Integrated marketing

Tintin iPad app by Harper Collins

The Adventures of TinTin, which opened earlier this month is a prime example of the blending of technology, and integrated product development. The movie which is based on a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. Those comics have been reissued in book form by HarperCollins who licensed the film rights to Steven Spielberg. Both parties being smart and savvy business types saw an opportunity to extend the experience even further, and on movie launch day HarperCollins released an interactive book, as an iPad app.

The app, costs $5.99 in iTunes, and contains features that will ‘immerse you in the world created by the filmmakers’, creating a direct tie to the film which in turn keeps the buzz alive and potentially stimulates more product sales.

The application features viewing characters and environments in 360 degrees, and one of the best features I think; the option to “scrub” through the original illustrations by Herge and compare them with the animation from the movie.

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The app was published by HarperCollins in partnership with Holopad.

In addition to the interactive book, Gameloft has produced a companion Tintin game that was released on the same day the movie hit theaters. Yet another example of holistic thinking when it comes to product development in conjunction with content. The days of developing support products after the movie hits are long gone. I expect to see even more of this in the near future, and not just for children’s movies either. Expect this kind of product development to happen across the board.

Grand Rapids to Newsweek, We Ain’t Dead Yet.

When a major news publication like Newsweek writes an article calling your city “A Dying City”, what do you do? Well in the case of Grand Rapids Michigan, you fight back with a video, that is linked to both Facebook, and Twitter.

On May 22nd, the citizens of Grand Rapids joined forces with Rob Bliss Events and SEF Video to produce the worlds largest lip dub video performing a rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie”. The video involved 5000 people, and temporarily shut down a major section of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with everything from guitar toting troubadours, to marching bands, weddings, and pillow fights.

The video was created to showcase the fact that the citizens of Grand Rapids, feel their city is filled with life, passion, energy, and is anything but “Dying” I have no idea, how successful this is going to be for Grand Rapids, but you have to give the city kudos for pulling out all the stops on this.


Coke Brings Tradition to Open Happiness.

The Coca-Cola Company has announced plans for a new global marketing campaign that taps into the iconic traditional imagery used by Coca-Cola for the last century. Images such as Santa Claus, the Coca-Cola Christmas ‘caravan’ of delivery trucks, and even a nod to the more recent Coca-Cola Polar Bears. The new TV spot includes a new song written by Grammy Award-winning band Train, “Shake Up Christmas”, which will be released as a single worldwide. The song is included as a bonus track on the deluxe version of Train’s latest album Save Me, San Francisco (Golden Gate Edition), which debuts globally on 2 November 2010 by Sony Music.

The new TV spot which also debuted on November 2, is an extension of the “Open Happiness“, marketing platform which launched earlier this year and has multiple touch point in all media channels. The campaign extension will be deployed in more than 90 countries around the world through a the TV commercial, digital experiences, in-store promotions and packaging. It represents the first new creative used in a global holiday campaign for the Coca-Cola brand since ‘Christmas Caravan’, that featured holiday-themed delivery trucks.

The new TV commercial ‘Snow Globe’ illustrates the theme of the campaign of how people find happiness through the simple moments of connecting with friends and family that are inspired by Coca-Cola.

By the way, do yourself a favor and watch the making of video. It shows how they shot this and if you’re into film technique it’s worth a watch.

Is Digital, The DNA of all Modern Advertising?

I just finished reading an article on ClickZ by Augustine Fou, that talks about Digital Content being at the root of modern advertising. This is interesting because it fits in with a number of discussions I have been having with various clients and colleagues over the last few years.

My point, and one that Fou eludes to is, not everything begins and ends with your website, or Facebook fan page, or a banner ad, but rather it is made by the cultural impact created from all of these digital options. It’s not that people live their lives online, but rather people use these digital properties, in ways that are integrated with so much stuff in their lives. Even when you don’t think you are online, you are. You use digital technology when you pay for items with a credit or debit card, you use it in the TV programs you watch, when you have your smart phone check movie times or help you find a location. It impacts you when you are waiting inline to check out at a store and there is a screen in front of you that commands your attention. More and more, all of the digital components in your life become more ubiquitous and literally everywhere. And more over you relate to it and use it, even if you are not actively searching for information about a product or service. In the end there is ultimately more and more human behavior that is now being tracked or linked enhanced or enabled by the digital properties that are embedded all around us. And due to the nature of this digitally enabled request and receive behavior, all of this information can be leveraged to understand needs and desires.

