Brand Union CEO Toby Southgate Quits to Join McCann

Posted July 27, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:54 am

Southgate’s new role at McCann will be that of global chief growth officer who will operate across the IPG network

google analytics

Toby Southgate, who was the youngest ever CEO of WPP branding agency Brand Union, has joined McCann Worldgroup in the capacity of global chief growth officer. He quit Brand Union a couple of months back and now at McCann his area of focus will be to boost on new business efforts, and strengthen the agency’s relationships with existing clients and work on developing partnerships globally with all the agencies across McCann’s network. Southgate has replaced Alex Lubar, who was McCann’s global chief marketing officer till about the end of 2015 before moving to the agency’s London office as CEO.

Southgate, who is a native of the UK, had joined Brand Union in 2007 and worked his way up within the agency’s network. He had been the managing director in its Abu Dhabi office and headed its operations in the UK and Ireland before becoming CEO of the Americas. Thereafter he was made head of the agency’s global operations in 2015 and during this time, he handled accounts like Bank of America, HSBC, Sony and Vodafone among many other global giants. Chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup, Harris Diamond, said, “What makes Toby so effective in business development is that he relishes the complexity of brand challenges in today’s complex business environment and he knows how to harness resources to create innovative multiplatform solutions for clients.”

For his part, Southgate said, “Three things have made me hungry for this role: a magnetic culture, world-class people, and a relentless, unifying focus on doing great work for great clients. For a 100+ year-old business to sit at the cutting edge of our industry is something special. I’m excited to get to work helping clients do more with their businesses and brands.”

Filed under: Agencies

Hershey’s Adopts New Age Marketing Strategy to Launch Its Cookie Layer Crunch

Posted July 26, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:29 am

Partners Facebook to develop an innovative social creative and reach out to retailers all across the country in quick time

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Hershey’s the traditional candy maker introduced its Cookie Layer Crunch, which it projected as one of its greatest “innovations” in over sixteen years. Hershey’s says that the pre-launch test-marketing of the new candy earned it the highest ratings for any of its products till date. The brand created three different types of communication and partnered with social site, Facebook to reach consumers across the country all at once. Thereafter, it used the communication in other social posts. With the help of this quick and smart distribution strategy, Hershey’s managed to deliver Cookie Layer Crunch to retailers and stores all across the country in quick time.

Ari Ben-Canaan, senior manager of global advertising services at Hershey’s, said, “Given digital’s ability to be very quick, we decided to leverage Facebook as a platform because it’s a platform where you get that reach that you’re seeking but you can also be hyper targeted at the same time. TV production lead times are typically very long and involved whereas digital can be a little bit more agile and you don’t have to be so precious about all the editing schedules and the effects. Digital is an ephemeral environment where people are consuming content and moving on so we’re able to produce something that was really quick, high quality [and] built for an environment where we knew viewers were going to consume it and then probably go on to their social feeds.”

Hershey’s created a 20-second teaser video just a week before the launch of Cookie Layer Crunch on December 4, 2016 which also happens to be the National Cookie Day. The video showed a 3D image of Cookie Layer Crunch coming out of the screen in the manner of a tech product launch. Says Mary-Ann Somers, general manager and vice president, at Hershey’s, “We recognize eating habits are evolving and that consumers are moving away from traditional meals and into multiple snacking occasions that include various tastes and textures throughout the day.”

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Comedian Scott Aukerman Shares Some of His Ways to Success with Podcast

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:40 am

Among the attributes listed by Aukerman for a podcast to succeed are, uniqueness, reliability, regularity, celebrity and sustainability

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Scott Aukerman emerged on the podcasting scene in 2009 with his podcast, Comedy Bang! Bang! when the market was going through a boom for the first time. The podcast was centered around a lot of folks in the market who were known to him quite well. Later, it became one of the first podcasts to be taken up for a TV series on IFC. Most of the guests that Aukerman invites to his podcast even today include “eccentric and neurotic” characters who are also established comedians in their own domains and it goes without saying that this became the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the podcast.

Aukerman explains that, oftentimes a show becomes interesting when the host willingly takes a backseat and allows the guest to dominate the show for long spells. This is just one of the many ways to innovate and there’s plenty of scope for more. Does that increase reliability of the podcast in the perception of the audience? Yes, it is possible even though a podcast isn’t really embedded in the mind of the audience like a TV talk show or a radio show. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and sections of the audience are known to be great fans of many a trending podcast.

