Friday, December 30, 2011

Do you feel like you´re struggling? Read this. 50 people who failed at first

Keep dreaming. Keep working from the heart, for what you believe in. One day... :)

I found this piece online and want to share. Link to author at the end.

Famously Successful People Who Failed At First

Not everyone who's on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. Next time you're feeling down about your failures in college or in a career, keep these fifty famous people in mind and remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success.

Business Gurus
These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren't always smooth.
Henry FordWhile Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn't an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five time before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn't always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.
F. W. WoolworthSome may not know this name today, but Woolworth was once one of the biggest names in department stores in the U.S. Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so.
Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.
Akio MoritaYou may not have heard of Morita but you've undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sony's first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn't cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn't stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.
Bill GatesGates didn't seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn't work, Gates' later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
Walt Disney: Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn't last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

Scientists and Thinkers
These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers and the animosity of society.
Albert EinsteinMost of us take Einstein's name as synonymous with genius, but he didn't always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
Charles DarwinIn his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, "I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect." Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies.
Robert Goddard: Goddard today is hailed for his research and experimentation with liquid-fueled rockets, but during his lifetime his ideas were often rejected and mocked by his scientific peers who thought they were outrageous and impossible. Today rockets and space travel don't seem far-fetched at all, due largely in part to the work of this scientist who worked against the feelings of the time.
Isaac NewtonNewton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.
Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called "an immoral corrupter of youth" and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn't let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.
Robert Sternberg: This big name in psychology received a C in his first college introductory psychology class with his teacher telling him that, "there was already a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another." Sternberg showed him, however, graduating from Stanford with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa and eventually becoming the President of the American Psychological Association.

These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.
Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was "too stupid to learn anything." Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.
Orville and Wilbur Wright: These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.

Public Figures
From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.
Winston Churchill: This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn't always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln's life wasn't so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you're not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn't stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.
Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was "unfit for tv."
Harry S. TrumanThis WWI vet, Senator, Vice President and eventual President eventually found success in his life, but not without a few missteps along the way. Truman started a store that sold silk shirts and other clothing–seemingly a success at first–only go bankrupt a few years later.
Dick Cheney: This recent Vice President and businessman made his way to the White House but managed to flunk out of Yale University, not once, but twice. Former President George W. Bush joked with Cheney about this fact, stating, "So now we know –if you graduate from Yale, you become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president."

Hollywood Types
These faces ought to be familiar from the big screen, but these actors, actresses and directors saw their fair share of rejection and failure before they made it big.
Jerry Seinfeld: Just about everybody knows who Seinfeld is, but the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage. Seinfeld knew he could do it, so he went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and applause, and the rest is history.
Fred Astaire: In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
Sidney Poitier: After his first audition, Poitier was told by the casting director, "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?" Poitier vowed to show him that he could make it, going on to win an Oscar and become one of the most well-regarded actors in the business.
Jeanne Moreau: As a young actress just starting out, this French actress was told by a casting director that she was simply not pretty enough to make it in films. He couldn't have been more wrong as Moreau when on to star in nearly 100 films and win numerous awards for her performances.
Charlie Chaplin: It's hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell.
Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn't feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.
Harrison FordIn his first film, Ford was told by the movie execs that he simply didn't have what it takes to be a star. Today, with numerous hits under his belt, iconic portrayals of characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and a career that stretches decades, Ford can proudly show that he does, in fact, have what it takes.
Marilyn Monroe: While Monroe's star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model and actress that still strikes a chord with people today.
Oliver StoneThis Oscar-winning filmmaker began his first novel while at Yale, a project that eventually caused him to fail out of school. This would turn out to be a poor decision as the the text was rejected by publishers and was not published until 1998, at which time it was not well-received. After dropping out of school, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English, later enlisting in the army and fighting in the war, a battle that earning two Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later work that often center around war.

