BABELFISH – Top Headlines October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008 at 6:43 am | Posted in Digital thinking, General, Innovation, Strategic planning | Leave a comment


Nielsen: This Is Your Brain On Advertising | Mediapost

Rough Seas Ahead? Digital shops ride the waves of uncertainty | Adweek

Marketers: Fire Your Agency If… | Mediapost

Google’s Schmidt To Web Sites: Don’t Be Evil | Mediapost

Three Ways The Credit Crisis Is Impacting Online Video | Mediapost

An OMMA Journey: Search Future | Mediapost

What’s in a Name: From Lists To Segmentation | Mediapost

Dissecting The Future According To Google: Mobile Web | Organic Three Minds

The Difference Between Tactical and Strategic Media Planning | Mediapost

The Future Of Media: Gaby Darbyshire, VP, Gawker Media | Mediapost

Consumers Deem TV Most ‘Credible’, Online 3RD (Ahead Of Mags) | Mediapost

Google To Decode Social Networks | Mediapost

The Definition: What Makes A “Digital Native” Different? | Organic Three Minds

What Does It Take To Raise A Digital Native? | Organic Three Minds

Great Premise, Good Production Values, BUT… | Mediapost

Design: The Center of the Circle | Mediapost

Strategic Thinking 3.0 A media forecast for 2009 | Adweek

Transforming TV From Medium to Platform – A new addressable system | Adweek

Viva La Evolution! Get More Return On Insight | Experience Matters

Confidence Erodes Among U.S. Ad Execs, Budgets Expected To Decline | Mediapost

The Coming eRevolution in Online Marketing | Adotas


ESOMAR Congress 2008 BLOG

Day one: Coca-Cola’s management of its brand equity

Day one: Research intervenes in developing markets

Day one: From the pursuit of truth to meeting the needs of sophisticated urban consumers

Day two: My, myself and I

Day two: People power

Day two: Mastering the “metaverse”

Day two: Calling back – Nokia’s recycling initiative

Day three: Why clients need different researchers

Day three: Measuring emotions with metaphors


If you have a few more spare minutes, here are some past BABELFISH blog posts.

11 trends / effects of the economic crisis on Marketing & Communications in 2009

The secrets to harnessing innovation (notes from presentation @ Proxxima 2008).

Communications design: Not a cheap pick-up line, but brands longing for true-love

The opportunity cost of over-engineering / over-producing TV Commercials

7 considerations when deciding the most appropriate budget mix for traditional and emerging communication content forms and contact vehicles?

“I want to have more digital?” - Transition management

Is Molecular Marketing a solution when mass messaging stops working?

8 easy steps to optimizing the value of content in the digital era

The largest barrier to digital growth – demons of the past, digital silos & evangelism

Forrester: Agencies Need to Reboot


11 trends / effects of the economic crisis on Marketing & Communications in 2009

October 23, 2008 at 10:25 am | Posted in Control, Conversation, Customisation, Disruption, General, Innovation, Integration, Mass, Metrics, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Trends | 1 Comment

1. Fragmentation of mass audiences to continue

a. For people who have passed a disruption line, expectations have already permanently changed. These shifts in expectations (control, customization, conversation, connection) can not be undone.

b. Fragmentation process / access to disruptive devices will slow (restricted access to credit – especially for middle class)

c. The only things that variable that can be disrupted is the overall value proposition e.g price related, perceived value and other brand related attributes

2. Discretionary content expenditure under scrutiny

a. Need to buy / construct customer / consumer loyalty

b. Focus on subscription packages rather than a-la-carte (e.g. newsstand sales will suffer)

c. Free content to thrive

3. Less innovation

a. R&D to be reduced

b. Fewer software upgrades

c. Less interface development – focus on existing or standardized formats etc to drive efficiencies

