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April 1, 2010

Richard Cacciato speaks about "Myths and Realities of Online Branding" at BRITE 2010 Conference

Richard Cacciato, cofounder of New York Interactive Agency Blue Iceberg, was a panelist at the BRITE 2010 Conference discussing "Myths and Realities of Online Branding".

As part of a conference exploring how technology and innovation are transforming the ways that companies build and sustain great brands, the "Myths and Realities of Online Branding" panel was assembled to discuss the role and potential of online marketing toward branding as compared with traditional off-line methods.

The panel consisted of:

  • Richard Cacciato, Partner, Blue Iceberg Interactive
  • John Mayo-Smith, EVP and CTO, R/GA;
  • Elena Perez, Director of Marketing for Medialets; and
  • Rajeev Kohli, Professor of Marketing, Columbia Business School.
  • Moderator: Anton Meyer, Chair of Marketing, University of Munich.

Richard began by reiterating the potential power of the internet for Brands: the ability for an organization to form a one-to-one relationship with every consumer. The question remains, where and how to use the internet to turn consumers into brand champions?

Using examples of social media campaigns from Pepsi Refresh, and Best Job in the World, Richard discussed their success in using social media, such as Facebook, to generate enthusiasm but, most importantly, to drive visitors to the Brand's own website where all the activity takes place, ensuring that the tone of the conversation is set by the Brand as well as obtaining the contributor's information. He then talked about online branding as an extension of traditional branding, but in a different medium. Along with print, broadcasting, and out-of-home marketing campaigns, on-line campaigns are an additional tool in the toolbox.

Richard shared proprietary research that revealed a quandary in most marketing organizations. Senior corporate managers, wanting keep up with the latest trends, insist that interactive must be an important priority in the marketing mix. Younger marketers-- the Assistant and Associate Brand Managers, often recently graduated and completely immersed in digital lifestyles-- clamor for more interactive marketing initiatives. Meanwhile, more senior Marketing managers, including the Brand Managers and Category Managers, bear the direct P&L responsibility and are told that if they fail, they'll lose their jobs. So what happens? Instead than committing an important part of the budget (the "myth"), only 10% of the marketing budget goes to digital initiatives ("the reality") and interactive is tacked on to traditional initiatives as an afterthought. Richard concluded that success of online branding initiatives is driven by an organization's willingness to take risks, and by experimenting with strategies that place interactive at the center of marketing initiatives in an integrated approach across all media and touchpoints.

About the BRITE Conference:
The BRITE Conference is presented by the Center on Global Brand Leadership. Founded at Columbia Business School in 1999, the Center has grown into a global partnership of leading business schools. The Center brings together researchers, corporations, agencies, and entrepreneurs to develop new thinking about the future of innovation and branding. To find out more about the Center and its worldwide activities,

About Blue Iceberg:
Blue Iceberg is a New York-based interactive agency providing interactive strategy, web design and development and digital marketing services. With rigorous strategic analysis and client-side experience informing our insights, design and technology solutions, we harness the power of the internet to help brands and businesses thrive online. By seamlessly integrating video, content and design, we create visually engaging and intuitive interactive experiences that are customer-centric, integrate into our clients' workflow and drive their businesses forward.