Category Archives: New Media

The Marketing Technology Landscape

I’m not 100%  sure how to address the growing complexity of the marketing function, except to suggest that you take some time to re-evaluate and redefine what marketing is about. Consider layering in your technology mix along with your media and marketing mix. Then bring together a team of mobilists, technologists, data analysts and creative folks and you can get the ball rolling.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

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The Digital & Social Era: Unlocking Brand Value in a Nanosecond

 

Monopoly, Scrabble, Mr. Potato Head, G.I. Joe, Nerf, Little Pony, Transformers.  These are only a few of the brands we are all growing old with, and are also seeing our children grow up with. They are all household names that have an extensive legacy and franchise around the world. They’re all Hasbro brands.

While many brand managers often think of extending a brand in terms of new product in the physical sense, the digital and social era offers the opportunity to transform brands into new media properties in ways that unlock the brand’s legacy. The age of new media offers up the chance to pull brands literally “out of the vault” and make them fresh again by relaunching them in an entirely new format.

Hasbro is a company that not only manufactures and distributes toys and games; it is an entertainment company that now competes with the likes of Disney. For example, one of the largest and most successful movie franchises is Transformers. Introduced in the mid-1980s, Transformers was a toy line that featured parts that can be shifted to change from a vehicle into a robot action figure and back again. A number of spin-offs followed, including an animated television series.

In 2007, a live-action movie, under sponsorship of Steven Spielberg, was released, with the latest installment to be released this summer. Around the brand is a vast array of media, including video games, a website, online games, TV commercials, a Facebook community, books, gear and all sorts of toys. Yes, there are apps for iPhone – in 3D no less – that include puzzles.

Not only has Hasbro become a force in the movie industry, it also is a direct investor in television having recently launched The Hub channel in the U.S. in partnership with Discovery Channel whereby the Discovery Kids platform was renamed The Hub. In Canada, Corus Entertainment and Hasbro Studios have come together to distribute Hasbro brands across the various Corus kids television platforms, such as Treehouse, the TV home of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (with HD episodes available on iTunes).

What makes the discussion even more compelling is how Hasbro has been able to artfully blend instinct with formal management process. I say this because the toy business, like fashion, has for many years been built on having a nose for what’s hot and what’s not. In the age of digital, so much is in the moment that risk and reward take on much shorter cycles, thereby requiring a balance between management discipline and entrepreneurial behaviour. As Michael Hogg, President of Hasbro Canada, says: “The toy business is like packaged goods with your hair on fire,” in that much of the action is in the moment, about today. This makes me think of the phrase Carpe Diem – on steroids.

Underlying this “360 degree” approach to defining the media mix is the foundational belief that there is also a value chain with regard to the media platforms. In Hasbro’s case, TV is the anchor to build brand awareness in key segments, whereby other media take on a supporting promotional role to augment consumer engagement.

In the days of traditional media, there was much talk about unlocking ‘incremental brand value’ by building out line extensions and adding ancillary products. In the era of digital and social media, brand value can be unlocked in an exponential way by developing the optimal media mix and devising the right formats for each brand.

It also means sticking to the fundamental questions: what are the demographics, who are the buyers, what are the right media choices and how do we build the trust factor into everything we do? The latter is most important especially when engaging audiences of ‘mommy bloggers’ who have valuable opinions about product safety, play value and ideas for innovation.

It also requires a change in mindset since metrics are not always conveniently at hand. In fact, it may be advantageous by allowing managers to take risk by investing in more trials, seeing what works through iteration and then building metrics that support additional investments for a calculated payoff.

For Hasbro, one formula that continues to prove itself in effect leads the consumer through the channels. Television is the anchor for certain target segments for brand building; websites are ideal for promotional activity and driving consumers to the retail store.

So let me end with a few more Hasbro brands that you may well recognize: Twister, Battleship, Yahtzee, Risk, Tinker Toy, Play-Doh, Sorry! and Easy Bake. And yes, there are and will be more apps.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

 

Social Media: Where Does It Belong?

