After almost a year spent surveying brand and consumer response to the recession through our AnxietyIndex.com, we found that only a handful of the 350 examples we collected across 24 countries truly stood out. Creating innovative work isn’t easy in any economic climate; it’s even harder when marketing budgets are low and risk aversion is high.

The power of online brand interaction is not to be denied: A solid majority of connected consumers have had their opinion of a brand swayed, either positively or negatively, by an online experience.

Consumers are taking control of in-bound communication channels, unsubscribing to irrelevant email, and defecting from brands that continue to deliver irrelevant content and random mass mailings, according to a new poll from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company.

In the not so distant past, the young urban market was defined by stereotypical images of African-American youth clad in baggy jeans and over-sized shirts listening to loud rap music.

The definition of today's urban lifestyle consumer has clearly evolved, outgrowing many of the preconceived notions of what urban is. No longer confined to a demographic living in inner-city zip codes, these urban consumers have come to represent a specific mindset born out of the unique energy, creativity and diversity of America's urban centers.

More than four out of five (84 percent) chief marketing officers (CMOs) allocate less than ten percent of their budgets to experimenting through social media and non-traditional communications channels, with more than half (55 percent) allocating just five percent or less, according to a study by The CMO Club and Hill &
Knowlton.

Arguably the most effective and enduring communications are born from single, simple insights into human behavior -- or more specifically, human consumer behavior. Insights so simple, in fact, that once revealed people react by saying, "That must already exist," or "Why didn't I think of that." By Jeff Swystun. Available here and HispanicCMO.com

Marketers want to be seen as visionaries- individuals who can shift perspectives and capabilities to bring about game-changing outcomes in their organizations. However, they are further away from this realization than they think, according to a new study by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) in partnership with Prophet. This key finding was revealed in The State of Marketing Survey: The Shift, a survey of 150 marketers, from director level to chief marketing officer. This wide-ranging study examined the marketers' current roles, the depth of their collaboration with C-level and corporate executives, and their ability to manage customers and consumers.

With custom branded content and media channels continuing to multiply in North America, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) have formed a strategic alliance to study ROI in an area of marketing spend that totaled $33 billion in 2008.

As with many of us who have spent our entire careers on the Internet, I have a bit of media establishment envy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet; I’ve spent the past 10 years analyzing the Web and continue to believe the future is in truly interactive media. Sentiment aside, for the most part Internet professionals have spent much of our careers at the proverbial kids’ table. For far too long the Internet has been relegated to the “experimental” or “emerging media” categories.

The 2009 PR Week / Barkley Cause Survey uncovers that while consumers have decreased spending on charitable giving, 91% expect companies to fill that gap and showcase their commitment to the greater good (up from 86% in 2008). The study also reveals that cause can make strong business sense for brands by increasing trial, loyalty, sales, and even higher prices at the cash register. Download study here.

The notion of brand equity has been common currency amongst marketers for several years. And barely a day goes by without marketing, HR and other departments speaking about the health or value of their brand.

It's not just adults who vote with their wallets in supporting socially responsible brands. Increasingly, young people do too.

Brand interaction with consumers via new media has gone from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have over the years, a development supported by research from Cone.

Online marketers had better not be negligent. Good creative makes a successful campaign, but data from Dynamic Logic suggests that the worst-performing campaigns can actually negatively affect brand metrics.

At a time when many marquee brands have filed for or are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and others face their toughest times in decades, licensing is increasingly being used to generate revenue for brands, stave off insolvency or as a new business model altogether.

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