Is your brand keeping up with the platform world?

By: Vivaldi

Last month, Vivaldi, the growth, innovation and brand strategy consultancy, hosted on October 4th the first “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions,” a workshop series specially organized for the Branding Special Interest Group of AMA Chicago. We focused the inaugural workshop on how to build strong brands in today’s rapidly changing world. With platforms seemingly poised to take over our business landscape, we discussed how platform thinking can benefit even incumbent brands as they evaluate their own path forward.

The workshop kicked off by defining platform thinking as the ultimate source of value creation for modern business success – where value is created not by means of optimizing production and traditional value chains but by facilitating interactions and linking data sources for greater impact.  Platform companies attract a wide range of participants, and involve them in the creation of products, services, and experiences that help solve real problems and meet real goals, and that enable the participants to collaborate and interact with each other, and thus increase the value of the products and create exponential growth.

Using Vivaldi client LEGO as a case study, we explored how the modern advantage of facilitating interactions could be adopted by other brands – and how a thoughtful approach to understanding how to create value could leverage the global infrastructure of connectivity and collaboration, shifting power instead of struggling to control it.

We had a fantastic time and participants left the workshop energized by the conversation and the new thinking that emerged. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are three questions that were asked of participants, as they identified the best platform approach for their own brand and gathered into breakout groups where the Vivaldi team helped outline key steps that brands can take to navigate today’s world of platforms.

1. What is your brand’s source of strength?

As an incumbent player, two of your key advantages in building a platform are your existing customer base and an established network of suppliers, partners and intermediaries. You can begin the business of building a platform with a selected set of existing customers, and then grow the platform from there. But in order to do so, there needs to be some basis for which existing customers would want to bet on you. And that’s where your brand comes into play. It’s important to understand your brand’s source of strength as it will influence what type of platform you can most easily and credibly build and how to communicate the value it brings to participants.

2. What enabling processes and technologies can you take advantage of?

Are you, like John Deere whose sophisticated tractors can be equipped with sensors to collect and communicate data, able to bring the IoT to each of your products in order to offer a new data infrastructure to partners? Do you, like Amazon who put its warehousing and fulfillment capabilities at the service of small businesses globally, excel at certain activities along the value chain and can you offer these to participants in exchange for gathering data about participants on the platform? Or are you, like GoPro who has become a media powerhouse, at the center of user generated content that can be shared and amplified, leading to network effects?

There are many ways to build the processes and technologies that will enable your platform, but before you plan a new digital transformation project, take a look at the initiatives already in place within your organization. You may be surprised at how forward-thinking they are when looked at in the right light.

3. What interactions can you facilitate?

The final question that we addressed in the workshop was that of knowing how to uniquely respond to the market’s needs. Using a series of probes, we explored the long list of possible stakeholders who could interact on our platforms, the goals they were pursuing, the data each of them would need to meet their goals, but also what data they had or could generate easily for others to meet their goals. This led to some insightful ideas regarding how some of the companies present could create new connections between stakeholders, play a different role than today, and create value in the process.

We wrapped up the workshop by discussing how this platform exploration could help expand a brand’s vision, shared some examples and introduced our next session. Join us in Q1 of 2018 for the second “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions.” We’re partnering with Barry Calpino, VP Innovation at ConAgra to talk about brand innovations and share some tips and tools to consider as you look ahead to 2020.

Social Media Rules! How Can Higher Ed Marketers Reach Prospective Students?

When trying to reach Generation Z or Millennials, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter are the “it” social media platforms. Print still serves a purpose — mainly driving the recipient to your digital presence – but social media is the place where engagement and conversion happens. That was the message Michael Mullarkey, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Brickfish, delivered at the Higher Ed SIG gathering that took place April 6.

The SIG meeting, which was held at Troquet North, was a discussion about how to optimize social media for colleges and universities. In keeping with our new format for these gatherings, the meeting was more of a moderated conversation as opposed to a presentation.  It was a huge success!

Brickfish, whose slogan is “Engagement is Everything,” manages the content and social media of large brands like Neiman Marcus and Hertz.  Relevant, fresh content along with a quick response to visitors’ queries is essential to the success of any enterprise. Generation Z and Millennials expect instance responses. Mullarkey believes Facebook is still important, but these cohorts spend most of their time exchanging rapid-fire communiqués with their friends on SnapChat and WhatsApp. Marketers need to become a relevant part of these exchanges.

