Marketing Maestros

Fidelity and The Green Line Campaign: Staying the Course with One of America's Largest Financial Services Companies

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Courtney Kelso, American Express

As marketers over the past 3 years of the global recession, we've all probably wished for "guidance through the storm", and as brand advertisers, wouldn't it have been nice to have had a friendly green path to help us navigate these uncertain times?  Well, today, Jim Speros (CMO of Fidelity Investments) proposed a sort of "green path" for marketers enduring this daunting economic environment. His main message: Develop one core idea and strategy and consistently integrate it through 360 degrees of communication (it also helps to have a simple, strong visual).  He reminds us that this requires a fair amount of centralized control over the brand and communications.  If the Geico presentation earlier this morning provided permission to integrate across a variety of key themes, Speros' message for a financial brand in the face of a broad financial meltdown was the opposite:  One Big Idea and Stay the Course!

Leveraging learning from Fidelity's current "Green Line" campaign, Speros provided great insight into the key elements of a successful campaign (big idea, focus, consistency, engagement, sufficiency of spend, and continuity) while fighting the cluttered landscape by introducing some pretty innovative communications vehicles (can you say "cartoon-vertorial?" Ever hear of "Station Domination?" what about a digital "Knock Down" unit?) Fidelity also innovated their ideation process by involving their media partners as sounding boards before the release of the campaign, and launching first with their 37,000 employees.

Speros provided key takeaways from his experience launching this successful initiative:

  1. Advertising during a downturn pays off
  2. Powerful, relevant ideas matter more than ever before
  3. Engage your employees and treat them as an extension of your camp
  4. Involve your media partners in the ideation process
  5. Leverage all channels of communication and integrate around them
  6. Embrace innovation and take risks (which he likened to "jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down")
  7. Consumer insights and measurement are critical
  8. Treat agency as a partner not a vendor, and drive collaboration
  9. Stay the Course! (a brand will grow tired of their campaign much sooner than consumers will)
  10. Marketing is only part of a larger supply chain that extends to consumers

There is surely something to Speros' advice as the campaign has proven quite successful for Fidelity, and has helped drive large lifts in key brand metrics (like preference, trust and confidence) and significant impact to Net Promoter Score (lifts of 46 points among high value customers).

Speros closed the session by encouraging all of us when thinking through our communications strategies to ask ourselves if we really have a big idea or are we just promoting low level features and benefits. All in all, a great session, and a reminder that a commitment to simplicity, consistency, and one big idea can help marketers navigate tough and uncertain times.

Becoming a Culturally Infused Mass Brand: The Future for Samsung

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Courtney Kelso, American Express

How will the world's largest consumer electronics company, a 40 year old Korean giant known primarily for its engineering prowess, achieve its goal to more than triple its current $120B sales to $400B by 2020? It's already #1 in mobile, #1 in LED TVs, #1 in 3D TVs, #1 in French door refrigerators. How will a company, known primarily for quality products, superior design sensibility, and smart business leaders, meet this challenge? It will spend the rest of this decade focusing on unleashing the full potential of the brand, according to newly appointed CMO Ralph Santana. To meet this herculean task, Samsung won't focus on conventional branding wisdom, but rather it plans to employ cultural branding by 1) infusing cultural meaning into the brand, and 2) reaching the masses with that brand context.  Santana points out people all over the world know what the Samsung brand is, but don't know what it stands for. Samsung is a company where its employees take great pride in creating delight.  But how does this become a brand idea?

Santana spent much of this (surprisingly well attended) session early on Saturday morning discussing Samsung's newest imperative. He explains that for Samsung to be successful in this venture, people must want to buy its product not just because of its technological quality, but because they want to be a part of what the Samsung brand stands for. He brings his expertise from Pepsi, where he points out that that brand is exactly what Samsung will try to become-a mass brand that is culturally relevant to millions all over the world.

