How Nike and Pepsi Again Hijack the World Cup

The world’s greatest sporting spectacle, the World Cup, began this weekend. Do you know who the “official” sponsors are?

You might think from the prevalence of its “Write the Future” campaign on the web and in pop culture, that Nike is an official World Cup sponsor. It’s not. Nor is Pepsi, whose “Oh Africa” has been racking up millions of views on the web since May. Rather, the official sponsors are Adidas and Coke — and both have also produced compelling online videos in association with their campaigns.

As we all know, brands often pay significant sums of money to be the exclusive sponsor for high-profile sporting events including the World Cup, Olympics and Super Bowl. These sponsorships typically include a number of elements and are supported by TV, on premise and promotional support. To their credit, the event organizers themselves go to great lengths in order to protect the value of the sponsors, and the relationship they have with the event.

I remember that before the Beijing Olympics, the government assumed control of the outdoor ad space so that the sponsors would be given access to it. I thought it was a great idea.

For as long as brands have sponsored these events, other brands have tried to ride along on the brand equity of the events as well. This concept, known as “ambush marketing,” involves running similarly themed campaigns around the time of the event without actually mentioning the event itself. A famous example of this was American Express’ campaign around the Barcelona Olympics, “You don’t need a visa to go to Barcelona” (Visa was the Olympic sponsor). Aware of this practice, sponsoring brands usually think ahead of how to counteract them on site or on TV.

Enter the web…

As Nike and Pepsi have recently demonstrated, the open distribution and viral nature of the web create a whole new path for ambush marketing. In the “Write the Future” campaign, Nike produced a video starring their top-tier talent.

They then used the web as an initial distribution ground. Two weeks and 15 million-plus views later, Nike has created a brand association with soccer, and likely the World Cup itself. Adidas also produced a very compelling video using talent as well — only it debuted a bit later and was far less seen or distributed. While Adidas may have a significant TV or local presence planned over the next two weeks, it got hijacked online.

So what can a brand do to protect itself, or alternately, what can you do to best position yourself to steal someone else’s thunder?

Start early!!!!

While you might not be able to own the conversation, you can at least start it. Plan far in advance — it is better to be a bit early to the party than to miss it completely. Starting the conversation immediately allows you to insert yourself into it.

Spend early!!!!

Don’t just plan your viral campaign to start early — adjust some of the spending cycle as well. Social media, rapid news cycles and thousands of bloggers are all affecting marketing plans in ways no one would have predicted 10 years ago.

With these new tools, people have more outlets to talk about big events way in advance and websites actually have incentives to do so to increase search and other referral traffic. As a result, there is no shortage of relevant content to associate with from a very early stage, and users are in the right mindset well in advance of where they were years ago.

As a frame of reference, type World Cup 2010 into Google — you get 196,000,000 results. Think about that –- there are close to 200,000,000 million pages that have already been indexed about the topic and the event hasn’t even started yet.

Be Clear as well. While I assume that event sponsors have many restrictions on how they can market their association, it is increasingly clear that subtlety does not work online. As creative as the Adidas video is, it does not directly refer to their sponsorship.

Wow factor

It seems that the High Jackers always have more bling than the High Jackee. The videos produced by Nike and Pepsi both have what I call “the wow factor.” You watch the video and want to share it as a result of the story and creativity. Adidas and Coke also produced high quality content that was interesting and compelling –- but needed more “wow” to succeed online.

Target an audience

Targeting a specific audience may seem like impractical advice when talking about events like the Super Bowl or Olympics, which are inherently broad and have mass appeal. In reality though, you need a core group of evangelists to help spread the word for you, or you will never reach the broad audiences. Reach out to these evangelists early, let them know what is coming and get them excited.

In today’s world, the web and social media are rewriting the rules of marketing. This presents both new opportunities and challenges for brands, but in any event, it is a factor that must be considered when hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships are on the line.

Branding Yourself

Unfortunately, a lot of smart professionals are seeing pink slips and hearing the dreaded news: “Your position is being dissolved.”