As part of a continuing series for the ACA – Association of Canadian Advertisers, the following post offers an ‘enterprise view’ of how to organize for social media. For the most part, advertisers are keely aware that any customer-facing activity does not fall exclusively within the domain of a singular function, department or business discipline. Indeed, the cross-enterprise approach is often the only way to provide a consistent delivery of customer value and in turn get feedback on performance.  This also avoids one of the most dangerous of obstacles that inhibits business  transformation…

To read on, please go to:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-where-does-it-belong/

En Francais:

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/qui-controle-les-medias-sociaux/

– Ted Morris

Media Integration: The Tradigital Mix

This post originally appeared in the Association of Canadian Advertisers newsletter, The ACA Edge:  http://www.acaweb.ca/en/media-integration-the-%e2%80%98tradigital%e2%80%99-mix/

I was recently reading Golf Magazine, a publication of the Time Inc. Sports Group, which includes Sports Illustrated amongst its media assets. Golf Magazine serves as a hub, trigger or catalyst for viewing relevant content through a range of media types and other brand platforms. Here’s why:

There is a section in Golf Magazine called “Your Game” which is an instructional piece made up of various illustrations, stats and descriptive text on, for example, how to improve putting from short distances. In the bottom left corner of the page, there is a pointer to the magazine’s website at www.golf.com/putting  where there is an online video of the same lesson featuring additional information about the putting process. Golf.com has a link to Twitter (@si_golf). Videos are featured on YouTube, Golf Magazine’s channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/GolfMagazine.

At www.golf.com , there are links to various sites related to events on the PGA pro tour, content related to golf travel, course ratings, opinions and reviews to name but a few of the possibilities. In the current issue of Golf Magazine, there is even a new program that brings it together with SI Golf and Golf.com to enable the audience to “See, Try, Buy” the latest in golf equipment with links to OEMs and dealers. Many advertisers in Golf Magazine have links to ‘freemium’ social network platforms – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – offering additional product content.

Then there are those who write for Golf Magazine who are also commentators on television networks that broadcast golf such as CBS and NBC. It goes without saying that many PGA pros are featured throughout all of the golf media choices. Writers and PGA pros (some 85 are on Twitter) contribute content. Readers and web viewers alike also post their opinions often indicative of topics that drive engagement. There are several blogs: http://blogs.golf.com/equipment.

Golf Magazine is a good illustration of how the “Tradigital” media mix can provide a rich experience through a host of choices for accessing relevant content by integrating traditional and new media. This transformation of brands to a broad media mix reflects the adoption of a new business model that optimizes traditional and new media in order to bring about the right mix for the audience –paid, owned, sold, earned. CMO’s should find this inspiring. It’s not really complicated. Get started, try things out, see what works and like a recipe, add to the media mix until it’s just right.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The ROI on Social Media: Time to bring in an accounting framework

CMA Magazine

It’s time for Social media and social commerce to step up to the plate when it comes to accountability.

I’ve seen a lot of talk about the benefits of social media often without supporting financials that make for a solid business case. What I have seen so far tends to be a typical set of flimsy metrics, that, while indicative of incremental performance, do not explain causality to the bottom line. Other cases have used the term “ROI” very loosely without regard to the rigour of GAAP financial accounting methods. In short, I felt that it was time to speak to the issue. With the help of Syncapse, TD Bank and McDonald’s, I have opened the discussion of the kind you may want to have with CFO if you’re intent on moving the social media agenda forward within your organization.

The article can be found in the Premier issue of CMA Magazine – a newly revamped version of CMA Management Magazine, geared to the Digital Age.

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/SMAS0111/#/20

I have always been fortunate to have a long standing relationship with CMA Magazine. Back in 2003 I wrote my first article titled “What Management Accountants Should Know About Market-Driven Quality”. 

Over the years, I authored 4 articles and one book of guideliness (when I partnered with Bradley T. Gale, formerly of the PIMS Institute) the recurring theme has been about financial accountability. This has always been important to me as a business manager based on my belief that if the impact of an activity cannot me measured, specifically in a ways that draws a link between money invested and return on that money invested, then it should be questioned insofar as its contribution to the performance of the enterprise. This does not suggest that everything needs to delivery hard financials re. EBITDA. What is does mean is that every activity has to have some associated set of metrics that help to explain the value of that activity and its relative contribution.  Whether you use hard financials or a series of performance metrics across all functional groups, measures are required in order to gauge the return on effort.

Being a manager means being accountable for your actions.

