• Google, Amazon and Netflix Are A New Breed Of Monopoly; Same As The Old Breed
    The year is 1927.

    You live in Chicago, where you’re about to open a small convenience store. You’ve carefully stocked the shelves, lovingly arranged the window displays, painstakingly painted your signage. You’re ready to open for business. There’s just one more thing to sort out: how to handle your garbage.

    The choice, as it happens, is simple: there is no choice. There’s only one trash company. That charges you extortionately. And takes a percentage of sales. And who will happily leave your garbage bags on the street in front of your store, or pile other people’s garbage on top of ...

  • The Brand Service Framework
    Imagine that the Internet has, as predicted for so long, finally turned the tables. Consumers are in control for real. Predation is pointless. The Clue train finally got to the station. Viewers can eliminate their scent with cookie deletion, or become invisible with ad blocking. But where's the new model? We are all pretty tired of hearing this complaint with no offered solution. So here's one, a twisted sister of the traditional brand-building framework.
  • The Day The Music Died: R.I.P., Prince
    Those of you who truly know me know I am a music fan of the nth degree. I was on a plane last week when I heard Prince had died, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in shock for a few hours, then I was sad. Then I realized the best way to memorialize a loss is to celebrate the source, and that's what I've been doing all last week.
  • In Search -- Even in Mobile -- Organic Still Matters
    I told someone recently that I feel like Rick Astley. You know, the guy that had the monster hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" in 1987 and is still trading on it almost 30 years later? My "Never Gonna Give You Up" is the Golden Triangle eye-tracking study we released in 2005. It's my one-hit wonder (to be fair to Astley, he did have a couple other hits, but you get the idea). And yes, I'm still talking about it.
  • A Word About The Importance Of Words
    It was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death this weekend. It's quite an achievement to be remembered for what you wrote over 400 years later. The British bard was obviously an enormously gifted wordsmith. I was reminded of the importance of wordsmithing as I was working with a client on process, architecture and organizational structure. We jointly creating a new approach to allocating budgets, defining target audiences and creating integrated marketing plans. But we soon realized that language stood in the way of clarity.
  • Be My Brand Bae: The Age of Chat's Implications For Advertising
    If you ever get the chance to see Erin Yogasundram present, you should. Erin is the 24-year-old CEO and founder of Shop Jeen, a "playground for Gen Z and young Millennials to explore, share, shop, experiment, interact, learn & discover," and she is rewriting the future of fashion retail. For Erin, product, sales, social marketing, customer service, branded content and customer service aren't separate things, bolted together across departments and agencies; they are one thing, organically inseparable.
  • Will The 'Open' Set-Top Box Break The TV Ad Bundle?
    The "opening" up of the television set-top is getting a lot of attention these days. The Federal Communications Commission has called for pay TV providers to "open" up TV set-top box standards so that consumers can buy devices directly from third-party manufacturers, and President Obama added his very public support last week.
  • Personalization Vs. Personal Relationships
    When you walk into a store and the store owner knows details about your life that he can use to personalize the experience, that's considered excellent customer service. It's the same in digital marketing. However, a personalized experience offline - when you become a regular at a restaurant and the staff knows you and what you like - happens over time. In digital media, we know so many things about you the first time you come into the experience, that it can come off as "creepy" to completely personalize things because we haven't built the relationship yet.
  • Crowd Wisdom -- Revisited
    Since James Surowiecki published his book "The Wisdom of Crowds," the common wisdom is that we are commonly wise. In other words, if we average the knowledge of many people, we'll be smarter than any of us would be individually. And that is true -- to an extent. But new research suggests that there are group decision dynamics at play where bigger (crowds) may not always be better.
  • Three Golden Rules To NOT Screw Up IoT And AI
    The Internet of things and artificial intelligence, or IoT and AI: two acronyms that are currently dominating everyone's newsfeed, imagination and fears. Both come with the huge promise of making everything better - better, even, than the previous promise that was digital marketing. Remember how digital marketing was going to offer the magic of right place, right time, right exact target, in the exact right mindset, with the consumer's right finger hovering over her mouse ready to click and buy, share, like and interact? And then the marketing industry got going, and we ruined it. We reach the wrong consumers ...
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