Conagra, Social TV and Online Video

There is a clear correlation between social media buzz and television ratings. The social TV phenomenon has been fueled by the explosive use of other screens-notably phones and tablets.

The above video interview is from the ANA TV & Everything Video Forum.                               
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Fernando Arriola, VP Media and Integration, Conagra Foods, recently participated in a panel discussion at the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) TV & Everything Video Forum in NYC. The panel was on Social TV.

There is a clear correlation between social media buzz and television ratings. The social TV phenomenon has been fueled by the explosive use of other screens-notably phones and tablets. Consumers are no longer simply passively watching television. Rather, they are connecting with other fans to chat about their favorite shows. This has important implications for marketers as brands now are also able to become involved in the conversation. The panel focused on opportunities provided by social TV for brands.

I sat down with Fernando to talk about the panel and Conagra’s digital and online video strategy. Everyone on the panel made it clear that we’re still in a learning phase when it comes to social TV. There is a lot of opportunity for those who gain insights into social TV to exploit the insights on behalf of their brands.

TV & Online Video Upfronts

Conagra is moving a lot of marketing dollars to digital. A fair amount of Conagra’s upfront spending is moving towards online and mobile video, in addition to broadcast and cable. Conagra wants its brand managers to think of video as one ecosystem, rather than broadcast, cable and online silos. This point is echoed by Alan Wurtzel, Head of Research for NBC (will publish that interview shortly).

Content Marketing

Conagra is also moving beyond the 15 – 30 second spot towards “brand as content producer”. Conagra wants to distribute its owned media through multiple channels and platforms such as Youtube and Facebook, portal partners such as Yahoo and MSN, mobile and Web. Distribution is one of Conagra’s biggest challenges for original content creation. How does the brand get the content it has invested in producing in front of a million people, rather than fifty people? While the company will still run banner ads and do traditional online advertising, Fernando is excited to create and distribute content directly to its target audience and brand fans.

Metrics of Success and Key Performance Indicators

Fernando likes to look at completion rates for both the creative and the distribution channel as a good indicator of how involved the audience is. The brand tries to run attribution models around how the actual content tracks to sales. Fernando acknowledges this is a bit more difficult given that most sales are in grocery stores.

Scale vs. Targeting

Online video creates opportunities for brands to hyper-target very granular audiences. However, the more a brand targets, the less audience there is to reach. So brands have to balance broad reach versus hyper-targeting. A brand such as Orville Redenbacher, which has broad consumer appeal, will do a network media buy and supplement the buy with some online video targeting. Slim Jim, on the other hand, has a pretty narrow target demographic. The company will buy small cable networks such as G4, Fuel, and MTV2, and spend online to reach consumers on niche gaming Web sites.

Brand Safety

Fernando responds with a question: Does your agency have the culture and infrastructure to really know what they are doing? What are your partner trading desks strengths and weaknesses in terms of execution?

Building the Next Generation Marketing Platforms

Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation digital platforms.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation platforms — hardware, software and content — to engage consumers and help those brands find greater economic value in their relationships.

Fuhr sees us as being past the point of experimentation with social media marketing. It’s a must for brands wanting to shift consumer preferences and be involved in conversation and culture. As social continues to expand as part of our marketing arsenals, Fuhr recommends “spreading your eggs” across multiple channels, based on where people are spending their time and what they are doing while they are there. Facebook is not the only player and Fuhr sees value in even the much-maligned MySpace for some of his clients.

Considering the near ubiquity of mobile devices, Fuhr observes an absence of mobile experimentation. Mobile success, he states, relies on content that is discoverable, readable, relevant, useful, meaningful and actionable.

Fuhr offers glimpses of Havas Digital’s work with Fidelity and Volvo as examples of the challenges in creating more robust assets in the digital space.

Effective Advertising That’s Less Complex and Less Expensive

As with many other major brands, Subaru is shifting from broadcast and print to the digital and social spaces.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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As with many other major brands, Subaru is shifting from broadcast and print to the digital and social spaces. At Subaru, this is being driven from the top, according to Brian Johnson, the company’s National Advertising Manager.

Subaru is creating a stronger presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as shifting from online banners to more content-oriented digital assets. In the past, production may have been complex and expensive. Now, content for channels such as YouTube may be created more on-the-fly, be a bit grittier and contain more humor.

Seeding information to blogs has shown to be effective for enthusiast products. Other shifts by the brand include moving away from sales events based on dealers “yelling and selling” and seeking more natural product integration on programming that fits Subaru’s demographics.

Know the Right Places and Times for Consumer Engagement

Brands acknowledge that there are better ways to reach and talk to customers than the techniques we’ve used in the past.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Brands acknowledge that there are better ways to reach and talk to customers than the techniques we’ve used in the past. For Barb Goose, EVP at Digitas, those goals are achieved by delivering insightful messages to highly targeted audiences with “in the moment” relevancy.

Goose sees the smartest companies thinking about targeting and retargeting to find the right people and delivering a personalized message. One-offs are less effective than smart, branded content used on multiple channels, such as social and mobile, in a consistent, integrated way.

In this interview, Goose illustrates her points with information on work with client Harley Davidson to encourage more women to ride its motorcycles. The engagement process starts with an understanding of who the women are and how they spend their days. The core messages seek to take away the scare factor for women, so Harley seeks women who ride and are in the target audience’s social circles to serve as active or passive influencers to facilitate sharing of the educational information.

Goose also speaks of the new definition of CRM. She cites companies pivoting their loyalty programs by going from an emphasis on points to integration of social, mobile and other channels. Databases, she comments, can be used in partnership with people’s behaviors with the goal of providing personal responses in real time.

