Video screenshot from Millennials in the Workplace - AMA Atlanta Signature Luncheon - panel
April 30, 2015

Millennials in the Workplace

According to research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, many of the myths plaguing Millennials are, in fact, not true. We’ve pulled three of the five busted myths, some uncomfortable truths and some recommendations directly from the report for you to see.

Read more– recap and full video

Scot Safon, Former Chief Marketing Officer, The Weather Channel

Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader, IBM
Bob Van Rossum, President, MarketPro
Emily Binder, Director of Marketing, Budget
Liz Nixon, Director of Emerging and Social Media Marketing, AT&T (unable to attend)

Full Video – Millennials in the Workplace – AMA Atlanta February 2015 Signature Luncheon

See more clips: subscribe to AMA Atlanta on YouTube

February 24, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia

April 17, 2015

Howard Gossage believed that most of the advertising of his time was manure. The Socrates of San Francisco died more than forty years ago, but his radical approach is as important now as ever.

Howard Gossage in front of repurposed firehouse where he housed his ad agency

HQ of Freeman, Mander & Gossage: a repurposed firehouse which attracted counterculture and influential thinkers

Gossage was irreverant, inquisitive, and creative. At a time when agencies encouraged increasing media buys for their own profit, Gossage worked on quality over quantity, and even instructed some clients to reduce their ad budgets. He eschewed TV. He helped launch the environmental movement. David Ogilvy called him “the most articulate rebel in the advertising business.” Gossage was an iconoclast and proponent of using advertising to effect social change. He cared more about ideas than media.

When Gossage was in the ad business in the late 1950s and sixties, you could reach 85% of the U.S. with three TV networks and four publications. The options for sharing information and stories were a tiny fraction of modern media, but HLG was a prescient proponent of interactivity. His most important principle will outlast this month’s shiny new marketing toys:

Respect your audience

Howard Gossage on advertising

Gossage was talking about conversation long before Twitter. Our age is one of digital marketing buzzwords that mean little beyond having secured standing room on a crowded bandwagon, of an obsession with social media too often devoid of strategy and technique. Now we have tools that make the conversation more convenient and immediate, but this has made us lazy in ways.

Tired of reading articles about how to “measure the ROI of social media”? Quit reading them. Turn off your phone, sit down (better yet, stand up) and take the time to write interesting copy, inform, incite. Spell check.

Client: Petrofina Oil

Gossage transformed a pedestrian category, gasoline, with a campaign that directly acknowledged that most service stations were identical, while satirizing “advertisingese”:

1960s Fina ad - pink motto by Howard Gossage Gossage’s Fina motto ad satirized the pounding slogans and culture of consumption in most “advertisingese”

Fina didn’t pretend to be your friend or solve your problems. Fina acknowledged reality in a conversational way. Fina sold petrol.

Ask customers about their pain points then speak to those negatives in a new or helpful light. Brands aren’t people: brand messages that seem personal simply because they begin with an @ still must offer some value, honesty, or fun if you want the audience to care, participate, or purchase.

Diet Imperial Margarine – 1967: not a Gossage ad Fizrin – 1958: not a Gossage ad

Unlike the above ads typical of his time, Gossage based his work on the belief that the consumer deserved to be treated with some modicum of respect. Ogilvy agreed: “The consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife” (1955). Gossage went a step further with campaigns like the one that saved the Grand Canyon from being flooded:

His point, recalled by then partner Jerry Mander, was this: “You can’t just make people feel bad, you have to give them an opportunity to do something.”

Direct, honest, creative messaging that acknowledges the realities of the transactional relationship beats a feigned or forced friendship and unrealistic promises. It was true in the sixties and it’s true today, especially on social.

We relish our digital two-way street, opine about the “conversation” until its terminology has become hackneyed, yet many brands still turn off customers with their attempts at tone. Before you hit “send,” ask yourself if the message is interesting and real, or simply, WWGD?

By: Emily Binder | Director of Marketing at Budget I @emilybinder

April 3, 2015

LEGO’s Brand Revival – A Recap of the March Signature Luncheon


Did you know that the LEGO Group was battling bankruptcy in the early 2000s, before catapulting up to its current 2015 position as the “World’s Most Powerful Brand?” I, for one, had no idea of these struggles and failures, up until the March Signature Luncheon featuring LEGO VP of Marketing Mike Moynihan.

As Mike began, he brilliantly grabbed our attention by opening with some engaging LEGO trivia questions. For example, did you know that for each person in the world there are 62 LEGO bricks? Or how about that the LEGO Group is one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers? Also, supposedly LEGO’s mini figures are the world’s largest population, of any kind! (More here if you’re interested!)

