Archive for June, 2011

CBS Digital goes hyper local on Wednesday June 15th, with Rocket Scientists from Geomentum and the newspaper giants behind Topix

Ezra Kucharz, President of Local Digital Media at CBS will be telling us about the future of localize media and what it means for marketers, what it means for agencies, what it means for mobile phones, what it means for all of us as people.

What is Hyperlocal Media?

Well…it’s like the front stoop on the brownstone where everyone on the block is sharing news about each other.

It’s like standing in front of Crumbs Cupcakes with a sandwich board inviting people in for free cupcakes.

It’s like putting up a sign on your front lawn (assuming you aren’t living in Manhattan) for the bake sale that is going to cover the local school’s budget gap.

It’s like a neighborhood newspaper, if you can imagine such a thing….

You can ask Ezra what hyper local media means to CBS and to marketers.  He’s going to be on the panel at the next NYAMA event.

When: Wednesday, June 15th from 6 to 8 pm


Where: At space provided by TAI Group, 150 West 30th Street, 14th floor

Sign-up: online at  Or at the door.

New York American Marketing Association

Who else will be there?

Sean Finnegan, CEO of IPG’s hyperlocal media buying unit, Geomentum.  Geo..whatum?  Geomentum, named Agency of the Year by MEDIA.


MEDIA‘s Agency of the Year 2010: Hyper-Local: Geomentum
by Joe Mandese, Saturday, January 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Thinking global, but acting hyper-localAt a time when most of Madison Avenue seems focused on a distant, almost astronomical view of the media universe, Interpublic’s Geomentum unit has flipped the marketing telescope 180-degrees, turning it, in effect, into an electron microscope. Hold on to that metaphor for a moment, if you will, because it will help explain why MEDIA has named Geomentum one of its agencies of the year for 2010. If the past century of marketing science has been the advertising industry’s equivalent of astrophysics (you know, “think global”), then Geomentum is all about quantum mechanics (“act local”). Actually, it’s about hyper local – bringing marketing analytics, media planning, strategy, execution and results down to the most micro level of all: proximity. And for marketers who depend on driving consumers to places, especially retailers, which may be the most important perspective of all.

The irony is that it has been hiring rocket scientists to do that. Well, at least one ex-NASA scientist has been among the Ph.D.s hired by Geomentum to develop analytic tools and modeling systems capable of understanding and predicting how the confluence of location and media influence consumer behavior

Rounding out the round-table is Chris Tolles, the CEO of TOPIX.COM.  His company has been backed by  major newspaper companies  — Gannett, McClatchy and The Tribune Company.    Chris is flying in from San Francisco to speak to the NYAMA — and you!


Tracking Studies — Are They On Track?

In the past few months I’ve been looking over a number of different tracking studies across a wide range of categories and brands.  As I was looking through these I was struck by their absolute similarity.  The questions were nearly identical.  The attributes being measured were nearly identical.  The scales and everything else were nearly identical.

How could that be?  Aren’t there category dynamics at play?

A tremendous amount of research resources are being devoted to “awareness”  top of mind, unaided, aided and otherwise.  In some of these studies it becomes clear that total awareness is nearly universal for all of the major players.  In fact,  awareness is not a critical measure for most brands — and therefore not necessary in most tracking studies.  To the extent that awareness might be an issue, the traditional ways of measuring it are inadequate for what we know about the way our memories work.

Currently tracking study awareness measures almost all rely on “recall”.  “When I say such-and-such a category, what is the first brand name that comes to mind…”  In reality people come across brands visually, seeing them in context.  I go to the shelf to buy pasta and there I see the name on the package with the logo and distinctive colors.  I “recognize” the brand and feel very familiar with it.

But the tracking study forces me to artificially remember the name without a real context.  It forces me into “recall” (do I remember it when prompted with nothing but a category cue?) when it really should be measuring “recognition” (do I recognize it when I see it?)

Why?  As the say in Fiddler on the Roof…TRADITION!

Because that’s the way tracking studies have always done it.  Looking back, we can trace the use of verbal recall as an adaption to the limitations of phone interviews.  Now they tracking are primarily conducted online, but the old questions are being retained.  The technology makes it possible to use more accurate measures.  Force of habit sometimes blinds us to these opportunities.

Measuring recognition is more representative of the real world in most categories (not all).  Because it consumes less research time, it is possible for companies to add in other measures that can be of great value.


Effies last night

We made it to the Effie Gala last night at Cipriani’s.

Old Spice walked away with the show.

Having been on both sides of the awards — putting together the case studies when I was on the agency side and now judging them — I was struck by several things.  The winning cases all had 2 things in common.  They were extremely well-written.  And they had success standards and real metrics.  The agencies and clients involved were clearly committed to the process, their hard work showed through.  It was easy to follow their challenge, their goals, what they did and how it moved the needle.