People like regularity because it allows them to set a schedule. If a podcast has been able to create a good impression on listeners’ minds not just with good content but also by coming out at the specified time, it better continue that way. For Aukerman, it’s Monday when he posts his podcast which is now part of his listeners’ routine; so they know when to download the podcast. He’ll surely lose an incremental component of his audience base if he messes with their routine at regular intervals. The other point to keep in mind is whether your theme can be sustained. Here, it is equally important to remember that the host’s credentials should not be in question. If you’ve gotten hold of the right theme, and other things like your presentation and depth of coverage are what they should be, your podcast will not just survive but also thrive.

Filed under: Digital

Using Google Analytics Gets Easier – Users Just Need to Ask the Question

Posted July 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:02 am

The new AI-powered voice-activated tool will simplify data queries making life easier for both users and analysts at Google

google analytics

Google is continuously innovating and the latest to come out of the software giant’s endless list of updates is an AI-powered voice-based navigation to understand data. The foremost benefit of this is that if a user now wants to ask Google Analytics a question about his website or app data, he’ll be able to do so directly and get the answer. Till now, users have had to navigate through Google Analytics dashboard to get the data they wanted by working around different paths in the analytics chart. Not anymore – if they now want to know the number of users that visited his site on a specific day or wants a breakdown of the traffic on that day from mobile and desktop, he just has to ask Google Analytics aloud or type the query.

Google will be rolling out this tool in a month’s time or earlier and right now it will only be available for users who can ask questions in English only. However, as with most other innovations in Google this tool will surely get smarter over time as it will figure out the kind of queries that users ask and that will lead to better experience for users. After all, Google Analytics is designed to give users a better understanding of their data by highlighting vital facts, figures and trends automatically. The difference now is that usability will get several notches easier with this voice activation tool which is basically the result of efforts by a broader initiative within Google called Analytics Intelligence.

Babak Pahlavan, senior director of measurement and analytics at Google, says, “It feels like you’re actually talking to an analyst. Imagine the possibilities. Anyone who is walking around, walking to a meeting, you should be able to ask it now. You don’t necessarily need to know the segmentation—it does all of that for you.” Google has been using natural language processing technology in Android for a while now, said Pahlavan, asserting that adding voice and natural language controls isn’t some minor upgrade. Google engineers toiled for three years to build this set of tools that will now help users of Google Analytics use the platform like a search engine. He was all praise for his team for having completed the project in barely three years.

Filed under: Digital

Zeta Global’s Adds Machine Learning Power with Boomtrain Acquisition

Posted July 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:23 am

Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence for personalized messaging

Zeta Global with boomtrain acquisition

Zeta Global, the software-as-a-service-based marketing automation cloud platform founded by David Steinberg and former Apple CEO, John Sculley, has recently acquired Boomtrain, a marketing platform that is based on machine-learning for something between $35 million and $40 million. With this acquisition Zeta is now more certain of being able to get closer to leaders in the marketing cloud market like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and IBM. At the operational level, Zeta and Boomtrain is a win-win combination. The software-as-a-service marketing on cloud of Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while the machine learning technology of Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence that helps provide personalized messaging across all digital touchpoints.

Zeta was on the lookout for a machine-learning platform that could help it enhance its own machine-learning platforms. Incidentally Zeta already has a number of patents in machine learning and the acquisition of Boomtrain, which is strong in publishing means that Zeta now has a much wider spectrum of SAS marketing automation services. In fact, Zeta will now leverage Boomtrain’s technology for personalization within ZetaHub, which now means that Zeta has one of the largest patent portfolios of machine-learning tools in the marketing technology arena.

Steinberg said, “We will merge 100 percent of its machine learning, decisioning and marketing automation in our entire marketing cloud. It’s a big deal for us technologically. We looked at this and thought: is this a buy or a build? Our existing team is amazing, but we really felt like this team brought a new vision in where the industry was going from an AI/machine learning perspective. For us, without question, this was all about time. It would have taken our team a long time to do with and we’d have to hire somebody like (Boomtrain co-founder) Chris (Monberg) anyway.” However, he also drew the line on how far he sees the blend going, especially in relation to agency services that Boomtrain offers its clients, saying, “We are not an agency. We don’t want to be in the agency business. We are a software company.”