Moving into the heavier material, Mike explained how LEGO has always been a well-known brand, and is one of the top toy makers in the world alongside Mattel and Hasbro. However, huge deficits around 2004 led to significant changes in attempts to turn the company around. Referring to these hard times, Mike explained, “I remember it got so bad that for six to eight months I walked in thinking, ‘Today could be the day,’ and I remember there literally being a lightbulb in every other fixture.” I scanned the room following this declaration, and it’s safe to say nobody had any idea this was their reality as little as 10 years ago. Whoa.

Eventually, LEGO was forced to ask itself the question, “Why do we exist?” That’s when the current customer-centric strategy was created. LEGO began proactively listening and talking to fans, which led to its new mission statement: Inspire and Develop Builders of Tomorrow.

Mike joked that LEGO was indirectly responsible for the creation of Google, as Larry Page and Sergey Brin were featured in an article around the same time discussing their childhood love for LEGOs and praising the creative benefits of building with these small bricks. I know it was just a joke, but hey, I’m totally cool with LEGO claiming Google.

Moving into the depths of the brand, Mike displayed LEGO’s impressive brand framework, seen below, including its mission, aspiration, various promises, brand spirit, and values. It was highly captivating—and inspiring—to see a huge global brand operating in this way, in this day and age.

ama 3 17 lego 1

LEGO Brand Framework

Mission: Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow
Aspiration: Globalize and innovate the LEGO system-in-play
Play Promise: Joy of building, value of creation
Planet Promise: Positive impact
Partner Promise: Mutual value creation
People Promise: Succeed together
Spirit: Only the best is good enough
Values: Imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, quality

Mike went on to discuss the way LEGO tracks the NPS (Net Promoter Score) of its communities, across platforms and engagements. The communities LEGO has developed are impressive to say the least. For example, let’s take a look at LEGO Ideas (fka LEGO Cuusoo, which exists only as a blog now). This concept was introduced to allow the community to be part of new product development. Awesome. So you’ll create an account, log in, and share your idea.

Lego Ideas

If your idea gathers enough support (10,000 supporters or more), LEGO will review your project and decide whether or not it’s worth creating. Basically, it’s a branded Kickstarter! As you can see below, popular projects can receive over 100,000 eyeballs in less than a month’s time! Projects moving on to review will typically see a quarter of a million views, with thousands of comments! Talk about a successful B2C collaboration campaign.

Lego Ideas reviews

Next, we learned more about the processes, and culture, of LEGO.

1. Exist to serve others (this ideology has directly led to average profit margins twice the industry average!)
2. Brand ownership
3. Leadership focuses: collaboration, not coordination
4. LEGO > EGO! (Self-effacement is inherently a part of Danish culture. Scandinavian societies operate according to the “Law of Jante,” a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.)
5. Execution > Strategy

1. Start with insights
2. Co-create with stakeholders (Capture the passions and creativity of unfiltered children.)

Another couple of key takeaways are listed here:

Brand extensions must support the core function, e.g., The Lego Movie. Much to our surprise, it took Warner Brothers over two years of pitching to win the production rights to this film! Straight from Michael: “You’d be amazed by how little money LEGO made off of this.”

Always challenge conventional wisdom: Be laser focused on consumer needs: Kids = Mastering skills!

Think through a consumer-needs lens. For example, why are teens waiting longer these days to get their driver’s licenses? Historically, cars were important for social reasons. They were the method for transporting yourself to a specific destination, friend, or social gathering. But teens are not as anxious to drive these days as they were, say, five years ago, for one simple reason: smartphones! Analyzing and looking through this consumer lens allows you to understand your target demographic in greater depth.

Threats [such as digitalization] can be opportunities: Minecraft.

Know who you are, and who you aren’t; go to senior leadership with any questions or concerns.

Be all about serving your stakeholders. How can you help them? This is not about tricking anyone into buying anything, merely about helping out.

Don’t worry about competitors as much as you think you should.

Innovation flourishes in constraints.

Don’t wait for a “crash” to change your course! Be willing to make changes and take risks.

And, finally, with power comes responsibility. This speaks to the new CEO (although he’s no longer so new) and his vision. He’s been crucial in LEGO’s revitalization.

Audience Questions

Q: What is the typical role of an agency when working with LEGO?
A: LEGO has a few agency branches: consumer and shopper agencies (both in house), and media/”other” agencies (Starcom). In-house creates approximately 80 percent of LEGO’s design, while the media agency works with process and keeping up with the latest trends. Other agencies are sporadically consulted with needs like marketing to adult demographics, etc.

Q: How do you manage UGC (user-generated content)?
A: LEGO Clubs, which are independent and separate from the LEGO brand and operations, play a huge role in UGC. LEGO provides support to these groups, which often have thousands of members. The approach: stay in the background, step in to facilitate and provide assets when necessary. (Being a part of a LEGO Club offers you exclusive content and access to the latest products, often before anybody else.)

Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Workload. It’s impossible to scale as fast as LEGO has required, and it’s even tougher to prioritize efforts and activities.

Q: What’s next?
A: Digital visualization and digital experience integrations. LEGO is doing its best to keep on top of trends and user experience innovations. This may mean new developments in the app world, along the lines of Minecraft’s successful venture. Furthermore, 25 percent of LEGO profits are allotted to the LEGO Foundation. Leaders have finally pinpointed the future usage and potential of this foundation, and plan to utilize it for further education. Nice!

In Conclusion…

A cohesive change management philosophy is crucial, regardless of your company’s size or financial positioning. Treat your vendors as partners, let your customers have a say in brand ownership, and clearly define the role of innovation. Teach younger, up-and-coming generations about the lessons learned, historic brand values, and giving back to the community that made you.

Mike did a brilliant job with his presentation, and I was even able to connect with him following the discussion to ask some more personal questions regarding Denmark and working among Danish peers and culture. As a Dane myself, I was thrilled to have this conversation and hear such great things about the motherland. :)

Be sure to check out AMA Atlanta’s upcoming events.

By: Steffan Pedersen | Director of Social Media at Object 9 I @steffanpedersen


March 26, 2015

Know a Nonprofit Marketing Rockstar? Nominate them

Do you know a nonprofit marketer who is a strategic dynamo, who is respected as a thought leader, or whose achievements have transformed their organization?

Now’s the time to shine a spotlight on all nonprofit marketing rockstars and help them achieve recognition for their incredible accomplishments. How? By nominating them for the AMA’s 2015 Nonprofit Marketer of the Year.

The 2014 winner, Kate Grant, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Fistula Foundation in San Jose, California. The organization transforms the lives of women with the childbirth injury obstetric fistula by funding curative surgeries.

Kate Grant 2014 AMA Nonprofit Marketer of the Year

Nominations are due by March 31, 2015. The winner will be invited to the AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference in Washington, DC, in July. Learn more about this prestigious annual award and get the nomination form at

Registration for the AMA’s signature annual conference for nonprofit marketers is open! The conference zeros in on essentials to help nonprofits engage their audiences and meet mission-critical objectives. It attracts marketers from around the country in organizations, foundations, and associations both big and small.

This year’s conference will be held July 13-15 at the Fairmont Washington, DC in Georgetown. Register at today.

March 3, 2015

Last Tuesday, the AMA Atlanta Signature Luncheon provided food for the mind as well as the body and touched on a hot topic:

Millennials in the Workplace

Scot Safon, Former Chief Marketing Officer, The Weather Channel

Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader, IBM
Bob Van Rossum, President, MarketPro
Emily Binder, Director of Marketing, Budget
Liz Nixon, Director of Emerging and Social Media Marketing, AT&T (unable to attend)

VIDEO highlight clips

Watch the full video here

From the very beginning, the panelists and moderator were exciting and insightful, and, the comments proved to be informative for all, regardless of whether one was a Millennial, worked with Millennials or had been curious about the generation at the heart of so many conversations.

According to research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, many of the myths plaguing Millennials are, in fact, not true. We’ve pulled three of the five busted myths, some uncomfortable truths and some recommendations directly from the report for you to see:


A Few Myths

Millennials’ career goals and expectations are different from those of older generations. (Busted)

From the Report:
54% of Millennials don’t fully understand their organization’s business strategy (for Baby Boomers, it’s 58%). 47% of Gen X would leave their current job for another offering more money and a more innovative environment (for Millennials, it’s 42%). 70% of Baby Boomers don’t think their organization is effectively addressing the customer.

Millennials want constant acclaim and think everyone on the team should get a trophy. (Busted)

From the Report:
Above all, Millennials want a manager who’s ethical and fair and also values transparency and dependability. They think it’s less important to have a boss who recognizes their accomplishments and asks for their input. In fact, Gen X employees are almost as likely to want a boss who provides pats on the back, and Baby Boomers are more likely to want a boss who solicits their views.

Millennials are digital addicts who want to do–and share–everything online, without regard for personal or professional boundaries. (Busted)

From the Report:
Turns out, Millennials are quite capable of distinguishing between the personal and professional realms and exercising discretion when they use social media.

You can find and read the full report here:


Bob Van Rossum of MarketPro shared that, to the dismay of some employers, Millennials they hired had productivity issues. Millennials constantly wanted feedback (3x/day or more), which made it difficult for things to be completed in a timely way or affected the productivity of their—what felt like to them—micro manager.

“Why do Millennials really have productivity issues?”
“Why do Millennials demand and need constant feedback?”
“What advice is there to manage a team that has Millennials?”

Carolyn Baird of IBM talked about the findings in the report and pointed out that while they were able to dispute some myths, there are some Uncomfortable Truths for employees and employers alike.

