The 3rd Annual Digital Advertising Summit = Another Success

The 3rd annual Digital Advertising Summit took place at Marquette University on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Laughlin Constable and the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University hosted the event, which is part of the Insight Summit Series, for the past three years. The Summit had an all-star lineup of presenters this year, with thought leaders from incredible brands, agencies and organizations hailing from across the nation.

The day began with an opening keynote presentation from Joan Malcheski, Director of Packers Media Group and Brand Engagement of the Green Bay Packers football organization. Joan’s keynote showcased digital marketing successes, a snapshot of internal goals, and what’s in the pipeline for the Green Bay Packers online presence.

Halfway through the day, Mike McAvoy, President and COO of The Onion, the iconic satire publication, shared humorous stories and insights on the history of the publication. He conveyed how comedy is often crowed the King of Content. Where many print publications have struggled with the transition to digital, The Onion has thrived. Its content and distribution strategy has evolved to be 100% digital, all while building Onion Labs, an in-house content development studio.

For the final keynote of the day, James Ford Murphy, Head of Animation at Pixar Animation Studios and Director, Writer, and Producer of the short film LAVA, talked about the inspiration behind the upcoming film LAVA and shared an informative behind-the-scenes “making of LAVA” presentation. He outlined the creative filmmaking process at Pixar, honing in on the details that go into their compelling productions. Throughout the presentation, Murphy talked about taking chances, learning from failures, and always pursuing what you love in whatever you do. He also taught us the value of following your heart, finding your passion, and telling stories in a meaningful way always, regardless of the medium or subject.

The Summit also featured multiple breakout sessions throughout the day:

  • Ross Kimbarovsky, Founder and CEO of Startup Foundry, explained the ways in which crowdsourcing has given companies direct access to global networks of experienced professionals as an alternative to accessing agencies.
  • Don McNeill, Co-Founder and President of Digital Kitchen, shared his experience evolving a creative digital agency into a total experience partner for brand clients. By amplifying its approach to content marketing, drawing on its Hollywood roots and investing in IP, DK creates marketing communications that both entertains consumers and facilitates meaningful relationships for brands.
  • Marisa D’Amelio, Agency Development Manager from Google, allowed her audience to take a strategic look at some of the most important digital trends, how they are affecting consumer expectations and the big questions that business leaders should be asking themselves.
  • Jiri Marousek, Chief Marketing Officer of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), shared his story of “the scars and broken bones I have picked up along the way” and how we can help our brands and ourselves in 2015.
  • Katy Lynch, Portfolio Director of Manifest Digital (formerly SocialKaty), showed her audience how to use social networking sites, as well as other outlets, to their full potential.
  • Ian Abston, Founder and Director of Development of NEWaukee, taught people how the world views Milwaukee behind their smartphones, how Millennials shape the way “The 414″ will be talked about for the next 100 years, and how to leverage Milwaukee’s unique assets to help you and your brand connect to consumers.
  • Molly Currey, Executive Vice President at DKC Chicago, shared her inspiring and thought-provoking journey of walking away from the realities businesses may ask agencies to finesse and harnessing the power of her personal truth and the brands she choose to work with who are brave enough to be nothing but themselves.
  • Pat Chambers, Midwest Sales Director of BuzzFeed, conveyed in his presentation that the way that people consume content is shifting. As the media company for the social age, BuzzFeed is responding to this shift by creating content built to entertain, delight, and inform people on the social web. Advertisers work with BuzzFeed to integrate their message into social conversations with original content.
  • Peter Kosmala, SVP of Government Relations of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), explained the legal and regulatory dimensions of digital advertising, how government views these new media technologies and business models, and what the ad industry is doing to establish its own practice standards.
  • Christine Luby, Co-Founder of Pinrose, focused on the genesis and evolution of her fragrance startup. Christine talked with the audience candidly about her journey from Georgetown to Stanford to Silicon Valley entrepreneur. She shared with us the whole picture—the good the bad, and the ugly—about what it means to start an ecommerce business in today’s busy digital age.

Thank you to all of those who attended and participated in putting together this event!

Top 10 Digital Trends of 2015

We have entered a new era in which digital innovations are more individually relevant than ever before. Technology has always been people-centric, but it has transcended from task-driven tools to discovery mechanisms that fuel our motivations and lifestyles.

