If it sounds cliche, it probably is. Ironically it is also exactly what our clients are asking for and even using it as the name of the initiative as they look for new approaches to marketing.
At Mirum we’ve been working on stepping back from the talk and doing the hard work around the systems and tools that can really allow people to work differently and deliver a better product.
At Dreamforce, SF Society Magazine posted some of my thoughts on how Salesforce can support agencies.
The challenge every company faces is how to be different, and how to be better.
For marketing agencies, this is doubly difficult. Our biggest asset is our people, and while we invest heavily in culture, people routinely move between agencies. They move because they can be productive quickly, and they can be productive because, despite all of the branding we put on our methodologies, what we do and how we do it is pretty commoditized.
And no one wants to be competing as a commodity.
We also have the challenge of client expectations. Moore’s Law has set the bar high. Every business is under pressure to make its product twice as good every 18 months, and to sell it at the same price.
Can we really expect our creative director to be twice as creative every 18 months?
It isn’t that for over 30 years direct marketing has told us relevancy increases conversion rates.
It isn’t because you’ve invested real cash in the tools to personalize but have a hard time managing the complexity of implementing it.
It isn’t because your customers get annoyed if they have to search for the information they are looking for.
It is because no one wants to be lost in a broadcast.
Yes conversion rates go up if you personalize. And yes you should use the full capability of the tools with simple strategies to get teams moving.
The real reason is to show you have empathy for your customers. Not because “the customer is always right” but because of the reason you got into your business in the first place. Because you want to do the right thing for your customers.
Found an old speech I gave in Berlin 2007. It was the first time I wrote out a presentation and learned it word for word, instead of preparing a set of notes and talking to them.
What is funny is how much the message is still relevant today, ten years later.
Strengthening and expanding a brand
Good morning and thank you for taking the time listen to my comments on branding for MVNO and mobile operators. I hope you are looking forward to Day 3.
You will be happy to hear is that I had considered doing a concentrated econometric analysis of the correlation between branding and ARPU growth across 15 international markets, but decided against it. I’m sure you have already seen quite a few powerpoint slides over the last two days – seeing as speakers average 1 slide every 10 seconds at a conference like this and you’ve probably been in 10 hours of presentation which means you have already seen some odd 3,600 powerpoint slides. I couldn’t possibly expect you to remember mine in such a state so instead I thought instead I’d tell you a story.
This is a story about brands and branding. It is made up of 3 simple points that are easy to remember, can be simple to implement and do increase customer loyalty. And loyalty means retention and revenue growth.
1 – Don’t Position yourself, Take a Position – There is no right answer, there is only one wrong answer — and that is not having an answer.
2 – Act, Don’t Talk – Your brand is not what you say, it is what you do.
3 – Communicate with the team – Don’t just talk to your customers, talk to your team and unite them around what you believe in.
Take a Position – There is no right answer, it is essential to have a single answer and believe it
What is the first thing we can learn from some of the most successful brands that have been built in the last decade. Brands like Google, Apple, Skype, Nike. These brands aren’t built on advertising, they are built on product innovation. Product innovation and product communication that focuses around a single very strong belief. Even in a commodity marketplace if you take a position, people will respond.
Google, Apple, Skype, Innocent Drinks – they are all single minded about what they stand for and focused all of their activity to reinforce a single message.
Google built a search engine after there were 5 other search engines in the market. They said we will innovate to amaze people and they have done that with search, mapping, text link advertising and email. There mission is to organise the worlds information – but there brand is based – in my opinion – on amazing people with what you can do with networked computers. Apple focuses on simplicity and design. Everything they do focuses on simplifying the task and make it beautiful.
At Ogilvy we call these positions a brand’s “Big Ideal.” Simply put you need to ask yourself a simple question and continue to return to the answer. The question is “The world would be a better place if …” The world would be a better place if everyone could find anything they were looking for immediately online. Google. The world would be a better place if everyones electronics were beautiful and worked well together. Apple.
For Dove, we believe the world would be a better place if women didn’t have a distorted opinion of beauty. Dove is in a competitive market with a fairly commodity product but Dove believes in real beauty and all of its products and marketing comes back to this core thought. What’s the truth about beauty? Dove recently set out across 10 countries and interviewed 3,000 women to find out. They learned that
only 2% of these women describe themselves as “beautiful,”
About 3/4 of them rate their beauty as “average”
Almost 1/2 of them think their weight is “too high”
When Dove took the position that women should see their real beauty, it found out a lot of woman agreed and because they believe in what Dove is doing, they buy their products.
