Archives for posts with tag: nike

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The hype surrounding Social Media is dying down while the new shiny object everybody talks about is Social Business.

Just google the term and you get a million different definitions, descriptions and explanations. Add a layer of technology and you create massive confusion.

This is an attempt to make it very basic for anybody to understand, without acronyms or convoluted explanations.

1. Since brands were created, there were always two conversations: internal conversations (“I”) and external conversations (“E”). The internal conversation represents any form of communication that occurs within the company and the majority of the stakeholders (suppliers, dealers, vendors, etc.). The external conversation represents any conversation between customers, prospects and people that are tangentially interested in your brand.

2. What separates the external and internal conversation used to be a massive wall (“W”). Emerging and social technologies have poked holes in this wall. Some of the corporate walls have come down almost completely, others are still sturdy, constantly in repair. The state of the wall depends on cultural, technical and organizational factors.

3. In a perfect world, you want “I” and “E” to be as much in sync as possible. Nike is an example: The employees think their brand is cool, delivers awesome products, and so do their customers.

4. When “I” and “E” are not in sync, that’s when a brand is in deep trouble. When “I” says Product A is the best thing in the world, while “E” complains about the same product, you have a problem at hand. It’s hard to sell a bad product with good advertising. The same is true when the internal conversation (traditional US airlines are a good example) is full of negativity, the advertising is filled with unicorns and the plane occupied by extremely unhappy customers.

5. How can you sync up all these conversations? That’s where Social Business comes in.

6. Social Business pokes massive holes in the wall (“W”), with the ultimate goal to eliminate the wall altogether or provide as many openings as possible. When two unsynched conversations happen at the same, they are likely to get more out of sync over time. To adjust and sync both conversations, you have to make it easy for “I” to engage with “E”, and vice versa.

7. Ultimately, Social Business is about subverting and re-aligning hierarchies. We heard so many times that the customers are in control. To have a fruitful conversation, customers and companies have to be in control. Companies want to avoid a Twitterstorm or other social/main media/PR disasters and customers want to be able to have some control over the relationship. These control mechanisms are different for every company and service model.

8. Getting started in Social Business is not about technologies or social platforms. It’s about aligning conversations to help customers to get what they want and businesses to prosper in a social ecosystem.

Was that helpful?

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One of the highlights of ad:tech Tokyo was the keynote of Clark Kokich, Chairman of Razorfish. He introduced the audience to his soon to be released book “Do or Die: A complete rethinking of how brands create and sustain customer relationships.” Interestingly, the book will be released as an iPad app, not a printed book. (The preview site is still a work in progress and not live, and the publishing date of the book wasn’t clear to me, definitely early enough to be a stocking stuffer.)

Advertising used to be about changing perception. Now it’s about changing reality.

That was one of Kokich’s most dramatic paradigm shifts the advertising industry has to deal with in the future. While Einstein might not agree with him, (He famously said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”) but I believe Kokich understood and distilled a very important insight advertisers have to deal with for a long time to come.

Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers relied on this fact to make us see things- the way they want us to see them. But wandering through life, letting others create our perceptions, can make a very unfulfilling life. The declining power of mass advertising and the increasing control of customers leads people to desire to be in charge of their own perception of reality. As marketers, changing perceptions is just not that effective anymore. You need to change reality.

Redefine the definition of a big idea

Vail Resorts Epic Mix app redefined the big idea: It was not a huge campaign, it was not some big initiative, it was an app that changed the skiing experience. It was based on the insight that skiing as a solitary experience needs to be complemented by a social experience to enjoy a fulfilling vacation you want to share with your friends. Vail Resorts stayed away from telling people how enjoyable it was to vacation at their properties. Instead, they worked hard to make the actual experience more fun.

Reverse the process: From “Channel up” to “Channel down”

Sure, the commercial is memorable but the real meat of the campaign was a grassroots campaign that allowed fans around the world to write their own future through a unique experience on NikeFootball.com and their Facebook page that gave fans the power to create personalized videos, photos and information that put them on center stage at the World Cup 2010. Fans were then able to take their customized content to build their own Facebook campaign in an attempt to get noticed and selected for “The Chance” which is an elite Nike Academy football camp.

Master the art of collaborative creativity

The “Write the future” campaign from Nike was developed through a collaboration between AKQA, Razorfish, Mindshare and Wieden & Kennedy under the leadership of Nike. None of us is as good as all of us. This can be very effective if the collaboration is organized properly.

Don’t get up in the morning and think ‘What can we we say about the brand today’. Instead, get up in the morning and do something in the spirit of the brand, based on its core beliefs.

Kokich’s closing thought.

I’m looking forward reading his book.


Yes, we all fall down. We all make mistakes. We fail, we get up, succeed, just to fail again.

  • A boxer that gets knocked down, just to get up again and continue the fight.
  • A rocket that fails, just to launch successfully later.
  • Evel Knievel, crashing with his bike, just to be helped up again.
  • Popeye, knocked out, revived by spinach.

Great commercial. Tapping into popular culture and the emotion many Americans are feeling right now after they fell down. Battered and bruised. But ready to get up and fight again.

But it’s a commercial that shouldn’t have been written for GM. It should have been made for a company that made one huge mistake and tries to move on from there. It might have worked for Nike when they were associated with sweatshops. Nike is a well-run company with an innovative spirit. Sure, they fall down. Like we all do.

GM didn’t fall down. GM’s demise was decades in the making. It was based on being not in touch with the desires and needs of people, their arrogance of not watching the competition closely and, maybe most importantly, how GM’s structure and culture related to its strategy. When I started working with Mercedes-Benz in the 90’s, their executives were already talking about the future demise of GM.

You can create beautiful commercials (as to be expected by Goodby) but if your message is at its core intellectually dishonest, you still waste your money. And create an uproar on conservative blogs and in comment sections on various Social Networks:

“This makes me SICK. I don’t owe auto workers union members a retirement, medical care, or ANYTHING else. I will NEVER-NEVER-NEVER own a GM product.”

“One major difference GM. Everyone that you showed getting back up, did so on their own.”

“It does take courage, because GM just slapped taxpayers in the face. Should thieves make commercials expressing gratitude to their victims?Most companies wouldn’t make this because the bailout resides in so many moral hazards it was inconceivable. Perhaps we’ll see more of these ads in the future now that the precedent’s been set.”

“This makes me sick to my guts. GM could never get approved for a loan from a bank, but small businesses and individuals get laughed at when they need help.”

Instead, GM should have stuck with the tone of its initial apology letter:

While we’re still the U.S. sales leader, we acknowledge we have disappointed you. At times we violated your trust by letting our quality fall below industry standards and our designs become lackluster. We have proliferated our brands and dealer network to the point where we lost adequate focus on our core U.S. market. We also biased our product mix toward pick-up trucks and SUVs. And, we made commitments to compensation plans that have proven to be unsustainable in today’s globally competitive industry. We have paid dearly for these decisions, learned from them and are working hard to correct them by restructuring our U.S. business to be viable for the long term.”

Oh, and Randle D. Raggio from HBR disagrees with me.