Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

31 posts categorized "Insight"

20 April 2015

Ask the Expert: Everything you need to know about programmatic video advertising

Guy YalifProgrammatic is arguably one of the biggest developments in the digital advertising space. When it comes to video advertising, programmatic is beginning to take off, with programmatic video ad sales in EU-5 reaching €226m in 2014, according to eMarketer, and expected to soar 63.5% this year to reach €369m by the end of 2015.

Advertisers and agencies are adopting programmatic quickly. Yet, despite being the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) marketing word of the year in 2014, more than half of marketers still don’t understand programmatic well enough to implement it.

So, to put a clearer lens on programmatic advertising, let’s explain what it is and discuss some of the key benefits it delivers to advertisers.   

Simply put, programmatic refers to the use of software to automate the purchase of digital advertising. Fundamentally, programmatic advertising lets advertisers make their video advertising investments work harder for them by allowing them to work smarter, faster and more efficiently. Efficiency and efficacy are why programmatic advertising is so effective. Programmatic advertising helps marketers reach the precise audiences they seek across screens as efficiently as possible.

Continue reading "Ask the Expert: Everything you need to know about programmatic video advertising" »

04 March 2015

Understanding China’s social media landscape in 2015 [infographic]


The social media landscape in China changes fast and it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all.

But having conducted a survey of 100,000 people across 60 different Chinese cities, we’ve got a great infographic from the folks at Kantar to share with you [Warning: It’s massive!] which is crammed full of all sorts of insights into how the social media landscape looks in 2015.

Check it out below:

Continue reading "Understanding China’s social media landscape in 2015 [infographic]" »

03 September 2014

Battle of the media moguls: Zuckerberg vs Murdoch (infographic)

Here’s an interesting comparison for you…

Of course, it’s clear that new media is developing at a rapid pace – just look at how quickly the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram etc. took off. And of course, the masterminds behind these are building up their fortunes in no time at all.

But what about the media moguls of old… the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world? How quickly did they make their fortune? Thanks to the guys at Staff.com, here’s a comparative look at new vs old – including their current net worth and the speed in which they amassed their fortunes.

How do the dotcom billionaires measure up against the media moguls of old? Check it out...

Continue reading "Battle of the media moguls: Zuckerberg vs Murdoch (infographic)" »

28 April 2014

Sampling a new trend...

Sampling is an effective marketing channel to really give consumers the chance to “try before you buy”. It’s proven not only to lead to improved sales but, perhaps more crucially, drive loyal customers.

Generic, mass-market sampling remains the bedrock channel for many brands, particularly those looking to raise brand awareness, more so for those early in their brand life cycle. But sitting alongside generic sampling is the equally effective targeted sampling, which is increasingly becoming a big pull for more established brands, in light of the higher quality customer data they can now get their hands on.

Continue reading "Sampling a new trend..." »

06 January 2014

5 digital predictions for brands in 2014

Google-glass-macro ed

The world of digital marketing is fast changing and 2013 was clearly an eventful year. I expect 2014 to be no less action-packed. Here are my top 5 predictions to help brands take full advantage of the year ahead.

May the year ahead be dynamic, innovative and successful for all!

Continue reading "5 digital predictions for brands in 2014" »

14 June 2013

What's going on, on the highstreet?

Turns out that shoppers really do care about the demise of the high street but they still won't shop there. Check out this infographic from creative agency Live & Breathe for a snapshot into the views of UK consumers and whether there is a future for the highstreet.

The High Street_infographic_Final

28 May 2013



We have already talked about how lightly brands need to tread in a world where everyone is watching, where companies have unprecedented access not only to an enormous raft of potential consumers, but also to the ever-vigilant eyes of potential critics. "Trial by Twitter" is a process that has found many brands guilty, and unfortunate gaffes are never far from mind. Take Waitrose's social media misfire last autumn, where its "Reasons" campaign was hijacked and turned on its head by teasing tweeters. Rather than issuing an apology as such, they did feel they had to acknowledge the jocular nature of people's reactions. Other brands to have faced similar cyber-ribbing have reacted in various ways, either by adopting a similarly rebald tone, or by going on an unrepretant offensive, as this blog post discusses. And we can't forget the reaction to Nick Clegg's apology video, which went viral last year and totally undermined his attempt to clear the air with the British electorate. 

People around the world apologise in different ways. In Japan, the act of apologising is considered a virtue (more on this later). It is no surprise, therefore, that their language and culture have such a diffuse number of ways to express the sentiment of sorriness. The same cannot always be said of the West, where people can often be found saving face by issuing 'apologies' that are entirely devoid of any sincerity or meaning. Or the classic British reflex-action apology, where "sorry" is used so unsparingly that it is roughly akin to "hmmm". 

Whatever the 'right' approach, there can be little doubt that the apology is an important art when errors in communication are so easy and public. And things only get more complicated when that apology has to be made across cultures, where different conventions, traditions and politics, not to mention different languages, are at play. Last week, Apple found themselves issuing a public apology to their Chinese customers following criticism from state media outlets about the company's warranty terms. The apology received extensive news coverage across the country, to the bewilderment of many Chinese people, who found the authorities' glee at events of somewhat baffling compared to the varitable silence over more significant matters of public interest. What was perhaps most interesting about Apple's apology was the way it was worded - "At the same time," they said, "we also realise that we have much to learn about operating in China, and how we communicate here." In this knowledge, a comprehensive global communication audit might have saved any embarrassment, taking advantage of local expertise and insight to achieve a "finger on the pulse" - essential for survival in the modern technology jungle. 

