Virgin America: the end of websites as we know them

A tweet about the new Virgin America website picked my curiosity yesterday… What could be so different about an airline website? Well…

Virgin America

That’s the thing. This revamp is a clever solution to use digital as a real touchpoint for consumers to achieve what they are here for. It’s a counter to book a flight, which is all you expect and need really.

“We took a fresh look. We wanted to not even think about it as an airline site, but as an ecommerce site,” Luanne Calvert, Virgin’s chief marketing officer, told Mashable.

The website looks like an app which is brilliant because today there is no need for a website and an app and something else. There is not a need I understand users expectations when they connect with you. It’s on their terms not the companies’ ones anymore.

From a branding standpoint, I was so pleased to see a real attitude. The use of icons, the tones and the language developed throughout are all amazing answers into creating a space that is truly unique to the Virgin America brand. Who else could combine irreverence, impeccable service and risk taking?

Capture d’écran 2014-06-18 à 6.27.56 PM

Finally, it’s also a strong asset to offer an experience that is not lagging and making it over complicated. The vertical design works on all devices, and the font are super legible, they are little call outs from the interface making it “easy” and “fast” to digest and play with on a mobile. The opposite of the category where you have to fill in long complicated forms on a tiny mobile scree…

How come no one took such a step before? Well. Maybe the ongoing benchmark of the industry that uses best practices as a starting point for the brief…? Umm funny enough, the web is old as well. An most airlines websites are old stuff.

Another reason are the CMS and tech solutions that have been leading the user experience. It’s a reality for many companies, for the sake of savings costs, you don’t build custom solutions and yet, you sacrifice branding. It’s time for a change because if you don’t understand and brand your business properly in the digital space you will be forgotten in no time.

I’m pleased to think that finally we are there. A new era where brands understand how to best use the meeting spaces users allow them in their life.

Book your flights!
Support risk takers.

Steps like that one are essentials for our industry to move forward.

If you want to take a tour by Virgin America.

Bravo VirginAmerica!

6 months later… “Ego and eyes were bigger than tummy”

Publicis Omnicom Groupe: what a great time for advertising to die

It’s been more than a week now and I can’t help thinking of the consequences of that super merger. It might make sense for some financially but the whole thing sounds more like a game of Thrones than a forward thinking offer to lead global brands towards the future.

One wanted to leave a legacy and the other one wanted to be sat in front of the Arc de Triomphe thinking “that could be mine”.[1] Oh well. Should we be surprised that advertising is about ego?

1. BIG BLA BLA BLA

Maurice Lévy is proud to “build something quite incredible in terms of crunching the data”: does he really think the future of advertising as a game of media targeting? A technical commodity that others can serve much more effectively. How can you deliver powerful insights if your data is siloed by client? To truly deliver on this offer, someone would need to get governments, consumer associations and brands willing to share their data between each other. Outside of being an over rated topic, “big data” has recently be shown as a very delicate positioning as citizens and governments being more involved in the data generation, protection and use processes. Apparently Maurice Lévy didn’t hear about PRISM and how aware consumers are becoming about the collection and use of their data… Does he really believe new generations will be happy for an advertising network to own their data? The idea of an “Audience on Demand unit”[2]  made me want to cry.

2.  OVERWEIGHTED YOU SAID?

Owning 73% of the global paid media weight [3] might sound exciting if you are from the 70s but knowing how little relevancy it actually offers to brands… This sounds slightly overrated. When looking at how their key agencies spend their media in digital – through Google – you can also question the role of the advertising network versus the media partner. Why would clients deal with “the Groupe” when they can get better deals – and creativity from Google see Art Copy Code examples. How can Publicis Omnicom Groupe show understanding of marketing in the post-digital age when their main offer is paid media? Consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices – an environment proven to be a failure for display.

