Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coke, Again, Shows Why It's #1

I am not a big soda drinker, however, there is no denying the place soft drinks hold in our culture.  I came across this piece this morning and wanted to share it for a few reasons. Check out Coke Targets Teens With Its First All-Digital Effort published by MediaPost. The piece goes into detail about how Coke intends to focus on teenagers in the coming years.

From my perspective, the takeaways from this piece are:

1. Coke is focusing on segments within a segment of their consumer audience. Yes, they are focusing on teens, but they are breaking down that profile even more by going after specific types of teens.

2. Most of the content Coke is using is less like traditional ad messaging and is actual non-ad content. Short videos, games, interactive activities. That being said, all of these individual pieces of content are tied together under a central theme (er, long term campaign).

3. The initiative is integrated and Coke is in it, according to this piece, for the next couple of years. It is clearly stated in this article that Coke will be measuring the effectiveness of all of the released content/activities and will be making adjustments throughout the initiative. Coke clearly gets that this is a marathon and not a sprint, hence the long term approach and the reliance on measurement for long term improvement. This is not a 6 week campaign, or even a 6 month campaign. This is an evolving campaign to span years.

4. Innovation. This is creating a platform/audience for Coke to introduce product and packaging innovations to an audience who clearly has no problem sharing things they think are cool or interesting via social channels. That is not to say the audience will love everything Coke does, they may not, however this is a a great market testing apparatus. If you want my thoughts on the critical role innovation plays in any business, feel free to read through the numerous other posts on that topic contained within this blog. 

In summary, I believe this will be a solid initiative to keep an eye on in the coming months and years. If Coke sticks to their guns on this and it shows results, you can bet other consumer brands will follow suit.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Labels Labels Everywhere

I had the opportunity to listen to a guy speak this past weekend. He was speaking on the topic of labels. He pointed out the insanity of some points found on labels he had read on various household products. Things like Draino, which had a warning on the label stating (I am paraphrasing), "Do not use this container to store consumable beverages." He also commented on the use of labels to help us make purchasing decisions - name brand versus generic, etc.

Obviously, labels serve an important purpose, some less obvious than others. A big trend in the last several years has been branding yourself. The thought was, "Like a product, you have value that you offer. Create and leverage your brand like so many successful products in the marketplace."  Another way to put it is labeling yourself. With the advent of social media and a very competitive job market, I get that basic premise, however, I believe individuals need to be very careful about how they pursue their own "labels."

There is something to be said for focus and honing in on your strengths and experiences, however, typecasting, especially within a career, can lead down a narrow and thorny path. You need to look no further  than many of the "brand yourself" gurus that have popped up via social media, seemingly in the millions, in the past several years. To exhibit my point take a few moments, look them up online, and see if they are still at the same "social agency" or the same employer 2 - 4 years later. If not, what is their new title/label? Many have changed their label to achieve employment, and many no longer wear the social title/label they once had, often breaking their own advice from just a short time ago.

Labels can provide a lot of preconceived notions. When labeling yourself, perhaps you can thoughtfully consider more than the next five months, maybe consider your label for longevity. People change. People evolve. Certainly we, as human beings, will grow, learn and evolve in a more valuable way, than say, dish soap, sneakers or floor polish. Let's treat ourselves less like commodities and more like the valuable people that we are.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cranking This Blog Back Up

Wow it has been awhile since I have consistently posted to this blog. Apologies for being absent. Spending quality time with my wife and children and starting, managing and growing a couple of businesses takes a considerable amount of time so please accept my absence as nothing more than me living a productive life.

In the coming weeks and months I believe I will be able to devote a bit more time to post more here, as I have done in the past. Moving forward the posts will be a bit more focused, shorter, but hopefully no less opinionated and with any luck, deemed valuable to those choosing to read.

Thanks and stay tuned for a new post in the next day or so.