Website | Tweets | Feed
May 20

Trumpet →

Aug 26

QR code research is starting to illustrate the value of deeper engagement with the technology. “Audience members who interact with the code and the content provided by the marketer as 85% more likely to convert engage with the brand in some way”. And their use by advertisers is getting more and more common. Most categories will come to embrace this, probably universally within months. But what is equally as likely is that the average marketer/ad will have a QR code that pushes consumers to something of limited interest, like a coupon or an informational site. Neither of which do people necessarily want to spend much time with. An inevitable result is that QR Codes, for the most part as a format, will become unappealing (think about how much junk mail we used to open versus how much we do, today).

With QR codes (as with links, microsites, etc…), the quality of the experience lies in the quality of the content waiting at the other end. Unfortunately, people cannot see what awaits until they get there. What we see is a black and white postage stamp. On the other hand, with Augmented Reality (AR), the quality of the experience that awaits is previewed. Meaning, you see what the code is going to take you to. Same end as QR, different means.

When we have conversations about QR codes, we might consider leapfrogging the QR format for AR. Not because it is cooler, but because QR codes are likely to very quickly become more of an annoyance to consumers than a benefit. Because if they are constantly a trap to get consumers to go someplace that doesn’t benefit them, they will stop doing it. The reality is that you have no idea what awaits you at the other end of a QR code and lame advertisers will ruin it by the time the average consumer has a QR reader installed on their smartphone.

To give a preview of what is coming with Augmented Reality, watch this 1:46 video on Layar Vision. Then the only real debate will be how many of OUR customers have the ability to scan in the QR format versus the ability to scan in AR format. They have the device for both but my guess is that since you have a better sense of what you are being asked to participate with, Augmented reality, won’t attain the perception of ‘lame marketing device’ as quickly. Do customers really believe “New & Improved” anymore?

The level of engagement statistics for augmented reality are likely going to be the same as QR. But with AR, the % of audience that uses it is likely to increase over time while one could logically infer that QR will decrease. IT SHOULD BE NOTED that the most important difference between the two is that QR requires a reader, installed on your phone that takes a picture then transfers you to content on the mobile web while an AR reader recognizes the fingerprint and immediately starts the experience on your screen (not on a separate site). The better technology doesn’t hurt. But the real insight is the perception of the format by customers that may end the experience before it even starts.

Aug 23

Improving ROI (or whatever KPI you’re using) is constantly on the minds of those who want to keep working on an account (us) or keep running them (you). In our increasingly fragmented world, with alternate channels arriving daily, neither marketers nor consumers can help but doubt their command over the options.

Truth is, as distrustful of advertising as consumers have become, they are aggressively participating with brands that they want in their lives. And while you can’t control the popularity of your brand (in the near term); you can control whether or not you are creating marketing that invites participation.

In a business where word of mouth is an uncontrollable, immeasurable goal, participation provides something extremely measurable and valuable to brands. And, as unlikely as an ad is to cause a purchase, it is as likely to cause participation in a branded experience that is relevant, helpful, and, quite possibly, enjoyable.

A great example came this week from Dick’s Sporting Goods, when former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome “the Bus” Bettis encourages participation by high school football players in baseline concussion testing. A :30 second TV spot on the Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education (PACE) program does not directly mention sports gear sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods, a back to school event or a promotional cue.

Examples abound if you know what to look for. We have a client that wanted to promote eyeglasses and optometry services as they always had. But, in addition to traffic, their challenge was conversion, as more than half of their visitors left without interacting with an attendant, making a purchase, or making an appointment. We chose to create an opportunity for potential customers to have a retail experience prior to coming to a location (leveraging the fact that conversion increases by 45% when a customer comes in knowing what they want). Then we drove traffic to that experience.

Our approach is not rocket science. We are happy to share. The goal of our marketing programs is to get a customer started down the road to a relationship. A relationship certainly measured in revenue (ROI / CLV), but realizing that a marriage proposal is not the stuff of first dates.

Again, the attainable, measurable, controllable component of word of mouth marketing is participation. And, that is the goal of every program at Trumpet. Whether the ultimate outcome is a visit to a state, an evening at a horse track, new account at a bank, or quitting smoking, the sober, practical and realistic first step is participation in a branded experience. Because, you can repeat your unique selling proposition (USP) all you want. You can spend all you want on concept-tested messages. But, ultimately, what people remember is what they actually experience. And they share that experience across their universe.

Scene.

