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Brandathon http://www.brandathon.com Thu, 25 Jun 2015 17:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.13 Building Better Client-Agency Relationships http://www.brandathon.com/2012/12/21/building-better-client-agency-relationships/ http://www.brandathon.com/2012/12/21/building-better-client-agency-relationships/#comments Fri, 21 Dec 2012 12:32:56 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=253

Bam! Work is delivered, so all is done!
Booyah! That is not what was originally agreed upon, so no can do!

Any work between two parties are complicated. And more so when the circumstances are that you are working for someone. That’s why we have project agreements, SOWs, and briefs, and even trails of meeting notes, and e-mails. It’s always good to have everything in writing, so that clients don’t ever, ever change their mind in the end. A spectacular job at that is what makes a true account person, a stellar superstar of client services.

This mentality, makes me sad. It makes me rethink what advertising is all about, all richness and passion forgotten, all enthusiasm and motivation lost.

Walk into a restaurant. You order a club soda and a fettucine alfredo. The waiter kindly takes your order on a memo pad and gently leaves for the kitchen. Then you notice that all other tables seemed to have ordered the meatball spaghetti. Oh, a quick change of mind, you think. But the waiter comes back saying, “this is what you ordered, as per my order form, and you’ve already confirmed when I asked you again.” But you insist, and your waiter says that given the timing, the best they can do is to negotiate half-way between the cream-based alfredo and the marinara-based meatballs (fettucine meatbalfredo). At an extra charge. Quality not guaranteed due to timing.

Now of course, it’s a totally different story when comparing a $15 out-of-your-pocket meal to a multi-million dollar project from your employer’s marketing budget. But the underlying similarity is the attitude.

Waiter’s perspective: 1) Order was taken, clean-cut and simple. 2) Re-confirmed to make sure. 3) Customer changed order. 4) Negotiated to meet half-way. 5) Received extra-revenue. 6) Delivered final product.
CONCLUSION: Extra tip for coping with the mess?

Customer’s perspective: 1) Placed original order. 2) Waiter came back for confirmation of order, as if not trusting me. 3) Market situation made for change in direction. 4) Had to spend energy to persuade waiter to change order. 5) Had to agree to extra costs to meet deadline. 6) Did not exactly get what was asked for in the end. 7) Final product? Not to perfection.
CONCLUSION: No tip to waiter for the mess. Never coming back to this restaurant.

Now just imagine the arguments that could go on in the conclusion stage. However, in the end, the loss is bigger for the waiter. Why? Because the customer will no longer go back to that restaurant. Will maybe leave a few negative reviews on public domains for the rest of the world to read about. Restaurant then loses a valued customer, loses potential customers, and waiter loses job. What next? Restaurant must do 200% better and harder with their existing customers to rebuild their image.

The moral of this story isn’t to say that you should do everything as ordered by your client. This analogy is very far-fetched from reality, and yes, there are numerous solutions to make both parties happy. And I’m not saying that the waiter did wrong – in terms of what he did, he did the right thing. But it’s the attitude I wanted to discuss here. It’s that thought that comes to mind without thinking: “You said that and proof is written here,” “too late now, too bad,” “are you happy now?” kind of attitude. That puts the other party in a very cornered position, putting them under extreme pressure, making it easier to build tension. I’m sure the waiter did a great job of greeting the customer with smiles in the beginning, but he had lost his trust because he did not trust the customer. Even while he’s smiling, the way he takes down those orders, the way he re-confirms all building to this mistrust – the customer already knew what the waiter was up to. So do not doubt your client, but be sincere, honest, and truthful in order to win back their trust. It’s not just business. Business is business because it happens between businesses and the people comprised thereof; and without trust, that relationship will get you nowhere. Don’t be a pretend to do a service, do a service like you mean it.

So, always have faith in your clients, so that they can do so to you as well, and always put the client’s psychological process into perspective, as well as to consider the detrimental damage it might bring to you and your business otherwise.



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How to Change the World through Viral Marketing http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/29/how-to-change-the-world-through-viral-marketing/ http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/29/how-to-change-the-world-through-viral-marketing/#comments Mon, 29 Oct 2012 04:30:07 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=249 Great example of how a city in Russia was able to fix its pothole problems on the road. Kudos to Ura.ru


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Integrated Advertising Defined http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/29/integrated-advertising-defined/ http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/29/integrated-advertising-defined/#comments Mon, 29 Oct 2012 04:20:04 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=242 Great video on defining “Integrated Advertising,” from the folks at Saatchi & Saatchi Tel Aviv. Wonderully executed and explained.

My only concern is, in a true world, how many brands can allow for a holistic integrated campaign?

Because in today’s advertising, as brands become bigger, there is no longer the old model of an AOR (Agency of Record) handling all marcom activities for a specific brand. Brands now utilize various shops, whether at the global or local levels, or by medium.

For example, a promo microsite may be given to a digital shop, while the content of its main homepage is given to a bigger digital agency. It’s TV commercials may be created by a hot and rising boutique agency, while its online viral videos by a top notch digital agency. It’s social communications on Twitter/Facebook is managed by a PR agency, while it’s print creative is given to their old traditional agency, all the while the old experiential agency handles all of the retail and POP marketing materials. And let’s not forget all the media buy that happens in the background by the media powerhouses.

So while the video talks about how consumers may begin “conversations” about the brand that add up to earned media, how much of those conversations of the brand happens between the multitude of agencies? I doubt many, or, the more they do, the more they risk losing their competitiveness. Then how can a brand truly, have an integrated message?


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Lesson to Learn: Turn Around More Often http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/28/lesson-to-learn-turn-around-more-often/ http://www.brandathon.com/2012/10/28/lesson-to-learn-turn-around-more-often/#comments Mon, 29 Oct 2012 03:17:00 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=236

It’s been a while since I last wrote on my blog. While there are numerous reasons as excuses, I think one of my biggest conviction would be the lack of care, or the lack of time. Vice versa. They interpret the same to any third-party eye. That’s what I learned from working in multiple organizations throughout the past few years. And I must regret, that despite my personal goals to keep this a readable and cherishable journey of my views of brands and the world of marketing, I have, myself, succumbed to the world of ignorance and the ever-cliched notion of “I’m too busy to care for the little things.” Apologies to any readers (thanks if you are!), and more importantly, to myself.

It’s been a rough ride. Multiple roles, multiple projects, multiple responsibilities. Working 9AM to 2AM schedules on most days for the past 3 years. Some blame me for trying to do too much (and for doing a good job on given tasks). I blame myself for trying too hard to challenge myself. Either way, looking back, I realize none of it matters. I look back, and realize that everything that revolved around me has evolved. However, I am still here, where I was a year, two, three years ago. Why? Because I was “too busy” fulfilling my duties, where frankly, weren’t my duties in the first place. Meanwhile, the rest of the world were doing what they were specifically hired to do, and that is what helped them move on. I, on the otherhand, despite numerous applauds from those I worked with, was doing other people’s work, not my own. In the end, when those other people receive the hoorays or boos, they move on. End of my relationship with them. I no longer had any involvement whatsoever. I am an invisible hand. And in the end, there is no one left to tell the story of the unconditional helping hand I’ve provided to those in need.

I turned around and realized I was doing what would traditionally be a 4~5 person job. Or more. And that’s what made my engine run – I wanted to help the team, the agency, and the client brands grow further, at exceptionally efficient cost/humanpower. And in the end, for me, I could not be happier to have led on so many roles and responsibilities that cannot be achieved elsewhere. But I turned around… To find myself in the same place I was when I began. All those who worked with me advanced or was let go, and I’ve become a solitary figure.

