IABC Morning Managers Meeting


Seattle IABCI found myself staring at the Cafe Ladro, the coffee bar at the bottom of the Bellevue Expedia building at 7:00am this past Tuesday morning and asking myself a number of questions. I asked, “Why did I leave my warm bed at 6:00am to come listen to someone speak about corporate identity?  Do I really care about corporate identity as a small business?” And most importantly, “Why would I bother to read the menu, when I know the answer this early is ALWAYS a 2 shot espresso!” The answer to all of these questions was that I had been invited to attend an IABC Morning Managers Meeting on Company Culture: How to define it, defend it and liberate it. I was excited, I had the chance to listen to Kristin Graham, vice president of engagement and communications at Expedia Inc.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to listen to Kristin Graham speak then I strongly suggest that you find her at the next KOL panel and take a seat. She is dynamic and excited about corporate culture, which is more than most professionals can say. She is also a natural public speaker who is very intelligent and sometimes gets a little over-excited: she may curse in the middle of a presentation. The latter is my personal favorite. But all of this is a reflection of how passionate she is about her work.

During her presentation she made two points that stood out to me. The first was that “the culture of an organization is embodied by the people working there.” When you are looking for a way to define the culture, you need only to look to your colleagues. This a point that many of us boutique agencies fail to grasp, and why so many of the creative agencies tend to go under or completely change after the founding partners retire or quit.   A statistic states that almost “90% (of businesses) are out of business at the end of five years.”  While this statistic applies to all business in general, it isn’t hard to imagine this happening for much the same reason across many industries- no one has defined the businesses culture. It is safe to say that any boutique agency that is interested in outliving  the senior management needs to be memorable to clients as an agency that has more than just the best people. It needs to develop a corporate identity that will not only interest future clients, but also entice and inspire new employees.

The second thing that Kristin discussed in her presentation that made me sit up and take notice was that culture is the set of behavioral patterns that is encouraged or accepted by leadership. In essence, it is what a company will hire or fire over, which means when you are defining what your corporate culture is, do not misrepresent yourself or your company.  When you begin to develop and define your company’s culture, start by asking yourself that key question.  And realize that corporate culture is something that evolves with time and it isn’t something that you always find on a poster.

In our next post we will provide some simple definitions about what corporate culture is and provide some examples of well-known cultures.

Because even we don’t know everything


Sometimes even creative professionals need a little more education.

We were sitting around yesterday discussing different ways to increase the long-term value for our clients brands. And during the meeting someone said, “so the question is: are there other ways, in addition to what we are doing, to measure brand equity?” To which one of team said, “Brand equity, is that like home equity?” Brand Equity Basics – it sounded like a great blog topic to me, at the time.

What is Brand Equity?

In a nut shell it is the difference between of benefits between having a brand name as opposed to not having one. When your brand is well-known enough then you can charge people more money, or premium prices, for your product. A few examples of brands that are able to sell at premium prices include; Nike, Adidas, Apple, Chiquita bananas, VW and TOMS. And a couple of non-name brands include companies like; Jewel Companies Generic Cola and Kroger’sNaturally Preferred. But even house brands are beginning to gain brand equity, like Boots skin care products being sold at Target in the US. However, in the ever-changing world of marketing even generic brands such as No Name Brand is growing brand equity and using it to increase prices for products.

What isn’t a Brand?

Because everyone seems to believe that they understand what a brand is – I thought it might be a good moment to write about what a brand isn’t. A brand isn’t a logo – according to Marty Neumeier – and that is a key thing to remember. That means that things like the Nike Swoosh, the 3-strips from Adidas, the golden arches of McDonald’s or the white apple from Apple is not a brand, but a logo. This is a key thing to remember and not get confused about.

How we attempt to measure Brand Equity?

A brand’s equity is ultimately derived from the actions and words of consumers. As marketing professionals we are constantly testing ways to effectively measure the value of a brand for stakeholders. There are three key levels for measuring a brand are at the corporate, product and consumer level.

Corporate level – This is where a firm makes a calculation regarding how much the brand is worth as an intangible asset.