A Culturally Meaningful Brand

Santana posits that there are several different types of brands that are culturally relevant, but they don't all serve the same purpose. Observer brands reflect and chase what's happening; they pursue a fast and easy way to be relevant (Go Daddy and Walgreen's he believes are examples of observer brands). A sponsor brand does a deeper job by providing enriching experiences, they enable cultural experiences. Santana points out that brands in this category don't have to be endemic to be relevant, and he points to Adidas, GM, and Mountain Dew as key examples of great sponsor brands. In contrast to the above 2 categories, however, Santana clearly views the curator brand as the aspiration category for Samsung.  A curator brand curates culture; they redefine the experience for consumers.  He points to ESPN, Red Bull, Under Armour and NBC as examples.  

Reaching the Masses with Brand Context

Santana  can speak with some experience about curator brands, and points to his last project at Pepsi and the Pepsi Refresh project as an example of a culturally relevant, mass brand igniting a conversation about giving back. The Pepsi Refresh Project's main communications strategy was to ignite a conversation in the digital and social space. By employing only social media and what Santana calls "narrowcasting"-Santana feels that they weren't able to breakthrough as significantly as they would have liked. His key learning was that they needed to make sure the idea was getting enough exposure; they weren't able to reach the tipping point. Santana points out that mass brands are having tougher and tougher times. There has been a striking increase in distrust, consumers have siphoned off into micro communities, and often display an ADD-like mentality.  Back in the broadcast heydays, the masses were more easily reached because of the relatively narrow set of options consumers had to watch-brands could "buy their way into bigness." Today, the broadcast medium can still be effective, but it's a blunt instrument. Marketers have almost overcorrected by using "narrowcasting" to find and reach these micro-targets, but he reminds us there is a hidden cost to narrowcasting-the more you segment, the more costly the effort, making it "hard to buy the love you need."


Given all of these new realities in today's media landscape, Santana recommends what he calls "culture-casting"- unleashing the power brand in a brave new media world. Culture-casting helps to infuse cultural meaning and reaches the masses. To do this, a brand must:

I, for one, will be watching Samsung closely over the next several years to see if this brand focus will help it to deliver its aggressive growth goals. I will also be eagerly checking out the new Samsung Galaxy Tablet which Santana deftly held just out of our reach, as it appears to be a nice pocket sized tablet computer powered by Samsung engineering.


Amway: Building Business the American Way

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Over the last couple of days of the 2010 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, I have noticed a distinctive pattern: great companies drive results, revenue and consumer engagement by staying true to two things: purpose and holistic "brand-driven" marketing.  Before this morning's session on "Building Business the American Way", presented by Candace Matthews, I was slightly tempted to begin playing the "yeah-but" game around this topic:

Well, after Ms. Matthew's presentation this morning, I've decided that the pattern of driving growth, revenue and consumer engagement through purpose and commitment to authentically connecting to the consumers you serve best is a universal business truth that marketing must take a leadership role in helping companies exploit. 

To "keep it real", as #ANAmarketers power-tweeter, Hilliary_Ashton, posted during the presentation, there are real challenges to infusing brand excellence in a large, global company like Amway, who's DNA revolves around selling the "AMerican WAY" to distributors versus brands to people. A history of being committed to this business model, almost singularly, allowed Amway to maintain reasonable growth over a long period of time.  Ms. Matthews stated that her formula for infusing marketing into a relatively strong history of success was to "pervasively interrupt the status quo." With that in mind, Ms. Matthews and her team, went about the process of being committed to marketing fundamentals, like strong positioning, clear understanding of their purpose in the lives of end-users, and a methodical plan to move their power sub-brands into the spotlight.

What I found tremendously interesting about Ms. Matthews' seemingness flawless capacity to achieve her plans in an environment where marketing never truly existed before, is her capacity to leverage even "shiny marketing things" like apps, to move the business forward in non-traditional ways. While most marketers and undoubtedly some of their CEOs craved for an Apple app in the hands of their consumers, Ms. Matthews created one for the vast distributor network that has defined Amway for so long, and moved it to #4 in the free app section within 24 hours of launch.  She went on to describe a few other examples of how Amway is straddling the fence that so many marketers are facing---building relevance with consumers/end users while helping the distribution network (whether franchisees, agents, dealers, agents understand that consistent commitment marketing is a foundation for growth. 

