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Building Strong Brand Tribes (Inspired by Presenters at SXSW)

Jen Herbert, Senior Strategist at AMP   I haven’t been to Disney World since I was eight, but this year I was fortunate enough to go to South by Southwest (SXSW), which I have now dubbed “Disneyland for Adults.” When I wasn’t busy presenting with the rest of the fierce AMP team for our participation in   YouTube’s SXSW Creative Agency Challenge, or being distracted by the puppies at the Amazon Prime activation and the endless CBD-related samples at the wellness expo, I promise I was putting on my Brand Strategist hat and attending a wealth of panels and keynotes with my colleague and SXSW partner-in-crime, Andie, AMP’s Director of Business Development.   The best part was listening to speakers with such diversity in perspective, and realizing that all of these accomplished individuals offered a unique method for building and strengthening a brand tribe: through social impact, play, internal creativity, and centering the customer experience around a singular emotional benefit. While we’ve been hearing about “brand community” for some time, “brand tribe” is a relatively new term in Marketing, yet it’s important because it denotes a much deeper relationship between brand and customer. While a member of a brand community need only participate on occasion, perhaps via a purchase or a ‘like’ on Instagram, a member of a brand tribe wholly believes in that brand. Connection with that brand becomes an outward expression of one’s identity to the rest of the world. Brand tribe members wear merchandise, create user-generated Social content, join loyalty programs, go on auto-pay plans, and, perhaps most importantly, recruit others to join the tribe too. _________ Building A Brand Tribe Through Social Impact Study after study has proven that in 2019, consumers want to back brands that share their values and create a positive change in the world. That being said, brands can’t talk at customers about the good they’re doing; they need to work with their customers to spread good together. As panelists during How Brands Can Engage the Social Impact Generation outlined, social impact must be participatory. One panelist, Viveka Hulyalkar, Co-Founder and CEO of Beam, has developed a customer engagement platform that partners with a given company, say, a fast-casual salad stand. The salad company decides how much they’re willing to donate per purchase and a cause they would like to support, such as third world female education. Customers can then log into the app to track how each salad purchased gets them closer to buying a textbook for a young girl. Another panelist, Helena Hounsel, Social Media Manager at Brandless, offered an example of how a brand tribe of activists can be built on Social: “Rather than spending International Women’s Day showing how your company volunteered at a women’s nonprofit, why don’t you instead ask your audience which women are inspiring them this holiday?” By rallying around causes that your brand and your customers share a passion for, and then providing a platform for your customers to become ambassadors for the cause, your social impact becomes experiential and your brand tribe becomes united around a higher purpose. _________ Building A Brand Tribe Through Play All work and no play makes a brand’s tribe very dull. IBM’s Dr. John Cohn reminded us of that in his session, Prioritizing Play in an Automated Age, where he outlined how making room to play can smooth the bumps during life’s tough disruptions. During the talk, Dr. Cohn told us about play projects of his, like an 18-foot tall animatronic pumpkin man as well as an art car built for Burning Man. He recounted how droves of people, some of whom then became his fellow creators, were drawn to his projects while they were being built and shown off to the world. In other words, play can help you find your brand tribe, in a very “if you build it, they will come” kind of way. Through your bravery to look silly and/or fail, and your willingness to surrender to wonder for no reason other through indulging curiosity, your brand will show its authenticity and customers who identity a similar raison d’être in themselves will be drawn to you naturally. Sure, you might be saying, A wacky scientist from IBM can have a little fun, but how can brands? Let’s not forget this Southwest flight attendant who transformed the safety demonstration into a burlesque performance, or KFC apologizing for running out of chicken with an on-the-nose newspaper ad featuring its carton respelt as FCK. _________ Building A Brand Tribe Through Internal Creativity It is often hard for brands to prioritize looking inward, to their own company culture and values, when there are always so many externally-focused tasks to complete. The beloved bakery Milk Bar, however, is proof that the spirit of brands that cultivate internal creativity will always shine through and be felt externally by customers.   During Innovation in Pursuit of the Unexpected, Christina Tosi, cookie-baker extraordinaire and company founder, along with her agency partner, Michael Greenblatt of REDSCOUT, reflected on how the Milk Bar brand toolkit is a toolkit in the truest sense of the word. Through the codified system of the color palette, off-kilter logo placement, branded pastry box tape, and decorative stamps, Milk Bar employees at locations around the country are encouraged to leverage their creativity to use the tools as they’d wish. For example, the Milk Bar team suggested designing the delivery truck to look like it was covered in the Milk Bar tape; others use the logo and colors to bedazzle denim jackets and beanies that they wear to work. This DIY spirit has created a tribe of Milk Bar devotees. Because employees are welcome to live and breathe the brand uniquely, customers also view the brand as a living and breathing thing to interact with–for example by holding up a cup of “cereal milk” soft serve to a pretty background for the perfect Instagram, or by decorating their laptop in Milk Bar stickers. _________   Building A Brand Tribe Through Creation of “Brand Feeling” Lastly, it’s easy to get bogged down in lifting brand metrics. Yet during Following the Feeling: Creating Brand Value, Columbia University lecturer Kai Wright argues that the most important brand metric is how you make others feel. After all, Wright noted, humans make 95% of our daily decisions on “auto-pilot,” rather than weighing pros and cons in order to choose the best and most rational choice, with emotions influencing nearly 70% of our decision-making. He cited brands who have expertly structured their brand “LAVEC”– lexicon, audio cues, visual stimuli, experience, and culture– around a singular brand feeling. Take Disney, whose feeling of “happiness” is supported by audio cues like fireworks and visual stimuli like wearing the iconic mouse ears, or Gatorade, whose feeling of “endurance” is brought to life through the lexicon of calling its products “fuel.” If a customer can rely on your brand not just for great products or services, but for a guaranteed emotional experience, your brand tribe is then powered by the strength of shared human connection.

