Why Brands Can No Longer Let Influencers Grade Their Own Homework

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by a.network. To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

The number of sponsored Instagram posts that included the hashtag #ad rose 48 percent to more than 3 million in 2019. A stat that indicates influencer culture is here to stay. However, the industry has an influencer fraud problem that it needs to address if it’s going to keep reaping ROI from social platforms. A recent study from Cheq found that influencer fraud will cost marketers $1.3 billion in online ad spending in 2019. 

Below we’re breaking down key statistics surrounding influencer fraud according to social media platform, the indirect implications of the matter and why data transparency is critical to curbing the effects.

Consumers have generally placed a great amount of trust in influencers, and as a result, marketers have put their trust in influencers. That trust comes because, for now, influencer marketing is showing results. Data shows that nearly half of people make a purchase online after seeing an influencer promote it on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, and about three-quarters of people trust social media to help them make a decision on buying a product or service. 

As sponsored posts and ad spend on Instagram stories surge, so too does a brand’s confidence in an influencer’s ability to reach a certain audience or boost follower count. Still, 63 percent of marketers and brands admitted to having personal experience with influencer fraud in past campaigns. 

Experts note that the root of the influencer fraud problem is a lack of data transparency. In his research, Roberto Cavazos, PhD., professor and economist at the University of Baltimore, who with Cheq conducted the study, “The Economic Cost of Bad Actors on the Internet: Fake Influencer Marketing in 2019,” notes that the need to demonstrate influencers’ reach to a large audience is so compelling that some business have been created for the sole purpose of selling followers. Cavazos cites a study from Paquet-Coulson that showed these “click farm” clients pay about $49 for every 1,000 YouTube subscribers, $34 for the same number on Facebook, $16 for Instagram and $15 for Twitter. Cavazos believes that influencer fraud isn’t necessarily a platform issue. “It’s a contracting and transparency issue—basically in many instances, marketers do not know what they are buying and there are few incentives for sellers to be fully transparent. It’s not the platform, it’s the mode of transactions (buying services of influencers that is the problem),” he tells us.

Much of the suspicious activity in influencer marketing is performed via automation in the form of bots, pods, falsified sponsored posts and fake accounts. Bots mimic community management tasks such as commenting and following/unfollowing people, potentially making up to half of the engagement levels on sponsored content fake. Pods allow influencers to exchange engagement on each other’s posts. There are also instances of influencers promoting fake sponsored posts on behalf of brands that they’re actually not working with. 

Fake accounts have also taken the influencer world by storm. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, there were over 583 million fake Facebook accounts, according to the platform’s first “Community Standards Enforcement Report.” Similarly, in December 2017, Twitter identified and suspended 6.4 million suspicious accounts every week. Many Instagram accounts have audiences comprising 20 percent bots. 

There are ways that marketers can mitigate fraud and gain more transparency when working with influencers. 

“Marketers are worried about fraud on any platform, but there is more fraud awareness on Instagram because it has the most upside for influencers to inorganically grow their numbers. With more budget projected in 2020 towards influencer marketing, marketers should use a trusted, third-party source for a more detailed view into an influencer’s performance, that’s in addition to relying on influencer self-reporting on marketing platforms,” says Erick Schwab, co-founder and co-CEO of Sylo. The third-party verification platform was created to ensure that influencers aren’t “grading their own homework.”

Half of marketers cited that the ability to spot fake followers was a primary challenge of influencer marketing, and brands still get duped. One study found that influencers enlisted by Ritz Carlton comprised 78 percent fake followers and 39 percent for L’Occitane. Micro-influencers, who have between 50,000 and 100,000, often have nearly 20 percent fake followers, according to a Points North Group study.

In May, the Influencer Marketing Council (IMC) released “Fraud Best Practices and Guidelines,” marking the first major initiative to define influencer marketing industry standards on a platform-by-platform basis. Best practices include checking bot-induced spikes in follower count, follower to engagement ratio and confirming that the origin of an influencer’s engagement matches their audience’s location. 

On the importance of third-party verification, Schwab notes, “it delivers a trusted partner to verify audience authenticity, health and performance through ongoing independent observation and assessment of an influencer’s platform interactions, demographics and growth to predict campaign performance. During campaigns, it provides sophisticated detection for invalid, purchased performance for more accurate measurement.”

Despite the prevalence of influencer fraud, 67 percent of brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in the next 12 months. And that’s because marketers see few immediate options with the same ROI.