Some Uncomfortable Truths

  • Uncomfortable truth 1: Employees are in the dark. Many aren’t sure they understand their organization’s business strategy—and their leaders are partly to blame.
  • Uncomfortable truth 2: All three generations think the customer experience is poor.
  • Uncomfortable truth 3: Employees of all ages have embraced the technological revolution. The problem? Their enterprises are slow to implement new applications.

In the end, the report provided recommendations that could help organizations and employees alike. As it turned out, fostering a collaborative culture was number two on the list. One audience member asked, “Were Millennials not just being collaborative with their managers—seeking input and ideas from authoritative and intuitive persons to help land on the best course of action? Does collaboration at the collegiate level reflect what managers are looking for?”

Emily Binder of Budget provided an expert analysis with a succinct statement: “Collaboration should be a means towards productivity.” Unnecessary meetings and never-ending email threads intended to ‘keep everyone in the loop’ incorporate everyone, but are not necessarily productive. This can be a hard thing to shake even for the most innovative of companies.

Throughout the Q&A period, audience member hands were constantly raised. AMA Member and Nebo CEO Brian Easter asked the panel if the Millennial problem being discussed was perhaps a people problem. The recommendations provided in the IBM report affirmed and spoke aptly to this point.

Some Recommendations

  1. Focus on the individual
  2. Foster a collaborative culture
  3. Make customer experience a priority

Why? Because the organizations that understand not just the changing landscape but their people as well will be the ones who thrive.

Did you attend last week’s luncheon? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments down below! And don’t forget to check out the full report for the complete list of busted myths, uncomfortable truths and recommendations: <>

By: Darien LaBeach | Digital Account Executive at Nebo 

February 13, 2015

The Atlanta marketing community’s most sought after awards will be presented to the winners at the 58” Annual AMY Awards gala, March 12, 2015 at the fabulous Fox Theatre

Congratulations to the list of finalists for this year’s AMY Awards! The winners will be announced at The AMY Awards ceremony which will be held March 12, 2015 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

For 58 years, the AMY Awards program has put a spotlight on the most creative, innovative and successful work done by Atlanta’s marketing community. “The quality and creativity of this year’s entries clearly showcase the incredible talent within our community,” said Liz Ward, our AMA Atlanta President and Director of the Georgia State University Marketing Roundtable. “Congratulations to all of the finalists.”

The 2015 AMY Awards Program will recognize and honor the work of local companies and agencies in over 20 categories ranging from advertising, branding and digital marketing to analytics, market research and data visualization. The entries were reviewed by a panel of 16 judges and evaluated based on the strategic approach, quality of work and ultimate success of each program or campaign.

Please join us, along with over 400 of Atlanta’s top marketers, at the 58Th Annual AMY Awards.

To purchase tickets, or for more information visit

Check out the Award Finalists below.

Visual Branding/Identity – Business to Business

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Big Drum – Big Drum Rebrand

Brand Fever – Mblox – Mblox Branding

Modo Modo Agency – Zmags – Zmags Visual Branding & Identity

Visual Branding/Identity – Business to Consumer

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. – Arby’s™ Brand Re-Launch

Brand Fever – 180 Kitchen – 180 Kitchen

iris Worldwide –  Johnny’s Pizza House – Johnny’s Pizza House Rebranding

Integrated Marketing Campaign – Business to Business

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Sparks Grove – Delta Air Lines – Delta SkyBonus Sweepstakes Campaign

Marketing Inspirations – Spend Management Experts – Spend Management Experts Campaign

Modo Modo Agency – Zmags – Zmags Integrated Marketing Campaign

Integrated Marketing Campaign – Business to Consumer

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Piedmont Healthcare – Piedmont Healthcare Urgent Care Campaign

redpepper – Sprouts Farmer’s Market – Sprouts Love at First Shop

Internal – Primrose Schools – Science and Seesaws Integrated Campaign

Integrated Marketing Campaign – Business to Consumer

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Carter’s – OshKosh B’gosh – B’gosh Jeanius Cause Campaign

Internal – SunTrust – Meaningful Within Your Means

Internal – The Weather Channel – The Weather Channel for iPhone

Direct Mail Marketing

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

BKV – Aflac – This Duck Wears Pink

DigitasLBi – Delta Air Lines – Delta Credentials

iris Worldwide – Porsche Financial Services, Inc. – Delta Credentials

Email Marketing

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Mellow Mushroom – Gluten Free Segment Track

BrightWave – Chick-fil-A – Greatest Grilled Love for Chick-fil-A

The Aspire Group – Tulane Athletics – Tulane Athletics Email Campaign

 Web & Interactive Marketing – Web Campaign/Microsite – Company Revenue < $1 billion