Just For Men Launches Be The Better Man Campaign

What do you do if you’re the original men’s grooming brand and want to encourage men everywhere to be – and look – a little better? You step in front of the mirror and give yourself a makeover. That’s what AMP Agency and Just For Men accomplished together with this week’s launch of the Be The Better Man brand platform and campaign.       For more than 30 years, Just For Men has been letting guys know it’s not only OK to care about their appearance, but to do something about it. And over the decades, Just For Men has been innovating and refining hair care solutions that make it easy for men to achieve the natural look that lets them feel their best. And as their portfolio has expanded to include beard care and hair regrowth (and more to come), it was time to reinforce the brand’s leadership role in the men’s grooming conversation it started in 1987. Be The Better Man stems from the idea that it takes a good man to know he can always be a little better. The notion applies to both their daily grooming routine and the way they go about their lives. We are calling on guys everywhere to take the small steps needed to look their best—and do the little things that make the lives of those around them, well, better. The campaign launched on CBS NFL Game Day this past Sunday. With the broadcast buy comes a fully integrated brand push. It started with a re-imagined website, email and social channels and will continue with an omni-channel paid media campaign within outdoor and digital. We’ll be on TV screens and in locker rooms at the hottest gyms in our key markets. Digital will focus on partnering with the web’s leading experts on grooming (GQ), dating (Match), business travel (Conde Nast Traveller), and parenting (Fatherly) through custom content and ambassador/influencer programs to reinforce the message of being better in all aspects of life. We’ll ultimately push product via direct-to-consumer tactics within programmatic and social channels through efficient reach and continuous frequency in the Better Man messaging against our male audience. Check out the following coverage to learn more about the campaign: Ad Age MarketWatch Marketing Dive  Marketing Communications News  