Yes, there are always great people around, there are always those who will take care. Also, if there is one thing I do not regret is that I always took full responsibility (whether it be my work or other’s), and did my best to provide the best quality work at the earliest possible timing. Yet, what I have learned is that it’s always best to turn around and clearly “see” what’s happening around you, rather than doing what you “feel” would be the best for those around you.




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Why Leadership is Pivotal in Fragile Industries http://www.brandathon.com/2010/05/17/why-leadership-is-pivotal-in-fragile-industries/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/05/17/why-leadership-is-pivotal-in-fragile-industries/#comments Mon, 17 May 2010 19:57:47 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=213 Leadership

In today’s economy and rapidly-changing market, any company can be fragile. One moment you’re behind your competitors, and one little negative influence that really didn’t need to exist can cause your share prices to drop in an instant. Leadership, thus, has become more important than ever. And leadership, has more effect than ever.

With my recent efforts to land a job in the marketing / advertising / PR industry, I’ve been hit hard with a realization: I should have entered this industry when I had the chance, and I should have had a wider network with professionals in this industry. The job search process has been very difficult for me, as I couldn’t find the right opportunity that would accept my limitations (no agency background, an international, not a New Yorker). But I’m a very optimistic guy, and someone who just won’t give up. But as days turn into now months of hard labor trying to find an opportunity, my level of hope has been decreasing. In a way, it’s been very depressing.

As an effort to really try something new, I decided to contact the CEO of a major ad agency, Kevin Roberts at Saatchi & Saatchi. Didn’t expect him to respond or even reach him. But he read it. And he responded. And most importantly, he gave me hope. He gave me the reason to continue my search, the reason for me to even try harder. He gave me words of wisdom, of encouragement, of inspiration, and, of hope.

That is how one leader can change a person. My motivation to work for the ad industry is higher, my morality is at highest, and I will do my best – not for the prospect of earning an income, but for pure passion. In any organization, one may feel at risk, or feel vulnerable to the amount of stress and work. One great leader who encourages his/her team, can certainly change the way they work, and the way they feel.

So if you are a supervisor, say some motivating and encouraging words to your team. If you are working under a supervisor, respond to him/her with how much better you perform as a result. If you have a co-worker, encourage one another too. Make it a goal to do or say nice things to each other once a week. Pick a day. Wednesday perhaps. It will make team work more efficient, more prolific, and more stress-free. It will make an employee feel at home, feel the inspiration to be better.


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Embrace Life Campaign: Seatbelts http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/27/embrace-life-campaign-seatbelts/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/27/embrace-life-campaign-seatbelts/#respond Tue, 27 Apr 2010 05:47:44 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=211 No words are needed. The visual does it all, coupled with the tagline, “embrace life.”

But it somehow feels like it’s directed towards men, fathers, who have families. But any how, whatever the case, it’s about saving your family, the people you love most. The part where the man gets in the actual crash is simply amazing: the glitters, like shattered glass, or like the glitter and love of a family torn into pieces.

What a wonderful piece. Actions sure did speak louder than words for this campaign.


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When Do You Crave for Oreos? http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/03/when-do-you-crave-for-oreos/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/03/when-do-you-crave-for-oreos/#respond Sat, 03 Apr 2010 12:56:57 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=209 I was thinking of Kraft Foods. And of Oreo’s. Mmmm… Delicious is what came to my mind first. Second, “fattening?” Third, “it’s just too bulky.” I know that the attributes I give to this brand can vary from consumer to consumer, but for me, the thought of ‘guilt’ came right after my instinctive thought of it being delicious.

(I know exactly the process of buying and eating an Oreo, just as I know it with many other CPGs on the store shelves. I will probably buy it from my grocery store, Giant Eagle. It’s in the biscuits and cookies aisle, next to the frozen goods aisles. I know it’ll be next to a variety of Chips Ahoy and Newton Figs. I know that there are some varieties of Oreo’s, but I’ll pick the original because it’s my favorite. I know that they come in pretty big sizes. I’ll probably leave it on my kitchen counter, and I know that I’ll give it a go as soon as I come home from the grocery. I know that I’ll probably have about a quarter of the packaging, but it’ll take some time to have seconds. Meanwhile, I’ll be worried that it might go stale. Also, I know I must have milk with it, because without it, it just isn’t as much fun. Actually, it just doesn’t go along well with water, juice, or soda. Now, with of this in mind, should I go ahead, and make the purchase, right now?)

As someone who enjoys Oreo’s, I know exactly when I will buy it – when I’m craving for something sweet, but something that’ll fill my stomach to a certain level as opposed to candies and chocolate bars. At this point, I no longer care about how fattening or bulky the size is, or the price, or anything else that might conflict with my feelings about guilt. All of that, I can justify – “I’ll work out later. It’s worth all the penny as long as I finish it. I haven’t had one of these in quite some time, so it’s all worth it.”

We all now know how great Oreo’s taste with milk, and it has become an association that, thanks to great Account Planners at DraftFCB New York, become more of a conscious trend – if I buy an Oreo, I’ll make sure that I have milk in my fridge. But to try something new, perhaps understanding the exact moment when I crave for the next packaged set of Oreo’s could be an insight that could awaken the subconscious minds. For me, it’s when I want something fulfilling and sweet at the same time.

It’s all about that moment you crave for something, that moment you think about the process of buying and using it based on your past experiences. That’s where the sweet spot lies.

When do YOU crave for Oreos?

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The New Advertiser Vs. Consumer http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/02/the-new-advertiser-vs-consumer/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/04/02/the-new-advertiser-vs-consumer/#respond Fri, 02 Apr 2010 07:58:37 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=202 Here’s a funny video on an advertiser vs. consumer, describing how the consumers have changed and how the marketing has yet to follow the consumer.
It is indeed true, that to a certain extent, the majority of consumers have changed. People are no longer buying what they used to buy, and people do not need to be exposed to advertising to learn of a new product or service.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should leap into a new level of marketing. For example, while my mother now owns an iPhone – just because it’s considered the new trend for everyone, she would still prefer to read a letter on hard copy rather than browsing and zooming in on it using the iPhone. Just because people adapt a new trend does not necessarily mean that they are accustomed to it. Until then, think about where your brand is positioned in the market, and more importantly, what your customers are more accustomed to.

However, despite the old vs. new, this is something that’s clear today as it was yesterday: the more personalized, the more welcoming, or the more engaging, the more the customer will be sure to stick by your side.


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Dongkwan’s List of Personality Types (and how to approach them) http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/dongkwans-list-of-personality-types-and-how-to-approach-them/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/dongkwans-list-of-personality-types-and-how-to-approach-them/#respond Mon, 29 Mar 2010 20:42:23 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=181 People have always told me that I have a knack for understanding people. Many of my little moments in life were based on understanding, and penetrating the sweet spots of people around me. I guess it comes naturally from my international living experience across various cultures (Korea, U.S., Tunisia, South Africa, Argentina, Romania). While the United States is one of the few countries in the world with a true mix of such various cultures, my experience so far has been that there are some general global traits in the way people behave and think. Here are just some of them (please, don’t use this in your college paper because this is just a few I’ve sorted, and has no scientific basis – Account Planners, please feel free to contact me should you find this interesting). And please, I have no bias against any of these types (it just happened I either had more, or less to write about). I sincerely apologize if anyone is offended by this generalization of personalities.

