Trailer: EGRESS

Synopsis: It’s a cold, harsh winter day in the Flatiron District of New York City. A homeless man (Elliot Bishop) seems oblivious to the weather and the people passing by his “Homeless please help” sign.  He’s given up all he has except for distant memories of happier times. From the coffeeshop, to the sidewalk, to the cemetery, the City is Elliot’s stomping ground. There is no navigation system to guide him through hunger and self doubt all he can do is continue to sharpen his skills and  strengthen his resolve as he prepares for the challenge of his lifetime. Egress is a story of a man forced to evolve from his past to transcend the painful sacrifice of the present so he can bravely grasp the opportunity to create his future.

12 Key Steps for Consumer Adoption of Your New Product (infographic)


  1. Distinct Proposition
    Your product must offer true innovation; it must be something that people will actually want. What is its value? The first step is really evaluating if the product occupies a distinct niche.
  2. Attention Catching
    No matter how innovative and productive the item is, it needs to garner attention in order to be sold. Companies need to be focused on interest and recognition.
  3. Message Connection
    When the consumer is at the shelves deciding what to buy, the product needs to be able to market itself. Make your labeling/packaging create a kind of “mission statement” which will have the consumer clear on what the product does.
  4. Clear Concise Message
    People will not want to take too long to read your product’s label; therefore, you must create and convey a message that is short, sweet, and to the point.
  5. Need/Desire
    Especially with people tightening their belts in a recession, it is of the utmost importance for the product to serve a real consumer call for the product. Convenience, and ease of use are some of the more important attributes of a successful product.
  6. Advantage
    Explain why your product will continue to be different. In a store where a consumer has multiple similar choices, the advantage needs to be as clear and enticing it can be.
  7. Credibility
    Packaging, ads, and coupons can say virtually anything, but a consumer has to believe what they are reading and the product is worth their money. Where does your credibility come from? Do they trust your brand? Are consumers in your niche willing to trust a new brand?
  8. Acceptable Downsides
    Virtually every product has its downsides. Identify them, and make sure that you are ahead of them before the consumer has to point them out to you, and make sure that the downsides don’t hinder the success of the product.
  9. Findability
    The product can be the most innovative product the world has ever seen, but unless the consumer can see it, they won’t know. How visible will the product be? Who is your audience and what is the best way to put your product in their line of sight?
  10. Acceptable Costs
    Similar to accepting downsides, the consumer must feel comfortable with the cost of purchasing and using your product. The cost in this sense can be anything from the actual retail price at which it is listed to the more obscure attributes like a calorie count, something you would only find out after having to look for it.
  11. Product Delivery
    After the consumer is exposed to, and even believes, your ad campaign and message, the product must deliver on its promises. Companies need to take the time to make sure their product will deliver results at least as well as the ads state.
  12. Product Loyalty
    Many companies can, and have, had a “one-hit-wonder” product, but in order to sustain the success of the product over a long period of time, companies need product loyalty. Even if the product delivers on its promises in the beginning, complacency will allow your competition to come back. Build loyalty to your product by continuing to stay ahead of the competition and you will find that a new household name will be very familiar to you.

Nice Content Marketing Cheat Sheet: The Content Grid v2 (infographic)


The latest Content Grid v2 “illustrates the role content plays in helping brands meet business objectives and buyers reach their individual goals. (…) The original grid was recognized for giving insights into content marketing. But v2 goes even further: explaining the connection between content type and distribution channels, matching content to the buyer’s stage in the purchase process, equipping marketers with Key Performance Indicators for each type of content, and delivering it all in an easily digestible grid.”

Spirits giant Diageo outlines Emerging Markets advertising strategy at Cannes

Diageo Chief Marketing Officer Andy Fennell gave attendees of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity today a peek into the drinks giant’s ad strategies in various emerging markets, and also shared his personal outlook on working with agencies.(…)

Diageo has undergone a transformation in the past decade or so, he said, with its advertising direction moving away from translating one big creative idea into different languages to employing wholly different approaches that are relevant to each market. That’s a major turnabout considering that only about a decade ago, it was creating the bulk of its advertising out of London and slapping subtitles at the bottom of ads to translate them into different languages. In China, for example, Diageo is going experiential. Just a few weeks ago it opened up “The House of Walker,” a Shanghai-based building that exhibits the history of Scotch in China and allows visitors to purchase rare and collectible bottles of the liquor. It is also partnering with Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke and video blogger Han Han to serve as spokespeople for the brand.

To market Johnny Walker Red Label in South Africa, the company is altering its packaging. To reach consumers who might not otherwise be able to afford to purchase the Scotch, the company recently released a specially sized, smaller 200-milliliter bottle.

Mr. Fennell referred to Johnny Walker as Diageo’s “biggest value creator,” with a penetration in nearly 200 countries worldwide. Other brands in the portfolio at Diageo include Captain Morgan rum, Ciroc vodka, Jose Cuervo tequila and Guinness beer.

Yet another unique approach Diageo is using in one of its emerging markets is a soccer-themed game show it’s created in Kenya for which Guinness is the sponsor. Contestants compete in a series of trivia challenges and physical soccer skills for a chance at a cash prize.