With marketing clearly serving as a beacon for continued growth and profits for them, Amway still "sells" the American Dream to its vast network of distributors. It is also beginning to apply their commitment to the concept of the American way by positioning how its products can help the lives of consumers.  Their process for doing this is decided different than those we've heard about this week, but it is working--a 100% awareness in China after being in the marketing for less than 20 years... seriously!  She did not reveal a sexy-social media platform or a website with exploding triple-digit traffic increases--but she did show success, results, revenue growth and an engaged distribution network.    Marketing excellence may not be sexy in every industry, but it is a path to profits and sustainable impact in peoples lives in every business. 

RIM and Starcom Turn Marketing Work Over to the Public

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Back for the last full day of sessions here at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference and this morning we have Keith Pardy, CMO of RIM and Laura Desmond, CEO the Starcom Group. Without getting into too much detail I think a number of the same concepts that have been a focus point of this week's conference have emerged.

While I think we would all agree those are qualities almost any company would do well to pursue there were a couple of other items that got my attention, particularly since I come from a highly digital background.

Geico Un-Boring Insurance with Ted Ward and John Adams

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Hannah Cho, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Day two of the ANA Masters of Marketing conference and the morning had some really great speakers, including Ted Ward, CMO and VP of Marketing at Geico with John Adams, Chairman and CEO of The Martin Agency. They presented together covering Geico's marketing history and future and it was nice to get a holistic (hahaha, everyone hates that marketing buzz word and I used it!) view of Geico's campaigns.

First of all, how cute is that Gecko!!! His name is Gary, did you know that? I found it so cool to know that Gary was born on a napkin in a bar from an idea to create a company icon that wasn't a five-letter text block. 

Okay, back to my commentary about the presentation. Geico's seven discoveries over the years are pretty straightforward, but I'll recap them for you anyway (they were delivered by both Ted and John, who heads up Geico's agency):

  1. Don't forget why you were drawn to this business in the first place.  There aren't a lot of maverick marketers in the insurance business, but Ted happens to be one of them and he has stayed true to his wild ways (must be a part of his parole officer past).
  2. Sometimes they know what I need before I do (that was Ted referring to his agency).  Enough said.
  3. The problem with a singular focus is that it's singular.  This was an interesting discovery that John shared and I'll get into this idea more below.
  4. Don't forget the other USP (unique selling proposition AND unique selling PERSONALITY). That's right, a brand should have a personality!  
  5. Lightning strikes vs. Easter Eggs.  It's about the moments of genius versus planting seeds along the journey (like Easter eggs).
  6. It's not all about ads, it's about assets. The fastest growing insurance company in the last five years does heavy brand promotions on just about everything!  Think about the last time you saw Gary the Gecko...it was probably on some sort of merchandising material.
  7. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. Based on Geico's campaigns, I would say they are having lots of fun. And based on their business results, they seem to be doing it right.

Growth by Leveraging Multicultural Insights

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Graciela Elata, Senior Vice President of Brand Solutions for Univision Communications and Howard Friedman, Kraft Foods' Vice President for Cheese and Dairy, combined to give the ANA Masters of Marketing attendees a jolting and inspiring look into the realities of 21st century marketing in the "Growth by Leveraging Multicultural Insights" presentation this afternoon. Note that I have purposely changed the title of this duo's presentation, because embracing the realities they discussed could be the catalyst that turn little known brands into scrappy up-starts and the fuel that helps historical powerhouse brands, like Kraft, maintain their dominance. 

If you don't already know these realities, ask the dynamic Ms. Elata, who, in true, "hot-blooded" latin flavor, owned the stage from the moment she stepped on it, and proceeded to rattle off fact and "gut check" statements as if she was jamming to the the Reggaeton beats of Calle 13, the ten time Latin Grammy winners. With the same power that the Latin rap sensations spit verse, she powerfully and authoritatively rolled off the following statements about the business imperative of multicultural marketing for the 21st century marketer:

Mr. Friedman then took the stage to tell how Kraft, with the help of this force of nature Ms. Elata, leveraged these questions and consumer insights to embark on a journey to authentically connect one of its great brands, Kraft Singles, to this consumer in 2009.  Authentic connections meant starting from scratch, giving up the use of short-cuts and embracing a willingness to adapt and evolve with Hispanic moms. Their efforts were deep and visceral, filled with hours of listening to consumers to develop insights versus asking generic questions about acculturation levels, demographic trends, and language preferences to "just get it done." In Mr. Friedman's words, "there are no quick hits when targeting Hispanic consumers." This commitment to excellence led to a 17% increase in volume and a three-point gain in market share. 