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Chemistry Atlanta – Marriott – Choose Your View

Internal – Primrose Schools – Primrose Microsite

Web & Interactive Marketing – Web Campaign/Microsite – Company Revenue > $1 billion

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Carter’s – OshKosh B’gosh – The Busy Mom’s™ Guide to Summer Fun

Web & Interactive Marketing – Brand Awareness

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Nebo – Build the Beltline – Fundraising Campaign

Modo Modo Agency – Zmags – Zmags Website & Brand Relaunch

Web & Interactive Marketing – Lead Generation/Ecommerce

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Piedmont Healthcare – “Go Red” Campaign

Internal – Mercer University – Undergraduate Admissions Webpage

iris Worldwide – Shell Oil Company – Driving Loyalty Membership

Web & Interactive Marketing – Social Media Campaign – Company Revenue < $1 billion

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Primrose Schools – Primrose Social Media Campaign

Marketing Inspirations – THORLO – THORLO #SmileyFeet

Marketing Inspirations – The Fox Theatre – Fox Theatre’s Biggest Fan

Web & Interactive Marketing – Social Media Campaign – Company Revenue > $1 billion

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. – Integrating a Brand into a Pop Culture Moment

redpepper – Claire’s – Claire’s Project BFF

iris Worldwide – Shell Oil Company – Driving Loyalty Membership

Web & Interactive Marketing – Consumer Engagement

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Internal – Carter’s – OshKosh B’gosh – Baby B’Gosh Surprise & Delight

Internal – Mellow Mushroom – 2015 Annual Calendar

Internal – Shaw Floors – Floorvana by Shaw Floors

Search Marketing – SEO

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Nebo – Pure TalkUSA – Strategy Vaults Pure TalkUSA to the Top

Internal – Piedmont Healthcare – Online Patient Ratings

Internal – Lucas Group – Online Patient Ratings

Search Marketing – Paid Search/PPC

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Big Drum – Fullscope – LinkedIn Campaign

Nebo – GMSA – Reaching GSMA Target Audience

Internal – Primrose Schools – Primrose Paid Search Campaign

Advertising – Print Advertising

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Marketing Inspirations – BB&T Atlanta Open – Atlanta Magazine Special Section

Chemistry Atlanta – Troy University – Warrior Spirit Viewbook

Advertising – Broadcast Advertising

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Ideas United – The Weather Channel – Define Amazing

Internal – Piedmont Healthcare – Cancer “Fighter” TV Campaign

Ideas United – PGA – Sifford Presidential Medal of Freedom

Event Marketing – Event Under $100K Investment

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

FleishmanHillard – Health Connect South

Modo Modo Agency – LexisNexis

AR l PR – Cellcontrol – Roadway to CES

Event Marketing – Event Over $100K Investment

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Sparks Grove – Comcast – Xfinity Innovation Think Tank

Internal – Cobb EMC – Member Annual Meeting

Innovation in Market Research

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

Sparks Grove – Sony Mobile North America – Sony Mobile Innovation in Research

Internal – Mellow Mushroom – Comparative Market Research Dashboards

Marketing Analytics – Analytics Application

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

FleishmanHillard – Phillips Customer Service Solutions – Philips Healthcare Gate System

Internal – Lucas Group – Building DEMAND Digital Engagement

Internal – Mellow Mushroom – Promotion Incentive Program

Marketing Analytics – Data Visualization

Agency – Client Corporation – Entry name

DigitasLBi – Delta Air Lines – Delta Credentials

February 2, 2015

By Ashley Reed

Josh Martin, Director of Digital and Social Media at Arby’s, shared the success story behind the infamous Pharrell tweet at last year’s Grammys and how the company is using social listening to drive business results at the recent AMA BKV Social Series.  Here are our top takeaways.

social media management

  1. The Pharrell Tweet was Four Years in the Making

    Martin shared the evolution of the company’s social media program; when he joined Arby’s in 2010, the company didn’t have a social presence.  He was tasked with laying the groundwork and gaining buy-in internally (which, as you can imagine, was no small feat.)  The first step was to establish a social media policy and internal process.  While he faced several obstacles, Martin was successful in elevating social within the company by hosting training sessions, collaborating between departments and sharing success stories throughout the organization.  These efforts made it possible for him to earn the trust of key internal stakeholders, including Legal, Marketing and the executive team.  He stressed that the Pharrell “moment” wouldn’t have been possible without this strong foundation in place.

  2. Know When to Put Down the Mic

    twitter social media marketing

    Another important lesson we can learn from the Pharrell tweet is to know when to “put down the mic.”  After Martin sent the Arby’s tweet to Pharrell, he watched as it received thousands of retweets, replies and favorites, but he chose to wait until engaging further.  This proved to be the right decision, and Arby’s was rewarded with a response from Pharrell the next day.  Again, Arby’s chose not to respond, recognizing that Pharrell’s comical tweet would be hard to top.