“While there is significant influencer fraud, influencer marketing is powerful and useful. In addition, there are limited alternatives right now and the foreseeable future. For example, brand created content is an approach that is plausible, but it’s costly to create and not fully tested for effectiveness—is it just TV in a different platform,”  Cavazos notes. 

That gap has left marketers aware of the problem but more likely to work to improve the business and measurement of influencer marketing rather than abandon it. 

If the issue is left unchecked, influencer fraud is predicted to cost the global economy $1.5 billion by 2020. This doesn’t account for the indirect costs associated with the problem, such as decreased brand trust. For relationships between influencer and customer to be symbiotic, brands must look for the aforementioned signs and demand data transparency from potential collaborators.

Twitter Updates List Sharing With Image Preview Cards

This week in social, Twitter announced two new features to enhance users’ experience with lists and Instagram said it will crack down on branded content featuring vapes, alcohol and diet supplements. Also, Instagram launches layout mode for stories, LinkedIn adds new features to groups in a hope to revamp the community and Snapchat gives users a split-screen reaction lens.

Twitter Replaces Long URLs With Images For List Sharing

Twitter added two new features to enhance users’ experience with lists.

Why it matters: Improving discovery through updates to Twitter lists will help foster relevant conversations on the platform.

The details: The new feature lets users share lists via a title link card that replaces URLs with a preview image in a range of basic colors. When creating or adding people to a list on iOS, users will also now see suggested accounts to add based on the list’s title or who’s already on it.

Instagram To Enforce Vape, Tobacco Content And Boost Collab Tools

The company announced today that it will remove branded posts that promote certain products such as vapes, and is also giving influencers a way to more formally work with brands via Facebook’s brand collabs manager.

Why it matters: Instagram says that it has always prohibited branded posts that promote tobacco, vapes and weapons, but it’s going to enforce the rules more strictly. 

As part of a closer relationship with its parent company, Instagram has introduced a more closely aligned relationship with Facebook’s brand collabs manager pool for all creators across Instagram. The feature will allow for more data transparency, which is the underlying issue of influencer fraud today.

The details:  In addition to removing branded content that promotes tobacco, vapes and weapons, Instagram will place special restrictions around the promotion of products such as diet supplements and alcohol. In the same announcement, Instagram said it plans to open up Facebook’s brand collabs manager to a select group of Instagram influencers, giving them the ability to source new deals, manage partnerships and automatically share insights with brands.

Instagram Launches Layout Mode for Stories

The platform has officially launched layout mode, a range of grid display styles for stories after testing it back in August.

Why it matters: Until now, users were forced to create multiple image stories via third-party tools. Thanks to the layout mode, Instagramers will have more reason to stay in the app, scroll, create and shop.

The details: With layout, users can now capture and share multiple photos in their story using one of six different grid styles.

LinkedIn Adds Features To Help Boost Groups Engagement

LinkedIn is trying to make groups relevant again with the addition of new features like member filters, blocking abilities and refined notifications.

Why it matters: LinkedIn groups lost user focus due to random spam and self-promotion. This new set of tools aims to make groups a more valuable, useful option.

The details: Adding to the control and functionality of groups, new LinkedIn group features will let group admins exercise power over new potential members, delete posts from a chosen member, block members direct from a comment in a group, review posts before they go live in the group, locate members by location or industry and find group posts that have been recommended by admins.

Snapchat Announces New Movie Trailer Reaction Lens

Snapchat launched a “trailer reaction lens” for the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s new lens is similar to TikTok’s react option, which lets users share their video responses to TikTok videos. 

The details: The new lens switches users’ view to split-screen, with the trailer on top and their reaction below. In addition to the split-screen lens, Snapchat rolled out games, “Leaderboard Games,” in which people compete against their friends on and offline.

Facebook Releases Trending Topics Guide To Inform 2020 Decisions

The report is an expansion of the platform’s monthly “Topics to Watch” reports.

Why it matters: Facebook’s reports have shown to be highly accurate in predicting shifts that turn into trends, so this more detailed report could be beneficial for 2020 strategic ad targeting.

The details: The “2020 Topics and Trends Report From Facebook IQ” shows trending topics according to region. Hot topics include consumers making small lifestyle changes in the name of sustainability including beekeeping in Canada and eco-friendly fashion purchases in Sweden and the UK. In the US, podcast lovers are keen on seeing companion podcasts for television shows come to life. Tactile activities such as 3D printing and laser printing in Brazil are emerging while people’s desire to live simply has led to minimalistic beauty routines in the Philippines and the use of apps in France to detect harmful ingredients.