In the end, this presentation  was a brilliant mix of Hispanic marketing imperatives from Ms. Elata and pratical, hard work and wisdom by the Kraft Singles team who worked hard to apply these insights in their quest to recognize and leverage the unique business opportunity found in the targeting  the Hispanic consumer. In the words of Calle 13's Grammy Award winning song, "No Hay Nadie Como Tu," capturing the hearts, minds and revenue of the Hispanic consumers should not be an "accidental loss and failure" on the part of marketing.

Dell’s Erin Nelson and Karen Quintos

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Back for my second post of the day and this time we have Erin Nelson and Karen Quintos from Dell Inc. They have the unenviable task of bringing the audience back to life following lunch when their second helping of coffee hasn't quite set in yet, or at least that's how I'm feeling.

For their session the focus was on how a brand can build and nurture an identity that endures. This question necessitated itself because while Dell had experienced a great deal of growth and development over the last couple of years many inside the company believed their best days were behind them based on increased competition in the space.  Compounding this problem was that with this growth came unintended consequences like a splintered company message and lack of consistency in brand image.

The first step in addressing this problem was deciding what the company's purpose was and in order to do that they looked to their customers. The feedback here, which has been discussed in at least 3 other sessions today, was that the consumers want to know "how this helps me, the consumer" rather than "How great you, the company, are." It's this philosophy that drives the overall purpose of the company, which is to delivery technology that helps people achieve more. In doing so Dell is able to match what they're good at with what the world needs.

However, in what is a bit of a change of pace from the rest of the discussion here at the ANA conference, the focus of this campaign, at least initially, was internal employee communications and branding, rather than external advertising. By doing so, you help create some of the greatest ambassadors a brand can have, a motivated and engaged work force, which not only drives the bottom line but also helps with talent acquisition, or as Erin put it, "Marketing becomes the new HR."

Coca-Cola’s Joe Tripodi

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Joshua Kidd, Siemens Corp.

Greetings from sunny Orlando...As a part of this years ANA conference, they have asked some of the audience members to blog about the sessions to give their perspective on the speakers and topics being discussed and for my inaugural blog I got to cover Joseph Tripodi, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for the Coca-Cola Company.

Joe covered a number of topics that are starting to become reoccurring themes this week, namely diversification of the marketing mix and the need to focus less on product attributes and more on consumer benefits. As it relates directly to the new more diversified marketing arena, social media played a large role in a number of Coca-Cola's most successful campaigns by allowing and embraces audience interaction with the brand image and storytelling efforts. Most notably were the "Wave the Flag" campaign launched around the World Cup in South Africa and the "Expedition 206" adventure currently underway.

Another one of the core concepts he stressed was something he referred to as "The genius of the and." This being the point at which seemingly unrelated or in some cases contradictory concepts cross to form truly powerful advertising opportunities. Things like business growth and environmental impact, global reach and local message, brand love and brand value and inspirational ideas and operational realities. His message being that when you can satisfy the wants and needs of a community as well as your business you give yourself the greatest chance of creating an advertising campaign that has a lasting impact.

In closing a couple of points that stood out were that while ad impressions are great and  a staple of any good campaign, brand expressions are a more powerful result of a well run advertising campaign. And last but not least remember to embrace failure as the unavoidable cost of always trying to remain innovative.

Kelloggs/Pop Tarts and Mark Baynes

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Hannah Cho, Cisco Systems, Inc.

The ANA Masters of Marketing conference has had a very full first day-lots of presenters with interesting ideas and stories. Mark Baynes from Kelloggs was the third speaker of the day and I have the pleasure of writing about his presentation.

First, my observations about Mark (yes, we are on a first name basis - he just doesn't know it yet):

  1. He wore a lovely suit and lively tie that matched the ANA color scheme!
  2. He has a really casual presentation manner that made him a personable and compelling speaker-and a cool accent.
  3. He has a passion for Pop Tarts that made what could have been a not-so-interesting presentation pretty interesting and definitely fun.