  3. Use Social Listening to Inform Marketing & Product Development

    twitter ROI

    While Arby’s uses social listening to identify opportunistic moments to engage on social, they also use these consumer insights to inform marketing campaigns and product development.  For example, Martin’s team noticed a trend that social users really love Arby’s sauces, tweeting that they hated when they forgot sauce, requesting whole sauce bottles for sale and asking that the restaurant offer large sauce dispensers rather than small packets.  Martin recognized the opportunity, and worked with the product team to introduce Arby’s sauce by the bottle.  They supported this with an integrated marketing campaign – #Saucepocalypse.  The creative was based on actual users’ tweets, and they even placed outdoor media in consumers’ hometowns.  The results?  50,000 bottles sold and ½ million media impressions.

Here are a few other top takeaways from the event from Twitter users:

Arbys Pharrell tweet was worth $22 million in ad dollars Arbys published saucepocalypse creative in local newspapers. Great example of social extending beyond the digital realm We’re able to go to product development with insights from social media that will impact the business Social Media provides unsolicited feedback and affects product development by tracking conversations and reactions

Are you putting social listening to work for your brand? While effective real-time listening and response can have a huge impact on your bottom line, it does require a sound strategy and the right team in place.  Our Social Media Marketing team can help you with both developing and executing a successful social listening strategy to drive your business forward.

Interested in learning more?  Check out our recent study on social media monitoring and how real-time listening can drive Twitter ROI.

From the BKV Blog.

December 1, 2014

By Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Content marketing inspiration is everywhere you look. For teams managing limited headcount and/or budget, it’s especially important to leverage various marketing activities across your organization and turn them into content opportunities.

You want to mine the gold in your own backyard, if you will.

This approach is what the content team at Oracle Marketing Cloud aimed to achieve with our ‘Journey to Modern Marketing’ campaign, a program that included a variety of content tactics, including high-value gated eBooks, videos, and blog posts.

The program started with a research study conducted in tandem with BtoB Magazine to learn about the modern marketer—from our audience’s perspective.

The study uncovered five attributes or competencies that comprise the modern marketer: Targeting, Engagement, Conversion, Analysis, and Technology. We used these points, what we refer to as The 5 Tenets of Modern Marketing, as a springboard for the integrated content campaign that ultimately spanned all our digital channels.

We introduced the first content asset in the series during our Modern Marketing Experience event in Europe last year, creating a focal point for the content’s main character, Modern Mark, as well as a social media presence to support engagement and program awareness.

Video as the Star

The guides, social components, and promotion for the blog lived on a landing page where an ungated video was used to engage visitors and support the educational assets.

The story of “Modern Mark’s Journey to Modern Marketing” was packaged into six videos in total: Five covering a tenet each and one trailer video, which was shared via social media and our blog to tease the upcoming content. Each of the videos supported the messaging of the guides created around the Modern Marketing theme in an engaging, entertaining way.

As a feature component in our multi-channel campaign, video helped to drive interest and awareness to our 5 Tenets collateral. This resulted in a 120% increase in engagement and an 85% increase in attribution to the creation of MQLs.

In addition to supporting a prospecting campaign, the content also garnered significant and repeated engagement with current customers. The use of “reciprocal” content featuring an ungated video with gated follow-up content provided lead scoring and interest qualification opportunities for prioritized outreach.

Lessons learned from the Oracle Marketing Cloud team:

  • Social media continues to be a very important channel for engagement/MQL contribution
  • Multi-channel approaches to engagement are effective in unifying the audience experience
  • Video is a great engagement tool to provide entry points to other channels
  • Video formatted in a series is a great way to generate interest around the “Journey” content concept, and keeps audiences engaged in their learning

In addition to video, here are other content components of the program:

 High-Value eBooks

We created an eBook for each of the five tenets (the final will be released this month), which were the centerpiece offerings on each landing page and in demand gen emails. Each eBook was written in a how-to fashion to provide a prescriptive approach to managing each tenet of modern marketing. We also included case study examples and customer quotes, to focus on use cases and successes.

Blog Posts

Excerpts from each of the eBooks were used as blog posts to support the launch of all the guides. We offered bulleted lists, core steps, and takeaways with calls to action to visit the landing page. We also included the embedded journey videos into the posts for added engagement.

Social Media Posts

Images of Modern Mark steered our communities to engage with the content across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. We used unique URLs to track the activity across social networks to understand where to allocate our ad spend most meaningfully.

Crafty content marketers know how to use what they have to maximize resources and budget, and to ensure your content messaging is consistent across the organization.

How do you mind the content gold in your own backyard? 

