Dean Crutchfield: In the Press VI

Insights on the world of brands and marketing across the media and press, Bing, Microsoft, Unilever, P&G, Doritos, Michael Phelps, Super Bowl, Doctor Pepper, Olympics,

‘Search Overload Syndrome’: Bing campaign takes on Google
Nick Eaton, June 3rd 2009,

With Bing, Microsoft marketing push aims to shift spotlight from Google
Sharon Pian Chan, June 4th 2009, The Seattle Times

Soap Makers, Others hitch ads to swine flu

Emily Steel, April 30th 2009, The Wall Street Journal

Monster, Doritos score in big game blitz – Superbowl 09
Suzanne Vranica, February 4th 2009, The Wall street Journal

Pool fool letting endorsement deals go up in smoke
Andrea Peyser, February 4th 2009, New York Post

Ads glitz sacked by $lump – Superbowl 09
David Li, February 4th 2009, New York Post

Super Bowl spotlight isn’t all good for Cash4Gold

Michael Bush, February 9th 2009, Advertising Age

It’s so uncool not to be in the brand band

Jenny Mcartney, January 9 2009, The Sunday Telegraph

Free Dr. Pepper for All as Guns N’ Roses album releases is set

Michael Bush, December 8th 2008, Advertising Age

Dean Crutchfield: In the Press VII

Dean Crutchfield insights on marketing and brands across a variety of media and press: Subaru, Hummer, Obama, GM, General Motors, Microsoft, Bing, Brinks, Shaq, Twitter,

Thrifty Fans help Subaru Weather the Recession

Todd Wasserman, September 19th, 2009, Brandweek

Hummer’s next ride

Matt Vela, September 11th, 2009,

Ten things to think about hard before featuring the Chairman in the Advertising
Michael Bush, September 14th, 2009, AdAge

DJ plays up Obama’s cool-guy spin

Abby Phillip, July 14th, 2009,

What Did Shaq Just Tweet? A New Web Site Knows

Richard Sandomir, July 3rd, 2009

Brinks set to unveil an $120M rebranding effort

Natalie Zmuda, June 30th 2009, Adage

Microsoft’s Ballmer pledges big budget for Bing

Nick Eaton, June 3rd 2009,

Nike Quietly Goes Green

Reena Jana, June 11th 2009, Business Week

Robert Creamer’s Corporate Parasites

Big corporations becoming similar to fast food

Time to Just Say No to Giant Corporate “Parasites” — and Recognize Them for What They Are

Robert Creamers article on (note I said “on”) the Huffington Post, September 17th, 2009:

What’s my view? One cannot assuage big corporations innumerable depredations of late. Clearly they need to be admonished for having made peoples lives a misery, their optimism thwarted and the reward of big corporations existence becoming similar to fast food: Low in nutritional value, the health benefits derisory and a blight on the backside of humanity. As Buddha said on his deathbed, “Be lamps unto yourselves.” Looks like we need to strike a match.

Recognizing the CMOs role when it comes to crisis

Crises are particle accelerators for brands that reveal their fragility and catastrophe reveals four cardinal rules CMOs can help deploy with PR.

Recognizing the CMOs role when it comes to crisis

Dean Crutchfield, Article, September 14th, 2009, Advertising Age

Crises are particle accelerators for brands that reveal their fragility as we’ve just witnessed with bankrupt banks, tampered-with pizzas, poisoned pistachios, dodgy cookie dough and lethal drugs. In light of the innumerable gaffes “brands” make when dealing with crisis, catastrophe reveals four cardinal rules CMOs can help deploy with PR.

1: Expect the best, Plan for the worst

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” George W. Bush, September 1, 2005.

When crisis strikes, news and social media burst and formal statements are rendered useless. Stocks don’t have a memory recall button, but the public do. The problem isn’t resources; it’s about managing the crisis with a can-do culture and strong values of trust. Many claim it, but few deliver: J&J’s $100M rapid response to the contaminated Tylenol crisis in ’82 prepared J&J for the acetaminophen overdosing debacle in ‘09, but (what) did we learn?

