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Where Detour Was Really Going

Guest piece written by Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Burger King. The Millennium Alliance is honored to work with Fernando as our Keynote Speaker at the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly from August 26-27 at the Fairmont Dallas in Texas. 

Enjoy!

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In the past few years Burger King built a reputation for itself. The brand mastered the art of using creativity to get people’s attention and build brand love. McWhopper, Google Home of the Whopper, Burning Stores, among many others got talked about everywhere, achieved billions of impressions, helped revamp the brand and got celebrated by our industry. Surely many of our blockbuster campaigns drove traffic (bringing people to restaurants) and sales. But the main focus of most of them was to “make the brand cool again”. That’s why we see Whopper Detour as a defining moment for our brand. There is a clear before and an after Whopper Detour. This campaign marks a turning point in our marketing and shows what we believe the future of great creativity might be (at least for us). A future where creativity is only used to (and celebrated for) responding to real, tangible business and brand goals.

This is an idea which plays with technology which is not necessarily new. Geofencing and mobile order and payment have been around for a while. It’s also not easy to convince people to download mobile apps from fast-food brands (especially burger chains). Many brands (including ourselves) couldn’t get people to download their apps even when giving products away. Yet, Whopper Detour increased the BK mobile app sales by 3x during the 9-day promotion and by 2x ever since the promotion ended. This campaign catapulted BK’s app from a modest #686 in the app store to #1 (across all categories; on both iOS and Android). It also drove the highest foot traffic (people coming to the restaurant) in 4.5 years.

So, the question is: How the hell did that happen?

This is the story of a crazy idea that delivered real business results. Scratch that — insane business results. An idea that bent the rules of direct marketing, experiential and e-commerce/technology. An idea with scale and long-term impact.

This case not only shows the power of a big idea and what it takes to make something different happen, but also the reason why our creative partners (aka advertising agencies) are so relevant. Big creative ideas eat programmatic, AI, trends, and even a beautifully put together McKinsey presentation for lunch. And these days people seem to forget that a bit. Big ideas is where our industry should focus. We used the art of creativity to get people’s attention, build brand love and build our business today and tomorrow. In scale. This was not a one location, one day stunt that gets people to talk about it (especially industry people) but is not linked to results. When we celebrate ideas like this one, we show that our industry (advertising and creativity) can indeed have a bright future and will be able to continue to have fun and make great business. And that’s the main reason we wrote this case study and are sharing it.

If you don’t have time to read (which would be a shame!), watch this:

Whopper Detour is one of my favorite Burger King ideas ever. It took us about a year to make. The idea came to us from FCB New York, and evolved a lot over time (a characteristic we see in all of our best campaigns). It involved a large team to pull it off, including our technology team and key tech partners. We basically had to recode our newly updated mobile app with mobile order and payment to now also work well and consistently with geofencing. In fact, to make this idea work we had to geofence all of our restaurants in the United States (more than 7,000) and all of the McDonald’s restaurants (more than 14,000). Plus, make it reliable! Can you imagine the amount of time and pressure to make this happen? But it paid off. Big-time.

We are investing a lot to improve our guest services at Burger King and technology has a key role in this. After all, mobile has grown to be a vital player in the QSR space, poised to be a $38 billion industry by next year (Source: QSR Magazine, Sep 2017). But, mobile order and payment isn’t new to people, nor is geofencing. So, to get people to actually care about our BK app is a testament to the beauty of this campaign, which started with a very simple PR headline: “You will be able to order a Whopper for 1 penny at McDonald’s.” Wait, what? That’s kind of a mindf**k. A Whopper at McDonald’s? That’s the exact opposite of what most direct marketing campaigns aim to achieve (you are asking people to go to your competitor before coming to you!). That’s turning brand experience upside down. And that’s showing how technology plus creativity can open new doors for brands and businesses. And while it is admittedly a bit crazy, that tends to be an ingredient in all our best ideas.

The objective of this article is to share a bit of our journey making Whopper Detour happen. By doing so, we aim to showcase the power of teamwork and creativity to drive brand and business results.

