• NADS and the “brand footprint”
Earlier this month one of the most important events in social network marketing took place when the New Advertising Directions Symposium was held in Chicago. Here, in its entirety, is the story from The New Marketing magazine.
The New Marketing Magazine
Chicago, April 1, 2009
It takes NADS to promote the new marketing
Walter “The Buzz” Vaine, president, NADS
This past Wednesday saw the first annual conference sponsored by the New Advertising Directions Symposium. Aimed at exploring the expanding opportunities offered by the new media, the symposium is in direct opposition to the assumptions of traditional advertising methodologies.
This discrepancy between the new and old generations was apparent from the moment Walter (The Buzz) Vaine, president of NADS, strode out to greet the crowd, none of whom appeared to be over 35.
“The Old Guard were all about ‘effectiveness’ and ‘sales,’” said Vaine. “We now know that our job goes far beyond these primitive goals, reaching out to the very consciousness of the consumer. No longer do we measure our results in the number of widgets, whatnots, or whatevers that our campaigns sell; instead we look for the ‘conversation,’ the ‘buzz,’ and the ‘insight.’ It is our job to e-enable real-time communities and matrix interactive experiences.
“Or to put it another way, as the motto of the New Advertising Directions Symposium says: ‘The old school had guts, but we’ve got NADS!’”
One of the bold new concepts of the New Marketing is the “Brand Footprint.”
“The brand is everything,” said Vaine. “Rid yourselves of the obsolete idea that consumers are interested in the product. They’re not; they’re interested in the brand, as our research has repeatedly proven. Every time we ask them brand-related questions, whether it be in focus groups, electronic surveys, or on-site questionnaires, consumers invariably respond with brand-related answers. It is the brand, not the product, that we want strutting through their consciousness — and the bigger the footprint it leaves behind, the better.”
The Brand Footprint has become one of the fastest-growing ideas in the marketing industry. While conventional advertising concentrates on making products stand out by drawing attention to their features, the Brand Footprint concentrates on promoting the brand itself, often to the exclusion of the actual product.
“In the Brand Footprint,” Vaine explained, “information about a specific product represents, at the most, the little toe, whereas the ‘sole,’ if you will, consists of the branding. And one of the key points of branding is to keep the brand fresh. Clients have a tendency to become comfortable with a particular name, for example. You need to shake them out of it. Consider the great campaign presently being done changing the name of Electrosol to — well, I can’t remember right now. Butthat’s a campaign that is doing its ad agency proud.”
Another approach much valued by the New Marketers is Social Marketing, which employs various online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
“Whenever you have people talking,” Vaine told his listeners, “you have the chance to walk through their conversations and leave your footprints behind. People join these sites to socialize, but as we can tell by the meandering nature of their conversations, they’re in desperate need of something interesting to talk about. That’s where we come in.”
The three-day conference featured a host of speakers lecturing on a variety of New Market topics. These included William Leakey on, “Making Them Guess: Engaging Consumers Through Ambiguity”; Jill Whedon, who spoke on “Conversing with the Twits: The Strength of Social Marketing”; and Richard Baylee who drew the most enthusiastic response with his seminar, “The ROI is Dead, Long Live the Conversation,” in which he extolled the “democratization of the marketing process.”
The symposium, as befitted the subject matter, was promoted through social marketing. The Facebook page, “Sign up now for NADS,” had 105,492 friends, and “NADSinApril” on Twitter had 78,345 followers. As a result of this promotion, the number of attendees could barely squeeze into the symposium’s meeting place in the basement of St. Mary’s Baptist Church, which only has seating for 45 people.
When asked if we could expect to see another symposium in the future, Vaine said, “With a social-networking promotional success like this, I think you can count on it.”