Writers and Artists
We've all heard about starving artists and struggling writers, but these stories show that sometimes all that work really does pay off with success in the long run.
Vincent Van GoghDuring his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.
Emily DickinsonRecluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.
Theodor Seuss GieselToday nearly every child has read The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, yet 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss's first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Charles SchultzSchultz's Peanuts comic strip has had enduring fame, yet this cartoonist had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Even after high school, Schultz didn't have it easy, applying and being rejected for a position working with Walt Disney.
Steven Spielberg: While today Spielberg's name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
Zane GreyIncredibly popular in the early 20th century, this adventure book writer began his career as a dentist, something he quickly began to hate. So, he began to write, only to see rejection after rejection for his works, being told eventually that he had no business being a writer and should given up. It took him years, but at 40, Zane finally got his first work published, leaving him with almost 90 books to his name and selling over 50 million copies worldwide.
J. K. Rowling: Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.
MonetToday Monet's work sells for millions of dollars and hangs in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Yet during his own time, it was mocked and rejected by the artistic elite, the Paris Salon. Monet kept at his impressionist style, which caught on and in many ways was a starting point for some major changes to art that ushered in the modern era.
Jack London: This well-known American author wasn't always such a success. While he would go on to publish popular novels like White Fang and The Call of the Wild, his first story received six hundred rejection slips before finally being accepted.
Louisa May Alcott: Most people are familiar with Alcott's most famous work, Little Women. Yet Alcott faced a bit of a battle to get her work out there and was was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family to make ends meet. It was her letters back home during her experience as a nurse in the Civil War that gave her the first big break she needed.

While their music is some of the best selling, best loved and most popular around the world today, these musicians show that it takes a whole lot of determination to achieve success.
Wolfgang Amadeus MozartMozart began composing at the age of five, writing over 600 pieces of music that today are lauded as some of the best ever created. Yet during his lifetime, Mozart didn't have such an easy time, and was often restless, leading to his dismissal from a position as a court musician in Salzberg. He struggled to keep the support of the aristocracy and died with little to his name.
Elvis Presley: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis has become a household name even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck."
Igor Stravinsky: In 1913 when Stravinsky debuted his now famous Rite of Spring, audiences rioted, running the composer out of town. Yet it was this very work that changed the way composers in the 19th century thought about music and cemented his place in musical history.
The BeatlesFew people can deny the lasting power of this super group, still popular with listeners around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them no. The were told "we don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out," two things the rest of the world couldn't have disagreed with more.
Ludwig van Beethoven: In his formative years, young Beethoven was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.

While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.
Michael JordanMost people wouldn't believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
Stan SmithThis tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.
Babe RuthYou probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."
Tom LandryAs the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Landry brought the team two Super Bowl victories, five NFC Championship victories and holds the records for the record for the most career wins. He also has the distinction of having one of the worst first seasons on record (winning no games) and winning five or fewer over the next four seasons.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The strategic planner dilemma - find a balance between why and what

Strategic planning is a growing area in marketing. Not just ad agencies are doing strategy nowadays; both shopper marketing, BTL and digital agencies are putting a "why" behind their actions, which is great. But it gets me wondering: are we planning too much? Is it really necessary?

There is a lot of information, interesting facts and so called insights out there, but what we are really looking for are the revelations. Most times it´s the juicy dark secrets - that don´t tell us how much the consumer loves the product, but rather what the client doesn´t want to hear or be confronted with – that leads us right.

Through my side business as a coach, helping people with personal relationships, I´ve seen how often we say one thing and mean another; how we are complex and how we want a lot of things at the same time, whether they can be combined or not. I´ve learned that we self sabotage and can hurt others in order to be loved. We are confused and wonderful, lost and found. There are so many layers. Quant studies just can´t see them; they only become visible when the tea is finished...

But sometimes a marketer doesn´t need to know it all. How deep should we dig; perhaps intuition alone will give birth to the idea that takes us to the south of France in June? Just by being sensitive to trends and what other brands do - and out of that cook up something fun - creative people can do miracles to a brand´s health. It´s not always important to psychoanalyse the target audience to sell ice cream to them J

Or is it...? You need to put the simplest of products into a life. How can it be relevant for the consumer as a person, not an ice cream eater? To get there you have to get to know people well. From different angles.

Too often I see how marketing managers as part of a brief give you research where every quote is happy and cheerful about the brand. Lalalala! That doesn´t really help, does it? If everyone is mad about the product already, no need to do a campaign at all, right? I´d rather know what is stopping people from buying what you try to sell. What´s the hurdle, the bump on the road? As in coaching, where we look at: 1. People´s big dreams, 2. What is blocking them from getting there (internally and externally). 3. Steps to take to get past hurdles and reach dreams.