May 23, 2014

What is innovation? Is it sheer creativity, or is it research and analytics? André Macklin, Sr. Director of Partnerships & Innovation at Cartoon Network says it’s a combination of both.

André was nice enough to speak at our YP event a few weeks ago and share his definition of innovation. He gave us some great examples of how Cartoon Network (CN) has been able to analyze the behaviors of their target audiences and create campaigns that keep them coming back for more. (Not to mention we all walked away with some really cool swag!)

So what did we learn? When starting his presentation, André spoke about two campaigns CN had recently launched for both their main audience (kids 6-14 yrs. old) and then for their older, Adult Swim college audience (adults 18-22 yrs. old). Here’s a brief recap of each:

  • Cartoon Network App
    What are kids doing these days? Well, they’re constantly on their mobile devices; either watching a video or playing a game. After noticing this behavior across multiple studies, it was a no-brainer for the CN team to develop a mobile app that incorporated both. So, they launched an app that allows kids to watch a video on the top half of their screen while playing a game on the bottom half. The cool part – if they flip the device to the left or the right, it automatically goes to a full screen of either the video or game. (Now they’re never going to put down their iPads!)
  • The Adult Swim Fun House College Tour
    First, imagine an inflatable house. Then, envision each room being your favorite Adult Swim show. Voila — there you have it, the Fun House! The Adult Swim team took this inflatable, one-of-a-kind experience on the road and targeted local universities throughout the country. As they were observing the kick-off event at Comic-Con last year, they quickly noticed that their fans were obsessed with scoring an Adult Swim T-shirt! At each of the events, fans would stand in huge lines just to get a free shirt. After putting two and two together, they quickly came up with the idea to run a T-shirt design contest on their website. The result – well, they had so many entries their website, the judges were overwhelmed!

After explaining each of the campaigns, it was evident to us all that the creative part was the obvious next step after looking at the research and insights that were right in front of them.

Where does someone begin when trying to create a magical experience like CN’s? André walked us through this innovative process that included the following steps:

  • Understand Objectiveswhat are you really trying to accomplish?
  • Lean on Insightsutilize the research you have and generate ideas from it. Having the research to back you will make it easier to ‘sell the idea’ to your team.
  • Brainstorm LOTS of Ideasbad ideas are necessary before you get to the BIG ideas.
  • Filter Ideasprioritize the ideas that make it to the next stage, but hold on to the others for a rainy day.
  • Execute Itcross your fingers and go for it!
  • Value Failuresfailures happen; learn from it, document and share them and you’ll be smarter the next time.

When closing the presentation, André pointed out something that was very valid, “It’s important to realize some of the most innovative companies had really, really crappy ideas at some point!”

Once again, a big thanks to André for sharing his experiences with us and don’t forget, the YP’s have one more event — our AMA End of the Year Party! Stay tuned for more details…

Guest post by Jennifer Groese (@JGroese), YP SIG member.

April 16, 2014

From Lyn Turknett, President, Turknett Leadership Group

What’s the biggest problem you’ve ever had managing volunteers? If you’ve ever been a volunteer, and have let a volunteer commitment slip to meet a “real work” deadline, you likely know what most people answer: holding people accountable when you have no authority over them.

Interestingly, though, that problem is one of the reasons that management guru Peter Drucker insisted that volunteering for a nonprofit or association was the best management training available. And if that was true decades ago for Drucker, it’s even more true today, as our work becomes less about managing tasks and more about leading knowledge workers who have a lot of choice about where they work.  We can rarely use our position of power to make things happen, even in our day jobs.

To manage volunteers, you have to do the same three things any leader must do – you have to create a shared vision, build strong relationships, and then execute, finding ways to manage accountability and assure follow through.  Creating a shared vision is the first step. Dan Pink, in his book Drive, argues that people are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. In a volunteer situation it’s important to build on the sense of mission and purpose that people often feel when committing volunteer time. Tell your team why you are committed to the cause, and, if possible, ask each person to share their commitment so that others can hear.  Work to build a vision for each project you work on as well. Why are we doing this? What will it look like when we finish? What will make us proud?

In leadership, it’s important to be aware of two things at all times – one’s own personality and propensities, and the exact situation at hand.  That awareness is especially important as you build a team and manage execution.  Most of us find one of those areas of leadership more difficult than the other – either it’s easier for us to build relationships and a strong team, or it’s easier to hold ourselves and others accountable and manage follow through. I have found two models especially useful as leaders build the skills they need – the Leadership Character Model ™ and situational leadership.

