Archive for the 'Video' Category

Thinking with AND: Insights from KIND’s story

June 24, 2016

“I’m a confused Mexican Jew.” So says Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and CEO of KIND Snack, in his very personal interview with Columbia faculty member David Rogers at BRITE ’16. Their discussion touched on the many ideas behind KIND Snacks, from the beginnings of the company, to the strategic thinking that forces Lubetzky to stay away from false compromises, to his thoughts on brands and purpose.

After studying law at Stanford, Lubetzky had planned to become a Mid-East Peace negotiator, “That was my path and that was my dream and I ended up feeling that the power of business to drive change may potentially be more impactful in bringing neighbors to work together than diplomacy.” As the son of a Holocaust survivor, the common threat in everything he does is, “building bridges between people because that’s my commitment: to prevent what happened to my dad from happening again.”

It was precisely his intention to create business opportunities for neighbors in conflict regions what brought him into the natural food industry. Ten years after his first attempts, he identified the need for a healthy and tasty snack, and KIND was born.

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Lubetzky went on to share some insights on how to maintain creativity when bringing ideas to life: “To challenge conventional wisdom, which says you have to choose between this or that, think creatively and try to do this and that, and make a business that’s both socially impactful and economically sustainable or a product that’s both healthy and tasty. In any such venture there is a tension and you need to use creativity to generate that extra value.”

When asked about KIND’s purpose, Lubetzky explained that he was looking “to have a company that was going to have a social impact and that was going to be economically impactful and successful, combining the social and the business objectives. The social impact [being] inspiring kindness, celebrating kindness, finding a way to increase kindness in society, while also selling healthy snack foods.”

He also warned entrepreneurs that having a social mission doesn’t guarantee success, the product has to shine through for the social mission to be relevant, Lubetzky said. “We need to be careful about assuming that because you have a social mission suddenly things work. Ninety-nine percent of the people [who] have tried KIND bars -or maybe 90%- don’t even know about our social mission. […] It is by design that we lead with our product and our taste. The social mission adds loyalty and meaning to [me] and to [my] team, and hopefully passion to [the] consumers. But the fundamentals have to be there, they’re really what drive the business.”

Watch the full interview with Daniel Lubetzky.

BY GABRIELA TORRES PATIÑO

The Day We All Watch for the Commercials

February 10, 2016

For several decades, people have watched Super Bowl commercials almost as eagerly as they have watched the game itself. With the money now involved, $5 million for a 30-second spot, brands are even more committed to raise their creative efforts and capture the attention of both consumers and all the journalists covering this phenomenon.

It’s certainly a lot easier in the age of the Internet to spend time watching and dissecting the 60 or so ads that aired during the game. If you want to take a look at one ‘score’ of the ads to compare against your own impressions, check out the USA Today Ad Meter results that rank viewer submissions on each and every ad.

In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on how the 2016 crop of commercials reflects lessons on how to utilize advertising to create a real brand impact.

To Really Resonate, Combine Emotion and Function

Advertisers have become more and more focused on hitting emotional triggers with their campaigns, and rightly so. There is a danger, however, in creating an emotional message without connecting that impact to the brand.

It’s discouraging when people say, “Oh that ad was great, but, uh, I can’t remember what it was for.” Not surprisingly, ads that scored well in the Ad Meter – which lacks scientific rigor, of course – did a great job utilizing an emotional appeal, usually humor, along with a tie-in to some functional element of the brand.

In pre-watching the ads, the trio of Hyundai ads struck me as hitting this sweet spot perfectly. All three ended up in the top six on the Ad Meter. Granted, some of the stars in the ads prodded their social followers to go to USA Today and vote, but such a push is reflective of the pride these celebrities had in the quality of the ad.

Celebrities Need Quality

Speaking of celebrities, it’s no surprise that lots of them popped up in Super Bowl 50 ads – a famous face reflexively drives mental attention to the screen. But, using such talent can easily be wasted if the messaging and quality of the ad isn’t stellar as well.

Most of the ads did well in delivering on this mix, but one of the worst rated ads was Squarespace’s effort with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key. While these gents are often hilarious, the characters in the ad weren’t that humorous, likeable, or understandable, so the effort fell flat. In the case of LG’s “The Man From the Future,” the content was just too vague to make much of an impact, and the product, a 4K TV, isn’t ready for prime time as almost no 4K content exists.

