One of the great things about working in marketing is that we have an opportunity to talk about a wide variety of topics. Even better, we get to tell it like it is. We can weigh in on controversial subjects. We can be funny. We can be serious. We can take a stand against things that don’t make sense or things that are fundamentally wrong. And we can do these things without compromising our brand because our brand promise is to always tell the raw truth.
With that said, here are the topics from the past year that inspired the most discussion on our blog. These are the topics that really resonated with people. For us, compiling this list not only paints a picture of the year 2013, it gives us a chance to learn from the topics that best engaged so we can make our blog even better in 2014.
Football in America wasn’t always the colossus it is today. It wasn’t that long ago that baseball dominated the headlines and little boys grew up wanting to play sports like soccer and basketball. In the eyes of many, football was barbaric and violent. It was unrefined. It was American machismo at its worst. In his book Brand NFL: Making & Selling America's Favorite Sport, Michael Oriard writes that things came to a head in the early 90s during a string of incidents involving female reporters being barred from the locker rooms or, worse, harassed by the players once inside.
It became a national conversation—one that went far beyond the chalk outlines of an NFL field. It was an American problem. Sexism, hyper-masculinity, and male superiority were running rampant through our culture. At least that was the narrative. And the NFL found itself in the crosshairs, pegged as the root, or at least the worst offender, of this callous mindset.
The NFL had its life-long supporters, but they were growing older. The opportunity to earn a new generation of die-hards was in front of them, but they'd have to start treating football not as a game, but as a brand. And brands need sculpting. They need PR. They need a story.
“Don’t bury the lede.” That’s what everyone always says to writers. Get to the point. Just give us the information we need.
It’s great advice for journalists. Horrible advice for marketers.
“Don’t bury the lede” is a phrase for reporters who write crime blurbs and short local interest pieces. It’s for articles that start with “Mayor So & So announced yesterday that he was going to do X, Y, Z” and then go on to tell you in forensic detail what happened, who was involved, where, why, how, etc. The news world is based on unbiased facts and conveying information efficiently. “Don’t bury the lede” is for journalists and their editors, not storytellers.
I really look forward to a hot cup of coffee in the morning and listening to my favorite podcasts on the way into work. It’s not that I dread the day or anything, but those are about the only things worth pivoting myself out of bed for as far as I’m concerned. I certainly don’t get jazzed for the forty-five minutes of inch-worming my way down the highway and toward the office. I’m not particularly in love with knowing I’m a good sixteen hours away from seeing the business end of my bed again. And I could do without walking my dog through tall, dew-soaked grass and picking up after her while still slipping in and out of a dream state.
So you can imagine that when I woke up the other morning to a work email with some blunt criticism of an assignment I had turned in the previous day, it felt a little like piling on.
That email stuck in my craw as I showered and got ready for the day. I drafted a response in my head as I brewed a cup of joe. It gnawed at me as I started up the car and pulled away from my apartment. My coffee tasted worse. The podcast was white-noise. My mind was elsewhere.
About halfway to work, I realized whose fault this was. I realized who was responsible for wrecking my morning, a morning that was already going to be bad enough without that feeling of failure and doom that currently sat in my stomach.
I realized, then, that this was entirely my fault.
Do you remember what you were doing the day that Netflix died?
During the summer of 2011, Netflix announced that it would be splitting its DVD-by-mail and streaming services. The streaming service would continue to be called Netflix, while the DVD service would be renamed “Qwikster.” Not only was this a bizarre and confusing choice, it also essentially created a price-hike for loyal users that had been signed up for both services. Consumers were outraged. The move was dubbed a giant “FAIL” by the collective masses, and CEO Reed Hastings quickly scrambled to put the toothpaste back in the tube, so to speak. Qwikster was scrapped, and prices returned to normal, but it seemed Netflix had done irreparable damage to its reputation. They were as good as dead…