What we all know about social media is that measuring success and effectiveness is rather elusive.  You can’t simply focus on the number of followers or the number of times people downloaded the video from YouTube.  There needs to be a much stronger connection between the new media and the real results.  It is too easy to rely on the metrics that are supplied by the sites without going the next steps and integrating them into a bigger picture.

The NYAMA was a sponsor of the Effies again this year.  The history of our two organizations goes back to the 1960s, when the NYAMA actually founded the Effies and ran the program until recently.

Here are some board members of the NYAMA:  Sarah Linden (Nestle), Katie Bartesevich (That’s Nice), myself.  And to my right is Denise McDevitt, VP of the Effies and organizer-extraordinaire!


From left to right: Sarah Linden, Katie Bartesevich, me and Denise McDevitt of the Effies

Marketing To The Person Standing Next To You – or – How Local Can You Be?

On June 15th, senior executives from CBS, Geomentum and Topix will be discussing how new technologies have been making hyperlocal a reality in marketing.  Local marketing is making a big leap forward.  Join in the discussion, learn more — sign up NOW at the

No longer will retailers stand in front of their stories with a sandwich board advertising specials to passers by.  Now they can do that with their mobile marketing!

Hyperlocal Marketing using older technology

The future of marketing is HERE.  And over HERE.  And over HERE.  Or at least at the NYAMA’s event on Hyperlocal marketing, being held next Wednesday, June 15th from 6 to 8 pm.  The TAI Group is providing space for this event.  150 West 30th Street, 14th floor.

Hyperlocal Marketing sign-up

Lost In Translation

Last night I had a dream about global branding.  It came to me, like a scene from a play or a movie.  As soon as I woke up, I wrote it down so I could remember it.  Here is what I remember:

[Scene:  Conference room of a major multinational corporation.  Five people seated around the oval table.  3 of them are from the client marketing team.  2 are from their ad agency.]

Marketer 1: “This slogan is brilliant.  I love it!  We’ll use it on all of our advertising, around the world.  It’s not the coffee that keeps you up at night, it’s the bunk.”*

Marketer 2: “Nobody in my country will understand it.  We need to translate it.  Even though our brand is global, our brand is locally relevant.  It says that in our mission statement.  So we need to speak in the local languages.”

Agency 1:  “The line will lose all meaning if we translate it.  It’s a great line, iconic.  It will make you famous.”

Agency 2:  “Look at the Apple advertising.  Nokia.  Philips.  They use English taglines everywhere.  Everyone understands English, it’s the universal language of movies, music and advertising.”

Marketer 2: “Nobody will understand it.  It will make us seem like a distant, arrogant, global corporation who is only interested in selling more, more, more.”

Marketer 1: “It loses all brilliance in translation.  Why can’t we do this in English?”

Agency 1:  “Yes, yes, that’s the only solution.”

Agency 2:  “This is a breakthrough line.  Everyone will be saying it, in every language.  It will have great word-of-mouth momentum.  We can hire models to whisper it in art galleries in all of the major cities from Madrid to Moscow.”

Marketer 2: “We have to translate it.  It is a fact.  You can disagree with the fact but that doesn’t change it.”

Agency 1: “You are killing the whole idea.  You are squeezing the creativity out of it.”

Marketer 1:  “You are both right.  The line is brilliant.  But we do need to have it in the local languages.  Why can’t we do that?”

Agency 2: “Everyone in Europe speaks English.  How about we keep it in English there but translate in China and Latin America?  That solves the problem.”

Marketer 2: “Are we translating the actual words or are we translating the meaning?”

Agency 2: “We’ll have our local offices create new lines for each country.  That way it will be completely relevant.”

Marketer 1: “So we won’t have a single global tagline?  How can we be a global brand without a global tagline?”

Marketer 3: “Okay, I know what can we do!  We’ll make it universal — we’ll use Esperanto!”


Context is King!

What does the color red symbolize?  In many Asian cultures it is a powerful color, very positive.  In many Western cultures it has negative connotations.

The word collaboration is positive in the US — working together.  In France it is a highly charged word, since it has shadings of collaborating in WWII.

As companies stretch to become global brands they have to wrestle with the problem of being lost in translation.  Words are not universal.  Their meaning shifts.  They cannot be nailed down to simple plain meaning.  Somewhere along the line irony begins to slip in.   In fact, the meaning of words shift in the same country over time.   They go from current to camp faster than you can say phat.

Brand Context is King!

Here’s an example:  In the 1990s Samsung had a tagline, “Simply Samsung” which consumers understood to mean the products were simplistic, basic, not very advanced.  In the 2000s Philips has a tagline, “Sense and Simplicity” which is understood to mean taking complex things and making them easy, everyday and wonderful.

* Yes, this is the slogan that won a big contest in the old movie “Christmas in July.”  Great movie that hinges on who comes up with the best slogan for a big coffee company.

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