Jul 25

One Lucid Moment

Sure, Kenny Powers as CEO of K-Swiss in enjoyable. But how good is this for K-Swiss long term? They had become an irrelevant brand (unless you were on a high school tennis team) which makes this latest installation as entertaining as it is surprising. On a morning run (in New Balance, mind you) I thought of an analogy that perhaps I should have left on my run but here’s a go, anyway.

My father had Parkinson’s disease until he passed way too early in his mid-60s. And while the average day brought a man of diminished capacity, there were times when he was back. Focused thinking, memories of details that were simply amazing and lucid conversations that were as enjoyable as they were surprising. The question I began to ask was - are these moments of lucidity so incredible because of the condition he was in or were they truly remarkable. Would I have even noticed if he weren’t sick?

The same question could be asked of brands. This is obviously a remarkable occasion from a (recently) unremarkable brand. But would it have been as special if this is what we expected from K-Swiss? I guess it is preferential to zag from the land of irrelevant sameness occasionally than to never zag at all. But how much better off could brands be if their market presence were measured lucid moment to lucid moment without simply being present in between. If the conversation about this video has been about the value of viral, I think the point is being missed. The real conversation is about how awake is your messaging? On its’ average day, what experience does it provide for people and does it make them want to participate? There is an argument to be made, not for obscenity-laden stunts to revitalize your relevance with voyeurs of such things but rather, for more moments that make people notice and fewer that simply interrupt their day. What value do the later ones provide, anyway?

Lucidity in an otherwise dull experience is better than none at all but how would your day be different if more lucid moments were the goal?

Dec 17

Just in Time for Christmas

Just in Time for Christmas

Reading PSFK this morning and ran across this spectacular (and hilarious) work by Quietroom called The Santa Brand.  You can view it here.

And, this got me thinking.  Santa is a somewhat organic brand — obviously influenced as we all know by marketers, authors and song writers over the years.  But really, Santa is in essence a crowd sourced brand, right? Shaped by many, owned by none, hijacked at every opportunity. 

Now, if you had the chance, what crowd-sourced brand would you build a brand book for? God? The Tooth Fairy? The Grim Reaper? Hit the comments section for suggestions, and I’ll be thinking too.  This could be a great activity for the next Planning Conference.

Dec 15
a REAL placebranding challengeBeing a ad agency in New Orleans, we know a thing or two about the challenges of placebranding. For both economic development and tourism, our States’ liabilities have long been inherent — issues like political corruption and security. Sprinkle in a couple catastrophic hurricanes and a few million barrels of oil and you have yourself a nice sized boulder and a pretty steep hill.But I’d have to imagine this scenario (and yours) pales in comparison to the task ahead of the Ukraine Emergency Situations Ministry Convention & Visitors Bureau (UESMCVB) and their plans to start tours of the failed Chernobyl site. One thing that we at Trumpet prioritize in placebranding efforts is distilling the most actionable audience. Not demographically or geographically but categorized by their triggers and motives, how they seek information and are interconnected to each other in ways that allow us to efficiently create dialogue and generate relevant leads (not just visitor’s guide inquiries). I would imagine the discussion for the UESMCVB could include community segments such as:- “the nothing-to-lose terminally ill”- “people who believe radiation is a farce to keep us away from power plants”- “The Hulk” and “George Hamilton”We have long held that the majority of the value of a product is intangible. For example, the casual “Laissez Faire” attitude of New Orleans and Louisiana is not something that can be manufactured with effective internal communications. And the powerful history, culture, cuisine and architecture create an intangible backdrop that is anything but intangible. The art is how do you bring this to the hungriest individuals in a way that creates immediacy. For their part, the UESMCVB campaign could revolve around the ability to accurately measure the intangibles of Chernobyl. “Geiger counters registered about 80,000 microroentgens an hour, 16,000 times the safe limit.” Not much gray area in that one. Are you using the intangible assets of your brand to make your destination relevant? And what micro-segments of the macro traveling public are leaning furthest towards immediate consideration? Chernobyl has it easy — between the simplicity of distilling the most mobilize-able segments and the scientifically measurable intangibles of the product, this campaign would be a cakewalk! Perhaps I shouldn’t mention this.  I’d hate to tip our hand pre-RFP…

a REAL placebranding challenge

Being a ad agency in New Orleans, we know a thing or two about the challenges of placebranding. For both economic development and tourism, our States’ liabilities have long been inherent — issues like political corruption and security. Sprinkle in a couple catastrophic hurricanes and a few million barrels of oil and you have yourself a nice sized boulder and a pretty steep hill.