Action – Your brand is not what you say, it is what you do.
If you believe in something, you have the taken the fist step that organises everything you do but if you really believe in something, you can’t just talk about it. You can’t market with claims, you need to market with services.
Nike says “just do it” and in 2001 it produced NikeID – a simple product configurator – call it a sophisticated online brochure – that allowed you to build your shoe online. They also realised they could send that request to the factory and ship it to your house. Now their website – which is a marketing tool – allows you to get the exact shoe you need to achieve your goals.
Take a simple sponsorship – The Run London 10k Road Race. Yes, they put their banners on the course and hand out runner hats with the famous swoosh, but they also offered an online tool that allowed runners to upload their favourite runs, share them with their friends, and track their progress in training for the event.
Today they’ve taken this idea on step further. Nike Plus is a monitor that records how you run and stores the information on your iPod which can then be synchronised with their website. This is a 20 Euro gadget – it started as a sales promotion with Apple – but given Nike’s obsession with helping people achieve their goals it lets you upload your numbers and your routes and your favourite tunes to a global community website. Track your progress on individual runs. Chart your calorie burn and compare it with other runners.
For Dove the services we’ve offered are a Self-Esteem Fund for young girls. A global forum where people can discuss issues around beauty. A commitment to using real women in all of its advertising – even if it takes 3 weeks to cast the perfect 50 year old for a Pro Age advertisement instead of the 3 hours with a modelling agency.
Nike and Dove understand branding and marketing today: It isn’t about telling your customers that your product is better, it is about doing things for them and people like them that complement your product.
Communication – Speaking to your team as well as your customer
The final tip focuses on communication. Today’s markets are complex and your organisations are run with smaller teams and everyone is incredibly busy. I’ve made the point that unless your whole team focuses on the brand ideal, you won’t deliver for your audience. The way this works is to take your “marketing idea” and communicate it across your internal teams from R&D to end sales.
This is a challenge – We all know we need our teams to be creative if they are going to be innovative and be relevant. 15 years ago you could simply tell the world that Gillette is “The Best a Man Can Get,” translate it into 50 languages and run your ads all with the same shot of the razor. Not the blue one, the shiny cool silver one. But what happens when you are asking your team to do events, you are expecting new applications on a quarterly cycle, that you need website applications – as well as tactical sales promotions to shift aging stock. The answer is you have to give your teams more – you have to let them take the ideal and work with it.
The good news is that if you have a strong ideal and focus everyone on supporting this belief, your marketing will naturally fall in line. The brand position isn’t just a tag line, it has to be a filter that can be used to evaluate marketing communications, website functionality, sales presentations, everything.
When Cisco says it believes it is the “Human Network” that is real amazing – not the routers and firewalls that make the IP network, it provides a single focus for its marketing organisations worldwide. It sets a stake in the ground that focuses on the benefit – that people can collaborate, communicate and work together — not just the product features. It forces everyone to return to a single point of reference whether they are an enterprise sales team, a direct marketer mailing small businesses or an awareness campaign for consumers that purchase through retail outlets and provides an easy way to say that work is “on brand” or “off brand.”
What is essential though is that the brand ideal is not seen as “just marketing,” it is seen as what the company believes in and everyone’s actions from product development, corporate management and local market sales promotion all rally around this one key point.
So, returning to our three key principals:
Don’t Position yourself, Take a Position – There is no right answer, there is only one wrong answer — and that is not having an answer.
Act, Don’t Talk – Your brand is not what you say, it is what you do.
Communicate with your Team – Don’t just talk to your customers, talk to your team and unite them around what you believe in.
What does this mean for MVNOs? It means you all need to find a brand filter that your teams can rally around and you need to raise it up so it is more then an ad campaign. Only when you can come to a conference like this, or out on the strees with your customers, and have everyone give the same answer – that network is about phones that are fun, this network is about being a real reliable business tool, this is a network makes it easy for a parents to give a phone to their kids – then you will have real branding. And if you deliver on your beliefs, you will have loyal customers.
On Dove, our Vice Chairman and creative director had an interesting experience. He was in a London Taxi and mentioned that he worked in advertising and that he’d worked on the Dove campaign. The taxi drivers reaction was “that’s those posters with the fat birds innit? I like that, I can’t stand all of those ads with skinny bints – they’re not woman at all.” It is pretty clear that the Dove marketers didn’t intend for their campaign to be remembers as a “Fat Birds” campaign but it does show that a big ideal can be translated into any language for any market – even East London hackney.