Twitter To Revive Political Candidate Labels For 2020 US Elections

Twitter’s labeling of politicians and candidates is part of the platform’s efforts to drive authentic conversations.

Why it matters: Twitter said that 1.4 million users interacted with Russian trolls during the 2016 presidential campaign, resulting in the spreading of false information. Election labels will help Twitter identify original sources and authentic information. 

The details: Twitter’s election labels will show information about political candidates including which office they’re running for, their state and district number. Candidates’ accounts and their tweets will be marked with a small ballot box icon to accompany this information. Twitter first launched the featured during the 2018 US midterms. The labels will appear once a candidate’s account is qualified, which will occur on a rolling basis.

Facebook Introduces Limited-Edition Star Wars Messenger Features

The features were launched in honor of the premiere of the final installment in the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Why it matters: Facebook once collaborated with Google to create a tool to let users choose app themes for Gmail, YouTube, Chrome and Google Maps. A few years ago, Facebook also allowed users to change their profile picture into a Star Wars-themed photo. 

The details: Designed in partnership with Disney, the features include a chat theme, augmented reality (AR) effects, reactions and stickers that let users express themselves via characters from the movie. To enable the limited-edition features, users can open a messenger thread and tap the name of the thread at the top to open its settings. From there, they can select “theme” and let the force be with them.

Yubo Raises $12.3 Million For Forthcoming Teen Social App

According to TechCrunch, the French startup is working on a social media app to help people under the age of 25 years old meet new people and create friendships.

Why it matters: The new funding round will help Yubo attract users in new markets in Japan and Brazil. Currently, Yubo is most active in the US, Canada, the UK Nordic countries, France and Australia.

The details: Unlike Instagram, Yubo’s app for teens isn’t focused on likes and followers. The app will instead help users build their own micro-community of friends via video streams and live chat. 

Instagram Will Use Artificial Intelligence To Flag Hurtful Comments Before They’re Posted

The platform announced that starting today, it will warn users when they’re about to post a potentially offensive caption on a photo or video that’s being uploaded to the main feed.

Why it matters: Instagram says that asking people to reconsider posting potentially hurtful comments has had promising results. The new AI-powered reminder builds upon the platform’s anti-bullying efforts which include the “restrict” feature it launched in October.

The details: Instagram’s AI-powered tools will generate a notification that says the caption “looks similar to others that have been reported.” The alert will also encourage the user to modify the caption or post it without editing it. The feature is rolling out in select countries first.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, December 20. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Coca-Cola Launches Six-Month Subscription Service

Coca-Cola launched a subscription service that lets a limited number of consumers sample some of the beverage company’s 20-plus new drinks before they hit shelves.

Members of the “Coca-Cola Insiders Club” will receive a monthly shipment of beverages across three categories including Coke Energy and AHA flavored water, as well as merch and surprise gifts. Subscribers can choose from two payment options to join the six-month membership, either $10 monthly or $50 prepaid with one month free. 

The subscription service included 1,000 memberships openings, which sold out in three hours. Though Coca-Cola says fans can join the waiting list to be notified when a subscription spot opens up.

Coca-Cola’s limited membership is the company’s way of testing subscription services. Alex Powell, digital experiences manager, Coca-Cola North America, said that the quickness of the sellout “proves there is an opportunity to scale the concept and allow more people to participate.”

Coca-Cola will monitor sales, feedback and social media buzz to determine if a longterm subscription service makes sense in the future, but for now, only a six-month trial is available.

Fueling the subscription test was also the brand’s launch of Coke Cinnamon in November. Powell said the response across social and digital platforms exceeded expectations, opening Coca-Cola’s eyes to the need to give loyal fans an exclusive taste of the brand.

The ecommerce subscription market has grown by more than 100 percent a year over the past five years. Sephora launched its “Play! By Sephora” subscription box service in 2015, P&G rolled out a razor subscription called “Gillette on Demand” in 2017 and a number of categories have since entered the market including beard grooming, fresh flowers and wine.

Marketing A Unicorn With Pendo CMO, Jake Sorofman

During the 184th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Jake Sorofman, the chief marketing officer at Pendo, in front of a Marketing Today live audience in Durham, N.C. Previous to his role at Pendo, Sorofman was vice president and chief of research at Gartner.

