Thanks to Michael, clients benefit from the breakthrough brand storytelling skills of Smith Brothers’ creative heritage, delivered with the speed, efficiency and real-time optimization demanded by today’s digital environment.
Michael joined Smith Brothers in 2005 as Director of Client Services, after spending the previous 20 years with DDB Worldwide where he was Senior Vice President, Group Account Director of the agency’s flagship, Chicago office.
Excited by Smith Brothers’ creative firepower and entrepreneurial spirit, Michael joined the Smith Brothers’ team with a vision for delivering big agency resources on a dramatically more nimble and effective platform.
Under Michael’s leadership the agency acquired digital agency, Hot Hand Interactive, in 2007. It added its Social Media practice in 2008. Developed an Analytics practice in 2009 and a Product Innovation specialty group – Sliced Bread - in 2016.
Layered onto its existing strategic planning, creative and media capabilities, Smith Brothers is now a force in the CPG marketing world – working with brands like Nestle, Del Monte, Heinz, Ghirardelli, Red Bull, and more.
Michael holds a B.A. in English from Union College
"Creative firepower and entrepreneurial spirit"
In Crossing the Chasm, author Geoffrey Moore made a compelling case that trends and products don’t grow seamlessly up a bell curve. Rather, they hit a chasm in the growth curve between the early adopters and the mainstream market. Early adopters want to try everything new in a market and they want to be the people others turn to for advice on what’s good. But the mainstream market isn’t interested in risk. They want to know that the pioneers have taken the risk, safely “crossed the chasm” (where most new products fall), and the reward is now theirs for the taking.
While Moore’s adoption curve was written with new technologies in mind, marketers have found it applies to any growing market. And at 2018’s Expo East, New Hope’s VP of Business Insights, Eric Pierce, and Nielsen’s VP Growth and Strategy, Sarah Schmansky, shared their insights into developing ingredient trends in the natural products market. On one axis of their exploration of trends from birth to maturity are ingredients that have achieved broad adoption. Think almonds, coconut and kale. The other axis is defined by growth of purchase. Think moringa, maca and ashwaganda. These ingredients are embraced by a small group of early adopters, but will the mainstream market ever evolve for them? The trick for manufacturers, retailers and investors is where on that spectrum does one invest time, energy and resources?
Just as in any market, there are opportunities for success all along the adoption spectrum. Here are a few brands exhibiting at Expo East that offer strong appeal to both the early adopter and mainstream segments of the adoption curve. Continue reading “Placing Our Bets at Expo East”
At the 2018 National Restaurant Association SuperSession: The Future of Restaurants, restauranteurs were urged to embrace technology or get left behind. Again, and again, futurist Daniel Burrus warned the audience to find a way to embrace technology or your competition will.
While interviewing Bear Robotics CEO, John Ha, Burrus confessed to the audience that he could use a little water before continuing and was soon joined on stage by Penny, Bear Robotics’ robot who runs food from the kitchen, so co-workers can focus on the customer.
Continue reading “Intersecting Trends at Restaurant Show”
Fifty years ago this summer, Mike Nichols’ The Graduate hit American movie theaters. The film’s protagonist, Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, is provided with some career advice in a penultimate moment when his parents’ smugly successful friend suggests — “One word: Plastics.” The moment captured the disillusionment of Baby Boomers and the desire to drop out instead of embracing a steady paycheck — and a seemingly spiritless life in chemical manufacturing. Continue reading “Think Small”
During last year’s election season, we heard pundits and politicians bemoan the effect of algorithms on what news we see, serving up content that reinforces and echoes choices and preferences we’ve demonstrated through past behavior. Because I happened to watch the Billy Bush bus video, does that make me a Trump supporter? Or if I happened to get click-baited into watching a shark video, does some data engine tag me as an Animals Attack! fan? The answer to those questions appears to be, largely, “yes” and therein lies a problem for our society (we are confined to a machine-determined perspective) and for practitioners of CPG marketing. Is media fragmentation making it harder and harder to create broadly popular CPG brands? Continue reading “Advertising In Echo Chambers”
That’s how Fortune recently described 3G’s business model. The magazine goes on to say, “A central feature of this model is that it can’t work forever. It builds value only by buying more companies.” Continue reading “The Shark That Can’t Stop Swimming”
If you spend any time in CPG product innovation, you’re likely using a “Jobs To Be Done” (JTBD) approach. Created by Harvard Business School professor and disruptive innovator Clayton Christensen, the JTBD approach simply suggests people don’t buy products, they hire them to do specific jobs. Continue reading “A Rejuvenating Plunge Into Innovation”
“Getting a product known isn’t the answer. Getting it WANTED is the answer.” Some of the best-known product names have failed.” — Bill Bernbach
Hollywood has largely equated the idea of being wanted in America with criminality. Whether it is westerns or gangster flicks or TV’s John Walsh, we typically associate this word with the desire to capture the most despicable and dangerous of criminals. Continue reading “WANTED”
I am bombarded by content claiming to provide me with the insight to unlock the mystery that is marketing to Millennials. Born between 1981 and 1997, Millennials formed a crest of childbirths of 66 million during those years, considerably higher than the 55 million Gen Xers that came before, if not quite the pig in a python that was the Baby Boom at 76 million. Continue reading “Unchanging Man And The Lizard Inside”
“Good, fast, cheap — pick any two” is a common phrase that defines the constraints on any initiative. If used as a lens through which to view the post-war packaged food industry, “fast and cheap” was clearly the choice of U.S. manufacturers and consumers. Indeed, the USDA reported that we spend significantly less on food than our grandparents did. Continue reading “Good, Fast, Cheap”
Apple recently announced a partnership with Nike, linking its Apple Watch with the Nike+ running app. I wish more collaboration between tech giants, food and beverage manufacturers and grocery retailers were keeping nutrition apps apace. Continue reading “Optimizing Nutrition Apps for Broad Consumer Adoption”