Given the ongoing upheaval in the ad world, I feel there has never been a better time to be in this advertising business. Consumers see more than 5,000 ads per day, most of which make little to no impact.

To me, there is a tremendous opportunity to shift the ad strategies of yesteryear into much more effective, thoughtful marketing.

But how are advertisers supposed to connect in such a cluttered world of product-driven messages, particularly when the average attention span for a human is now just 8 seconds?


Source: Microsoft



The Answer: Do NOT rewrite history. Tap into the stories your customers already know. Get them to remember, rather than expecting them to connect with new things.

We all have certain stories that we’ve heard over and over and still love because they are wired into our DNA. Brands can tap into these stories and customize with their own unique characters and mini plot lines. It’s a proven method that works again and again to drive brand equity, connection and, yes, even sales.

When the Think Different campaign launched in ’97, Apple aligned itself with seventeen 20th Century iconic personalities including Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Amelia Earhart and others. Each of these people represents specific archetypes that trigger a connection with our unconscious. Apple brought its tagline to life with these heroes, inspiring us all to change the world for the better (by using Apple products, of course).


To connect with customers, brands need to see the world through their eyes. They need to think, act and talk like their customers and, most importantly, do so authentically and transparently.

Brands can most easily do this in social by tapping into the archetypes of their customers. Archetypes represent a pattern of ideas and thinking that transcend time and cultures. According to Carl Jung there are 12 core archetypes. Each one represents its own basic human motivations, values and traits. Jung said Archetypes tap into our collective unconscious and control most of our decision-making. They set the foundation for how we see our place in the world and how we connect with other people and with brands.


How are smart brands using Archetypes in Social Media?

Click here for the full story on what other brands are doing to tell stories in social media and how they are tapping into archetypes to build true connections with their customers.

Every :30 second Super Bowl commercial you watch this Sunday came with a price tag of five million dollars. The same amount that GoPro will grant in cash prizes this year to its fandom of content creators in the GoPro Awards. The former represents the behemoth of traditional advertising, and the latter is arguably the future.  Super Bowl Ads tell :30 to :60 stories that make an immediate impression and the GoPro Awards start stories that last a lifetime.  One is an expense and the other is an investment.

As a marketer which one do you prefer?

Image Courtesy:

Let’s start by looking at the benefits of Super Bowl ads:

  • They reach an average of 114.4 MM people (CNN/Money Feb. 2015).
  • People actually watch them.  Imagine that!?!
  • There is a viral effect, particularly for the good ones, which are talked about for several days before and after the game.
  • Ads on the Super Bowl provide a nice ego boost to the marketing and C Level Suite executives.  Sorry, almost left this one out but it’s so true.

What are the drawbacks?

  • The ad is “one and done.” On Monday morning, the money has been spent and the ad has run. It is void of any CRM play, i.e., an email, a pixel, or a Facebook ID to keep in touch with the target audience.
  • Many of the Super Bowl viewers are not in the target market for a high percentage of the advertisers. For example, Maserati ran its first TV ad during the 2014 Super Bowl. How many people can afford a Maserati?
  • Marketers are entering the most competitive, most highly produced ad environment known to man, creating risk that ads will fall short of expectations and end up toward the bottom of the rankings.

Now let’s look at the GoProAwards. To begin with, what are they?

The GoPro Awards is a contest that embodies the very essence of GoPro’s mission, which is to empower consumers to capture and share life’s most memorable experiences. The GoPro awards serve to aggregate the world’s best User Generated GoPro Content, and will award five million dollars to the best content in multiple categories ranging from Extreme POV to Family. With the creation of these Awards, GoPro is walking the talk and investing in the people – the heroes – who buy and use their products. Go Pro has created a StoryStarting Campaign where it has developed an idea that seeds stories and places its brand in the center.


Image Courtesy: GoPro

What are the Benefits?

  • GoPro puts its customers and itself in the center of the conversation between friends, family, and people interested in similar lines of content.
  • This program creates a new community of people that can connect and discuss how they use their GoPro products.
  • The content is largely self-sustaining because it is crowdsourced and will have a tremendous level of depth and growth.
  • The site satisfies the ultimate rule for Growth Hacking by developing a marketing program that inspires and incentivizes consumers to use and promote a product in the way it was intended.
  • By developing its own destination site, GoPro now has created the beginnings of a massive CRM database of e-mails, cookies, product usage, and behavioral patterns.
  • The site is anything but one and done.  It is an ongoing, breathing marketing asset that should increase significantly in value.  Think YouTube for GoPro videos.
  • The GoPro Awards is built into GoPro’s site, allowing visitors to simply point, click, explore and, of course, buy GoPro products.

What are the drawbacks?

  • The website requires ongoing maintenance.
  • The traffic builds over time and is not all at once.
  • Five million dollars is a lot of money. The difference is that GoPro is giving the money to its customers rather than to a TV Network.

Which do I think is better?

Having worked in TV for 5 years and now in digital for 20, I have an appreciation for the value of both; however, it must be quite obvious that I prefer the story starting aspects of the GoPro Awards, and the potential it represents for the industry as a whole.

GoPro has answered the most important question in marketing today:

What type of experience can we build that inspires our customers to use our products more and become advocates for our brand?

Today’s best marketing strategies answer this question and create experiences that move their customers and drive culture.  The brand becomes an integral part of the customer’s experience as opposed to simply being the sponsor.

Spending money to lease a spot in a piece of content – radio, print or TV – will never be as powerful as being the originator of an experience that allows your customers to thrive and carry your story further.

Next Up: In my next blog learn how any brand can be a story starter.

Want more tips and tricks for how to dominate social this year with Data, Creative and Amplification? Download our 2016 Social Media Survival Guide.

Missed Part One? Read It Here

How powerful is Selfie Marketing and how do you measure it?

In today’s cluttered world of advertising, brands need to build ongoing connections with consumers where they engage in branded content.   Paid media is not as effective as it once was.

The best marketers are coming up with ideas to encourage customers to market their brand to their friends in fun and entertaining ways.    According to Nielsen, impressions are 3x the value of paid media as there are few things more valuable than referrals coming from people we know. Read more

Read Part Two Here

How Smart Marketers are Capitalizing

From Pope Francis to Darth Vader, from Obama to Kim Kardashian, everyone seems to be taking selfies. Ellen DeGeneres tallied 33 million views and 2.4 million retweets for her Oscar Selfie. Oxford Dictionaries even announced “Selfie” as the Word of Year in 2013.

Whether you like it or not, “The Selfie” is here to stay. Read more

Creative design from the South