The value of these digital breadcrumbs, the information that we leave behind in our modern world can’t be overemphasized. I was just talking with a client about why integrating digital components at the core of their marketing and advertising initiative was so key. Because it allows for unprecedented analysis of data. Data that is related to how people interact with these specific digital properties in relationship to more traditional media channels. I was trying to make the case for more efficient and effective advertising, especially when it is designed from the beginning to take advantage of human insights and behavior.

Unlike Fou, I don’t necessarily think that digital is the center of the advertising universe, but it is a key element of the modern landscape. A ubiquitous component, rather than simply another media channel.

Just a Few Thoughts on Social Media and Why You Might Need Some Strategy.

Social media can be an amazing way to spread out your brand presence, but as anyone might know from my post on Facebook earlier  today you need to handle with care. Just because social media is hot doesn’t mean it’s right  for your company or your brand. Social media can be a great tool for a number of reasons and it can also be a major fail if you don’t have the right strategy and planning to back it up.  Some of the reasons advertisers and marketers have jumped on the band wagon and are promoting the hell out of social media sites are these.

First off  It’s affordable, you don’t need the same large marketing budgets the big brands have. A social media marketing specialist (yes they actually exist)  can help you get started with a real social media presence. There are hundreds of social media sites out there, you need to choose the ones that match your target audience and present your brand in the best light. Social media is all about developing personal relationships with your target audience,  so even including the offset of professional help, the real cost could easily be the soft cost of your development time. You know how much your time costs so do it right the first time, or  it will end up costing you allot more than you think.

Next up Social Media is  viral. With the right content your blog/Social Media  posts have the potential to spread your overall brand awareness very quickly and very far. Now remember you need to be careful though about what you put out. It can benefit you but without the right strategy and management it can also hurt your brand.

Bottom line, if done right Social Media will improve your overall brand reputation. You need to put  out quality and focused content consistently. Quality content helps establish your brand as an authority in your specific field. Do yourself a favor and make sure your content supports your global brand position in the marketplace. You need to be consistent, and provide value.  More over, you need to  avoid writing self-serving content, which can damage the brand reputation you are trying to build in the end. This is a tough one. You need to write content that is convincing without sounding like a PhD, doctorate, or like a comic book. Think journalism, here. Really. You need to communicate your message with the same literary eloquence as a seasoned journalist. Think about it, this is why great periodicals continue to thrive even during an economic downturn.

Social Media increases traffic to you website. Increased traffic that turns into  more leads and new business. If your social media presence is well-integrated and consistent, it  will generate links and improve your overall rankings with search engines. The higher you rank, the more prospects will find you before they find the competition. If you want to generate conversions make sure your website is optimized and deliver what your clients  expect. Be careful though, you want to increase traffic but never do anything that  can damage your brand reputation. Your brand is always first, so you need to make sure that your social media strategy not only grows your market base, but also supports your integrated brand strategy.

Social Media helps your brand establish a strong connection with your target audience. The interactive aspect of Social Media is in itself personal by nature. This means that the relationships you create, if done correctly,  can be deeper and last longer than with any other media. This means that your social media relationships have to come across as authentic and transparent. People that are actively engaged in social media activities will either see through BS marketing, or turn against you when they find out they have been duped by a clever marketing hack. More than anything else, the content you post has to be genuine, and not some traditional ad-slick wrapped up in this months latest flavor. Seriously, you need to think about the genuine article here. Real will always translate better  than contrived, polished, or slick. And yes your target audience can and will be able to tell the difference. Seriously.

Social media connects you with real experts and leaders in your field. The great thing about Social Media is that you’ll have an opportunity to interact, build  and network with the established and emerging leaders in your field. If you comment on their posts and tweets, if you participate in their social media conversations, and support them when they ask for support there is a high probability that  they’ll support you when you need them. More over they will spread the word about your social media network.