4. Safe harbor

a. Clients will become risk averse

b. Increased need to understand the risk profile of decision stakeholders

c. Intelligence & Research will be reduced chasing short term results

d. Standardised / tried and true interfaces / formats

5. No major events

a. Fewer annual event sponsorship packages

b. Pressure on visibility properties

c. Focus on message segmentation (rather than content separation)

6. Increased need for alignment and integration

a. Lots of desperate tactical proposals (media vehicles & agencies in survival mode)

b. Essential to agree to what is of value (can be integrated, aligned with core idea)

7. Tactical flexibility

a. No major events – focus on tactical buys

b. Variable, highly sensitive demand driven market

8. Increased focus on accountability and efficiency

a. Need to align metrics with business goals / KPIs

b. Need to define success (impossible to measure results without predefined success parameters)

c. Reduction in the number of campaign content pieces (fewer better quality, planning content to be versatile across platforms)

9. Focus on loyalty

a. Consumers / customers, under pressure, will be more promiscuous and more likely to challenge premium priced / value added products and services

b. Concentration of sales strategies – 80/20 rule – consolidate heavy user business

c. Branding & relevant customer conversation becoming more important.

d. Get closer to customers to reduce tactical promotion driven churn

e. Increased power of trusted advocacy e.g. word-of-mouth (free, credible, easily found e.g. blogs)

10. Content costs

a. Increased global content distribution to leverage critical mass

b. Imported content costs increasing – favors local content producers

11. Tension between mass and segmented marketing (targeting and messaging)

a. Mass appears to be efficient (based on tactical execution metrics), but has a generalised message and significant impact wastage.

b. Segmented marketing has a better probability of message relevance and ROI (Strategic metrics)

BABELFISH – Top Headlines August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Posted in Agency Model, Control, Conversation, Customisation, Digital thinking, Disruption, General, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Mass, Path-to-purchase, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Through-the-funnel, Top-of-the-funnel | Leave a comment

Why the Internet Enhances TV Advertising | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested: Cheap cost-per-thousand distribution combined with an extremely powerful content form in video, has helped sustain TV advertising as the default weapon of mass distribution. 


Many a client has been heard to scream in frustration at the relatively unaccountable nature of mass demand generation. What happens in the cloud of uncertainty between the mass demand building message and the moment the customer walks in the shop door to purchase??


Fragmentation of this mass distribution power combined with new tools that enable segmentation of messaging are setting mew marketing practice precedents and challenging the concentration of marketing efforts in mass messaging.


Along this complex path to consideration, purchase intent and ultimate purchase, marketers now are acknowledging that there is a delicate balance mass demand generation and segmented messaging.


TV will still remain a powerful mass demand generator, but the world of segmented content distribution, led by the internet is where the exciting stuff is happening.


Consumers find ads in long-form online video ‘reasonable’ | BizReport
Are Short Videos Best for the Web? | eMarketer
Why you should be interested: Moving from a world of standardized content lengths to a more free-form environment, we need to test the elasticity / expectation of users. Of course the answer is ..the form and duration of content depends on the idea / message objective. This study shows that users will tolerate longer form video content on the relatively smaller computer screen, although I believe that the motive is more convenience of on-demand than preferred viewing experience.


Digital ad agency reaches out to old media | Washington Post
Why you should be interested: For many years, digital agencies have been building credibility / equity with clients by getting closer to their business, building segmented messaging strategies and providing measurable results. So, it is no surprise that digital agencies are trying to leverage this equity by expanding services into the relatively vacant strategic space left by the once dominant big mass messaging agencies. Big agency culture provides many barriers to change, and arguably, in the short to medium-term, digital agencies are in a very good position to find fertile revenue growth in the integrated strategic planning space.


Recognizing Transformation Triggers…Before It’s Too Late | Accenture

Why you should be interested: One of the greatest challenges for any organization is to gauge how aggressive they need to be in building capabilities in a dynamic marketplace.


