说到营销领域的老大，还要数美国电话电报公司（AT&T）：据坎特传媒公司（Kantar Media ）披露，去年，AT&T投入了约20亿美元，用于单个品牌的打造，这样的大手笔堪称美国公司之最。【虽然宝洁公司（Procter & Gamble）的预算超过AT&T，但却被用于不同的品牌。】而负责AT&T品牌建设的正是公司全球营销官、55岁的凯西•库格林。最近，她接受了《财富》杂志（Fortune）杰夫•科尔文的专访，谈到了如何在24小时内创作网络电视商业广告，无手机恐惧症的兴起，以及未来的伞柄发光的奥妙所在等等话题。以下为访谈内容摘录：
Bigtime marketing doesn't get much bigger than this: AT&T (T) spends more money -- some $2 billion last year, says Kantar Media -- building a single brand than any other company in America. (Procter & Gamble (PG) wields a larger ad budget but divides it among scores of brands.) Commanding the branding is Cathy Coughlin, 55, AT&T's global marketing officer. She spoke recently with Fortune's Geoff Colvin about creating network TV commercials for the Olympics in 24 hours, the rise of nomophobia (fear of not having your cellphone), why your umbrella's handle may one day glow, and much else. Edited excerpts:
Q: AT&T had a large marketing presence in the Olympics. That may seem a very traditional kind of marketing. Was it?
A: Not at all. For example, this year we did something different. We used gold-medal-winning performances by some of our sponsored athletes in the commercials the day after the winning performance. In the case of Rebecca Soni, her gold-medal swimming performance was followed by a commercial with a young swimmer watching that performance on her smartphone. It's been really fun. We've gotten a lot of "How did they do that?" reaction. We're a "Rethink possible" company, and we want that to come to life in our marketing.
You do a lot of consumer research. What have you learned about how your customers live and how that's changing?
We've seen an amazing shift in the role that technology plays in people's lives and how they view technology. Three or four years ago we were testing a new advertising line prior to "Rethink possible," and it was around this notion of doing more. People's reaction was, "I don't want to do more. Get away from me. I feel like I'm a slave to my computer. I feel like it's separating me from my family. It's taking away from my life."
We did that same sort of research last year and saw it completely flip-flop. People tell us, "My device is part of who I am. It enriches my life. It helps me live on the go. It helps me take care of my family, watch over them, be the hero in the moment."
From a marketing perspective, we've gone in a very short time from people being fearful of technology to being fearful of being without it. I just read yesterday that there's a new term for the fear of not being with your phone -- nomophobia. It's derived from no-mobile-phone phobia.
You have over 100 million customers, and by the nature of the business, you can know a great deal about them. How has that enabled you to know them better and inform your marketing?
Some interesting trends are emerging. Just a few years ago you and I would use our smartphones before work, on the way to work, and on the way home. Now we're using them all day. Even though in your office you have a phone on the desk, you don't use it. You're using your mobile technology all day. So we're spending millions of dollars enhancing the service inside the building with new antenna technology, especially in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, where there are so many high-rise buildings. This has lots of implications from a marketing perspective. An example is working with CIOs, because they no longer dictate the device you're going to use. People don't want multiple devices. So you see an interesting shift from a marketing perspective, where the employee has a bigger voice in the technology that's being used in companies.
The way people consume media is also changing fast. How has what you learned affected your marketing?
Because technology has gone from something you fear to something you fear being without, our marketing is showing the use of technology in everyday life. That's showing up in places on the web and on YouTube in addition to traditional commercials. We partnered with Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes [a series on NBC from 2006 to 2010] and of Touch [a series launched this year on Fox], and with our advertising agency, BBDO, to create a really great five webisodes called Daybreak. Instead of the traditional entertainment marketing approach, where I put my product on the table and pay for that placement, the technology is integrated into the story line. Ben, the hero in our story, is fighting the forces of evil, and he is using our technology to get around the bad guys.