Another fascinating celebrity choice was Budweiser’s use of Helen Mirren. There is not a natural brand fit between the two, but for a public service announcement this disconnect was a smart move, helping strengthen attention to its “don’t drink and drive” message. Measuring the true impact of such an effort is difficult, but people seem to have paid attention as a Google Trends search indicates a 500% increase over any peak search for the word pillock over the past decade. (H/t to Frank and Ridley for driving me to research this.)

Beyond Machismo Targeting

In general, Super Bowl commercials are more expansive in their targeting than those running during regular season games. But two ads in particular broke the mold more than others this year.

Hyundai’s “Ryanville” ad was one of the most interesting ads of the batch (to me, anyway) because it specifically targeted women. Even with that target, however, the humor and sense of desire in the ad still maintained a broad appeal, with a relatively similar supportive rating from both men and women in the Ad Meter.

Despite estimates over the past couple of decades that roughly 40-45% of NFL fans are women, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the NFL, and its sponsors and supporters, recognized that they need to expand their messaging beyond just a male target.  Still, ads during NFL games have tended to just downplay gender differences, rather than recognizing that an ad can be more appealing to one gender without simultaneously being annoying to the other.

Going even wider in its demographic appeal, Mini Cooper pushed people to defy all labels. Such messages inevitably bring up these labels while also critiquing the use of them, making Mini the brand that would provide a nod to gay culture by featuring Abby Wambach stating, “This is a gay car.”

On a side note, I found it even more interesting that the celebrities in this ad – from Serena Williams to T-Pain to Tony Hawk – are all actual Mini owners who have behind the scenes videos where they talk about their relationship with the brand.

Hits and Misses

Some final fun notes:

  • The Heinz Weiner Stampede is currently second in the Ad Meter, but I thought this ad was horrible. Something about image of a “hotdog” liking a face did not sit well with me. What do I know?
  • Will pharmaceutical companies ever find a way to make appealing ads?
  • I think the Pokemon ad was almost a little ahead of its time. It didn’t score well, and was confusing unless you know about Pokemon, but I loved how it tried to tie traditional sports intensity into the massively growing competitive e-sports category.
  • There is always an ad that isn’t well liked, but gets so much attention it has to be called it a success. That title clearly goes to Puppymonkeybaby.
  • Don’t try to get across too much or be too obtuse in an ad. Paypal, Quicken Loans, and SoFi,all had confusing messages and lost any appeal.

On a final note, I had fun discovering The Late Late Show’s “update” of Cindy Crawford’s famous 1992 Pepsi commercial that helped stoke the fire behind the desire to write articles like this one.

BY MATTHEW QUINT

The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer

December 10, 2013

The Changing Face of the Asian ConsumerAs Asia continues its economic growth, Asian consumers and branding in Asia are becoming the focal points of business and commerce.

How do Asian consumers shop? What kind of brands do they prefer? And how can you grow your business with Asian consumers?

Our Faculty Director Professor Bernd Schmitt launched a new book titled “The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer,” to help companies navigate and maneuver the complex and diverse landscape that is Asia.  Schmitt has more than twenty years of experience in Asia as a professor, researcher and consultant. He wrote the book while he lived in Singapore for the last two years, on a special leave from Columbia Business School, as the Executive Director of ACI, the new Institute on Asian Consumer Insight.

In his book, Schmitt presents key insights about the Asian marketplace, which together with his strategies will help you grow your business in Asia:

  • Find out what middle-class consumers want—and what they buy—when their incomes rise.
  • Learn why Asians are collectivists who are becoming increasingly individualistic.
  • Discover that Asian consumers are driven by contradictory desires; they are, at the same time, Value Shopaholics, Functional Hedonists, and Traditional Futurists.

The book also includes useful tools such as a strategy map to plan market entry, a lifestyle tool to analyze consumer motivations and trends, and an omni-channel metric to assess the right mix of online and offline media.  Finally, he presents benchmarks and best practices from multinational and local companies for various industries and markets in Asia—including consumer electronics, fashion and lifestyle, food and beverage, airline, hotel, skincare and e-commerce.

Enjoy Prof. Schmitt speaking at our BRITE ’13 conference on many of the concepts he was developing in the course of writing the book.

By MATTHEW QUINT

Building Your Action Plan for Social Media Marketing

July 23, 2013

As social media platforms went through their early exponential growth, marketers were compelled to dive blindly into the pool. Today they care about what kind of splash they will make. The pressure is on to create concrete strategies and deliver real value from any time spent on social media marketing activities. At the BRITE ’13 conference, Ric Dragon, author of Social Marketology, offers an action plan for marketers, of all sizes, to think smartly about how to best use these new tools and the 1-to-1 connection they offer.