Change in the communication space is manifesting itself in two forms 1) The need for communication innovation (driven by content distribution fragmentation and consumers resistance to irrelevant messages) 2) The need for always-on content (to facilitate brand related conversation and answer specific questions to influence purchase decisions). The iterative steps to achieve competitiveness are logical, but the eternal question remains as to how fast do marketers need to change.


This very good article argues that for significantly disruptive change `It is crucial to spot the impending danger early on and make fundamental rather than incremental change`


If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines







The secrets to harnessing innovation (notes from presentation @ Proxxima 2008)

March 13, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Innovation | 2 Comments

Increasing demand for innovation

  • Increased user sophistication – particularly due to new digital content access forms
  • All companies striving to gain a competitive advantage to maximize it’s stock value.
  • Looking to differentiate their product from increasingly similar competition
  • Not just special effects and, new delivery devices e.g.:
    • Process
    • Presentation,
    • Product / service,
    • Geography,
    • Value chain,
    • Industry structure
  • The life-cycle of innovation is accelerating
  • 4 levels of competency
    • Unconsciously Incompetent – Don’t know that they don’t know e.g. Homer Simpson – get hit by innovation / lightning but don’t know what happened
    • Consciously Incompetent – Know they don’t know, don’t want to know e.g. Dilbert – actively watch and avoid lightening complicating their lives
    • Unconsciously Competent – Brilliant talents but undisciplined. Successful using instinct but lack process and can’t teach what they do. e.g. Muttley & Dick Darstardly – generate lots of lightening / ideas but often have trouble managing or harnessing it’s potential
    • Consciously Competent – Innovation is a disciplined process of test, learn, measure, go-forward / discard e.g. Einstein or DaVinci – have lightning in their palms – like a sparkler from a birthday cake or putting your hand on a lightning ball.

Challenging dynamics of innovation

  • Two types:
    • Tactical / evolutionary / incremental. Problem is that often the idea is easily replicated. One hit wonders: Bling Bling
    • Sustainable – 5 pillars of breakthrough innovation:
        • Can’t imitate,
        • Profitable,
        • Departure from existing standard (in your category),
        • Change perception of industry,
        • Charge premium for your product / service (affect stock price)
    • Barriers to successful sustainable innovation
      • There is often a gap between where companies need to be and where they are (called Innovation Gap)
      • There is also a delay in activating innovation that is often proportional to size of a company. This is due to added layers of bureaucracy and resistance to change
      • Process unfortunately can be considered to retard innovation because it gives more opportunities for people to say no and retards agility
    • Risk management
      • Understand the difference between real and perceived risk
      • Most of our effort in innovating is managing acceptance of risk
    • Dimensionalise and define brand need to risk because of pressures from:
      • Stock market
      • Corporation
      • Category disruption
      • Consumer disruption
      • Personal – career
      • Political
    • Risk from different perspectives
      • Client
      • Client marketing
      • Client media
      • Digital
      • Traditional Account director
    • Managing risk
      • Understanding risk from several perspectives:
      • Your risk profile
      • Risk profile of your customer
      • Profile of stakeholder in decision process.
    • Checkpoints & Accountability
      • Controls, checks and balances
      • Gateways for progressive approval at various stages e.g. tough decision points to decide whether to progress or stop and concentrate on another effort
      • Clear, simple measurement metrics
      • Results – because the approval isn’t important – the final result is

    You can innovate through Leadership

    • Understand dynamics. I can help you identify / understand the dynamics of a situation, but I can’t give you the solution to every problem. If you understand the pieces to the puzzle, you can put them together in different ways to solve problems yourself.
    • Create a vision of what could happen to dynamics for your industry (and similar)
    • Increased discipline: FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Rank, Execution)
      • Focus: Ask hard questions, deeper insights for briefs
      • Ideation: Pushing the ideas, metaphors, parallels
      • Rank: Sorting ideas (realistic, ownable, 5 pillars etc)
      • Execution: Checkpoints, measurement metrics
    • Strive for Conscious Competence
    • Connecting the dots in different ways
    Powerpoint available on SLIDESHARE

    Communications design: Not a cheap pick-up line, but brands longing for true-love

    March 10, 2008 at 8:15 am | Posted in design, Innovation, Integration, Strategic planning | 2 Comments

    Whether it is between a customer and a piece of brand communication, between two customers discussing a brand or an interaction with a contextual situation associated with a brand, communication is all about starting a conversation.

