Discover The Center of Excitement!

I am delighted to share with you the new, exciting, branding of Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts just in time for the exciting new 2014-2015 season.

Welcome to The Center of Excitement! Welcome to Annenberg Center Live!  

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About two years ago I was having coffee with Naomi Grabel, an Annenberg Center board member and Jane Kamp director of development (Jane is now with the Pennsylvania Ballet) when they invited to me to help with rebranding the Annenberg Center. They had one simple challenge — help us let the world know about all of the great things happening live on these stages.  After all, Stephen Colbert was there. Jon Stewart broadcast from the Center. Liv Ullman made her American debut on these stages. Hugh Masekela, Diana Reeves, Jason Robards, from the Irish Gate performing Waiting for Godot to shows on their way to Broadway, these stages are where excitement starts.  On any night you might discover an unforgettable debut of groundbreaking new pieces or an exhilarating reinterpretation of a classic like Joseph Marcell in King Lear opening on September 24th.

So the Verse Group team set about creating a new expression for the center, co-creating with the managing director, the incomparable Michael Rose, with Dawn Frisby-Byers director of marketing and the rest of the wonderful staff and board members. In the new branding we seek to convey the powerful emotions, the exhilaration, the entrancement and the sheer boundless joy to be discovered in live performances!

So join me in celebrating the new Annenberg Center Live branding and the new 2014-2015 season!  

 

 

 

Agency Spy vs. Spy — or — Outsource Your Comments to Tannenbaum

Do you often find yourself spending too much time commenting on idle industry gossip when you could be doing something more interesting?

Well, now Agency Spy has recently posted a quick way for everyone to generate comments for any new post on Agency Spy – it is the automatic comment generator provided by AdAged.

Okay, for those who don’t know AdAged, I highly recommend it. I’ve been linking to it on my blog roll for a long time. Written by George Tannenbaum, a brilliant creative and the funniest person I’ve ever known.

And The Honorees Are…Comstock, Kotler & Tripodi

A big night in marketing this past Wednesday, when the 2014 Marketing Hall of Fame inducted 3 brilliant people — Beth Comstock of GE, Philip Kotler, distinguished professor at the Kellogg School of Management and Joe Tripodi of The Coca-Cola Company.

 

Philip Kotler, Beth Comstock and Joe Tripodi being honored at Marketing Hall of Fame

Philip Kotler, Beth Comstock and Joe Tripodi being honored at Marketing Hall of Fame

The house was sold-out, SRO. The guests were also major-league influential marketers. It was great to see a large number of younger people attending, no doubt drawn to the evening by the great talks, the wine, food, more talks, and then more wine and food. A tremendous thanks to J. Walter Thompson…oops, JWT, I mean, for hosting the event and supplying that wine & food.

Some notables spotted:

  • Bernd Schmitt of Columbia Business School and author of many books including All Business is Show Business. Columbia is our academic partner in this endeavor, so we are very pleased so many faculty were able to  join us. In fact, there were more than a few Columbia MBAs in the room.
  • David Rogers of the BRITE conference, digital guru and a co-author on several of Bernd’s books
  • Joseph Plummer, who was one of the original instigators of the very first Marketing Hall of Fame in the early 1990s
  • Alan Schulman of Sapient/NITRO
  • Shira Schatz, Director of product management and marketing at American Express
  • Claude Salzberger, president of MBLM
  • John Osborn, president of BBDO, a premier sponsor of the event
  • John Bernbach, president of Engine, who got a big shout-out from Joe Tripodi on the stage.

More name dropping, updates and photos in future posts, along with some observations about the talks given by the honorees. If you were there and want to share your impressions, please send them in!

2014 Marketing Hall of Fame — A Turning Point In Marketing

On Wednesday night, 5/28, we will be inducting 3 people in the 2014 Marketing Hall of Fame.

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This marks a major turning point in marketing. The Age of Narrative Marketing is now ready for prime time.

It was 10 years ago that Ad Age mocked the very idea of narrative as a strategic framework, metaphors as the keys to compelling communications  and storytelling as the single most effective way to integrate digital and traditional media. The catalyst? A major talk by the CMO of McDonald’s revealing the secret for the company’s revitalization and leap in relevance, market share and stock prices — a new model for marketing, Brand Journalism, spearheaded by Larry Light.  Among the detractors were Al & Laura Ries were among the loudest detractors, “The notion that McDonald’s should abandon the positioning philosophy and instead adopt a brand journalism approach is lunacy.

  • Around the same time the ARF (advertising research foundation) was conducting a major industry study on the power of story being more effective than the traditional rational “proof point” or “reason-why”.
  • Gerald Zaltman was publishing widely on his research into the universal power of metaphor.
  • And 10 years ago I introduced the Narrative Branding model of marketing.
  • Douglas Holt of Harvard was demonstrating a model of “iconic” brands in which cultural storytelling was more important than the standard “positioning” or “USP” models.

Lunacy, heresy, whatever you want to call it, the reality is that narrative models of marketing are far more effective than traditional positioning. How far has marketing gone in the direction of narrative marketing?  When Liquid & Linked was revealed at Cannes it was received with awards.  More importantly, it is helping the company to achieve it’s aggressive marketing goals. And that is what is most important.

