Welcome to my latest “brand book bite” — check out the full collection of write-ups and author interviews here.
The book: Evolve: Marketing As We Know It Is Doomed — a collection of essays, articles, and other content about how marketing has changed and what to do about it
the brains: Hessie Jones, digital marketing strategist and founder of ArCompany, a social media intelligence firm; and Dan Newman, author of the book Millennial CEO and founder of the Broadsuite, a digital marketing agency
The best bits: Evolve starts with the premise “The future of marketing is riddled with new capabilities, which, in turn, creates new challenges” and dissects changes such as how direct marketing has evolved from a discrete print-based tactic to an omni-channel discipline executed across a range of media and how retail has become more personal, local, and relational.
The book is comprised of essays by contributors from the business world (including me), quotes and content from other thought-leaders, and commentary, stories, interviews, and case studies from Hessie and Dan:
“The question, then, should not be what is the ROI of social media, but rather what is the ROI of [insert activity] here in social media?…What was the ROI of shifting customer resources from a traditional call centre to Twitter last year?…Remember that you aren’t investing in channels. You are investing in campaigns, in content, in engagement, in activity.” — Olivier Blanchard
Hessie then observes, “Where the science of marketing ROI unravels is perhaps where Marketing’s greatest application of effort is needed: creating the relationship that fuels a purchase.”
“Brand stories or longer term narratives that resonate with consumers will focus on creating emotional connections based on business’ higher purpose — why they do what they do, and how that impacts their customers, employees, and society at large.” — Michael Brenner
Hessie follows this up with an inspiring vision: “I see a time when brands will begin to seek out forums, eager to get to know the very people who have a lot to say about them and their products. Forums will be baked into media plans…for the most part pure relationship building.”
“Communities have existed well before ‘online.’ So many people think social media changed the game, and it has changed the speed at which we communicate and with whom we can connect. It has not changed the core concept of what has made communities work for ages: relationships.” — Tim MacDonald
The authors expound: “By and large Apple isn’t a highly social company, so they aren’t doing it using standard methods through Facebook and Twitter etc. Apple has brought together a worldwide community by creating a feeling of belonging that its users get when they utilize their products…Their slogan ‘Think Different” defines their cult-like following because people who want to be seen as creative, broad thinkers can often be found attached to their MacBook…almost as if the presence of an Apple products defines who they are.”
The brand story: Remember Columbia House, the subscription-based direct mail “club” that would offer “13 CDs for a Penny” and hook you into receiving the “selection of the month” in perpetuity unless you canceled your subscription? Evolve provides a case study of how Columbia House used community efforts to turn around its brand.
To combat the impassioned complaints from members who used social media to air their grievances against the company, Columbia House first audited the social conversations about its brand. Then it took to the social airwaves to engage people in conversations about the changes it was making to its business and to ask them for honest opinions and questions. One marketing manager started personally troubleshooting long-standing customer complaints and addresses the problems raised in online forums. He then crowd-sourced the specs of the promotional program that the company would use to launch the new CH brand and, as soon as it the promo was posted, orders started pouring in. Eventually brand advocates also started speaking out about CH.
This story serves as proof of how targeting the right communities with transparency and value can develop sustainable customer relationships with profitable results.
The bottom line: Because Evolve is a collection of thought-pieces, it doesn’t read like a cohesive, linear text. Therefore I recommend you flip through it and when a particular headline or transition header jumps out at you, stop to read that section. And don’t be put off what seems to be an overly sensational and somewhat negative book title — the book provides a balanced analysis of what has changed, what hasn’t, and how marketers should — and can — respond.
Take a listen to my interview with Hessie and Dan to learn:
- how marketing is transitioning from a cost centre to a profitable business driver
- whether reach and frequency are still relevant metrics
- why big data is making marketing more personal
Other brand book bites:
- The Birth of a Brand by Brian Smith
- Brand Building in a Digital, Social, Mobile Age by Joel Rubinson
- The Passion Conversation by Brains On Fire
Image via flickr