If you talk about something your audience believes in, they will talk about it and that is the most effective marketing of all.
Hello everyone, for those of you that don’t know me I am John Baker, Frank Baker’s son, and thank you for coming out today and showing your support. It means a lot to all of us.
Right after my father passed away a friend of mine sent me a great quote — it said basically “no one should be afraid of dying, our biggest fear should be never living.”
We definitely don’t have that problem with Dad — he did more before he was 35 than most people imagine doing in a lifetime.
And this isn’t a boast, it is a gift. This means we can celebrate his life and do what he’d most want us to do — learn from it to make our own lives richer.
Most of us know that he was CEO of Andersen Group, but did you know he was hired as CEO at the age of 30 and held that job for over 45 years — even though the offer letter clearly states it was only a 2-year contract?
In 1959 Andersen Labs was a tiny electronics manufacturing company making components for missile guidance systems in West Hartford CT.
One story I heard was that when an important defense contractor came through to evaluate the company, he had my mom and his neighbors from Farmington fill out the back benches to make the company look big enough to get the contract. It must have worked, he took the company public as as “space stock” and then diversified by building it into a holding company that bought and sold over 10 other companies over the years.
In 1997, just before turning 70, he took Andersen into the newly opened up Russian market.
He partnered with some other big names in US private equity and took a controlling stake in a small Titanium manufacturer. As this company was rolled up into Russia’s largest Titanium manufacturer, he found himself sparring with some of Russia’s most famous oligarchs, and at a time when their power was unparalleled.
In 2000 he took over a business that had a contract with the Mayor of Moscow to bring cable broadband to the city. He raised foreign and local investment and when he sold that business in 2007, he sold all of the assets of Andersen Group with it.
And that is how he then made time to work on a little storm ravaged condominium association, Baytree, in Vero.
It is an incredible set of achievements, and demonstrates a successful career, but I don’t think we should be content to just remember what he did, we should work a little harder and try to capture who he was.
There is no doubt Dad was confident and capable, but he was also adventurous.
During the summer between his two years at business school, he and his French roommate got a set of sponsors to buy them an MG convertible so they could drive it from Boston to Rio de Janeiro. Remember it was 1954. There weren’t highways between New York and Chicago, much less Lima and La Paz. Armed with only a set of press credentials Dad got from someone, they drove through areas controlled by communist guerrillas in Guatemala and witnessed the revolution that followed.
While they were in Brazil, the dictator of 30 years died and Dad used his press pass to take pictures of the funeral and file them with the US papers.
And this entire trip was just 100 days over the summer break.
Obviously it helps on your adventures to be charismatic and Dad could definitely be convincing.
As an undergraduate trying to get on the Harvard Lampoon he convinced a group of friends it would be a good idea to “borrow” a 300-pound granite punch bowl from the Crimson (the grown up student paper at Harvard), and present it to the Mayor of Boston … while pretending to be a student group from Boston College! It didn’t take long for the mayor to realize it was joke, and they all laughed with the journalists covering the event. Yes, he made the Lampoon, and, yes, he made front page of the Boston papers.
There was something else that Dad cared about greatly and that was family.
When I think of my time growing up I’m always amazed to think of how incredibly active we all were.
When we went camping, we didn’t pull the car up to a nice camp site by a lake. We loaded up the station wagon – we called it the Momma Wagon — with dad, Karen, 6 kids, a couple friends, dogs, packs, boots, and parked at a trail head somewhere near North Conway and walked into the White Mountains for a week. Everyone carried a pack — big kids carried big packs, little kids carried little packs, the completely shocked Parisian daughter of his old roommate carried a pack, even Oliver, our golden retriever, had a doggie pack to carry his food.
Most week-ends we would work on the house on Deercliff road. It was a great house and Dad loved making it better. He was demanding as a general contractor, definitely. I can clearly remember the light flipping on at 8 am no matter what time I got dropped off the night before. A bowl of Raisin Brand and Grape Nuts, instant coffee, and onto the day’s program.
We’d build stone walls. We’d put up fences. We cut the lawn with a golf course style gang reel mower you had to run behind hoping it didn’t pull you into the woods or off the cliff.