Many of the changes we’re seeing come to fruition this year are born from the idea of the “Internet of Self” (IoS), which Mike Elgan of Computerworld defines as the convergence of connected devices and biometrics. This connection allows marketers to gain access to more precise data and leverage a deeper understanding of exactly who their customers are, their authentic habits, desires, and relationships and, in turn, learn how to reshape business models to their preferences in a highly personalized, diverse, and predictive fashion.

Here are Laughlin Constable’s top ten digital marketing and advertising trends to look out for in 2015 and beyond:

01 THE INTERNET OF SELF

What it is: According to Elgan, IoS is the blend of the “Quantified Self,” the concept that biometric sensors track health and behaviors, and the “Internet of Things,” the concept that connected objects communicate with each other without conscious human involvement. Data is collected from your body and sends information and commands to objects in your life to create an individually tailored experience.

How it’s being used: According to Autoweek, Volvo is creating in-car sensors that monitor driver alertness and distractions that could prevent them from focusing on the road. The technology also recognizes the driver’s dimensions and automatically adjusts seats and mirrors as soon as they get behind the wheel.

Wearables are another example – clothing and accessories that connect sensors with devices and advanced electronic technologies. They will be the ultimate form of integration to transparently monitor health, location, and behavioral information.

02 BIOMETRIC MARKETING

What it is: Unique human traits and behaviors are being used to authenticate identity through the science of biometrics. With sensors being embedded into everyday objects, and the use of these objects growing rapidly, the ways in which customers can experience and interact with brands are transforming.

How it’s being used: Instead of typing, clicking and swiping on computers, smartphones and tablets and requiring the traditional username and password credentials, we are seeing forms of interaction through embedded voice recognition, fingerprint sensors, expression, and movement and gesture systems. These are now being used to access confidential information, enter buildings, and make payments. As customers become more comfortable using their hands, voices, eyes, or movements to converse with technology, the IoS will continue to evolve.

estimote-indoor-location-300x17103 BEACONS + THE ADVENT OF HYPERLOCALITY

What it is: Beacons are a geo-targeting game-changer. They are small, low-priced pieces of hardware that use a low-energy Bluetooth connection. The technology detects customer location and pushes relevant and useful information to nearby mobile devices.

How it’s being used: Beacons are renovating the ways in which retailers, restaurants, sports stadiums, transit systems, airports, museums, and educational institutions connect with people indoors by giving them the ability to send hyperlocal messages and content based on a person’s exact location. For instance, someone may be at a museum looking at a specific exhibit and receive a push notification with additional information about the artist or specific pieces they’re looking at.

04 CONCIERGE TECHNOLOGY

What it is: Virtual concierge technology is the idea of leveraging advanced customer data in order to customize and enhance services and experiences offered to customers. It’s really all about making users’ lives easier by using data to better serve and support them.

How it’s being used: For example, tools and services that suggest what items you should buy for your home based on where you live, what you own, your personal style and members of your household. Through IoS, these types of recommendations are getting significantly more intelligent (and automatic).

05 ENHANCED FILTERING + SMALLER NETWORKS

What it is: People are becoming less focused on the mass broadcast ideology and more focused on intimate, private networks. As people refine their social networks, they seek out users and brands that add value to their lives. Users are seeking targeted, group-focused communication and information exchanges. Brands will start to have more individually significant propositions to get their customers’ attention by means of their common interests, lifestyles, and ways of enhancing intimate conversations.

How it’s being used: Apple Watch has a feature in which users can send each other their heartbeats or a custom drawing. Ephemeral (display content for a short time then self-destruct) social networks, such as Snapchat, Skype Qik, and Vine, allow for a more confidential, low-risk exchange of content.

06 TRUE OMNICHANNEL MARKETING

What it is: Omnichannel is a multichannel marketing approach that provides customers with a seamless experience across all touchpoints on- and off-line. The term has been thrown around as a buzzword for cross-channel done well, but it’s more than that. Due to our incomplete and fragmented data, it hasn’t truly come to fruition. IoS is changing this, as digital and traditional channels and CRM databases are merging into one tracking structure to touch users across the entire decision journey.

How it’s being used: Examples are often that the mobile app should match the responsive design of the website, which should thematically reflect the look-and-feel inside the store. However, true omnichannel is when data is collected and leveraged across channels and brands in order to create seamless continuity.

07 THE COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY

What it is: The Collaborative Economy is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It involves the shared creation, distribution, trade, and consumption of goods and services by multitudes of people and organizations. Great brands of the Collaborative Economy have proven to consumers that, with the right structure, they can depend on shared services more than ever.