Ted Morris – 4ScreensMedia

Seeing Through the Cloud of New Media Choices

A Cloud By Any Other Name Is Still A Cloud: Outcomes are only clear once out of the cloud.

I recently had the good fortune to write an article on behalf of the Association of Canadian Advertisers – ACA. My intent was to provide a fly-over of the complexities of the current media environment and the effect of Social Media as an additive element to what the Boston Consulting Group – BCG refers to as the “CMO Dilemma”   in managing the overall media mix within a Galaxy of Media Choices. To emphasize – this is not a matter of choosing one communications medium over another, nor is this advocacy for Social Media. It’s about making the best choices in the determining the optimal media mix for a product category, brand or creative concept.

The ACA’s membership is advertisers. Numbering some 100+,  all are household names such as Clorox, MacDonald’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola Ltd, Hasbro, Visa, Kraft and Nokia. One aspect of the ACA’s mission is to ensure that their membership “…maximizes their investments in all forms of marketing communications”. The italics is mine, if only to underscore the tremendous challenges that face the CMO in seeing through the cloud of new media choices and effectively managing media mix resources. It’s easy to theorize and point out media success stories, it’s another thing to roll your sleeves up and do the heavy lifting.

Here is the full text of the article:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-seeing-through-the-cloud-of-new-media-choices/

En francais: Les médias sociaux : comment s’y retrouver dans ce nuage de choix?

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/les-medias-sociaux-comment-s%e2%80%99y-retrouver-dans-ce-nuage-de-choix/#more-3875

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Ahead of the Curve Behind the 8-Ball

It wasn’t long ago that the clamoring for CEO’s to get with the latest program by using Twitter and various social media platforms, reached a feverish pitch.  As usual, those forever looking for shreds of evidence that ‘social media’ pays out a clear cut ROI, would trot out lists of companies (and their CEO’s) who ‘got it’. Funny thing was, most of those lists, and many related cased studies were  mainly of obscure companies in the early stages of growth. Naturally, a 500% growth rate as a result of using Twitter, was impressive though less so when the base number for that growth rate was near zero, the kind of stats that investment fund advisors like to use when people have little appetite for buying stocks following a market meltdown. 

There have been case studies, some from reputable technology analysts, touting remarkable cost savings. Beyond the headline, the data showed a savings of $4M over 3 years for a certain USD$100B technology provider using social media as a collaboration tool.  In the end, this seemed a bit on the light side. No pun intended here but greater savings might have been had by turning the office lights off when people left for the day.

There has also been a lull in those declaring their location. Shout outs for Foursquare and various locational platforms seem rather muted of late. The initial interest seemed to be focused around luring people into retail premises by pushing discounted offers out to the latte-rati, more recently up-sized to the Starbucks version of 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp. Adoption hasn’t been that broad and one wonders if location-based applications are still looking for a real business problem to solve.

Lastly, not to make too fine a point, recent press by ‘those in the social know’ are now suggesting that too many offers, tweets, friending by brands for the sake of friending and a general overloading of Facebook fan pages by some brands, has started to turn some people off. Mashable had some recent thoughts on this issue of why people are unfollowing certain brands. I also expressed in a post from last year, building on a thought piece by the Economist, that there is so much data out there, one wonders what is to be done with it all – and that was when YouTube, Facebook and the like where just getting ramped up with the posting of video and photos. Clearly, when a brand fails to deliver on the promise, even CEO tweets can’t come to the rescue, GAP logo changes notwithstanding. Again, ask yourself, are we solving a business problem or just creating stuff to do because we’re not sure exactly what to do?

If you’re indeed feeling both ahead of the curve implementing certain technologies and behind the eight ball in terms of getting measureable business results, consider this: any organization that undertakes a transformation, in this case toward the Social Enterprise, cannot achieve success by leading with technology. This is what happened to early adopters of CRM in the last decade. Success can in fact be achieved, notably for companies that are truly customer-centric (culture/process/technology) who understanstand those things that deliver value to the customer relative to competition re. the “Outside-In” approach. IBM, Ford, McDonald’s, P&G are a few companies who do this consistently and have the financial results as proof.

This is not news, in fact, it’s an old principle advocated by Peter Drucker some 50 years ago. While it’s tempting to drink the latest elixir of technology, it pays to stick to managerial fundamentals, much like accountants use GAAP methods to keep track of every dollar earned.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia