I am pleased to announce the second edition of my book Merriam’s Guide to Naming is now available. In the half dozen years since the first edition, I’ve led over a hundred company and product naming projects for Fortune 500 multinationals, mid-size companies and start-ups. As part of this work, I’ve helped executives wrestle with questions and deal with challenges that were not adequately covered in the first edition. And, in reviewing dozens of magazine articles I’ve written and media interviews I’ve given, I realized I had a large body of new knowledge on the subject of naming. Merriam’s Guide to Naming was quite overdue for a redo. Click here to order.
It was my honor to teach social media planning for the Executive MBA program summer session at the Columbia Business School. Professor Emeritus of Business Marketing Don Sexton leads a lively class of fresh thinkers with insightful questions.
The curriculum I presented as guest lecturer provided an historical overview of social media, with a strong focus on processes and tools for social media planning–including many links to deeper insights, templates, and more. The rest of the class focused on where this fast-changing field is headed in terms of technology, user habits and expectations, and marketing tactics:
Social Media Landscape
- Evolution of Social Media from 1973 to Present
- Changing Dynamics
- Users and User Habits of Different Sites
Elements of Social Media Planning
- Goals and Objectives
- Competitive Social Media Audit
- Finding an Audience
- Choosing Channels
- Engaging Influencers
- Content Strategy
- Tactics for Engagement
- Planning Templates
- Budget and Staff
Trends: Top Directional Changes for 2017 and Beyond–With Current Real World Examples
- Social video—live, 360°, mixed reality
- Integrated and omni-channel
- Increasingly robust reporting
- Better tracking of users, including military grade social listening
- Customer relationship building
- Making the customer an insider and humanizing companies
- Customer service
- Holding companies accountable
- User-generated content
- Not social if not human?
The Executive MBA Program at the Columbia Business School is a world-class Executive MBA education that provides access to leaders across many business fields and functions; access that leads to even greater impact and success. Immersed in a dynamic business environment in one of the world’s great business cities, you’ll study with renowned professors and prominent practitioners. The core curriculum embraces both big-picture business and entrepreneurial dreams. The program is identical to our Full-Time MBA in every way but with a flexible schedule for working executives.
The winners of the Marketing Edge Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge competition for best marketing plan have been announced. Judging this competition makes me excited about the upcoming generation of marketers. Congratulations to the winners:
MARKETING EDGE ANNOUNCES 2017 COLLEGIATE ECHO WINNERS
—International Challenge Provided by Collette, an International Guided Travel Company—
NEW YORK – August 10, 2017 – Marketing EDGE, a national education nonprofit committed to shaping the marketing industry as diverse, inclusive, and highly skilled, today announced the winners of its 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge. The content of this competition for college students worldwide was provided by Collette, an international guided travel company. Altogether, six student teams – three from undergraduate programs and three from graduate programs – were honored for undertaking research to determine the likes, dislikes and desires of Baby Boomers (fall semester teams) and Generation Xers (spring semester teams). More here>>
Simplifying business is good branding. It was my honor to produce the backstage interviews for the first annual Call for Clarity Conference in New York City, hosted by Siegelvision. Siegelvision is a branding agency with a unique philosophy:
“In a world plagued by complexity, our work is governed by a passion for clarity. We organize every engagement with clarity in mind and help purpose-driven organizations to achieve clarity of identity, clarity of expression and clarity of experience. Our commitment to Clarity Above All means we deliver clear, hard-hitting solutions that inspire action and drive impact.”
The event features speakers from different industries and sparked conversations among the 200 attendees about the damage that complexity causes brands. Simplifying business enhances the customer experience and impacts the brand. By making communications, processes and policies simple, the brand is enhanced. The videos of the speakers from the fields of finance, health, communications, criminal justice, academia, design and non-profit, feature “after talk” interviews that expand on the simplicity theme.
The media buying revolution continues. The American Marketing Association’s “Brilliance in Marketing” segment on Zicam’s revolutionary approach to buying television time comes at the end of the long-standing television upfront market. This 50 year old tradition has already been assaulted by the shift of ad dollars from television to digital. Now sophisticated algorithms paired with big data are allowing brands to buy television like they buy internet. The CEO of the makers of Zicam, M’Lou Walker, told me how they have changed the way they buy advertising in a recent interview in her office.
The growth of digital spending has slowed dramatically. Deadline Hollywood quotes Standard Media Index stats: “Last year’s Q4 revealed “the first glimpse of a flattening Digital market,” with year-over-year sales up 9% vs. 35% in the same period in 2015, SMI says. That continued in Q1: Digital sales improved 6% in the first three months of 2017 as opposed to 19% in the same period in 2016.”
The new technology could help shift dollars back into television. Digital’s allure is its ability to specifically target people and provide detailed metrics. As television technology develops, those benefits are increasingly available to television advertisers. With television’s proven ability to move the needle, we may soon be looking at ad rush back into television when more companies adopt Zicam’s approach.
It is my honor to judge the 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Challenge marketing plan competition held every year by Marketing EDGE. Marketing EDGE is a national non-profit bridging the gap between academic theory and the practical knowledge and skills required in the workplace. For 50 years, this organization has been bringing together marketing professionals, corporations, academics and students to apply classroom learning to real-world marketing challenges. Undergraduate and graduate students worldwide competed in the marketing plan competition.
Marketing Plan Competition Challenge: Collette
Students developed marketing plans for Collette, a third generation, family-owned company with offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Competing teams researched and evaluated the travel needs of consumers and their expectations for travel experiences today, and for the future. Then they developed an integrated marketing plan with a $5 million budget to entice consumers to travel with Collette. Competitors were given free rein to innovate on the product and the customer experience.
Scoring the Marketing Plan Competition Entries
As a judge, I looked at a number of different criteria across the entries. 50% of the score depends on the quality and use of market research. 50% rests the resulting marketing plan. Success criteria included:
- How thorough is the market research?
- Is the marketing strategy clear and concise?
- How effectively does the marketing campaign drive leads?
- In what ways do teams expand/evolve existing product lines and/or create something new and different?
- Do the proposed product line amendments flow from the market research?
- Is the budget realistic?
- How achievable is the projected return on investment?
- How well integrated is the media plan? Does it employ media where the targeted demographic will likely be found? Does it take into consideration the way the audience plans its travel?
Clear Winners in the Marketing Challenge
Judging will be complete in a few weeks, with the undergraduate and graduate winners announced in mid-July.
Prizes in each division:
- 1st Place Gold: Team members are eligible to split a $2,000 award.
- 2nd Place Silver: Team members are eligible to split a $1,000 award.
- 3rd Place Bronze: Team members are eligible to split a $500 award.
Teams demonstrating excellence in the following individual categories are eligible for honorable mentions:
- Market Research
- Marketing Strategy
- Media Plan
- Budgeting / ROI
- Creative Strategy
- Executive Summary
- Visual Summary
The Marketing Hall of Fame is the only award which recognizes individual marketers who have made outstanding contributions to the field of marketing. American Marketing Association New York created this award, hosts the annual induction ceremony, and manages the Marketing Hall of Fame Academy. The Academy, which draws its membership from the corporate, agency, academic and research worlds, selects honorees by democratic vote.
This year, the induction ceremony was held on May 11, 2017, at the ground breaking headquarters (the world’s most connected office) of R/GA at 450 W. 33rd Street, facing the Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s west side.
The 2017 inductees were Gary Briggs, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook; Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM; Jim Stengel, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Jim Stengel Company; and Jerry Wind PhD, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School.
Democrats favored firing Comey before they were against it. Republicans scurried to avoid taking a position. The White House was leaking in torrents. Washington insiders roiled the swamp with eddies of spin. The press hyperventilated in major scandal mode. But what did regular Americans make of it all?
Not so much, it turns out. Data from military-grade social listening algorithms and analytics show that outside the media echo chamber, the Comey story subsided quickly. Opinions were generally neutral and concluded that Comey had to go.
SC2, a company with roots in the special operations community, adapts technology developed to track enemy conversations for civilian market research purposes. Pouring over 17 million global social media sites, the technology uncovers trends in interest and sentiment. Army Colonel Robert Guidry who founded SC2 after serving as a chief technology officer and a senior strategist for Special Operations said: “SC2’s mission is to get beyond the media hype and analyze what everyday citizens are saying to each other. It’s often very different from what is being reported in the media.” And regarding the firing Comey story, indeed it is.
Reactions More Moderate than News Coverage
Conversations about firing Comey spiked the morning after the story first broke. While stories in the press were largely negative, public reaction was measured. In the first hours, conversations about Comey’s ouster were 49% neutral, 30% negative, and 21% positive. By Sunday morning, 60% of conversations expressed neutral views, with a near even split between negative and positive sentiments.
The majority of Comey-centered conversations referenced another topic, such as Clinton’s email server, Congress, and calls for an independent prosecutor. Of these combined conversations, most were about Comey and Trump, followed by Comey and Clinton. In both cases, over a third of comments were negative towards Comey, suggesting people across the political spectrum hold Comey in low regard. The Russian investigation was barely a blip.
Washingtonians Are More Critical of Trump Firing Comey
Looking at the same data by media outlet, we find expressed attitudes breaking out in surprising ways. Over half of CNN and Fox viewers voiced negative thoughts of the whole Comey situation—likely for different reasons. The Washington Post’s inside the Beltway readership voiced 70 to 80% negative views regarding firing Comey. Clearly, denizens of what Trump calls “the swamp” were not happy. For New York Times readers, the statistics flip, being far more favorable to Comey hearing the words: “You’re fired.”
News coverage continued wall-to-wall for days, reporting a scandal on par with Watergate. Yet a day after the news of firing Comey broke, public conversations about it were down by a third. By the May 14 Sunday morning talk shows, interest dropped by another third. Opinions settled in the neutral zone. And there was good news for Hillary: Interest in her email servers also evaporated.
In the End, Opinion Was: Comey Deserved It
The algorithms give researchers the ability to study specific viewpoints across a spectrum of beliefs. What is interesting about the national conversation about Comey being fired is the content of the conversations. Most agreed with Trump that Comey should be fired, with Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation cited as the most discussed reason Comey had to “face the music.” The Russia election issue appeared in a small minority of the conversations.
A screenshot of raw data shows the snippets of commentary around Comey’s firing.
Despite the media fixation on Russia, cover-ups, special prosecutors, and White House ineptitude, the American public was ready to move on. Some 70% of conversations reference firing Comey as deserved and necessary, even among people who claim that Trump was wrong in doing it. All scandal aside, Americans believe Comey had it coming.
But what a difference a week makes! With new revelations, has American interest in the scandal increased? Has American opinion shifted on Comey? Do Americans now think impeachment is warranted? Time for another look into the data.
The American Marketing Association Leadership Summit in Chicago reinforced the value of this group for anyone with a career in marketing or for anyone who works with marketers. This meeting of AMA chapter leaders from across the nation and Canada was a chance to network, exchange best practices and ideas and further develop leadership skills with top marketers across specializations and industries. Chapter President Bob Kahn and I are bringing back not only best practices, but next practices to NYC.
I am pleased to announce that the American Marketing Association New York has launched its new website, www.amanewyork.org along with a new name. The new site has been the primary focus of the Communications Committee of the Board of Directors for the last several months. As chairperson of that committee, I commend the tireless work of other board members Karen McFarlane and Bianca DiSalvo, as well as staff member Molly Purcell. It was truly a group effort.
The new mobile-friendly website and name change were born out of the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) unveiling of a new brand identity that reflects the transformation of the organization and its vision for the future.
You are invited to explore the new website, www.amanewyork.org, which showcases an improved navigation and functionality throughout and allows members to access detailed information about newer or revamped member benefits such as those listed below:
- The CMO Leadership Series is a quarterly event for senior marketing executives on how to achieve success in a rapidly changing marketplace. Attendees learn how to reach consumers using a variety of marketing strategies, while leveraging their disparate platforms and customer data.
- AMA Executive Circle is the American Marketing Association’s national network of senior marketing executives. Engage, network and share with an exclusive group of accomplished marketing professionals in a collegial atmosphere that connects top talent nationwide:
- The AMA New York Mentoring Program connects junior members with more experienced member professionals for career advice, guidance and support.
- The AMA New York Volunteer Spotlight Program recognizes outstanding volunteers for the AMA New York on a quarterly and annual basis. One winner per quarter and one annual winner are recognized.
- The Marketing Hall of Fame® was established to celebrate brilliance in marketing across all fields and industries, recognizing individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the field and inspiring a new generation of marketers. Register for the May 11, 2017 Marketing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony here.
NBC News interviewed me about the trolling of the Ivanka Trump brand. Seems like “fake reviews” are joining “fake news” as a thing. The consumer is savvy enough to tell the difference.
As I told NBC, the trolling of all Trump brands is likely to continue as a dissatisfied segment of the electorate works out its issues, from marching in front of the Trump buildings here on the Upper West Side of New York to writing snarky reviews on Amazon. These people in the “bucket of disaffecteds” have few other easy avenues for venting their frustrations. Trolling is an easy way to express unhappiness without effort or risk–but also without much impact.
Trolling Ivanka Trump Brand Ineffectual
The effect of Trump trolling on the brand is negligible. People who buy the Trump brand like the Trump image or the product behind it. Trolls don’t impact that. People who despise Trump will continue to shun the Trump brand. Given the massive level of Trump publicity, consumers are already predisposed to like or dislike. They aren’t going to Amazon reviews to form those opinions. Trolling isn’t going to sway a consumer one way or the other. It has zero marketing impact. Trump brand managers can ignore the phenomenon.
For other brands subject to trolling, finding out what is driving trolls and who is doing the trolling is an important first step. Responding with a calm, measured, fact-infused way puts your side of the story out there. Consumers are savvy. They can spot fake reviews as easily as they can spot fake news. Beyond making sure the consumer has access to the facts, let the trolls troll on. They are frustrated people precisely because their trolling has little impact. Don’t feed that beast.