Thursday, July 1, 2010

CultureLab's POV on the Future of Branding and Urban Marketing

Last month, I spoke at the Dallas Advertising League luncheon on the future of branding and specifically the future of multicultural/urban marketing. Here are the key points that I shared with the audience:

  1. Have A Brand Narrative: In the age of clutter, sub-segmentation, and proliferation of mediums your brand identity has to be consistent and strong. You also have to make it very very clear as to why consumers should care about you.

  1. The Science of Consumer Influence is Here: the methodologies for effective marketing are changing and becoming more scientific. Digital advertising and the results from social media outreach are easily measured. Analytics and rich data enable continual optimization of marketing offers and placement. Soon consumers will be broken down into genomes instead of segments much like what Pandora does for music lovers. The principles of behavioral targeting are continuously refining. Also the science of the influencer and virality will be studied even more as WOM and influencers can enhance the success of products and marketing campaigns. Just reference agencies like Mekanism and the embedded video here of Tom Phillip’s talking about Sociographics.
  1. Understand Cultural and Lifestyle Nuance-It is Never Cool To Market At The Expense of Other Racial Groups: Popeye’s and Metro PCS TV spots are two executions that are ALL WRONG (I tried to find the "Annie The Chicken Queen" spots but apparently the agency has removed them from youtube). These spots unapologetically revel in stereotypes. The new KIA hamster spots, however, are ALL RIGHT, the song choice of Black Sheep’s “The Choice is Yours” and the urban scenarios displayed show real insight and showcase understanding of cultural nuance. The KIA spots are also universal with the use of Hamsters as the subjects.4. There is a Decreasing Need for Ethnically Segmented Creative, MASS is MASS, However Targeted Engagement is Increasing in Importance: For the next generation consumer, ethnicity is not at the forefront of their identity, lifestyle is, so you are out of step if you are marketing to them based on ethnicity only. Furthermore mashup mindsets and cross culturalism make great universal creative ideas even more important in mass mediums like Broadcast TV. However to be effective and engage young urban consumers, research and targeted digital engagement are necessary.

5. The Creative Idea is Still What Matters Most at the Dawn of the Post-Digital Age: Ideas that are status update worthy, spreadable, and buzz generating are more important than the medium. Great copywriting matters even more. Look at the success of Weiden + Kennedy’s Old Spice commercials.

  1. Geo Targeted Apps Are Here to Stay and They Are a GREAT Traffic Driving Tool for Retail: Apps like Foursquare can benefit retailers who embrace all of the functionality of these apps. It can be a great promotional tool, engagement tool, and disseminator of real time information. Ultimately these apps can shepherd consumers to your establishment. For consumers, geo location apps like Gowalla and Foursquare are very powerful WOM tools. Followers pay attention to the influential person’s check ins.

  1. Consumers are your Brand Managers: We are now living in the era of the open brand. As we have become accustomed to open source code, we think it is our right to say what we like and don’t like when it comes to brands that we are passionate about. Consumers are just as important as Brand Managers, and have to be paid close attention to. Pepsi is a large brand that clearly gets this. I referenced this back in the Super Bowl ad review, that they showed they were in step with next gen consumers by creating the Pepsi Project.

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