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Captain Sully’s preparedness for the “Miracle on the Hudson” was a far cry from the sludge bank of stoic corporate puff supplied in the (delayed) response of US Airways’ CEO, Doug Parker. The same rang true for Merck’s smoking gun with Vioxx that demonstrated how much the company’s leadership was in disarray. Merck communicated greater interest in maintaining their $2.5B brand than their vision “To preserve and improve human life.” Their disdain for the facts took them 4 weeks to withdraw Vioxx!

Consumers may be forgiving, but a crisis can cost a brand’s reputation in a single battering: “The court of public opinion can put you out of business even faster than a court of law.”

2: Decentralized decision-making

Crises are too quick for lengthy procedures; you can’t hide in bureaucracy, you can’t be pusillanimous and trust is vital. Mississippi Power’s success restoring power in 12 days during Katrina was twenty “Storm Directors” with crystal clear assignments and a phone directory of people who could get things done. As the Storm Director, Robert Powell said, “If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, the manual is not going to help you now.”

Mattel had experienced 28 product recalls prior to the lead paint scare in ’07. When the news broke a team of sixteen opened all lines of communication with 300 media channels and its CEO, Robert Eckert, made 14 TV appearances and 20 calls to journalists in one day, a model for decentralized decision-making. A similarly integrated, multi-platform response strategy resulted in favorable customer opinion to Nestlé’s immediate action to withdraw its Toll House cookie dough brand this summer.

The Fortune 100 favor Twitter as a key communication tool according to a study by Burson Marstellar. As social media becomes ubiquitous and customers participate more, the role of the CMO is crucial in crisis as they’re able to inculcate social media to empower customers to play a key role: South West Airlines this summer, immediately posted updates on Twitter as the damaged plane landed, which illustrates the ability to handle the urgency of crisis communication.

3: Disaster begs a bold response

Marshalling a crisis team and a response plan are critical, including weighing the need for autonomy over the preferred unified leadership approach. Citi was the largest US bank prior to the meltdown and its fall from grace was accelerated by Robert Rubin’s “probabilistic” approach to decision-making that clearly misrepresented the severity of Citi’s exposure to the crisis that broke the brand and the bank.

Rest assured, when you need an ambitious, audacious and imaginative response, being forced on ineffective policies by some species of corporate bureaucrat creates a morass. During Katrina, with the cash economy broken, Mississippi Power’s head of marketing helped instigate a bartering system: electricity for fuel supplies with Chevron; consequently supplying the Eastern US and Gulf coast with fuel! Evidently, the more you want to achieve the more you achieve.

4: Check, Test, Check, Test

Brand integrity is compromised through fear. Studies show that companies who handled a catastrophe well have recovered and even exceeded pre-catastrophe stock price.

In a crisis fear is often the company’s first reaction that culminates in either a lack of compassion and/or stubborn refusal of the facts. Firestone tire treads were causing fatal crashes on the Ford Explorer, but customers were blamed first for over inflating the tires, then both brands publicly defenestrated each other for faulty designs and concomitantly fell into silence until dragged before Congress. Propitiously, Ford employees are currently being trained on how to better present the company via the use of Twitter to interact with customers.

Post adhoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this)

Decontaminating a brand doesn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Bad news is good news to the prepared. When you need to be big, strong, fast and mobilize a massive, sweeping redistribution of information to the public: Hide Nothing, Tell All. With that mantra in hand, there’s a phrase popular in the Whitehouse: “Never waste a good crisis.”

Is Twitter fait accompli?

The court of investor opinion is still out on how much value gets delivered beyond Twitter itself.

Remember Second Life? It’s (not) living proof of how short lived Internet fads can be, especially for adults! Is the same fate awaiting Twitter? Just look at some of the ridiculous facts and stats: alerting thousands of people from the floods in the UK and fires sweeping across CA, soothed stressed families and fellow travelers from a holed (up) Southwest plane, allowed us to shop where Ashton K was at and enabled the “public” challenge to a theocracy. Add to that the 44 Million people who visited its web site in June, that it’s the online choice of the Fortune 100 and is currently valued at $1 Billion is not impressive: At a recent Twitter conference the entire audience indefatigably believed that it’s value would be far greater than Facebook ($6.5Billion) within 5 years!

