Volvo

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Brand planners love the future. Almost as much as they love the past.  Google is introducing some type of campaign or game or something today at South By whereby it’s mashing up some old school ads form the 60s with new school media.  I’m sure it is going to be lovely and may even sell a little Coke, Alka-Seltzer and few Volvos — participating brands.  Hopefully, the effort will sell some Google thingies.

Planners — and I’m one of them — love the future.  Do things that have never been done. Build new categories. Break new use-case ground.  Design ideas that are future-proof.  Plan “beyond the dashboard” as I like to call it.

But what’s wrong with today?  Today is not sexy for most. Today is boring.  Or is it?  Retailers and those focused on retail marketing are all about today.  And they are so amped it’s scary. Zimmerman Advertising is a retail advertising specialist and they’re not too famous, but they could be.  They are all about the now and have had long-term success. Cash registers are their mana.

The past is gone.  The future never arrives (Remember being a kid in bed on Christmas Eve?  That was some existential shizz, no?)  “Now” is what’s up.  Sell more now.  Today.  Plan for today. Peace!

 

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Ideas are hard to trust. Tangible things like design, ads, copy, promotion, and user experience are easier to trust.  You can see them, ask your friends about them, test them.  “I love that logo. That ad brought in 100 new customers.  My email campaign had a 1.25% click through rate.”

But ideas? You can’t scientifically parse and evaluate an idea.  Brand strategies are ideas. Volvo makes you safer.  Coca Cola refeshes. Cottonelle is softer.  These brand strategies, like all good ones, are indelible.  I’ve written a great deal about ROS or return on strategy.  So far, ROS is just an idea.  Though one can calculate ROI ( return on investment/tactic), return on strategy is much harder to calculate.  Why? Because ROS tries to understand the value of an idea. When I sell “rebooting the phone business” to a VOIP client along with 3 organizing principles to support the claim, I’m selling an idea. This idea might be measured in year over year sales, but on paper, how it is dimensionalized and quantified is not easy. (I still have work to do.)

Because ideas are easy to understand but harder to trust, branding has lost ground in today’s marketing world.  I joke that digital has created tactics-palooza and it’s true.  The best brands are idea-driven. Tight ideas and tight supports. Ideas create new products. Ideas motivate armies. Ideas make you happy or sad.

Ideas are hard to sell but the top tier CMOs get them. And live them.  What’s your brand’s idea? Peace.

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