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The art of brand evolution: How a "timeless" vision and collaboration are the keys to success

Posted by Matt Statman in Opinions on April 10th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Timeless brands are timeless for a reason – they effectively establish a vision that not only answers the needs of today's consumers, but are also expansive enough that they can be responsive to future needs as well. There is an art to finding the perfect marriage between a product, the goals of the company behind it, and the needs of the consumers who may use it. But when the craft of positioning is in the hands of experts, the resulting work can be eternally magical.

All brands need to evolve to remain relevant. But improvements or shifts in a brand’s offering do not always necessitate the need to change the core positioning or tagline. For example, Nike is the pinnacle of achievement in this arena. "Just do it" is an enduring assertion of empowerment that has proven to be a valid call to action for decades. It’s a universal nudge, yet personally resonant to consumers from the budding athlete to the experienced marathoner, regardless of age, ethnicity or demographic. While Nike has certainly evolved as a brand, focusing on product innovation, attracting new consumers, securing strategic athletic partnerships and more; its famed tagline has stood the test of time.

BMW’s, "The...

What Google's March Updates Mean For Your Site

Posted by Lauren Polinsky in Opinions on April 10th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Last month Google implemented a layout change to their search engine result page (SERP). Despite user objections, a short test period led Google to implement an aesthetic update by mid-March.  Jon Wiley, Lead Designer for Google Search, announced: “Towards the end of last year we launched some pretty big design improvements for Search on mobile and tablet devices (mobile first!)…Today we've carried over several of those changes to the desktop experience.”  After some initial review, we’ve discovered the immediate effect the changes have had on websites. Despite the feedback Google has received, the change in layout is permanent and thus, we have provided this document to detail these changes.

Major changes in the New Google Layout:

1.    Increased font size & spacing for titles
2.    Underlining removed from links
3.    Removal of shaded background from paid ads

Increased Font Size

The first noticeable change was the increased font size for page titles. The increased point size and width of the font means fewer characters are presented in search results. Current best practices in SEO have stated that page titles should remain under 70 characters. While modern browsers support longer titles, Google SERP pages have historically...

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Ad Agency About Measurement

Posted by Jeff Zwelling in Opinions on April 10th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

“Mad Men” fans have a skewed view of what happens in an ad agency. The hard-drinking days of Madison Avenue might be history, but the show has much of America believing that today’s great campaigns still come from lots of whiskey and frequent, lucky bolts of inspiration. As the show’s Don Draper character would no-doubt argue, creativity is key in advertising. However, success in the modern advertising era also hinges on measurement and data-driven decision making.

Advertising is expensive, and brands need to measure their returns on investment in order to justify their spending. That is both more complicated and less so today than the real-life Mad men of the 1960s would ever have fathomed. On the one hand, prospects interact with advertising on far more platforms than they did two or three generations ago. A campaign now needs to prove its efficacy not just in print, on TV and on the radio, but also online and via mobile devices. And yet, agencies can harness sophisticated technology to analyze how those platforms are performing and advise clients which outlets deserve more of their ad spend and which deserve less. That information can have significant impact on ROI, and agencies that...

4 Reasons a Private Marketplace is Good for Business

Posted by Nick Matarazzo in Opinions on April 9th, 2014 at 9:35 am

Agility. Innovation. Technology. Speed. These are just a few of the words I use to describe the automotive industry—and any good sales organization. As CEO of Jumpstart Automotive Group, I’m always looking for ways to improve the sales process and ROI for our clients, and the efficiency of our business. That’s why I’m embracing the programmatic private marketplace just as wholeheartedly as I passed on an open marketplace.

Better Quality
Programmatic ad platforms are still primarily known for selling remnant inventory at low CPMs, but the industry is moving beyond that. With demand for a contextually relevant environment that reaches real consumers (not fraudulently driven traffic), private marketplaces offer transparency and quality. Now advertisers can hand select a high-performing and trusted publishing partner to work with and still benefit from the automation of a programmatic platform.

Sweet Freedom
The dream is as media buying becomes more automated, salespeople and brands can spend more time on bigger, custom ideas—and less time correcting Excel functions. Content, disruptive ad units, social media, and events (the fun stuff) require person-to-person collaboration, deep thinking, and human power. Let’s use our time strategically and employ the machines for everything else.

Impact Buying Decisions
The more advertisers are able...

Brands Need Ads With Attitude

Posted by Jon Elvekrog in Opinions on April 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am

The multi-million dollar advertising deal that Instagram and Omnicom struck and the introduction of ads on Pinterest recently is significant far beyond the dollars changing hands. While it's imperative for the platforms to monetize, of course, both pieces of news demonstrate that there is a place for branding spend (vs. direct response) in digital and highlights a path for publishers and platforms to take in order to grow this piece of the digital marketing pie.  Branding is a different discipline than selling, but the tactics available online and in mobile have generally been designed around the latter; hence the idea that brand dollars are not well spent in digital.

Part of the reason branding hasn’t been quick to jump into digital has to do with environment.  If you’re used to doing your branding on television and in print, you expect a clean, contextual, and uncluttered environment in which to communicate with an audience that is both demographically and psycho-graphically appropriate.  You don’t have to look far beyond the NYTimes.com or ESPN.com sites for the premium sheen to come off the Internet, with pages displaying dozens of blinking banners and traffic of dubious quality.  To their credit, Instagram has emphasized that...