As Young Lose Interest in Cars, G.M. Turns to MTV for Help

Ross Martin, 37, is a published poet and a former drummer in an alternative rock band. Wearing Nike high tops and loosefitting jeans, he is the kind of figure who wouldn’t attract a second glance on the streets of Brooklyn, where he lives.

But on a chilly afternoon here last month he managed to attract a few odd looks as he walked across the 24th floor of General Motors’ global headquarters. Mr. Martin is the executive vice president of MTVScratch, a unit of the giant media company Viacom that consults with brands about connecting with consumers.

He and his team are trying to help General Motors solve one of the most vexing problems facing the car industry: many young consumers today just do not care that much about cars.

That is a major shift from the days when the car stood at the center of youth culture and wheels served as the ultimate gateway to freedom and independence. Young drivers proudly parked Impalas at a drive-in movie theater, lusted over cherry red Camaros as the ultimate sign of rebellion or saved up for a Volkswagen Beetle on which to splash bumper stickers and peace signs. Today Facebook, Twitter and text messaging allow teenagers and 20-somethings to connect without wheels. High gas prices and environmental concerns don’t help matters. Contine reading

Social media marketing lessons from Chris Brown

Celebrity and Conflict Are Trump Cards In Social. So, What’s A Brand to Do?

Nike , Starbucks, Disney and Whole Foods. These are four category-leading brands that all represent quality and leadership. They are four brands that are committed to properly cultivating and maintaining well-respected images. As such, would it surprise you to hear that these four brands COMBINED have fewer Twitter followers than singer Chris Brown’s 8.2 million total? Yes, we’re talking about the same Chris Brown who, in 2009, pled guilty to felony assault of then girlfriend, Grammy Award-winning singer Rihanna.

Suspend for a second your personal feelings for Brown and consider what has to have occurred to enable him and his “Team Breezy” base to grow to such a staggering number. In spring of 2011, in support of his fourth studio album, “FAME,” Brown and his management group set out to create buzz around the project with the establishment of a digital-age fan club. Team Breezy was given a producer credit on his album, but more importantly was given access to Brown and his music through private listening parties orchestrated by more than 80 street teams across the globe. Contine reading

Five Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Digital marketing is a discipline in flux. We face an onslaught of shiny new technologies and platforms that promise to “change everything.” Marketers are creating similarly breathless headlines, proclaiming the next revolutionary devices/apps/social networks.

Yet, even smart marketers don’t know what changes the future will bring; but they do need to be aware that their industry is changing every day. For instance, to reach consumers marketers need to be increasingly mobile, engaging, relevant and aware of the contexts in which we currently operate.

I don’t pretend to know the future. But the decisions and products of AppleAmazon and other innovators will affect how we live in the years to come. As we anticipate our connected, Minority Report-style future, here are five big marketing ideas to embrace now to get ahead of the curve.

1. Location Services

Consumers are out there and many want you to find them. Location features of social apps such and Path are potential goldmines of important consumer data. The near field communication (NFC) technology in products like Google Wallet is just starting to show its potential. And while privacy issues surrounding location services will need to be resolved, consumers are still demanding that marketers understand all of their daily contexts and find ways to make their lives easier. If the rumors are true and the iPhone 5 has NFC embedded, expect these features to go from leading edge to mainstream. Contine reading