The Warc Blog

Linking brands and personal relationships: insights from Circus 2012

Posted by: Ed Pank, Managing Director, Warc Asia Pacific

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Living up to its name Circus 2012, the festival of Commercial Creativity in Sydney, has proved to be an engaging spectacle. On day two the curtain came up on some stimulating and thought-provoking ideas from the industry and beyond, in the Battle of the Big Thinking.

One recurring theme of the day was the dichotomy of connectedness. To explain: today as human beings we are in a state of 'always on' connectedness, yet what impact does this have on our state of wellbeing and physical relationships? We may all have smartphones but has this made us dumber people? Are we losing a sense of (offline) community and regressing in the ability to have meaningful relationships?

29 March 2012, 10:21
Style and substance: What luxury fashion can teach us about branding

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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"Brands are dead," we've been told, and it feels like everyone's out searching for the smoking gun. Did the economy kill brands, or was it globalization? Maybe it's advertising fatigue?

We can muck around the crime scene all we want, but the simple truth is that brands are NOT dead. Nor are they "back." In fact, they never left. Not real brands, that is. What they are likely referring to on the death certificates are category placeholders: famous names that are interchangeable for other famous names. Everyone knows them, but not for anything much in particular.

27 March 2012, 16:32
Shifting sands: the key challenges in marketing research

Posted by: Geoffrey Precourt, US Editor, Warc

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"The world of marketing research is about to be transformed," Bob Barocci, President/CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), proclaimed in his opening address to the organisation’s 57th annual conference. And he called for his organization – members, staff, and affiliates – to step up to the challenge. "When the ARF stops learning," he said, "the [marketing research] industry stops learning."

‘Shifting Sands’ is the theme of the 2012 ARF assembly and Barocci addressed the issue of change with a look back to the past. "In 2005, at this same conference, during this same opening speech" he said, "the topic wasn’t transformation. But it should have been…. The subject was learning." But, in 2012, he added, "We need a lot of learning to get ahead of change."

27 March 2012, 12:42
How to hack someone's computer

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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As the digital world becomes more and more complex, the need for deliberate, thorough security grows. Yes, we know, you've got everything "password protected." And yes, not every hacker is like the guys in the movies who are able to keyboard their way through complicated layers of encrypted, password-protected security faster than a gamer boots up a new version of Call of Duty.

In the real world it's a lot easier than that. And no, this isn't actually a tutorial about how to break into someone's computer or smart phone or tablet. Just an observation of sorts. A caution to our loyal readers, if you like.

22 March 2012, 12:42
MAP 2012 Preview: Talking with Robin Wight

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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Next week, Warc will hold its flagship annual conference, Measuring Advertising Performance, in London. The two-day event brings together clients, agency creatives and researchers to discuss innovations in planning and effectiveness measurement.

Among the speakers at this year's event is WCRS co-founder Robin Wight. Currently president of Engine, he's become a major advocate of neuroscience-based insights (a topic he discusses in this Admap article and this Guardian interview) and is aiming to win over any remaining sceptics with his MAP presentation. For Wight, mapping the brain can assist marketers in a host of ways that are not commonly acknowledged: to him, neuroscience isn't just for market researchers, it can also be used to assist creatives in everything from idea generation to brainstorming.

20 March 2012, 17:40
Information is Beautiful Awards

Posted by: Katherine Mawhinney-Kam, Designer and Production Editor, Warc

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"Information visualisation is hot!" say the team at Information is Beautiful and I'd have to agree with them. Creator David McCandless has long been championing the use of data visualisation and infographics to make sense of the vast amounts of information we're bombarded with on a daily basis and now Information is Beautiful has launched its own annual Awards.

Anyone can submit their own information art and be recognised for its combination of utility and beauty. It's $10 to enter and there's a total of $30,000 in prize money to be awarded, across varying categories. As you would expect, there's an infographic to explain it all.