But I’d have to imagine this scenario (and yours) pales in comparison to the task ahead of the Ukraine Emergency Situations Ministry Convention & Visitors Bureau (UESMCVB) and their plans to start tours of the failed Chernobyl site. One thing that we at Trumpet prioritize in placebranding efforts is distilling the most actionable audience. Not demographically or geographically but categorized by their triggers and motives, how they seek information and are interconnected to each other in ways that allow us to efficiently create dialogue and generate relevant leads (not just visitor’s guide inquiries). I would imagine the discussion for the UESMCVB could include community segments such as:

- “the nothing-to-lose terminally ill”

- “people who believe radiation is a farce to keep us away from power plants”

- “The Hulk” and “George Hamilton”

We have long held that the majority of the value of a product is intangible. For example, the casual “Laissez Faire” attitude of New Orleans and Louisiana is not something that can be manufactured with effective internal communications. And the powerful history, culture, cuisine and architecture create an intangible backdrop that is anything but intangible. The art is how do you bring this to the hungriest individuals in a way that creates immediacy. For their part, the UESMCVB campaign could revolve around the ability to accurately measure the intangibles of Chernobyl. “Geiger counters registered about 80,000 microroentgens an hour, 16,000 times the safe limit.” Not much gray area in that one.

Are you using the intangible assets of your brand to make your destination relevant? And what micro-segments of the macro traveling public are leaning furthest towards immediate consideration? Chernobyl has it easy — between the simplicity of distilling the most mobilize-able segments and the scientifically measurable intangibles of the product, this campaign would be a cakewalk! Perhaps I shouldn’t mention this.  I’d hate to tip our hand pre-RFP…

Dec 09
Who’s The Big Winner?!?!??!!
While National Restaurant News is reporting an increase in average check, what is looming between the lines? One thing is clear, everyone is hurting. But fiscal constraints aren’t breadlines and the average American still appreciates not cooking or tote-ing leftovers every once in a while. The downshift of restaurant choices is almost tantamount to a caste system. Though no study confirms this (that we have seen at least), one can imagine that the pre-recession casual restaurant patron is now more likely fast casual. Fast casual may be more fast food and so on up and down the line. So while the categories are experiencing slight ups and downs, what we as marketers should understand is how seismically the customer has changed.
A new study found that prices at casual dining restaurants have risen over the past year, even though chains continue to promote deals. Nation’s Restaurant News says restaurant chains are promoting deep discounts on entrees in the hopes of increasing the number of diners and selling them items with higher profit margins, such as alcoholic drinks, desserts and side dishes. The average price for lunch at casual chains went up 13%, from $7.14 to $8.07, according to Intellaprice, a Boston restaurant consulting firm. Dinner prices rose 6%, from $12.98 to $13.70.
So what’s happening? Perhaps promotions are not as motivating to the suddenly more affluent (mindset at least) customer. If the theory that the demographics within restaurant categories are shifting upwards is right, perhaps we start evaluating the content of marketing. And not just against what your bottom line or national indicators say. Who is in your store and, more importantly, who hasn’t arrived just yet. This requires relationship marketing into which more appropriate content can be placed.The up sell strategy might be better suited for this audience. But promotions might not be the best motivator to initiate the visit. Imagine the result when we really know what is going on out there…..

Who’s The Big Winner?!?!??!!

While National Restaurant News is reporting an increase in average check, what is looming between the lines? One thing is clear, everyone is hurting. But fiscal constraints aren’t breadlines and the average American still appreciates not cooking or tote-ing leftovers every once in a while. The downshift of restaurant choices is almost tantamount to a caste system. Though no study confirms this (that we have seen at least), one can imagine that the pre-recession casual restaurant patron is now more likely fast casual. Fast casual may be more fast food and so on up and down the line. So while the categories are experiencing slight ups and downs, what we as marketers should understand is how seismically the customer has changed.

A new study found that prices at casual dining restaurants have risen over the past year, even though chains continue to promote deals. Nation’s Restaurant News says restaurant chains are promoting deep discounts on entrees in the hopes of increasing the number of diners and selling them items with higher profit margins, such as alcoholic drinks, desserts and side dishes. The average price for lunch at casual chains went up 13%, from $7.14 to $8.07, according to Intellaprice, a Boston restaurant consulting firm. Dinner prices rose 6%, from $12.98 to $13.70.