First off, don’t take it personal. Many of these dismissals are consequences of the horrific economy and companies being mismanaged; not individuals doing a bad job. A confident attitude will get you a new job. Beating yourself up will just delay the process.

You’ve got to focus all your energies on steps forward; not being mad, resentful, or just plain peeved. Realistically, this life change could be your biggest opportunity in disguise.

Start by asking yourself

Do you want to stay in your field or try something new?

The answer to this question will direct your personal brand action plan.

If you like what you’ve been doing and want to remain in your industry and find a similar position, your mission is to sharpen your authoritative profile and your brand as an expert in your space.

Or, do you want to shift gears, try a new industry or seek a different professional role?

Then your game plan should aim to transform your skill set, expertise, communications, and branding tools to say clearly: “Yes, I can do that too.”

Here are 10 things you can do to strengthen your personal brand to get the ultimate career position you want.

1) Update your resume so it reflects your brand.

Make sure it’s concise and authentic to the real you. Address your experience, your points of distinction and your passions; what you love to do. If you are seeking a leadership position, highlight results and don’t blab on about small tasks. If grammar is not your thing, invest in a professional editor to proof your document. Has there been business publicity on you? Have you had anything published? If so, consider including these as “mentions” in your resume and have them scanned and ready to present professionally.

2) Be overtly mindful of your attitude; it’s one of your strongest brand messaging weapons.

No matter how upset you are about your recent career turn or how much you think your former company or boss did you wrong, a positive attitude will take you the distance. Whining or badmouthing anyone can kill your chances of getting your new opportunity.

3) Evaluate all your communication touch points and make sure they are “on brand”.

If you are a creative person, make sure everything echoes that style. If administration is your strong suit, demonstrate your organized management attributes with how well you write and have solved problems. Touch points include: how you answer all of your phones, what your email signature says and looks like, and what your thank-you notes say about you. Also, professional business cards that are consistent with your brand persona are a must.

4) Update all your social networking profiles and find niche networks relevant to your industry and desired career post.

Create a standard copy platform that tells your professional story accurately. Use the same photo on all your profiles; this is a great way visually brand yourself. And make sure it’s a flattering photo that is appropriate for your desired line of work. Also, do not post anything you would not want a potential employer to read.

5) Secure your own name URL.

Like for me. For a few bucks, this is a good investment. When people conduct a search on you, you can control what shows up on the top results page. This home page can be a simple contact page; positioning a bio and photo all consistent to your personal and professional brand.

6) Have your ideal career pitch down.

Be articulate, both verbally and in written form. When you are out at events, you should be able to state clearly what you are looking for with confidence, and the same goes in written communications. Have your friends pop quiz you.

7) Be at the right events and dress the part.

Identify the networking events where the potential to meet the right people is great. While you may be comfortable attending events with your buddies, unless your buddies are writing you checks, that’s a waste of time. Concentrate on the places your job prospects will be. Your wardrobe is part of your personal brand packaging—look the product that you are representing. First impressions are just that.

8) Follow up is a key opportunity to planting your brand further.

Handwritten notes show initiative and are another avenue for branded communication. Don’t rely on email for your follow up. The cost of stamp and personal note is wise investment.

9) Surround yourself with credible fans and ask for professional recommendations.

Brand-by-association is a reality. Your choice of friends and colleagues can add or detract from your brand status. Make sure you have a good collection of recommendations on your professional profiles like Linkedin. Then re-purpose these recommendations in your resume and other communication to hiring prospects.

10) Be proactive and goal focused.

It’s unlikely the ideal career opportunity will show up at your door. Be assertive and proactive. Ask yourself every day, are my actions aligned with my goals and on brand.

Finding your next career opportunity does not have to be like a root canal without Novocain.

Your personal brand has a lot of power. It can be the tipping factor with a referral or employment prospect. Your personal brand, just like those of products and companies, is the sum of all you do.

Leverage your brand, who you are, your distinct attributes, your purpose, your personality and your promise. It can help pave the way the best career chapter yet.