Mullarkey also spoke about the shrinking reach of Facebook and Instagram. Once brands established their presence on these platforms, these firms monetized their sites.  You now have to boost your post to expand your reach and that requires paying for it. He offered some advice about how to get around having to pay, which includes unique, relevant content, engagement and short video.

Bottom line: For us higher education communicators, it’s new a world. We just need to fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Betsy Butterworth Dean Petrulakis

Betsy Butterworth and Dean Petrulakis

Co-Chairs, Chicago AMA Higher Education Special Interest Group

Trendsetter Alert: Keeping Up With The Latest In Wearable Tech Trends!

Unless you’ve purposefully removed yourself from Social Media or the internet over the past week then it is not secret that the Apple Watch is finally here and available for purchase. From sporty to bling you can customize this smart watch to fit your lifestyle and personality. Their is so much more to this $5 billion wearable tech industry than the Apple Watch and in this post we’ll explore them.

1) Activity Trackers Intersect with Fashion

As fitness and health and wellness continue to ingratiate fully into our daily lives brands like Nike Band, athleticFitbit and Jawbone are intersecting are with fashion. No longer just clunky bands on your wrist they are getting sleeker, smaller and more discreet. Take Tory Burch is the latest designer to launch a new bracelet to hold your Fitbit. And if you’d rather put a ring on it then look no further than the start-up Ringly launching this Spring, which is a fashion ring that notifies you when you have a text, a phone call or calendar alert.

2) Smart Watches

In addition to the Apple Watch,  Motorola, Samsung s8, Sony, Pebble, Moto 360 and LG g6 all have Smart watchesWatches currently on the market. Ranging in prices starting as low at $150 and with an average cost of $350 their is a watch to fit every budget and taste. Whether you prefer a digital interface or the traditional look of an analog watch and depending on your wireless carrier you can find a Smart Watch to suit your taste and needs.  With most offering text, phone, and calendar alerts some take it a step further and offer activity tracker capabilities as well. 2015 is definitely the year of the Smart Watch and if you’re on the market to make a purchase be sure to check out Tech Radar’s review of the best watches on the market! 

3) High Tech Pets

If you’re in the Early Adapter category when it comes to the latest wearable technology, why not make supettechre four legged friend is too. New to the market and unveiled at CES this year are fitness trackers for your pets. Monitoring their movement and behavior throughout the day as well as temperatures alerting you if outside of a safe zone. Wonderwoof and Fitbark are two great examples launching next month. Both have wearable trackers available for pre-order with an average cost of $99.95 and integrate with an app on your phone or tablet.

To learn more about the latest trends in wearable technology join the Chicago AMA Special Interest Group Pop Up Event this Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 – 8:00pm!

The event will be held at Networked Insights:

350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654

Click here to register! 

Nicole Simonds is a volunteer for the Chicago AMA and the VP, Client Services for MtoM Consulting, a digital marketing agency specializing in influencer, brand and social marketing for the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and fashion verticals. She’s a life long marketer having worked previously on the brand side for Flatout, NBC Universal and Marriott. Her second love is fitness and wellness. She is currently studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and looks forward to bringing what she learns back to the corporate world!

Meet Rich Walters at the Chicago AMA’s SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer

Meet Rich Walters at the Chicago AMA’s SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series

Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer Wearables, Oh My!

Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30–8:00 PM CST

WaltersThe Chicago AMA is pleased to have Rich Walters of LS Research on this week’s upcoming SIG Panel featuring a spirited discussion around the ever increasing fashion and technology behind mobile wearables. As the Apple Watch has finally come to market Rich who has over 24 years of Industrial Design consulting experience, designing and leading cross functional design teams in the area of wearable technology will share with us his feedback on the latest products on the market today as well as the future of segmentation within the $5.1 billion industry of wearable technology.

Currently serving as a Product Design Group Manager for LSR Research Mr. Walters is helping to grow their business through superior design leadership. His expertise covers a wide spectrum of product development, cover30 design patents and several utility and international patents. In recent years Rich has specialized in wearable technology product design. His work ranges from medical and commercial grade headsets to wireless fashion technology and smart watches.

After attending the Consumer Electronics Show this year Mr. Walters shared his thoughts on the  wearable tebandsch industry in his piece coined: Wearable Tech at CES 2015: What’s New…and What’s Still Missing? In his piece he broke out the wearables industry into several segments including “fashion that camouflages technology” and “more than just fitness bands and watches” as well as discussed gaps in the current consumer offerings for wearable technology.