Kraft Foods’ 7 step model for focus and winning in emerging markets


A few weeks ago, HSM, the company behind the upcoming 2011 World Innovation Forum in New York City hosted a conversation with Sanjay Khosla, President of Kraft Foods’ Developing Markets division. Mr. Khosla leads Kraft’s $13.6 billion businesses in developing markets, specifically the Asia Pacific; Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Latin America regions. In the last three years, the size of Kraft Foods’ developing markets business has more than doubled with $13.6 billion in annual revenues. If Kraft Foods’ developing markets business was a standalone company, it would be one of the top 10 food companies on the planet. The company’s developing markets business realized nearly 13% revenue growth on average annually and reported operating income growth of more than 34% on average annually (2006 – 2010). During the hou long conversation, Mr. Khosla gave the attendees a rare look inside the company’s strategies in evaluating, and developing new and old products to suit emerging markets. 

He also shared how he put his obsession of “Winning through Focus” into practice to turn Kraft Foods’ underperforming developing markets business into a top tier performer. Mr. Khosla’s “Seven step model to drive growth and win through focus in emerging markets” are:

  1. Discovery: Find out what works
  2. Strategy: Focus through lenses
  3. Vision: Find a simple hook
  4. People: Unleash the Potential
  5. Execution: Clarify and delegate
  6. Organization: Build collaborative networks
  7. Metrics: Manage numbers and tell stories

Here are my notes from the conversation with Kraft Food’s Sanjay Khosla:

  • choose what NOT to do
  • focus on few and do well
  • choose space where company has competitive market
  • choose lenses
  • Kraft chose to focus on 5 categories, 10 brands, and 10 markets in emerging economies
  • 4 yrs ago they looked at acquiring Cadbury and Danone biscuits
  • both brands were doing well in emerging markets
  • Focus to unleash the potential of peop
  • Match company people with priorities
  • Continue reading

Event Alert: World Innovation Forum NYC, June 7-8 #WIF11

In about 2 and half weeks I will be attending the 2011 World Innovation Forum taking place in New York City June 7-8. The two day event will feature a lineup of top business and intellectual pioneers in the field of innovation. The speaker list includes: 

  • Clayton Christensen (Harvard Business School)
  • M.S. Krishnan (Co-author, The New Age of Innovation)
  • Roger Martin ( Dean, Rotman School of Management)
  • Jeanne Meister (co-author, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today)
  • Paola Antonelli (Senior Curator, The Museum of Modern Art)
  • Larry Huston (former Innovation Officer at P&G)
  • Daniel Pink (Author of the business bestsellers A Whole New Mind and Drive
  • Tony Hsieh (former CEO, Zappos)
  • Greg Hall (CEO and Owner of Drillers Supply S.A) 
  • Paddy Miller (Professor of Managing People in Organizations at IESE)
  • Johan de Nysschen (President, Audi of America, Inc

With a mix of presentations and interactive panels, the World Innovation Forum promises to get all of us some great, applicable business and innovation insights.

You can register to attend in person or register for the live webcast.

I’ll be joining a group of invited bloggers at the event as part of the Bloggers Hub.  As I often do, I’ll be live Tweeting insights during the two day event so follow my updates on Twitter and also the Twitter hashtag #WIF11. Hope to see many of you there.




Digital, emerging markets driving growth for global advertising groups

Financial results for the first quarter of 2011 from some of the world’s largest ad agency networks (WPP, Publicis, Interpublic, Omnicom etc.) are showing rapid growth in emerging markets. Increasingly, agency networks expect their future, and future profits, to be tied in with markets outside the US or Western Europe. The stars of the show? China and Latin America. Digital spend, also in emerging markets, is driving quite a bit of the growth as well.

Research by ZenithOptimedia recently showed that developing markets (everywhere outside North America, Western Europe and Japan) will increase their share of global ad expenditure from 30.9% in 2010 to 35.1% in 2013.

According to ZenithOptimedia, the Chinese ad market is expected to grow by 13.6% a year to 2013, nabbing it the number three spot this year in terms of ad market size. Brazil, meanwhile, will jump from seventh to sixth spot this year, thanks to annual growth of 15.4%.

Most Innovative (BRIC) Companies of 2011


If you haven’t already read through the 2011 list of Fast Company Magazine’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” make sure you do. It’s a wonderful and inspiring list. Here is a sublist of’s most innovative BRIC companies of  2011:



01) Azul – For converting bus riders into frequent fliers.

03) Petrobras – For becoming the world leader in ultra-deepwater drilling.

05) Embrapa – For pioneering innovations in tropical agriculture.

06) Gerdau – For responding with speed and smarts to shifts in the market for steel.

07) Natura – For growing a green empire with Brazilian flora.

08) Embraer – For challenging the outsourcing model in the aviation industry

09) Metalfrio Solutions – For identifying and exploiting a profitable niche

10) Solar Ear – For making hearing aids affordable.

Continue reading

China’s growth as global branding geniuses


The world soon will see the ability of the Chinese to absorb new ideas, and fast-track them into the mainstream with accuracy, skill, and speed. In a very short time–despite a rocky start–they have grasped the essence of branding. In fact, their embrace of the fact that branding is a sensory discovery has put them ahead of others in the same industry operating on the other side of the globe….For almost three years, a team of scientists, researchers, anthropologists, and psychologists traveled the world to study the most inspirational and innovative countries in the world. They carefully selected the best features of those countries, focusing on those aspects that could influence the evolution of Chinese brands, shape their innovation process, define their future, and most importantly, serve as a model for their success.