THE EXTRA MILE

It was beginning of September, back in 2017. FCB NY and Waze (their partner) reached out to us to share an idea. The starting point/insight revolved around the fact that Burger King has significantly fewer restaurant locations than McDonald’s. And since, in the U.S., most of the revenue comes from drive-thru, it’s fair to say that, quite often, BK fans have to drive longer distances to get their flame-grilled Whopper sandwiches. So, the idea was to reward these folks who are going “the extra mile” to enjoy Burger King, literally earning a discount for passing McDonald’s on their way.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 1. A simple demonstration of how the idea could work.

The presentation was pretty complete, with an overview on how to expand on the idea at different touch points, ranging from social media to out-of-home. The idea was presented as an idea that would trigger headlines and conversations, both highly desirable outcomes in all of our successful Burger King campaigns.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 2. Examples of social media amplification, out-of-home and potential headlines.

At the time, we thought there was something really interesting around the idea. We never played with geo-location before and a partnership with Waze sounded like a cool thing to do. Also, despite the fact that drive-thru is indeed our most important channel, we haven’t really done any drive-thru ideas in the recent past.

With that said, when comparing the “voltage” of the idea with other ideas in our pipeline, we felt that there were other things that had the potential to drive stronger talkability and PR. So, we decided to provide feedback, which was pretty much like: “There is something here that we like. Let’s keep working on it.”

“LET’S KEEP WORKING ON IT”

I think that if I were a creative working at an agency, “let’s keep working on it” would be one of the phrases that would scare me the most. What does that mean? Does the client really like it? Or are they just killing us softly? I think that “let’s keep working on it” probably means the end. Well, not in this case.

One thing we’ve learned in the work we do at Burger King is that many times we hit the right territory, but the idea is not quite right yet. In fact, I can think of many territories that took us more than a year to connect to the right idea. And in some cases, even more than that (or never at all). We don’t have an issue shooting an idea dead if we don’t think it has legs. So, when we say “let’s keep working on it,” we mean it. But neither FCB NY nor Waze had worked with us before. And I am sure that there was uncertainty about a potential positive outcome coming out of this.

Believe it or not, FCB NY continued to work on it. The talented team lead by Ari Halper and Gabriel Schimitt kept thinking, playing and polishing the idea. I guess they believed in it so much that they glanced over the uncertainty and kept pushing. So, around mid-November (2-3 months after the first presentation), we got an email from Gabriel saying that “they changed something on the idea and now it was waaaaaaaay better” (that’s how Gabriel speaks when he believes in something). I had a meeting in NY during that week, so I decided to stop by at FCB NY and take a look at that “waaaaaaaay better” version of the idea.

So, the new version of the idea was called “The Secret Whopper.” The insight of the idea was pretty much the same. The first page of the presentation said:

“Burger King has significantly fewer stores than McDonald’s, so we’re not always the closest option. How do we turn fewer stores into an opportunity and reward drivers willing to go the extra mile for a better burger? By turning our competitor’s stores into ours.”

That was the genesis of “The Secret Whopper: A special Whopper available only at McDonald’s.” Wait. What? Yes, that’s what they proposed. And we loved it.

FCB NY also suggested a simple flow for the idea using our BK Mobile App.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 3. BK mobile app flow for “The Secret Whopper” idea.

The agency also presented a series of additional assets to help bring the idea to life.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 4. Example of a potential billboard execution for “The Secret Whopper” idea.

The idea clearly evolved a lot. And the agency managed to tap into something that was very important for the brand: The mobile app. Remember that originally this was an idea that would happen mostly on the Waze platform.

At Burger King, we are investing a lot behind technology to improve guest services. And the mobile app is a key pillar in our strategy. If you think about fast-food restaurants, most of them have tended to leverage the same technology, and layout, for decades. The drive-thru, for instance, is kind of the same as it has always been (always a bit of a struggle to get that order taken the right way). For years the category failed to evolve much with technology (especially the burger chains). But recently, we have seen an acceleration behind initiatives around self-ordering kiosks, mobile apps, etc. The importance of technology among all fast-food players increased in the recent past and that’s no different at BK.

