Have you seen this image?

web 2.0 mindmap original

At the moment there’s a trend in ad agencies to hire Chief Digital Officers to explain this image. Forrester, the research firm that specialises in the digital marketplace, even recommends it in a recent paper. “Traditional advertising agencies face significant technical difficulties. Clients are shifting business to digital shops, and consumers have turned away from media channels that build the agency industry and toward emerging Internet media.” Therefore hiring a digital native will crack it. Long powerpoint presentations about Web 2.0 have become the essential tool of such people. I’m not sure how many times you’ve actually seen this mindmap image – frequently perhaps, and rarely credited? So what? I think the time has come to talk a little more about the opportunities for ROI in marketing in the world of Web 2.0. Most websites, don’t forget, are still rather resolutely Web 1.0, especially the many microsites so beloved by ad agencies, despite the lonesome digital native doing his or her best with the creative department.

I’m far more interested in the Forrester comment reflecting the change in consumer behaviour. The digital officers worth their grain of salt should also be talking about that. The internet is the serious medium of attention for the consumer. Just look at the number of insurance policies researched, reviewed, renewed and sold online. Or the number of holidays, cars, books, CDs, even chocolate bars, and sickness diagnoses make the frequency list. Last night, just before midnight, I ordered a rabbit hutch (don’t ask), a new CD player and a bunch of wiring (anyone with kids/rabbit will understand). That experience sums it up for me – convenient, simple, and a lingering household chore done. The concept of brand utility has become fashionable, but the concepts of usability and user experience still kind of stick, don’t they?

Small technical point about the big shift in Client budgets to digital – it isn’t always reflected in a big shift of fees to digital agencies and search represents a huge proportion. Still, there’s enough prediction that internet expenditure in the UK is soon to outstrip that invested in TV to challenge the complex agency supply chain to reorganise and restructure, as that’s not happening in quite the same timescale either.

But the basics of decent functionality solving my problem and brands online letting me take the brand experience where I want it are moving much faster than perhaps even we, the experts, realise.

Mourn-ington Crescent

So farewell then, Humphrey Littleton, paragon of Jazz virtue and genial host of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, one of the longest running comedy quiz shows on British radio. Fans of the show qualify as a legitimate brand community not only on account of the love and respect they have for the show, but also for a) common ground of finding wordplay amusing, b) a secret code in the form of the game Mornington Crescent, c) the likelihood of wearing of at least one brown corduroy jacket and d) possible beardedness. Apart from the beardy bit, and now I think of it, I don’t actually sport brown corduroy that often, I’ll happily admit to being a fan of ISIHAC, as would every single person who is. Now that’s brand loyalty.

MRM 2 – 0 CZWG

MRM previously played CZWG in the first game of this season and lost, much to the disgust of the entire team. CZWG are not a good team and MRM were keen to set the record straight, Dom stating on the way to the game last night that he would retire from football if they lost to them again.

It was testimonial night for Lyndon, playing in his last game for MRM FC and he was determined to go out with a bang, showing flashes of what MRM will be missing out on; a cool head when on the ball, nice passing, good movement and some no messing, does exactly what it says on the tin, crunching tackling… one tackle last night even drew the admiration of the player he had just flattened and left in a tangled mess on the floor.

Last night also saw the welcome return of Le Chat playing as an outfield player rather than in his familiar role as goalkeeper extraordinaire. He was nervous at the prospect and after the game said “I was running like I had something stuck up my Continue reading “MRM 2 – 0 CZWG”

Howard’s Way now the high way

howard.jpgHBOS, the Halifax brand owner, is reviewing its advertising. This means that Howard, the current account man in the advertising from populist agency DLKW may be killed off. Drat, I hear you sing. The original ‘staff as stars’ campaign, winner of IPA effectiveness awards and many plaudits, came about as the Halifax Building Society, as it then was, looked for defensive strategies from unwanted takeovers from the marauding big banks. The campaign was a big hit, but didn’t prevent the bank from being taken over by the Bank of Scotland anyway.

Credit to them for keeping the work running, though, and plastering Howard (and the other two that nobody can remember who represent mortgages and insurance) just about everywhere. Unfortunately the global credit crunch is eating into the financial services sector, so important to the UK economy. Sustaining a marketing campaign strategy that depends on noticeable product differentiation (ie huge rate of interest, 30 year mortgages, whatever) in a market where these are harder and harder to find is obviously, not on, so good luck to the brand in finding something new to say.