Leadership Character

Leadership is grounded in character – people willingly follow only leaders they trust and respect. In a business setting, people may stay on the team of a scoundrel for a paycheck only, but you can rest assured that in a volunteer situation they will quickly jump ship. The Leadership Character Model™ is a representation of the kind of character anyone needs to lead, whether they are running a Fortune 50 company or a volunteer fundraiser. Leadership Character is visually represented as a scale, with Integrity as the strong, solid base and Respect and Responsibility balanced on either side. On the Respect side leaders must develop Empathy, Humility, Emotional Mastery, and Lack of Blame. On the Responsibility side of the scale they must develop and demonstrate Accountability, Self-confidence, Courage, and Focus on the Whole. Most of us find one of those areas of leadership more difficult than the others.  Balancing the two sides is key – if someone on your team isn’t pulling her weight you need a pitch-perfect balance of empathy and accountability to address the issue.

leadership character model
The Leadership Character Model ™

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership theory was first developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard when collaborating on the first edition of Management of Organizational Behavior in 1969 – and it is just as useful today as it was then. The idea is that leadership style needs to vary according to the situation and according to the maturity/developmental level of the person they are managing. Leadership styles are basically combinations of Direction and Support. If you are strong and balanced on the two sides of the Leadership Character scale, you will find both Direction and Support relatively easy. If you are high on Responsibility and low on Respect, though, you may find Support difficult. If you low on Responsibility and high on Respect, Support may come easily but you may struggle getting people to follow through, especially when you are leading only by influence.

Developmental level varies not simply by person but by task. For example, if you have a seasoned accountant on your volunteer team, that person may be at a top development level for most tasks within his or her company, but will may be new to the volunteer organization and in need of information and close management.

Ken Blanchard’s describes Development Level is a combination of competence and commitment.  He says that when people start a job – or join a committee – they are highly motivated and committed, but their competence is low. At Developmental Level 1 volunteers need lots of Direction. They are eager at that time for tons of information, but too often no one takes advantage of that motivation and hunger for information. Remember that when you are leading volunteers.  When a new person joins as a volunteer, you will strengthen motivation if you provide great orientation. Include things like:

  • A history of the organization and a description of all programs
  • Names and a bit of history on current leaders — too often names get thrown around and the new volunteer feels like an outsider.
  • An explanation of the most common acronyms of the organization and a sheet that describes the rest.

At Developmental Level 2 people still need a good bit of Direction, but now they’ve likely lost some of that beginning enthusiasm – and perhaps they’ve encountered some roadblocks. Now they need both Direction and Support – information, project plans, and deadlines along with appreciation and supportive conversation.

A few ideas for support might be:

  • Send frequent notes of appreciation, and encourage the group to do the same for each other. You can bet that every volunteer frequently thinks, “I don’t have to do this; this is not my real job.”  The next thought is, “And someone should thank me.”
  • Keep mission front and center. You want everyone thinking first about why they are doing this – the mission of the organization and the cause they are trying to advance.
  • Let volunteers participate in idea generation and brainstorming. The more excited volunteers are about the mission of the organization the more they want to add their voice. If you are in the meeting, hear all the voices and acknowledge, but keep the meeting moving toward closure.
  • Make meetings fun when you can. You may want to set meeting ground rules that all agree on early on. I find the ground rule of balanced participation extremely helpful in any meeting. One option for expressing this is: “We need all voices. Speak up if you tend to be reticent, and limit your air time if you tend to be very vocal.”
  • Connect people who would benefit from knowing one other – that can help the volunteer experience be even more helpful for a career, and certainly builds loyalty.

Many of us, no matter what our natural propensity, struggle with holding others accountable when we are not in charge. There are some great ideas in Stanley Portny’s Project Management for Dummies. A few that may be helpful when managing volunteers are:

  • Be specific regarding end results, time frames, and expected levels of effort
  • Get a specific commitment!
  • Put it in writing
  • Emphasize the urgency and importance of the assignment
  • Tell others about the person’s commitment
  • Agree on a plan for monitoring the person’s work (in a volunteer setting this will mean setting deadlines that all are aware of)
  • Always acknowledge good performance – never forget the support!

At Developmental Level 3, according to Blanchard, people are knowledgeable about the task, and don’t need much direction, but may still lack confidence, and often need support, encouragement, and a willing ear. At the volunteer may be more confident and competent about that project than you are. I remember a year when I served as the leader of all the major events for an Association. One person on my team had managed the major fundraiser for several years, and had the project down cold. She did a phenomenal job, and any meddling from me would have added nothing. That’s the kind of volunteer we are all hoping to grow – and become!

SUMMARY: It’s been said that if you can manage volunteers you can manage anyone. Why? Because in a volunteer setting you are leading by influence only – you have no real authority over those you lead. The same leadership principles apply – just more so. Begin by establishing a shared vision that all feel excited about, and build strong relationships with everyone on your team. As you lead, think constantly about balancing empathy and respect with accountability and follow through. Provide lots of information and direction in the beginning, especially for new volunteers, set up systems for monitoring, and be ready with support and appreciation as the volunteer gains experience in his or her role.