Back in November 2017, our Burger King app was basically a coupon app. Oh, we also had a store locator (d’oh!). But we had ambitious plans. We were working to develop mobile order and payment. That was a big deal for Burger King. It is really hard to code everything and make sure the app is integrated with our different point-of-sales systems (believe me, that’s a nightmare!). We wanted the app to work with geo-location, which would allow for small variations in price and menu for different restaurants, among others. A really big deal for Burger King. Yes. For Burger King. ’Cause mobile order and payment is obviously not new. Even the guy who sells coffee next to my building in Miami has it. Kind of everyone had it. So, this was a big deal for us. Not such a big deal for the industry. That’s why the challenge was to come up with a big, creative idea to make people care/share and get earned media at the relaunch.

So, here was FCB NY, bringing an amazing idea to relaunch our mobile order and payment capabilities. We had only one piece of feedback: We didn’t think it should be a “Secret Whopper.” Instead, we recommended it be the regular Whopper. Why? Because our regular Whopper is our most iconic product and to sell that at McDonald’s would be the biggest WTF moment. No need for a special build.

We also thought that the headline “You will be able to order a Whopper for 1 penny at McDonald’s” would be a bigger mindf*ck and, thus, potentially get more earned media and talkability than if we were saying “Secret Whopper.” And that’s when the name of the idea changed to become “Whopper Detour.”

MAKING IT HAPPEN

I still remember when FCB NY sent us a “happy birthday, Whopper Detour” via email in September 2018. Yes, it took us a year to develop the idea. As I mentioned earlier, we had to recode our mobile app with order/payment, plus geofencing on a massive scale, and then ensure it all worked flawlessly in just one year. Most people would have given up. We didn’t. We kept saying to ourselves: “If it were easy, someone else would have done it already. It’s a good thing this is freaking hard.”

Close to launch, the team developed a really cool film where our actors went to real McDonald’s restaurants in NY and tried explain to McDonald’s crew members at the drive-thru that they were there to get a Whopper for 1 cent.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 5. Image presented as part of Jonathan Klein’s visual treatment.

The film was shot by the very talented Jonathan Klein. We fell in love with his treatment. He simply got the tone of the brand and understood all the nuances.

“It’s important to stress that we are not making fun of the McDonald’s employees at all. Our actors asking about their Whopper orders from the BK App are delusional. Delusional people are funny. Delusional people ordering a Whopper at McDonald’s, compounded by the confusion of the McDonald’s employees, are hysterical.”

Our legal team was an intrinsic part of the development of this idea. In fact, that’s always the case. And we found a way to film this without necessarily asking for permission from our main competitor. The film had to be developed in NY for legal reasons; we would need to blur the faces of McDonald’s crew members and alter their voices a bit so they were not recognizable. On top of using the hidden cameras in the cars, we also filmed wide shots with lenses that allowed us to capture footage from a distance. As in any production that tries to capture reality, it started out messy and then got better and better. That’s normal. And we were patient. In the end, we ended up with an amazing (and very funny) film.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 6. Our brave crew shooting in NY.

On top of the film we created for PR and social media purposes, we ran a series of mobile out-of-home units with the objective of providing photo opportunities for bystanders. The UGC pictures quickly spread online.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 7. Our mobile out-of-home units driving around the U.S.

Another one of our favorite pieces was the print execution “Billions Swerved.” We all found it too funny not to deploy it. So… we had to make it happen. This is the type of execution that, despite leveraging traditional media, ends up getting a boatload of traction in social.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 8. The print ad we ran to help trigger earned media and talkability.

On top of FCB NY (who helped us with the campaign and UX), we had a pretty complete tech stack to launch Whopper Detour:

Tillster: Worked with our tech team coding the BK app (incl. mobile order and payment).

mParticle: CDP used to orchestrate data between the BK app and other CRM partners.

Radar: Geofencing used for unlocking, allowing us to tag all McD’s in the USA.

Braze: CRM vendor used to send push, e-mail and in-app messages.

Branch: Linking platform used to make it easier to get to BK App.

Amplitude: Analytics tool used to calculate redemptions, measure behavior and target mgs.

THE RESULTS

The world ended up talking about this campaign. We reached 3.5 billion impressions (billion with a “B”) with an equivalent USD $40 million in earned media (Source: Cision and ABMC). All without a significant media investment. We only did some guerrilla marketing (out-of-home), a handful of print ads and invested a tiny bit in digital (to push the film). We didn’t have TV, radio, social media influencers or others. The investment was really minimal because we knew the idea would take off by itself.

