Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AOL Stays Relevant

Google. Facebook. Apple. Amazon. If the biggest battles of the digital space are being waged by these four companies, how can an Internet 1.0 brand stay relevant? By doing what AOL is doing; morphing into a media company and using its reach for Good.

15 million viewers. Billions of impressions. Every day, a focus on a different charitable organization, many of which are small and could never afford to buy an ad on AOL's main page. News isn't always bad; sometimes it's inspiring. This effort casts a halo around the whole AOL brand, in addition to its Working Mothers best places to work status, and their Monster Help Day (an internal volunteer hours effort). 

Adweek calls it "the biggest reboot in the history of digital media," and credits CEO Tim Armstrong with bringing vision and purpose to the ranks, and to the brand. 

On the AOL Impact about page, they say, "All around us, people and charities are doing amazing things. AOL Impact is here to connect you to the greater good, and make it easy to discover a new cause every day. There are many ways to get involved, whether it's giving money, serving lunch at a foodbank, reading to kids, or simply spreading the word about causes that catch your attehction. AOL Impact is a place to explore, participate and share. We don't profit from the charities we feature, or any donations you make. This site is our small way to support all the good in the world, with the hope of inspiring even more. We hope that you visit every day to get your daily dose of good."

Is it paying off? Their reach has improved, and their media prices have inched up over the past year. They are incredibly effective at behavioral targeting for advertisers as well - all good signs for a media company, let alone one of the "old" digital brands. It's called staying power. And it is ... Good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cannes Lion 2012 Grand Prix For Good: Help Remedies/Droga5

I wonder if any ad agency has done more for the world than Droga5.

First is wat the Tap Project with Unicef. Then the Millenium Project for NY Public Schools. Now this. (Let me know if I've missed one.)

They prove yet again, that combining a mass CPG product with cause - this time in a very tangible, participatory way (not just a corporate donation) - everybody wins. Including Droga5 who just won the 2012 Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Good.

Imagine this is your client. Imagine the problem solving sessions that birthed this idea. Perhaps someone said, "Can a band aid solve a global health issue?" Or maybe someone asked, "How can we catch all the little drops of blood out there and signe 'em up to help?" However it happened, they took two heretofore unrelated organizations and found an ingenious way to link them.

If you're a marketer, maybe the biggest solution isn't in getting the biggest director to shoot a Superbowl spot. Maybe it's in redefining the problem itself to be as big as possible. What if the goal is bigger than awareness, consideration, preference, sales - bigger than getting people to "Like" your brand.

Take on something bigger than creating an ad campaign. Your ideas will grow big enough to solve it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Try to ignore it. It won't go away.

I've been neglectful. I haven't posted consistently for too long. Still, this blog attracts readers. 30,753 page views, to be exact. It's a milestone.

I don't think it has much to do with me. I think it has to do with the interest in Marketing+Good. Marketers want examples; they want to see how it works.

And consumers like to see brands doing "Good" too. Maybe a few of them have stopped by, seen what the brands in these pages are up to, and become fans.

Last December I saw a TV spot that made my jaw drop. Not because it was hilarious, but because it was for such a huge brand, in such a critical time of year, and the spot had NOTHING to do with the holidays. It was a gutsy move by this brand. Every one of their competitors was talking about deals and gifts, and these guys deliberately zagged.

If you know anyone out there working at Subaru national marketing department, tell 'em to drop a line. Tell us all how well they did in December. Did committing to doing Good with their customers make it a December to remember?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can UX Save the World?

I work at an ad agency, and like many ad agencies, we are evolving quickly. When someone leaves us, we often replace them with someone more, well, digital. We speak in terms of concepts, but also usability. We're discussing the "mobile mindset." We're measuring bounce rates. We're not drinking martinis at lunch.

 This blog is about brands with purpose that do good in the world. Big picture stuff. UX, on the other hand, is about detailed user design metrics. That's why this is inspiring: "UX for Good."

First up, they're focusing on New Orleans musicians, whose cultural history and livelihood need help. They got an event coming up down there - #ux4good2012 - starting today, running through May 4th.

The "event" will include feet-on-the-ground research, and ideation sessions. Interesting sponsors signing up, like ad agency DraftFCB. They work with big brands like Dow, Dockers, Kraft, Kmart, Nestle, Sony, Taco Bell, VW ...

If DraftFCB sees the power in Doing Good for brands, I hope it starts some "Good" conversations with their clients. How doing good builds loyalty. How the UX can be designed for maximum results.

Follow the UX for Good team in NOLA this week on Twitter at @ux4good.