word of mouth
I remember when I first starting looking at Vogue in the 1970’s. I was in junior high school, living in Miami (which was super sleepy, almost a hick town, honestly) and living on my mother’s seamstress salary. Obviously, I wasn’t shopping for anything in Vogue, but I was dreaming. And here’s the thing, it wasn’t all about the clothes. The 70’s was a pretty dismal time economically, gas lines, etc. Vogue was an escape, especially for a young girl who had a desire to “get to the big city.” And that big city would be New York, of course. Oh, and throw Paris in while you’re at it. There were plenty of sexy, cool images (think Helmut Newton) and there were exotic locations and SUPER skinny models and everyone seemed to be dating a glam rocker (like Bryan Ferry). It was cool, and far away and UNDERGROUND. Because there was an underground then. Word of mouth was it, back then. If you weren’t connected you were out.
True, we often look back on our life and think it was better back then... Everyone does it, and ultimately it was never much better and often it was worse. But if I was a fashion magazine I’d work toward making things a bit more surreal, a lot more out of reach and as underground as possible. This concept may fly in the face of current thinking — we are all citizen reporters, aren’t we? Everything is accessible, right? BUT, that’s what made those books interesting in the bad old days. Or, I guess fashion can just accept that their bibles are on the way out. I sure do hope not, ‘cause there are still a lot of dreamers out there. Little girls, and big girls.
Awards – aren’t we crazy about them? The desire to be recognized lies deep within all of us. Harder, better, faster, stronger. Perfectionists, we want to learn from the best and be the best. The best we can. And yes, we want that award – be it a simple thank you, a gift, a raise, or an Olympic medal.
Being in social media marketing, we keep an eye on the awards that celebrate the hard work and creative solutions in the digital word of mouth marketing field. The WOMMY’s and SAMMY’s are the Oscars and Emmy’s rocking our world.
Throughout this year, we have been on a real rollercoaster ride from project to project, and campaign to campaign. We worked hard – and guess what? Last week, the WOM campaign we did for Bausch & Lomb Multi-Focal contact lenses this Spring/Summer was selected as a FINALIST in the 2009 SAMMY Awards. Our submission was picked as one of three finalists in the Best Integrated Social/Cross Media Campaign category.
Needless to say, we are beyond excited! In our category, we are standing side by side with such great agencies as OMD (who did a campaign for Jim Beam), and Qorvis, Doe Anderson, Padilla Speer Beardsley and Zezza (McDonalds). The winner of the category is still to be announced at the Awards Gala on September 17th at The W Hotel, New York. (All we need is just a little bit of luck!)
No matter what decision the judging committee makes next Thursday, we already feel like winners. And that’s a great feeling – fulfilling and energizing – that leaves us wanting to come back the next year with something even bigger and better.
As a communications agency that does a whole lot of things that could be called marketing (and always has, even when it wasn’t popular), I started thinking about changing the way we positioned ourselves. Should we be a “marketing” agency? With the advent of WOM and the launch of our Consumer Engagement Marketing division and the various ways in which we help our clients build their brands, not only through awareness but also via business development strategies, it just seemed a natural evolution. Until I started really thinking about it… In the IMC process, the agency lineup generally includes advertising, pr, digital, cp and media buying. Not marketing, so much. To re-position your company as a marketing firm might just make it difficult to pitch yourself. Today, specializing might be the best thing to do. But specializing doesn’t mean you have to only do one thing, not really. If you are a communications agency you can add in business development when needed, or brand alliances, or even online viral marketing and content ideation. If you’re a media-buying agency you can come up with brand building platforms that reach well beyond what is considered your scope of work. Advertising agencies are definitely dipping down into digital in way they haven’t in the past. It’s all a big mix, which makes the case that a “marketing” agency could encompass all of these things and have a great place to live. But, I still think it just might be a case of all things to all people, but still a master of none…
Just a thought. We’re sticking with communications, albeit pr on steroids.
Our company is going through a natural evolutionary shift (in a good way!) I’ve been doing pr for 15 years now—from the bottom up—and I can attest to there being a new perception around what it is that we do. Public relations, along with other disciplines, has always been seen as a below the line proposition (throw them the scraps). But today, below the line marketing platforms are climbing up out of the trenches and making a name for themselves, and there’s a good reason why this is happening. People want to have a conversation, not just be talked to. People want to know what “other” people think, they aren’t so keen anymore to have someone tell them “this is the way it is so try it.” Social media has made it a whole lot easier to connect, share and tell stories. Social media does not belong to the advertising agency or the media-buying agency. It belongs with pr (and the digital shops). Recently, Sapient bought Nitro. Their position was below the line is on the rise and we are turning this ship around. So instead of the guy (or gal) in the corner office churning out television commercials to feed the beast, more engaging, high touch methods are gaining respect, and critical mass. In our agency we have a new platform that is WOM-based but incredibly high touch. We use automated tools, but most of the work is done person-to-person. This is a natural outgrowth of what we have always done and the results for these types of programs have been incredible. So much so that we are launching a new web-based business because we KNOW we can get it out there. What used to feel like a bit of luck has turned into an amazing ROI machine. So below the line agencies rejoice, it looks like our time has finally come!