Brands and Master Storytellers


Hey, hey, ad:tech friends. First, thanks for hanging with us during this conference! I’ve made so many new friends and I hope you’ve found the liveblogging coverage useful, or at least entertaining. We’re going to wrap up our time at ad:tech talking about brands as storytellers, which somehow seems very appropriate. I have been waiting for this one.

Speaking we have James Cockerille (FutureBrand), Rick Spiekermann (Nestle Purina), Sherrie Weitzman (Cadillac), Steve Sommers (Under Armour) and Dan Neely (Networked Insights). Dan asks everyone how they’re doing today and no one makes a sound. We’re tired, Dan. It’s not you. He’s going to kick things off and hopefully wake up these groggy marketers. Dan says everyday we perform 1 trillion data examinations on the audiences you care about, so that the Unknown Consumer can become the Known Consumer. Steve is up first to expand on that.

Under Armour tells stories to make all athletes better through passion, design, and the relentless pursuit of innovation. Everything is about passion. It’s about connecting with athletes to tell them that with this gear, you’ll feel better and you’ll perform better. We see some awesome Under Armour videos. They’re high-energy and full of passion. People are starting to wake up in the room.

Here’s the video because I like you.

They use analytics to get insight into the content they’re creating and how people are engaging with it. They found that athletes are connected on multiple levels. There’s a lot of conversation around the athletes in the spot, especially when the athletes are diverse. They created a campaign called Ready For August and a competition called Natural Born Hitters where users could remix the track. The winner’s track was featured during Monday Night Football. Again, the video.

This was huge for them from a brand perspective. It allowed them to connect with the kids. They got a whole new level of connection with them and how they interact with the brand. He talks about the evolution the brand has gone through – especially going after female athletes. The brand wasn’t resonating with women, and that’s a massive part of the market. They got data of who “she” is. What was core to her? What would resonate? What could the brand say to get their interest?

They found “I Will What I Want.” Women didn’t need permission. These videos performed really well.

With that campaign, with “willing it to happen” it, it exploded. It really connected. The insights about their audience caused them to take the campaign in a direction they wouldn’t have gone through otherwise.

Next up is Rick.

People are motivated by different things, which effects their communication. You have to ask yourself:

  • Why do people share?
  • How do you get them to want to consume your content?

He shares this video which was supposed to talk about the relationships people have with their dogs. I’m loving all the videos in this session!

This video did so well digitally that they turned it into a TV spot and ran it during the Grammy’s. It activated in social. When they’re doing these on their own channels, they can do one-to-one experiences. They wanted to create personalized mini-films so people could share their experiences with their buddies.

On the cat side, they’ve also created Dear Kitten, where the cats are living the lives their owners WISH they were living. That’s the foundational insight into this target, so that people see themselves in their cat. I can’t believe I just typed that.

The length of time people were watching these, it was north of a minute. This actually became a larger video series, and is still ongoing.

Next up is Sherrie and James. He’s on the agency side, her the client side.

Great luxury brands invite their customers to enter a rich and compelling word, animated by a fundamental tension, motivated by a purpose, for which their product/brand is essential. Their process for doing that looks like this:

Inspiring point of view -> Desirable product -> Consistent communications -> Exceptional experience.

You have to tell the same story consistently through every piece of communication you have – whether it’s a digital piece, a commercial or an event. People need to understand what the brand stands for. Deliver that through every experience. People don’t buy cars every year. But you need to be in their mind during those in between times.

She shows the video from their Dare Greatly launch campaign.

They created videos from thought leaders about how they “dared greatly.” They took that to digital, to mobile, to CRM, etc. It doesn’t talk about product, it talks about the lifestyle. She shows how they’ve taken their brand story different places – to auto show displays, during launch events, etc. You get a sense of who Cadillac is and how it’s a different type of lifestyle brand.

What a fun way to cap things off – videos of brands telling great stories!

Thanks for hanging with us over the past few days. You can catch up on  all our ad:tech San Francisco coverage right here.