Product level – This is a measurement where one compares the price of a no-name or private label product to an “equivalent” branded product. This is very difficult when you are attempting to predict the worth and achieve FMA.

Consumer level – Attempts to map the mind of the consumer to find out what associations with the brand the consumer has. In this case high brand equity is associated with strong and favorable high levels awareness.

Related Articles

What was I talking about? Oh right, global marketing.


Newman Partnership, Limited has been hitting the lecture circuit with the new some experiences and concepts. We have been talking to CEO’s and directors of marketing all the way to new students.

Currently, we are on our way to Seattle to get away from all the work that we have been doing. But last week one of our team gave a speech, at the Capital City Club about what he has learned about global marketing, and how European marketplaces differ from US markets. Sloan Newman has worked in several areas of the marketing mix including; advertising, digital marketing, events and public relations, and he has a brain that never stops looking at marketing and how different cultures and products advertise to different audiences. He is going to share some of his thoughts and insights from his recent speech to a board of different senior marketers.

I am now on my way as a professional speaker, in all honesty, I laughed at my friends when they joined the Toast associations when we were in school. But I have been told that I have a decent voice, and I do like to engage with audiences. When I was asked to discuss what was going on in the digital market place in Europe, I thought that it would be a simple discussion about how Europe has different attitudes towards website design. However, when I walked into the designated hall I saw that my sign for my discussion said, “Global Marketing.” With four years abroad working in marketing, I am aware of different attitudes towards marketing and advertising, but I am not qualified speaker on Global Marketing. But if I have learned anything from the mentors in my life it is that if you aren’t fully aware of what is going on then you ask the audience and ask them to fill in the blanks.

In this case, I did try to reinforce some important differences that exist between England, France and Germany and how those differ between the US and each of these countries. However, I have included some of these differences below as well as the audio from the meeting. I would appreciate any insight that you guys could offer.

In the United Kingdom, the messaging is direct and is usually used with aspects of emotional appeals.  The United Kingdom is very stringent about how and what can be said in their advertising and at what times of the day certain messages can be carried on their televisions.  And with Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, they can pull and fine companies who provide improper advertising.  English humor is very specific and can easily backfire if not done properly.  As of this week it is a growing place of opportunity for agencies that specialize in product placements in television. The integration of mobile phone marketing is also much more effective than in the US.

In France, visualization is a key aspect to French marketing. Much like Japan, advertising in France is more about the visual imagery more than the messaging.  This is truly a market where sex sells.  And creativity is growing in the digital community due to large investments in infrastructure.  While France was slow to embrace the possibilities of Internet, it is now ranked 24th in the world to be ready for the Networked World (Hutchinson, Harvard).

Germany is the market place that I have found that most reflects the United States.  They are English friendly and much of the print and above the line advertising marketing techniques do follow and mirror American techniques. That means that informational selling points and rational decision-making are a common technique for marketing in Germany.

I have also included the audio from the discussion, which you can download here. speech_08_03_11

The beginning of a long travel begins with a small decision – a call to arms for Transmedia Research

The beginning of a long travel begins with a small decision – a call to arms for Transmedia Research

For the past six-months I have asked myself, ‘Is Transmedia storytelling a popular phenomenon or does it have a lasting effect for people using social media?’ We, at Newman Partnership, Ltd. realize that the best way to confirm if this true is to do some research.
One of my favorite ways to pass an already busy afternoon.

The New GenerationOur research will attempt to discover if: 1) Are people actually retelling stories that they see in new ways or expanding on previous stories – either from entertainment or popular advertising – or engaging when commercials ask you to send in your stories or ask for your insights? And 2) are these heavy and/or light users of social media. We are attempting to discover if people are becoming more involved in the transmedia process? And if light users of social media are growing in their usage of storytelling.

What is Transmedia?

“Transmedia storytelling is a technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats.” – Wikipedia Definition

Transmedia marketing is an emerging marketing technique developed to interact with audiences across multiple forms of marketing to develop brand and product awareness.