Technology dominates Top 100 Brand survey

toptech.jpg

Technology dominates the latest BrandZ rankings from WPP’s Milward Brown. Quite apart from the investment that WPP itself has spent on measurement companies, it’s interesting to reflect on the valuations themselves and what they mean. Google is now number one. Eight of the top ten are US firms. The others are China Mobile (5th) and Nokia (9th). Twenty-eight of the top one hundred this year turn out to be technology brands.

I was interested to see if there was a correlation between the brands that had added most value (according the methodology of the survey) and the effective use of the internet by those brands. Not to prove that the internet is important – the fact that Google, the primary search stop on the internet, is itself the number one valued brand, proves that point already – but to see if there is a legitimate role for online communication in the awareness/consideration/action/loyalty quartiles on a nice chart. It’s still interesting to observe how much media investment goes into supporting brands that, online, doesn’t link particularly well (or at all) to that brand’s overall online experience.

There must be inefficiency here, and opportunity for brands to improve. Our own research and experience in the sector indicates that nearly every technology brand is researched online prior to purchase. It is a sector driven by innovation, and, increasingly, according to the report, by the brand experience itself. We’ve always said this, and whilst it’s nice to be proved right in a hugely costly survey, it is also common sense. Brands that provide strong, open participation platforms for consumers will reap the benefit.

MRM 3 – 8 Jossy’s Giants

MRM were pitched in a crunch game against Jossy’s Giants last night. Sadly they turned out not to be a bunch of scruffy northern kids, but actually by far the best sides MRM have faced this season.

For anyone too young to remember the kids tv show Jossy’s Giants, here’s the opening credits. Classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IqznlB1GhI

First order of the match report is to name and shame…. again. Continue reading “MRM 3 – 8 Jossy’s Giants”

800lb gorilla still in digital room

cadburywebsite.jpgBack to Campaign’s offices for another venture into the Digital Essay. I was quite cross with many of my colleagues at the round table who seemed reluctant to take a position on strategy and spent rather too long imho talking about the Sony Bravia and Cadbury’s Gorilla TV executions. One great telly ad for a great telly doth not a digitally literate industry make, however, although one has to admire Fallon’s ability to do these blockbuster ads with some panache. With regard to the Gorilla – it’s an execution that reminds me of the death throes of cigarette advertising which most of you will be too young to remember. Advertising appeared featuring weird Benson and Hedges pyramids, and the sadly late great Paul Arden’s Silk Cuts. When you could no longer say anything about the product, the advertising itself had to become the substantiation. It’s certainly been cut through and memorable, but I happen to think far more credit for Cadbury’s sales boost (excuse the pun, chocoholics) is due to the excellent job of rationalising the countlines under the Dairy Milk brand and the packaging work. Just check out any garage sweet counter to see what I mean. Nobody seemed to have a point of view on the digital work, other than it “supported” the TV ad. No doubt it will win big at Cannes.

Sociable System Builders do Social Media

scan_logo.pngA very long and fun day in Rome yesterday , delivering seminars about going online with, amongst others, a hundred or so Russian IT firms and more system builders than one could shake a memory stick at. Up with the larks to do a press briefing with Europe’s IT press journalists, it was a privilege to meet with the man from Scan, a system builder firm in Bradford that has embraced participation marketing brilliantly, and seen growth and revenue flow as a result. I particularly like their openness with their customers, which you can look up with a cursory Windows Live Search for Scan and Forums.

MRM FC 6 – 1 Argenta

The MRM FC management were forced to down play rumours of a bust up with striker Leighton as once again he failed to show for a game after initially declaring himself available. With concerns over the teams fitness they were keen to get an extra player in to allow substitutions and with no MRM players available at short notice Dom’s brother stepped up to the mark…. to the teams obvious disappointment it wasn’t the brother who plays for Southend though.

Following last weeks’ disappointing draw the team gathered together for a few drinks on Friday to talk football and get some team bonding going. With drink being involved Leighton turned up to that one, but left early stating he needed to get some money from the bank. He hasn’t been seen since…

The bonding session seemed to work and the team were up for the game against Argenta and determined to chalk up their first win of the season. Continue reading “MRM FC 6 – 1 Argenta”