Case in point: To kick things off, FCB wrote a single tweet, “brb going to McDonald’s” — which came out about an hour before the campaign went live. That tweet alone racked up 65k likes in a matter of hours and led to an 818% increase in Twitter mentions.

We got more than 1.5 million people to download the BK App in the U.S. during the promotion (a 37.5% increase in only nine days), and more than a half-million redemptions of our promo (more than 40x redemptions versus our previous historical record for a digital coupon promo). And it continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, because in the months that followed the promotion, we are now up by 4.5 million downloads. All figures are sourced from Internal BK Data.

This direct, e-commerce, PR, integrated campaign propelled our BK App to become the #1 app in the Apple Store and Google Play Store (starting from #686 in the Apple Store and #464 on Google Play – Source: App Annie; beating out the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube). The BK App remained #1 in Food & Drink (our category) for more than 10 days on both platforms.

This idea was indeed a game changer for Burger King. Despite the fact that the Whopper sandwiches were going for only 1 penny, the total sales value sold through the mobile app increased by 3x during the promotion. And even after the promotion, we continued to sell through our mobile app 2x what we used to sell before the promotion. Whopper Detour users alone will spend around $15 million more per year on the BK mobile app. Yes, Whopper Detour put our mobile app on the map, made people engage with it, and now they continue to use it. Source: BK Internal Data.

Some skeptical people tend to challenge some of these sales results, arguing that we were selling Whopper sandwiches for a penny. But I am not talking about units sold. I am talking about total sales value. Even though we sold some Whopper sandwiches for 1 cent, the engagement was so high that people ended up buying a lot more. That’s why the business results were so strong.

The reality is that we tried giving away products to people who used our mobile app before. So have Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and others. That’s the obvious thing to do when you want people to download your app. But have you ever heard about any of those promotions? No, right? You know why? ’Cause no one cares. To make people care you need a BIG IDEA. An idea that plays with people’s imagination, an idea that is fun and connects people to the brand. Nothing was as powerful as Whopper Detour. And that is the true value of a creative idea.

No alt text provided for this image
Image 9. Download the app and get free food (Wendy’s, McD, Chick-fil-A).

Think about that. We asked people to download the BK app, add their credit card info, enable geo-location, drive to a McDonald’s, order from there and drive back to a Burger King to pick up the order. And they did it. It’s the opposite of what any direct marketing campaign has ever done. It’s experiential upside down. It’s a promo that, in theory, has all the ingredients not to work. But it did.

Perhaps most important, this activation drove people to our restaurants. By inviting people to drive to our main competitor to get a crazy discount, we triggered the highest weekly traffic increase (traffic = number of people coming to our restaurants) since mid-2015 (Source: Internal BK Data). Can you believe that? We asked people to go to McDonald’s and we triggered the highest increase in visits to BK in the past 4.5 years (!!!). And there was no cannibalization of the Whopper in the restaurant, which shows that the people who came were actually new or lapsed customers. And they ended up buying more than just the Whopper for 1 penny.

The ROI for the campaign was 37:1. And we had people seeing Burger King as a modern, savvy, interesting and fun brand.

5 LEARNINGS FROM OUR JOURNEY

Let the idea grow: Whopper Detour was not born as Whopper Detour. Not even the name. The idea was different. But the DNA of Whopper Detour was there. Somewhere. The ability to spot that and nurture the idea was critical for this case. Actually, in most successful cases we’ve developed, that seems to happen. “When a lion is born, it’s very easy to kill it” — Kash Sree used to always say that to me. You need to trust uncertainty and invest in the idea to make it better and better. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes guts.

Big ideas matter: AI, AR, programmatic, machine learning, etc are all empty buzzwords if you don’t have a big idea. A big idea will eat big budgets, celebrity endorsements and, sometimes, even logic for breakfast. Without big ideas, our industry is boring. Actually, without big ideas, life is kind of boring. So, learn how to spot them and invest to make them happen. Don’t compromise.

The power of fun: This is an idea that had all the ingredients not to work. We asked a lot from the user. Credit card, location, space in their phones, a drive. And we gave a Whopper in return (not even, since they paid 1 cent). But people loved it. And 1.5 million people went for it. Why? Why the hell did that happen? Well, ’cause it was fun. It was fun to do it. It was fun to share it. It was fun to talk about it. Never underestimate the power of fun. It can bend logic.