3. IDEA NOT MEDIA

In the last two years, Martin Sorell’s WPP has made some major progresses on the digital front through training, talent acquisition and of course the acquisition of AKQA.  With R/GA and Huge in its portfolio, Interpublic delivers some of the most innovative digital platforms. Creating a “giant” in today’s market sounds like the exact opposite of what clients are expecting from their agency. How can brands and companies innovate if they are limited by the structure of their advertising network? Clients want bespoke, nimble, custom-made, agile solutions that can be implemented quickly. The new order, led by technology, is one where people come to you and where creativity matters more than ever. Something that is – surprisingly – not mentioned at all in the conversations around this merger. Razorfish, Critical Mass, LBi… Where’s the big creative-digital portfolio to become a global leader?

What excites me is the opportunity all this creates for a new age of marketing, a new generation of agencies, brands and entrepreneurs to change the game. Now that the old generation has officially put itself out of the competition, anyone can establish the guidelines for a creative x technology led marketing.

What a great time for display advertising to die!


Welcome to the 7.6 billion target market

The following post by Isabelle Quevilly was initially published as a contribution to The Wharton Future of Advertising Program’s Advertising 2020 Project.

Welcome to the 7.6 billion target market

It’s 2020. Today, there are 7.6 billion humans on the planet, nearly all can access a 4G networks wherever they are. The ‘Audience’ question on the briefing template got deleted when the answer became ‘Everyone’.

It’s a whole new playground for brands.

Since 2015, it’s like advertising has been on steroids. Even national borders have disappeared. Not everyone in India might be able to use the internet, but it doesn’t really matter now that every billboard is connected. Today, a brand’s reach isn’t about the big media outlets established in one country or another. Now it’s all about giving the people what they want regardless of nationality, age, even sex!

The original advertising model was built on Western ideals and ambitions from decades ago. Last year, Africa became the fastest growing market for toothpaste; shampoo and house hold cleaning products. It’s no surprise. Our economies are growing at 0.00 something, some African countries are showing 10% + growth rates. Brands had to adapt quickly to stay relevant, exciting and alive. Brand leadership doesn’t come from Europe or North America anymore. It comes from the people of planet Earth.

What are the big changes that we’ve been through?

1. The shops are the ads. The ads are the shops

Once the Internet of Things became a reality, the point of sales almost vanished as a concept. Most sales have started to happen through connected screens. The energy traditionally spent on building retail networks for products to be seen and bought shifted to something much more efficient. These new connected systems don’t require any physical infrastructure so they deliver much higher margins.

Every year, we see brands looking for the most entertaining and efficient ways to help people buy. Look at The Royal Audi Park in London. Or Tesco Virtual Subway Store in South Korea – choose at the bottom of the escalator and pay when you tap out at the top.

Connected Advertising has changed the role of the media. The shops are the ads. The ads are the shops.

2. Ads are made for your eyes only

The progress of Big Data since 2013 has made a huge difference. Brands look at data globally and share their knowledge to pounce on precious insights. Customer needs, documented in digits have trumped ad agency intuition. The big business opportunities come straight from the numbers.

When was the last time you saw an ad that was totally irrelevant to you? Who would waste money trying to reach out to everyone with the same message?

With access to people’s social graph data, brands can now anticipate behaviours. Last Sunday, Jennifer Lawrence was wearing Dior to collect her prestigious sixth Oscar. The night before, the brand had sent 500 dresses to their Champs Eylsees store and contacted 514 women in Paris. The dresses sold by closing on Monday.

Now that advertising is made in real-time, people realise that brands actually care. It’s good to know that brands we love won’t let us down anymore. Advertising used to be pollution. Today, it’s conversation. Thanks to data, it actually feels good to come across an ad.

3. Advertising from the war room

With an audience of 7.6 billion people, there’s no time to waste. The agency now talks directly to the investors to get a new budget. Agencies pitch ideas based on the impact it’s expected to have on the bottom line. Shareholders are now connected to the whole marketing process; it makes it much easier to response real-time.

