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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Digital BRAND Divide

Today we have a new type of inequality. One that is not about the rich and poor, it is about digital and non-digital brands. This inequality is not about the 1%. It’s probably closer to 0.1%. The 0.1% brands can carry a constructive or destructive force. A force that is capable of killing brands in a heartbeat. It can also create new markets. To close this digital gap, brands need to rethink their business by putting digital at the core. There is no middle ground in this new reality.  In Chicago alone, startups are born every 48 hours. We are going through a new tech boom. This new breed tends to be smart, connected and convenient. They are the new Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, Uber... Digital brands know their users and use this information to make recommendations in the right context. For example, in March 2015, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma demonstrated technology that will allow users to pay 'selfie style' using smartphone face recognition. Unveiled in the US during Novem…

No Country for Mad Men

How much has advertising changed since the Mad Men era? A period when agencies spent months developing an advertising campaign – and drinking a lot of booze at the office – with the hope of changing a company’s future. While a lot has changed, the principles have not. We are still in the dying business of making ads rather than changing behavior. They say that if your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail. Though slowly changing, agencies are still trying to solve every problem with ads using a traditional advertising model, AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, and action). While the AIDA model has its merits, it is hard to make it work in today’s fragmented, interactive and connected environment. And here is why. First, you need to spend many months creating an advertising campaign. Most companies just don’t have the time. Then, you have to put a lot of money into media to push your message out with the hope that people will watch (awareness) and like it (interest…

Wal-Mart, the unlikely activist

Wal-Mart recently joins other business leaders to protest the “Religion Freedom Restauration Act.” A law the opens the door for discrimination on a religion bases. For many people, this move comes as a surprise. Wal-Mart is known for the poor treatment of workers and low pay scale. What is driving this change; is it good business or social responsibility? Wal-Mart is not in the business of making political statements. They are certainly not in the business of making enemies. They are in the business of selling products. Wal-Mart needs to appeal to a more diverse America. They have to recruit the best talent to stay competitive. And be inclusive with their suppliers, many of them have satellite offices in Arkansas. Furthermore, Wal-Mart needs an image shake up. While it gets good grades in price, it is failing in everything else. American population is becoming majority non-white. We just have to look at Millennials, who are America’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation eve…