In October of 2019, Pendo became a newly minted “unicorn” with a valuation of over $1 billion, following their latest injection of $100 million in venture capital. Sorofman shares more about Pendo and what marketing looks like at scale while experiencing exceptionally high growth rates.

Pendo is an integrated set of tools that help digital product teams make better decisions and create better experiences in web and mobile apps. The real goal for Pendo, according to Sorofman was to “build a billion-dollar company, a company that has lasting and enduring value in a community, creates lots of jobs and delivers value to customers.”

In this episode, we learn from the incredible growth of Pendo and the experience of Sorofman about how to handle fast growth and an expanding organization.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • The life of the CMO of a “unicorn company” 02:39
  • What do you do with $100 million? 03:17
  • Defining Pendo and its role in the market?  04:21
  • The three major target markets for Pendo. 05:19
  • The landscape of marketing at Pendo. 07:02
  • The importance of “events” in marketing. 07:56
  • Jake’s insight into “performance marketing” and “brand marketing.” 09:03 
  • Advice for other fast-growth companies. 10:20
  • Triple, triple, double, double, double: the rate of growth for Pendo. 10:50
  • The four keys to making marketing “more valuable.” 11:32
  • The importance of discussions at the “executive table.” 13:40 
  • The current “state of talent” in the marketing industry.  14:40
  • How to be successful as chief marketing officer. 15:55 
  • The key to earning the right to your audience’s attention. 16:38
  • The importance of content marketing in your tool bag. 16:55

Resources Mentioned:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

A Majority Of Marketers Worry About Rising Cost Of Facebook Ads

Eighty-five percent of marketers are concerned about the rising costs of Facebook ads, according to a LiveIntent study which polled 200 marketers who spent at least $100,000 on Facebook ads during October.

Research from earlier this year found that Facebook CPM rates have grown 90 percent year-over-year for marketers. Since Q1 2019, CPM cost increased by 11 percent, reaching $7.84. Additionally, 42 percent of marketers are spending more in 2019 than 2018, largely due to the growing cost of Facebook ads. LiveIntent’s data shows that the increased cost is a concern for a majority of marketers, with 13 percent extremely concerned about the trend. If costs continue to grow, nearly half of the marketers polled believe they could be priced out of paid Facebook ads. 

A separate study commissioned by LiveIntent found that 35 percent of new LiveIntent customers had moved to LiveIntent due to either higher Facebook costs or slowing performance. 

Today, 3 million businesses actively advertise on Facebook. More than 70 percent of those businesses are based outside of the US. But with the rising cost of Facebook CPMs, some may be forced to turn to other platforms and channels. To successfully compete against other brands, the report notes that marketers must diversify their ad spend. 

“Marketers who abandon Facebook entirely abandon one of the largest nation-states ever known to humanity. Instead of missing out on this font of audiences, marketers should be aware of when they run into audience fatigue on Facebook (the cost to find new audiences go up) and work to balance their Facebook spend with inventory that has incremental and new audiences,” Kerel Cooper, SVP, global marketing at LiveIntent tells us.

Cooper adds that as a result, marketers will turn towards other measurable media. “Most likely, that will be the email channel, where brands can be sure they are reaching a known person when they are logged-in and engaged. After all, you need to log in and open an email to have the ad served,” notes Cooper.

Listeners Can Talk Back To Pandora’s New Voice Ads

Pandora has launched mobile interactive voice ads to build upon the hands-free feature, “Voice Mode,” it introduced to users in July. Brands like Doritos, Unilever, Comcast, Wendy’s and Ashley HomeStores have already tested the voice ad functionality, which prompts listeners to answer a “yes or no” question before providing more information about a brand or product. If a user doesn’t respond within a couple of seconds or says no, music resumes playback so as not to disrupt the listening experience.

Pandora says it used a series of voice-based tests within focus groups and internal betas to understand the best practices for marketers looking to utilize the new voice-based offering. It found that voice ads reduce friction within the listener experience as consumers saw the benefit of being able to interact hands-free when content was relevant and when creative allowed for a simple “yes.” To capture listeners’ attention and drive higher verbal engagement, Pandora helped brands use clever, useful content and explicitly informed listeners that the voice ads are a new way to engage.

The streaming platform scripted and produced voice ads for a number of brands that were invited to utilize the capability. Among the major advertisers that tested the new ads were Unilever and Nestlé while others like DiGiorno’s and Hellmann’s also gave them a shot. The audio ads give listeners a brief explanation of how they work before playing a short, branded message. For example, Hellmann’s promoted its Best Foods Mayonnaise with the following: “This is a totally new kind of ad, one you can talk to . . .want to find out how to take your grilled cheese from cheesy to yes-pleasy?” After the user responds, the ad goes on to explain how mayonnaise spreads easier than butter, ending with the sound of a crispy crunch.

