Ideas for 2008

uh, these links are for a "friend".

Link: Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A little more on MBCT can be found here.

When a western approach won’t cut it alone, try what’s been effective for ages: The noble Path. (I actually stole a the Bhudda book from the Westin in San Francisco this summer when i was out there. Tough reading, but worth it. )

A collection of blurbs on mindfulness, by Merlin Mann.

Brands Have People Too

Shel Israel had a post (Global Neighbourhoods: Can Brands be social?) a couple days ago that i’m just following up on. I’ve not read his blog before, but i’ve seen him referenced before. Plus, he’s literally written the book on social marketing. So, i was a little surprised to see the fundamentalist mindset about brands and social media. I get the sort-of syllogism:

  • All social media is created by and for humans
  • Bands are not humans
  • Therefore, social media should not be "done" by brands

Ok, so it’s a gross simplification, but that’s essentially the point. And, i get it: "Nike"  the company twittering is a dumb thing. But what about having a Nike-sponsored athlete twittering, with those tweets showing up at a Nike sponsored/managed site? That feels better, right?

Let’s not get hung up on the semantics of what a brand is. Shel’s right, brands are, at their inception, a contrivance, a shorthand, a badge, a symbol to represent the experience the product delivers in the absence of the experience itself. But, clearly the world is changing really fast. With social media, web, ubiquitous pervasive computing, brands will more and more frequently be able to deliver their experience  (either the experience itself or an online fascimile) around the clock, to anywhere in the world. Social Media will be critical for those of us who have brands, care about those who trust our brands enough to (literally or figuratively) buy them. These tools will be critical as we try to humanize our brands without being manipulative. i believe it can be done, i’m seeing it get done, and i think it’s critical for guys like Jeremiah to see this question through my eyes, the eyes of the brand guy trying not to be a human, not merely a marketer.

Branding = Experience

Some more interesting thinking on the changing nature of advertising and branding from Adrian and the smart guys at Zeus Jones. The gist is that marketing usually focuses on creating "moments", like when someone sees the TV spot, or is at the PR event, or reads the ad. But, he suggests, the majority of the brand experience is imparted in the day to day usage of the product, that the (to paraphrase) experience itself is where the real brand impressions get generated.

"I think we’ve typically thought about marketing as the creation of moments – communications, events, spectacles, launches, etc. Similarly, I think these moments make up only a very small part of the view customers have of a brand. Instead the vast majority of what informs a person’s view of a brand is the day in, day out usage of the product/service."

My hunch is that Adrian wasn’t always a web guy. Probably started out in print or in TV. For those of us who grew up on the web, with web marketing as the only real marketing we’ve known, the insight – "the experience is the brand" – is pretty obvious.

I wish, oh how i pray, that other marketers, especially the CPG marketers i work with, would get this point, and fast. In the absence of the product itself, the web  is just about the perfect medium to deliver an experience that matches what you aspire to deliver with your product. Let the mass media dothe heavy lifting on the awareness generating, then, let interactive tell your brand story and deliver your experience.