Social media builds your credibility. What people say about you is massive to your brand credibility and success. If you use social media to create a positive perception about your brand, then your target audience will believe what others say about your brand. They will believe this more than anything you can ever say about it yourself. You need to track  what others say about you in blogs consistently, and make sure you  respond quickly to comment that might be potentially damaging to your overall brand perception.

At the end of the day, social media can be a powerful tool if done right. It’s really all about how you build your strategy and play the game. As more and more media channels begin to converge this will become a deciding factor for advertising in the next decade.

The Power of Using the Right Media Channel, and Social Networking

Last year as the economy faltered, a lot of people in the integrated advertising and marketing community started rethinking just how important their brand was to their consumer base. Consumers with less money to spend, less access to credit, and less confidence in the U.S. economy, started rethinking when, where, and how they spent their money. The question people in the marketing communications field began to ask in response was simple: “How do I become a brand consumers can’t live without?”

After a year or so of watching consumer actions, what we learned was a very simple and very compelling thing about consumer loyalty: it’s probably not your brand they’re loyal to in the end. While most people think their brands have a loyal following, what they really have are a group of habit-driven consumers. And when a serious shock occurs to that consumer’s economic base, it doesn’t take much to break that established “habit” they have formed with your brand.

So If it’s not the brand consumers are loyal to, then what exactly is it?

We all know and have seen that emotional attachments to brands certainly do exist, but that kind of devout loyalty usually starts with some kind of “shared value” that consumers believe they hold with the brand. A common shared experience with the brand itself.

This holiday season in an intriguing way, Best Buy is putting Twelpforce ( A collective force of Best Buy technology pros offering tech advice in Tweet form )at the very center of its big communications push for the holiday drive period.

What’s interesting is that if we look at data from the 125 companies that have all taken Business Week’s Marketing Leadership Council  “social media maturity diagnostic”, you find out that only 11% of marketer communications planners have integrated social media into their overall communications planning processes.

Most advertisers take the “biggest bang” approach to their media channel planning.  Traditionally they will work backward from the business growth goals and what the volume targets are to plan their campaign targets, and the traditional models tell them how much money they need to dump into broadcast, direct mail, print, promotions etc. to hit those volume targets.  Social media and experiential channels have taken a backseat, at best. But, as we are beginning to find out, the true promise of social media lies in the relationship experiences that a brand can create—and scale for their target consumer. Because of this media planning will look very different in the near future.

If we think about this, planning campaigns shouldn’t work back from growth goals, but instead they should look at what the desired social experience is that we want consumers to have ( ideally with one another ), and set the course around how the brand helps establish that.  People developing social media channels should start by identifying what that critical experience is, and then leverage a broader media experience to play specific roles around, and support that overall social media experience.  by leveraging social media , the role of broadcast media is to help scale that brand experience.

As we start to see signs of an economic turnaround, the idea of brand loyalty is just as important as it did during the economic recession.  If consumers feel more attached to your brand, or a shared value that they believe your brand embodies then you are in a position to spend less on your messaging, and you quite possibly have a larger surface area that allows you to explore new products and services that previously seemed out of reach.

Earlier today, Coca-Cola announced the largest social media campaign in the history of their company, “Expedition 206”. The campaign “will send three 20-somethings to 206 countries and territories where Coca-Cola is sold in 2010. The trio sets off on their 275,000-mile tour from Madrid on Jan. 1, stocked with laptops, video cameras, smartphones and plenty of other gadgetry, in order to document for the masses their search for happiness.”

The entire journey will be tracked on not only the website, but though Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and via mobile devices. According to Coke the challenge was to think about the social and digital media space as a new venue for driving good public relations for the company, and extend the brand presence. Unlike Best Buy and Twelpforce, Coke is extending their reach into the social media channel on multiple fronts. What will be interesting is to see how they expand the “Expedition 206” campaign into traditional media channels over the course of the next year and how both the social media channels and the traditional channels drive traffic to the product and build customer loyalty.

The future of all of this is going to be very interesting over the next few years. Especially as social media giants like Twitter and Facebook grow up, and