Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Be Creative with Your Audience and Revenue Will Follow

October 22, 2009

Traditional television outlets are under pressure as consumers look for, and now expect, great video content from the Internet. The efforts of these players to keep their consumers engaged in the online world offers general lessons for those looking to “monetize the audience, not the content,” as Fred Wilson has aptly put it.

Lisa Hsia, Senior VP, New Media & Digital at Bravo TV, discussed her efforts to build Bravo’s online presence while speaking at BRITE ’09

My job is to try to interact and engage our users before the program, during the program, after the program and always, and my job is not only to interact and engage but my job is really to monetize. … When I was at NBC news you know it was like, “this is a higher calling.” No. This is about money.

And just how does she do this? Through “constant experimentation and trying to figure out the user.” Although it isn’t all experimentation, Lisa noted that there are constants that drive audience interaction: photos, videos and blog posts. Her experiments come through different treatments of these resources and how they promote actions, like text message polling and paid content downloads.

In addition, based on the success of online polls and chats that occur during broadcast re-runs of Bravo’s shows like Top Chef, Lisa went back to her advertisers and suggested the development of interactive features for their banner ads. She noted that this is a trend the advertising industry is moving towards, but by showing the audience’s engagement with the shows, she helped push advertisers along.

To meet her “always” engaging the audience objective, Lisa developed affinity groups, e.g. “Bravo for foodies” and “Bravo for style,” which maintain a more constant level of interaction and permit additional opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising development. An online audience needs additional content, so costs can be a concern, but Lisa noted that for a 7-part webisode series spun out of “Make Me a Supermodel” she spent a mere $2,000. (Note the audible gasp from the audience in the video.) This combination of online activities yields tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue to Bravo.

It is true that the reality TV shows which dominate the Bravo line-up are ideally suited to online engagement. Lisa’s efforts demonstrate, however, that by being efficient and creative you can excite your audience, and drive deeper connections that lead to additional brand or advertising revenue.


This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at:

Crowdsourcing in Action: One Step to Build a Company

October 14, 2009

There is growing evidence that a company can strengthen its brand by listening to customers and even sourcing business ideas from the crowd. But just what does such an effort look like in action?

Entrepreneur Aaron Cohen used his speaking slot at the BRITE ’09 conference to conduct a live crowdsourcing experiment with the attendees. Cohen described the basic concept and unique assets behind a new company he was about to lead,, and then sought out suggestions that might turn these raw materials into a breakout media brand. Here is a video of this “crowdsourcing in action.”

Cohen assumed the role of CEO shortly after BRITE, and AnyClip is now moving forward along some of the tracks discussed during the conference. AnyClip (now in beta launch) lets users find, watch and share short clips of their favorite movie scenes online, and it has already secured the rights to host films from most of the major Hollywood studios. The company won rave reviews for its recent demo at the TechCrunch50 competition, walking away with the coveted Audience Award.

One of the key ideas in Cohen’s crowdsourcing discussion at BRITE was to open up the company’s film clip database to the software developer community — so that anyone can build new applications, services, and revenue streams based on AnyClip’s platform. Cohen discusses this strategy in a recent piece he wrote for The Business Insider, including the use of an “open API” (application program interface). Opening a new platform up to development by other entrepreneurs has been a critical part of the success of both Twitter and the iPhone App Store.

Open APIs are unique to technology brands. But, whatever industry you are in, there are ways to solicit ideas from your stakeholders and strengthen your brand through collaboration with your customers.


This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at:

It’s Time for the New York Tech Community to Brand Itself

October 2, 2009

This week I attended my first Clickable Interesting Cafe event with Fred Wilson, a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures, providing the talk. What stood for me was how much Fred’s discussion about the growth potential of the New York tech community was about branding, and yet he never couched it in those terms.

Fred spoke of the issue as a matter of perception: the more established web industry players still don’t see New York as one of “the” places to build an influential start-up company. Changing these perceptions will be about building a strong brand for this community.

He had no specific plan about what to do to show off this potential, but he’s sure that “we need to get the word out.”