    1. The Douche-Bag:

Typically, this is the nickname we give to people with such traits. But the truth is, “douche bags” are actually much nicer than you think. These people tend to act as if they are the “macho man,” the true manhood exposed from every aspect of their behavior – even their stance, and the remarks that come out of their mouths. But these people are actually naive at heart. They tend to have a delicate sense of emotion, but they retaliate such feelings by acting as if they were nothing. And they detest other people with delicate feelings, simply because they think such a thing is not a thing for people like themselves. Often times, this is a result of early education or some point in life where they have experienced hardships for their timidness or shyness. It’s a defense mechanism to overcome their biggest fear, or a lesson from their parents to “don’t be a sissy!” To approach them, begin by being a fellow douche-bag. They will admire you, thinking you are a natural douche-bag. Then, show them that you too, have great emotion, and they will admire you even more, and open up to you with their true self.

    2. The Cynic:

They will criticize everything in their world from how a person walks to how things are detrimental to society. Because of their perspective on the world, they are often times very meticulous people – in order to state their expression of criticism, they will ensure that their own behaviors do not cross borders with such remarks. At the same time, they tend to be jealous of things. Positive things that they are jealous of, can become negative criticism. And they will have logical reasons for such things, and position themselves as the only people behaving correctly. But by and large, these people are… humans, after all. Their words tend to speak louder than their actions. And anything to prove them wrong, they will discover more criticism for doing so. So if you run into people who mock you for making it seem like you’re doing something really evil, simply, confide to their words. Never confront them, because they can argue with you for a long time, and your relationship will never last. Tell them that you’ve made a bad mistake, and say that you’re sorry. That will give them the sense of winning, which they love. But if you get sick and tired of hearing them mock others (which most likely you will one day), tell criticize them for the way they always criticize others. Find their weak spot. Perhaps simply telling them that they should act upon doing something rather than just criticizing can give them a small shot of awakening. That’s their biggest weakness, but just make sure you’re in a close relationship before acting upon so.

    3. The Dramatic:

Well, these people tend to be people who’d you might call a “whiner.” They consistently seem to have problems with the world, and how the world makes them the victim. They think that they are the only people on earth hurt on the outcome of an event outside of their control. Just as an example, these people are the people who go into a deep coma after the end of a relationship, thinking that what just happened could only be possible in a romantic drama movie. Often times, these people have become so accustomed to thinking that they are victims that others tend to take advantage over them through ridicules. Others make fun of them because The Dramatic people can’t defend themselves real well. These people also tend to have a pessimistic view, and often times, fall in deep regret. “Ah, only if I hadn’t done that back then,” are thoughts that often strike them. But the truth is, these people are always aware of the fact that they’re the victims, and while they might appear to be quiet, terse, and having a mellow character, one day, they will explode like an atomic bomb on Tsunami. To approach these people, it’s important to stand by them at all times, and to talk deeply about their problems, and in the end, to give them encouragement. Don’t offer advice like “you shouldn’t think you’re the victim,” but more like, “cheer up. Things like that happen in this world, and the world is a crazy place. Cheer up.”

    4. The Narcissist:

There are actually two types of these people 1) those who deliberately show that they’re the best in the world vs 2) those who believe in it in their heart. I’ll talk about the first instance here. These people think that all else is trivial to the stature of themselves. Things are repeatedly questions about “why would he do that? Why is she like that?” In a way, it’s an unbelief about how things are just lowly as they are. These people tend to have a very ostentatious behavior – not through their words, but through their behaviors. For example, these people would wear fashion brands that have huge emblems imprinted on them; these people will only consider driving a car in its highest class – the class that the general population would know about. (so, tweaking the performance of the car isn’t what interests them. It’s about the name and the make.) Everything has to be packaged perfectly to look good, and naturally, these people are very careful about what they say and do, and keeps everything organized and tidied up. These people are great planners – every thing they do is planned before hand. The best way to approach these people is to make them your king. Whatever these people do, they’re planned, as they are hoped to be acknowledged. So, acknowledge them, tell them they are the greatest, tell them their shirt is awesome, etc. Whatever it takes, just never insult them, and never disorganize what they have created – because it took them a lot of planning and effort to prepare.

    5. The Wannabe:

These people are also known as “flatterers,” people who tend to stick to the leader of the group. They are simply put, opportunity-seekers. They want the best chance to be at the top, and they will ensure this comes by great relationships with the king of the herd. While these people want the greatest, they have a tendency to at times, detest their situation. They are also wannabes. They will try and mimic those that possess qualities they admire or want to have. Because they are always following the pack leader, they feel that they are always second, and not the winner. And naturally, they are trend leaders, or early-adopters. They know right off the bat that something will be a buzz, and do their extensive research on them. They are consistently looking to find such new buzz, because they want to be part of it – faster than anyone else. And because of this trait, sometimes, a bad influence as being acknowledged as ‘being cool’ can blind them from what’s right and wrong. However, they are overly conscious of people despising them for their behavior of sticking (and switching) to the leader or trends. To approach them, the best way is to make yourself the leader of the group. Naturally, they will follow you. Otherwise, it would be really difficult for them to even notice you.

    6. The Conqueror:

These people are another form of The Narcissist group. While some may not have the leader-like quality, all of them for sure have one common trait: the belief that one is the best. Those with extrovert qualities tend to be the leader of the group. They are the people-person. The story-tellers. Those who can hang around with any group, and can entertain anyone. These people constantly want to be praised, want to be complimented. Any criticism is what they detest, and simply cannot take it. On the other hand, those with a more introverted personality tend to believe that they are worthwhile to be on top. They are often times very optimistic, because they know in heart that while others are being praised for, they know for a fact that one day, their time will come – it’s only a matter of time and luck for others to recognize their talent. Either way, if these people aren’t the center of attention, they feel left out, and will fall into a deep abyss of depression and disincentive. To approach these people, make sure to make them the center of attention. Give them all the praise and glory and responsibilities – and if done so, their performance will be greater than anyone else, as this is their natural habitat.

    7. The Rash:

These people are, under natural circumstances, are people that tend to act upon feelings. Thy are often abrupt, and always take into action whenever things come their way. One could call them hyperactive, simply because a small incident can turn out to be something far greater, and sometimes, malignant. But these people, on the other hand, are people who are truly loyal. Should you have a problem in a social situation, these people will be the leader to fight for justice on your side. They are proactive, and are those willing to die to save their closest friends and family. What makes these people really great is that they are down-to-earth, have a ‘straight from the gut’ attitude, and great honesty. But this doesn’t always turn out in the right direction. For business decision makers, this is risky business, as they can be focused on trivial matters and losing track of the big picture. To truly get mixed in with these people, it is best to be honest and frank with them. It’s what they truly admire, and betrayal is the last thing on earth they will tolerate.

    8. The Wanderer (and Wonderer):

These people always seem to live a mind of their own. At the same time, they seem to be curious of all things in this world. They are often times quite difficult to understand – “what are these people thinking?” They come and go like the wind, and there’s no real way of knowing what they are thinking at this right moment. Now this sounds like something out of a quirky person from a movie, but such people who tend to live and work in a more dynamic environment tend to be like this an emotional level – their moods change from hour to hour, and their logic seem illogic. Often times, they make arguments that seem out of the question and on a whole new level. These could be points of trivial matter, but after hours of argument, you could end up realizing their point of view – a view generally acknowledged, but they tackle it as if it was a whole new topic for argument. If in a place that requires a lot of decision making, these people can delay the process, or create moments of frustration. But on the other hand, they can view things from a whole new perspective that have been unthought of before. And what’s quite the most unique thing about them is that they only pay attention to things that they are focused on – all other things in this world are invisible to them. If you want to be noticed about your new hair-cut, it would be difficult to get a compliment from them. At the same time, they might notice a change of color of your shoelace. To be friends with them, you’ll need to understand and agree to their minds, and their own logical structure. It’s a whole new experience, which can sometimes be quite enlightening and fresh. The more questions you ask them to understand them, the better they will try to explain it in a logical format.