Building the Agency of the Future

  I am thrilled to share some exciting news about AMP. The AMP Agency team has joined forces with  UX focused agency BLITZ and premier experiential marketing and branding firm 206Agency. The three agencies become AMP Agency, and while the name may be the same, we have an evolved look and a national footprint, with five offices and more than 300 employees to build solutions for our partners.     Also joining our team is Adlucent, an industry leader in performance media and analytics who, through their proprietary technologies and methodologies, have launched successful performance campaigns for clients, including many retailers, including Amazon, Wasserstrom, and Gardner’s Supply Company to grow their ecommerce performance. We’re excited to have Adlucent join the AMP family,  operating under their existing brand.   What does this mean for our clients?     We believe brands that design better customer experiences lead the world in business performance. While these agencies have been collaborating behind the scenes for a few years, by more fully integrating, our teams have the ability to affect change at “every touch-point” of the customer journey, delivering exceptional brand experience systems – the Holy Grail for CMOs and modern marketers.    Our brand ecosystem agency has offices in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin. Together, we use proprietary data, behavioral analysis and predictive analytics tools to better understand our clients’ audiences and drive business results through creative marketing solutions.   I’m humbled by the incredible team at AMP Agency. 300+ happy AMPers, digital natives and global thinkers who are passionate – and yes, maybe a bit obsessive – about the work we create every day for clients like Amazon, Facebook, Fisker Inc., Garnier Fructis, Levi’s, LinkedIn, Maybelline, Southwest Airlines and Patagonia.   With a rapidly changing technology landscape and connected consumers’ demands for more personalized products and services, there is no question the pressure is on modern marketers who must continually evolve. I am confident our team of number-crunchers, strategists, analysts, geeks and creatives can deliver on this mandate, building solutions across the entire brand ecosystem, connecting people and brands in more meaningful ways that grow businesses.   We look forward to tackling your most complicated marketing and technology problems and creating solutions that move business forward.   Gary Colen CEO, AMP Agency        

Clutch Identifies Leading Agencies in Boston

AMP Agency was recently named a leading agency in Boston from Clutch. The rankings showcase six Leaders Matrices that map the firms based on their services offered, client reviews, and past experience. Boston's advertising agencies are recognized for their ability to utilize traditional media alongside their efforts in digital and creative services. “These Boston-based firms vary in skill-set and technical expertise, but what unites them is their ability to deliver strong results,” said Ilse Heine, an analyst at Clutch. “They prioritize the needs of their customers, and take the time to understand their business objectives before selecting the appropriate solution.” Using a proprietary research methodology, Clutch analysts evaluated a number of companies in the relevant segments. In addition to market presence, clientele, and work portfolio, central to the ranking process are client reviews. Clients provide insights including the scope of the project, cost-effectiveness, and how skillfully a company handled communication and organization. Clutch’s ongoing research covers IT services, developers, and marketing agencies. Firms that are interested in being featured are encouraged to apply to be included in Clutch’s efforts. Upcoming press releases will highlight industry leaders in New York City, UK, and Canada. Take a look at our profile on Clutch to see all of our full-length reviews.  

AMP Agency Partners with Lotame to Achieve 455% Return on Ad Spend for a Travel Campaign

