of real-time data from a variety of sources, including social media and website activity, to deliver personalized in-the-moment engagement, promotions, and, ultimately, sales.

Capitalizing on insights is one of five key responsibilities that marketers must embrace to transform the marketing function into a strategic business driver. Here are four key foundational elements you will need to put in place to capture – and act on – insights in real time:

Plan for spontaneity. The foundation for Oreo’s seemingly spontaneous ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet during the blackout at this year’s Super Bowl was laid well in advance. Parent company Mondelez created 78 dashboards to capture social media conversations about the Super Bowl and the Mondelez brands that were advertising on the broadcast. Shortly after the power went out at the Superdome, analysts noticed the chatter on Twitter and Facebook had shifted to the blackout. Within minutes, Oreo’s digital agency had created a snappy post, which generated 15,000 retweets on Twitter and 5,500 shares on Facebook.

Accelerate your analytics. Real-time marketing requires real-time decision making, not just big data. Businesses are looking for ways to reduce the time between collecting the data and acting upon it. Procter & Gamble, for example, has invested in a “visually immersive” data environment, called Business Sphere, which delivers constant streams of business intelligence to employees around the globe. Ask yourself whether you’re focusing on warehousing your data or capitalizing on the insights it contains.

Curate content, not just collateral. Research from technology publisher IDG found that IT professionals typically consume five pieces of content, created by or on behalf of the vendor, before they speak with a sales representative. But those pieces of content can’t be the same; they must match the buyers’ needs at a given moment. For example, someone who posts a query on a community site about cloud technology will likely balk at an immediate sales pitch – but appreciate a link to a blog post that talks about overall trends and best practices. Early-stage content builds credibility – and possibly an opportunity to engage more directly down the road.

Know your customer before they are your customer. Customers have more choice than ever before, are better informed than ever before, and their opinions count more than ever before. Customers spend 50% of their time researching online and 70% of their decision making is complete before they speak to a sales person. If you are waiting for them to walk in your store or meet with a sales rep, you are too late. To make matters worse, 80% of customers have reversed a purchase decision based on a negative review. Imagine the impact a company can make on its bottom line if it understands the customer and start creating an experience for them earlier in the cycle.

Are you still marketing based on last month’s reports or are you ready for real-time? I look forward to your comments. 

Join Jonathan and other senior agency- and client-side marketers to talk about this topic and more at our new GEN WOW LINKEDIN GROUP.


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Coca-Cola Makes Billboards Personalized Via Geofence Technology (Video)

In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I look at how MINI has created similar experiences to this using RFID chips in driver key fobs.

Here, Coca-Cola accomplishes it via geofencing.

But the fact that users have to download a mobile app in hopes of being greeted as they drive by a billboard makes this seem less compelling.

What's your view?

How are you using personalization + location in consumer-facing communications?

Read more about the initiative, here.


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Digital & The New Consumer (Infographic)

HWW Digital and the New Consumer_InfographicThis is an interesting new infographic from Havas Worldwide; which kind of digital shopper are you? What about your customers?



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Game of Knowns: 'Data Dealer' Game Makes Marketers' Data Collection More Transparent(ly Outrageous) (Video)


However much you may hate the idea of the NSA spying on you, this game drives home how Big Data is enabling the surveillance economy's real Big Brother.

Namely, Big Business.

As the New York Times reports, a group of developers in Austria has launched an online game called Data Dealer that aims to make the business of consumer profiling more transparent - hopefully opening up a lot of eyes in the process.

The idea: amass and sell fictional profiles with personal details from names and social security numbers, to dietary habits and sexual orientation, and then sell it all to the highest bidders. As the game puts it, "Privacy? Screw that!"

The developers are even raising money on Kickstarter to finance a new version that lets users play against each other - and hack each other's database to steal their trove of profiles. Or, in the vernacular of the game: "Legal? Illegal? Whatever."

In my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I argue that while technology increasingly enables us to market down to granular levels of consumer profiling - even to the proverbial "niche of one" - society at large has a responsibility to make the decision to use the technology very carefully, as do we as marketers.

