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Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 4.38.03 PMThe future arrives on our doorsteps every day as a new opportunity. So why is it that some of us seek to perpetuate the status quo when there is so much to gain from moving forward? This is the story of a valuable lesson relearned.

We recently met with the executives of a national association whose members are marketing organizations that sell travel-related products to the public. We have a service product that enables each of their members to understand customer-driven best practices, implement them and track their progress (rating) vs. the norm…something that currently isn’t being done. So rather than market directly to each member, our thought was to work with the association and provide a new benefit to their members.

All was good, except for the ratings part. They said: “Why would we want our members to compare themselves to one another?” Our answer was pretty simple: They already do. Everyday, everywhere on the Internet they are being reviewed and ranked. To make matters worse, the rankings and reviews are subjective and unreliable; where one person says 5-stars, another says 2-stars. By providing objective data and reviews as an alternative we can begin to balance the equation.

But they politely declined. In the end, personal agendas were more compelling than actual progress. In this case, the individuals involved were at the peak of their careers – a few years from retirement. In spite of clear benefits to their members, an agenda of change was not worth their personal risk.

Is your personal agenda in line with your professional agenda?

by Dwayne Fry Brand Futurist/Minister of Strategy/Department of Idealists


Stop the press. Hold the elevator.

No one move. I just read an article about how marketers could best connect with my generation this summer, and, wait for it…, “social media” was only mentioned once. No, really, only once.

In an AdAge article last month, Charlie Horsey, President-CEO of MKTG, ventures to describe a method for engaging Gen-Yers in ways other than following a company on Twitter or “liking” them on Facebook. Sorry, Mark. And I, for one, am elated that someone finally gets it. I assure you, not all of us spend our days connected to Facebook like paparazzi to Lady Gaga (what’s left of her, at least).

At more than 60 million strong, we’ve earned the reputation for wanting to discover products ourselves and to make buying decisions on our own, which Horsey purports is marketers’ biggest challenge to overcome. However, a connection with my generation can be made, and once a brand is on our radar, we’ll be loyal to it for some time to come.

Read the article to find out exactly which four ways are recommended for making the critical connection to the Gen Y consumer.

by Chris Barbee Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: © Facebook


A recent Advertising Age article, “From the Big Screen to Any Screen: Some Takeaways for Marketers and Media Companies”, touches on the current state of product placement, and calls attention to the intentionally blatant and “increasingly campy” ways in which products are being integrated in music videos and TV shows. For example, the article cites Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video, which provides “huge exposure for brands such as Virgin Mobile, Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, and Polaroid.”

So what insight can we glean from Gaga about the future of product placement?  More than you might think. Tongue-in-cheek product placement is nothing new – in Back to the Future (1985) Marty’s mother thinks he’s called Calvin Klein because the name is scrawled all over his underwear – but until recently effective placement was for the most part the art of seamless integration.

Linger too long on Tom Cruise’s Nokia or Will Smith’s Chuck Taylors and you risk losing your audience. No longer.  The line that writers once walked between noticeable placement and artistic legitimacy is being erased.  Whereas overdone product placement once detracted from our experience as viewers, it now enhances it.  As the article in Advertising Age hinted, nowhere is this more obvious than Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” which involves a kind of self-awareness that allows her to be at once artist and critic. She is able to blatantly push products in her videos because we recognize it as commentary on itself.

by Cody Short Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: Screengrab from Lady Gag’s music video “Telephone”