Pandora started its audio initiative earlier this year when it gave users hands-free control of the app via “Voice Mode,” which according to Pandora, has been adopted by millions. With the US population spending more time with digital audio, Pandora knows voice-based ads are the new way to reach rapidly evolving audiences. According to eMarketer’s April 2019 forecast, more than three-quarters of US internet users will listen to digital audio formats like streaming music and podcasts at least once a month. Additionally, the average US adult will spend more time listening to digital audio than listening to radio in 2020.

“The rapid adoption of smart speakers has made people more comfortable and excited about general voice habits, whether on a mobile device or smartphone. Marketers, rightfully, always seek to interact with consumers through the most frictionless and native experiences. But there are also gaps in measurement in the audio space. While we know it’s effective and have means to prove that, a quick signal has not been as readily available. Voice enables people to speak back, which also provides a signal to measure,” Claire Fanning, vice president of ad innovation strategy at Pandora, tells us.

Read This If You Want People To Remember Your Brand Better

Originally published at AW360 by Katie Lundin.

Article Takeaways:

  • Defining brand consistency
  • How consistent branding builds customer relationships
  • Giving your brand messaging time to work

You’ve probably heard by now that consistent branding is important. Everyone says so–it’s one of those common business truisms that, for many, goes in one ear and out the other.

Your company’s logo design, your business website, your mobile app, your store signage, your marketing and customer support messaging… they must all be instantly recognizable as your brand.

There are multiple reasons why consistent branding is so powerful–and inconsistent branding is so harmful. So, let’s take a deeper look at the whys and hows of branding consistency.

What is brand consistency?

Brand consistency occurs when a business presents the same visual face, values, personality, and brand messaging across every customer touchpoint.

This can be challenging to accomplish if you don’t fully understand your own brand. And, that’s why getting to know–really know–your brand is the first step in any brand consistency effort.

Why is brand consistency so important?

The goal of any brand is to provide a recognizable, positive brand identity people will remember.

Without a consistent brand presentation, you cannot achieve that goal.

Here’s why…

Consistent branding improves brand recognition.

A phenomenon known as context-dependent memory states that people remember information best when they are in the original context in which they encountered that information. However, brand messages usually occur in a wide variety of places (online ads, business cards, outdoor signage, product packaging, emails, etc.).

This means that your brand messages often lack the necessary context that would make it easiest for people to remember them.

So, consistent presentation becomes necessary to bridge the gap and reinforce your brand recognition.

This is especially true for new and younger businesses. As we emphasized in our guide on how to start a business,

A strong brand identity is the most effective way your new business can gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Consistent branding communicates to the world that you know who you are.

Brands that can’t settle on a consistent presentation or voice project their confusion to the world.

Consistent branding shows that you stand behind, and live, the identity that you’ve shared with the world.

People trust businesses that practice what they preach.

If your brand consistently delivers on promises, presents itself in the same way, and acts in accordance with the identity it presents, it proves the authenticity of your brand.

People value and trust authentic interactions.

Consistent branding builds customer relationships.

Like any relationship in life, it takes time to build strong relationships with your customers.

Consistent branding allows your business to be perceived as the same business they met the last time they heard from you. After enough consistent exposures to a brand, customers begin to feel as though they know you – and the relationship begins to grow.

As we explained previously,

The more customers are exposed to something–a product, a service, or your brand–the more inclined they are to like it.

This is a psychological phenomenon known as “mere exposure.”

So, the science indicates that the more frequently customers: 1) interact with your brand, and 2) recognize it due to consistent presentation, the stronger your brand/customer relationship will grow.

How do you build brand consistency?

It’s impossible to faithfully repeat something if you don’t know what you did in the first place.

And, that’s the challenge so many businesses encounter when they try to present a consistent brand.

If you haven’t given any deep thought to your brand–your values, your inherent and projected brand personality, your unique selling proposition, and how those elements will manifest visually–then you simply cannot expect to achieve a consistent brand presentation.

If you don’t really know your brand, yet, how could anyone else?

So, start by self-reflecting. Determine the values that drive your business and the traits that define it and make it unique.

Then work with talented designers to develop a visual design that embodies that brand. This will be the foundation for all of the visual elements that customers and potential customers will associate with your brand.