So what’s happening? Perhaps promotions are not as motivating to the suddenly more affluent (mindset at least) customer. If the theory that the demographics within restaurant categories are shifting upwards is right, perhaps we start evaluating the content of marketing. And not just against what your bottom line or national indicators say. Who is in your store and, more importantly, who hasn’t arrived just yet. This requires relationship marketing into which more appropriate content can be placed.The up sell strategy might be better suited for this audience. But promotions might not be the best motivator to initiate the visit. Imagine the result when we really know what is going on out there…..

Dec 08

Underwhelming Agencies

Ten Two Lessons from 2010 Media Mavens

Has it happened again? In sharing insights and encapsulating trends of a post-mass media consumer age, is it the clients (P&G and MTV) who are sharing the more holistic understanding of what is happening? Agencies, after all, are supposed to be exhibiting their value by showing thinking that can lead / help / impact (and dare I say ‘impress’) clients. Right? So why are we coming up with new ways to dress up the same old integrated consumer ambush reliant on one-way communications?

For their part, Stewart Atkinson’s challenge to focus on relationships and Colleen Rush’s mention of innovation research as far upstream as you can get it is dead on. Real relationships, not “strong correlations between GRP’s and site visits”. And innovation research described as more than simple focus groups and surveys is strong, but more important is the timing and role in planning. Ignoring the validity of the Hawthorne Effect, research that can instruct thinking rather than confirm thought is a much more effective investment. Together with the ultimate goal of creating relationships, these are powerful tools.

ANA and AAAA’s issue their warning via client satisfaction surveys every year. So even if the goal of an agency isn’t surpassing the leading client thinking in the industry, the goal should at least be catching up. 

Mar 29

PSFK Doing It Again

So our friends (and inspiration muses) at PSFK are throwing another cutting-edge Culture Conclave (Officially called the PSFK Conference New York 2010) on April 9th at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.  Now in its fourth year the mind-stretching event has always left us irrevocably changed having been fed a mixture of equal parts ingenuity, insight and awe. If you’re anywhere near, or even if you’re not, you have a couple weeks to make plans.  You will not regret.

Below are the list of confirmed speaks, with some surprise additions still to be named.  We’re especially looking forward to  Grant McCraken, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Ouigi Theodore, and the always provocative Rob Walker.  Check it:

Colin Beavan - Green pioneer and journalist aka No Impact Man

John Dimatos - Resident Researcher concepting tech solutions for UNICEF at NYU

Nick Felton - Designer and creator of the annual infographic Feltron Report

Zach Lieberman - Creative technologist whose work bridges the real world with the digital

Andrew Hoppin - CIO who leverages digital media to create political and social impact

Grant McCracken - Anthropologist and author of the book Chief Culture Officer

Shantell Martin - Illustrator & VJ who creates vivid video-projection ‘Oras’

Steve Powers - Contemporary artist who recently created the city-wide A Love Letter For You

Erik Proulx - Creative catalyst who inspires peers about their future; filmmaker behind Lemonade

Tina Roth Eisenberg - Graphic designer; and global tastemaker through her blog SwissMiss

Andy Spade & Anthony Sperduti - Creative experience builders behind Partners & Spade 

Ouigi Theodore - Visionary community-led brand builder behind BK Circus

Rob Walker - National columnist and instigator of Significant Objects storytelling project

Adam Wells - Design Director incubating new ventures & experiences for Virgin Group USA

                            For more information and sign up, go here: http://psfkconference2010.eventbrite.com/

                            Mar 04

                            Hogs For The Cause

                            Hogs For The Cause is not your typical New Orleans fundraising event.  What started as a kind gesture from friends and colleagues has grown into a full-on dedication to a beloved little boy, Ben, who recently lost his battle with a rare form of Brain Cancer, DIPG.

                            Ben’s dad, Ben Sr., is the Sous Chef at La Cote Brasserie.  Within the community of chefs and cuisine-driven colleagues, his family has found ongoing support.  This will be the second year Hogs For The Cause will take place.

                            "Ben and I have worked together since I started (La Cote) in 2004. He has been a great help and a part of the family here.  I have also watched both of his kids, Little Ben and Shaun grow up," says Executive Chef Chuck Subra, “This means a lot to me.  My wife and I have always been a supporter of the fight against childhood cancer.  This time it is close to the heart, but also a chance to try and help others who should not have to go through the pain and suffering we have seen.”

                            Chef Chuck will be preparing a Pulled Pork Butt + Duck and Andouille Gumbo.

                            MiLa Co-Executive Chefs, Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing, will be among the many friends cooking in support.  They will actually be camping out Friday night in prepartation.  Be sure to check out their Braised Pig Cheeks with Collards and Turnips.