    9. The Wiseful:

These people, what could be a mutant form of The Narcissist + The Conqueror are people who believe that they know the world inside and out. They think they have experienced every storm, every facet of life, and are at a heightened level of enlightenment, where they see the world from a divine perspective. They admire the teachings of confucianism, of the holy bible, of the yin and the yang, and how balance is created through tranquility, inner peace, and inner harmony. But part of this is for an ostentatious effort to seem like one, and often times, find themselves contradicting their own words. They believe that every word they speak is like a quote from a nobleman. However, their weakness lies in that once they are unconscious of their wisdom behavior, they act in a total different way that would totally contradict their own words. Yet the greatest thing about these people is that they will continuously develop to become a wiser human being. They will find fault within themselves after regaining conscience, and will remedy that through hard meditation and seeking patience within. And they live to help others make the right decisions. They truly want to help others through words, and want to influence the world as they see it. They believe they have the answers, and often times, can get frustrated when their words are not acknowledged. To approach these people, it is best to seek for advice – the more advice one seeks from them, the more they feel enlightened, and satisfied for providing a guide to their fellows.

I know generalization is an evil things to do, but I just wanted to share some of my perspectives of a common trait I found during my multi-cultural life. People are people. No matter what people eat, speak, wear, or believe, people’s personalities tend to reveal many common traits.

Any more to add? Let me know at dk@brandathon.com

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The Right Sales Techniques http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/the-right-sales-pitch-techniques/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/the-right-sales-pitch-techniques/#respond Mon, 29 Mar 2010 13:38:28 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=182 Ogilvy’s digital agency, OgilvyOne recently began a YouTube competition to become the world’s greatest salesperson.

As part of the brief for this competition, they created some hilarious videos on some sales techniques.

However, contrary to such videos, many pitches I have faced were far from these – they weren’t hilarious, nor were they relevant. But in fact, they were intimidating. They were so intimidating that I would never, ever want to go to the same store again, I will never, ever walk receive such a call again. In reality, this sort of aggressive selling seems to be practiced more often, which in fact, seems detrimental to the brand. In today’s world of information, where one can gain the necessary information from a passive method, such approaches are surely overwhelming. While these videos are an exaggeration of good sales in place, perhaps they do provide some good examples of how today’s consumers can be better persuaded.


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The Death of Brands and Celebrities http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/the-death-of-brands-and-celebrities/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/29/the-death-of-brands-and-celebrities/#respond Mon, 29 Mar 2010 11:40:56 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=179 In this morning’s paper, a Korean singer & actor celebrity named Jin-Young Choi committed suicide. He was the younger brother of his sister, Jin-Sil Choi, probably one of Korea’s most famous actresses who committed suicide just a couple of years ago. This marks yet another trend of celebrity suicide in Korea, what is seemingly becoming a chain reaction of such saddening events.

From a psychological point of view, such events are understandable. Given the highly competitive industry for celebrity professionals in Korea, under pressure from young rising stars, yet in a cluttered society with an extremely high population density, Korean celebrities cannot even step out of their doorstep without being confronted by a total stranger who would begin gossiping about the sighting of a celebrity. In a country where even the top celebrities live in an apartment complex amongst laypersons, it is highly likely that they have no freedom for privacy. I mean, think about it, most Korean celebrities date in their underground parking lot inside their cars. That’s something ain’t it?

As such trends continue, I fear that there will be more to come. But my point it, in this competitive world, the same goes for the top brands out there. One second, they are at the top of their market. The next second, through digital and viral marketing and a new sense of taste of its customers, brands will lose their share in a split second. This could mean the death of brands, or the survival of the fittest. Perhaps a smarter move towards survival in this competitive world is to ensure that:

1. The brands stays on top of every micro-level moment, making sure that every move, every little thing that relates to the brand does not reflect a negative PR in even the most unexpected situations

2. Make sure to go beyond a market that is cluttered, dense, and fully mature. Whether its horizontal, vertical, or cross integration (expansion), brands must ensure that they do more than simply meeting the needs of its 100+ year old audience.

Today’s consumers are no longer the same. They are no longer loyal to a single brand. They switch from brand to brand, and just because their next purchase is your brand does not ensure that they’ll do the same again. It is more important than ever before to ensure that brands look from a bigger perspective, but in smaller steps.


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My Answer to “Why Should I Hire You?” http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/25/my-answer-to-why-should-i-hire-you/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/25/my-answer-to-why-should-i-hire-you/#respond Fri, 26 Mar 2010 02:10:15 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=175 Well, this is more like an answer to, “why should I hire an international candidate?”

As an international person educated, living, and working in America, there are some downsides. One is, despite the fact that I have a legal work Visa (H1B), and despite the fact that it can be transferred quite easily, companies are not willing to hire me because doing so requires much paperwork, and costs for such paperwork are somewhat burdening now and beyond. As someone who’s looking to eagerly transfer to a company where I can develop into a marketing expert, I cannot state how difficult and frustrating this is. Give me just one chance, and I’ll show you what I’m capable of…. Well, I doubt anyone would buy that.

I wrote this down in my journal years ago based on the assumption that a hiring manager may ask, “why should I hire you over U.S. citizens who basically have similar backgrounds and skills?”

My answer to this is “opportunity.” By this, I’m referring to the fact that I’m seeking the opportunity to grow, to develop, and to provide more to the company.

First, here’s an interesting insight. Foreigners who have never even visited this country have more knowledge of America than Americans. It’s a generalization that probably isn’t true down to earth, but in all truthfulness, I’ve met many foreigners (outside of America) who know more idioms than Americans. Fascinating, isn’t it? They know more vocabularies, know more about the English grammar, and can recite every line on “Friends” and follow along every lyric on the Billboard Hot 50. That’s the whole point. They look at America from a totally different angle – as if it was a subject of study. Naturally, they are better experts at some things of being ‘American.’ As an international person myself, this is what I can bring – a whole new perspective, and both a subjective and objective look into the American culture. This is something that can’t be found with American candidates.

Second, because I wasn’t born and raised in America, I know for a fact that Americans have a better advantage over me in terms of success or adjusting with corporate America. Well, here’s the insight: if your best buddy just purchased a million dollar home, wouldn’t you want something bigger than that? If she just pulled out the newest S-class, wouldn’t you want to show off your Bentley the next time you meet her? It’s a psychologically engaging outcome, that you’d want something more and better than your fellow peers. And that’s just what I’m after. Because I’m not American, because I do not hold ground, I will try my best to be better, to be of more value. It’s a competition where I’m already way behind, and I need to catch up by developing, learning, and engaging with the best techniques possible.

So in the end, it’s all about grabbing that opportunity. It’s about learning to be American, to win the competition where others clearly have a head start. And then there’s the ‘Plus Alpha’ variable in the equation, but I won’t mention that here. (please contact me at dk@brandathon.com to have a chat with me)

So, give me just one opportunity, so that I can take that opportunity and transform it into more value.

Just one chance….