Acknowledging Marketing Communications That Really Work

Denise McDevitt cites the Effie Awards as recognizing marketing communications that address a challenge and deliver on its promise.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Denise McDevitt cites the Effie Awards as recognizing marketing communications that address a challenge and deliver on its promise.

By identifying and acknowledging ideas that work, the Effies intend to raise the bar across all related disciplines while celebrating the agency/brand relationship. The awards can help validate that the hard work and risks taken were made worthy by the results.

The Effies are expanding its categories to acknowledge new disciplines and potentials for innovation. As an example, McDevitt speaks of the expanded number of award categories for shopper marketing.

Finding and Harnessing What’s Next in Earned Media

To increase the value of their earned media relationships, brands will better partner with customers to create improved experiences and engagement by collaborating on real things with more meaning than a tweet.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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To increase the value of their earned media relationships, brands will better partner with customers to create improved experiences and engagement by collaborating on real things with more meaning than a tweet.

Craig Elimeliah, RAPP’s Director of Digital and Emerging Technology, sees similarities of practice by many brands on the more established channels, such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. Hence, he’s looking at the social and emerging technology spaces to identify those that are less obvious.

There are lots of “in the wild” insights on curation sites to be mined on how brands are perceived and, on platforms such as Pinterest, purchase intent. These can inform cross-platform strategies for brands to foster cocreation of content and the resulting reaggregation by consumers to their social networks. Elimeliah sees brands giving people tools to build products and utilities that help tell brands’ stories in ways they could not do on their own.

In the interview, Elimeliah presents how RAPP has helped rebrand Humana from the insurance space to the wellness space using both traditional and alternative media streams and methodologies.

What’s The Right Model for Online Video Advertising?

Rob D’Asaro, OMD’s US Director, Digital Strategic Alliances, has seen the changes in the ways broadcast and online video advertising have been purchased over the past few years.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Rob D’Asaro, OMD’s US Director, Digital Strategic Alliances, has seen the changes in the ways broadcast and online video advertising have been purchased over the past few years. Broadcast was measured by GRPs and video by impressions. Now, there is a murky continuum attributable to the experimentation by vendors on one side and resistance by brands and agencies to pivot on the other.

D’Asaro sees holding on to the standard broadcast model as something that prevents clients from spending more money on digital channels. Part of his job is to bring broadcast and online channels together. Digital vendors can go to old model, which will result in more money for them for short term, or continue to sell “digitally,” the likely long-term future of the industry.

Metrics are shifting away from direct, micro-metrics, such as clicks and views, observes D’Asaro. He sees a shift to top-level metrics — brand and campaign awareness, brand favorability, purchase intent, and, at a macro level, product purchased. He is concerned about last click attribution, seeing the need for greater awareness of the entire process.

Facing the Increasingly Complicated Media Landscape

As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

Sonya Svaty, VP, Group Director of Strategy at PHD, sees her clients as concerned about both engagement metrics and loss of control of their messages on social media. The platform is becoming mainstream and no brand wants to see its dirty laundry put on Facebook’s front lawn. Likes, while not the best way to measure engagement, are straightforward and easy-to-use, making them useful for the short term.

The rapid rise of tablets creates more decisions. At present, Svaty sees brands, for now, effectively piggy-backing on the applications of content vendors, as opposed to developing their own apps. She observes high click-through rates by tablet users, projecting a leveling off as early exploring wanes.

Content marketing can be resource intensive for smaller brands, placing demands on budget, time and internal workflow. Svaty distinguishes between brands for which consumers that have clear content needs and those where consumers are less likely to rely on information that is directly product-related when making a purchase

Evolve Your Understanding of Advertising By Being Engaged in Emerging Media

Companies are in peril if they fail to evolve their understanding of how consumers are interacting with each other and brands.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Companies are in peril if they fail to evolve their understanding of how consumers are interacting with each other and with brands, suggests Gabe Dorosz, Vice President, Management Supervisor, Interactive at Cramer-Krasselt. To best evolve their understanding of advertising, he recommends that they dig in and get dirty.

Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram offer a fresh understanding of how consumers are discovering brands. It’s important for brands to recognize the role of their branded destinations and paid strategies in the context of these and other communities on emerging, innovative media platforms.

Dorosz sees content marketing as best informed by insight mining of organic search results. This parallels classic planning — applying both the analytic and creative minds to data — but is applied to new disciplines. Not only do brands need to discover things tied to their consumers that are not claimed by others, multiples of these insights are needed to maintain a continuous stream of original content.

In the interview, Dorosz also discusses brands’ struggle to determine the relative roles of their communities. Facebook may have replaced the microsite as a brand destination, not because of insights, but because of deadlines and budgets.

The Best Ideas Thrive Across Media Platforms

Brands such as Kraft are finding new and creative ways to have spark and maintain relevant conversations with their customers.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Brands are finding new and creative ways to spark and maintain relevant conversations with their customers. The standouts for Noelle O’Mara, Senior Brand Manager, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, are the media-transcending ideas based on simple, powerful insights.

O’Mara sees great ideas being validated when they can be brought to life in many different ways. She’s excited to see brands succeed in finding the right points of interaction and the right communications vehicles to engage inundated consumers in ongoing conversations.

Even out-of-home is finding means to continue conversations through the use of interactive billboards and messages that direct the consumer to other platforms. Earned media needs to be amplified in authentic and relevant ways, O’Mara observes, for brands to get the most out of their increasing investment in the spectrum of digital media.