our words.

Someone always has something insightful to say.

Adam Kleinberg

12 Traction Stories from 2012

by Adam Kleinberg

12 Traction Stories from 2012

2012 was a crazy year for advertisers. It seemed like there was a new trend, buzzword or meme to make sense of every week. And, of course, the good folks at Traction are dedicated to helping you understand them.

Here's a round up of my 12 favorite stories we wrote in 2012.

1. Missing the mark with online video

This AdAge story breaks down several opportunities that many marketers are overlooking when considering their strategies for video online. It was also my first byline in AdAge and the site's most popular article of the week when it was published.

2. The Editor-in-Chief: The New CMO

Traction Strategy Director, Jabeen Yusuf, was published in Forbes CMO Network on considerations for CMOs in a world where content marketing is vital. CMOs need to think like magazine editors—new territory for most—and Jabeen gives some tips for doing it successfully. 

3. You Can't be Three Things

Our philosophy about brands here at Traction is simple: in the mind of your consumer, you can only be one thing. This post is short and sweet, but illustrates that point.

4. The New Titans in Digital Marketing

There's a big shift happening across the digital marketing landscape as true enterprise companies (other than Google and Microsoft) are building suites across the marketing landscape. I'll be moderating a panel based on this post at ad:tech in San Francisco this Spring so keep an eye out for it.

5. Why Our Burning Man Policy Matters

Tractionista Kasey Smith describes why our some-might-say-wacky HR policies are meaningful to her—and how they've successfully helped her develop some of the traits we hope to foster in our people by having it in the first place.

6. Why Mobile Advertising is still failing

Another AdAge story I recently wrote on why all the "Big Data" in the world won't prevent mobile banner ads from being a lousy way for brands to build connections with consumers.

7. Coca-Cola is on a Journey—But Is it the Right One?

After reading a post I wrote on this blog, Coke's digital chief, Ashely Brown, invited me to write this critique of Coke's digital strategy right on the pages of Coke's own website. 

8. When The Stock Photography Well Runs Dry

Our creative director, Theo Fanning, wrote a really cool post showing how we composited images on a budget for MasterImage 3D. If you're a maker of things, you'll appreciate this post.

9. Trading Places: Brand or Commodity?

I like this post because it has a picture of Dan Akroyd as filthy Santa in it. But also because it really breaks down empirically why it is so important for companies to invest in building their brand. In a digital world, it is easy for marketers to solely invest entirely in predictably quantifiable approaches that have a measurable impact on revenue. But the ultimate metric for corporations is shareholder value, and this post shows evidence of how investments in branding can and are driving that.

10. The New Myspace. Sexy is back!

Account Director Khai Nguyen dives into the new MySpace and takes it for a test drive. They very recently launched a redesign that is in beta. Will it take off remains to be seen, but from a product perspective we feel they've created something special. 

11. Zen and the Art of Opportunistic Marketing

This is another post on content marketing. In order to be part of conversations today, brands need to be agile and responsive to culture. This article tells how.

12. Advertising Ghost Signs Of San Francisco

This post is so awesome. Kasey Smith has made a personal project out of documenting painted "ghost signs" of yesteryear that grace the brick walls of buildings throughout the city. Very cool stuff.


UPDATE: A number of clients and friends in the industry have told me they found this post to be a valuable resource, so I'm adding a few more posts that I think are worth reading to the list.

I guarantee that if you read the articles on this list, you'll walk away with a deeper understanding of digital marketing.

Brands that Failed with Gamification

Marketers salivate at the possibility of gamifying their prospects into submission, but the reality behind the hype is less alluring. I break down 5 mistakes you can make trying to implement—and great brands like Zappos, Google and Marriott that have fallen victim to them.

Facebook Messages New Release (with Bugs)

With a billion+ on it's platform, when Facebook makes a change in how we communicate, the impact is tremendous and important to understand. Once again, Khai breaks it down.

3 Easy Steps to Building a Brand

Don't really understand the concept of positioning and how to do it well? This post breaks it down to 3 simple steps.

Why Digital GRPs are Inevitable

I was just invited to speak in a webinar for video hosting company Ooyala because of this post which their marketing person said was the most well-articulated argument about why digital GRPs are a reality she had ever read. So, read it.

Trend with Traction: Better Experiences

A consistent trend has emerged in the new dominant properties that have taken flight on the web in the past year: better experiences. I took a look at five of the best and examine the common threads.

Does Ubiquity Lead to Obsolescence?

Theo Fanning asks whether the mass consumption is the goal you should be looking for in your brand strategy. Perhaps focus is a better path.

Mobile App or Mobile Web?

Many brands are struggling with their mobile strategy—and with just cause in such a rapidly evolving space. One of the key questions many ask (or should ask) is should they be focusing on apps or the mobile web as the foundation of their mobile strategy. Here are the pros and cons of each.

Does Your Brand Impute?

Steve Jobs biography introduced a concept called "imputing"— the idea of creating an image by always presenting yourself impeccably. Brands other than Apple have taken this lesson to heart and are winning because of it.


Well, I've meandered all the back to December of 2011 here, so I'll call this one a wrap. We sincerely hope that our investment in thought leadership provides you with a valuable resource and would welcome any suggestions you have for future topics in the comments below.

Now you say something:

In our effort to prevent spam, we ask that you complete this CAPTCHA before submitting your comment.