Additional professional specialities include: Industrial Design, User Experience Design, Graphical User Interface Design, Design Research, Brand Identity, Visual Brand Language, Mechanical Design, Intellectual Property Development, Consumer Electronics, Exercise Equipment, Lawn and garden, Medical, Personal Grooming, Juvenile, Sporting Goods, Kitchen Appliances, Industrial Equipment, Kitchen and Bath, Hand Tools, Power Tools, and other consumer products.

Mr. Walters works with over 70 specialists that include Software Developers, User Interface Designers, Graphic Designers, Design Researchers, Prototype Specialists, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, and Firmware Developers. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he continues to serve on their Professional Advisory Board for the School of Art and Design.

To hear more on Rich Walters thoughts on what he saw at CES and what he foresees to be the latest trends in 2015 and beyond you’ll have to attend his panel at the CAMA Sig Pop Up Event this Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 – 8:00pm!

The event will be held at Networked Insights:

350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850

Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 985-9700

Click here to register!

Nicole Simonds is a volunteer for the Chicago AMA and the VP, Client Services for MtoM Consulting, a digital marketing agency specializing in influencer, brand and social marketing for the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and fashion verticals. She’s a life long marketer having worked previously on the brand side for Flatout, NBC Universal and Marriott. Her second love is fitness and wellness. She is currently studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and looks forward to bringing what she learns back to the corporate world!

Meet Don Bora, co-founder of Eight Bits and Mobile Makers at the SIG Pop-Up on Wearables.

On April 28, the Chicago AMA will be offering a unique member benefit: SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series: Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer – Wearables, Oh My! 

The program will be led by experts in the field, Rich Walters of LS Research and Don Bora, co-founder of two cutting-edge companies, Eight Bit Studios and Mobile Makers. Last week we told you about the background of Rich Walters and now we’d like to do the same regarding Don Bora.

Don Bora has spent over 20 years as a leader in the software industry.

With his team of tech wizards at Eight Bits, he delivers ground-breaking digital products that leave customers awestruck. Always an advocate for women in technology and young entrepreneurs, Don also facilitates and teaches iOS development to a wide array of code-minded men and women at The Mobile Maker Academy and area high schools and colleges. His unique perspective on the evolution of mobile technology and its impact on consumers led to his recognition by TechWeek as one of the 100 top influencers in Chicago in 2014. And his generous sharing of his time, knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry, earned him nominations as Moxie Mentor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.

Eight Bits’ co-founders, John Ostler, Steve Polacek and Don, shared their insights on Smart Watches in the company’s blog. We thought we’d publish some excerpts from Don’s comments as a sort of unofficial preview to his participation at the Pop-Up SIG on April 28.

Here are some quotes from Don:

“I am not enamored of the emerging smart watch ecosystem. The watch, in its current envisioned state, shaves seconds off otherwise mundane tasks, like checking the time or seeing if I have any unread emails. Any meaningful productivity bump will come from serious hardware support that is just not available right now.”

“Today, … a smart watch must be paired with a much more powerful device. While it is true that these smart accessories are relatively underpowered, we can be sure of this: hardware will continue to get smaller and faster. Ingenious engineering has found ways around the feared physical limitations that have threatened the past 20 years of computer and device advancements.”

“If I had a prescient scope, my watch would do all kind of Bond-ishly cool things. I want to see evolution in these platforms; I want to talk to my watch for the geek factor alone… The sheer amount of progress we’ve seen over the past 10 years is nothing short of stunning. Heightening the user’s experience through screen real-estate restriction will force us makers to be ever more diligent and judicious about our design, user interfaces, and feature sets.”

Join us on April 28 to meet Don and Rich and discuss Wearables with your fellow members.

Please join us on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM to meet Don Bora and Rich Walters and learn from their knowledge, experience and expertise on this important communications breakthrough. The meeting will be held at Networked Insights, 350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654. Register now.

Author:
Wendy Lalli, Principal, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

 

The SIG (Special Interest Groups) Pop-Up Series Keeps You Up With The Times

One of the major benefits that the Chicago AMA offers our members is networking that not only increases your professional contacts, but your industry knowledge and understanding of the latest trends.

Special Interest Groups (SIGS) offers all this in monthly programs that are sure to keep you on the cutting edge of marketing – whatever your industry or skill set.

SIGS. How to network with your peers while gathering insights from industry leaders.