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Bally Fitness: Are Free MP3’s An Incentive? http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/04/bally-fitness-are-free-mp3s-an-incentive/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/03/04/bally-fitness-are-free-mp3s-an-incentive/#comments Thu, 04 Mar 2010 21:40:39 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=170 Bally Fitness' Website

Bally Fitness' Promotional Page for Free MP3s

Bally Fitness decided to offer a new way to attract new customers: offer them 20 free MP3 songs. Well, since most people listen to music on their earphones while using fitness machines, what a great way to attract new fitness club members.

Well, the insight was there: people listen to music when working out. But on a strategic level, my question is, will this work? Or, are free MP3’s relevant to subscribing to a gym?

The Problems I Found

1. The Relevancy

The importance of downloading MP3s (or paying for it) vs. the importance of committing to go to a fitness club is a totally different story.

Since Bally is using this campaign to attract new customers, perhaps the first insightful question should be: Are these non-members ready to commit to challenge themselves to invest in a valuable workout? Well, if not, then they will not pay a monthly fee to use that service that they know they won’t end up using at all. When deciding to join a gym, it’s a matter of commitment: do I have the time? Do I have the physical ability? How many times will I go in a week? Is that worth the monthly payments? I can exercise for free outdoors can’t I?

To make such a decision, one goes through a lot – about his/her life. If he’s working every day from 8AM – 8PM, I doubt he’ll have the time to join the gym. I mean, he’s got kids to take care of, have dinner, etc. If she’s traveling for work every week, she can use the hotel’s gym on her stay at a remote location. Why pay for this?

So after an evaluation of one’s lives, seeing “20 FREE MP3’s” won’t matter at all. It’s trivial compared to the commitment and effort they must put into deciding whether they should join or not.

2. The Burden

Well, to get the free 20 MP3 songs, the campaign tells one to join the gym online. Then, the user must go onto the Universal Music’s website (since Bally’s is partnering with Universal Music (and paying a hefty fee) for this promotion) and look for their choice of songs. Now, the user should just wait…. for, I don’t know, 10 days? Bally will send a redemption code, together with a link, and then there are further instructions. It doesn’t seem like much a process since the music’s basically free. But when the importance of MP3 downloads are trivial to the decision-making point, having a complex process doesn’t help at all. It’s just too much.

Well Then, What’s the Solution?

First, I would not have done this campaign. Or at least, this campaign should have been targeted at return-customers, or their most loyal customers to extend their subscriptions.

Second, if downloads were to be offered, it should be offered within the website – make the downloading part of the Bally’s Fitness Website experience, not of a totally different entity.

Third, I would suggest, dig deeper into the touchpoints – After What Process Will That Person Click The “Join the Club” Button? Many strategies will follow from here.

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Seth Godin Hits The Chocolate Sweet Spots http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/12/seth-godin-hits-the-chocolate-sweet-spots/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/12/seth-godin-hits-the-chocolate-sweet-spots/#respond Fri, 12 Feb 2010 16:28:44 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=164
A photo of Madecasse, chocolates from Madagascar in Africa

Would you know these chocolates are African?

Seth Godin, the marketing guru and author, wrote a unique post on his blog, titled “The brand, the package, the story and the worldview.” It’s about Madecasse (forgive me, I used the photo on Seth’s blog), and apparently, they’re a jewel in the U.S. confectionary market because it’s produced and manufactured straight from Madagascar, the biggest island in Africa.

Seth hits quite a lot of insights – that the packaging doesn’t differentiate itself from others. He says that a new packaging must tell this African story, and connect with the consumers who are into understanding and appreciating it. So, from an account / brand planning point of view, Seth Godin brings up a few insights. To quote some of these ideas he said:

Perhaps you believe, “All that matters is how it tastes, and great chocolate looks a certain way,”
or perhaps, “I care about the origin of what I buy,”
or perhaps, “I want something out of the ordinary, unlike anything I’ve had before,”
or perhaps, “Chocolate is like wine. I am interested in vintages and varietals,”
or maybe, “Chocolate should be fun. Enough with the seriousness.”

And he’s right.

But before Madecasse takes Seth’s word on redesigning, making it look African, making it tell the African legend to customers who say “yeah, give me an inspiring African story, because that will make me buy this chocolate,” perhaps one should consider, “is being African what people would try and buy?”

What about Africa? We think it’s a great continent, it’s got full of stories. Of course. Movies have shown the wilderness, children chasing documentary reporters’ SUVs, mothers brining water from the local wells, and fathers hunting wild animals using traditional tools. But, would an average, or let’s say, even a small population, willing to purchase something made in Africa?

I can agree on Seth how Africa can connect with people in that Africa is thought of as a treasured, unrefined, natural, and beautiful place. And people say these consciously. But in the subconscious mind, people are not that fond of it. (Just think of it, how many people travel to Africa vs. Europe?) So, somehow in the subconscious mind, an African themed packaging might give people the following thoughts:

– “Ah, this is probably not made in Africa, but they probably just used cocoa beans from Africa. ”

– “This is probably made by enslaving people to work 18 hours a day”

– “I wonder if people even used milk in this product”

– “I wonder if people who made this actually used clean hands”

– “Why with the $4 price for something made in Africa?”

So, to add a little more insight to Seth’s, I would say that Madecasse must make sure to test the redesign (if they are reading this, or at least Seth’s post), and make sure that telling the African story doesn’t divert people away from the product on a subconscious level.

People are not as daring as they seem on the outside. People stick to what they’re comfortable with, especially when it comes to consuming it down their sacred, sacred bodies.


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Best Super Bowl Commercials 2010: The Runner-Ups http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/09/super-bowl-commercials-2010-the-runner-ups/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/09/super-bowl-commercials-2010-the-runner-ups/#comments Tue, 09 Feb 2010 05:50:44 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=159 OK. Here’s my list of favorite commercials during the Super Bowl 2010.
I already picked my favorite – the Denny’s campaign. Well, just because it clicked, it was entertaining, and foremost, it made the brand name stick to my mind. And because it was a campaign of 3, it was all the more fun – somehow, unconsciously, I was waiting for those chickens to reappear.

Well, but some fared pretty well, while some were quite disappointing. Here were some of my other favorites, that could easily also have been the best Super Bowl commercial.

It’s a mobile TV that’s available on your mobile network for a small fee. The ad was really funny, and the insight – was perfect. Yes, I’ve definitely been in that situation. Haven’t you?

Dodge Charger

Definitely one of the best. This one’s been in a lot of controversy, simply because Chrysler’s using tax-payer money to save the company. But, the ad was a killer. So many things a man’s gotta go through… So we at least deserve a great, manly car. In a way, the insight is quite similar to Flo TV’s. Great job, Wieden & Kennedy in Portland!

Believe it or not, the NFL did really well on their own NFL game. It was created by Grey New York, and with this slo-mo movement, captured really the essence, and the glorific moments of football. Truly inspiring.

No doubt, this was unexpected. Everything was done in-house at Google, and kudos to the creative director for putting together a wonderful piece using only Google’s search. The scenario is simple, yet for some reason, seemed to resonate with many commercials at this year’s Super Bowl. A guy meets a girl, falls in love, decides long-distance, but decides to fly up, then gets married, then, has a baby. Now that’s pulling a lot of emotional strings – all with only text (and some sound effects). The only problem was that when I watched it live during the break, I missed what happened in the beginning – the text transitioned too fast and I got lost track trying to remember what was shown first, that in the end, all I knew was that it had something to do with Paris, France. Second time up (via YouTube), it became one of my favorite ads ever.