How it’s being used: From Airbnb to Zipcar, the newest generation of users realizes the cost-benefit of a sharing society when it comes to luxury items; thus, they are getting smarter with their money and sharing costs and responsibilities with others.

Crowdsourcing has become intertwined into marketing strategies across industries. Brands are empowering customers by allowing them to dictate how the business evolves and expands. When information about products and services is shared, the value of those goods and services may increase for the business, individuals, and the community. Access to startup capital is becoming simpler with the success of crowdfunding for business services such as crowdSPRING and donation sites for entrepreneurs and those in need, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe.

08 THE ASCENT OF THE SOCIAL SUPERAGENT

What it is: Today, we are all about sharing advice, experiences, tips, and personal stories. Bloggers, YouTube and Instagram stars, and digital producers are becoming more influential than celebrity endorsers. It’s about those who have fans with the most loyalty more than those who have the most fans. Their influence (and fees) continue to rise as they realize their power to shift brands.

How it’s being used: Visual storytelling from real people will be employed by brands to strongly communicate engrained philosophies while engaging and cultivating consumer communities and amplifying equity. With an increased use of rich content and media, visual stories crafted for marketing purposes will be able to spark a customer-driven movement, inspire emotions, and send a clear message about the brand to its evangelizing communities.

09 ENGAGEMENT AT A PRICE

What it is: A few years ago, social was the cherished “free” platform for companies to inundate their target audiences with their advertising messages and attempt to “engage” with them in their communal space. With that notion, floods of brands added social to their increasingly complex marketing mixes. That day is gone, as 2015 marks the year when Facebook, the social network with the highest saturation of brands, is expecting their organic reach to drop near 0%. In turn, social will become true media as we know it – a place where brands pay to play.

How it’s being used: The result? Some brands will be forking over the money to get in front of users. But their strategies within social become less about “engaging” and more about getting their messages in front of their target audiences, in addition to using the space for transparently handling customer service needs. Other brands will be finding different places to play (e.g. owned branded platforms and communication channels and engagement in niche communities / groups).

mollywood-apple-payments-videoSixteenByNine54010 DIGITAL CURRENCY + ePAYABLE TECHNOLOGIES

What it is: Digital currency is an internet-based form of currency or medium of exchange that allows for instantaneous transactions and open transfer-of-ownership. ePayable technologies are a form of virtual payment, where you can pay for a good or service without the need to physically use money or credit cards.

How it’s being used: Digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Amazon Coins are reinventing currency, including who holds the power and how that money moves around globally. Users can now work around banks to pay for and exchange goods. With ePayable technologies, wallets and cards will be used less as mobile apps will take their place. With the help of Google Wallet and Apple Pay, mobile transactions are about to become the new normal. People can now sync their credit and debit cards with Samsung Wallet or Passbook and make purchases by simply by placing their phone in front of a sensor at checkout.

Think Small to Win Big

I’m fairly certain Pete Townshend wasn’t referring to smartphones and tablets when he wrote “Going Mobile” more than 40 years ago, but the dude was right.

Mobile technologies and capabilities have undoubtedly made leaps and bounds over the past few years. Remember how savvy you thought you looked with your BlackBerry (no offense to those who still chat via BBM)? While your Curve 3500 is collecting dust in a shoebox, your iPhone 6 is getting more play than Angry Birds. So, what’s in store for the reigning champions of digital marketing and advertising?

Mobile is no longer a “nice-to-have” in the marketing mix. As it continues to expand its role as a connection and convergence device, mobile should be at the core of brands’ digital ecosystems. However, traditional media like print, TV, and radio still attract the lion’s share of advertising budgets across industries. To put it simply, dollars spent on mobile marketing don’t add up to the time we religiously spend on our devices.

Companies need to shift gears–but not go full throttle into one direction. Mobile marketing cannot be treated like desktop marketing—or any other channel, for that matter. Mobile is more than a medium. It’s an extension of the owner; a vital personal accessory; the one you inevitably say “good night” and “good morning” to; the one who wakes you up in the middle of the night because it needs your undivided attention; the one who isn’t creeped out if you ask for directions or advice. Admit it: You are madly in love with your phone. (Fact: 75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom.)