The Dick Tracy Wristwatch is Here Already.

Mobile marketing is on the cusp of moving markets and deserves consideration as part of the marketing mix for a wide variety of products and services.
Mr. Spock as Dick Tracy?

No longer the province of teenagers or a gadget only perpetrated by nerdy early adopters, mobile media is gaining widespread use as new phones and new software make the Internet accessible everywhere. In no time we’ll all be tethered to the digital grid; connected by a single multi-functional device.

Consider several recent developments:

1) Almost two-thirds (63%) of cell phone users have received e-mail, used text messaging or obtained news and sports information on their phones.

2) More than one-third (38%) of mobile phone users access the Internet from their phone.

3) There are 40 million smart phones in use, closing in on 20 percent of the cell phones in use and the market is growing driven by iPhones and Blackberry Pearls and Curves.

4) 130 million phones have “highly capable Internet browsers” and the IBM Institute for Business Value survey recently found that 40% of those surveyed had Internet data plans in-use and that a third of those had already watched a video on their phones.

Once you start watching video on your phone, 45% begin to do it regularly which according to Black Arrow comes up to 800 million hours of mobile video viewing, still a tiny slice of the 389 billion hours of broadcast TV watched, but a bell weather nonetheless.

Evidently we have begun to solve the technical issues of compression, design and compatibility that bring the Internet off the desktop and out of the laptop and into our on-the-go daily lives. You can bet this trend will continue. Continuous improvements in speed, signal clarity and software integration will lead to a single compact, personalized device that becomes an indispensable tool for managing communication, interaction, commerce and most practical aspects of our lives.

Dick Tracy’s wristwatch videophone and the Star Trek communicator already exist. Soon we’ll all be using their progeny.

Then think about the mobile applications that people we know have already come to rely on. Many people use their phones to search, get news alerts or sports scores, interact with TV shows, vote or take surveys, play games, send or view photos, get directions or communicate with other humans.

Facebook access from mobile devices has grown 3X in the last year to 15 million users and many other social networks are making similar claims as consumers get used to the idea of telling everybody what we’re doing in real time like on Twitter and sharing everything we find, like or do with a gang of unseen others.

The NFL streams video of games to mobile phones. allows you to buy Craftsman tools using a phone.

A Disney-Verizon alliance will use cell phones to interact with kids and families while they’re in the parks as early as next year.

Progress in m-commerce is making the interfaces and downloads between websites and phones easier, smoother and less cumbersome day by day.

Soon mobile wallet applications will allow us to use our phones to fill up parking meters, buy from vending machines, purchase movie tickets, and check out quickly at retail stores and complete complex financial transactions from a phone keypad.

And while there are a few indications that consumers expect and will tolerate advertising surrounding these nifty new tools it’s not really clear how much and what kind of messaging will resonate.

Therefore visionary marketers will get started now and get smarter about mobile media and marketing now, during the growth phase while prices are low, content and merchant partners are flexible and open to experimentation and before anybody gets a lock on a killer app, game-changing technology or critical market segments.

Chinese Revolution Fueled by Capitalism?

Snapshot 2008-07-07 06-11-21
In 2003 Communist leaders planed to amend China’s constitution to formally enshrine the ideology of Jiang Zemin, the recently retired leader who invited capitalists to join the Communist Party. Despite sweeping economic and social changes, the political status of China’s entrepreneurs is still ambiguous.

They included the communist era’s first guarantee of property rights. Certain amendments are still needed to promote economic and social development, said the party newspaper People’s Daily. It said the changes were meant to cope with accelerating globalization and advances in science and technology.

Jiang’s theory, the awkwardly named “Three Represents,” calls for the 67 million-member party to embrace capitalists, updating its traditional role as a “vanguard of the working class” and for the constitution to formally uphold property rights and the rights of entrepreneurs. Anyone who has visited Shanghai since and saw Beijing last summer will attest to the populace there embracing capitalism for sure.

