A 'Build It, They'll Come' Theme At ANA 'Masters'
The second full day of proceedings at the Association of National Advertisers' yearly meeting in Orlando, Fla. began with President/ CEO Bob Liodice running down the list of "Rising Marketing Stars": Hannah Cho, brand communications manager for Cisco Systems; Karen Hornberger, marketing manager, Allstate; Courtney Kelso, VP, sports and entertainment access, American Express; and Josh Kidd, manager, online marketing, Siemens Corporation.
Also, Gary Elliott of HP was tapped to be chair of the ANA marketers' board, Stephen Quinn of Walmart will be vice chair, and Kellogg's Mark Baynes is to be treasurer.
If there was a unifying theme, it was a kind of "build it and they will come" motif, with marketers and others who spoke saying that one can't expect to get far now with dollars and upfront buys alone. Reach and consideration must be earned through cultivating communities or owning media.
Ted Ward, VP of marketing at GEICO, had some pithy things to say about marketing and insurance: "If you're not having fun you're not doing it right," was one. "The problem with a singular focus is, it's not singular." And like Coke CMO Joe Tripodi, he says conversations are more important than impressions. Ward, who notes that auto insurance is the third-largest expense in the U.S. household, said marketing can have magic, but not without discipline.
Keith Pardy -- CMO of Research in Motion, which makes BlackBerry -- had good news about the brand. He said the BlackBerry made it to the list of top five phones globally for the first time in the first quarter this year. He called it the leading smartphone in North America and Latin America and the third-fastest-growing brand.
Pardy, who said the key is in finding a central truth inside one's company and then expressing it outside, chatted with Starcom/ Mediavest CEO Laura Desmond. Desmond, who said that human relationships are now -- for all practical purposes -- digitized, also said that advertising primes the pump. But because of the power of social media, it is no longer the end game. "Paid media gets the party started," she said, "Owned and earned keeps it going all night."
For his part, Pardy said the more people in one's community, the more valuable it is. He said BlackBerry has 5.5 million fans, more than any other mobile phone maker. He also said the company has $100 million worth of earned and owned media.
Fidelity's EVP and CMO, Jim Speros, intoned the marketers' version of "location, location, location": What you say, where you say it and how is key to building a brand in a down economy. "The delivery channel itself could enhance the message if you do it correctly." For example, the company ran cartoons in The New Yorker and bought ads on golf cart GPS units. He said the company uses social media as a way to carry on high-level discussions -- thought leadership -- and thereby engage people who are already talking about finance.
Target's CMO and EVP, Michael Francis, talked about how his company balances emphasizing superior merchandise, and a pleasant shopping experience and customer awareness. "'Expect more. Pay less' isn't just a tagline; it's an emotional connection with our customers," he said, adding that company research showed customers are looking for a "trusting friend." Thus, he said, an effective way to communicate is having the "customers' reality" in advertising.
Some of the most interesting --and perhaps incendiary -- comments came from Cindy Gallop. She is the former head of BBH's New York office who now lives in an all-black apartment that used to be the men's locker room at the YMCA in New York's Chelsea district, and she owns IfWeRanTheWorld.com.
Gallop said the whole idea of doing good is inherently boring, which is why businesses struggle to take action and that the future of advertising is not about the big idea, but production. Sounding an awful lot like a character from an Ayn Rand book, she added: "The future belongs to the people who make stuff."