OBJECTIVE:  As a full-service digital agency, AMP Agency is constantly developing custom audience segments for specific campaigns for its advertisers. Working for a premiere travel client, AMP’s goal was to target specific travel ads to consumers who were in-market for an upcoming trip to increase conversions. The client’s primary KPI was measuring Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), so AMP was focused on driving inbound leads and lowering the cost per acquisition. STRATEGY: To achieve the targeting and scale needed for a recent travel campaign, AMP began by building a “travel” audience of users who had exhibited interests in travel via data they had collected with Lotame’s DMP. Next, they partnered with ShareThis to enrich this behavioral data with ShareThis’s real-time social intent data, to understand the prime time of day and particular devices they should target for their ad campaigns. AMP also combined this data with paid search data inside Lotame’s DMP to expand the pool of high-value target customers. The travel audiences they built were then pushed out to multiple DSPs and other social targeting platforms such as Facebook. “This partnership directly proved the value of utilizing 2nd-party data within media campaigns. It allowed us to identify users who were in the research and planning phases of their travel, thereby being able to present them with offers that were timely and relevant. To enhance the 2nd-party data, we were able to use paid search data and incorporate those keywords to identify users, expanding the pool of high value target customers for our client and reaching them across multiple channels and devices.” Samantha Weinstein, Director of Programmatic Media, AMP Agency RESULTS:  Combining these many sources of high-quality data allowed AMP to exceed their campaign goals by hitting travelers who were in the planning and research stage. AMP was able to achieve the following results: • 455% Return On Ad Spend (the client’s primary KPI, which they exceeded significantly) • 30% lead conversion rate (typically, lead conversion rate is about 23%) • ShareThis data, onboarded into Lotame’s DMP, was the highest performer across all prospecting data lines that were tested. Want similar results? Get in touch- info@ampagency.com  ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ABOUT AMP AGENCY AMP Agency is a full-service integrated marketing agency with over 20 years of experience employing an “Insights Inspired, Results Driven” approach to conceive, develop and implement innovative marketing solutions which span all media channels and formats. With of ces in Boston, LA, Seattle, Austin and New York, we’re a 250+ team of intellectually curious individuals who are eager to solve your business challenges. Meet our team and see some of our innovative work at www.ampagency.com. ABOUT SHARETHIS ShareThis, the Sharing Intelligence Company, has been collecting and synthesizing social share data since 2007. ShareThis is the trusted pioneer of sharing data that spans the social platform walled gardens, transforming authentic human sharing behavior into actionable data outputs at scale for marketers and publishers. ABOUT LOTAME Lotame enables companies to use data to build stronger connections with their consumers. Lotame is proud to be the leading independent data management platform (DMP) and offer the most widely used, trusted and comprehensive data exchange in the industry. Committed to innovation, agility and – above all, customer success – the Lotame team aims to continuously nd new and meaningful ways to help its clients harness the power of data to fuel more relevant and personalized experiences across screens and devices, online and off. Lotame is headquartered in New York City, with resources around the world, including Sydney, London, Singapore, Mumbai and San Francisco. *written in partnership with Lotame Data Solutions and ShareThis 

Transitional Millennial Shopper Behavior

Check out AMP's newest data visualization on the Transitional Millennial - https://www.ampagency.com/shopping-behaviors-millennials/  

Here's What Makes Disney The Most 'Intimate' Brand For Millennials

If you want to see how much media factors into the lives of millennials, look no further than the latest Brand Intimacy Report. This year, 93-year-old Disney tops the list and rounding out the top five were media brands Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Nintendo. Disney resonates with this age group because they grew up with the brand and it has kept up with their changing interests - it now includes popular franchises like Star Wars and Marvel.   Ariana Grande isn’t the only millennial with a crush on Mickey.

Why the Executive Suite Must Be Involved in Brand Name Development

Companies often under-value the power of a brand name. While they look at some brand names and say “Wow,” they don’t necessarily understand or appreciate the investment of time, strategic thinking, and creativity necessary to create these brand names. Every year hundreds of brand name projects are delegated to junior employees. But, when naming is driven by leadership, the results are exponentially higher because the CEO has the necessary oversight to see how and where to direct the product, service, or company.   Don’t pass the buck.

How the Beauty Industry Became a Leading Voice for Social Activism

Sephora isn’t the first retailer to recognize the value in identifying its larger purpose and become more involved in the community it caters to as a force for good. Activism has infiltrated brand campaigns from Dove, Cheerios, Pantene and Patagonia have attached their names to messages of body positivity, LGBT acceptance, female empowerment in the workplace and sustainability, respectively. Countering brand apathy

J.Crew, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch: The Trouble With America’s Most Beloved Mall Brands

Despite efforts to turn their businesses around, J.Crew, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch have yet to dig out of quarter after quarter of negative sales slumps because too many factors — declining mall foot traffic, the threat of Amazon, lengthy supply chains and price-conscious shoppers — have converged, rendering the situation untenable. And time is running out. A lack of compelling brand identity

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