Transmedia campaigns encourage audiences to engage in the marketing process by mixing social media with classical marketing techniques.  It is a conversation between the marketing department and the target audience.  This conversation is created when the company provides opportunities for the audience to develop or recreate the original story under new narratives. And it is not simply a top-down corporate advertising or marketing campaign but a combination of top-down and grass-roots bottom-up.

Who are we looking for?

The Important InformationI am looking to interview men between 16-35 years of age. Who are using social media in some form on a bi-weekly rate.

If you are interested, or think that you have information that would be interesting to this research then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at sloan@newmanpartnership.com.

What will it cost you?

If you just drop me an email to asking to participate in this research, then I will add you to our contact book and contact you in the next few weeks about completing questionnaire online. The questionnaire will only take about 10 to 15 minutes, and your answers will prove invaluable in the future.

In the coming weeks, I will also be approaching several Transmedia agencies to see if they might be interested in becoming involved in this research. If you are an agency, then please contact me to find out more.

Where will the interviews be?

Interviews will be conducted using an online research technique, and face-to-face interviews will also be conducted when possible.

What will your time mean?

By contributing to this research you will be helping to discover and better understand how people are using the social media to influence stories and advertising. It is my hope that this initial research will help to draw enough conclusive lines to encourage a quantitative research in the future.

You should wait for the new iPad

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

While observational research should be used to help make important research observations about changes in the market it can also be used to help make informed daily decisions.

We at Newman Partnership use a lot of Apple products. We have yet to find a use for the new iPad in our daily work life, but that doesn’t mean that you haven’t found a use for it in your company. And we wanted to chance to weigh in on how this product before next month. Many people are considering buying an iPad or waiting until a new version becomes available. It is my opinion that Apple will launch a new version with possible forward facing camera within the next two months.

This is not wishful thinking but using simple observational techniques to make an informed decision.

Simply looking at the store advertising at Apple, combined with the current offers that are being emailed, one can generate a strong hypothesis about what is coming soon from Apple.

Screen image of the Nano

Image of the Nano from the Apple store in Charleston

In these images you can see how the screens in Apple’s stores show a new diagonal light reflection technique on their existing in-store marketing pieces (you can almost see it in the examples). But this reflective technique is not used on the advertising on the iPad, which would seem to be either a mistake in the marketing of Apple products or that they are awaiting releasing new marketing material until a new product was released.

Image of the iPad from the Apple store in Charleston

Newman Partnership, Ltd. isn’t trying to say that Apple’s tablet is better than other tablet products on the market, or that you shouldn’t buy an iPad if you have dire need for one. But that this is simply an example of using observational techniques in other areas of daily decision-making and how it can benefit others.

If you have other examples of observational research then I encourage you to write or post your comments here at Newman Partnership, Ltd.

Flash and HTML – Who will be using your website?


The first time that I heard of observational research I didn’t even know it.
I was 18-years-old, driving to the ocean and listening to National Public Radio. The program was discussing a biography about Milton S. Hershey, the founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company. He would spend a few weeks a year working in a shop where Hershey chocolate was being sold. He would meet and speak with people buying products. Now it could be seen that he was just enjoying meeting people, but I like to believe that he was conducting observational research. He was watching people to see and better understand their buying habits and desires for new products.

Observational research is a social study technique of direct observation by which people or societies are observed in their natural setting. The major advantage to this type of research is that if you are clever then you can gain quick and important insight into your consumers. But one main disadvantage of this type of research is that it changes from situation to situation, and it cannot be used to study cognitive or affective variables.

However, maybe we are sometimes too quick to go out and do expensive focus groups and quantitative research when we should take a second to consider doing simple observational research. Especially, when companies are selling products that are fast moving consumer goods where consumers behaviors can be observed.

During my first-year of post-graduate classes I had a brilliant professor, Dr. Niall Caldwell, who taught marketing research at London Metropolitan University. In the third week of class he gave us a problem:
You are in charge of marketing for a small classical church in Southern Scotland. You have been given the responsibility to decide where to place a gift shop/ informational. But you have no money or time to conduct traditional market research. What is the solution to keep on time and within budget?

The answer: “Look at the carpet.” That is because the carpet will show you footfall of visitors.