Posts Tagged 'reinvent marketing'

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.


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!


The Marketing Hall of Fame Is Now Open

There is a Nobel Prize for Economics. And a Nobel Prize for Literature. Why isn’t there a Nobel Prize for Marketing?

Welcome to the one, the only, the official Marketing Hall of Fame. Celebrate Brilliance in Marketing.



The Marketing Hall of Fame is where the Nobel Prize of Marketing lives. Produced by the NYAMA.

Stay tuned…more to follow…

Kotler and Keller on Narrative Branding

It is a great honor that Narrative Branding is included in Marketing Management by Professors Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller.

Marketing Management (15th Edition, Pearson) is the most widely used marketing textbook.  It has been adopted by many MBA programs around the world.

Narrative Branding

Narrative Branding method in Kotler/Keller Marketing Management

This has been a week of experiences for me.  “Brand Experience” is going to be the marketing buzzword of the year.  And not without reason.  So, here’s been my week:

First, I received a copy of The Apple Experience by Carmine Gallo (McGraw-Hill)

It’s a good primer into how Apple found success in retail after other computer companies had failed.   If you’re an Apple fanatic, then most of the book will be warm comfortable ground that you’ve been through before.

And if you aren’t the kind of person [or company] who obsessively benchmarks Brand Experiences, this is a great shortcut.

But Apple isn’t the only experience there is.  In many ways I find the Apple experience to be more about the sheer visual beauty of the stores, products and space.   There’s less than meets the eye, in some sense.  Try TD Bank to see just how much the actual experience overshadows the design.  Start by walking your dog into the branch and see how you are treated.  Now, go ahead to a nearby Citi location and try the same thing.

One complaint I have about Apple and Apple Stores is the feeling of being in a walled-in garden.  It is hermetic.  There is a built-in subversion, a paradox at the heart of the Apple Store.  Explicitly Apple is all about unleashing the creativity of people like you and me.  Implicitly, encoded in the heart of Apple is a “look at me, admire me, love me” sensibility, an extreme narcissism.  At it’s core Apple believes more in its own creativity than in yours or mine.

Second, I found this on Engadget:

Samsung promised one more surprise — and what it gave us was a special retail strategy. The company will be opening Mobile Pin locations, or glass-housed pop-up stores, to help showcase its new flagship phone [Samsung Galaxy S III launched in London earlier today]

Samsung Mobile PIN exterior from Engadget

Samsung Mobile PIN interior from Engadget


My Future Was BRITE

It was great fun to be at Columbia’s Center for Global Brand Leadership’s BRITE Conference yesterday and today.

Professor Don Sexton and David Rogers presented some of initial findings and implications from our new CMO Study on ROI in the Era of BIG DATA.  This was a joint study of the Center for Global Brand Leadership and the NYAMA.  The very generous sponsors of the study were the Greenbook and ResearchNow.  There were many other people involved in championing the idea of this study including Edwin Roman of ESPN/NYAMA, Rick Kendall, Debra Berliner and Christine Heye of the NYAMA; Sylvia Chu, Andrew Kyrejko and Michael Dudley of Verse Group; and Matt Quint and the incomparable Bernd Schmitt of Columbia.

If I had one message to give CMOs about the study it is: “You are not alone in your struggles to stuff digital marketing into traditional processes and methods.”

And there’s a good reason.

Big Data is a Big Headache for most marketers, revealing a fundamental Big Problem: The underlying foundation of marketing is rickety, fragile.  Piling more digital innovations on top of it reveals the problems inherent in the traditional positioning model of how marketing works.  In fact, marketing management has become like an elephant riding on a bicycle.

The good news is that there are newer approaches to marketing that are built for the digital world.  Until now, many of those breakthroughs in marketing have been created internally at corporations like Coca-Cola (liquid and linked), McDonald’s (Brand Journalism), P&G and others.  The principles of their approaches are available to anyone to adopt and adapt.  Principles such narrative — e.g. seeing your brand more like a hit Broadway Musical or attraction at Disney World rather than a 2 dimensional billboard.  Principles such as using powerful metaphors, co-creating meaning with customers and, yes, engaging with them on their terms.