Why all the frenzy given that Twitter’s current revenue is a poultry $4.4M with revenue projections of only $140M by 2010. Why? Because real-time web is bringing a revolution to the web as we know it and Twitter is a key player that represents a whole new world for users, entrepreneurs and investors. Real-time web is exploding because high speed Internet, smart phones and technologies that enable the instant transmission of data and messages are soon to be effortless and everywhere: Currently there are 800M PC’s on the planet, but there are 3.5Billion cell phone users equipped to use real-time web. Tweet that.

Is Twitter a fait accompli? The court of investor opinion is still out on how much value gets delivered beyond Twitter itself. Can Twitter make serious dough? The same question is relevant to all in the space. With Twitter, what people are tweeting and sharing can be a powerful indicator of their personal interests and purchasing intentions. Therefore, these tweets house a rich new body of data that is currently outside the reach of the search engines. As Kimbal Musk, the CEO of OneRiot, a real-time search service said, “Traditional search is like going to a library. Real-time is the right search, right now.”

“Traditional” search. That says it all, but Twitter has a real-time revenue challenge.
On the one hand they need to keep ramping up their users to provide value for existing members, but if they push too fast to generate revenue it scares users away and if they leave it to late the business could die. Twitter does not wish to charge users fees, but in addition to e-commerce revenues e.g. digital games, could they charge rent to those 3rd parties keen to be on the platform:

On the subject of free, the tweeting optimist said, “The glass is half full.” The Second Life pessimist said, “The glass is half empty” and the post MySpace rationalist said, “The glass is twice as big as it needs to be.”

Ultimately it’s all about abundance versus scarcity. The new economy is about abundance whereas the old economy is about scarcity. Bundle these together and we could have some very interesting business models going forward.

Who is winning the war on Health Care?

Marketing 101 needed for right wing shibboleths

Those against it are winning the war: Shame on them for groveling at the sphincter of politically idiotic extreme right wing shibboleths. These kinds of mindless, garrulous attacks are obtuse, dilatory and negligent. That said, the plan is clearly not shovel ready in the “court of public opinion” proven by the fact none of us really know what it’s all about – “Could you be a little more vague please?” The Republican right wing shows that (sadly) you can build a communications strategy out of sound bite e.g. the popular use of the phrase death panels has been highly effective.

Let’s not forget, fear and uncertainty breed contempt. It’s the classic three ways we respond to change: anger, resignation or seeing the possibilities. We can’t see the possibilities because we don’t really understand the benefits. As Bob Dylan sang, “The answer is blowing in the wind.”

You can’t satisfy all the people all the time or some of the people all the time, but you can help all the people sometimes. To do so the Obama administration needs to apply the fundamentals of marketing communication – AIDA:

1. Create awareness. They get full marks, but where’s the beef? Facts are stubborn things and vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.

2. Generate interest. They achieved in buckets, sadly the wrong buckets because they didn’t properly communicate the benefits. They’re focused and too concerned about losing, rather than anxious to win (over the nation and media’s fears). Therefore, they need to be the ruthless enemy of ambiguity, so that we can understand the benefits i.e. sell me the headache not the aspirin.

3. Desire is built by demonstrating, not asserting. To win the Obama administration needs to help people understand and become vested in the plan: If you just tell me I’ll forget, if you show me I won’t remember, but if you involve me I will act. For that to happen it is not just about 50 Million uninsured people!

4. Actions taken now around the country are critical. Currently it’s like a sow trying to feed 12 babies with 9 teats. Obama hitting the town hall circuit is a much-needed tonic, but the stump pitch needs to be relevant to me, not just the uninsured. The simplest answer is to act and if bipartisan approaches are not going to work, the alternative is a rifle shot solution.

Branding: Cheap, Good or Fast?

There is an upside in the growing presence of cheap online “design” services

It’s often said there are three ways you can employ brand consulting: Good, fast and cheap, but you can’t have all three. Perhaps there is an upside in the growing presence of cheap online “design” services? Put simply, brand building is based upon what you believe in the brand i.e. the feeling and what you get from the brand i.e. the experience. Cheap online design supplies neither and therefore, promotes the power of the more sophisticated brand consulting offer.

As Peter Drucker said, competitive advantage is based either on price or on differentiation. The same goes for branding and design services. Let’s hope both win as there is plenty to share out there.