As is clear in recent headlines, this is not a philosophical debate about speculative scenarios. It's here, it's now, and it's happening today.

Consumer backlash will no doubt pressure brands to course-correct in some instances - though government regulation like the kind being put forward by the Federal Trade Commission - may be required to stem more insidious practices.

Digital technologies can offer tremendously powerful ways to enhance the brand experience - forever transforming the way consumers interact and transact with the brands they know and trust.

The operative word here is "trust." Trust built on the recognition that brands exist for consumers, not the other way around. And on values that respect and transparency.

Watch the YouTube trailer above, read the New York Times piece, and then, if interested, play the game yourself.

Time will tell if it starts a conversation that's long overdue.

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Interview: AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré (Conclusion) - Alternate Reality Games, Location-Based Marketing & Targeting


In the conclusion of this source interview for my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré offers his view of alternate reality games (ARGs), social media, location-based marketing and that most controversial of issues: targeting.

CLICK HERE to listen to: Tom Bedecarré, CEO, AKQA (Conclusion): ARGs, Social Media, Location-Based Marketing & Targeting



(Approx. 5:45)

Interview: AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré - On Building The Agency of Tomorrow, Today

OD_Tom_Bedecarre_AKQA Tom Bedecarré is succeeding like few others in creating the ad agency of tomorrow, today.

In part one of an expansive source interview for my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, Bedecarré shares the behind the scenes steps he took to shape what is arguably one of the most forward thinking digital marketing firms in the world

"There are a lot of advertising people who want to hang onto the past, want to hang onto 30-second television commercials and full-color magazine ads, and I think it's very hard to catch up," he tells me, with considerable understatement, before explaining how his team started putting the pieces in place a decade ago to capitalize on this amazing new era.


Over the next few days, I'll share more from this interview, including Bedecarreé's insights on some of today's mos exciting new channels, as well as his firm's most famous digital initiatives, from Design The World A Coke, to Nike PhotoID, to the Target snow globe iPhone app and more. 

Tom Bedecarré, CEO, AKQA: Building The Agency of Tomorrow, Today (Pt. 1)

Listen to: AQKA CEO Tom Bedecarré Pt 1: The Agency of Tomorrow, Today

(Approx. 3:10)





OD_cover "... EXCELLENT ..."

“Through persuasive arguments and Q&A's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas."

Publisher's Weekly









Digital Marketing: 5 Top New Year's Resolutions


It's 2013: Do you know what your digital marketing's up to?

Here are five quick resolutions for the new year. Like lots of behaviors, these are practices we know we should keep - like eat less, move more - but rarely do. All of us are guilty of bypassing these common sense rules from time to time.

So if we do just five things this year, let's resolve to:

5. Not Ask How - Ask Why

I said this in a recent post on social media trends for 2013. But it's really true of anything we do. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times at agencies and client-side brands throughout the land: Let's do "X" - insert your digital buzz word du jour here - not because "X" is central to a brand's objectives, but because it's considered cool. But saying "we need a mobile/social/viral strategy is akin to saying "we need a brochure strategy," or a radio strategy, or a signage strategy. These are channels & platforms, not strategies. First figure out what you have to accomplish, then decide which approaches and channels will get you there. It's so simple, yet we all get caught up in coolness from time to time.

4. Know thy customer - and thy channels

On that note, as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, insight comes before inspiration. Today's most successful digital marekting initiatives typically don't come from a great idea for some hip new experience, or a me-too approach to major trends. Instead, they start with consumer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, what they're all about, how they interact with consumer technologies, and what they want from the brands they know and trust. Just look at the work Unilever's done over the last few years with the Dove brand's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and all its crazy ass work for Axe - including everything from QR code peep holes in bathroom bars to faux "Shower Together" PSAs. These marketers have a firm read on their customers and the channels with which to reach them. In 2013, look for social + mobile + local to be a key to accomplishing this.