In the coming weeks expect to see more of the data from the study so that you can make your own judgements.  The NYAMA will be holding a seminar to share the findings in greater depth than was possible at BRITE.  Stay tuned!

CMO ROI Social Media Metrics – or – Did I Say the Magic Word Yet?

We are now out of the field with the joint BRITE/NYAMA study of CMOs.  Over 200 corporate marketing decision makers have shared their views and perspectives on how they are managing and measuring digital and social media.   This study goes deep into the methods, metrics, ROI — even to the level of  how they are organized to take full advantage of social media.

As the old saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage to it.

World premiere is on March 5th at the BRITE conference here in NYC.

NYAMA members get a $100 discount on the conference.  You can get the discount code by emailing Tracy Crinion,

In April, date TBD, NYAMA will hold a follow-up event to go through the findings in more depth and allow more time for members to discuss the issues.  Stay tuned to

“New Survey Results: Marketing Measurement in a Time of Transition
Prof. Don Sexton; Columbia Business School
Randall Ringer; President, NY American Marketing Association, and CEO Verse Group

Measuring the effect of marketing activities is, arguably, more important than ever. The Center on Global Brand Leadership and the NY-AMA are conducting a survey of over 200 senior marketers from leading companies in order to uncover current practices and attitudes concerning the development and use of effective marketing metrics. Results of this research will be released for the first time at BRITE ’12, providing key insights for attendees considering their own marketing metrics and best practices.



Brand China and Apple’s Image

My last post was about the image of China as a brand and as home to a number of Chinese brands.

Around the same time the New York Times was running a series of articles about the working conditions at some of the largest Chinese manufacturers — companies that are contracted to make products for Apple, Dell, HP, Nike and many other “American” brands.

Made-in-China has carried a stigma for a number of years because the country has been linked to many counterfeit and defective products.  These range from microchips to medicines — and have poisoned people and animals as well as destroyed computers, interrupted communications networks and caused other physical damage.

Now the spotlight is on working conditions in Chinese factories.   Moral outrage at sweatshops is part of American culture.  It made headlines when Wal-Mart locked the cleaning staff in overnight.  We get up in arms when chickens don’t have enough elbow room (or whatever is the chicken equivalent of elbows).  So it should be no surprise when the treatment of workers in China becomes a focal point.

Made-in-China is taking on the image of high tech sweatshops.

And that made-in-China label is very visibly, very publicly tarnishing Apple’s image.  A few days ago it was the NY Time’s big headlines on the human cost of iPads.  Before that it was a Times story on the iPhone.   The NY Times stories have been picked up and amplified across the media.  Here’s Bob Garfield writing in  Bob Garfield on the rot in Apple’s image

Will these revelations slow down the pace of Apple’s sales?  I doubt it.  But it will hurt Apple’s image in several important areas, particularly recruitment of the best and brightest and regulatory scrutiny.

This is an example of why reinventing the marketing model must include corporate image and corporate reputation.  Nike learned it the hard way and is now an exemplar.  The new reality in North America and Europe is that we want to know about the people and values of companies, not just the prices and products.

2012: The Year of Reinventing Marketing

A new year, a new way of marketing?

In the past 7 or 8 years the traditional methods of marketing have shown declining effectiveness.   At first the decline was slow overall, although more accelerated in some categories than others.  The decline in effectiveness of traditional methods was most visible in categories such as services, hospitality, beverages and entertainment at first.  Now it is quickly spreading to all  categories.

Miller Lite was a classic example of the traditional  method.  “Taste Great. Less Filling” along with some brilliant advertising  and heavy media spending drove the brand to the number 2 market share.  But from 1994 to 2003 the brand went from a 23% market share to an 18% share.

Looking more narrowly at the light beer category, Miller Lite lost the number 1 position to Bud Light.  By the rules of brand positioning that shouldn’t have happened.  Miller Lite had a strong differentiating claim, while Bud Light had no product differentiation at all in its advertising.  By 2010 Miller Lite lost the number 2 position to Coors Light.

