Why don’t we ask ourselves the difficult questions?

Privacy has been one of the top news stories of the last few years. Thanks, Brexit, Trump and Cambridge Analytica. And the vast majority of the focus, correctly, is on the platforms: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Apple, Amazon and Google. Are they spreading misinformation? Are they misusing our data? How much data are they collecting? And while these are all very important questions, as a marketer I find it very interesting that so much of the focus is on the platforms and almost none is on the platform’s customers — advertisers.

As we…


It’s hard to open a marketing publication or website without encountering the latest hot take on “Brand Purpose.” And depending on who’s speaking it’s either the future of marketing and the industry needs to get “more purpose-driven” or it’s a “morally bankrupt concept” that gets in the way of marketing effectiveness. So which is it?

Rather than stake out a specific position I thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss a few ideas related to brand purpose that I’ve had over the last few months. …


In recent years, thanks to people like Gary Vaynerchuk, it has become quite common to hear “all marketers are now media companies.” And on the surface it sounds like a decent idea. The barriers to becoming a media company are almost non-existent: you can produce written, audio and video content relatively inexpensively and social media has made distribution much more affordable. At the same time brands have had to struggle with the challenges that come with the exponential growth of media channels. So, as marketers, our reaction to all of this was to take all of these different media we…


Everyone in marketing is aware of the importance of market segmentation. This fact was drummed into me early on in business school. I remember my “Consumer Behavior” professor’s remarks on the very first day being something along the lines of “Market segmentation is marketing’s most valuable contribution to business.” For a practice that is the “most valuable” contribution marketing can make to a business’s success a lot of us are doing it wrong.

For example, how many of you have recently heard, or said, something like “we’re launching a funky new product line to target Millenials,” or “the style of…


Since the tech revolution of the late 90’s and early 2000’s we’ve been told that the rise of the internet was going to mean the demise of brands. That freely available information: product specs, expert reviews and crowd-sourced ratings would make brands, and branding, unnecessary. People would eventually become the rational beings of economist’s dreams and would always end up with the perfect product for them, brand be damned.

And as web 1.0 became web 2.0 and social media and internet video proliferated this prediction only got louder and more prevalent. The New Yorker declared The Twilight of Brands and…


We spend a lot of time and money naming our brands. At my agency we typically (with a wink and a nod) tell our clients it takes anywhere from three months to three years to name a brand. The reason we spend all of this time, and money, is that we believe that the success of our brand hinges upon having a great name. This idea is drummed into marketers from our early “principles” classes at University. We are regaled with stories of epic naming failures, like the Chevy Nova, and naming successes like Kleenex and Google. The lesson: bad…


The Fyre Festival is kind of having a cultural moment right now. Netflix and Hulu are promoting dueling documentaries. Jerry Media, the social media company that promoted the festival, is dealing with an “unfollow” campaign. And the influencers that helped promote the festival still have unsettled lawsuits. It’s all great fodder for online commentary and watercooler talk among friends, about how crazy Billy McFarland is, how dumb millennials are or how terrible influencer marketing can be. Needless to say, the door is open for anyone and everyone to jump in and the pile on.

About two weeks ago Shutterstock waded…


Is anyone else fucking exhausted? We spent all December in “year-in-review” mode, then transitioned swiftly to “trends” mode in January, and culminated with the Super Bowl in February. Over the last 60 days I personally had to have read and watched hundreds of said videos, listicles, articles and reports (not to mention somehow fitting in time with family and friends over the holidays). Why?

I think if someone asked I’d say it was to “stay current” understand “where things are going” and “help my clients be more effective.” And I’m sure many of you would say the same.

But if…


I know, the idea seems pretty self-serving coming from someone who works at an advertising agency. But give me a minute to explain. My feeling is that waste, defined as over-spending for no additional effects, is something that needs to be discussed differently than we do now. Typically any mention of waste sounds something like this:

“We don’t want to waste money on advertising.”

Which really means:

“What is the least we can spend to achieve the effects that we seek?”

With an implied understanding that we need to “avoid waste” the problem we all face is trying to determine…


Probably not…but maybe?

-

So I decided to start writing a blog. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. As a matter of fact, my wife’s probably sick of hearing me tell her about all the “great” ideas i have for articles. Typically she’ll placate me with an “that’s interesting babe”…but then she’ll drop the hammer with a follow-up question like “Why do you want a blog?” or “Do you really need a blog?” or “Aren’t there already a lot of advertising blogs out there?” All very valid questions. …

Sean Ruberg

Director of Brand Strategy — https://seanruberg.work/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store