Archive for David Tokheim

Brand Published Content Just Keeps Getting Better

Posted by David Tokheim on January 17th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

While many were wringing their hands last year over whether native advertising on social networks would go boom or bust, others were miles ahead with a much bolder strategy to get branded content to viewers - by publishing it themselves. Whether the audience is filled with users, consumers or stock holders, content published directly by brands took on a new life in the last 12 months. That's right, 100 percent sponsored content that audiences were still interested in consuming.
Of course, it’s a fine line. Readers won’t just share content that tells them to, "Buy product X!" But people will share great content if it feels right to them, if the sponsorship is secondary to the content, and if the content connects with the audience.
Here's a quick run-down of some interesting brand-published content that we've seen in the last few months - and that promises to up the ante for 2013.

The Coca-Cola Journey
Only on a site dedicated to a brand like Coca-Cola and designed to engage its shareholders would a person come across a factoid like how many tweets per quarter the company generated (more than 1.3 million of them).
But that’s not all. Coca-Cola is also following other stories that affect its... Read more

The 10 Biggest Media Moments of 2012 – And How They'll Change 2013

Posted by David Tokheim on December 21st, 2012 at 12:49 pm

This year will always be year of the London Olympics and the presidential election, but so much happened over the last 12 months that has shaped the digital media landscape. So, while it might also be the year of Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style, it’s also the year when real stuff happened in the online media world. Because of 2012, next year won’t be quite the same.
Here are a few big reasons why:

The Daily Folds
The newsweekly journalism business looked longingly at The Daily as a possible savior with a new business model that could help the business convince readers to pay for content if that content was delivered as an app on a tablet.
It turns out that owning a $500 tablet was too great a barrier for the business model to work. Oh, well. That didn’t keep Rupert Murdoch from dumping an untold sum into the experiment known as The Daily. It was good while it lasted, but it looks like 2013 will be Daily-less. (And that’s not the worse thing that happened to Uncle Rupert this year.)

The Daily Beast Eats Newsweek
The Daily Beast survived the year, but not before it cannibalized Newsweek. The once-great news magazines of the pre-Internet era have now gone the... Read more

World Champion Brand Magic in Action

Posted by David Tokheim on November 28th, 2012 at 10:40 am

In the sports world and especially around the Bay Area, Hunter Pence is a hero who sparked one of the most incredible playoff turnarounds in the history of baseball. Even casual fans learned some lessons this season from the San Francisco Giants about the richness and rewards of tenacity, focus and selflessness.
As a former professional ballplayer, I have never seen anything like it. It will go down as another chapter in the Giants' storied history, rewarding loyal fans that have followed the team since their childhood – and it will forever shape the San Francisco Giants brand. As a marketer, it was another great reminder about the power of storytelling - and an example of how brands can think about their always on strategies in a way beyond content geared for search engines and SEO.
It started with Pence's first speech, when the team was down 2-0 in a best of 5 series. He gathered the team shoulder-to-shoulder, with their arms locked like a football huddle, and implored his teammates:
“Look into each other's eyes … this is the best team I have ever been on, and no matter what happens we must not give in ... I need one more day with you guys… play for... Read more

I Was Wrong: Banners Ads Aren't Dead

Posted by David Tokheim on October 25th, 2012 at 11:42 am

In 2006, in a Forbes article titled "Death of the Banner Ad?," I said banner ads were doomed. Today I'd like to go on the record and say: I was wrong. Banners not only don't have to be lame, they can deliver experiences (and results) that are amazing.
At the time, I thought high-impact skins and branded content were the future of digital advertising. Banner ads appeared to lose their value. Inventory skyrocketed thanks to social platforms and we all saw effectiveness plummet. Pricing dropped through the floor. No one wanted to punch the monkey, take a survey or win a free prize.
But banners weren't dead; they just needed to evolve. Creative matters more than ever. And creative banners can actually be a powerful part of the storytelling experience.
We've crafted more than 25,000 pieces of creative with some of the best minds in advertising. As a result, we’ve learned how to create successful banner ads that take into consideration a blend between art and science - and we don’t waste valuable advertising dollars.
We believe that by delivering engaging experiences to people where they spend time online and on their digital devices, we can support the advertiser's brand objectives. We believe by creating an invitation that... Read more

What It Really Means to Think Like a Publisher

Posted by David Tokheim on September 24th, 2012 at 11:29 am

Now more than ever, marketers and brands want to connect with influential consumers through trusted and relatable sources - in ways that really resonate. They understand that the best way to connect is to inspire. And they know that they have to draw on partnerships as they shift their creative excellence they have developed to content excellence. In other words, advertisers need to think like publishers. Wait, what?
Aren't publishers struggling economically to grow their audience? Don't they have to also be experts at tapping into emerging social distribution channels? What does it mean to think a publisher today?
It means...
People want stories. Interesting stories are at the heart of what consumers want to read, share, and interact with. Facts and figures can be compelling, but they aren't memorable. What they remember is the story. The feeling it gave them. The way in which they either relate to or disagree with it. The writers on xoJane do this well through thoughtful, provocative essays on everything from My Parents Adopted a Murderer to I Inspired a 'Bad' Version of Myself on 'The Newsroom.' The raw, real, honesty is what keeps readers coming back every day for more.
But the story alone is not enough.
They... Read more