At the same time, marketers continue to use the old methods.  In part, I suspect that the continuing Great Recession is to blame.  I call it “The Tepid Trap”. The economy is bumping along too slowly to give marketers great confidence in the future.  Yet business is not in such a tailspin that people will take the leap of faith to a whole new approach.

Tepid economies result in tepid marketing strategies (okay, a gross generalization, I know).  From personal conversations with people on the corporate side, I sense a certain flight to safety and conservatism.  Not in the political sense but in the sense of  avoiding risk or substantial changes that will leave a person exposed if it fails.  It seems like an unconscious reflex, avoiding danger until business really picks up and there is more leeway for experimentation and risk taking.

Of course this is a broad generalization and many individual companies are bolding moving in new directions.  McDonald’s, Visa (whose stock is up over 40% year over year), Samsung.

So what will 2012 bring?  Will marketing stay in the Tepid Trap?  Or will we spring out of it?

I am an optimist.  I believe that 2012 is the year of reinventing marketing.

Marketing Without Context Is Not Marketing – or – Reading Curation Nation

Context is King!

You don’t have to take my word for it.  You can have breakfast this Wednesday morning (11/16) with the author Steven Rosenbaum and hear it from him directly.

Here’s what Daniel Pink (author of A Whole New Mind) has to say about Steven Rosenbaum’s new book, Curation Nation

“Curation Nation gives me hope for the future of the Information Age. Rosenbaum argues for the growing importance of people creative, smart, hip who can spot trends, find patterns, and make meaning out of the flood of data that threatens to overwhelm us.”

Rosenbaum is the next guest in the NYAMA’s “Meet The Author” series of informal breakfast conversations.  This Wednesday, November 16th, from 8 am until 9:30 am (8 am!  yes, I know, that’s quite early for all of us…).  116 East 27th Street.   Sign up at

Come and get your copy signed by Steven.




Every once in a while I interrupt this blog with invitations to events or to drop names.  This is one of those times.  So I’ll temporarily drop my role as CEO of Verse Group and switch into my role as the President of the NYAMA.  I’m doing that here because, well….I don’t have a blog yet at the…

But when I DO, I’ll write the following:

The old way of marketing doesn’t make sense in a changed world.  And at the New York American Marketing Association we realized that our old way of communicating with our members and the greater marketing community doesn’t make sense in a changed world.  We’ve taken the several important steps forward.

In addition to our Linked-in and Twitter presence, we’ve (finally) upgraded the website, making it easier to see the NYAMA events that our programming committee has developed for the coming weeks, next month, next few months.  In fact, we have events planned from now through June of 2012, thanks to Sarah Linden, Lee Hornick and everyone else on the programming team.

In addition to the NYAMA events, you can also find an aggregation of marketing events across the New York City area.  This is something rather special.

In a world of silos, where each organization becomes more and more specialized, the NYAMA is going in the opposite direction.  We are opening up the world of marketing, opening up the opportunities to learn from more people in more areas.

Marketing extends across design, social media, consumer research, public relations, mobile media, media research, advertising, reputation management, organizational design, employee culture, product innovation, managing outside agencies, measuring ROI.  That is why the NYAMA is opening up all of these areas for everyone to discover, to explore, to understand and to see if they make sense for you.

That is why the NYAMA is organizing events across more areas than anyone else.

That is why we having a monthly “meet the author series” with people as varied as Tony Hseih, Jack Trout, David Rogers and, at the pre-dawn hour of 8 am on November 16th you can have an intimate breakfast with Steven Rosenbaum to discuss his new book “Curation Nation”

Have breakfast with the author Steven Rosenbaum at the nyama

That is why we are bringing to you a window into the full richness of marketing in the marketing capital of the world.  Sign-up at the new site to learn about the events, to meet people, to expand your horizons.  And, yes, you can have fun, too!

Questions, improvements, ideas are always welcome.  You can reach me at

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