If you already have a logo and visual branding elements, conduct an inventory. Ask yourself if these elements properly represent your brand. If not, it may be time for a logo refresh or a complete visual rebranding.

If you’re not sure if a rebrand is appropriate for your business, check out this article on how to rebrand your business.

Create a style guide.

A style guide is the one source of truth for your visual brand. This document outlines a set of rules to follow any time a member of your organization wants to publish, present or promote content for your brand.

As we previously explained,

If your brand isn’t captured in a style guide, it can quickly drift into an inconsistent experience for your customers and employees.

This includes visual information such as fonts, brand colors, logo, signage specifications, typography style, and any other commonly used branded graphic elements. It should also cover less tangible items like ideal voice and tone, your branding mission and company philosophy.

So, once you’ve clearly defined your brand and developed visuals to support it, make them official in a style guide you can share with every member of your team.

Give brand messaging time to work.

As we mentioned earlier, relationships of any kind take time to build.

And, it’s estimated that it takes between 5 and 11 interactions (depending on the source) before a customer is ready to make a purchase.

So, when executing any branding strategy, plan to give it enough time to really sink into the public consciousness.

Your business name and logo should remain the same for as long as possible. And, if changes are made, they should be clearly related to the originals to maintain your valuable brand equity.

Your brand position may change over time as the business landscape evolves. But, it should still have a life cycle of years–not weeks or months.

This is just one area where authentic branding has a distinct advantage over contrived branding. An authentic brand is far more likely to have longer staying power since it is grounded in the reality of the business from the foundation up–making it easier to implement and most likely to still be relevant years from now.

If you don’t immediately get the reaction to your brand that you had hoped, don’t give up too quickly and try something new. Every brand needs time and repeated exposure to truly make a lasting impact.

Deliver a consistent multi-channel experience.

Businesses today share their marketing and branding messages in many, many places.

From social media to your website, email marketing to roadside billboards, and mobile apps to your customer support team, people are interacting with your brand all over the place.

And, they should be. It’s in your best interest to be in all of the places that your customers frequent. This makes you easy to find and keeps your business top-of-mind.

But, being in all the right places isn’t enough. It’s crucial to present a consistent brand across all of these locations if you want people to recognize your brand and remember you.

This is especially important when you lead customers on a journey from one point to another. For example, if you send an email with a discount link, the landing page the customers land on should share the same brand messaging and appearance as the original email.

Customers should experience your brand in the same way whether they’re on social media, a mobile app, your website or in your store.

Brand from the inside out.

Your employees are the guardians of your brand.

Employees need to be as well-educated and passionate about your brand as you are. Without their understanding and buy-in, a consistent branding effort is doomed to fail. This is one of the reasons why the best brands happen from the inside out.

Authentic brand values that evolve naturally from your company culture will be easiest for your employees to embrace and enact.

But don’t assume that because your brand values are genuine, that your employees will know how to–or that they will–articulate them. Provide brand education for all employees so that they understand their role in presenting a consistent brand identity for your company.

Consistent = Reliable = Valued

In our personal lives, we value those who are always there for us when we need them. It’s reassuring to know that we can rely on someone.

The same is true for a consistent brand. When people find a brand that not only meets their needs but does so reliably in a familiar way–that breeds loyalty.

Embrace these consistent branding tactics for your business and, in time, you’ll leave your competition in the dust.

Gartner Study Highlights The Perils Of Personalization In Marketing

Eighty percent of marketers will ditch personalization efforts by 2025 due to a lack of return on investment (ROI) and issues with customer data management, according to Gartner’s report, “Predicts 2020: Marketers, They’re Just Not That Into You.”

Despite the ubiquity of data-driven initiatives, many marketers believe that data itself is hindering their ability to personalize efforts. As Gartner’s findings show, 27 percent of marketers said that data is the key obstacle to personalization. 

Weaknesses in data collection, integration and protection are reflected by consumers’ profound concerns over data privacy. By 2023, one-third of all brand public relations disasters will result from data ethics failures, the report notes. The American Marketing Association’s 2019 study echoed this sentiment when it found that both US and Chinese consumers have anxiety over privacy, hackers, bots and worry that new technology will detect the human touch from shopping.

Before investing in personalization technology and new tactics, Gartner recommends marketers evaluate their personalization efforts in a number of ways. First, brands should test tailored recommendations at the segment level to avoid premature investment in a personalization tool. Next, cross-functional teams should take a collaborative approach to personalization efforts as doing so can expand ROI and collective impact. Lastly, the data suggests using case development and consent management as guides of the personalization roadmap.

