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Saturday
Mar082014

SXSW: How Hyper-Developing Markets Are Kicking Our Ass

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

Today at SXSW, “How Hyper-Developing Markets Are Kicking Ass” celebrated the groundbreaking brand campaigns emerging from so-called developing nations—countries like Malaysia, India, and more have become home to purpose-driven campaigns that add value to the world. Mark Lenderman, founder and principal at School, explored the staggering passion that consumers are voicing in an era where empathy is now a competitive edge and advantage.

Consumers are loyal to empathetic brands. To give you an idea of just how much:

- 87% of global consumers say that the businesses they want to engage with need a social interest.
- Only 20% believe businesses have a social interest.
- 90% of consumers would boycott a brand with an anti-purpose.
- 54% of consumers do not trust brands.

So where exactly are these purpose-driven programs campaigns coming from? Countries with a high youth population. Highly empathetic countries have a high number of young people—Myanmar is number one. More specifically, youth is breading a culture of empathy and driving the rise in volunteerism. These countries have tapped into the human insight of what consumers are seeking out in a brand.

Three lessons learned:

1) Empathy leads to better advertising. Half of 2013's Cannes Lion Grand Prix winners were purpose-driven.
2) Brands must become good corporate citizens to retain consumers
3) Empathy is now a competitive edge and an advantage leading to ROI.

Written by Ron D'Amico, Associate Director, Corporate Communications, DigitasLBi

Saturday
Mar082014

SXSW: Always be Innovating - Thinking Like a Startup

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

Friday afternoon’s session at SXSW, “Always be Innovating: Thinking Like a Startup”, posed the question, “how is it that start ups can launch a new product in a matter of months, when it takes most companies just as long to make updates to their website?” In addition to not having years of entrenched bureaucracy, startups have a culture of innovation that allows them to be nimble and make decisions quickly.

Corporations do have one big advantage over the nascent startup, however, because they are more likely to have the resources to subsidize a startup program without being distracted by fundraising efforts. But it goes beyond funding. Establishing a culture of innovation is key, and it must be driven by the passion and the vision of the founder and extend to all employees. It's the founder who lays out the company’s mission and shows a motivation for creating something amazing, not simply making money. A business leader must be unshackled from their day-to-day responsibilities to foster this type of culture.

In addition, startups approach product development in a unique sequence: first they create the product, then scale it, and then finally begin to profit from it. This can be anachronistic for most organizations that have a very short window for which they need to show positive financial results.  For startups, the benchmark for success isn't always profitability—instead, it might be measured by relevant metrics such as the number of daily active users.

Finally, startups understand that timing is everything. They understand how critical it is to have a product with market fit at the right time and not miss their window. This is especially true of technology, where cycles are vicious and a new category can go from the early adopter stage to mainstream—and then evaporate completely—in just 18 months. That's something that every company, big or small, should always keep in mind.

Written by Tony Bailey, VP/Group Director, Technology Lead, DigitasLBi Chicago and San Francisco

Friday
Mar072014

OMMA @ SXSW: Vine vs. Instagram

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

Today at OMMA at SXSW, DigitasLBi’s Dave Marsey, Managing Director of the San Francisco office, moderated a panel discussion on the opportunities for brands using Vine and Instagram—and which one they preferred for various marketing campaigns. Panelists included Katrina Craigwell of GE, Mark Smith of USA TODAY, and Brad Walters of Lowes.

A common theme across all brand manager experiences was the process of helping their brands discover a new, authentic voice. Each panelist explored their various platform approaches and a few of their brand’s most shared posts.  For Katrina and GE, the focus on Instagram is first primarily a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach around some of GE’s biggest innovations, such as jet engines, health solutions, and other major productions that regular consumers are not exposed to.

With Vine GE embraced the challenge of six seconds by filming their own short science experiment—seeing what happens when you combine milk, food coloring and dish soap. The Vine was so successful that they launched the #6SecondScience fair.

