Integration is Key
April 23, 2008

Highly integrated products are my favorite types of branded utility. The more your product can work with and complement other products, the higher the satisfaction level of your consumer. In order to develop a more highly integrated product, you must establish two things

1) A collaborative model within your agency or company. Today is the universal launch of Facebook chat, a perfect example of deeper integration within an already established utility. Facebook provides many of the functions that other websites provide, while aggregating them all under one brand. Sharing pictures, chatting and messaging are all executed in one portal. Then the features of each utility are integrated within each other. If someone goes offline while you are chatting with them, you can send them a message. Engineers from each team must work together to make this possible.

2) Don’t let your strategy and marketing be confined to the walls of your building (or maybe intranet in this day and age). A willingness to think outside of your product and your company is key in developing branded utility. I think the business world calls this… partnerships. I referenced the Nike+ and iTunes example in my last branded utility post, but it is a stellar example of thinking out side of your walls. On the surface the two companies are very different. They began with identifying the core values and needs of their consumer. Then found a way to collaboratively become a relevant part of their target’s routine

I think it could be fun to brainstorm potential future branded utility partnerships. What do you think? Also, check out Noah Brier’s post on branded utility. There are awesome ideas in here!

Interview: HR rep at Digital Media arm of a global ad agency
March 31, 2008

AdBridge caught up with this Recruiter to talk about interdepartmental collaboration and how his HR department is adapting to the generation gap in the workplace:

On collaboration… 

  •  It depends on the client and the holding company more than anything else. Two agencies will struggle to collaborate if they are owned by competing holding companies or if the client has multiple people managing multiple agency relationships.
  • Internal collaboration between departments is tricky because employees are over-extended. When departments fail to collaborate, everyone loses, but it happens mostly because people are too pre-occupied with their own projects and deadlines to be able to contribute to a colleague’s as well. Territory battles are a reality, but stress is the bigger factor. 

On Millennials…

  •  They tend to do well in digital because their co-workers are closer in age.
  • HR departments really are actively working to adapt agencies to generational differences 
  •  Millennials want everything too soon. They expect to get promoted quickly because they perform their duties well, but don’t understand the other factors at play.
  •  Millennials tend to “top out quickly” because they lack management skills and have a hard time delegating day-to-day responsibilities. Promotions are about putting employees in charge of people, not just projects.
  • Ad agencies are structured with intermediary job titles (Assistant Planner > Planner > Supervisor > Director) so that employees can gradually prepare for management roles. Hierarchy is an unfortunate side-effect of that model.
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