AnheuserBusch: BudLight
I was quite disappointed with AnheuserBusch overall, except this one. It really gave that AnheuserBusch moment, reminding me of the “wazuppppp” commercial years back.

This one had me confused in the beginning, and giving me the “aha” moment when a snickers bar will make a man a man again. Yeah, on my next soccer game, I’ll be sure to give Snickers a try.

Honorable Mentions
Doritos: I would include Doritos’ campaign, especially the dog collar and the locker room commercials. Well, I’ve watched both of them before the game, so it really didn’t give a kick out of me, but my roommate certainly was laughing hard.

Audi: It was new. It created a real moment of “what on earth is going on?” It was all about how important being environmentally Green is. And in the end, it was about Audi’s TDI – that it’s so green it will pass even strictest of standards in a world where everything had to be environmentally friendly.

Dove: Dove did it again, yet this time, with a jingle about how a man becomes, well, a man – and deserves to use the Dove Men + Care bodywash. Well, since I already use this product, it clicked with me (I’m using that product!). On the downside, I’ve seen this somewhere…. somewhere…. Oh, perhaps the Cars.com intertwined with Dodge Charger with a pinch of Google’s commercials?

Vizio: Lastly, but not least, I liked this spot because it featured all of the best social networking/online stars we could find, and a machine stuffed it up into the new Vizio HDTV. I loved how some YouTube stars were picked up by this machine, and simply was an entertainment in itself.

And Coca-Cola: Yes, I loved the “just got out of bed and need a refreshment” concept… But in my culture, drinking Coke waking out of bed is taboo – really bad for an empty, early morning stomach.

P.S. Oh, and a last, Honda, while it’s commercial using Squirrels were mediocre… It did a great post-game job – It brought the Squirrel to YouTube’s landing page. Now that’s really smart. (I had a snapshot of it, but I lost it while writing this post. Sorry!)


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Super Bowl 2010 XLIV: Denny’s Is The Winner http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/08/super-bowl-2010-xliv-dennys-is-the-winner/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/08/super-bowl-2010-xliv-dennys-is-the-winner/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2010 04:41:45 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=156 It was a great game. But to me, the true game was a fight between the world’s best brands.

While many were anticipated, my pick of today’s winning brand had to be Denny’s.

(Doritos, you were runner-up)

What made it great was that the chickens had a meaning. They clicked with the product (Free Grand Slams).

They made sense. We could totally remember Chicken = Free Grand Slam day. And with the three versions of this campaign, they evolved – the first involved an introduction by a person dining at Denny’s, the second involved only chickens, and the third, came about unexpectedly.

Kudos to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for a wonderful, humorous campaign that will be remembered. (And I won’t forget this Tuesday 6AM – 2PM for the Grand Slam).

First of the campaign:

Second of the campaign:

The Third:


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A Genius Idea For The Digital World http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/04/a-genius-idea-for-the-digital-world/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/02/04/a-genius-idea-for-the-digital-world/#respond Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:39:54 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=153 Pranav Mistry, an MIT PhD candidate came up with this brilliant idea: Integrate Digital with the Physical World. (keep your patience, the fun starts a little later in the film)

It started with using the computer mouse, and cost him $2. And now, it is a genius invention that will be something to look out for in the near future.

What’s the lesson?

Every idea starts with a simple idea. And all it needs is a little evolving.

Oh, and great ethics (open source) at a great event (TED) that has a great marketing platform (sharing) is definitely a good way to market your idea.


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Nielsen 2010 Global Consumer Outlook | Nielsen Wire http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/30/nielsen-2010-global-consumer-outlook-nielsen-wire/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/30/nielsen-2010-global-consumer-outlook-nielsen-wire/#respond Sat, 30 Jan 2010 23:35:27 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=149 What are the trends for 2010?

Well, Nielsen gives you a great 17-minute overview on what the new trends will be

via Nielsen 2010 Global Consumer Outlook | Nielsen Wire.

One of the most amazing things is that the TV, Internet, and Mobile Phones will be the BIG THING this year.

With the roll out of the iPad, new Android devices, and an upgraded iPhone, this year will be a battle of wireless technology.

Yeah, cell phones have been around for so long, but why with all the hype now? Amazon already has the Kindle, so does Sony et al., but what’s the hype with the iPad?

Well, I think trend-setting can be really defined as something that actually sparks a new market, as opposed to something simply new.

Apple’s iPhone brought about a whole new applications market. Android is doing the same, but it’s Google’s. Kindle sort of did, but the iPad is creating a much more creative and larger market.

So if you’re looking to do something big in 2010 and beyond, don’t look into following what’s being done – look into creating a new market that can be followed by others.


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BooneOakley: A Creative, Creative Ad Agency http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/26/booneoakley-a-creative-creative-ad-agency/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/26/booneoakley-a-creative-creative-ad-agency/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2010 06:29:36 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=144

If you’re into going all creative with your new ad agency, check out BooneOakley’s website.

Well, it doesn’t have a website. Should you type BooneOakley.com, it’ll redirect you into its YouTube video. Never have I seen a YouTube video act as a sole platform for a company’s website.

But it’s rather creative. Perhaps a new way to catch attention amidst the thousands of creative shops out there.

But will it continue to work forever?


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Where’s Your Superman? http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/26/wheres-your-superman/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/26/wheres-your-superman/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2010 04:35:44 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=138 Superman standing next to regular people

Where's Your Superman?

Sometime in the mid 20th century.

The sky is grey, and the terror of tanks and heavy machines roar the earth.

I’m standing in fear, of Nazi infantry and armored vehicles that are bombarding every town as far I can see atop the roof of a mediterranean-style mansion. All I can see are roof after roof, civilians that have evacuated to roam free of German invasion.

Just as the enemy comes near, I hear a loud bang, and the building next to me is split in half. All the town’s people are stranded, and together with the building they begin to fall, one by one, hundreds by hundreds.

The moment comes. I suddenly gain a remarkable power – a super power. I know in that instant, that I’m Superman. I can fly. I can run. I am invincible.

I’ve had many dreams like this. I forced myself to become more than who I am in the greatest moment of danger. But this time, I decide not to flee. Instead, I return to my neighbors hanging on the falling building. I use my superpowers to help raise building after building, to save the town, to save the people, to save humanity.

It’s only a dream, but this is my vision. I believe in doing a great for the people, I believe in doing a great for an organization that I am part of.

Whether you are a corporate marketer, an advertising professional, or anyone who is part of any great organization, are you ready to use your superpowers for your company? Are you ready to sacrifice yourself for your customers and clients? The powers at those moments are immense, beyond imagination, and in that moment, you can save the world with a true Super Power.


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Uno Pizzeria’s Fate http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/21/uno-pizzerias-fate/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/21/uno-pizzerias-fate/#respond Thu, 21 Jan 2010 18:50:04 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=132 Uno's Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish in Deep Trouble: Uno Files for Bankruptcy

Uno’s Chicago Grill & Pizzeria recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I haven’t had much experience with Uno’s, because it’s not available in my area. But here’s what I know of Uno: it’s chic, it’s got class, and it’s got great food.

If you consider its location, price, environment, service, it is top of its class – certainly, can’t be compared with other franchise pizza joints.

During this phase of recuperation, I would look into its offerings. It’s got a great line up in its menu… but perhaps, it should consider reaching more customers. Such as, offering delivery, maybe? Part of the reason why Uno’s transition to provide delivery would be successful is that it’s best known for its taste, especially of its deep dish pizza, and its gourmet-full brand image. Perhaps that would be a great way to appeal to those customers who are willing to order something better for their families.

