Tag Archives: Television

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

 

Advertisers and Consumers Like Television

I recently heard someone ask “If ROI is so important, why do brands still advertise & market on television?” Here is part of the answer to a very complex business issue.

According to the IAB – Interactive Advertising Bureau, Nielsen estimates that, for the fall 2010-11 broadcast season, there will be 115.9m US TV households, and 294.65m persons 2+ watching. To put this in perspective, that’s almost equal to the total number of both households and population of the United States. Nielsen also recently published some key media statistics:

> 114M US households have a least one television, almost 30% own 4 or more TVs; the average American watches 31.5 hours of TV per week; kids 6-11 watch 8 hours of live TV per week.

> almost 99% of video content is watched on traditional television; 100M+ are cable and satellite TV ready.

A complementary perspective is offered by comScore. In a piece written by comScore Co-Founder Gian Fulgoni, The Lure of TV Advertising for Internet Businesses, it’s clear that even companies that are significant Internet players, are attracted to the lure of television. Some of these companies include Yahoo, AOL, Autotrader.com, Google, Expedia, Monster.com, Priceline and eHarmony. Fulgoni points out that over the past decade, television ad spend share has increased from 38% to 46%…”confirming that despite the illusion created by some media pundits who would have us believe that TV is on the ropes…”

Even as the Internet continues to grow in appeal, brands prefer television as an advertising medium. While consumers are watching more television than ever and there is no let up in sight in terms of total time spent viewing there are two key drivers, as noted by comScore, driving advertiser appeal. The first is that a lot of people can be reached, during high-rated shows, in a very short amount of time. This is very appealing to advertisers, where time is indeed money – well spent. The other is related to risk. Almost all television advertising is copy tested,especially for major brands, before going on air in order to ensure that the intended message is hitting the mark with the target audience.

With viral advertising, notably on YouTube, campaign success is largely a role of the dice. For every campaign of note, such as the recent Old Spice series, there a thousands of videos that rarely get a mention, let alone reach the people they were meant for. While it is cheap to air an ad on one of the Freemium channels, it is very difficult to understand reach and frequency in relation to target audience. You cannot anticipate who will view what, when and how often before going on air unlike television advertising that is tied to a program’s intended viewing audience. Otherwise, it’s a bit like playing media planning roulette and risking loss of control of the brand. 

As Fulgoni aptly notes “The cost of being wrong becomes substantial”.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Customer-Centric Media: Paid, Owned, Earned

Sean Corcoran, Forrester analyst, recently posted a commentary on the relationship between earned and paid media. He makes some good points to which I have added my 2 cents in italics:

“…there are still many social media “experts” who believe that paid media has no role in social media marketing. This is also wrong.  Absolutely. It also underscores why one should avoid such “experts”. True experts take the agnostic approach and provide a balanced perspective of the choices available to managers in the appropriate business context.

In fact, paid and earned media can have a very close relationship and should be leveraged together (along with owned media) for the best results. Here are some ways in which paid and earned media can work together: 

  • Brands use advertising to scale participation for their social assets (this has been especially leveraged by brands on Facebook)
  • Advertising content can become viral (e.g. Old Spice campaign)
  • Advertising creative can be co-created with the community
  • Listening platforms can provide real-time assessments of campaign success (like a mirror to word-of-mouth, or maybe like a fun house mirror)
  • Earned media can become advertising content (often happens with ratings and reviews)
  • Social media data can be used to target audiences through online media (see Media6Degrees or 33Across)

This makes so much sense as companies are looking to form bonds with their consumers via conversations. The best marketing campaigns leverage multiple media whether it be broadcast to create brand awareness or POS or print/local radio for promotion and social for generating Word-of-Mouth brand mentions & buzz.

> Social Media content creation is very hard to scale. Viral growth is open-ended and unpredictable. It depends on several factors notably creative, the social  platform and timing. Television reach & frequency is largely a matter of adspend and targeting since the medium is rich in normative audience data.

> Co-created advertising is media that can be re-used, repurposed and leveraged to drive on-going audience engagement. It also has the advantage of providing almost immediate feedback and new ideas for near real-time message refinement.

> Listening platforms, at their best can monitor all media formats. The main advantage is that they provide intelligence much faster than traditional marketing/media research.

> Earned media is the currency that acts like a ‘credit’ attributed to the brand by its constituents, whether they be advocates, influencers or a more general audience with a brand experience.

What’s the point? Social media marketing is very important but it can’t be done alone. While advertising, though on the ropes and lessening in its importance, will continue to play a role in providing scale and immediacy. Interactive marketers need to start balancing their media together for optimal results.