The brand teams have also opened their owned creative and editorial capacities so they can react instantly to any news or market opportunities, just like Oreo reacted real-time at the Super Bowl. Back in 2012, it seemed a novelty. Now it’s all part of the game. Whether a brand needs to talk to a 45 year-old man in Brazil or a teenage girl in China – good advertising engages with people, live.

Quarterly planning died long ago. Now advertising can breathe!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

Here would be my top ten tips for a brand team back in 2013 to get ready for the future.

  1. Turn the top management into advocates for digital topics.
  2. Make digital change across the entire value chain.
  3. Build an in-house editorial team and start reacting real-time in social media.
  4. Recruit a team of analysts to profile and understand how people behave
  5. Start responding to people’s needs on product and service level.
  6. Convert the brand idea into 5 UX principles that can work across all platforms.
  7. Collaborate with media partners to invent new forms of connected advertising.
  8. Make your online commerce as efficient as possible, especially in mobile.
  9. Test a digital experience in your flagship store and learn from it.
  10. Try new things, build prototypes with tech partners, think big, fail and try again.

The future is a goldmine of opportunities for brands to reach out to people in more participative, connected and unexpected ways. Advertising is no longer about what a marketing team has envisioned a person to do. Instead it’s all about what that person actually do. Ads don’t scream out at loud anymore, they are an amazing way to start a relationship with people.

With a 7.6 billion target market to talk to and much more efficient ways to do it, brands must choose what they say and do with care, creativity and intelligence. For those who do, the reward will be limitless.

6 take-aways from sxsw 2013

#BrandBowl: The end of a commercial feast

4 years of Superbowl

4 years of Superbowl

The game changed on Sunday. TV shut down, but the show went on. For the first time ever the Super Bowl wasn’t a commercial feast anymore. All eyes were on Twitter instead, where a cookie brand’s quick thinking stole the show.

Since 2010, there’s been trial and error in abundance on how to use social media during a Super Bowl.

In 2011 we saw an accidental viral video, and a planned one the following year.

And in 2013, Oreo tweeted a real-time reference to the power outage. An image with a fun message, showing they understood how the audience were feeling.

They used the Oreo brand as an entertainment channel as much as a media company. They let their brand ‘speak digital’; capitalising on their tone of voice, identity, personality and values. There was no ‘advertising’ – this was a pure branding exercise. An attitude that has been missed in the digital space for too long.

This year, the conversation’s changed. The hashtags #brandbowl and #superbranding were at the heart of the conversation.

And let’s face the facts. Beyoncé’s performance in social media mentions surpassed Madonna’s 2012 halftime show by 66%. Twitter is yet to confirm the tweet per second rate for this year, but we’re predicting 45,000 tweets per second. That’s more than the entire Super Bowl had in 2010, with 37,855 tweets.

So here we are. 3 years later and the reach on Twitter has multiplied by 14,000. It’s time to use these platforms to build brands.

The Oreo example shows that branding in digital goes beyond media buying. It needs a team and culture that can adapt, move quickly and tell good stories.

This is just the beginning. We expect to see bundles of other brands do their own dunking in Super Bowls to come.

Is it time for Google to stop searching?

Beyond its products Chrome, Google+, Gmail, Map, GoogleTV, Android, NEXUS, Fiber, Glass… what is the brand that lives beyond search? With such a strong heritage in utility, and being driven by a strong tech spirit, Google seems to struggle finding its purpose as a global brand.

Google keeps searching and it might be time to find.

Google rapidly grew as a commodity, something you go to when you have a need and that’s it, the toothpaste of the web. In 2006 and ten years only, Google has become the international verb for searching on the internet, a position that is terribly difficult to move out from.

Considering that search has dramatically evolved from being the entry door to the Internet to a simple commodity in 10 years, it’s fair to ask what are the next 10 years going to be like for Google?