Filed under: Digital

Facebook Now Allows brands to Create Their Own Pages without Admins

Posted July 20, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 6:34 am

Organizations can now create “official” groups and prevent unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs from intruding

facebook boost engagement

Brands and publishers can now boost engagement with niche groups on Facebook where Page administrators will now have the ability to create their own groups. The new feature in Facebook will allow brands to create their own pages without having to depend on admins to set up groups from their own personal accounts. The social site has been testing this feature in some markets for a few months even as it’s expanding globally. Social media managers who want to have more privacy and separation from work will really appreciate this new feature. Now organizations can create “official” groups and prevent unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs from intruding in.

According to Facebook product manager Linda Xiong, the update is an “external reinforcement or expansion of our mission to bring the world closer together. You can imagine having a support group for a product with a lot of technical back and forth. So, instead of having a support hotline that only is manned by the company, you can actually introduce a peer-to-peer support, or you can have another group that’s more about inspirational sharing stories that’s also relevant for people who are thinking about buying your product or services.”

Chief product officer at Facebook, Chris Cox, explained how groups for Pages are relevant for publishers as well, by giving the example of what he called “a digital version of letters to the editor, but with ongoing real-time discussions.” He spoke of a couple of staffers at the Washington Post, who started a group called ‘PostThis’ that allowed reporters to interact directly to the newspaper’s readers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already said in the past that focusing more on groups is how he intends to build a more closely organized online community. The social site has already released tools for group administrators and moderators to manage their members and also analyze engagement stats in real-time.

Filed under: Digital

Why do the vast majority Customers Look for Negative Online Reviews?

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:24 am

Research reveals that most shoppers make purchase decisions after reading negative reviews of product they want to buy

Text Rex- dinosaur

While analyzing customer experiences from two online retailers that sell cheaper products along with one retailer of high-end gifts, Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center and ecommerce solutions provider, Power Reviews, found that many times, even negative online reviews can be helpful for online retailers. It has been found that conversion rates rise by as much as 270% for retailers who display online reviews; such retailers are also able to sell more higher-priced. This isn’t the first time that negative reviews have shown such amazing outcomes for retailers. PowerReviews, in one of their earlier research exercises, found that 82% of shoppers look for negative reviews.

In fact, consumers to spend 400% more time on websites looking for and reading up negative reviews, which actually boost conversion rates by 67% according to social commerce specialist Revoo. What could be the apparent reason for this astonishing outcome? Well, it is second nature for consumers to be discernable realists and ratings like five on five stars for a product appear “too good to be true” for most customers. Such reviews don’t reveal much about the product anyway. It is the negative reviews that really review a product from different perspectives and they generally live up to what they say about a product. How else can they boost conversion by 67%?

The study by Spiegel and PowerReviews found that negative reviews increase the likelihood of readers making a purchase and products with average ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 on a scale of five are the ones that are most likely to be bought. This is far better than five on five rating because it leaves space for what is known as scope for improvement. That’s a lot more rational than the ‘5 gun salute’ because it helps keep average ratings down. Ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 also mean that the reviewer thinks the product to be optimum and not necessarily premium. Most consumers are generally happy with an optimum product that meets both their budget and expectations to a large extent.

Filed under: Digital

Brand Safety Across Platforms is Crucial for Secure and Contextual Marketing

Posted July 14, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:14 am

Johnson & Johnson has been able to optimize its utilization of scope offered by different platforms and audiences

brand safety and creativity

Marketers trying to optimize the contextual benefits of a platform realize the challenges related to viewability, brand safety and creativity in utilizing the latest formats and targeting options. Josh Palau, senior director, global partnerships, Johnson & Johnson, says, “Even the most efficient organization would have a really hard time developing one global concept and pushing it out to all the markets in a way that adheres to all the standards, best practices and nuances. To help with this one thing we’re trying to put in place is somewhat of a scorecard that can track how the creative we are developing lives up to the best practices of the platforms we are advertising on and align with our objectives.”

However brand safety is an area of prime concern for marketers especially when their ads are hijacked and abused by cyber criminals who use them in their spam videos and images that often carry malware. The question that arises is, how far are publishers willing to go in order to ensure that such abuse and misuse of brands don’t happen on their platforms? Says Palau, “What we really needed is more vigilance on the publisher’s side since they own the platform. Google was doing a good job of monitoring, but it can always get better – and, frankly, it did. When we think about this we look at: What new measures are you putting in place? What are the existing measures that are changing? Is there a scoring criteria for offensive content?”