Other critical predictions to help brands acclimate to evolving customer behaviors include the fact that budget allocation on influencer marketing will decrease by a third as consumers lose trust in figures or brands they don’t know. To help curb those effects, 25 percent of marketing departments will have a dedicated behavioral scientist or ethnographer as part of their full-time team. 

“Consumers have developed an increasingly jaundiced eye toward marketers’ efforts to embrace them. Their increasingly cluttered email inboxes and mobile phone notification centers may lead them to ignore even the most carefully personalized and contextualized message. Marketers must really adopt the basics when it comes to test and learn before investing in personalization technology and new tactics,” said Charles Golvin, Gartner senior director analyst.

Shiseido Creates Interactive 3D Installation Showing Real-Time Aging

Shiseido created an interactive 3D installation that shows visitors what they’d look like in the future and what they looked like in the past to showcase real-time aging and the brand’s decades of research on skin. 

Beyond Time” uses processing technology combined with facial data capture to show how people look during different stages of their life. To explore different sides of close friends or loved ones outside the boundaries of time, two people enter the installation from opposite sides, and by looking through a digital mirror, are able to see each other as they’d look in the future and in the past. 

Bringing the experience to life is a 3D facial age simulation engine that analyzes 1,300 facial data points and compares them to a bespoke database of face models. The result is a scientifically accurate aging simulation in real time. 

“Beyond Time brings that purpose to life in a deeply emotional way, by letting people explore the boundaries of time and beauty through a unique experience that is, at heart, driven by data,” said Shiseido’s chief creative officer, Naomi Yamamoto.

Shiseido’s Global Innovation Center (GIC), a research institute and experiential space known as S/PARK in Yokohama, is where consumers can experience the “Beyond Time” installation. Shiseido opened the GIC in April of this year to, “promote comprehensive communication and collaboration with consumers, researchers, business partners and experts inside and outside of Japan.” Today, Shiseido has global research centers located in five countries, where its teams research and develop activities to analyze skin conditions and makeup trends of consumers in each region.

Deirdre Findlay Departs Stitch Fix For CMO Role At Condé Nast

This week in marketing careers, Deirdre Findlay leaves her role as chief marketing officer at Stitch Fix for a position as CMO at Condé Nast, chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau is set to helm a new US wealth management division at JPMorgan Chase, ex-Patagonia marketing leader Strick Walker joins Simms as CMO, Pizza Hut’s U.S. chief brand officer departs after one year and former marketing leaders from eBay, PepsiCo, IHOP and 1-800 CONTACTS take new chief marketing officer positions.

Condé Nast Announces CMO Appointment Of Deirdre Findlay

Variety reports that Deirdre Findlay will be joining senior leadership at Condé Nast.

Findlay, who AList confirmed was departing from her role as Stitch Fix’s CMO at the end of the year, will be filling the chief marketing officer spot vacated by Pamela Drucker Mann. who moved into a new role as global chief revenue officer as part of an August reorganization at the media company.

“Deirdre will bring increased focus to our direct-to-consumer efforts, helping develop our relationships with our consumers to grow revenue, and partnering across the company to strengthen our brand identities globally,” Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch said in a statement announcing the appointment.

CMO Deirdre Findlay To Resign From Stitch Fix In New Year

AList was able to confirm the resignation of Deirdre Findlay from her position as chief marketing officer at Stitch Fix, effective January 3rd, 2020.

Stitch Fix made the following statement to AList regarding the announcement, first indicated during a recent earnings call:

“We can confirm our CMO, Deirdre Findlay, has decided to leave Stitch Fix for a new opportunity on the East Coast. Her resignation will be effective by January 3rd. As we announced on our recent earnings call, Elizabeth Spaulding is joining Stitch Fix as President at the end of January, and as part of her role she will oversee marketing. We are grateful for everything Deirdre has done for the company and wish her much success for the future.”

Kristin Lemkau Set To Head New JPMorgan Chase Unit

Kristin Lemkau, CMO for JPMorgan Chase & Co., is set to lead the bank’s newly created wealth management unit, according to an exclusive today from The Wall Street Journal.

Lemkau, who has been with JPMorgan Chase for 21 years, was named Marketer of the Year for 2019 by The Advertising Club.

