As mentioned, at BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. I now will share with you the final installment of the series…

How do brands engage consumers in ways directly relevant to the target audience?  The answer may be Shopper Marketing – more appropriately dubbed as “Omnichannel

As mentioned, at BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. Today I will share with you the second installment of this three-part series…

One of the biggest issues facing advertisers, marketers and agencies today is the concept of “Trust.”  Not “Trust” in the context that advertising lawyers

We’ve all dreamed of traveling to exotic locales, living like locals halfway around the world, or taking that long-discussed epic road trip across the good ol’ U.S.A.  When it comes down to it, travel is a luxury, and in the recent economic downturn, budget-friendly trips have been the ones most frequented.  As the economy picks up and a new generation of eager travelers matures, we’re noticing a revived investment in local business growth initiatives and tourism advertising and marketing budgets for cities across the country and around the world.

The Way I See It

  • Stateside, cities are reinvigorating their taglines, investing in digital and social media advertising as opposed to the traditional, often-cheesy commercials, and encouraging visitors to try hidden spots, embrace local traditions, and support local businesses.
  • I see states and cities trying to draw business and economic development in order to grow tourism and business travel.  Everyone wants to get in on the start-up boom, and initiatives like New York’s “We are Made in NY” campaign, which now covers the sides of buses across the city, is aiming to revive Silicon Alley and draw more startups to the city with incentives like subsidized office space and grants, and increased resources and support from the community.
  • I see states and cities around the country opting for local creativity rather than relying entirely on national agencies.  Colorado is the latest with its announced of a “Making Colorado” initiative which will bring together advertising and marketing professionals from the state and also rely heavily on an online forum for feedback from residents on new ideas.

The Way The Industry Sees It

I sat down with Edward Hogikyan, Senior Vice President, Marketing, of NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization, to discuss advertising and marketing strategies used by cities to attract tourists and boost local economies.

Let’s talk a bit about the recent revival of local business growth and tourism initiatives in cities like New York.  How has the general approach in NYC to drawing tourism changed in recent years?

New York City itself is constantly changing.  If you were here six months ago, there are now new things to see and experience, places to dine, exhibitions, shopping, or even new places to stay.  Reminding people of that is important in keeping NYC top of mind as a destination and core to our messaging.  There are also new segments to focus messaging on, such as families – they have been a priority for us.  Over 15 million families came in 2012, a nearly 3% increase over 2011.  NYC is the top U.S. destination for gay travelers and the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, combined with the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage, has afforded us a new way to message to the LGBT community.  The youth travel market continues to grow, and they are often more intrepid about exploring parts of the city that are outside the typical tourist destinations.  International markets have also been shifting dramatically.  The exponential growth in visitation from China and Brazil, for example, has resulted in a significant influx of cash into the city’s economy as both markets are comprised of serious shoppers.

Considering a city as a brand, how do cities typically measure Return on Investment (ROI) and success, especially with the tie-in to local businesses and growth?

There are several different metrics for success that we use.  One, of course, is total visitation.  In 2012, NYC reached a record 52 million visitors, up from 43.8 million in 2006 when our current organization was created.  We are also the top U.S. destination, with a 33% share of international visitation (the second highest in the country is at 11%).  Next we look at jobs and the economic impact of visitation.  In 2012, we had a record $55.3 billion in economic impact.  There are 356,000 jobs currently supported by the leisure and hospitality industry.  By 2015, we are projecting $70 billion in economic impact and 390,000 new jobs.  Other key indicators include hotel room occupancy and the Average Daily Rate paid for those rooms, and attendance at Broadway and other cultural attractions.

Continue Reading Calling All Travelers: Advertising Cities as Brands

Consumer Electronics Show. South by Southwest. Auto shows. Comic-Con. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Multiple industries rely on annual trade shows to unveil new products and interact with not just the trade, but with consumers. It’s something like a professional show-and-tell, with major brands and companies offering new product demonstrations and announcing their latest innovations that set them apart from industry competitors and attempt to attract consumers. With developments in digital, social media, and mobile, the importance of live, in-person displays and face-to-face consumer engagement has not faded for the industry and some may even argue, it’s become even more important. Brands can often rely on the hype surrounding conventions and trade shows to boost sales, brand recognition, and loyalty, and companies can also tap in to what consumers want at these shows to inform future research and development. Take Sony Computer Entertainment, for instance. A true innovator for decades and a company that bridges a variety of sectors to unveil new products, entertainment, and updated consumer favorites, Sony’s panels and booths at industry shows are often the most-anticipated and best-attended. So how important are trade shows for Sony Computer Entertainment and what can we learn from the popular tech brand’s trade show tactics?

The Way I See It

  • I see trade shows offering the industry a rare opportunity to market and advertise in a way that truly puts the features and capabilities of their products on display. Mainstream ads and commercials for products like gaming consoles are often more creative than product and feature-driven, so trade shows around the U.S. put the newest features on display.
  • I see trade shows for most industries filled with consumers who are “industry-junkies” of sorts, allowing brands and companies to get more technical and high-level in their displays and presentations.
  • I see trade shows playing an important role in building momentum, creating excitement and motivating industry players and consumers.
  • I see trade shows now reaching wider audiences, thanks to videos of product announcements and presentations being posted on YouTube and other social networks, or even live-streamed by brands. The Consumer Electronics Show in January is the most important stage for technology and entertainment, and many brands strategically connect live-presentations with social and digital media so that consumers who cannot attend in-person still feel that they’re a part of it.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Guy Longworth, Senior Vice President, PlayStation Brand Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, to discuss the gaming and tech giant’s recent memorable trade show performances and how important trade shows are to the company.

