Big Brand Breakthroughs: Intro

BreakthroughFor small companies, brands and agencies, nothing has leveled the playing field like digital marketing. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a little guy. And because newer companies tend to be less bogged down by painstakingly slow planning processes or layers of departmental approvals, they often possess an agility that big consumer product companies just don’t have.

Increasingly, though, mighty marketers are dispelling that flat-footed stereotype and learning how to produce viral, mobile and social initiatives with greater speed — and more effectiveness — than even they might have imagined five years ago.

“You start to see a playbook emerge,” says Matthew Egol, vice president of Booz & Co.’s consumer, media and digital practice. “Certainly, there are many marketers that still have that ‘check the box’ mentality, something I call ‘the shiny object phenomenon,’ who call and ask, ‘Should we be on Facebook?’ But more and more, they understand the question isn’t to be on Facebook or Google or to use mobile or search. They are learning that the more important question is ‘What should we be doing there?’ ”

More and more, he says, companies are learning to clarify what their strategic goals are, and then finding the digital tools and platforms that help them engage with consumers at the best points along the path to purchase. “The challenge for the CMO in larger companies is finding integration across many silos within the company, and often, across many agency relationships,” says Egol.

But it is happening, he notes, pointing out the successes companies like Procter & Gamble have had in achieving that level of digital integration. Here, a closer look at how five major brands — Audi, Buick, Mattel, Reebok and Wrigley — are finding their way.