                            This Saturday, March 6th- chefs, cooks and lovers-of-food will come together to celebrate the life of Ben Sarrat, Jr.  There will be a cook-off, silent auction, pig roast, drinks, t-shirts, more…  Entry and partaking is free, but donations are encouraged.  See you at The Fly!

                            Mar 01

                            Who Do You “Love”?

                            For our client thriv, we have been teaming with influential athletic bloggers to test out apparel, garner consumer feedback, and help us spread the word.

                            In the first 7 months at retail, we’ve had a lot of fun, learned a lot about how we can better serve love athletes, and we’ve built great relationships. (More on that in a future post.)

                            We have been blown away by the insights, community-building, and athletic know-how these bloggers share on a regular basis. One blogger we appreciate love, MIzFit, recently published a compelling post "Do the companies you love…love you back?"

                            With Great Power Comes Great Responsibilty
                            To me, this post is a elegant challenge to advertisers. MizFit is pointing out that the transparency of the web creates new opportunities for companies to connect with and delight consumers.  Companies that ignore those opportunities are eventually ignoring their consumers, or perceived as such. Opportunity has become expectation. Consumers are taking lack of “love” personally, and I think it’s justified.

                            Advertisers, marketers, and organizations, take note of some of the below reader comments (there are 70+ comments), and ask yourself,  who do you “love”?

                            "With the economy the way it is today I need to watch and spend my money only with companies who value me and my dollars."

                            "I feel unloved when company won’t even respond to an email!"

                            "I expect a great deal or so I’ve been told yet I reward the companies with brandloyalty and word of mouth."

                            "I will spend more money on companies who treat the earth well."


                            -Denise Gass

                            Feb 25

                            Fast Company Names Trumpet #10 for 2010…

                            Fast Company sets the agenda, charting the evolution of business through a unique focus on the most creative individuals sparking change in the marketplace.  By uncovering best and “next” practices, the magazine and website help a new breed of leader work smarter and more effectively.  Fast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.

                            The past few years have seen a significant amount of recognition of the innovative companies creating a new economy in New Orleans. Fast Company has confirmed Trumpet as one whose accomplishments have national implications. The March issue ranks Trumpet among the top 10 marketing powerhouses in the country. Fast Company writes of their #10 ranking, “Trumpet continues to craftily reinvent itself post-Katrina…”

                            We think that this recognition is good for the entire region. There are innovative, aggressive thinkers re-evaluating how they approach their respective industries and turning focus towards providing greater value and impact to clients. Fast Company has validated our risk but this risk was necessary in an industry that is rapidly becoming irrelevant and marginalized.

                            Big Thanks to all of our partners in work and clients, who share our vision of forward thinking and progress.  Cheers!

                            Feb 12

                            Who Dat in The Icehouse?!?

                            On the brink of complete and utter Superbowl elation, one self reflects on how wonderful it is to be part of a team and city with such stature and class.  What a unique opportunity to have the greater population (if not all) desire the same thing at the same time- an emotional explosion of happiness and achievement.  What an experience.  Who Dat to Dat!

                            Is it a case of the chicken and the egg or maybe more like a dispute over who owns the phrase “Who Dat?”  Did the Saints bring this joy to us or did we, the unwavering citizens of a ravaged city, affect the attitudes of those that compete for greatness?  This goes beyond football and is evident throughout our city within government, small businesses, groups that support small and start-up businesses and the citizens.

                            This is just a theory… but maybe the true measurement is alignment.  How well one is paralleled with partners in life and work immediately defines success.  Collaboration is key and unavoidable in order to maximize a true opportunity.

                            That brings us back to self-reflection and wanting to extend a warm welcome to our partners, not in crime, but in The Icehouse.  And above all in alignment- sharing an ultimate objective- to make our city the best it can be.  A big thanks to Urban Conservancy, Stay Local, Rehage Entertainment, Broad Community Connections, Creole and William Peneguy, CPA.  Our newest officemates fall under the umbrella of The Building Block, a hub of green entrepreneurs, and include: Solar Alternatives, Contects Consultants and Architects, FutureProof, Dan Leininger: Interactive Design and Development, Sara Essex Bradley Photography and Piece by Peace: REpurposingNOLA.com.  All of who have created a great team within our shared office space.

                            Feb 12

                            quote Insight is the enriched uranium that forms the atomic power of an idea.

                            — Trumpet Lesson
                            Feb 11

                            quote No matter what the product is made of, the brand is made of glass. (handle with care)

                            — Trumpet Lesson