Just a thought. Should be well researched into.


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A Marketing Strategy for Google in Korea http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/16/a-marketing-strategy-for-google-in-korea/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/16/a-marketing-strategy-for-google-in-korea/#respond Sat, 16 Jan 2010 06:44:48 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=116 Google’s having problems in China, just as any other non-Chinese search engines. Similarly, non-Korean search engines simply cannot penetrate the Korean market.

I will explain the reasons for the reasons behind this in the next post. Meanwhile, setting aside what Google must change to its website, here’s a strategy I think could work for Google.

* Establish a nationwide partnership with PC bangs.

PC bangs are basically Internet cafes. While most Korean households own computers and have fiber optic broadband connection, people still go to Internet cafes. Seoul, the nation’s capital, has about 5,200 PC bangs. That means for every square mile, there are roughly 22 PC bangs. Almost everyone goes to PC bangs, whether they’re playing games, looking for information, chatting online – it’s basically a place for entertainment, or even for a place to kill time while waiting to meet a friend.

Online games have been known to partner with PC bangs for a long time in Korea to increase exposure to PC bang users. Google, if finding a way to enter this market and making Google the main page for all PC bangs would enable a safe way to reach a higher share in the Korean market.

But that’s just one strategy. Google must change its face in order for Koreans to become truly loyal to its services.

PC Bang in Korea

There are over 22 PC Bangs per square mile in Seoul, Korea

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The Age of Connection http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/16/the-age-of-connection/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/16/the-age-of-connection/#respond Sat, 16 Jan 2010 06:09:50 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=114 Paper Cut-Out of People Holding hands

People Are Connected. Opportunities Lie Where There's More Connected People, Not Where There's More People.

I was doing a search on good reads in some of today’s trends, and I can’t believe there’s not a book titled “age of connection.” There was the Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin, where he talked about how we no longer want to own, but that we’re into sharing and renting.

But I go beyond that. Looking at this on a macro scale, with recent focus on China and India, I think the next step is the Age of Connection. By connection, I’m referring to societies that connect with one another. The Internet surely helped catalyze this process – people are now linked to everyone. People are connected to each other. And so are businesses and products. And in the end, it’s the people that are either directly or indirectly connected to businesses and products. Now that’s an opportunity. It’s not about just population nor mass markets by head-count. It’s about the mass market for how much we are connected.

For market researchers and planners, I would tap into understanding where these connected people are, and how much they are affected by such relationships. Take Korea for example – they are perhaps one of the most connected peoples I know, as evidenced during the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup when millions flooded the streets. Or perhaps how Starcraft became a national phenomenon and culture in a matter of months, or how CyWorld became a social networking culture way before Facebook or MySpace. Korea showed quick signs and became a worldwide example of economic recovery. All with deep respect to the culture of connection.

There are countries and areas out there that show vital signs of connection. Eastern European countries tend to have strong pride for their country and language. They have experienced moments where people had to get together, and they strive and love connecting with one another. They are open to change, and are adapting technology faster than ever. They are lovers of the Internet. Perhaps a great opportunity there?

But you may still be weary of the fact that population (head-count) is what counts more as the potential market is greater. But let’s take a simple example based on the benefits:

If you had to extract blood from all the types of animals on this planet for a project, would reserve an air ticket, apply for multinational visas, wait, then go to the airport, change planes, then land in some country in Africa, then hire an interpreter and tour guide, then drive around the bushes and deserts, and drive from country to country looking for the different animals? Or would you take a trip along to the local zoo?

If you were looking for someone to invest in your next big idea, would you try out intercepting people on the street hoping for a guy with a fat wallet? Or would you rather go to a National Venture Capital Association’s annual conference?

It’s down to basics. It’s the same way you target your audience in your marketing plan. But it’s on a bigger scale. Think of it. Today, we’re all part of some group. Meetup.com is an exemplary model of how we are connected. On a macro scale, some countries are simply more connected than another. And China and India, despite their mass population, aren’t quite connected yet. They have too many dialects, too many cultures. Until there’s a way to connect them all, meanwhile, it could be more efficient to look into countries that have a stronger point which brings people together.


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Yesterday’s vs. Today’s Brand Names http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/12/yesterdays-vs-todays-brand-names/ http://www.brandathon.com/2010/01/12/yesterdays-vs-todays-brand-names/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2010 04:21:26 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=112 Yesterday’s brand names could be called anything. Name it Orange Juice Communications, or Speaker Phone Inc, to Cellphone Accessories Inc. You could name it using your uncle Jerry, or simply pick your favorite vegetable name.

Today, it’s a whole different story. Yesterday’s brands that used such common names – no, not your uncle Jerry’s one in a billion family name, but the every day things – like orange juices to cellphone accessories – these are the problems that arise in today’s name of brands.

The reason? Well, it’s because of the Internet. People are Googling you from everywhere. Yes, someone searching “cellphone accessories” might one day end up on your website… But would you buy from a website called cellphoneaccessories.com? It just seems scammish, and there’s simply no credibility. Not to mention, if there was someone searching for your company’s name, it’s just get mixed up with the million other pages that have “cellphone” and “accessories” as keywords. It’s the worst kind of name you’d give to your brand.

In today’s world of online searches, you should give your brand a distinction. It’s name should be something that’s catchy – like Google, and something that can be typed relatively easily. I’m sorry, 1800flowers.com may have been great back in the phone order days, but it simply doesn’t connect these days. Today, it’s all about brevity, simplicity, and easy for remembrance.

But one thing to avoid is the trend of similar names – bing/blip, fling/fring, youtube/xtube, vevo/veoh, google/oodle – don’t these all sound too similar? Stay away from similarities to the Web 2.0 sensations – I swear, there are many more of those that are on their way to the big market based on my start-up research.


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Time to Make Money on Water http://www.brandathon.com/2009/12/13/time-to-make-money-on-water/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/12/13/time-to-make-money-on-water/#comments Sun, 13 Dec 2009 19:28:43 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=108 tap water

Opportunity is now for water-related companies

Recent focus on media was the contamination of water that we drink from taps. It’s been said that since 2004, over 49 million are exposed to contaminated water. Considering those that haven’t been checked for, that could be you – whether you’re at home, or whether on your next cup of iced water at your favorite diner or fast food joint.

Well, while it might be good news for Aquafina, it’s even better news for Brita and PUR, the makers of home water filtration systems. I don’t know what kind of marketing budget they have, but now is the time to make it happen. Research who these people are that are drinking contaminated water, but more importantly, find out those who are aware of this situation – perhaps mothers won’t like to serve their 8 year olds contaminated water.

It is rare that a company can be given a great chance for aggressive marketing – as for water filter companies, now is the best time to appeal to the senses of people who are sensitive to drinking tap water. Or perhaps a new product can be developed at this point – a portable water filter? (for fountain taps at the office, for those untrustworthy iced waters at China Express?)


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The Guilty Parents http://www.brandathon.com/2009/12/01/the-guilty-parents/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/12/01/the-guilty-parents/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:35:21 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=104 I’m glad to hear that this year’s holiday shopping sales have increased. More consumers shopped, both online and offline.
Well, I hoped to write about this before Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) to predict this outcome, but here it goes.
While I haven’t seen any figures for how toy stores did, here’s a little belated prediction: Toys will do much better than expected.

