SES New York keynote: John Gerzema

Thu 26 March 2009 19:52, Bas van den Beld

Day 3 starts of with the keynote by John Gerzema. With people entering slowly in the room it was quite a challenge to get people uplifted. The message he's sending out is that you have to return to your core. Brands today need to provide value for consumers as well. You have to be completely transparent.

Gerzema starts of by talking about the economy, shows us the 36 trillion loss worldwide. He started about the financial crisis, but quickly moved to the consumer crisis. Wanting to show us that companies should look different at consumers than before he showed us examples of the crisis.

SES New York keynote: John Gerzema

Consumer confidence is at the lowest point in over 25 years. Housing prices in the US have erouded which is a huge problem in the US because people used to look at their house as their ATM. But the biggest thing that has hit the consumer psyche is the threat of unemployment.

Americans start 'fighting back'. They mainly fight against the establishment. Gerzema showed a couple of examples of the way people do that, both online and offline. "This is an equal opportunity recession" Gerzema stated.


People don't think like a couple of years ago anymore. Where in 2007 "Just do it" worked, now there is a focus on the basics."There is a collision of social thinking and individualization"

Gerzema said marketing must move from 'passion to compassion'. Why would you buy into a brand you don't know is going to be around. Social Media could play a big part in that.

The Brand Bubble
Off course Gerzema talked us up to his solution: the Brand Bubble. Brands are worth one third in asset values in companies. Brands are losing rapidly in trust, value and awareness.In the past quarter a "Trust virus" infected many categories. There is an aperture opening in consumer values - time of great peril & great opportunity to reconnect with consumers. Gerzema thinks this is a fundamental cultural shift, not just a 'normal' recession.

Gerzema has four rules on each one he showed some examples:

1. focus on indestructible optimisme, self reliance, durable living, create brands that last.

Examples here are that shoe repair is growing, and things like clothing and spices are being sold more. More people are using coupons and 60% of Americans now have a library card. Online you can see that the use of Craigslist is growing.

Johns shows some different examples of brands that last: Oil of Olay, Mc Donalds. A good example is Hyundai who created a ensurance program. If you lose your job, you can return your car.

2. ethics and fairplay, empathy and respect, values and values.

Examples gere were the free super bowl breakfast by Dennis, American Express paying customers $300 to leave their franchise and Fedex offering free resume Tuesdays.

3. liquid life, déclassé consumption, dollars and sense.

Examples here were Radiohead letting you decide want you want to pay and Miller lite's one second super bowl ads.

4. Return to the fold, cooperative consumerism and community organizer.

Here Gerzema gave the example of Mommy bloggers, Walmart's Eleven moms who act as evangelists for the company.

Finally Gerzema gets to search. "The search engine isn't you. It's your consumer." Search is an emotional thing, people are looking for offers and value.

Below the presentation which can also be downloaded from Gerzema's blog.

Calamity Presentation - SES Keynote

Comments (1)


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