211. Critical Thinking: Brainwashing’s Implication in Education, Advertising, Religion & Government

Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Reform by Kathleen TaylorPublished in 2004, Kathleen Taylor‘s book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control looks at the history of brainwashing as we know it through the lens of neuroscience and psychology, defines the spectum of ‘brainwashing’ from persuasion to aggressive thought reform, and shows how strategies of brainwashing can be observed in religion, advertising, education and government.

Continue reading “211. Critical Thinking: Brainwashing’s Implication in Education, Advertising, Religion & Government”

116. How To Start A Startup: 10 Proclamations To Win New Clients Without Pitching

22 important lessons from this talk: Continue reading “116. How To Start A Startup: 10 Proclamations To Win New Clients Without Pitching”

102. Critical Thinking: How Cognitive Biases Influence Consumers Online

12 important takeaways from this talk: Continue reading “102. Critical Thinking: How Cognitive Biases Influence Consumers Online”

74. Generation Like: How your quest for identity & connection is subtly manipulated

24 important takeaways from this documentary:

00:10:01 “The icons of this generation are the ‘Like’ button, the ‘Tweet’ button, the ‘Rebog’ button. This is the biggest transformation that we’ve had in terms of communicating with consumers in our lifetime, and to not learn how to participate in those channels is outrageous; to stand on the sidelines is not an option.” – Bonin Bough, VP of Global Media, Mondelêz Int’l

00:12:48 “All those selfies you take and post on Instagram helped that company to sell for over a billion dollars. Send a tweet, and you help raise the value of Twitter to around $30 billion. Facebook is valued at around $140 billion. Those numbers aren’t based on profits, those prices are based on the number of likes they can generate; and likes don’t generate themselves.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:13:10 “Likes don’t generate themselves. Thats why companies need kids to stay online clicking, and liking, and tweeting. They do that by giving kids the chance to be a part of the game: fame by association. Reach out to anybody, and there’s an implied promise that they might reach back.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:15:50 “Social media is all about sharing; and that includes sharing the wealth. When kids with large audiences work together, everyone benefits." – Douglas Rushkoff

00:16:15 "There’s no point in not wanting all of us to help each other be successful and rise together.” – Tyler Oakley

00:17:57 “It used to be that if a kid didn’t have any connections, hardwork and talent were the only path to fame; and even that was no guarantee. But today you can build and leverage a social network.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:18:45 “(You might) have genuine talent, but that’s beside the point. To get ahead you need to attach yourself to others who have mastered the game of ‘likes.’ It’s basically just merging all the fan bases together. – Douglas Rushkoff & Liam Horne

00:20:50 "You need to stop worrying about your followers and start worrying about the money.” – Steven Fernandez

00:23:04 Lots of people can do what you do. What you need is a way to cut through the clutter. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:25:50 If you don’t have a zillion hits, then you generally won’t get noticed by a sponsor.

00:30:18 If you’re connected to a person and that person likes a brand, and then you like the person and then as a result you like the same product, then now you’ve got a double-endorsement to your friends. – Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:30:58 Get social media, then use social media to promote your career, brand, product, etc so that you get to the point where you have a social media network that you can sell. That is every SMART person’s goal with social media. You are your own media company. – Douglas Rushkoff and Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:31:47 Start with the research and strategy phase where you really dig into who your audience is, and then figure out how your audience uses social media to communicate… The challenges would be using that audience in the way that you want to use them in order to see the results you’re looking for. Instead of selling the product to the audience, get the audience to sell your product for you.  – Kendra Campbell-Milburn, Sr. Director for TGVLA & Douglas Rushkoff

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on how brands collect and sort through your data, check out my interview with Data Consultants Samantha Bilodeau and Thomas Palugan]

00:34:04 What’s designed to look like a grass roots wave of excitement is actually a meticulously planned marketing strategy. It may be catching fire, but it was doused with gasoline beforehand. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:34:16 Day-by-day, hour-by-hour; absolutely nothing is left to chance. Your goal is to create a controlled brush-fire online to the point where the fans are convincing each other. All the little tid-bits you give them serves as fuel for the fire you’re trying to create… That is how brands both keep interest up and prep for the next one. 

From the beginning to the end, every bit of the marketing strategy is being manipulated; a year out. – Brooks Barnes of The New York Times

00:34:45 Consumers aren’t just being marketed to, they’re actually part of the marketing campaign itself. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:37:02 Your consumer is your marketer. That is a real shift because it used to  be a one way conversation of the marketer to the consumer, and now your consumer is doing as much as the marketer is and getting the message across; consumers are wanting to be as much a part of the process as the company will let them be. -Jane Buckingham, President of Trendera

00:41:10 Surprisingly, consumers can always tell when you’re ‘pushing’ something. So try to keep it transparent and honest because consumers know it’s your job and they know that you have to pay bills. – Tyler Oakley

00:41:55 ‘Selling out’ is not selling it anymore; it’s sort of getting the brass ring. If you get a brand to send you stuff, that brand realizes that you’re important enough that you’re an importance audience to reach. –Jason Calacanis, Founder of Insider.com

00:42:17 ‘Selling out’ doesn’t even exist as a term anymore. You don’t hear young people talking about selling out; I’m not even sure that they know what it means. – Alissa Quart, Author of Republic of Outsiders