If it were easy, someone else would have done it: Yes, we had to geofence more than 20,000 restaurants (all BKs plus McD’s in the U.S.). Yes, the app had to work flawlessly (or as close to that as possible). It was a technical nightmare to make everything happen. But we never thought about giving up. It took a year to make this happen. No shortcuts. If it were easy, someone else would have done it already. So BIG THANK-YOU to FCB NY, who believed in us as a client. Big thank-you to our tech team, who worked incredibly hard to make this happen. And big thank-you to all of our other agency partners (especially the tech ones) who helped us make this huge.

Remember the long-term benefits of an idea: We now have the location and credit card info of most of our app users. We can do a much better job in terms of CRM. We can do things such as send push notifications when a BK app user is getting close to a McD’s (’cause we did all the heavy lifting as part of Whopper Detour). In fact, our assumption is that the 1.5M downloads of Whopper Detour alone will trigger around USD $15M in revenue during the first 12 months of the project. So, despite the fact that the promo lasted for just nine days, the long-term impact of the project is truly significant.

Whopper Detour is one of my favorite Burger King ideas ever. It took us about a year to make. The idea came to us from FCB New York, and evolved a lot over time (a characteristic we see in all of our best campaigns). It involved a large team to pull it off, including our technology team and key tech partners. We basically had to recode our newly updated mobile app with mobile order and payment to now also work well and consistently with geofencing. In fact, to make this idea work we had to geofence all of our restaurants in the United States (more than 7,000) and all of the McDonald’s restaurants (more than 14,000). Plus, make it reliable! Can you imagine the amount of time and pressure to make this happen? But it paid off. Big-time.

We are investing a lot to improve our guest services at Burger King and technology has a key role in this. After all, mobile has grown to be a vital player in the QSR space, poised to be a $38 billion industry by next year (Source: QSR Magazine, Sep 2017). But, mobile order and payment isn’t new to people, nor is geofencing. So, to get people to actually care about our BK app is a testament to the beauty of this campaign, which started with a very simple PR headline: “You will be able to order a Whopper for 1 penny at McDonald’s.” Wait, what? That’s kind of a mindf**k. A Whopper at McDonald’s? That’s the exact opposite of what most direct marketing campaigns aim to achieve (you are asking people to go to your competitor before coming to you!). That’s turning brand experience upside down. And that’s showing how technology plus creativity can open new doors for brands and businesses. And while it is admittedly a bit crazy, that tends to be an ingredient in all our best ideas.

The objective of this article is to share a bit of our journey making Whopper Detour happen. By doing so, we aim to showcase the power of teamwork and creativity to drive brand and business results.

THE EXTRA MILE

It was beginning of September, back in 2017. FCB NY and Waze (their partner) reached out to us to share an idea. The starting point/insight revolved around the fact that Burger King has significantly fewer restaurant locations than McDonald’s. And since, in the U.S., most of the revenue comes from drive-thru, it’s fair to say that, quite often, BK fans have to drive longer distances to get their flame-grilled Whopper sandwiches. So, the idea was to reward these folks who are going “the extra mile” to enjoy Burger King, literally earning a discount for passing McDonald’s on their way.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 1. A simple demonstration of how the idea could work.

The presentation was pretty complete, with an overview on how to expand on the idea at different touch points, ranging from social media to out-of-home. The idea was presented as an idea that would trigger headlines and conversations, both highly desirable outcomes in all of our successful Burger King campaigns.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 2. Examples of social media amplification, out-of-home and potential headlines.

At the time, we thought there was something really interesting around the idea. We never played with geo-location before and a partnership with Waze sounded like a cool thing to do. Also, despite the fact that drive-thru is indeed our most important channel, we haven’t really done any drive-thru ideas in the recent past.

With that said, when comparing the “voltage” of the idea with other ideas in our pipeline, we felt that there were other things that had the potential to drive stronger talkability and PR. So, we decided to provide feedback, which was pretty much like: “There is something here that we like. Let’s keep working on it.”