3. Always commit multi-plat-fornication

Innovate through as many channels and platforms that make sense for your strategies and audience. It's what MTV calls "multi-plat-fornication." As I show in the book, MINI USA has made an art form of this, using insights on its "fun-tech" loving audience and how they congregate online to use numerous approaches - branded games, especially, but also things like RFID-based key fobs that enable roadside billboards to call out to passing drivers by name - to actually enlist customers to market the cars for them. And Coca-Cola has raised the bar over the last year, with everything from branded iPhone apps to the Polar Bears' social stunt at the Super Bowl to its Kinect-Powered Vending Machine, to a magazine-ad-turned-mobile-stereo-speakers and much, much more. Small wonder the brand has been named "Creative Marketer of the Year" for the 2013 Cannes International Advertising Festival. 

2. Honor traditional as the sizzle to digital's steak

It's heresy these days to point out the obvious. In a fragmented media universe, the channels that still attract any semblance of "mass" are more powerful than ever - with TV being exhibit A. For all our gadgets, we're watching more TV, not less. And whether it's "Walking Dead" or "Dancing with The Stars," TV has communal power like nothing else. As a result, many of today's most innovative integrated campaigns use traditional advertising - old school TV, print, radio, etc - to build awareness and then point consumers to deeper, richer, more meaningful experiences online, or via mobile and other digital platforms. Again, Coca-Cola's Polar Bear stunt at the Super Bowl immediately comes to mind, attracting over 9 million consumers who spent an average of 28 minutes with the brand. And Doritos has effectively done all this in reverse every year, with its Crash The Super Bowl user-generated ad contest - with the chance to work with director Michael Bay at this year's bowl.

1. Never put "buzz" before "business"

Obviously digital marketing is about endless and innovative experimentation. If it were as easy as creating any old viral video, branded game, or mobile app to generate enough buzz to bring in business for our brands, we'd all be rich. For many lifestyle brands, this kind of experimentation is enough - especially in categories where an aura of hipness is a prerequisite for sales success. But while there is obviously a lot of fun and games in all this fun and games, it's important - critical - that we approach digital initiatives with specific objectives in mind (see resolution #5).

As Harley-Davidson's global CMO Mark-Hans Richer puts it to Ad Age, "This is a new gold age for marketers. The shackles are off, and the possibilities are nearly endless. If we aren't conducting radical experiments, trying new ways to engage our targets and adding value to them, then we're not doing our jobs."

But, he adds, "It's not about chasing the buzz; it's about chasing the biz." Marketers who get this formula right - by fueling innovation through substantive consumer insights - weill thrive in the on-demand era.

Those who don't will have to settle for some fun - but ultimately fruitless - experiments.

Here's to a blockbuster 2013 for us all.

Q&A: Enter Social + Mobile + Local + Commerce (Roundtable Pt 5)

Becher headshot 1 2011 web sizeMove over SoLoMo - SoLoMoCo is here.

In part five of our August Mobile Marketing Roundtable, we move beyond mere Social + Local + Mobile to Social + Local + Mobile + Commerce, the ability to not just connect with consumers via the mobile channel based on where they are, but also to enable transactions based on that context. 

Dorrian_Porter_headshotThis time out, you'll get some outstanding insights from Jonathan Becher, CMO for softare giant SAP, and Dorrian Porter, CEO of longtime GEN WOW sponsor Mozes.

At the heart of the conversation: A new report from ABI Research that by 2017, one quarter of all online sales will come through mobile. Retailers can choose to do what they can to stem this tide, or capitalize on it in powerful ways through the power of SoLoMoCo. 


>> CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO: Social + Mobile + Local + Commerce & The Future of Retailing <<

(Approx 5:27)

Also, don't miss:

PART 1: SAP CMO: 'Digital is Dead' - And So Is Mobile

PART 2: Mobile 'Happiness': Coca-Cola's Secrets of Mobile Marketing Success

PART 3: Social + Mobile + Local & The Facebook Free-Fall

PART 4: Foursquare's New 'Promoted Updates' & The Race to Make Location Click

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And check out our new Gen Wow iTunes channel


 OD_cover "... EXCELLENT ..."


“Through persuasive arguments and Q&A's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas."

Publisher's Weekly