Consumers who search on mobile devices are more likely to take action. eMarketer conducted a study in May 2014 and found that 50% of consumers who conducted local searches via smartphone visited the store within a day, whereas only 34% of desktop and tablet searchers combined took the trip. Additionally, 18% of local queries on smartphones ultimately led to a purchase. As consumers, our increased emotional dependency on our mobile devices is raising the bar high for brands, and it will continue to heighten as we become more reliant on products and services information that is literally at our fingertips. We frequently switch between our devices throughout the day—desktop at work, mobile on-the-go, tablet everywhere between—to search, shop, communicate, read, and accomplish tasks. We not only want, but also expect, brands to keep up with our wavering demands and quickly provide the information we need whenever and wherever we need it. With this, brands should not focus solely on mobile devices. Instead, they need to create appropriate messaging that suits their consumers’ ever-changing multi-device behavior.

Here’s the magic spell to mobilizing mobile: Marketers must tightly weave mobile into their foundational brand and digital strategies as well as pay close attention to how, when, where, and why consumers are on their gadgets in order to serve them the information they need at all the right moments. Thanks to mobile, we are able to deliver content and advertising experiences that are truly in the interest of the consumer more quickly and conveniently than ever.

Although mobile is the new cool kid on the block, marketers should not zoom out completely on its predecessors. They’re still one big happy digital family.

Yes And: Improv + Advertising

5 days. 40-plus hours. Hundreds of speakers and sessions to choose from. Social Media Week Chicago was a whirlwind of learning, exploring, networking, and more learning. There were many moments that had me dreaming of next year’s event, but one session that stuck with me as an advertiser was Yes, And: What social media, brands and advertising can learn from Chicago’s improv and comedy roots.

At its core, improvisational theater is based on group acceptance – saying yes and accepting everything that happens on stage. This concept has evolved into “Yes, And” – everyone accepting what is happening (saying “yes”) while the skit expands and develops (saying “and…” then adding a new idea to the conversation).

The “Yes, And” ethos sets everyone up for success and guarantees that a sketch builds the momentum it needs to succeed. But it also sets me up for success in the office. Brainstorming? Collaborating with a client? Spit-balling solutions? Choosing a place for lunch? Don’t shut people’s ideas down. Add to and improve them with the “Yes, And” technique.

Don’t stop the idea – take it further and let it evolve from something that may be mediocre into something that is fantastic. Become comfortable with making mistakes and feeling a bit defeated. In the end, the idea you come up with may look nothing like its original seed, but that’s the point. Great things never came from comfort zones.

THE TOP 10 MOMENTS OF #PRSMS

This blog post is brought to you by Anna, Isaac, Maura and Sandy, members of our Social Media + Content Integration team.

We attended the 2014 Insight Summit Series PR + Social Media Summit, held at Marquette University on 10.7.14. There were many moments that made this year’s event special, but here are our top ten favorites:

  1. Brands using Reddit – Reddit is one of the most self-aware websites on the Internet, and summit attendees had a chance to learn how brands can leverage it from Reddit’s Director of Communications Victoria Taylor. Did you know that over 500 subreddits are created each day? How is your brand jumping into the conversation?
  2. Making social media more social – Social media and Public Relations should always be at the forefront of planning a campaign. They are the humanizing elements of any advertising or marketing strategy, and should never be an afterthought.
  3. Engagement isn’t enough – The engagement rate of most tweets is lower than the engagement rate of banner ads. This doesn’t mean Twitter isn’t useful – brands need to find their voice and use social media in a way that truly connects with their audience, not just as another advertising tool.
  4. Listen + Join the Conversation Organically – Real time human engagement is one of the many cool factors of Reddit. However, it’s important to be sure that you aren’t butting into conversations. Listen first, then engage in conversations organically (and when appropriate) to make the biggest impact.
  5. Capture the Human Element – What if your brand were a human? What is your brand’s personality? Social platforms allow brand personalities to shine, so be sure yours is a likeable one. Think of an online conversation as a conversation you would want to have during happy hour.
  6. Have a Brand With Purpose – Brands with purpose drive engagement. While Facebook’s organic reach is dramatically decreasing, the best way to stay relevant is to give people a brand to care about. Be in the right vertical and have a good product.
  7. Give Your Brand a Voice or Others Will – Facebook has over 1.32 billion people logging in per day. Giving your brand a positive voice on the social platform is more important now than ever before. Don’t let others give it a negative voice.
  8. Ello, Goodbye – Facebook’s Associate Manager, Genevieve Grdina, addressed fledgling competitor Ello, and its seemingly meteoric rise. Ello prides itself on being the ad-free anti-Facebook, but Grdina pointed out that all social platforms eventually need a monetization strategy to survive, and that Ello is not a long-term threat. Facebook is continuously working to improve the quality and relevance of the ads that keep Facebook a free service.
  9. Social + the CMO – Augie Ray questioned whether social media still has a place in today’s integrated marketing strategy without strong conversion metrics to justify media spend. Social media might not lead to direct sales or conversions, but it excels at fostering brand awareness and interpersonal customer communication. It’s also a great way for smaller brands with smaller budgets to reach and gain new customers.
  10. Facebook Reach Potential – Capture your target audience with quality posts, not quantity. Back quality with ad dollars, precise targeting, and posts could reach 90-95% of people that should see it and interact with it.

