For the sake of major brands, we should hope not.

Photo by Rodrigo Bacellar on Unsplash

As we’ve explained previously, In House Agencies are on the rise in major brand environment. According to the Association of National Advertisers, close to 70% of major brands have in-house creative capabilities, up substantially in just the past 5 years.

Photo Credit: Sean Davis

According to the brand experience and advertising experts at VMLY&R, brand equity is built on four pillars:

  • Brand Differentiation
  • Brand Relevance
  • Brand Esteem
  • Brand Awareness

Brand marketers struggle every day to move the dial on these factors. But often, these efforts fail to leverage one of the most powerful tools for building brand equity—the local franchisee, reseller, dealer, or agent.

It’s not that branding experts don’t intuitively grasp the impact their local marketers can have. Rather, it’s logistical difficulties that get in the way. Local marketers are too hard to reach, or corral, or support, or whatever.

But if you…

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a significant DAM conference with a large contingent from the Pica9 team. As usual, it was exciting to see how the conference—originally the province of a small band of digital-asset-management and marketing-resource-management pioneers—has evolved and grown.

But one curiosity struck me as I watched our team engage in dozens of conversations with fellow marketing technologists: the degree to which print served as a facilitator.

Yes, we had the badge scanner to capture information on our booth visitors. …

Photo Credit: Ted Sakshaug

You’ll spend the better part of a year on your brand-refresh project. Take a few moments to avoid the following five pitfalls on marketing’s “last mile.”

The brand refresh is a project that falls on every marketer’s plate sooner or later. The march of time—in terms of product features and functions, cultural fashions and trends—takes a toll on the currency and relevance of your brand, to the point where what had been your strong suit gradually becomes a drag on your business. When that realization sets in, it’s time to think about refreshing the brand or re-imagining it from the ground up.

Branding agencies have posted loads of good advice on how to plan and execute the brand refresh, taking into account internal communications, leadership buy-in…

The Restaurant Support Center for Frontburner Brands celebrates Gay Pride Month

They go by many names. District Sales Managers (DSMs). Field Marketing Coordinators (FMCs). Local Marketing Directors (LMDs).

But the titles and the acronyms aren’t the point.

Because no matter what name, whenever you look closely at strong brands that are killing it in local marketing, you find these people — dedicated to helping their local marketers (franchisees, resellers, dealers, salespeople) make success happen at the individual location level.

When we talk about “distributed marketing intelligence,” these are the folks who do the distributing. (Spoiler alert: Their intelligence is anything but “artificial.”)

When we talk about “brand activation,” these are the…

In your multi-year journey toward DAM happiness, you’ll share the road with many fellow travellers. It’s good to know what drives them.

Having spent almost two decades working with great companies implementing big, marketing-oriented DAMs, I’ve had the chance to see some common patterns emerge.

The one I like the most is what I’d call “DAM personality types,” and that’s what this post is all about.

Let’s start with a little bit of a trigger warning. I know that generalizations can tend toward the negative, rather than the appreciative, mode of thinking. Let’s be clear that no user, of anything…

Photo Credit: Stefan Boehm

Eight in 10 national advertisers have set up in-house marketing operations. There are lots of good reasons why.

For more than a decade now, the “in-sourcing” trend in marketing and advertising has been gathering impressive steam. Clients both major and minor, according to Adweek, have reduced creative-production expenses by 30% and more by shifting creative, strategy, and production responsibilities from external agency partners to in-house production teams.

Procter & Gamble, as an example, slashed agency and production expenses by close to $400 million in a single year.

Intel’s in-house group, Agency Inside, which was named 2017’s In-House Agency of the…

Photo Credit: Marion Doss

Can local operators become elite brand marketers? Sure, but it takes empathy, discipline, and the right tools from you.

(This piece was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.)

The first promise that draws entrepreneurs to franchise brands is that the hardest part of marketing —brand building—is already done.

All the franchisee has to do, (so goes the typical franchise pitch), is to capitalize on the brand equity that’s already been built.

But brands are like sharks; they have to keep moving, or they sink to the bottom of their respective marketplaces.

And that means franchisees can’t be merely passive beneficiaries of their brands; they need to be active participants and brand builders in their own right.

They have to respond…

Brand-Content Workshop

DAM adoption benchmarks are critical for success, but hard to define.
This post shows how leading organizations are getting the job done.

DAM Vendors and consultants have long emphasized the need to monitor DAM usage closely. But when I began searching for data on specific benchmarks that matter the most, the most concrete advice I could find was Ralph Windsor’s landmark post, first published back in 2013.

As usual, Windsor’s advice was on point—and really useful. …

Or, How I Learned To Surrender To The Squirrels

Captain Blacktail and his loyal lieutenant

The squirrels that over-ran our property earlier this year have apparently found for themselves an inspirational leader and are massing this morning for their final assault on the house.

I can see exactly what they’re doing—though they think themselves adept in the art of subterfuge.

Their black-tailed captain lurks behind one of the Ice-Age boulder-points that punctuate our backyard. He has an acorn between his front paws and turns it over frenetically, as if seeking the perfect place to crack the husk. …

Kevin Groome

Kevin is the founder and chief evangelist of Pica9—a distributed marketing platform for major brands. To learn more, visit

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