Monday, March 05, 2012

Heritage Brands’ Digital Bridge to Millennials

Makovsky EVP Matt Wolfrom and AVP Matt Makovsky wrote an article which appeared in AdAge on 2/29. The following is based on that article.

Facebook’s IPO will be the largest of any tech company in history, and that spotlight has Chief Executives asking their CMOs, “What’s our Facebook strategy?” Why this question?

Last week, at the inaugural Facebook Marketing Conference in NYC, Facebook took another giant leap forward with the launch of a new “brand timeline” – a digital canvas for brands to tell their stories dating back to their earliest days.

The brand timeline will no doubt unlock opportunities and also expose risks for many CMOs, but we envision a new world of possibilities for established heritage brands – and specifically to build connections with millennials.

This generation is the largest, most diverse, educated, affluent, complicated and influential consumer base that CMOs have ever encountered. Even with over 800 million users, Facebook remains a platform that was created by a millennial, for millennials. With the new brand timeline feature, brands will now be able to interact through a “virtual life story” that is inherently authentic to the brand and its history, on a medium that’s now second nature to a generation.

So what steps must CMOs consider before making this new Facebook conversion?

Is your brand story ready to make the leap? Before making the digital leap, make sure your core brand story is quick to understand, easy to remember, more emotional and invites participation. Control is out. Co-creation is in. To be successful, marketers must be willing to let go of elements of their story, enabling millennials to discover new and lasting partnerships with heritage brands.

Any skeletons in the closet? Every brand has a past, and given the ease with which millennials can discover past problems, it’s important to be transparent and face up to any past painful history and how the brand has dealt with it. Otherwise the backlash could be severe.

Tap millennials within your marketing organization. Smart CMOs are complementing their traditional marketing acumen by tapping the adept millennials. For heritage brands, the new timeline not only creates an opportunity to build relationships with the millennial consumer, but also attract new marketing talent and vitality to the brand.

While it is too early to know exactly how the Facebook brand timeline will connect with the market, we believe the principles outlined above will prepare heritage brand CMOs to capitalize on the seismic shift occurring on one of the world’s largest marketing platforms.

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