Search has become an action oriented for pre-shopping and getting the best bang for your bunks when buying a juicer or a car. Some could argue that Google could become the biggest affiliate partner on the planet. In fact, when people are looking for knowledge they go to Wikipedia, when they are looking for movies they go to Netflix and etc. The web is no more the web Google was made for and all data is now encapsulate in closed environment making the tool less and less relevant. Facebook has quickly become the go-to destination when opening up a laptop, but has we all know the game is changing fast.

When moving out of the computer and Internet world, is Google still an appealing destination for people – and therefore brands? What is the magic behind it?

When opening up my phone, I might be wandering in the Google world from Gmail to Google map – but am I aware that I am into that world? Am I happy to see there is a big company passig information in my different services?

What’s the story Google tells us as a brand? It’s hard to tell and a bit confusing today. It might be just as complex for investors to appreciate the future of the business and the vision Google has to keep its leadership and value over the next years. According to WPP Brand Z report, Google is at -3%, a sign that it’s time to do something to get the market back.

Where the revenues will come from after AdWords? With no monetization of its services, where does the future lie?

After the rebranding of some of the digital giants like TwitterEbay or MySpace, 2013 could be a great time for Google to reinvent itself and show the word the bigger something we can benefit from a 4G + in the clouds connected future before someone else will.

This is a tremendous time for Google to make the connected world magic and surprising again, one of my favourite spot by Google is a glance of that possible territory for the brand.

No, we won’t forget that for many years Google helped all of us get great deals and learn things in a click, we undoubtedly love Google but it’s time to grow up and make us fall in love again.

Oh I can’t wait for the day Google will find itself and wow me again, just as it did when I was 16.

Unlock marketing secrecy for the greater good

10 ideas on branding in a digital world

Although the technology is not changing the essentials of what makes a brand, it does make its components visible and responsive. That unique interaction is probably leading the evolution of what branding is or isn’t about. The following presentation explores ten ideas on what branding means in a digital and connected world.

10 ideas-on-branding-in-a-connected-world from Isabelle Quevilly

Design is Love

Glug. Design is love.
View more presentations from Isabelle Quevilly

A 10-min inspirational talk on design and business that was shared on July 12th, 2012 at Glug London.

Here is the script:
The brief we received for this event was really simple and clear. You have 10-minutes to give an inspirational and educational talk on design and business. I had a few chat around and lock down this idea that great design leads to great business. The matter is more about creating great, world-changing design. How do you get there? How do you design something that changes the world – and become a source of amazing businesses.

Love is the answer. I believe design is love.

Let’s put business aside from now and focus on what is the secret behind great, world-changing designs. When some have symphonies, or novels to express themselves. We – as creatives – have design. It is your very own tool. When you create the bulb light, you refuse the status quo in lightening. You want to offer to the world a better way of having light. This is our vehicle to show the world that we care. That you want to make a difference.

Design is your language to make others’ life better. If you don’t care for others you can’t think about designing and making color TV true.

What is the secret of great design? It all starts with a simple idea. Imagine someone said one day let’s build a big house in the shape of a triangle and everybody got hooked by this extremely simple idea.

an impossible dream just as “let’s go to the moon”

a crazy dreamer it takes someone who doesn’t want to do like others do, it takes somebody to push the boundaries obsessed by doing things so they can be prettier or faster. At the very of heart of any great design, there is a generous one, caring for others
 to enjoy something new unseen unheard unread unridden.

Any great design takes this unstoppable one that has lasted years, been through failures and hard work, to keep a precious gift alive the love of doing.

If you don’t fall in love with what you do, you can’t enjoy doing it over and over until it becomes that world-changing design. Design is how you take your love out to the world and create great businesses so you can move from… the fist motion picture to Avatar from the first basic calculator to Apple.

It takes lots of lovers to make things evolve along the years and to make the world a better place for all this cannot happen if you don’t genuinely love people and love what you do design is love.

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