At CES in January, Sony came out hot and received a great amount of praise. Everyone was talking about Sony’s impressive booth and all of the goods on display, including the PlayStation 3 console and PlayStation Vita. How important is your physical presence at a trade show and, without giving away any secrets, how do you strategize about what to include and how to display the items?

Trade shows are an important component in our marketing mix. They provide an excellent venue for us to showcase products and to launch new initiatives. We benefit from considerable PR, which we would find it difficult to replace without the focus of a show. We spend considerable time determining clear objectives for each trade show with a focus on the future product pipeline which informs our decision making process in terms of what is included and how it is displayed.

In your opinion, is the real value of successful runs at trade shows, including E3 and CES, for building brand reputation and hype or for introducing new products to make consumers race to stores to buy? Obviously, brand reputation leads to sales in the long-run, but what’s the value, from a marketing perspective, of unveiling a product that customers won’t be able to purchase for a good amount of time?

The gaming industry is the largest segment of the entertainment industry, which thrives on “what’s next” and has a successful history of building excitement and momentum for new platforms, games, and services by announcing them early. Securing pre-orders and building purchase intention are critical elements of any marketing campaign and trade shows provide an excellent platform to launch new products.

Continue Reading Trade Shows in the Digital Age: A Discussion with Sony Computer Entertainment

Back in October, I talked here on Madison Ave Insights about the FTC’s just-released Green Guides and what they would mean for marketers moving forward. The FTC moved against unfounded and overused “environmentally friendly” and “green” claims in marketing for a range of products. The standards as established challenge the use of unqualified general environmental benefit claims and asks advertisers to scientifically prove specific green claims.

One industry with a focus on the environment that needs to adapt to both the demands of the marketplace and the restrictions of the regulators is the automotive industry. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, consumers saw the latest model introductions from the automobile industry – domestic and foreign – that presented consumers with each company’s take on the best options for price, performance, versatility, fuel economy and being green.

So what’s next for the auto industry in terms of the future – both the future of the environmental and continued explosion of digital?

The Way I See It

  • Automakers see a double edge sword – a marketing and sales benefit from better fuel economy, but at a higher cost to engineer and build vehicles that consumers will want and can afford. They are facing new regulations requiring them to increase fleet-wide average fuel use to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
  • I see the cycle of government pushing the industry and the industry reacting to the push to be a dangerous paradigm in the current political climate. I see the need for industry to move forward independent of government prodding by satisfying consumer demand with products that are innovative and revolutionary.
  • I see automakers, both current and new, pushing forward with battery-powered, electric cars and pushing the envelope with new retail standards and business strategy. I see electric cars as being a true “environmental” automobile.
  • I see the automotive industry continuing its comeback and becoming even more important as major advertisers.
  • I see the need for breathtaking creative, brilliant strategy and greater use of digital, social media and mobile.

The Way The Industry Sees It

I sat down with Joel Ewanick, President and Managing Director of Global Auto Systems. Currently Joel is involved in several projects most noteworthy is as Special Advisor to the CEO of Fisker. Until last summer, Joel was the Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of General Motors and prior to that Joel was Vice President of Marketing for Hyundai Motor America. In addition, he is best known for being the guy behind Hyundai Assurance. I asked Joel to discuss what’s next for environmental marketing and how the auto industry is evolving with the times.

Why is having an environmental strategy to the automotive sector important?  How does an automotive company present a credible environmental position?

Having an “environmental strategy” cannot be skin deep, it needs to run through the organization like blood through your veins and become a part of the company DNA. It needs to be a total commitment. If a company does not embrace an environmental position, it will be seen as a marketing gimmick – the “sexy” subject of the day, it’s pandering to the consumers. Eventually the consumer sees through it and calls it what it is, “greenwashing.” If a company genuinely cares about the environment, it should demonstrate it in products, offerings, and actions. It starts in the board room, from the top! A commitment from the companies’ executive management, if not – the accounting for such a commitment will eventually derail the programs. It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time, research, and constant development – from raw material sourcing, to manufacturing, through the sales process, ownership and full circle to the recycling of the automobile at the end of its life. It all needs to be taken into account. As in any industry, there are leaders and there are followers, those who embrace a true commitment to certain technologies no matter the time and cost because it’s the right thing to do. They will reap rewards in decades to come. Fuel Cell technology is a perfect case. Some companies are demonstrating a total commitment to the technology and are in it for the long haul; while others have started but then backed off because the return on investment may be a decade away. These companies are not dedicated or committed, they will be followers.

The auto industry has new fuel efficiency standards to meet.  Do you think this regulation will change the current “fuel economy” advertising strategies?  Will the fuel efficiency standards make the importance of fuel economy claims less powerful?

What will make the claims powerful is the cost of gasoline.  If we continue to experience significant increases in gas prices, like here in California, where gas is at $4.15 to $4.25, consumers will continue to flock to more fuel efficient brands, like Hyundai. If prices stabilize, it will still be important, but it will likely over time become another given, a commoditized feature in all automobiles, like safety.  Volvo and Mercedes Benz owned safety, but through legislation, all cars are basically safe.  It is now a given.  Eventually this could happen with MPG as new technologies emerge.  In the end consumers will look for value, and gasoline, for the foreseeable future, is part of that value equation.

Continue Reading The New Auto Industry: Friend of the Environment and Tech Star