Icelolly.com Announces New CMO

Simon Lloyd has been named chief marketing officer of vacation travel comparison site icelolly.com. Lloyd’s previous experience includes serving in executive roles at AXA, Superdry, BBC and Virgin Atlantic. 

The travel site’s previous CMO, Ross Matthews, announced his departure, effective January 2020, back in November. He joins the managed vacation rentals and holiday resorts business Awaze, which owns cottages.com, in the new year.

Simms Lands Strick Walker As CMO

Strick Walker, who formerly served as global marketing director for Patagonia and as a global marketer at Converse, joins outdoor sports manufacturer Simms as their new chief marketing officer. 

Walker most recently held the position of CMO at footwear company Merrell where he lead the purpose-driven One Trail project as well as a product collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. He starts his new position in early 2020.

Pizza Hut’s Chief Brand Officer Departs

Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut’s U.S. chief brand officer, is no longer with Pizza Hut according to an update from Restaurant Business

Radley, who was named to the position just over a year ago, previously served as a marketing executive for Monster Energy. Radley’s replacement is forthcoming, according to the report.

Former EBay Australia CMO Joins Hilton APAC

As reported by The Drum, eBay’s former CMO for Australia, Julie Nestor, has been tapped by Hilton APAC (Asia Pacific) as VP of marketing and e-commerce.

Nestor, whose previous experience also includes over 5 years as VP of consumer marketing at American Express, will be based in Singapore for the role. According to Hilton’s press release announcing Nestor’s move, she launched the first Apple Pay service in Australia for American Express, as well as eBay’s first paid membership program.

Country Music Association CMO Named CEO Of Academy Of Country Music

Damon Whiteside has been named chief executive officer of the Academy of Country Music, effective January 6. 

Whiteside has served as the chief marketing officer for the Country Music Association for the past 6 years and has affiliations with Digital LA, CMO Club, American Marketing Association and Promotion Marketing Association, among others.

Longtime PepsiCo CMO To Lead Marketing At Schwan’s

Grocery delivery company Schwan’s Co. has named Roberto Rios chief marketing officer, according to Food Business News

Rios was previously chief marketing officer of global beverages at PepsiCo and served in various positions at PepsiCo for over a decade, spending 2 and a half years as CMO for PepsiCo Foods Mexico.

Joan Blackwood Joins National Vision As CMO

U.S. optical retailer National Vision is welcoming former University of Phoenix marketing leader Joan Blackwood as their permanent chief marketing officer. Blackwood replaces Jevin Hassey, who served as interim CMO previous to Blackwood’s arrival.

According to National Vision’s press release announcing the new hire, Blackwood previously served as chief marketing officer at Monster Worldwide, 1-800 CONTACTS, and Zumba Fitness.

Joe Adney Takes CMO Role At Black Bear Diner

Brand and marketing strategist Joe Adney joins Black Bear Diner as chief marketing officer as the restaurant chain builds its leadership team. His previous roles include marketing positions at Bob Evans Farms, IHOP, and Baskin-Robbins USA.

Rico Macaraeg Tapped As CMO For Stojo

Brooklyn-based sustainable goods company Stojo has named Rico Macaraeg as chief marketing officer. Macaraeg’s previous experience includes leading legacy department store Lord + Taylor’s marketing organization during their rebrand, while building “an omni-focused, data-first marketing organization” while the brand was acquired by LeTote.

Edible Names Scott Wakeman EVP Of Marketing

The world’s largest franchisor of fresh fruit arrangements, Edible, has named Scott Wakeman EVP of marketing. Wakeman previously served as VP of marketing for Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, leading the chain’s advertising, field marketing and media strategy.

According to the press release announcing Wakeman’s new position, he’ll be tasked with “managing and building a team that will develop a strategic marketing plan that integrates strong vertical marketing programs as well as generation strategies.”

Stacey Pool Named CMO At Noodles & Company

Stacey Pool joins fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Company as their chief marketing officer. 

Pool previously served as SVP of corporate marketing at Vail Resorts, Inc., where she advanced guest segmentation and personalization initiatives as well as executing integrated campaigns. Prior to that, she worked on NIKEiD.com’s digital experience for Nike.

Julie Spencer Washington Tapped For Trinity Health Marketing Leadership

National health system Trinity Health has named Julie Spencer Washington senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer. Prior to this position, she was CMO for Champion Petfoods and has 30 years of experience in brand strategy.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, December 13. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

Vice President, Global MarketingShiseido Americas CorporationNew York, NY
Vice President, Creative MarketingFOX CorporationNew York, NY
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