20 March 2012, 12:42
Customizing strategy in a digital world

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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Knowing the right thing to say isn't something only people have to worry about. Brands think about it quite a bit. In fact, they have entire departments focused on figuring out exactly that. Communication has possibly never been more difficult to understand than it is now, when digital has entered the brand-communication game and changed the rules. Not all of the rules of course, but knowing which ones, and with who, and exactly how, has thrust brands back in time to where television advertising was at its beginning – bravely going forth and trying things.

Brands certainly have better tools available today, but that can sometimes just muddy the water. Knowing exactly where the fish are, as any experienced fisherman will tell you, doesn't necessarily mean they are going to bite. You have to know specifically what they want. And it doesn't get you much to stand there and count them. Especially as they are swimming by, in search of something else.

20 March 2012, 09:28
Moneyball in the digital space

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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The idea of using data to win the brand game is not new. But if the film Moneyball taught us anything we can translate to the increasing complexity of digital, it's that the players should never become more important than what the team needs: results. Playing a kind of "smartball" on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand's playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.

This critical need led to the birth of Brand Keys' Digital Platform Engagement Index (DPEI), the first large-scale syndicated work to link consumers' emotional and rational decision-making across 83 categories to the most widely used 14 digital platforms – giving brands a Digital Platform GPSsm that locates the cross-hairs of brand and digital engagement.

13 March 2012, 12:58
Warc @ SXSW: Key insights for marketers

Posted by: David Tiltman, Head of Content, Warc

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Warc is currently at the South by Southwest Interactive conference-cum-festival in Austin, Texas. This event has become one of the biggest dates in the interactive industry's calendar - so marketers need to take note of the key themes being discussed.

Over the next few days, our writer, Hamish McKenzie, will be filing some of the most interesting insights and examples for marketers. Here's a scene-setter from the conference floor:

We’ve reached the end of day two at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive, and so far the mega-conference in Austin, Texas, has been defined by two things: rain and queues. Neither has so far failed to quash the enthusiasm or the sheer number of attendees.

SXSW, the world’s interactive community has apparently decided, is too important to miss. That’s why every venue into which its nodes have spread – a huge downtown convention centre, every inner-city hotel, tents pitched on parking lots – is stuffed with lanyard-wearing geek squads. Overall, this is a male-dominated event. I count about 10 men for every woman.

Last year, SXSW Interactive attracted more than 19,000 registrants, overtaking the SXSW Music conference (and festival) as the most popular and lucrative branch of this huge event. There were more than 49,000 registrants across Interactive, Music and Film, contributing more than US$167 million to the Austin community.

Some folks waited two hours in line just to collect their passes yesterday. For one modestly promoted solo presentation about Lego’s use of innovation today (watch out for a piece on this on Warc), a queue started forming at the InterContinental hotel 45 minutes beforehand and went down the stairs, out the lobby doors, and onto the sidewalk. Many of the liner-uppers were turned away at the door.

SXSW means a lot of different things to different people, but it can basically be understood as a place for thought-leaders in the interactive industry – which is interpreted broadly – to gather and share ideas. This year it’s divided into silos covering start-ups, business, marketing, the future of work, journalism and online content, and saving the world (or something to that effect).

Big trends for 2012? Re-making the international economy; gamification of everything; the impact of big data; and the proliferation of community-based technology.

The first keynote came from writer-comedian Baratunde Thurston of The Onion. On Monday, Al Gore is going to have a chat with Napster co-founder (and Facebook part-owner) Sean Parker, immortality maven Ray ‘Singularity’ Kurzweil will talk about expanding our intelligence, and math genius Stephen Wolfram will explain how computation is going to define the future.

Stay tuned to the Warc conference reports page for the key insights for the marketing industry.
12 March 2012, 09:55
Halo effects as Microsoft announces game release

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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That squeal of fanboy joy you might have just heard is due to the fact that Microsoft announced that there will be a Halo 4.

Yes, you heard right. Halo 4 will be released in time for holiday 2012, marking the start of a new trilogy for Xbox 360 and giving gamers yet another foray into the world of the Covenant and the Spartans. The game is in development at Microsoft's internal 343 Industries, and this puts a lot of pressure on them, as this is the most profitable gaming franchise Microsoft has.

07 March 2012, 15:05

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