Friday, August 3, 2012

Attitude drives innovation

You might have conference rooms with the best chairs and the latest technology.

You might have an intranet that connects your workforce worldwide.

You might have 'proven' processes.

If the leaders in your organization don't value and encourage collaboration, however, your innovation efforts will struggle.

Innovation requires open minds. It requires people who are more concerned with getting it right than getting ahead. It requires a mindset that believes the experts may not have all the answers.

How do entrepreneurs find success in today's economy while some of our biggest and best known companies struggle? Simple.

They know that attitude is more important than tools.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nike still rules

This is why Nike is still the best advertiser on television.

Contrary to most what most people think, Nike is not an official Olympic Games sponsor. They don't have signage all over London. They don't have the rings splattered across their ads. Yet they have captured the spirit of the games better than any other marketer and have done the hard work of transferring that meaning to their product.

We sit on the couch watching the Olympics and see people do extraordinary things. We say "Wow, that's amazing. I could never to that."

And then Nike says this.

How can we not get off the couch and call a buddy for a long overdue game of tennis? How can we not put air in the tires of our bicycle and go for a ride? How can we not strap on our underused running shoes and hit the pavement?

Nike knows that while their advertising has been built on superstars, it's really about you. And kids like Nathan.

Give them the Gold for advertising.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Time waits for no network

The problem with ignoring reality is that it has a way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

Just ask NBC.

In order to try to garner the highest ratings and maximize ad revenue, NBC is recording, editing and packaging the premier events – Gymnastics, Swimming, Diving etc. – then showing them in prime time as if they're happening live.

Which yields classic moments like this...

Yesterday evening NBC aired a Today show promo for an exclusive interview with "gold medal winning swimmer Missy Franklin" before, if you believe their coverage, her race occured.


You can't have it both ways. Especially in today's world.

With multiple networks all showing live action throughout the day, it would be best broadcast the marquis events in real time (rather than a women's handball game between Korea and the Netherlands), then acknowledge the truth and create the best damn Olympics recap show every evening instead of acting as if the events being shown are somehow going on in the middle of the night in London.

Had they done it, they may not have suffered the embarrassment of the botched promo and hilarious twitter feed #NBCdelayed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

And another one bites the dust

This weekend, Joel Ewanick quickly and quietly resigned from GM as its global CMO.

It was an unexpected and unceremonious end for Mr. Ewanick who came in guns a-blazing just two years ago, one month after he accepted the CMO position at Nissan.

Why has he been let go? Rumors are rampant that it's tied to both the flap with Facebook and his recent multi-million dollar deals for Chevrolet with both the Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs.

While those decisions may have accelerated this action, it boils down to one thing: GM sales have been underperforming the market during his tenure.

For the first half of this year GMs sales are up just 4% while the US market is up 15% – with Ford, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Chrysler, VW and Kia all showing larger gains.

Is it all his fault?

Probably not. He walked into the GM when its brand perception was at its absolute nadir. The product roadmap he inherited was already in place – so he had little or no input on the Cruze, Volt, Verano, Malibu, Regal, ATS, etc. While all are solid products, none with perhaps the exception of the Volt and ATS, are world-beaters. And in the automotive category, nothing's more important than the product.

Still, little of the work created during his tenure has been particularly memorable. Chevy Runs Deep is a weak tagline for an iconic brand. The Cadillac ATS launch campaign doesn't do a great job of differentiating it from BMW or Audi. GM also lost the buzz coming out of the Superbowl to Chrysler (a company with fewer resources and inferior products) both years under his watch.

CMOs, like head coaches in the NFL, are hired to be fired, with the average CMO lasting just 30 months in his or her job.

Mr. Ewanick was never afraid to make bold moves – hiring Goodby without a review, dropping Facebook ads, forcing IPG and Omnicom into a joint venture, etc. Bold works when the numbers follow. But when they don't, it's like standing up in a fox hole.

You won't survive very long.