As someone who has more than a passing acquaintance with China, I see this is as a big change indeed. Even under most dire oppression you cannot entirely stop people exchanging goods and services.

And so it was in the countries of the former Communist bloc, although the private sector was not officially recognized, there were shades of grey in the ‘socialist worker economy’.

Former Yugoslavia, for example, ventured furthest in its recognition of private enterprise and some semblance of property rights and in return relatively prospered. Also in practice, Poland and Hungary were kinder to their small landowners and tradesmen than the communist ideologues allowed.

Nevertheless, there was no question of formally acknowledging property rights and any form of private enterprise by governments whose grasp of economics was based entirely on Marxism. It was one thing to tolerate existence of non-state markets and even benefit from them, but changing their opposition to individual’s property rights, so firmly embedded in political systems that were barely surviving, would have been a political, ideological and social suicide.

China’s development has been very different to that of Eastern Europe, politically and economically, although both were waving the Red Flag. The proposed change to the China’s constitution may have amounted to a symbolic amendment given that China’s entrepreneurs have driven its two-decade-old economic boom. But then, symbols can be very powerful. Once the gates are open as they were during the Olympics it will be nearly impossible to close them.
Snapshot 2008-07-07 06-13-23ts
The young Chinese love and embrace capitalism, heck they have downloaded Avril Lavigne’s music and images 38 million times. And that love affair with consumerism has created a new non-violent and more powerful revolution than Tiananmen or the West could ever have hoped to achieve with sanctions and posturing.

This blog was inspired by two icons I pinched from “Wheretonext_quotes”…thanks again for finding them
Snapshot 2008-07-07 06-12-22

New Japanese Magazine, “DJ 100 Girls”

Snapshot 2008-07-05 05-20-03
My friends will launch a new magazine this month called DJ 100 Girls. It of course features the 100 top girl DJs in Japan where the youth have gone DJ crazy in great clubs that seem to never close.

Avril Lavigne will have a private party at my friend’s club while she is here for her Japan Tour and great women DJs will control the mood.

If you are a fan of Icons this magazine will be full of them so I am passing on the link for you.
A second magazine will be launched in the fall called…no kidding, “100 Divas!” Yamashita san is the promoter and I am sure the launch party will have around 2000 guests.

Here is the link…please check it out.

Remember the Adage, “Location, Location, Location?” Starbucks Forgot This Gem.

Remember the adage, “Location, location, location?” Starbucks forgot this gem. Starbucks was so determined to meet its growth promises to Wall Street that it relaxed its standards for selecting new store locations.

In some cases, brokers say, Starbucks misjudged the risks of putting stores close to each other, leading to the decline in same-store sales that the company started reporting for the first time in its history this year.

It also overextended itself in certain regions, like in the South and in Southern California, which are among the hardest hit by the housing crisis, and whose older demographics and hot weather are not generally conducive to creating long lines of customers eager to pay $4 for foam-top lattes.

“The economy exposed all the flaws in their thinking,” said one commercial real estate broker, who, like some others interviewed for this article, did not want to be named in order to preserve his relationship with the company.

That “flaws” and “Starbucks” are even in the same sentence when it comes to commercial real estate is a reversal for the company. For much of the last 15 years, Starbucks commercial real estate executives were known for their rigor in selecting locations.

In evaluating locations, Starbucks looked past commonly used community demographic information to analyze nitty-gritty specifics, like the education level in various neighborhoods. It also studied traffic flow on both sides of each street, to make sure drivers could make an easy right turn for their java fix on their way to the office.

“Starbucks rewrote the book on expansion and how to grow multiple store units, really in the world,” said Craig Sweitzer, founder of Urban Works Real Estate in Portland, Ore., who has worked with Starbucks for 18 years. “No one had ever done that before, and now everyone copies them.”

Not so fast all you “copy cats”

Extra point…now that Starbucks has raised the bar for what is accepted as a good cup of Joe everyone can attack the seattle boys! I would like to thank “wheretonext2 for this telling icon!
Snapshot 2008-07-06 14-26-01