 

Laughlin Constable is the title sponsor for the 3rd annual Digital Advertising Summit, which will be held at Marquette University on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Topics will include digital advertising, analytics, ecommerce, content strategy, design and development, loyalty, mobile, brand planning, user experience, the latest in digital marketing trends, and more.

2014 Key Media Stats | Quarter 3

Do you feel overwhelmed with the flood of industry e-newsletters and publications? Do you wish you could get top-line media insights in an easy to read document each quarter? If you said yes, this is the place to be. This quarter’s key media stats focuses on what the smartphone user demographically looks like, mobile app vs web usage, device penetrations and top-line Hispanic media information.

Check back each quarter for updated reports and breathe easier.

[click the image to enlarge]

Key Media Stats_Q32014

Social Media | Governor’s Small Business Summit

I was recently asked by long-time client, Travel Wisconsin to put together a breakout session on social media for the 2014 Governor’s Small Business Summit. A social media breakout session is always a tall order because inevitably you have an audience that spans novice to expert. Unknowingly, I found myself approaching the deck through Aristotle’s three methods of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. (Tangential history lesson: Some 2,400 years after Aristotle’s death, these principles are still the backbone of oral and written communication.) Plainly defined:

  • Ethos: An appeal to the authority or credibility of the presenter
  • Pathos: An appeal to the audience’s emotions
  • Logos: An appeal to the audience’s logic

Every summer from age 16 into my college years I worked at my father’s lawn and landscape company answering phones and processing. I was able to see the inner workings of a small business and relied on this anecdote to establish credibility alongside my 6+ years of experience working in social media for Laughlin Constable.

I kicked things off with a simple premise: Customers are far from rational. Most people lack the motivation, time, or information to make a purchase decision based on function alone, so they rely on other factors, factors they might not even be consciously aware of: emotions. For example someone might feel safe in a Volvo, energetic while drinking a Coke or excited in a BMW. At the end of the day people are emotional creatures and therein lies the benefit of social media: a relationship building tool.

Let me tell you, humans as irrational creatures wasn’t a tough sell on a crowd of small business owners, but to appeal to logic I shared a few compelling stats laddering into the question of “Why Social Media?”

  • 53% of consumers report that they will purchase a brand’s product or services after following them on Facebook
  • 47% of consumers are more likely to visit a brand’s website and 35% are more likely to buy from a brand after following them on Twitter
  • 21% of Pinterest users have purchased something they found on the site

With the stage set I took the audience though Laughlin’s 3-step approach to social media strategy: plan, build and engage. We talked content creation, channel management, reporting, social advertising and beyond. At the end of the day I was reminded of the need for agencies to ruthlessly simplify. Put it into laymen’s terms. Provide a visual. Read the room and rely on your principles of persuasion.

LC_SocialMediaProcess_Overview

Sources: Twitter, The Next Web, Gallup

Going Native With Brand Marketing

Native advertising is redefining marketing boundaries in the never-ending battle to win audience attention and engagement. With users more likely to see, engage and share native ads over many traditional advertising methods, it is no wonder that brands are quickly evaluating how they can incorporate this medium into their marketing mix.1 Today’s definition of the concept continues to rapidly evolve, and the trend is showing no sign of slowing with native investments predicted to reach $4.6 billion by 2017.2  However, while it can be powerful, brands must understand its parameters to get the most out of their investment and avoid adverse effects.  Native ads land on the fine line between content and advertising, requiring brands to take an in-depth, target-focused approach to ensure the medium is drawing the user’s attention effectively. 