While it should be obvious, Ric has found that many companies still don’t think about their desired outcomes – how will a social media marketing effort fit in with your company’s broader brand position and personality, and how does it align with all your marketing goals? He notes that the important thing is to consider and develop an understanding of these four major brand stakeholders:

  • Us – be united internally on your company’s brand goals and personality
  • Them – know what drives your consumers and how they perceive your brand
  • Communities – uncover the larger, aggregated networks of your consumers
  • Influencers – get to know who is influential in these communities

Throughout his talk, Ric provides insights on how to think about developing metrics for your social media campaigns, how to uncover micro-segments of active communities that will likely have an affinity for your brand or communications, and how to “professionally stalk” and excite the influencers of those communities.

These techniques would then be executed within five key approaches to social media:

  • Brand maintenance – having a footprint, and listening to and occasionally interacting with your customers
  • Reputation and crisis – creating and sharing content that shows your leadership on business and/or social issues
  • Community building – creating an interactive presence with brand ambassadors
  • Influence – targeting and connecting with key social media influencers in your category
  • Big splash – creating attention through a unique campaign that will excite a huge reaction

“[Marketers] need to think about the healthy mix of these approaches,” Ric states, “and acknowledge that they may change over time.” Each brand must develop an action plan that weighs the level of attention it gives to the development of web properties, social connections, content creation, and stakeholder engagement, and how this balance should be altered each quarter.

Ric concludes, “When we integrate all this work with storytelling, it is extremely powerful, and I believe we all can grow our business through social media.”

 

What’s the ROI for Brand Advertisers and Online Video?

July 22, 2013

With Emmy nominations going to Netflix’s House of Cards and Arrested Development, the world of online video can say, “Well we finally made it.” But despite a growing viewership, and TV awards on the horizon, the question remains whether these signs of online video success will actually drive a significant return on investment (ROI) for brand advertisers and the video platforms. We were pleased to bring together a panel of experts at our BRITE ’13 conference to prognosticate on this issue.

Jonathan Knee, Faculty Director of the Media Program at Columbia Business School, began the debate by asking if this disconnect was a product problem or a marketing problem. “I think there are definitely measurement complications,” stated Kerry Trainor, CEO of Vimeo.com, “the internet is so fragmented it’s like trying to measure a sprinkler system. For all of the evils of the 30-second spot, it is standardized. You can build a marketplace around it…. so we have an ad product problem.” This was a sentiment agreed to by all on the panel.

Nielsen Cross-Platform Report Q1 2013

Nielsen Cross-Platform Report Q1 2013

However, John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interactive, stated that he doesn’t see an inequity between the level of viewership and the ad spend going to online video. Using Nielsen’s 2012 figures, he notes that Americans are spending about 3% as much time watching online video as compared to TV while GroupM spends about 5% of its “TV ad budgets” on online video ads. This was a prescient use of dollars for GroupM, as Nielsen’s recent reporting for Q1 2013 now shows online video as indeed reaching 5% of the time spent on TV.

Thinking even bigger when it comes to measurement, Michael Keriakos, Co-Founder and President of Everyday Health, talks in detail about how his company has developed what amounts to a big data strategy that merges its own data with a range of 3rd party data. Through such efforts Everyday Health calculates, with good confidence, the pharmaceutical sales lift that is driven by peoples’ exposure to, and interaction with, a particular online video ad or marketing effort.

In the end, Larry Aidem, CEO and Founder of IconicTV, brings the discussion back full circle to the marketing problem that online video still faces. “Selling television the way CBS does, for a shrinking audience, continuing to see prices go up is a breathtaking accomplishment.” Larry believes that online video companies need to better sell their ad offerings and package them as if they were a TV spend. Although he does note there are still targeting problems with the ad serving technologies, like his own experience with a Romney ad running on JAY Z’s online venture Life+Times and an erectile dysfunction ad that ran on myISH.com which has a primary audience of teenage girls.

The complex ecosystem of online video will certainly lead to more growing pains, but marketers and advertisers are certainly paying much more attention to it. The latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (April 2013) found a 28% increase in ad revenues for online video from 2011 to 2012. And as viewing and spend increases, Americans will indeed watch more online video ads. Just last month, comScore reported that a record 20 billion ads were watched by US consumers, reaching nearly 54% percent of the total U.S. population, who saw an average of 121 ads in June.

BY MATTHEW QUINT

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