Not sure that I agree that advertising is on the ropes. Adspend budgets are up in 2010 while social media accounts for a fraction of the total adspend (as separate from digital adspend). In summary the keyword, as Corcoran says, is balance. Since the “Galaxy of media choices“, to paraphrase the Boston Consulting Group, is extensive and complex, it’s a matter of making the right choices in context of the brand, the measurable objectives and target audience, as the best way to optimize adspend and results.

-Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The Media Prism: Earned, Paid and Owned

In a recent post by Brian Solis, “Why Brands are Becoming Media“, there was reference to a grid developed by Forrester that attempts to define a new way to segment media channels or ‘customer touchpoints’:

The above is a fine represention as it brings a high level order to this complex new media mix. As a CRM and Marketing Technology professional I believe in being focused on business process with a  view to implementation. Here is my ‘managerial’ grid:

Clearly the media landscape is changing continuously and many more iterations will develop as we move along the maturity curve. At this point, it’s not so much a matter of what is right or wrong, rather, what works best for each of us as we look through the multi-faceted media prism.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Social Media Slap Chop

As corporate managers seek to make some sense out of new media, it’s been interesting how the noise from advocate continues. Here are a few soundbites:

1) ROI. A few power bloggers have been consuming a lot of oxygen these days ranting about how there is little need to financially justify investment in social media. Social Media, unlike say, billboard advertising, is sacred because it’s all about trust and transparency. Besides, you’ve lost control of your brand to the consumer, so what the heck, just do it.
 
2) See, it works! Some folks are all agog about Dell generating some $6M worth of sales that were ‘influenced’ by the Twitter channel. The percentage sold, against total 2009 sales, was so small my calculator registered blank.
 

"You're Going to Have an Exciting Life Now."

3) Rage against the Expert. Enough already.  There are no experts, just people who speak loudly and have their musings (and picture) all over various social networks. None of these folks actually work for a Fortune 500, 1000 or 2000 company but they likely have a nice blog and written a giga-seller book or two or three. Let’s move on.
 
4) Case studies. Go back to item (2) as this is a about as good as it really gets. Most companies are in beta stage figuring out what works best for them. For example, Coke recently ditched private media in favour of social networking, which is just fine. 
 
5) Predictions. Newspapers are dead.  Advertising is a relic. Television is passe. Mobile is king. Facebook is the new Superpower. So many folks feel it necessary to make pronoucements on the future (which is here already since we are now moving faster than real time, according to some) that they get themselves worked into a voodoo-like trance. While in this somnambulant state, they feel their musings are fact while looking to pick up another 10,000 Twitter followers by the end of the day.
 
 6) Gushing over gadgets: Early adopters love to be the first to own the latest piece of technology such as an iPhone, iPod or iTablet, which is fine my me. However, some folks are over the moon about these new products to the point that they leave you wondering if they’re shills or stock promoters as they wax so enthusiastically. Mind you they’re also the first to wail away if something goes wrong such as poor smart phone connectivity (which was really a carrier issue).
 
7) Social Media is a must have. If you don’t you’re either stupid, in denial or you just plain don’t get it and the world will leave you in the nanodust of the cloud – especially if you’re a CMO. Rather than consider a firm’s CRM maturity level, those who have a knack for prescription pay little attention to the complexities inherent in the marketing and media mix. Makes me wonder – do social media evangelists have actual clients
 
– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia
 
 
 

Looking around the corner at 2010

 4ScreensMedia is about Customer Relationship Management and how the Internet, Television and Mobile technology can be leveraged to enhance the customer experience across the entire spectrum of brand touchpoints. Here are 12 developments that may play out in 2010.

If a tree falls in the forest, we can now hear it.

1. Customer Relationship Management will incorporate social media – the customer’s channel – and become integral to the  Marketing Mix. Like the self-serve kiosk, more business processes will be outsourced to customers as a result.

2. The CIO will play a key role  in implementing enterprise social media platforms as technology & process serve to enable campaign execution.

3. Google will provide the cheapest and most used social media monitoring platform; like the long distance telco market, the service will be priced at or close to $0.00.

4. Management consultants will take their rightful place in provide social media guidance and integrate into CRM. They will design workable business processes, provide sound methodology and standards. Accountability will be more important than ROI. ROI metrics will draw from existing marketing mix to include CLV – Customer Lifetime Value at the aggregate level.

5. More social media monitoring companies will go out of business than will be acquired – the industry will segment into pure technology plays vs. value added business insight using white-label monitoring services. Some SMM companies will merge with marketing analytics providers. The most business value will be provided by SMM companies that specialize in industry verticals, sentiment analysis and human interpretation.

