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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Pope, The Trump and The Shkreli

During the past few weeks, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly; a tale of three Americas with different values and virtues. Most importantly, I have seen a society with zero tolerance for deceit, greed or just plain stupidity.   The good “The Pope”.  We have Pope Francis’s visit, which is defined by a message of inclusiveness, humility and simplicity.  In his speech to Congress, the Pope urged America to embrace immigration from Latin American and all around the world. Pope Francis is making a splash in America, a splash that has been amplified with social media as people are tweeting every step of his journey.  The bad “Trump”.   We have Donald Trump who mocks and objectifies females' appearances. During the GOP presidential debate, he commented on a fellow candidate, Carli Fiorina, saying:  “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?”  His #AskTrump Hashtag backfired. Many people had seized the opportunity to post tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic questions. The ugly “Shkreli”…

Views, Lies and Videos

In the fight for attention and advertising dollars, every social platform is trying to bolster their video views. I think this is a race to the bottom. Facebook says an ad can be 100 percent viewed even in a split second. Snapchat counts a view the millisecond a pixel crosses your smartphone. Twitter is more generous, counting a view when a video is being watched for at least 3 seconds. The reality is that a view is not necessarily a view. Just because we are exposed to a video does not mean we are paying attention. Most of the video views happen in autoplay as we are scrolling the web, not by choice. Google estimates 56% of the web banner ads are never seen. I think the industry needs to shift from views to action. We should eliminate views as a digital metric. And focus strictly on what people do? Click, share, like, comments…, which is the number of people who took action. We marketers are in the business of changing behavior. The best way to change behavior is through action. Why…

Zero-Patience, Zero-Wait, Zero Ads

We have zero patience to wait for a cab. So we take Uber. We have zero patience to wait in line in Starbucks. So we order it online. We have zero patience to wait two seconds for a video to load. So we go to a different site. We have zero patience to wait two to three days for grocery delivery. So we do Amazon same-day delivery. We have zero patience for advertising blocking the video. So we block the ads. Apple announced to include ad-blocking features in its latest version of its operating systems. We can now block all ads in our iPhone. Many publishers are panicking. Adblock usage is already up 70 percent year-over-year, with over 140 million people blocking ads worldwide, including 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. I welcome the news as a consumer and a marketer. As a consumer, I have zero patience for ads taxing me when I want to watch a video or read an article. As a marketer, I don’t see myself in the business of selling ads units. I am in the behavioral change business. This…

Total Branding: All or Nothing

We live in an era of total transparency, an environment in which we are judged not by what we say but by what we do. Our thoughts and actions are publicized or shared via social networks. But sometimes, the image that social media portrays is not always the truest representation of a person, brand or corporation. For instance, most brands feel, think and act differently than their social media presence. As a result, there’s a lot of distrust for brands and confusion as to what they really stand for. In order to thrive within a culturally transparent society, we need total branding, a method that perfectly aligns feelings, thoughts, and actions. It’s all or nothing.  Most brands suffer from cognitive dissonance, which is existing in a state of inconsistent thoughts, beliefs or attitudes. This is problematic for brands since society is already skeptical of them and their motives. The numbers attest to consumer cynicism: 92% of consumers around the world trust recommendations from friends …

Learning to fail


We were taught at a young age that failure is bad. We were told to avoid failure at all cost. Follow the rules, don’t deviate from the script and successful will come. The American education system reinforces this idea and emphasizes these values in the classroom. But we live in a world where gradual change can kill you. To survive, we need to reinvent constantly ourselves. We need to learn to fail, which is hard to do when it goes against everything that we’ve been told. If we trace this back to the beginning, it’s clear that the American education system has ingrained a fear of failure in all who passed through the doors of schools. I’m not referring to the curriculum or learning critical skills such as writing, oral communication or math, this isn’t the problem. The problem is that teachers and students are penalized for taking risks. Teachers have little room for experimentation because there is a vast amount of curriculum to cover, from which they cannot deviate.…

Slow and fast marketing: Living in the fast lane

Today’s marketing strategies fall into two categories: the fast lane and the slow lane.  Fast marketing is all about harnessing the now: How a brand can be a part of customers' experiences in the moment. Slow marketing, on the other hand, focuses on redefining the brand experience, which requires a longer planning cycle. In the quest for short-term results, marketing is now living in the fast lane. Perhaps, it is time to slow down. Many marketing strategies seem to be founded on the belief that in order to get attention, brands need to be injected into every relevant conversation. This marketing phenomenon happens frequently during major events (e.g., sports games, concerts) because marketers see an opportunity: A crowd is gathered around a common interest and the conversation has already been started for them, all the brand has to do is get the crowd’s attention by hijacking a hashtag . This is not to say that this is not a useful tactic, but just because we can join these conve…