Today, there are numerous formats available to marketers to leverage and it is really not possible to use all that consistently. Therefore, a fair amount of optimization is required to leverage the best opportunities across different platforms. Palau says, “There are just so many ways to tell a story online. The formats coming out now are a reaction to how people consume content. How do we ensure our creatives still feel energized to tell the while using new formats that publishers are finding to be successful. We are pushing everyone to think mobile-first, even if you don’t have mobile-ready creative. I think it’s about being present and useful when hitting the audience at the right time. Align content with what they want and let’s respect them by providing something that’s quick, that educates, and that fits into the platform they are on.”

Filed under: Brand Marketing

A Chat Bot With a Human Touch Beats AI Hands Down

Posted July 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:13 am

Restaurants first in New York and then in Los Angeles are rediscovering the advantages of human touch

Text Rex- dinosaur

Text Rex is a free texting recommendation service for restaurants in New York City for now. It has a dinosaur as a mascot, and has very efficient humans responding to requests from registered Text Rex users to find the perfect restaurant for their situation between 8:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. This unique chat bot was first launched in New York where it created quite a sensation. On the day it was launched, the number of people who signed up for the service was around 4,000, and today it has around 35,000 registered users just in New York City. On an average, the team handles around 500 requests every day from users planning a great dining experience.

Text Rex is the brainchild of music industry professionals, Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang, who founded an enterprise called ‘The Infatuation’ that aimed at young diners although just about anybody is free to check out what The Infatuation website offered. They launched the hashtag #EEEEEATS which has been used more than 7 million times on Instagram but despite all that they found that offering dining ideas with a human touch is more likely to help them cultivate a deeper connection with users. And that was how they came upon the idea of Text Rex.

Following the tremendous response to Text Rex from New Yorkers, Stang said, “At first we thought, ‘what have we done? But we couldn’t start something then put it back in the box. People were excited and happy they could connect with someone. It’s a bridge between automation and a human audience.” He felt, AI solutions can’t “give people value in a fun, trustworthy way.” His partner, Steinthal says, “We have an engaged audience because we’re a discovery platform. Our secret sauce is that people trust us. We put brands and restaurants on our audience’s radar.”

Filed under: Digital

VSCO – A Color Management App That Enhances Online Imagery

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:16 am

The app is the outcome of breakthrough innovation that was able to Produce a Blend of Lens Tech and Color Science for Web Use

Prizm lens technology

A new app from VSCO is making waves with the way it helps enhancement of picture and color quality of images that are uploaded on the web every day. The breakthrough innovation plays out via a new set of filters that replicate the revolutionary Prizm lens technology featured in the brand Oakley’s eyewear. How did VSCO do it? Call it fusion or call it a blend, most great things are the result of two established principles coming together to create something new and useful. Oakley engineers worked together with VSCO color scientists in developing the new technology that replicates the contrast benefits and enhanced visual clarity of Prizm for online imagery. VSCO thereafter integrated the new technology to filters, which calls it calls ‘presets.’

Along with the launch of the VSCO app, it was also decided to promote Oakley’s One Obsession #CantStop campaign aimed at motivating individuals to continually strive for the extra mile. As part of the campaign, VSCO community photographers were enlisted to share their views of #CantStop. The work included Oakley Prizm filters to represent the value of #CantStop in each individual’s life. Gene Paek, VSCO’s VP of marketing, says “We were able to match Oakley with authentic creators from the VSCO community based on the attributes they desired from a creative concept point of view, while also ensuring these creators felt empowered to capture their outdoor obsessions with our custom presets.”

Details typically missed by the naked eye are revealed by Prizm lenses that fine-tune individual wavelengths of color and optimize contrast. Based on the new technology developed by the joint efforts of Oakley and VSCO, three presets were designed by VSCO for specific environments, to represent three specific Prizm lenses – Prizm Sport, Prizm Snow and Prizm Tungsten. Each filter also has a slider that allows users to adjust color balance in the same way eyes color-adjust to Prizm lenses. “It is exciting to see our technology applied to another creative medium, allowing athletes and creators around the world to see the road, mountain and everyday life more clearly,” says Brock McCabe of Oakley.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation
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