at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

The problem with digital media.

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2009 at 7:49 am

Or perhaps more appropriately titled, “The problem with people who work in digital media.”

Digital is a fantastic medium for doing some really interesting and creative things. The outstanding question though is whether it is indeed the equivalent of discovering a new galaxy or whether it is more like finding a pair of pants that you thought you had lost.

Follow me here for a bit. See, from my perspective digital media isn’t any different than traditional media in how consumers interact with it. For marketing it still breaks down to a few fundamentals:
• the appropriateness for the audience
• appropriateness for the brand
• the ability to get a message across
• and drive engagement and purchase

Within this realm of digital media we also have social media. Still conducted online the entire industry has been created by providing socially relevant tools and paying for them with advertising. But then marketers decided that they wanted to use these tools as well. But one can argue that they still don’t quite know what they are doing with these tools. They like to say that they are creating “brand engagement,” and some are, but others are attaching social media to existing plans like Frankenstein’s limbs. Twitter Wolf Blitzer anyone?

But on to the issue of “digital/social media” purveyors. I’ve sat through one to many conferences that feel like religious revivals. The self-appointed guru of media stands up, or more appropriately slouches, and says that “Obama is recreating the Presidency by reaching directly out to the people through YouTube” without taking time to understand that this has been going on since FDR started his fireside chats. That the only thing that has changed is the medium, not how it is being used.

Likewise, Razorfish has published a paper on how social media is influencing purchase behavior that is getting a lot of buzz. When I read the paper it seems to suggest that actually social media works just like regular media. Perhaps that the whole industry is still in the self validation stage and will start talking about real differences soon. I can only hope that it does and that it gets some intelligent voices in the mix as its champions.

hat tip:

The odd branding of sister cities.

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 at 7:45 am

Sister cities
Originally uploaded by amrit1983

I remember growing up and learning about sister cities. Seemed like a cool idea and certainly made a kid in small town Ohio feel more connected to the world at large. But, as I now travel around the world on projects, I question the logic of it all.

Some cities make a lot of sense. San Francisco and Sydney share a temperate climate, water-side views and a general openness toward life. Milwaukee, WI and Galway, Ireland share an appreciation for beer (or at least that’s the way that it seemed when I visited each). New York City is an easy girl and has befriended several sister cities, Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Madrid, Santo Domingo, Budapest, Rome, Jerusalem, Greater London, and Johannesburg. Which only makes me wonder what was wrong with the rest of London?

But then of course it starts to break down. Imagine the family reunion between the sister cities of Duluth, Minnesota and Isumi, Japan or Seattle, Washington and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. At some point in time one of those cities is going to realize that they were adopted and they are going to embark on a journey to find their real families.

It seems as though the whole concept of sister cities needs a little strategy help. If they are similar, it creates this great small world feel where you realize that there are people in the world who are like you but aren’t near you. If it is about differences, then it is great for kids who need pen pals, although I’m not sure that concept still exists.

Nike ID: Touch to colour

In advertising, Branding, Brands, denim, innovation on January 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Shop windows always feel a bit like wasted space. Headless manequins in static poses as if frozen in fashion future. They neither say come in nor walk by but stand more simply as pronouncements of their anotomically incorrect selves. Now, window dressers have a difficult business for sure. A few like Simon Doonan are considered minor rock (sock) stars, but most are arrangers trying to simulantiously support the brand and its message while also driving traffic through the doors of the store.

That’s all to explain why I like these Nike windows. Not only do they support the idea of customization and uniqueness when everything is starting to look very safe and bland, but they actually encourage interaction. By touching the store window you can change the color combinations of the products, in effect test driving before you buy. I liked it online but I really love it as a window concept.

Your brand makes me sick.

In Branding, Brands, marketing on January 5, 2009 at 5:56 am

Originally uploaded by distillerymedi

I woke up this morning feeling fine, then I took a shower. Now I have the chills and I feel weak. Could it be my new Fever sports body wash? I knew I should have purchased the “Plague” but I assumed it was pretty hard-core. Sort of like “maximum strength” vs. Fever’s more “just enough.” If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger but what if it just makes you sick?