Well, you may not have tackled the how, Fred, but you laid out some clear brand attributes of the New York web industry.

My favorite of the “factors” he discussed were:

  • New York can excel in building web applications
  • New York is a media obsessed city
  • International trade and business thrives in New York
  • New York is the world’s biggest stage, and
  • (my absolute favorite) New York will call you on your bullshit

The event also reflects the broad way in which our center thinks about brands–they are not just products, services, or companies. To drive even greater successes for the New York tech community, a brand will need to be built that combines both community and place.

Chris Dixon, founder of Hunch, provided some counterpoint to Fred’s talk, but also sees the potential for a boom in the New York web world (as he noted in his blog this summer). He described the need to “build a firewall” so that the great ideas and minds that form on the East don’t get pulled away to grow in the West.

In the end, I think that innovative tactics to “get the word out” will eventually come, in part, from the new web communications tools that are being built by this very community.

But I also think that a good old fashioned idea and tactic is in order here: the formation of a “New York Tech Industry Association.” The networking is already there (in places like NY Tech Meetup), and leading players like Fred and Chris are in place, maybe it’s time to bring all of this together within a more organized structure.

(For more of Fred’s “factors” you can watch his presentation from the Web 2.0 Expo).

[Photo by Benjamin Ellis (Flickr)]


This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at:

9/9/99 Ten Years Later

September 9, 2009

9/9/99 was the date of the experiential kick-off event for the Center on Global Brand Leadership ( that I have been directing at Columbia Business School ever since.   We have done many events and conferences, bringing together academics and practitioners. We have created communities, see  And we are part of a network with similar centers in Munich, Barcelona, Seoul, Singapore and Shanghai, all united by the same objective: to research and understand brands.

Looking back over the last ten years …

much has changed, and much has remained the same.  Brand strategy is still a major focus in organizations.  Back then, experience was a radical idea; now it is mainstream. In 1999, nobody was concerned about internal branding; now it is a hot topic.

I wonder what’s in for the next ten years. Will value branding become a trend, or is it just the recession? Will branding become more and more entertaining, or will there be a backlash to such fake marketing? Will global brands still flourish, or will “local” be the “next global”?

GOMOT (“Gagging On My Own Tackiness”).


This post originally posted by Schmitt on the MeetSCHMITT blog at:

Brands Both Big and Small Can Inspire Their Community

August 19, 2009

I want to highlight a good article posted last week by one our BRITE ‘09 attendees, Abby Strunk, the Director of Marketing and Communications for BBYO, Inc., a non-profit Jewish youth organization. (We are glad you found value in the conference, Abby).

In describing her marketing efforts at BBYO, Abby writes about the trends she heard this year while attending BRITE ’09 and other business and marketing conferences. A common message formed around the idea that a brand’s success will rely, more and more, on inspiring its audience to become “evangelists” for the brand.

What is striking is the realization she came to from listening to various marketing gurus and the efforts of major brands (with their major marketing budgets).

Participating in the conferences referenced earlier is an interesting experience. I have the thrill of Interacting with experts like marketing powerhouses Seth Godin (author of The Purple Cow and Tribes) and Jeff Jarvis (author of What Would Google Do?) and big brands like McDonald’s and American Express with multi-million dollar advertising budgets. While intimidating, I couldn’t help but to feel that we were the lucky ones. We – a Jewish non-profit – had something that some of the world’s best known brands were desperately trying to obtain. We actually have a community of people who have a deep passion and affinity for our “product” – an audience that is willing to take decisive action on behalf of the brand because they want to. The evangelism is authentic.

Stories and case studies from big brands tend to dominate the media, so it is refreshing to see Abby remind us that organizations and brands of all sizes need to adapt to the changes being created by our digital culture. And that, in fact, these changes can be encouraging to smaller players since the closer connections they and their stakeholders have with each other may bring them proportionally greater benefits.

Be brave enough to relinquish control of your brand. Put control in the hands of your community. They will reward you by moving your mission forward.

Right on, Abby!


This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at:

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