Over 300 industry experts, marketing professionals and media partners joined OMD for our ninth edition of OMD Predicts “Inspire”, on September 19th. Our annual though-leadership conference featured keynote speaker and marketing coach Omar Johnson, who deep-dived into ad creatives, consumers, and big ideas in marketing and media.
NETWORKING AND INNOVATION
Google’s Arts & Culture experiential activation impressed the crowd with their Museum App, more widely known as the “Art Doppleganger”. Users’ selfies were processed by image recognition technology to match facial features with their fine art lookalikes. 5 results were displayed on a large screen showing portraits that resembled users the most, ordered by a match percentage. The result could then be printed, or shared on social media (or both!).
THE MARKETING GUY’S STORIES AND WORDS OF WISDOM
Brooklyn-born, —“not the sexy Brooklyn you now see on TV, but the not so sexy Brooklyn” in his own words— Omar started his marketing journey working with renamed brands like Coca-Cola, Kraft, Campbell’s, and Nike. From there, he was recruited by Dr. Dre to be the fifth employee to join his newly launched startup headphones brand, Beats. Johnson explained that his excitement for this new startup challenge rapidly turned into fear, and how his reaction to that fear made him oversimplify what marketing really was. He realized that Marketing was expensive, subjective, unreliable and hard to measure. Building a great brand takes a great product, people, and storytelling.However, it is people who build the product and do the storytelling.
MARKETING IS PEOPLE.The three elements are critical, but great brands start with people. Building a team that is diverse helps brands cover the real world of consumers from a marketing perspective. Bring great people to your team.
MARKETING IS PRODUCT.The product isn’t just the product. Think about packaging, experiences, lifestyle; the product needs to stand out alone, even without advertising and social media.
MARKETING IS STORYTELLING.It doesn’t take big brands to tell good stories. It’s not about ads and spending money, it’s about owned and earned media, which again goes back to people… sales people, marketing people, consumers. Your team is the core of your brand, things as specific as how they dress and act can make an impact. Everything is part the brand’s storytelling, not only the media and elements it owns and controls like websites and social media profiles. Earned media is also very important, media that is not directly the brand’s such as their employees’ and consumers’ social media or word of mouth. Brands should move and inspire consumers to do marketing on their behalf.
OMAR JOHNSON’S RULES OF BRAND MARKETING
- PRODUCT IS KING.Obsess about the product. Everyone in the company needs to know the product and care about it. Find opportunities to create real connections with people through your product.
- STAY YOUNG.Which doesn’t mean to hire young people but to maintain their spirits young in everything they do.
- ALWAYS BE AUTHENTIC. We live in the information age. If a brand is not authentic, the consumer will find out quickly.
- BE THE LEADER. Even if the brand isn’t leader, envision it as leader and find a way.
- LIVE THE CONNECTION. The team needs to get out there and live what the consumers are living. Employees should live and do the things that drive your business.
- MOVE CULTURE. Aim to move and inspire people. Be effective creating experiences that drives human behavior. Never forget emotion.
These rules proved effective when after being applied on all of their marketing campaigns, Beats hiked from $180 million to being a $1.1 billion dollar global icon and category leader, becoming the #1 premium headphone in North America, UK, France, Germany, South Korea and Singapore. The company was then bought by Apple for $3 billion dollars.
IDEAS ALWAYS WIN AND THE MEDIA AGENCY’S ROLE
When it comes to ideas, data isn’t always the answer. Real ideas come from real consumers, and curiosity is what leads to insight. Insight gives birth to ideas, and articulating those ideas can make them thrive or completely destroy them.
Media agencies can and should act as creative partners and consultants; we are key to moving at the speed of culture. Content velocity is the speed at which content needs to be created and produced and the speed of the publishing. The media agency’s input on what content needs to be produced and how to deliver it is paramount. Predicting what will happen and anticipating what the response will be, identifying the right moment, deploying the right product, amplifying the message, and having the agility to retract, are all joint efforts and teamwork.
Categories are shaped by behavior and it is only brands that break paradigms that makes categories grow and expand. Otherwise, if all brands play by the same category rules, it’s just a matter of taking and giving off the same market shares.
CREATE YOUR OWN RULES. DRIVE BEHAVIOR. DARE TO SHAPE YOUR CATEGORY.