 

WHAT IS NATIVE ADVERTISING

 

Native advertising is sponsored content, or the intentional placement of a brand within a space to add content or relevance to the user’s experience.  The advertisement flows within the content stream for the user.

The definition and examples of native advertising will continue to evolve as quickly as consumer content resources. The concept is not new, but it has recently created more opportunity in the digital space, giving publishers new ad space and revenue.  What started as product placement and advertorials years ago has evolved into sponsored search results, brand-generated articles, partner blog entries, or promoted social media posts. There is a broad spectrum of native ads that will continue to evolve as brands and publishers find new, creative ways to deliver quality content to audiences in native places.

 

The Guinness Guide to Oysters ad from 1950 is one of the earliest forms of published native advertising. The advertorial was a buyer’s guide to oysters, a popular pairing with Guinness beer.

WHY IT WORKS

 

Traditional advertising messages typically lay outside of user content, and are often focused on convincing rather than providing useful information to the user.  Because consumers receive hundreds, even thousands, of commercial messages every day, brands are looking for other ways to put their message at the forefront in a relevant, valuable and less-intrusive way.  Consumers are demanding more from brands, too.  Social media’s open forum has increased their expectations for higher quality brand content.3

The most effective advertising messages resonate with the target audience, and the same reigns true for native advertising.  Effective native advertising gives users content they want, where they want it.  Giving users valuable information makes them more receptive and likely to engage with the ad.  If the messaging is trustworthy and interesting, it can hold their attention longer while positioning the brand as a thought leader.

Brands agree native advertising works because it serves the interest of the audience.  It engages with a more relevant message rather than focusing on click-through rates or a direct increase in sales, showing the brand’s personality and credibility within a category.

 

CHALLENGES

 

Native marketing is missing the point if it does not mimic the surrounding content, but it should not deceive the target audience.  It’s the fine line between content and advertising that makes it so effective, but also presents challenges.

Today’s evolving regulations leave room for interpretation and margin for error.  Brands and publishers are left using their own moral compasses in content, placement and disclosure.  Without proper transparency, users can be misled, perceiving a native ad as a bait-and-switch tactic rather than an informative and useful brand piece.

And creating the right content requires work.  Native advertising pushes marketers to develop creative, relevant content for consumers without a direct sell of the brand.  The value propositions are less overt, but the messaging complements the brand while adding value to the user’s experience. This philosophy better aligns with how consumers use media today, but the obscurity leaves brands evaluating native opportunities with caution.

The New York Times introduced T Brand Studio, their in-house native advertising content team, with an elaborate article sponsored by Netflix on female incarceration. The ad included video and informational charts within the editorial, providing insight and emotional stories to pique interest of the target consumer segment while promoting the season premier of the Netflix’s series Orange is the New Black.

 

Marketers are intrigued by the user engagement possibilities, but the results can be difficult to directly quantify because it is an investment in the long-term brand building.  It may fall short if confined to only traditional ROI metrics because it can be subtle brand messaging rather than direct selling. And, unlike traditional ads, every native advertising opportunity is unique.  Ads are likely not reusable in other media, so time and resources need to be invested in creating each ad without the econ­­­omies of replication.

 

CONSIDERATIONS

 

STAY FOCUSED ON THE TARGET.  Only mimicking content is not enough – it must align with the goals of the target audience as well.  Rather than simply extending your current marketing messaging, start with a deep understanding of and focus on the target segment.  Knowing the wants, needs and desires of the target will inspire authentic content that is more likely to resonate. Speaking too broadly will not only dilute the message, but is more likely to alienate your target because they won’t see the value.

Johnny Walker partnered with Thrillist’s brand partner program, Allied, to create “Scotchtales.” The custom content series of whiskey-centric articles included expertise and tips for their target demographic of the modern gentleman.

 

PARTICIPATE – DON’T MISLEAD.  A native ad should be positioned naturally within the surrounding content, in a place that makes sense, to keep the focus on the content rather than the brand. However, transparency is necessary. Tricking the user into clicking on what they believe is editorial content diminishes the brand’s credibility. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Native Advertising Playbook provides recommendations for “clear and prominent” disclosure, and it is beneficial to always err in favor of the target.  No ad is worth betraying the target audience.