6.  Proprietary monitoring capabilities will become the purvue of the largest Forbes Global 2000 firms and provide the best business applications such as integration with business analytics. This will dovetail into the creation of private label media networks and brand communities.

7. Mobile technology will have a dual thrust.  Fast growth in terms of user adoption rates and new functionality that enhances the customer experience.  Mobile apps will enable tighter customer relationships, reduce costs via self-service and provide more data about customer behaviour. Cloud computing will enable the data center to be accessed remotely further enhancing work station flexibily especially for mobile professionals in a global economy.

8. Predictive analytics and business intelligence will be the game changer – the Internet will be treated like a big data warehouse. Insight into consumer buying outcomes will be at the heart of this computing technology domain.

9. Location intelligence applications combined with data visualization and user information will become key elements in the business operations arsenal.  Any business where geospatial location matters – transportation, retail, health, policing, municipal services – will take a great interest in these applications.

10. Social networks in general will not be profitable or be close to break even but overvalued by the markets. They will also be seriously compromised by identity theft, fraud, spam and security breaches.

11. Marketing research companies will finally understand that billions of consumer-generated comments related to the brand experience are worth incorporating into traditional research methods. All major players will align with or have their own monitoring or business intelligence capability.

12. Television will be the most watched, most influencial medium in America. Google will have a strategy to buy a network. TV will see a resurgence on many fronts, most notably advertising.

Let’s check back in December 2010.

– Ted Morris

Digital Dumping: It’s Time for Real Accountability

[Note: This guest post was originally featured in the ACA (Association of Canadian Advertisers) newsletter “Driving Marketing Success”. Reprinted by permission.]

Talk with anyone about what’s important for advertisers on the net, and after the obligatory deference to social media the conversation quickly turns to something more familiar, something marketers feel comfortable with: tried-and-true video.

When this recession hit last year, we all wondered what media would be hit the hardest. TV? Newspapers? What we didn’t wonder is what would be hit the least. That surely would be the Internet. Online spending for sure would be spared the axe, and in fact, if any medium could show growth during a recession it most likely would be online.

It didn’t happen, though. eMarketer reported recently that total online spending in the U.S. (Canadian figures were not available) will be down 2.9% for 2009. But have a look specifically at online video. It is the bright spot with a projected growth rate for 2009 of – wait for it – 43%! In a recessionary year. And here’s the kicker: eMarketer projects that online video will have roughly 40% growth rates each year for the next five years.

Add to this a New York Times report that online news is attracting $50 per thousand viewers for video pre-rolls, and a recent Advertising Age report that consumer packaged goods have embraced online video, and you have to conclude that something big is happening here.

There seems to be a certain pent-up demand for video on the net, and all indications are that it is going to manifest big next year. Which begs a pretty important question, and one that marketers always get around to asking when substantial investments begin to accumulate: how do I know if I am getting what I paid for?

ACA members attending our recent New Media Committee meeting got a glimpse into this future, listening to a presentation by Anthony Rushton, Director of Telemetry plc of London, UK, on online video verification. Telemetry is a new entrant into the online infrastructure which provides a service for clients with a very important difference: independent, secure verification that ads were run.

Not to pick on Google, but don’t they actually own DoubleClick, the ad server they use? Where’s the incentive for them to apply rigorous due diligence? How do advertisers know they are getting exactly what they have ordered and paid for? By taking their word? That might have been okay for an industry in its infancy, but it’s not okay for a mature business.

Telemetry showed us screen captures from publishers that were running five small video ads on the same page, buried 10 pages down in the site, in order to fulfill their contract count. Did it ever come up in the sales negotiations that you would be sharing the screen with four other video advertisers at the same time!? I didn’t think so.

It’s been a long, long time since newspapers were accused of printing extra copies in order to get larger circulation figures to boost the price they could charge advertisers – and then dumping many of those copies in the alley.

But it looks like circulation dumping is alive and well and living in some of the digital alleyways of the Internet. Telemetry is careful to point out that not everyone is doing this, but it is happening out there. Campaign discrepancies can run as high as 30%, they point out.

That is just plain unacceptable.

– Bob Reaume
– Vice President, Policy & Research

Get access to Telemetry and other leading-edge thinkers in the field through the ACA’s new media committee.

Bob Reaume Bob Reaume’s 35-year career in advertising began in media at Ronalds-Reynolds Advertising in Toronto. Bob oversees the research required to support ACA’s many projects, especially those related to media. He also plays a pivotal role in supporting and developing various initiatives undertaken by ACA’s New Media, Broadcast and Print & Out-of-Home committees.