One summer he cleared an area of small brush and planted some meadow seed in order to create an “Alpine Swale.” I’m still not sure that an Alpine Swale is real thing, but we created one and we loved it. And when he would entertain folks from the YPO or family friends he’d say, “look, we’ve made an alpine swale. Let me tell you what happens when you plant 1,000 crown vetch upside down — you get to plant them again!”
Dad loved doing things with lots of people, especially family.
And he didn’t stop at the immediate family but brought in extended family and friends. And friends’ families. Even ex’s, ex’s new partners and their families. He was always inviting everyone up to do something. He was incredibly inclusive.
This is because for families to be families they have to spend time together — and of course it being Dad that meant all of us, all together.
Together at night for dinner. Together every holiday week-end. Together around a campfire. Together on a 40-foot sailboat.
And we’d be together when he’d turn the spotlight on one of us with a classic set of 50 questions. That got intense, it has to be said, but I believe it is because he wanted to know us. it was because he wanted to make us stronger.
When he got back to owning sailboats, he first bought a C&C 38 called Finesse and later the Swan 47 Commotion that he and Karen lived on for years. And he would bring as many people as he could get on those boats.
He’d say bring your friends, bring your boyfiriend, bring your roommate. Or sometimes you’d find your friends sailing with Dad and Karen when you were somewhere else working!
Of course the first thing he would generally do is go straight out to sea and start practicing mark rounding and spinnaker driills, completely oblivious to the fact that the boyfriend or roommate was turning an obscure shade of green.
Yes, it was his agenda but the trips were amazing.
Marblehead to Maine, Newport to Bermuda, Antigua to St Lucia, across the Atlantic, Gibraltar to Majorca — these were epic trips he made happen for himself, but also something he gave to us.
And it carries on with his grand kids also telling stories of sailing trips on the next generation of boats.
His love of including everyone is why he and Karen bought the house in Farmington, Eight Bells, that was big enough to hold us all, and why as the grandkids got older he added a family room over the garage.
This meant they could host Memorial Day barbecues and big Thanksgiving week-ends. He could bring everyone together and watch the kids learn to swim, teach them to use a bow and arrow, or, of course, do yard work.
When you consider Dad & Karen owned that house for nearly 20 years, you see there is a set of kids that grew up going there.
Had the good luck to go to CES this year. Like two years ago it is a big, big show, but I think I like it more after this trip. Not so much for the booths–although walking the floor with a good friend in from the London private equity scene was fun–it is more the clients and WPP teams that are there.
You can’t compete with LG or the new Chinese brands like LeEco, but you can have some really productive conversations and everyone is primed up thinking about technology and innovation!
Our CMO John Baker covered a lot of ground at the tech world’s biggest event last week, and shares how innovative brands are the brands diving into maker culture.
Last week, over 175,000 people made the post-holiday pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. With the large number of marketers in attendance exploring what smart products and gadgets will mean for brands, it’s been a while since CES has been an electronics manufacturer’s show — although there were lots of Chinese component manufacturers at CES and big booths for the major consumer electronics brands.
This isn’t a surprise, most digital companies are based in Democratic leaning metropolitan areas and the broader world sees the impact companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have on how we get our information. Any upset forces people to question.
But there is a bigger shock to the the digital and tech community — have we been wrong about the techno utopia we think we’re creating? Is technology making the world a better, or a worse, place?
Since the iconic 1984 Apple MacIntosh ad, people that work in technology have embraced the idea that constant change driven by technology is progressive. We embrace change for the better. We believe digital networks create transparency which fuels an intelligent debate based on facts with decisions rooted in data. We build systems is to make us smarter and less beholden to whatever is the latest trend or headline, more efficient so everyone can have a better quality of life.
Instead of this Techno-Utopian vision that we see in tech companies’ manifestos, we are seeing a dystopia where bigotry and racism spread without check and polarize communities. Where complete lies are shared like facts. Where violence erupts more quickly because of the ability to incite like-minded mobs. Where jobs disappear to automation and analog dollars are replaced by digital pennies pushing increased income inequality and the belief that living standards are reducing for the majority.
Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast is a well known business expression. Perhaps we need to recognize Culture Eats Technology for Breakfast as well. But unlike cutlure stopping a good strategy, culture eats technology to be amplified. Culture eats technology to reaffirm what it believes and broadcast it. Whether that is the Cluetrain Manifesto or the 88 Precepts, culture uses technology drive towards its goals and rally its people.