Brad Walters of Lowes pointed to the brand’s focus on curating innovative usage occasions of products – rather than focusing too much on selling.  #FixInSix is a how-to Vine program by Lowes.  The brand provides the tip and then challenges the Viners to layer in the entertainment value. Marsey called it a prime example of “Marketing as a service.”

Both Katrina and Brad reported that these efforts are translating into bottom-up branding and unique opportunities for these companies.  GE now leverages the imagery created on their Instagram account in building out their new brand books.  For Lowe’s, bringing social video to scale with native advertising in pre-roll and display has proven to drive much higher response rates and performance metrics. 

While ultimately there was no true “winner” declared in terms of Vine vs. Instagram, the real takeaway is that for mediums like these that demand native creation, the process of discovering a new, authentic voice is driving a new era of brand marketing.

Written by Michael Fasciano and Landon Nyugen, Associate Directors, Social. Content, DigitasLBi

Want to hear more about microvideo? Dave Marsey will revisit the topic this Sunday in a live webcast with The Economist Group—watch it here.

Friday
Mar072014

OMMA @ SXSW: Should Brands Be Part of the Real-Time Convo?

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

This morning's OMMA session on real-time social engagement featured panelists from a variety of brands -- CapitalOne, Whole Foods, Dell and McDonald's -- and every organization takes a different approach to social responsiveness. The one fundamental principle that everyone agreed on, myself included, is that a brand should only join (or initiate) conversations on topics that the audience gives them permission to participate in. It has to make sense. Without a clear connection between topic and brand, backlash will occur—and it's a waste of your team's time and energy. 

Each brand approaches the idea of joining the conversation in real-time differently. CapitalOne and McDonald's take the stance that if they're sponsoring a sporting event, for example, they're free to join related conversations in social, even without a specific product connection. On the other hand, Whole Foods seems to focus on day-to-day interactions that are meaningful to their customers, rather than investing in a big team for a single event like the Super Bowl. They also adamantly empower their local store reps to respond via social on individual store handles/pages for a more personal touch. Dell, too, is primarily focused on creating a an employee network to empower them to use social on the brand's behalf. 

The takeaway? Everyone is on the same page. We as marketers share an undocumented agreement, encouraging brand conversations in social to maintain relevance between topic and brand. This "contract" is crucial to continuing our progress in growing successful brand-to-consumer social connections. As soon as brands begin playing in areas that they don't have permission to play in, consumers will rebel—and our progress as an industry in social will falter. I'm comforted to walk away with that unspoken consensus.

Written by Devon Herrington, Account Manager, DigitasLBi

Monday
Feb242014

New DigitasLBi Innovation Lab Brings the 'Art of Possible' to Chicago

DigitasLBi Chicago has unveiled its new Innovation Lab, part of DigitasLBi Labs, a global, tech-inspired incubator dedicated to exploring new and emerging technologies.

The Innovation Labs are physical spaces for clients and teams to test interactive experiences first-hand. Equipped with emerging technologies, the rooms facilitate rapid deployment of brand-specific prototypes that bring digital products to life.

Following on the success of the existing Innovation Labs in Boston, Costa Rica, Paris, London & New York, the newest Chicago space is a presentation platform for visitors, as well as a workroom to inspire employees with the latest digital and creative tech.

Leveraging furniture from the Whirlpool Gladiator line and equipped with wearables, 3D printing, gaming, sensors, connected home, SDKs and more, the room is an ideal environment to apply a number of different options to real world client challenges.   

"We're servicing many clients in and around the Chicago area, many of which also have an innovation program of some type.  In those cases, we aim to concentrate our thinking around emerging technology and consumer expectations with their perspective and knowledge of their business and products. What we've created is an open, collaborative workspace that's accessible to the entire agency. This lab is not a museum that's only available via guided tours. It's alive," says Tony Bailey, VP/GD, Technology Capability Lead, Chicago & San Francisco, DigitasLBi

DigitasLBi is the only digital agency in Chicago making a significant investment in the exploration of consumer technology, educating clients and partners on What’s Next – and why it matters.