On achieving Simpsons-size impact with other movies:
It's not just about awareness, though we do spend a lot of money to get awareness. What's key is finding partners who have that clever twist that adds to your marketing campaign in a way and doesn't just tell people when the movie opens but gives them another compelling reason to go see it. The Devil Wears Prada is a really good example of doing some really interesting things in that regard. We had the costume designer, Pat Fields, who did Sex & The City for all those years, design a purse that Anne Hathaway's character used in the movie and featured it in a very clever, natural way and then we publicized how great the purse was and sold it exclusively on Amazon.com, where they had a Devil Wears Prada store. It went over huge. They sold out in 24 hours and had to order more. We hit a chord.
Pio Schunker, Senior VP/Director of Advertising, Coca-Cola N.A.
On the keys to successful agency/client relationships:
For me, it really starts with knowing that the agency understands the brand and the kind of work we want to do for that brand, rather than the agency trying to impose their brand on our brand. It's critical to have partners within the agency that truly understand the business issues. That's really where the success and trust builds from. And I think key for the agency is knowing that the client is there to be their champion. Sometimes work sells through for all the right reasons, sometimes great work just doesn't go through because we don't have the money or there may be some business issue that comes in at the last second, but they know that despite those hiccups, there's someone on the client side that's helping retain that integrity of the work. We constantly tell our agencies, "Don't tell us what we want to hear. Tell us what you think is right for us. We'll challenge you if we think you're off course, but push us in a new direction." I really look for agencies who push us. It was a very deliberate move on our part to bring in a roster of agencies across design and advertising who would be those challengers for us. Because everyone gets complacent at some point. That's where you die creatively, that's where you die as a company, so we want to make sure we constantly have people shaking us up.
On risk taking:
You have to take a risk, you have to always feel that you're putting your job on the line to deliver the best creative that will push the thinking. That's the position I hold, given how important what we do from a communications standpoint is to the company. It will make people uncomfortable—Katie [Bayne, North American CMO] always tell me, "Don't feel uncomfortable about challenging, don't feel bad about having to push people, that's your job. That's what you're here to do for us, you're here to make us feel uncomfortable."
Katie Bayne, CMO, Coca-Cola North America
From my perspective, the complacency that can result when you've got good brand position, good market share position, is very dangerous in this world. In order to truly connect with today's consumer, you have to know your brands really well and understand the basic simple truths about them and make sure they're strong, simple truths, but you have to present them in fresh new ways, otherwise no one will see it. That implies some sort of risk taking in the media and the messaging you use, and really everything you put out there about your brands, has to have some level of risk, otherwise, you just become wallpaper, which is just adding to your costs of goods. It would be really bad if agencies just did what you told them to. Pio [Schunker] tells me, "Tell them what the issue is, not the solution, and don't be prescriptive." Then he goes away and gets creative that always surprises me.
Kevin McSpadden, Senior Director, Brand Marketing, eBay
On being a technology-driven company:
Actually, we're not. We're a people driven company. Technology enables us. We're really about people and stuff we want and love, and connecting those people so they can trade. What we know as a truth is that we can use technology to enable that and the conversation that we have as a brand to our community, in new and different ways. But leveraging technology for technology's sake doesn't get anybody anywhere. As an example, this year, we have been able to leverage what we know about some of our top buyers, and we sent them, 4.1 million people, a catalog with a personal URL in each one that directs them to a landing page on eBay that accumulates the stuff they are most interested in. That to me is about using technology to enable the right kind of interaction with the brand, as opposed to just technology for technology's sake.
David Hieatt, Co-founder, Howies
On working while starting your own business:
Trying to do two things at the same time was difficult. It took us six years to work that one out. There comes a point in every business where you either have to to stop the hobby, or make it a business. In a strange way, for six years, because we didn't pay ourselves, the company was allowed freedoms that wouldn't have existed if we had to pay people straightaway. I remember speaking to [designer] Paul Smith. The first year of his shop, because he was working, it didn't matter if he sold things or not. It allowed him to work out what he wanted to sell. In those six years for Howies, we worked out what we wanted to do with the company and how we wanted to do it. It didn't have to be a grown-up straightaway. It might have failed. That was the incubation period. It was hard—you're in a demanding job and you're going to get up early in the morning and do a bunch of stuff, then come back in the evening and on the weekends, do a bunch of stuff. It does, at some point, make you tired.
Eric Ryan, Co-founder, Method
On consumer research:
Consumer research tends to be a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator, and we can't follow the trend. We've got to set the trend and be visionaries—it's our only chance of success. When you take that comfort of consumer research away, it forces you to actually think.
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