Which means as technologists we need to ask how we talk about the bigger problem. How we find the common ground between the camps.
It may be as simple as reinforcing the idea of being American — anyone who has been in trouble overseas and come across another American can attest to how quickly regional, sports, or class differences are replaced by a common national bond. It may that simple form of Humanism that happens when people are one on one as we saw when Pedigree brought a lost dog to Trump and Hillary rallies.
Technology won’t go away so we have to be better as using it.
We will be putting more microchips in more places, and over the next four years everyone from coast to coast will be checking Facebook and searching Google. Simple. All we need to do is find the common good and demonstrate the benefits to everyone.
Techno-Utopianism is here, it just needs to be better distributed.
Silicon Valley’s luminaries woke up Wednesday morning to a darkened new global order, one that the ceaseless optimism of their tech-powered visions seemed suddenly unable to conquer.
Across the technology industry, the reaction to Donald J. Trump’s electionto the presidency was beyond grim. There was a sense that the industry had missed something fundamental about the fears and motivations of the people who use its products, and that the miscalculation would cost the industry, and the world, greatly.
It is a great time to be alive if you love technology. In fact it is a great time to be alive even if you don’t love technology because the folks that do love it keep pushing the envelope which means the early and late majority get to revel in the benefits.
Innovation and user-centric design are pervading business. Entrepreneurs are spinning visions of new solutions. The media realizes tech innovation stories bring viewers.
And everyone is producing fantastic videos to showcase what could be next.
Here is a quick selection of amazing videos as examples.
Corning – A Day Made of Glass 2
The first A Day Made of Glass was a fantastic look at the future of display technology back in 2011. It has had more then 25m views which definitely demonstrates the power of visionary content. Even though Corning has gone more product-centric since, the sequel is worth viewing if you missed it because it puts technology into daily life — like the best science fiction.
Tesla – Wireless Charging
Tesla is of course synonymous with innovation but wireless charging for automobiles? This is fantastic in the original definition of the word.
Kickstarter Entrepreneurs – Kerv Payment Ring
Another great source of inspiration are the entrepreneurs pitching ideas on Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites. Consider this payment ring from the UK. Kerv hit its kick starter goal and is working through production.
And of course no post about Digital Living can be complete without considering augmented and virtual reality. Having been to Redmond a year ago to do a number of these demos, it is impressive and mind reeling to consider how it can be applied.
Couple weeks ago I attended the Market Marketing Nation Summit and got to revisit how the amazing tribe of demand gen fanatics is going to take over the world. If direct marketers ever felt email took away the creativity of rolling 0ut an amazing dimensional DM pack with a maltese cross insert, I hope they have lost their spirit. What is coming next will require a lot of creativity as well as great strategy and understanding of data.
The argument for the CMO and CEO is simple: You know your customer experience is critical to your success and you believe your marketing is an important part of the brand experience. Since media has fragmented your anthem TV spot doesn’t define your brand experience, it is every e-mail, banner, sponsored Facebook post and website visit. You have to make them relevant or your competitors will and your customers will notice.
And of course you can’t manage that without software so it is time to talk about your plumbing, or the engine that powers the front-line of your brand experience.
Let’s put it right out there: After close to eight years and almost 400 columns, the Social Media Insider is calling it quits, at least for now. Wow, seeing that in writing seems strange. But, as practically anyone alive knows, every now and then it’s time to shake things up, and now is that time for me.Even though I’ve been preparing to write this last column for about a month, what to do with it has been a head-scratcher. So this morning, I did what many a tapped-out columnist, at a loss for more words, would do: I went back to the beginning, my very first Social Media Insider column, written on Feb. 20, 2008.
To put that time in perspective, MySpace was still the biggest social network, though clearly waning, Facebook was still the young upstart with 100 million users; today it has about 1.4 billion. Twitter was just under two years old, with about one million users; today the company reports 284 million monthly active users. Instagram? It would be more than two years until its first photo was uploaded, by co-founder Kevin Systrom.
How does a global company take advantage of digital technology? Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of digital strategy, Gail Horwood, explains.
October 2014| byGail Horwood
I joined J&J Consumer Companies about four years ago to start its Digital Center of Excellence. Our role initially was to build capabilities and develop strategy that served multiple brands in multiple regions, so I did a landscape overview to help develop the approach. What I saw was that we had hundreds of different websites and digital platforms that we were operating upon globally. If you want to get a message across globally on your owned assets, you need to do that in the same way across the world.
