This month, we celebrate the 9th “birthday” of Digital Natives Group. Normally this is cause for a party and some celebratory meals, but 2020 is anything but normal.
Instead, looking back I wanted to distill nine of the most valuable lessons that we’ve learned in these past nine years. Each year has brought new successes and challenges, and we're grateful to have picked a few things up along the way. Thank you to all of our friends that have helped us learn these lessons and get to today – here’s to the next one!
With another fall semester starting this week, albeit a less-than-normal one, a new cohort of students are starting their college careers, or just plain getting ready to start their actual careers. Throughout each semester, I try to always impart a few core concepts that I believe are useful to these bright and energetic students just starting out. As a new year starts in a weird, mostly virtual way, I figured let’s share them here.
You’ve probably heard before that great brands thrive from particular qualities, such as empathy. This isn’t a particularly new concept in marketing – and for a good reason. Aside from the numbers and metrics, we believe that empathy should remain pivotal to the development of marketing campaigns because it naturally forges the path for authentic […]
It’s been 153 days since my last in-person business meeting on March 12. Like most people at the time, we thought this all might be over in a few weeks, and then we’ll be back at it by the time things warmed up. And like most people, we underestimated it. In the past five months, the world has changed, and on a micro-level our own lives have changed with it. We’ve had to think about how to run an agency and keep our team healthy and humming during this seismic shift. Here’s a few of the things we’ve done to keep us going – for however long this might be.
The followings you build on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or wherever are not actually “owned” audiences. They’re “rented.” Like a rental car or apartment, you get to use these tools more or less as you see fit – but within the parameters of an agreement. You have to pay to keep access, and you don’t have any control over the future of that asset.
Like many of you with “laptop jobs” that have been working remotely for the bulk of this year, I’ve been spending a ton of time on Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, or whatever other flavor of video calling. It seems like in addition to every meeting become a video call, half of all phone calls became video calls too. (If we need this many video calls, with “Zoom fatigue” creeping in on us, is a question for another day.)
With this change, we find ourselves doing a ton of virtual presentations. As screensharing has evolved over the years, we’ve thankfully grown from just being able to share the whole screen, to being able to exclusively sharing an application window. Fantastic, nobody has to see our messy desktops and awkward notifications.
Like a football team, every brand has to compete to win. But not every team is the best at everything – some have better quarterbacks, some are studs on defense, and yet others might even have the best placekicker in the league. Each team team competes on a different attribute to try to win the day.
A smart, well-defined brand does the same. It competes on having the best product, coolest mystique, or even the most righteous morals. But, like how you can’t have all the best players in the league, you can’t compete on every attribute. Just as with the brand personality, the strongest brands choose to play on one or two areas.
Close your eyes, and think of Coca-Cola. What comes to mind? Probably the bright cherry red or Spencerian script of its swooping logo. Maybe it is the caramel fizzy product itself, or even Santa Claus. Or, for billions of people around the globe, the first image to materialize is the infamous, iconic, contour bottle. And beyond the success of the end product, the process which got Coca-Cola here is a work of art in its own right. This bottle is the result of the best design brief I've ever seen.
During these unpredictable times, pressing questions loom over the heads of social marketers and clients alike: “what now, and where do we go from here?” Living in the era of social distancing presents unique challenges, and learning how to navigate these roadblocks becomes of even more importance.
It should go without saying, but please for the love of all that is good, do not use the Coronavirus to make your marketing cute or topical. You may think it’s a good idea, but it’s not even close. Making a witty or quirky Coronavirus post, ad, video, or email has very little upside, and very high downside. Every single year, you see roundups of tasteless tweets from brands around 9/11 or Pearl Harbor – and you don’t want to be on top of the inevitable listicle of crass content.