So join us on Wednesday as we are celebrating the brilliance of Beth Comstock of GE, Joe Tripodi of The Coca-Cola Company and Philip Kotler of Kellogg School of Marketing.  Each one of them has broken with the old traditional model of marketing.

  • The Coca-Cola Company’s model of Liquid & Linked is a prime example.
  • Beth Comstock has elevated the role of marketing within GE to create new markets.
  • And Philip Kotler is always at the forefront of where marketing is going, and particularly how marketing can promote positive social changes.

Another sign of the new age is that several years ago JWT, our host for Wednesday night, embraced Brand Journalism, created videos around their version of the approach, held panels at SxSW and did much to promote the new model.  The Commodore would be proud!

So come on Wednesday. Celebrate the Age of Narrative Marketing! Celebrate brilliance in marketing!  Marketinghalloffame.org

 

Marketing Hall of Fame® Final Selection Committee – or – Name That Famous Marketer

I’m delighted to announce the final selection committee of the Marketing Hall of Fame®.

But first a message from our sponsors!  Many thanks to Columbia Business School, JWT and Greenbook for your support of the Marketing Hall of Fame®

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Well, actually I’ll just quote from the press release.

This year’s stellar selection committee consisted of David W. Almy, CEO, Marketing Research Association (MRA); Gayle Fuguitt, CEO, Advertising Research Foundation (ARF); Nancy Hill, CEO, 4As; Bob Liodice, CEO, Association of National Advertisers (ANA);Kendall Nash, president, Qualitative Research Consultants Association; Bruce Nelson, former vice chair, Omnicom, and Earl Taylor, CMO, Marketing Science Institute.  The selection committee was coordinated by Don Sexton, NYAMA president-elect and professor of marketing, Columbia University.

“This year’s nominees represented an extraordinarily impressive cross-section of influential marketers, and the finalists were all well-renowned for their outstanding contributors to the field,” said Randall Ringer, NYAMA president and CEO, Verse Group LLC.  “We looked to the collective wisdom of our selection committee, who had the very difficult challenge of picking only three inductees from such an remarkable group.  The contributions of this year’s three inductees are shaping the ways we practice marketing today and inspiring the marketers of the future.  The Marketing Hall of Fame is all about celebrating brilliance, and we are thrilled to celebrate these brilliant individuals.”

Hold the date! May 28th!

The inductees will each speak for 20 minutes about the future of marketing — which they are creating right now!

Be sure to sign up for the May 28th event. This is the best of the best giving marketing’s version of the Nobel Prize Speech.

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APPLE Loves Verse! Yes, We Will Be Your Verse!

This morning we discovered that Apple has written a love letter to us, Verse Group! And Apple put it right on the front page of the New York Times. Cheeky! Yes, a little past Valentines day but we can live with that.

NYTimes

Apple’s Love Letter To Us!

Hello Apple, we love you too. We will be your verse.

Right up front we must tell you we’ve been in a nearly 20 year open relationship with Samsung. Our history together started when we co-created their global brand strategy that lifted them to world-class status. Yes, Samsung and Verse have had our ups and down, but the ups are wonderful. Apple, you might remember seeing the Samsung Mobile PIN Shops around London during the Olympics? But to be honest with you we were disappointed to discover Samsung was also spending time with other branding companies. It’s an open relationship, not exclusive.  After all, we are the Verse of Magellan Health, Lockheed-Martin, BridentQuest Diagnostics.

What I mean is that we will be your Verse.

WhatWillYourVerseBe

Apple, we love you back. All of Verse loves you, designs with you, communicates with you,  is vastly entertained by you. But until now you have been a bit stand-offish, practically ignoring me even though we were classmates of your sister Mona in grad school at Columbia (where she shone with her exceptional talent).  Apple, in all candor sometimes you have seemed downright, well, narcissistic, yes, basking in the love of millions. That was the past. We see how you have changed, have developed the emotional security to share your love.

Now you are declaring your love for Verse to the world!

Guess who is the Apple of our eye!

Thank you Apple. Thank you for recognizing that we are your Verse!

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Michael Prentice interview on KBS – or – How branding can change your life

You can link here to a fabulous interview with Michael Prentice, a PhD candidate who has been work in and doing research on the culture of Korean Chaebols. Michael is currently living in Seoul while conducting his research. His graduate studies are at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Michael Prentice on KBS

We had the great good fortune of getting to know the exceptional Mike Prentice when he worked here at Verse Group. Through his work at Verse Group, Mike had the  opportunity to work on high-level corporate branding projects for Samsung Electronics, Kia Motors, Cheil Worldwide and others. More importantly, he got to know the individuals at those companies, which sparked his interest in Korea. (Full disclosure, we are that un-named NYC-based marketing agency that Mike discusses early in his interview.) This is just one way that branding can change the very direction of a person’s life and set them on a new journey of exploration and discovery.

His work is pioneering, very important for those of us in the West who do business with, or work for, Korean corporations.  In 3 years, Mike has made many more insightful observations than I have during my nearly 20 years of working with Samsung and Cheil on their global marketing and branding strategies.

 


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