00:43:17 Can you really win when you don’t make the rules? Maybe that’s why some of them are opting to become the game makers themselves. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:45:07 A seamless blend of marketing, media and everyday life; every moment of your consumer’s life can be turned into a branding opportunity. There are nuances in how you present things that create different psychological responses. Don’t even call yourself an ‘ad’ to consumers: call yourself ‘rewards’ and ‘moments.’ As consumers go out and experience the world, the things that make the most impact are the things that seemingly come up serendipitiously. Serendipity by design. -Brian Wong of Kiip and Douglas Rushkoff

00:49:50 Kids take the very marketing techniques that have been used on them, and use them on one another; all in pursuit of the same prize. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:50:30 Getting likes feels good; at least in the moment.  – Douglas Rushkoff

67. Damien Sterbecq on Strategic Planning & The Collision Between Uber and The Parisian Taxis

Business Director of Brand Activation and Digital for Cb’a, Damien Sterbecq has 20+ years experience helping brands succeed in product packaging, retail and digital: the three main consumer touch points.

How does your job fit into the branding process? CB’a is the brand activation and design agency specializing in the three consumer relationship touch points: product packaging, retail, and digital. As the Business Director, I am the one who guarantees the success of our agency’s work. Over the past 20+ years I’ve worked in customer experience, digital, customer relationship management, advertising, and currently brand activation and design.

How do you define brand activation? Brand activation boils down to entering the consumer’s life and creating a deeper engagement between the brand and its consumers. The end of brand activation is the beginning of the traditional marketing and advertising methods and techniques brands use.

Yes, brands can use marketing and advertising, but it’s important to recognize that consumers don’t share “advertising;” they share content that is entertaining and that has an impact on them and that they find interesting. The goal of brands today should be to increase top-of-mind by creating useful, engaging, and high-quality content that consumers want to seek out and, by extension, share.

Begin by creating a real consumer insight that leads to a unique idea that can become the foundation of a brand activation campaign.

What are some brands that you have worked with? LCL, Banque Populaire, Unilever, Pepsi-Co, Edition Francis Lefebvre, FMCG

As a small startup, should I invest my limited advertising budget on an advertising campaign or on a brand activation campaign? Strategic planning is the first and most important aspect of any campaign, brand activation or otherwise.

Advertising is reminding consumers that you are still in business; brand activation is pushing consumers to buy your product instead of your competitors at the crucial time when consumers are in the market to buy what you have to offer.

If you’ve a limited budget – and especially if nobody knows you exist, then I’d recommend investing your budget in the sales and customer service experience and bring in profit and revenue. Then you can begin focusing on advertising and brand activation.

Today, your brand’s clear, unique and decisive value proposition is what persuades consumers to purchase your product or service over your competitor’s.

What are a few misconceptions brands commonly have about your industry? That television advertising is still the most important means of staying top of mind with consumers. If your target consumers are older, then yes, television plus web is the most important. But with the younger generations, the internet is your best bet for reaching them and staying top of mind.

Further, ways of staying top of mind with your target consumers are constantly changing. This is one of the reasons why I love what I do – it is never boring!

What can you tell me about user experience design? You have customer experience, which includes each and every touch point between the customer and the brand. The brand user experience refers to the experience as it pertains to a specific digital interface – i.e. on your website. This user experience is very important because if your customers have a bad experience on your website, it’s your responsibility and your customers will hate you for it.

But if you sell a physical product then online user experience is but one part of the experience. Customers will likely have more experience with your product packaging design than your website user interface.

It can sometimes be complicated for agencies when brands have such strong convictions about who they have to be and the opportunities they have to take that they don’t take full advantage of our expertise and experience.  They meet with us and explain that:

  • “We HAVE TO be like this.”
  • “Why do you HAVE TO be like that?”

Often times brands and their agencies don’t always agree with each other and most times agencies have a difficult time explaining their ideas to their clients about why we disagree with how they “HAVE TO” be.

How long can a good branding strategy last? Bill Bernbach said that “A good branding strategy can remain untouched for decades.” Well, that statement was said in the 1950s before the internet and digital. Today’s branding strategy lifespan is less and less than it was before. You don’t want to rebrand your branding strategy every year, but I would recommend taking a serious look at your branding strategy every three years or so.

The Parisian taxi services have had the same strategy for over 20 years. Why would they change? However Uber’s business model and branding strategy has been met with an alarming success and has become a serious threat to the entire industry – revealing how antiquated and outdated their service has become.

If the Parisian Taxi Federation had been paying attention to what was going on in their industry, they would have seen Uber as a potential threat back when it was originally founded in 2009, and then an imminent threat when they launched UberX. Today the taxi federation’s success depends on how quickly and effectively they can update their branding strategy and business model to compete to this threat.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As of 19 December, 2014, UberPop will be banned in France for ‘unfair advantage.’]

This is also happening to smaller and unknown snooty bars and restaurants who depend on a steady stream of tourists who have no way of alerting other tourists to stay away from the restaurant. Sites such as Trip Advisor is making all businesses and restaurants rethink their branding strategy.

What are some problems brand have distinguishing themselves from their competition? First things first, define your brand promise and selling proposition that ONLY you can offer people.

I have a small marketing budget, any advice? If you truly believe in your brand’s success, but lack the budget to advertise it, then seriously consider bringing in investors who are willing to put the necessary money into your marketing campaigns.

I want to do your job, any advice? Build your social network. It’s easier to find employment and move up in a company when you have other people recommending you.