Why? Here’s my little insight (albeit, not based on any research).
The past year has been difficult for most U.S. consumers. Unemployment reached over 10%, bonuses have been reduced to other types of perks, and the consumer’s were wary on spending. And something that every parent wants is to keep their kids happy amidst all this turbulence. And what keeps kids happy the most? A Zhu Zhu hamster, an iPod, and other types of toys and gadgets.

These tiny things were the big thing this shopping season

These tiny things were the big thing this shopping season

So after nearly a year of guilt – for not having made their kids as happy as possible, parents were willing to go out there, fight till death in the war against other guilty parents.

Well, then, perhaps that could work as a new marketing theme for a struggling company next season: “music makes your kid happy,” “husbands are most happy when napping in an airplane,” “the most romantic thing your wife truly wants is a trip to Dubai.”

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Where on earth is Reebok? http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/10/where-on-earth-is-reebok/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/10/where-on-earth-is-reebok/#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2009 08:31:55 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=95 Reebok. The only Reebok thing I own is a navy Reebok bag, which I got for an extreme discount about 4 years ago. I got it because it was a discount, and if there was a Nike bag, I definitely would have gotten that instead.

See, back in the day, Reebok was just as good as Nike. Now, Reebok is dead. I know they still have them in stores, but to me, they’re invisible – Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor are the first that come to my mind. (albeit, Adidas owns Reebok now…) Today, Reebok’s combined market share together with its parent company, Adidas, only amounts to 11%, while Nike is thriving on 44% (2008). Reebok’s biggest segment – the shoe department – dropped even more recently, especially with women’s athletic footwear dropping from 3.6% to 1.9% market share this year. Meanwhile again, Nike’s share rose to 45.7%.

While I’ve seen Reebok trying to regain some shares in the women’s apparels and footwear segments through more creative advertising, there has been and still is a fundamental problem: REEBOK HAS NO BRAND VISIBILITY.

Before trying to target certain audiences, Reebok must try and understand where consumers stand. “What are the attributes of the Reebok brand?” Ans: “dull, old, antique, grayish…” Funny thing is, there’s not even any emotion that partakes in this attribute building exercise for me. I don’t hate it. And I don’t like it. It’s just… Somewhere out there…

So what is my recommended solution?

Start by rebuilding the audience. Check where the problem lies. Only then, begin by reconsidering its product line to see whether it’s on the right track to winning customers. And only then even consider starting a creative campaign like the one above. And if they do, it should start introducing the TOTALLY NEW Reebok – tell us, tell me that there’s a NEW Reebok out there to get my attention!

Wish I had more time and space to actually write up a strategic plan. But all the luck to Reebok. Hope I can regain my faith in a brand I once loved as a child.


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The Power of Love http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/08/toplines-the-kiss-holy-crap/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/08/toplines-the-kiss-holy-crap/#comments Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:17:10 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=92 Came across this through Mediabistro’s AgencySpy blog.

Topline’s ‘The Kiss’: Holy Crap.

Wow. What a great ad. Not sure who the brand is from, but it’s some powerful stuff. Amazing how a great ad can bring about some powerful emotion and the ability for the audience to sympathize with it.

That’s comes to my thought that sometimes, ads are too focused on trying to make the piece as unique as possible, that it forgets to stress on the insights of things that touch human hearts. For example, many brands (and I won’t even bother naming them) that are targeted towards highschool/college boys tend to think that having outrageously funny and stupid moments are the insight that will have them agree with. Well, really?


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What Google Needs… For Its Future http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/05/what-google-needs-for-its-future/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/11/05/what-google-needs-for-its-future/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2009 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=90 Google. Wow. It’s a revolution. It’s simple. It’s clean. And it’s cool.

It has many, many cool features. And it’s fast.

It’s definitely what we need in today’s world of computing.

But let’s take it down the line of time: say, in 10 years?

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, global technology will be low cost – and virtually everywhere. Virtual reality will become reality in the workforce and at home. The speed of the Internet will be at a minimum of 1 gigabit per second, anywhere on earth. (Right now, the fastest offered by Verizon FiOS is 50 megabits per second – my Comcast is at 6mbps, so imagine around 100 times faster, or you can download around 15,000 MP3 songs in a minute).

Now, do you think you will use text-based, minimal graphics offered by Google? I know I won’t.

So let’s tackle the problems first. First off, Google, unless you set it up to your personal page, only gives you the minimalist option – a keyword search bar, a cool Google logo, and some links that you have to click on to navigate through. In 10 years, this will become a nuisance. Even today, Google’s coolest new products aren’t really visible – unless you actually go into their cool features page.

Google must start preparing for the development of newest technologies. It’s business model – text-based, non-cluttered advertising based on its super clean and fast text-based searches, should somehow be changed. It needs to rework its landing page, and start bringing in more interactivity and graphics and multimedia. It’s time to start shifting to a new era and reposition itself if it wants to hold its #1 spot in searches.

If Google doesn’t prepare (I’m sure they are preparing internally), Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and even Lycos could become the next leaders in search engines.


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An Irony: Who Knows The Ad Industry? http://www.brandathon.com/2009/10/28/an-irony-who-knows-the-ad-industry/ http://www.brandathon.com/2009/10/28/an-irony-who-knows-the-ad-industry/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2009 05:52:27 +0000 http://www.brandathon.com/?p=86 blank advertising billboard

The Ad Industry Needs to Be Marketed More

While English may not be my first language, I never knew what the term “marketing” was until I took an intro marketing course in college.

Isn’t that ironic? How the billions of dollars spent on marketing can’t push the general term out to young kids.

I was lucky. I fell in love with it. And maybe most marketing professionals were lucky like me.

But here’s an ugly truth: I’ve never seen or heard of any child who’s dreamed of becoming a marketer. Period.

I’ve heard cute dreams of being a doctor, a princess, a president, a lawyer, a pilot, or a inventor… but a marketer? Wow and ow.

What’s even sadder is that Advertising, which is really a part of all the marketing efforts is even more clandestine.

Ask a layperson if they know what an Account Executive does: “what? some kind of accounting CEO?”

Ask a layperson what a copywriter does: “someone who makes copyrights?”

See, I learned marketing, but never knew about such roles in advertising until I actually started studying advertising on my own.

But why? Why should I not know?

I knew that there were analysts, associates, and partners and directors in law and consulting firms.

I knew there were software developers and project managers, network administrators and database managers in IT firms.

I knew there were CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CSOs, Presidents and Chairmen.

Why not Account and Strategic Planners, Media Coordinators and Planners, Traffic Coordinators, Account Executives and Supervisors and Directors, and Copywriters and Art Directors and Creative Directors?

How come none of these were advertised, or even a small discussion passed by at least once in my eclectic lifetime – aren’t advertisers the best at this?

Enough about job positions. I knew what advertising was… I’ve seen Marlboro men on and off highways and deserts in the middle of Africa. I’ve seen Coca-Cola bottles being used as a divine symbol by a Zulu tribeman in the 1980 movie, The Gods Must Be Crazy. But who made these ads? I’ve always thought it was the actual marketers making them. How would I have ever known there were ad agencies behind all this? And if so, how would I have known which were the famous?

Tiger Woods started golf before he could even speak. Doctors have doctors in their family, as do lawyers. Business moguls inherit their businesses from their parents and grandparents. That’s what we call exposure. These people were exposed at an early age, and they chose it as if it were their destiny. Advertising is all about exposing to the biggest, or at least, the most targetable audiences. And so are careers. If the Advertising Industry wants to become a bigger, proliferous industry, it must invest in talent. In order to invest in talent, it must invest in exposing what Advertising is to young audiences. Make it their dream, make it their fantasy. Start advertising advertising.


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