APRIL 2015


In our on-going pursuit of finding a better way for marketers to cut through, please indulge us for a moment as we introduce you to a profoundly obvious yet under deployed strategic approach we Renegades call Social Inspired Marketing.
Why the new approach?

Even in his dotage, Pinky, Renegade’s unabashed social mascot, lives for his walks. The slightest leash rattle awakens an infinite curiosity for the sights, sounds and smells that await just beyond the door. In this newsletter, we take our cue from Pinky and step out of our cubes to smell the roses at three sweet events: The CMO Club Summit, the PSFK Conference and the 2015 Shorty Awards.

In Praise of Lactobacillus bulgaricus

Turns out, all great brands are like yogurt — invigorated by a living and active culture. In brands as diverse as Mary Kay and KIND, this culture can typically be traced back to the founder. And as often as the idea of corporate culture is discussed, overlooking its importance may come at your personal peril. Whether you’re a CMO or investor, intern or inventor, your success depends on understanding, embracing and, if necessary, evolving the implicit beliefs and behaviors of that organization.

Culture Devours Strategy

Among the most vibrant discussions at The CMO Club Summit this spring in NYC was the importance of culture in driving a change agenda. Sheryl Adkins-Green made the strongest case for this perspective, noting that at Mary Kay, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Significantly, Adkins-Green invoked the existing culture to help it evolve, pointing to the founder’s famous sense of entrepreneurship when rolling out a groundbreaking online store.

Snacking on Humble Pie

KIND’s founder Daniel Lubetzky spoke to a receptive PSFK conference crowd just a few days after the snack brand’s first formidable PR crisis. Lubetzky was remarkably honest, admitting to a labeling mistake — at least according to current FDA guidelines. And while this may prove to be a textbook case on crisis management, it was clear that KIND would weather the storm thanks to a profound commitment to doing well by doing good and turning the notion of kindness into a genuine movement.

Mining social data for truly social ideas

So if everyone is mining social data, why isn't everyone finding gold? Great question and the answer is as complex as the problem. Some are using the wrong tools, others the wrong miners and still others are looking in the wrong place. In truth, there is a huge gap between data and insight and it takes a skilled cutter to transform a lump of carbon into a precious diamond.

The Audacity of AND

The next time you find yourself saying “that’ll never work,” consider the likelihood that your opinion stems from a conventional “either/or” framework rather than a more facile one that replaces ORs with ANDs. Lubetzky championed this paradigm at PSFK, explaining that Kind’s success came from uniting apparent contradictions like “delicious AND nutritious,” “profit AND social responsibility,” and “whole ingredients AND mass production.” For Jim Collins fans, this is another reminder of the “tyranny of the OR.”

Speaking of ANDs

One of the more eye-opening speakers at this year’s PSFK Conference was Amanda Parkes, Chief of Technology & Research for Manufacturer NY. Amanda spoke of her new organization’s commitment to developing a warehouse space that will support R&D at the vortex of technology, fashion AND textiles AND will rekindle manufacturing in New York City. Amanda is a stickler for developing truly fashionable wearable tech: after announcing she’d never own an Apple Watch, she described a new fiber that could provide battery power AND be recharged via machine washing.

The Long and Shorty of Winning Strategies

Now in their seventh year, The Shorty Awards celebrated the best in social media marketing at an event in NYC on April 20. Although we were there to accept an award for the NCAA Talking Bench campaign, we couldn’t help but admire the work of others, especially Best Buy and TD Bank— two strong examples of “social inspired marketing.” While both campaigns started with genuine insights and had strong organic social media components, their success was catalyzed by significant media investment.

Even Social Hints Go Farther with Paid Support

Best Buy and their agency CP+B earned “Best in Retail and eCommerce” at the Shorty’s for their #HintingSeason campaign. By providing permission to share hints about one’s desired gifts, the campaign inspired highly entertaining content from both the agency and users. Supported with paid media, #HintingSeason generated over 660 million impressions, maintained a 7.2% engagement rate and contributed to a 4.1% increase in holiday season sales.

No, thank YOU

TD Bank took the tried-and-true guerrilla tactic of random acts of kindness and turned it into social magic. After setting up hidden cameras at four ATMs (Automated Thank-You Machines), TD Bank delivered various thank-you’s to their customers like sending a family to Disneyland and reuniting a mother and her daughter. These experiences were captured on video and, in turn, generated over 30 million views and had a measurably positive impact on the perceptions of 3.6 million Canadians. So yeah, Mom was right: “It wouldn’t kill you to say ‘thank you’ now and then.”

IFinal note: Stand up. Take a walk. Clear your mind. And then fill it with new ideas from people outside your everyday life. When you get back, feel free to read more on the people behind the companies discussed above, including Mary Kay, TD Bank and Best Buy.