Still... Are planners over complicating things? Are we too intrigued by the human psyche to be affordable? A client once said to me “We don´t need to know too much about the target, we just need to come up with some cool shit!”. Perhaps that´s the truth? Are all the wandering around in people´s minds, sipping tea with them to discover their inner dreams and fears, a waste of time? Who can go to India for two decades anymore when it´s pitching time and we´ve got an hour to come up with a million dollar idea?

I guess you need to balance. Be curious and open, ask questions and listen to the answers (and not just base every strategy on YOUR own dreams), but also realise you can´t save the world with an ice cream ad – so dare to be banal. Strategists need to avoid the temptation of finding out Everything, to go further than research and psychology, into the action part of the creative brief, because if the deep insightful consumer insight doesn´t evolve into a smash hit campaign it´s simply a bed time story, putting the brand to sleep...

Is there a formula on how much why is needed for a how and a what? God knows... Or do you? :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New XXXX Summer attracts the hipster generation

Creating ads for the young in Summer 2011/12 is easy: a bunch of cool kids laughing, doing odd things, looking really confident, just like in this fresh version from beer brand XXXX Summer. Ah well... could be any Summer really. Showing us the happy leaders of a generation living the Dream :)

Except for that ads through history has been picturing families and couples, but have the last decade been predominately showing friends, friends, friends. The centre of our world. Watch this super interesting slideshow on advertising through history:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why it´s useless to research generations and other big target groups

I was just going through some documents on Slideshare on marketing to Gen Y and isn´t it funny how massive this group is (and I don´t mean in absolute numbers)!! They are about 19 to 34 years old, which is a huge gap. Not that I don´t feel like 19 sometimes, but being mid 30´s is different from being in your late teens... Still, marketers and expert on generations have been selling seminars and books on the topic for millions. Saying kind of random, generic things like "find out their values before marketing".

Of course you have to. But to claim that every person between 19 and 34 has the same values is naive. And dumb. And useless.

I always get overwhelmed when presented with a brief that says things like "reach men between 18 and 30", because it gives the agency full freedom to do what the f-ck they want. No rules. Nothing you must do or can´t do. It´s a planners nightmare and a art director´s wet dream.

No need really to do much proper research, because you will get such diverse replies from people within the group it will only mislead you. Run a few focus groups with men 18-30 and the discussions will be completely different from night to night; meet a bunch of them at home for "ethnographic interviews", and you will see everything from messy boys room and dodgy dorms to neatly interior designed luxury units and houses with backyards full of children. Some will love the product, some will find it ghastly. Some will like boxing, others antiques. If you listen tooooo careful to what any of these people say about the product is not helping any brand, since it´s all so personal, individual. Useless really.

When selling beer, shampoo or any other product that is so mass it reaches mass, the strategist needs to combine a bit of swimming around in the massive pool of statistics and information on the generation, a bit of chatting with people in general and a bit of simple creativity based on what people in general like. Either narrow the target down to bulls eyes and stick to those (most times also super generic, based on age alone...) and try to come up with something fun that could work like a Hollywood film. Or find a group within the group that you start a monologue with and hope this group will drive interest from all. Find the trend setters, the cool kids, the ones everyone want to be.

I would most times go with Hollywood. I know it´s lame to do a smash hit, but if the client wants to sell a lot,  it´s better to be "Love Actually" than some obscure French stylish film the arty hipsters (claim to) watch. As long as you don´t turn every deodorant TVC into a vampire short film you´re fine :)

We all love to be excited. We all love a good story. We all love to laugh, get emotionally drawn into something. A script writer based in LA would do a terrific job in creating a soft drink ad. Bulls eyes? Can´t be bothered. Give me something Shakespeare or the good old Greeks did. Look at the structure of fairy tales and Top 20 songs. Find the psychological triggers that combine humanity, that makes the whole family laugh together at Christmas.

Be ordinary. But extraordinary ordinary - if you know what I mean...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Vending machine (yes another one) gives treats to old people

Mashable just reported on this awesome campaign. Another one using face recognition (just like the Share Happy vending machine that gave free icecream to people who smiled). This one is not encouraging any positive behaviour, but it´s still a little bit of fun :) Poor kids...