Buzzfeed offers “social advertising” with custom social posts created by Buzzfeed based on the brand’s identity and goals. Advertisers are labeled as brand publishers at the top of the post. Hidden Valley partnered with Buzzfeed during the launch of their updated product recipe that they proclaimed as “the new ketchup” to promote new product uses for consumers.

 

FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER.  Brands must take full ownership of their ads, including placement.  Native advertising has opened new ad space for publishers, but brands must evaluate the opportunity to decide if the partner and placement is a good fit.  It may be where the target audience is, but irresponsible execution of the ad can be off-putting to the user. Brands must work with credible partners that align with their priorities to ensure the ad meets the brand’s objectives.

Brandvoice is Forbes’ brand-generated content that is published alongside editorial and user content in print and online. Brandvoice content is labeled and linked to an explanation of the program for the audience. IBM partnered with Brandvoice to publish business-targeted editorials by IBM’s thought leaders that supported their “Smarter Planet” brand positioning.

 

UNDERSTAND THE VALUE.  As with any media, opportunities must be evaluated to determine how they fit in the marketing mix to achieve an end goal. The goal of native advertising is brand building, and it is better measured by understanding the correlation between user engagement and the probability to purchase within that segment.  It is more accurate to measure awareness and attitudes rather than focus on traditional ROI metrics.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Native advertising is a quickly evolving concept that presents the opportunity for brands to connect with their target audience in a valuable way for engagement that rivals editorial content.  The challenge is adding the right content in the right context, but when done well, brands will create a meaningful connection with their target that goes beyond what most traditional marketing methods are able to deliver.  Those that most accurately understand their target audience will find the most effective native ways to add to the conversation, resulting in more audience engagement and brand strength.

 

Sources:

1.  Sharethrough, Inc and IPG Media Lab, Native Advertising Effectiveness Study, 2013

2.  BIA/Kelsey, U.S. Local Media Forecast, 2012

3.  Forrester Technographics Digital Consumer Community Report, September 2012

4.  Hexagram and Spada, State of Native Advertising, 2014

 

Find Your Purpose.

We were not designed to live a life of monotony. We have always been told that we should spend each day on earth to the fullest, but with the way most of our days seem to blend together with the same chores, meetings, errands, and responsibilities, this concept may seem easier said than done.

The best thing about our industry, workplace, and culture is that every day, we are encouraged to recreate ourselves, share our ideas, showcase our work, and be inventive. We all hold different roles within the agency — planners, strategists, creatives, writers, accountants, analysts, developers, administrators, managers, leaders (The list goes on…) — and have the notion that we’re all here for the same purpose: Work hard, make money, build our reputation, and please our customers. However, I think this might not be entirely true. We all have our own talents, skills, dreams, hopes, aspirations, and individual traits that allow us to stand apart from our colleagues. Each of us has a solitary value that contributes to one common goal as a business.

Now, you may be scratching your head and asking yourself, “What is my purpose?”

Well, here is the simple formula:

What you love to do + What the world needs = Your mission
What the world needs + What you are paid for = Your vocation
What you are paid for + What you are good at = Your profession
What you are good at + What you love to do = Your passion
Your mission + Your vocation + Your profession + Your passion = Your purpose

Your purpose should not be defined by the title on your business card. Your purpose is to foster positive change, no matter the part you play within the agency. If you have an idea, write it down, email it to your manager, collaborate with coworkers. An idea is just an idea until it becomes an action with results. There is an Irish proverb by which I try my best to abide each day: You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. Seek inspiration from everything and everyone around you, but most importantly, learn to spark your own fire.

Do the math.

Ignite Milwaukee

Five, twenty and fifteen. You are probably wondering what those numbers mean. No, they are not the number sequences from Lost or the SPF numbers on your sunscreen. They are, however, the numbers you need to learn if you want to give a presentation at Ignite. Ignite is an event where presenters can share what makes them tick. From graphic designers to English professors, people from all walks of life are coming together to educate the world on what they know best. Recent presenters spoke about how to be an expert witness, going global on a local scale and the three p’s of eLearning. With only five minutes, twenty slides and fifteen seconds to talk per slide, speakers are encouraged to enlighten but make it quick. Do you have what it takes? If interested in speaking, please email sdittloff@laughlin.com for more information. Want to be in the audience? Come out and see what you can burn into your mind or into others. Check out the details below! And click here for more info.

Who: There is an open call for presenters. Please email sdittloff@laughlin.com if you’re interested in speaking or attending.

When: August 22nd, 8pm

Where: The Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207