Opening Brand Windows

"The box is just a window into a whole other world of experience if you do it right. We want to take that stupid little box we were forced into as advertisers and blow it up and change the way we interact with the customer, and we want it to be around the experience." -Jim Farley, VP-global marketing, Ford Motor Company

What I love about Jim Farley's statement is that it precisely encapsulates the evolution of brand marketing online.

There are two trends in online marketing that are driving the notion of "brand windows." The first is the development of unlimited rich media, also referred to as "websites within a box." Brand marketers now have access to content management systems whereby they can serve unlimited amounts of video and photo content into any available window, whether it's an online ad or into a fan's wall on Facebook.

The second shift is that brand marketers are embracing the democratization of the Web and making these Web site-like experiences sharable. I'm not talking about simply posting a link to Facebook. Rather, it's about sharing the entire window and proliferating deep brand engagements where consumers spend their time.



Here's a recent real-world example. A fashion house created a sharable high-resolution catalog of its new spring clothing line. A user could flip through the entire catalog right from within the box unit.

The content was distributed in multiple ways. First, the catalogs were served into online display ads. Second, a member of their social marketing team sent emails to fashion bloggers notifying them where they could find the units if they wanted to use them for coverage. From both the ads and blog pick-ups, brand fans could then share the catalogs to their Facebook pages (a.k.a. social media).

The results were illuminating...


The implications here are important. First, paid, earned, and social media are very powerful when deployed in combination. Much as we plan and buy online media based on which placements work best, online marketers can now track and optimize their content and spend across channels.

The second implication is that brand content needs to move to the center of the marketing enterprise. Developing brand content that consumers want to engage with and share is paramount when conceiving new media campaigns. The good news is that often this content is already being generated in the form of catalogs, promos, and other marketing materials. It's just a matter of moving that content online.

With a content strategy in place, marketers can open windows to deep brand experiences where consumers want to spend their time.

2 comments about "Opening Brand Windows".
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  1. Tobias Bray from 360 Sales Focus, April 23, 2010 at 12:23 p.m.

    The underlying theme here is that marketing is thinking like a sales organization, not a promoter. If content is king, well structured and simple to understand messages without jargon drive conversions. Sounds a lot like a sales person selling to pain rather that talking about why their company/product/service is so great.

  2. Michelle Bonat from RumbaFish, April 23, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.

    Really interesting ideas here Greg. We recently asked a group of GenY'ers how they want to be engaged by brands. The comments were very enlightening. You can read them at

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