Addressing the talent challenge
Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of digital strategy, Gail Horwood, discusses the importance of talent development and the role of the specialist.
So we made a strategic decision to agree to build certain types of things, with a website on a shared platform at the center. We work both internally and with external vendors globally to build that and we love the open-source model. As we develop modules that suit our businesses, they can be shared, and it’s very exciting for our internal developers because it’s a new way of working.
In the past, the model might have been that our biggest brands had the most budget and developed the most robust platforms. And smaller brands had less robust digital footprints because they had to build that on their own power. Yet when you share a platform, any brand small or large can benefit from improvements. What this has enabled us to do is to bring the same power that one of our biggest, most iconic brands has to one small brand in a very particular region or market. And that, of course, enables us to innovate very quickly and iterate.
J&J has historically been very decentralized. One of the things I was able to do in the consumer sector was bring all that work together. The more we bring our cross-functional partners and projects together, the more we’ll make true impact for the business. It’s great to execute on a regional and local basis—and it’s really at the heart of our business strategy—but I believe digital brings opportunities to streamline and leverage certain capabilities that are really common across the businesses.
Social media is an example of something that truly requires a global and local strategy, because social makes any communication global. Setting a global communication strategy requires some pretty foundational things: content management, digital asset management, new production models that help us create and then leverage and syndicate content globally.
The digital business model
Horwood explains how to embed strategy into a business.
For example, we recently participated in a real-time social-media campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup for our Listerine consumer brand. For the first time ever, J&J built two newsrooms, and we responded to action in the matches in real-time with brand messaging. We had to set up the appropriate processes, governance, a risk matrix, channels, and work very closely with our cross-functional team, as well as with regulatory compliance, legal, and marketing.
And you see the results of your work immediately and how consumers respond to it. We’ve had some great success with that. But the real lesson is that real-time marketing is as much about the preplanning and the preparation as it is about enabling people to act in real time.
In big companies like ours, creating a TV spot or a few pieces of copy a year would be quite typical. When you’re developing real-time social-media campaigns, you might have 200 pieces of copy in a month. Taking advantage of that required a new business model, a new way of thinking about it. It also required thinking about tolerance and risk. Tolerance is about asking, “What is a reasonable threshold for when we need to take action?” when something unexpected happens. It gave us the confidence to say, “You know what? We knew something like that could happen. It did, and we’ve already decided how we’re going to manage against that.”
I think it’s very important that social media be managed, at least in part, internally in an organization. As strong as our agency partners are, and they’ve been terrific creative partners, nobody knows our business and our business requirements as well as we do.
Serving consumers better
Evolving our model has been a learning journey. The challenge for us is not that the model is wrong; it’s that the landscape has changed. The model doesn’t fit the new landscape, so we’ve had a lot of success through these active learning projects.
Horwood answers the question she hears the most: “What is the ROI of digital?”
Understanding the consumer journey and what we’re building for whom and when is very important. So I’ve set up a group that has product-development expertise. They translate business requirements into technical specifications. They maintain the responsibility for not just building and overseeing the build of digital products, but also ensuring that they’re measured and optimized. We treat them as platforms rather than projects.
A big shift in our organization has been to manage those over time and to iterate and build upon them as opposed to consider them a discrete project that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you put an app into the app store, you’re potentially finished with it, but the consumer is expecting updates, improvements, messaging. And that’s something that we’ve built into our organization that didn’t necessarily exist in our former model.
The other thing we’ve done is develop benchmarks. The number one question I’m asked by our business leaders is, “What is the ROI of digital?” If you’re developing across multiple platforms and multiple regions, the way you’re looking at the world and consumer behavior is very different. So what digital analytics and a standardized approach—rather than a custom and bespoke approach market by market—has brought us is true consumer insights. And we’re able to watch trends develop in consumer behaviors, see them change and develop.
We started very much as a strategy organization and we built common platforms that serve multiple brands in multiple regions. That didn’t mean anyone used them. So a lot of what we’ve been doing is around training, talent development, identifying talent that can staff these organizations, so we can really take what we’ve built and truly embed it in the business and in business practice. We’re trying to teach our businesses to leverage these new insights in ways that they hadn’t thought of.
About the authors
Gail Horwood has been the vice president of worldwide digital strategy at Johnson & Johnson since September 2010. This essay is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by McKinsey Publishing’s Simon London.