“LET’S KEEP WORKING ON IT”

I think that if I were a creative working at an agency, “let’s keep working on it” would be one of the phrases that would scare me the most. What does that mean? Does the client really like it? Or are they just killing us softly? I think that “let’s keep working on it” probably means the end. Well, not in this case.

One thing we’ve learned in the work we do at Burger King is that many times we hit the right territory, but the idea is not quite right yet. In fact, I can think of many territories that took us more than a year to connect to the right idea. And in some cases, even more than that (or never at all). We don’t have an issue shooting an idea dead if we don’t think it has legs. So, when we say “let’s keep working on it,” we mean it. But neither FCB NY nor Waze had worked with us before. And I am sure that there was uncertainty about a potential positive outcome coming out of this.

Believe it or not, FCB NY continued to work on it. The talented team lead by Ari Halper and Gabriel Schimitt kept thinking, playing and polishing the idea. I guess they believed in it so much that they glanced over the uncertainty and kept pushing. So, around mid-November (2-3 months after the first presentation), we got an email from Gabriel saying that “they changed something on the idea and now it was waaaaaaaay better” (that’s how Gabriel speaks when he believes in something). I had a meeting in NY during that week, so I decided to stop by at FCB NY and take a look at that “waaaaaaaay better” version of the idea.

So, the new version of the idea was called “The Secret Whopper.” The insight of the idea was pretty much the same. The first page of the presentation said:

“Burger King has significantly fewer stores than McDonald’s, so we’re not always the closest option. How do we turn fewer stores into an opportunity and reward drivers willing to go the extra mile for a better burger? By turning our competitor’s stores into ours.”

That was the genesis of “The Secret Whopper: A special Whopper available only at McDonald’s.” Wait. What? Yes, that’s what they proposed. And we loved it.

FCB NY also suggested a simple flow for the idea using our BK Mobile App.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 3. BK mobile app flow for “The Secret Whopper” idea.

The agency also presented a series of additional assets to help bring the idea to life.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 4. Example of a potential billboard execution for “The Secret Whopper” idea.

The idea clearly evolved a lot. And the agency managed to tap into something that was very important for the brand: The mobile app. Remember that originally this was an idea that would happen mostly on the Waze platform.

At Burger King, we are investing a lot behind technology to improve guest services. And the mobile app is a key pillar in our strategy. If you think about fast-food restaurants, most of them have tended to leverage the same technology, and layout, for decades. The drive-thru, for instance, is kind of the same as it has always been (always a bit of a struggle to get that order taken the right way). For years the category failed to evolve much with technology (especially the burger chains). But recently, we have seen an acceleration behind initiatives around self-ordering kiosks, mobile apps, etc. The importance of technology among all fast-food players increased in the recent past and that’s no different at BK.

Back in November 2017, our Burger King app was basically a coupon app. Oh, we also had a store locator (d’oh!). But we had ambitious plans. We were working to develop mobile order and payment. That was a big deal for Burger King. It is really hard to code everything and make sure the app is integrated with our different point-of-sales systems (believe me, that’s a nightmare!). We wanted the app to work with geo-location, which would allow for small variations in price and menu for different restaurants, among others. A really big deal for Burger King. Yes. For Burger King. ’Cause mobile order and payment is obviously not new. Even the guy who sells coffee next to my building in Miami has it. Kind of everyone had it. So, this was a big deal for us. Not such a big deal for the industry. That’s why the challenge was to come up with a big, creative idea to make people care/share and get earned media at the relaunch.

So, here was FCB NY, bringing an amazing idea to relaunch our mobile order and payment capabilities. We had only one piece of feedback: We didn’t think it should be a “Secret Whopper.” Instead, we recommended it be the regular Whopper. Why? Because our regular Whopper is our most iconic product and to sell that at McDonald’s would be the biggest WTF moment. No need for a special build.

We also thought that the headline “You will be able to order a Whopper for 1 penny at McDonald’s” would be a bigger mindf*ck and, thus, potentially get more earned media and talkability than if we were saying “Secret Whopper.” And that’s when the name of the idea changed to become “Whopper Detour.”

MAKING IT HAPPEN

I still remember when FCB NY sent us a “happy birthday, Whopper Detour” via email in September 2018. Yes, it took us a year to develop the idea. As I mentioned earlier, we had to recode our mobile app with order/payment, plus geofencing on a massive scale, and then ensure it all worked flawlessly in just one year. Most people would have given up. We didn’t. We kept saying to ourselves: “If it were easy, someone else would have done it already. It’s a good thing this is freaking hard.”