    The more relevant the content of the conversation, the more immersive the experience and the more willing people are to engage and consistently participate.

    The objective of the conversation can have a short-term objective. If you want a short-term reaction, the unstructured ‘bling-bling’ of a pick-up line may get a superficial reaction (good sex). Though, as we all know, relationships mature over time. Participants expect the connection to get stronger to maintain commitment. Hence, ‘bling-bling’ is an exhaustive and unsustainable way to maintain interest in / participation in a conversation.

    Relationships that stand the test-of-time normally start with conversations built on mutual respect and admiration.

    ‘Communication Design’ is exactly that exploratory process. It is the process of carefully constructing an integrated architecture of messages that remain consistent in their personality and tone across many different content forms, contexts and contact environments.

    For brands that are serious about their commitment to their relationships, each conversation needs to firstly be inherently linked to a human behavior or insight. To be considered ‘Good design’, each experience, message, content piece and delivery context needs to be intuitively architected and have continuity and consistency.

    Lastly, well designed messages don´t have to rely on tedious repetition to force engagement. The immersive connection leverages relevance and aesthetic appeal.

    I´m under no illusion that ‘good design’ is easy. Actually, it is actually near impossible in the fragmented, competitive and dysfunctional communications industry. We need to explore the dynamics and disciplines required to stimulate a conversation that can help us make the small steps necessary to bring this to life.

    Cheers. BC

    The largest barrier to digital growth – demons of the past, digital silos & evangelism

    February 17, 2008 at 3:44 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Traditional | Leave a comment

    Many digital evangelists claim the problem is that everyone else doesn´t get it!! They are partly right, but at the same time they are blind to their own ignorance and weaknesses.

    The most successful digital minds are one that can either cross both the traditional and emerging worlds or partner with a mentor that can help them focus and articulate their value.

     90% of what digital evangelists claim that they are inventing – has actually already been done in the traditional world. Like naïve teenagers, they discover something (e.g. a remake of a Rolling Stones song), thinking it new, give it a name of their own and adopt it as their own groundbreaking innovation.

    The problem is that digital evangelists not only disrespect historical marketing theory, but they have deliberately kept anyone (e.g. a grey hair mentor) in the dark and at arms-length. In fact, they have been guilty in many respects of ‘Reinventing the wheel’ because of the barriers that they have placed have stopped them learning from the elders of the ‘communications tribe’. In these times, where digital thinking transcends the digital mediums, it may be in the digital evangelists to be a bit more humble and sign a peace treaty.

    Sure, the traditional establishment hasn´t made it easy for this seemingly disruptive splinter group. The demons of past battles still haunt the minds of digital journeymen. Likewise, the partying and arrogance prior to the digital bubble bursting and premature claims that ‘everyone associated with traditional communication are irrelevant and dying’, have left deep seated rift between the traditional and emerging communication worlds.

    When an industry is growing, it makes sense to separate and concentrate efforts in a silo to achieve a sense of critical mass.  The problem is, as the pie grows, particularly in an extremely dynamic environment where training always plays a back seat to delivery, if you don´t reintegrate, there simply aren´t enough people to do the required work.

    It is time that the ‘digital thoroughbreds’ start feeling a little more self-confident and start adopting and recruiting ‘digital immigrants’ people to do the work so that they can move forward and do what they do best – attack the critical problems facing communication: innovate and build conversation infrastructure. There is no doubt that digital thinkers will rule, but in this new world built upon collaboration and co-opetition, let´s hope that we all can find a way to heal the wounds, collectively swallow our pride and act as the mature leaders that our clients and customers need.

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