These intimate communities of pro-active Chicago AMA members focus on a common interest or topic. SIGS maybe organized around specific industries such as financial services, non-profit and higher education or cut across industries to explore subjects of interest to all marketers like Market Research. Designed to broaden and deepen the Chicago AMA membership experience, SIGS provide a chance to connect, coordinate and collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues in real time off line.

And now the Chicago AMA offers the SIG Pop-Up series.

These programs revolve around a single topic – specific to an industry or cross-industry themed – that is currently at the top of everyone’s mind – especially savvy marketers. A perfect example is:

 SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series: Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer – Wearables, Oh My!  

 The Apple Watch comes out on April 24. Discuss the implications with the experts on April 28.

Talk about timely! Now you can be the first to get insider knowledge of how the new wearables – iBeacons, Smartwatches and Glass – will impact the customer experience for retailers, hospitality, travel, media and more. Our guest experts – Don Bora, co-founder of both Mobile Makers and Eight Bit Studios and Rich Walters of LS Research – will lead us in an exploration of how these new digital devices will benefit consumers, businesses and the marketers that serve them.

 Join us Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30–8:00 PM CST at Networked Insights

Don’t miss this program that’s bound to be as intriguing and awe-inspiring as the futuristic products we’ll be discussing. Networked Insights, 350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654. Register now.

wlalli

Wendy Lalli
Principal, Wendy Lalli, Ltd.

VP Creative, Crux Creative 

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

60 is the New 40: Baby Boomers and The Changing Consumer Landscape

by Peter Morich, Chair of the Market Research SIG

The 2014-15 market research SIG series has kicked off with two excellent presentations: one on Millennials in the Marketplace and the second on Baby Boomers and the Changing Consumer Landscape. Both events were highly interactive! The meeting was a combination of presentation and small group discussions in which attendees were able to develop implications for their particular business. Approximately 20 marketers attended each event at NQC, National Qualitative Center.

At the most recent event, Curt Fedder of Life Stage Research Insights shared learnings from his research on Baby Boomers. He presented 10 key insights about this segment:

  1. The absolute number of Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens is staggering!
  2. There are no “typical” Baby Boomers (or Senior Citizens for that matter).
  3. Personal buying power and influence over purchase decisions is significant.
  4. Baby Boomers are working longer and reinventing themselves.
  5. Baby Boomers are an anxious generation.
  6. Retirement living situations are changing for this group.
  7. Age is relative…60 is the new 40! And so on!
  8. Baby Boomers are enthusiastic users of technology.
  9. Baby Boomers have new role models.
  10. Baby Boomers find satisfaction in new hobbies and special interests.

If you missed the event, contact Curt Fedder at Curt@LifeStageResearchInsights.com for a copy of the presentation he shared.

A special thanks to NQC-Chicago (National Qualitative Center) who hosted the event. Located at 625 N. Michigan Avenue, NQC is a top-notch focus group facility complete with the latest technology to host qualitative research. Participants were also treated to tour of the facility and light snacks.

Join the next SIG event on March 19th. Curt Fedder will also lead this session. The topic is Maximizing the Use of Qualitative Research through Active Listening and Objectives Setting. Curt will draw upon his extensive experience as both a buyer of qualitative research (from his client side years) as well as from a vendor perspective (now that he works on the supplier side of the business).

At this session you’ll learn tips for how to listen to qualitative research, develop strategies for interpreting what you hear and taking better notes while attending sessions. There will also be a discussion on objective setting with examples of appropriate objectives.

This will be an interactive event as well: attendees will work in teams on “mini” qualitative assignments.

The session will begin at 6:00 PM and will be held also at NQC. Register today!

Put Your Audience First: How to Build an Effective Persona

Written by Bridgett Colling

On February 23, the Nonprofit Special Interest Group hosted an informative breakfast meeting to teach attendees how to create an effective audience persona. Local nonprofit i.c.stars hosted the event, featuring presenter Bridgett Colling, Director if Content Marketing at See3 Communications, a digital agency for nonprofits and social causes. Attendees learned how to identify their content marketing mission statement, how to narrow their audience targets, and how to  put their new knowledge into action.

Colling showed attendees a Buzzfeed video featuring President Barack Obama that encouraged people to sign up for Obamacare. She discussed how the video’s placement on Facebook and humorous messaging showed a clear understanding of the target audience for the campaign: young people. She then led the group through examples of audience personas, and shared a series of tactics that can be used to create them, including Google Analytics, ESRI zip code lookup, and Hubspot’s audience persona templates.

The session concluded with small group breakout sessions. Attendees discussed what kind of content they could create that would speak to their audience’s goals and needs.