"Kraft is employing a unique vehicle to publicize the first Jell-O dessert made just for adults: A vending machine that doles out the treats, but only to those of a certain age.
The company sampled the dessert, called Temptations, in Chicago and New York. As the video above shows, the machine uses facial recognition technology to make its determination. Kraft worked with Intel on the effort, which was conceived by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which had previously created the Jiggle-It app for the iPhone and iOS.
The video, which details a trial run in Chicago, benefits from the current viral video trend of exasperatingchildren, though there’s no cussing this time around.
Age recognition is just the beginning for the Kraft/Intel partnership. As detailed earlier this year, the two are working on another machine that reads faces to suggest meals for grocery shoppers. (An elderly man might get a different recommendation than a young woman, for instance.)"
I wonder where this campaign comes from... What insight about people, what strategic idea? Is it the fact that grown ups want to stay childish forever in our culture of youth? Is it that they need treats since the world is going under and there is no superhero president to save you so you wish to become a child again? Is it that adults are jealous of their kids for always getting the lollies? Is it...? I don´t know... What do you think? 
Perhaps it´s simply a result of a technological innovation....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Books are increasingly popular among kids!

New research from Roy Morgan reveals that more kids are now receiving money as a Christmas gift – some 66% of young Australians aged 6-13 received money for Christmas – this is up from 62% in 2007. 

38% of those aged 6-13 who received money as a Christmas gift received $100 or more, up from 28% in 2007. On average, those 6-13 year olds receiving money as a Christmas gift received approximately $85, an increase of nearly 20% from 2007 when the average was $71. (this I would say must also be influenced by the fact that money is worth less 4 years later...)

Young Australians who received money as Christmas gifts received the following amounts:
Source: Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, 12 month moving average, July 2006 – June 2007 n = 2,277, July 2010 – June 2011, n = 2,206.

Young Australians who receive money as Christmas gifts spend money on:
Source: Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, 12 month moving average, July 2006 – June 2007 n = 2,277, July 2010 – June 2011, n = 2,206.

When looking at what young Australians who receive money for Christmas do with money, 
saving in the bank continues to be popular, remaining unchanged since 2007 at 49%. However, there has also been an increase in spend on entertainment items with more young people buying toys, console games and books in 2011 than in 2007.  Notably, the last 5 years has seen a decrease in spend on buying magazines (down to 17% in 2011 from 26% in 2007) and buying CDs (down to 17% in 2011 from 29% in 2007).

I find it interesting that books are now more popular! Fewer read magazines and buy CD´s because these have now moved online, but books are still popular! And even more than four years ago. It´s just a Roy Morgan study and you can question how they have asked the kids... but I hope books actually ARE more popular. Great news! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Social media moments - from Mashable

Just a reminder of what happened in social media during 2011. Read here

Can the advertising industry survive if it only recruits clones?

Jon Steel writes wisely in his book Truth, lies and advertising:  

“Advertising that fails to recognize the truth of a consumer´s relationship with a product or category, does not connect on a visceral level, and consequently does little or nothing to shift consumer perceptions or behaviour.”

So how do you connect on that visceral, deep level? How do you find the truth? I believe you must first to understand, then to influence and inspire.

Sadly enough, I meet too many agencies who are not doing proper research to find those hidden truths about the consumer. They instead rush into ideas generation before being in that open-minded and blank state, absorbing facts, statistics, thoughts and words about the market. They come up with cool things without having the respect to talk to anyone outside the office. Some say they have spoken to the consumers, but what they´ve really done is to run a focus group with the account managers two desks away. To understand Gen Y they shoot some questions to the receptionist, and to get the boomers they ask their grandpa.


I believe big parts of adland is too enclosed to deliver healthy campaigns. People are so stressed and flat out they don´t take in anyone who is different or can bring new perspectives, since these people can´t “be up and running” from day one. This goes from recruiting people to interview or talk with in focus groups to recruiting staff. Most of the people you deal with in agencies have started there at uni and stayed; very few have had careers outside the community. 

Does the incestuous way of recruiting lead to work that grabs people at their core? Will all those copies of each other, born and bred in the industry be able to think up new angles, be truly creative – or is the lack of fresh air making the room smell...?

Jon Steel writes about how he at the ad agency BMP worked with one Oxford graduate, a professional chess player and a musician. He was trained by a man whose degree was in aeronautical engineering, worked closely with a classics scholar (fluent in Greek and Latin) and when he had his own department, he hired a killer whale trainer, a litigation attorney, a Stanford MBA and a senator´s speech writer.