As we've already mentioned, the cross-cultural apology is a complicated process due to the linguistic, political and cultural considerations that need to be taken on board. Indeed, an episode at the end of 2012 shows the extent of the complications in China, with the reporting of an "apology" made by the new Leader of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping. When arriving late for a speech, he made a comment which literally translates as "made everyone wait a long time". Does this mean "sorry"? According to the presiding English interpreter, it did. Later on, however, opinion was divided among observers, with some objecting to translations from various international media outlets that played up the "sorry" aspect, while others felt the literal translation - with its more unrepentant connotations - was appropriate. 

An extreme exxample of how cultural conventions can differ cme with the public apology offered by Japanese popstar Minami Minegishi following revelations that she had spent the night with her boyfriend. She appeared with a shaved head, begging the public for forgiveness in a traditional act of contrition. 

There is no escaping the fact that, were the divas of Europe or the US to so flail themselves for such minor misdemeanours, the blogosphere would be utterly saturated. Yes, it might have been over the top and unccessary, but it was also on some level based on cultural tradition. 

These examples show the challenges faced by brands operating internationally, and the need for expert, sensitive cross-cultural communications strategies. Saying sorry is never easy. Saying sorry across a cultural divide is even harder...

25 April 2013

Using Storytelling to Ignite Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word of mouthWord of Mouth (okay, it's not really about marketing but it beats a stock photo of someone whispering into somebody's ear)

Even before social media and the Internet were glimmers in Al Gore's eye, "word-of-mouth marketing" was important to brands. That's because people have had conversations about brands since the dawn of time. I still remember, when I worked at a sporting-goods store in high school, my manager telling me that a customer will tell two people about a positive shopping experience but will tell seven people about a bad one. I can't say how valid those numbers are, but the gist rings true: Conversations between consumers about brands are far more influential than any advertisement has been or ever will be.

If you don't believe me, just ask Nielsen. Its 2012 survey of global trust in advertising, which asked consumers what influenced their purchase decisions, found that 92 percent of respondents trust (completely or somewhat) recommendations from people they know. Even if they don't know someone, they still trust that person's opinions more than any other kind of advertising (70 percent trust consumers' opinions posted online). A distant third was editorial content (owned media). So there's no question that while paid, owned and earned media are partly responsible for growing awareness and loyalty, they are no match for the influence of people. 

This influence works both ways, remember. While brands like the Human Rights Campaign, which motivated 2.7 million people to use its red "equality" logo as their Facebook profile photos, are benefiting from positive word of mouth, United Airlines and Victoria's Secret felt (or are still feeling) the wrath of the consumer—in the form of a voice that social media can amplify exponentially. 

So how do you get people talking positively about your brand? That's where storytelling comes in. 

Creating a Brand Narrative
In the post-advertising age, the brands that are succeeding are the ones that in effect turn themselves into stories—creating original, authentic media that their customers actively choose to engage with, explore and then recommend to others. The old model was 2 percent conversion. Now it's 100 percent engagement. 

But engagement is an industry buzzword and nothing you haven't already heard. So how can digital storytelling help you create positive word-of-mouth about your brand? 

First, brands have make an effort to map their digital touch points and create a strategy that will encourage the right customers to voluntarily associate with a brand, thereby building a much deeper knowledge of and connection to it. That allows the brand to tell its customers a new chapter of its story every time the customers touch it. So the first chapter of a story might describe the brand's approach to sandwich making. The next might describe the types of people the brand employs, how the brand goes out of its way to appreciate customers, and so on. The channels and stories vary from brand to brand, but what remains the same is the commitment to creating great content that is audience-serving, not just self-serving. 

Next, the content may be branded but must also be useful and entertaining or both. This type of content, such as Subway's original 4 to 9ers web series and The Walking Dead's immersive after-show, get people talking about the brand in the context of interesting content that doesn't feel like advertising. 

Finally, after unearthing a brand's story, mapping the touch points and creating engaging content, brands have one last step to take to align audiences with their story—it's what I call the leap. Brands have to get out of their comfort zone and embrace their audiences in good times and, probably most important, in bad. Gary Vaynerchuck, a brand in and of himself, constantly does this. At the most recent SXSW conference, he purchased a vendor booth and simply stood behind it for hours while attendees lined up to ask him question after question. I've never seen anything like it, and I've told countless people about Gary's "leap." He opened his brand up to all his fans and provided not only an authentic human connection but also valuable answers to their questions. 

Brands that exist outside of a single human body also have opportunities like this, especially when they are in crisis mode. Domino's practically wrote the book on reactive customer service when, on several occasions, its brand was shown in an unsavory light. From customers' unflattering reviews to customers' damning photos to deplorable behavior on the part of employees, Domino's listened, owned up to its mistakes and responded honestly and in a way that made a difference. In fact, Domino's was able to use the experience it gained through responding to the crises and turn it into content marketing. 


The Power of Customer Conversations
The greatest change in the post-advertising age is that conversations have become media. A brand must not only create great content but also help foster positive conversations. That's exactly what Domino's did and what United Airlines should have done. Social-media tools amplify these conversations, and then it is just arithmetic: billions of social-media users, each with hundreds of friends and followers. The conversations themselves are assembling large audiences in the way that mass (paid) media used to, and it is up to brands to craft the right narratives. 

Jon Thomas is the Communications Director at Story Worldwide and editor-in-chief of Post-Advertising.

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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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