Google’s Revamped Search Engine

I read an article on this change to Google on and wondered to myself how this will affect certain aspects of SEO, etc. The example used in the article discusses the search term 'kings'.Now kings could be a number of different things, the NHL team (LA Kings), the NBA team (Sacramento Kings), or you could be searching for an actual King. The new Google search will have separate boxes asking you which 'king' you could be referring to. This will hone in on what exactly the user is searching for so they won't have to sit and look through pages of search results in order to find exactly what they are looking for. Another quote from the article reads, “More specific searches, say for the name of a celebrity, will render boxes with basic information, as well as links to what Google believes are possibly related searches”.

This new and improved search is known as Knowledge Graph, and claims to have Google search think more like a human. In a quote from the article, Jack Menzel, director of product management at Google says, “The web pages we [currently] return for the search 'kings,' they're all good. You, as a human, associate those words with their real-world meaning but, for a computer, they're just a random string of characters.” Menzel also says, “the initial version of Knowledge Graph has information on 500 million people, places and things and uses 3.5 billion defining attributes and connections to create categories for them.” This adds another innovative idea to Google's arsenal. Knowledge Graph should directly affect the way a user searches on the web. Another great job by Google.

Mission Statement VS Branding Statement: Marketing 101

To some, the single most challenging aspect to creative advertising is drawing the line between a company's Mission and their Brand.  To put it simply, your Mission is about YOU, your Brand is about the CONSUMER.  Although it may seem like a simple concept to grasp, surprisingly enough, when you're in the thick of it, working with a company who bleeds their mission, making the distinction between who they are and what their consumer wants, is like ripping off an over-sized band-aid from Robin Williams' forearm.

Getting a company to let go of their mission (if only for a moment), to recognize that it relates very little to the needs of the consumer, and then allow a seemingly irrelevant brand to be broadcasted mainstream… doesn't make much sense to an organization whose sole purpose is to serve the customer.  It's thinking from an entirely different perspective… like learning to write with your opposite hand.  Unless you’re ambidextrous… in which case, I feel you would be very suited for the job.

So, let us bring the conversation back to Nike.  As seen in the above picture, their Mission is to “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”.  Now, what does that mean to you?  I mean, personally as a consumer..?  Absolutely nothing.  What do you care?  That's what they do, and that's great for them… but what about YOU?  Well, they don't tell you about their mission, now do they?  This is what they say to you, Mr. Consumer… “Just DO it.” – Thinking about going on a run today..?  Just do it. Thinking about going to the gym?  Just do it.  How about going out for a round of golf?  Just do it.  Thinking about buying yourself a new pair of shoes?  Just do it…  Oh, and by the way… why not make it Nike?  I mean, after all, they are the ones telling you to get out there, aren't they?  SO, why not try their stuff?

There is such a large distinction between a company's goals and what that means to those who will buy it.  Nike does a great job talking directly to the consumer, inspiring them to do, and in order to DO, you might just need some Nike shoes, or one of those fancy no sweat, dry fit shirts…  That is the innovative thinking that keeps you relevant.  And that's what companies need to survive and achieve greatness!

So, the next time you are trying to come up with a branding statement, remember – JUST DO IT.

From BoobTube to YouTube

Many of the big national advertisers are already buying into the trend of the web video appeal, and it's only a matter of time before everyone else jumps on board.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  Instant gratification has always been a trend in the American lifestyle, and with Cable/Broadcast TV not only do you get less variety – but more importantly, less control over what you can watch at any given time.  In contrast, on sites like YouTube and Hulu, at the click of a button you can watch what you want, when you want, wherever you want!  So, why wouldn't advertisers take notice and advantage of the range these web video portals provide?

Prediction: With a massive fluctuation in ad spending towards web based video channels, Broadcast Television will begin to suffer.  And, as internet connected TV's continue to rise in popularity (when the prices of these fancy TVs drop a bit)… consumers will be less inclined to pay for cable subscriptions when they can access the internet from their Flat Screen/HD/3D/Google connected television – voice command and all…

Over time, even more web video channels will arise – you can already gain access to most of the popular cable networks via the internet – therefore basic cable will fall.

'Tis the dawn of a new age – From rabbit ears, to cable cords, to cable boxes, to DVR's, now to Internet TV.  What will they come up with next?!  And more importantly, with relevance to our industry… how will advertising follow?

Stay tuned…

When do you no longer own YOUR ideas..?

This topic brings me to the recent law suit between New York-based visual merchandising and branding firm, Hudson & Broad, and their former clients JC Penny. The suit is about a “breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.” In this case, JC Penny allegedly signed a contract for use of H+B's design and idea with a promise to use it in several hundred stores. JC Penny then allegedly broke said contract and took the idea to another vendor. In this instance, there was a contract, which means they might have a case. But what about in situations where only a pitch is made, where ideas are shared, with no guarantee of any contract being signed?

This is a risk agencies take every day. We thrive on ideas, and enjoy sharing them for the future benefit of our prospective clients. But once an idea leaves our lips, is it really still OUR idea?

My response to this conundrum is simple. With little risk comes little reward, and the converse is also true. Without taking this gamble – agencies would never win work. How can you prove your expertise, passion, creativity and worth without sharing your well thought out ideas? So although it's always a risk, I imagine we all hope and expect that mankind will abide by the 'golden rule'. As the President of Hudson & Broad publicly states, all they want is to be treated as the campaign in question boasts “Fair and Square”.

Working hard, hardly working…

We work hard, but you can hardly call it work when you enjoy it so much! We say we are the best creative agency in town! It's not only because we come up with the best ideas, but also due to the fact that we truly love what we do. Not to say that others don't, I can only speak for myself and my partners on this; but for us, there's nothing better than seeing your creations grow to fruition.

Stay tuned for another magical Mad Men production. We shall not disappoint!