Readers interested in learning more about upcoming webinars and events from See3 can sign up for the DoGooder Dispatches, a weekly email that provides advice, insights, resources and inspiration for nonprofits and social causes.

see3

 

 

 

Market Research SIG- Millennials: What’s Their Impact on Marketing?

Millennials: What’s Their Impact on Marketing?
Our Market Research SIG held an interactive discussion on the impact of Millennials in the Marketplace and what it means for consumer marketers. Approximately 20 marketers attended the event at National Qualitative Centers in Chicago.
Curt Fedder, Managing Partner
of Life Stage Research Insights LLC, shared learnings from his research on Millennials. He presented ten key insights about this segment:

  1. Millennials are tied with Baby Boomers for being the largest demographic segment in the U.S. Many predict Millennials will eventually surpass Baby Boomers in size.
  2. Millennials have a strong impact on the economy and the future of brand marketing.
  3. But, the economic outlook is not as strong as it was for prior generations, despite 
being the most well educated segment with seemingly many opportunities.
  4. Millennials are not adhering to traditional rites of passage for people in their 20s in light of a “perfect storm” of a tough economy, rising debt and cost of living.
  5. Millennials are defined by a mix of seemingly contradictory personality characteristics.
  6. Millennials are on the forefront of changing societal attitudes.
  7. Recognized for their ingenious use of technology, Millennials are indeed “the 
technology generation.”
  8. Millennials’ behavior and attitudes toward shopping differs from other segments.
  9. Millennials prefer brands to speak with them, not to them, through Social Media—It’s about having a conversation with a brand, not being sold to.
  10. Though Social Media is tremendously popular, traditional communication channels are still effective.

Attendees then broke up into 4 teams. Each group was given 2-3 insights. They spent time reviewing the insights along with the data supporting the insight. Participants then discussed and developed implications for their particular business. The full group was reconvened and each team then shared with the larger group the implications they’d developed.

If you missed the event, contact Curt Fedder at Curt@LifeStageResearchInsights.com for a copy of the presentation he shared.

A special thanks to National Qualitative Centers (NQC) who hosted the event. Located at 625 N. Michigan Avenue, NQC is a focus group facility complete with the latest technology to host qualitative research.

Peter MorichPeter Morich is President of Consumer & Professional Research, Inc (CPR) a Chicago-based full-service survey research firm with a focus on on-line, telephone, and other quantitative methods. Pete is a member of the Chicago AMA and serves as the Chair of the Market Research SIG.

Keeping It Simple

The Chicago AMA Financial Services Special Interest Group held, “Pizza and Perspectives: Financial Advisors Share Strategies for Reaching Mass Affluent and Affluent Investors,” earlier this month.  The SIGnature event provided an opportunity to hear from three financial services professionals including, Patrick Cote, Founder and CEO at AssetGrade LLC; Todd Johnson, Financial Advisor at New England Securities; and Michelle Dunigan, Financial Advisor, BMO Harris Financial Advisors, as they discussed financial services marketing, best practices, challenges, and what’s missing. The evening was moderated by Pam Passon, Vice President and Senior Marketing Manager, U.S. Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group.

Marketing messages that followed a story line is a best practice that resonated with all three panelists. Storytelling is effective because it allows prospects to visualize how facts and numbers are related to a bigger picture, instead of just presenting key facts and numbers and relying on the audience to make the connection. An example of this is Fidelity’s Follow the Green Line campaign:

A challenge faced by every marketer in the financial industry is the language barrier. Although we might be marketing in the same language, there is a lot of industry jargon and vocabulary that can lose our audiences’ attention and interest. The key to overcoming this obstacle is to use simple, concise language that is easy for everyone to understand, but words insightful enough not to lose any meaning.

What’s missing in the financial services industry is branding and the shift from traditional marketing. Right now financial advisors rely heavily on traditional practices of relationship, brochures, and grassroots marketing. What would be interesting to see is how and when financial services will start to leverage the opportunities of digital marketing.

What do you think, what will it take to make this transition?

Join the conversation with #camafinserv and visit http://chicagoama.org/sigs/ for a complete listing of our upcoming SIGnature events.

Written By: Yanja Batbaatar and Ben Cirillo

yanjaYanja Batbaatar currently works as Marketing and Communications Manager at RTS Realtime Systems.  She can be reached via EMAIL.

benBen Cirillo currently works as Marketing Communications Manager for ManagCare.  He can be reached via EMAIL.