Now, about his presentation. It was full of interesting tidbits about America's favorite toaster pastry-no longer reserved for just "Milton the Toaster" anymore (apparently they are really good when refrigerated too-who knew).

Did you know that Pop Tarts have been around since 1964? That the name is from the Warhol "pop art" era? That Pop Tarts had 20 years of consecutive growth in their first 20 years? That their target audience for marketing pre-2004 was 10-14 year olds? And most importantly, that there is a POP TARTS WORLD STORE in Times Square?

Mark covered a lot of ground in a short time with a history of the Pop Tart brand building and preference building efforts and how today, with a delicately balanced mix of paid, owned and earned media, Pop Tart continues to appeal to a teen audience. Pop Tart engages them through programs like the "Flavor Tournament" that coincides with NCAA March Madness - "Or is it the other way around...?" asks Mark. And the "Taste of Music" campaign spawned incredible results on Facebook and You Tube for Kelloggs and made mini-celebrities out of young people who sang about Pop Tarts, one of the most memorable songs including the line, "Pop Tarts will never break your heart." In 16 months, Pop Tarts gained 2.4 million fans on Facebook. That's pretty cool. 

From a business perspective, the fact that paid, owned and earned media is over indexing against internal ROI benchmarks is pretty impressive. Pop Tarts seem to have managed to find the appropriate way for teens to want to engage with, tell their friends about and BUY Pop Tarts! Ultimately, that's what it comes down to, right?  Getting your audience to buy your stuff? And Kelloggs does it well with Pop Tarts. I mean, even in the user generated music videos, these kids (and they are all teens) have outfitted themselves in Pop Tarts merchandise and staged backgrounds to include the product packaging and product itself! 

Ok, so if you're looking for the value of the presentation and what the ultimate takeaway is, there are few things that stuck with me:

  1. Just because you can build a brand page, doesn't mean you should.  Let's not get into the mistakes of the dot-com era when everything and everybody had to have a webpage.  Social media takes a passion that exists and amplifies that passion with a community - know how and when to use social media to meet your goals and complement your paid and owned media strategies.
  2. Three key learnings for stronger engagement and deeper relationships between your brand and the customer that are pretty common sense:  a) Clarity of purpose; b) Ideas, ideas, ideas (around points of engagement, connective tissue across all media and upping your product's social currency); c) Experience planning (know what media to use and what purpose it serves, creative linkage across media and points to deepen longer term engagement options).
  3. I've been missing out on the world of Pop Tarts (never had them before). 

So, get on Facebook and become a fan—I did!


Cisco “Flips” in the Midst of Recession

Posted: Oct 15, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger, Karen Hornberger, Allstate Insurance Company

This morning Marilyn Mersereau, Senior VP, Corporate Marketing, Cisco Systems, Inc. showed us a "live" demo of remote conferencing technology "TelePresence." Brendan Shanahan joined us remotely and it felt like he was in the room! Brendan shared plans to put the technology into every NHL hockey rink to allow fans real time interviews with players-pretty cool. Of course, there are lots of everyday business implications too, like saving on travel costs by meeting remotely vs. in person. This is one example of the Cisco brand purpose that Marilyn shared: "changing the way we live, work, play and learn."

Marilyn showed samples of how Cisco has stretched a limited budget to get the most "bang for the buck." She showed examples of branded entertainment in TV shows like 24 and NCIS. The product placement was seamless and at our table, we made a game out of trying to "find" the advertising. As Marilyn explained, and we all agreed, these types of executions have to be a good fit so that it doesn't feel "weird." In what we saw, it wasn't weird at all, but the opposite, it felt like a natural fit in the shows.

The other product demo was the Cisco umi (pronounced "you me"), which is an affordable "at home" conference technology and allows families to be together when they aren't in the same place or for colleagues to connect to collaborate remotely. As a mom of a 2-year-old on a 3 day business trip, I can relate to how nice it would be to say "goodnight" on a video feed vs. a cell phone tonight!  Marilyn encouraged us to purchase umi "only if you love your mother."

The presentation revealed the emotional and human connection that can be made with the use of video. I plan to take Marilyn's advice for what to do first thing on Monday back at the office which is to think of an emotional connection for my brand with my customer.  And then to create a plan to make that connection. 


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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.