HBO Now. Sling TV. CBS All Access. It seems almost every day we learn about a new deal or a new service that will continue to fragment the way consumers watch the content they love.
It’s also just one of the reasons I’m excited to hear from Comedy Central at this year’s Forum for Marketing Leaders - a brand that is actively traversing the fast-paced changes in the TV industry.
Walter Levitt is CMO at Comedy Central, and will join us on stage on Tuesday to discuss the evolution of the ‘multi-channel, multi-platform brand.’ In advance of his session, he sat down with me to talk about the effect of these changes on the Comedy Central brand.
Q. Comedy Central is rooted in a traditional linear cable channel, but (like many of your peers) is actively pursuing a multi-screen, multi-platform strategy. Do you think of Comedy Central as a TV brand, an entertainment brand, a content brand, or something else?
A. Comedy Central is a comedy brand. For our fans, we are their favorite “go to” whenever they are looking for a laugh. We have a strong 24-year history as a TV network, but over the last few years we've evolved our brand to ensure we are meeting the needs of our fans everywhere – and that obviously extends far beyond the linear TV screen.
Q. In building engagement, loyalty and audience, how do you balance the place of the Comedy Central brand vs. the brands of your individual programs, like the Daily Show or Broad City? How do you allocate investment, for example?
This week I had a chance to catch up with Peter Horst, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing at Capital One, in advance of his keynote later this month at Forrester’s Marketing Forum in LA. Peter will be speaking about how Capital One approached the integration and brand conversion of ING Direct, after the 2011 acquisition of the retail bank. Check out a preview of Peter’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in Los Angeles, April 18-19, to hear Capital One’s full story.
Q. What was the biggest challenge around the ING Direct integration strategy?
The biggest overall challenge was what we called “protecting the butterfly.” It became obvious to us that the magic of ING Direct did not lie in something as simple as a piece of technology, or a specific body of expertise, or some financial asset. What made ING Direct such a unique franchise was a complete ecosystem whose parts all worked together to create an exceptional customer experience. These parts included a powerful sense of mission, a culture of simplicity, a passion for serving customers, products that were offered straightforward value, a brand voice that was friendly and humorous, and much more. We realized that we had to be very careful not to disturb this ecosystem as we integrated the business, and remained on high alert to any risk that we might be undermining the interaction of the parts. One area in particular that we were very focused on was ensuring that the associates remained engaged and excited for this next leg of their journey.
Q. How did you approach this integration differently from past brand conversions?
There are only three weeks left until Forrester’s Marketing Forum, and the excitement surrounding this event is growing exponentially. Our focus this year is on how companies must radically shift their marketing practices to account for the myriad of new methods and media that people use to engage with a company and its brands and products. Our goal is to help you learn how to adjust to this new digital world we call the Splinternet.
In classic Forrester style, we run our presentation tracks to cater to each of the roles we serve within the marketing and strategy organization. For the market insights (MI) professional track, my colleagues Tamara Barber and Jackie Anderson have prepared some great content, starting first with Tamara’s take on the future of the MI department and then shifting to the awesome panel of speakers Jackie has lined up on what youth research can teach us about 21st century market insights. Next up for our track, I will walk you through some cool, emerging, and innovative research methodologies that you can use to understand this new type of customer.
Forrester forums always go by in a blur - so many ideas and conversations crammed into 2 short days. I'm still synthesizing, but even so, there are some key insights that I've jotted down from my seat in the speaker's gallery:
A few years ago, Procter & Gamble publicly stated that it had experienced inconsistent research results from successive online research projects. Other organizations shared similar experiences, and questions were raised about “professional respondents.” The trustworthiness of online research was in question, and multiple initiatives arose. In the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of debate around this topic, and associations such as ESOMAR and ARF have come up with protocols that all good panels should follow — and many have. But what does this mean from a client perspective? How have initiatives like ARF's Quality Enhancement Process, MarketTools' TrueSample, or processes like machine fingerprinting changed the industry?
As spring approaches, we are entering high planning season for our upcoming Forrester Marketing Forum. This is my third year designing the event content, and my co-host Carl Doty and I are working with the keynotes on their speeches. Things are shaping up nicely!
We just caught up with Pam Kaufman, CMO of Nickelodeon, and her team. Nickelodeon (producer of my son's favorite SpongeBob SquarePants) is undergoing a big effort to link their family of brands to the parent Nickelodeon brand. Forrester's event will be the first time that they've told their story externally. Pam has great passion and enthusiasm for her brand and this effort - I can't wait to hear more . . .
If you have a specific question that you'd like to ask Pam during the Q&A, then feel free to comment here or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We hope to see you at the forum. Our Early Bird rate expired March 12, but if you call our Events Team at 617.613.5905 with discount code MFXBLG, and they’ll extend the $200 discount for you.
I'm pleased to announce that Forrester's five year forecast is now complete and live on Forrester's site. It feels like this has been a long time in coming from my side too! Please see the full report for detailed explanations of the trends affecting overall marketing budgets and the growth of the channel in the forecast.
You may remember we previewed our forecast at Forrester's Marketing Forum at the end of April. If you cross reference this post to the one we posted as follow up to the forum, you will notice that the "% of all advertising spend" has changed. The absolute forecast is still the same, we just changed this calculation to make sure it was done in the same way as in years past. See below for the most recent release:
This research will certainly help marketers plan their channel strategies.
During my presentation at Forrester's Marketing Forum on April 23, I previewed Forrester's latest forecast of interactive marketing spend. We expect marketer spend on display media, search, email, mobile and social media to reach nearly $55 billion by 2014.
The theme for my speech at Forrester’s marketing forum on April 23-24 in Orlando this year is that the down economy is actually the *right* time to catalyze marketing change.Instead of hunkering down and trying just to maintain marketing status quo, my assertion is that marketers should actually take risks during the recession.