“All these people have very different views on the world and different approaches to problem solving. In building a planning department in an agency, it is essential to recruit for such diversity. Without it, planners are likely to think and behave in the same way, and that in turn will lead to identical solutions and stagnation.”

Perhaps the cloning in strategic planning is due to the fact that it is now a proper profession. When Steel started his career it was a fairly new phenomenon, but today planners are professional planners, not thinkers brought in from the outside world. They are trained to be planners from they were 20, rather than intuitively clever people who add spice to the creative industry. They are young, hungry, willing to work 24-7 – but lacking life experience and maturity. They might be amazing, and many of them are, but if they are all the same, what will happen...?

It is time to open the window and let the winds come in with new oxygen and relight the fire. 

I wish to see a marketing industry that stops and says: "re-start" and take a deep breathe. Wow, that could make it deliver to its peak. Don´t you agree?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toyota builds brand image trough augmented reality, computer generated pop star and QR codes

Emarketer presents in their newsletter today a case study from Toyota, that shows how QR codes and augmented reality can get you on the road to success!

In May 2011, Toyota launched a campaign for the 2012 Corolla targeting an Asian-American audience. The campaign was based around a computer-generated pop star called Hatsune Miku. Working with interTrend, Toyota’s Asian-American agency, Toyota developed a campaign that would feature the new Corolla and also introduce the Japanese virtual icon to the US market. In addition to sponsoring a US Hatsune Miku concert, Toyota created a mobile program complete with 2-D barcode and augmented reality technology that drove traffic to the car company’s website and social media properties.

Toyota worked with a QR code vendor to develop a branded mobile barcode, ToyoTag. It also worked with an augmented reality technology company to develop content that would be engaging and appealing to the younger, tech-savvy Corolla target audience. In addition to appealing to this group of potential Hatsune Miku fans, the goal was to make campaign shareable.

In coordination with the September 16, 2011, Hatsune Miku concert in California, Toyota debuted the Hatsune Miku augmented reality experience. To view the augmented reality content, Toyota encouraged consumers to use their mobile phones, snap photos of the ToyoTag, and then, upon prompting by SMS text, download the Toyota Shopping Tool app for iPhone or Android. Then consumers were able to view Hatsune singing on a virtual stage alongside the 2012 Corolla. Part of the strategy was to “extend the engagement past the event,” Nelson said.

Toyota significantly increased app downloads, traffic and leads for the Corolla during the week of the augmented reality launch.

On the night of the Hatsune Miku event and the augmented reality launch, Toyota saw a 600% percent increase in Toyota Shopping Tool app downloads. After the first night's spike, app downloads continued to outperform normal download rates throughout the week. Additionally, Corolla leads jumped by 30% that week, and time spent on the one Corolla/Miku web page outpaced time spent on the entire Corolla section of (including customization tools, pricing pages and demo videos).

Week-over-week traffic for Corolla/Miku from September 4 to 11 increased 167%. After seven full weeks, it returned to pre-Hatsune Miku campaign levels.

What can we as market strategists learn from this? I believe this kind of activity can help the brand stand out alongside German technology driven cars by, pushing the idea that Japanese cars are more fun and the front runners, looking for new ways of doing things, following digital trends. Even if not many in the target will download the app or use it, everyone will notice that Toyota is definitely not an old fashioned or dull car. 

But even if the short term result is fantastic, with 600% and 167% growth sounding pretty impressive, the medium term results are average. The campaign is like a nice bouquet of flowers that eventually will dry out and tossed in the bin. After 7 weeks, the web traffic returned to pre-Hatsune Miku campaign levels, the article tells us.

I am not saying a brand shouldn´t step out in the unknown and do wicked unexpected and experimental things. You need to market on a lot of levels if you wish to be with the consumer from awareness to purchase and then around the wheel again. Not all of your activities will lead to both awareness and loyalty; not all of your dollars will be spent on directly reaching your bulls-eye demographics. Sometimes a brand needs to do something cutting edge to surprise and tell us a little bit about what it believes in.

It´s like in dating: we all want the good guy who is stable and nice, caring, fun and intelligent – but if he is only and always “good” he will be plain and boring. There needs to be some kind of twist to the mix. An unexpected hobby, a flaw or a dark secret. 

How do you apply this to your brands?

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