Close to launch, the team developed a really cool film where our actors went to real McDonald’s restaurants in NY and tried explain to McDonald’s crew members at the drive-thru that they were there to get a Whopper for 1 cent.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 5. Image presented as part of Jonathan Klein’s visual treatment.

The film was shot by the very talented Jonathan Klein. We fell in love with his treatment. He simply got the tone of the brand and understood all the nuances.

“It’s important to stress that we are not making fun of the McDonald’s employees at all. Our actors asking about their Whopper orders from the BK App are delusional. Delusional people are funny. Delusional people ordering a Whopper at McDonald’s, compounded by the confusion of the McDonald’s employees, are hysterical.”

Our legal team was an intrinsic part of the development of this idea. In fact, that’s always the case. And we found a way to film this without necessarily asking for permission from our main competitor. The film had to be developed in NY for legal reasons; we would need to blur the faces of McDonald’s crew members and alter their voices a bit so they were not recognizable. On top of using the hidden cameras in the cars, we also filmed wide shots with lenses that allowed us to capture footage from a distance. As in any production that tries to capture reality, it started out messy and then got better and better. That’s normal. And we were patient. In the end, we ended up with an amazing (and very funny) film.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 6. Our brave crew shooting in NY.

On top of the film we created for PR and social media purposes, we ran a series of mobile out-of-home units with the objective of providing photo opportunities for bystanders. The UGC pictures quickly spread online.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 7. Our mobile out-of-home units driving around the U.S.

Another one of our favorite pieces was the print execution “Billions Swerved.” We all found it too funny not to deploy it. So… we had to make it happen. This is the type of execution that, despite leveraging traditional media, ends up getting a boatload of traction in social.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 8. The print ad we ran to help trigger earned media and talkability.

On top of FCB NY (who helped us with the campaign and UX), we had a pretty complete tech stack to launch Whopper Detour:

Tillster: Worked with our tech team coding the BK app (incl. mobile order and payment).

mParticle: CDP used to orchestrate data between the BK app and other CRM partners.

Radar: Geofencing used for unlocking, allowing us to tag all McD’s in the USA.

Braze: CRM vendor used to send push, e-mail and in-app messages.

Branch: Linking platform used to make it easier to get to BK App.

Amplitude: Analytics tool used to calculate redemptions, measure behavior and target mgs.

THE RESULTS

The world ended up talking about this campaign. We reached 3.5 billion impressions (billion with a “B”) with an equivalent USD $40 million in earned media (Source: Cision and ABMC). All without a significant media investment. We only did some guerrilla marketing (out-of-home), a handful of print ads and invested a tiny bit in digital (to push the film). We didn’t have TV, radio, social media influencers or others. The investment was really minimal because we knew the idea would take off by itself.

Case in point: To kick things off, FCB wrote a single tweet, “brb going to McDonald’s” — which came out about an hour before the campaign went live. That tweet alone racked up 65k likes in a matter of hours and led to an 818% increase in Twitter mentions.

We got more than 1.5 million people to download the BK App in the U.S. during the promotion (a 37.5% increase in only nine days), and more than a half-million redemptions of our promo (more than 40x redemptions versus our previous historical record for a digital coupon promo). And it continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, because in the months that followed the promotion, we are now up by 4.5 million downloads. All figures are sourced from Internal BK Data.

This direct, e-commerce, PR, integrated campaign propelled our BK App to become the #1 app in the Apple Store and Google Play Store (starting from #686 in the Apple Store and #464 on Google Play – Source: App Annie; beating out the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube). The BK App remained #1 in Food & Drink (our category) for more than 10 days on both platforms.

This idea was indeed a game changer for Burger King. Despite the fact that the Whopper sandwiches were going for only 1 penny, the total sales value sold through the mobile app increased by 3x during the promotion. And even after the promotion, we continued to sell through our mobile app 2x what we used to sell before the promotion. Whopper Detour users alone will spend around $15 million more per year on the BK mobile app. Yes, Whopper Detour put our mobile app on the map, made people engage with it, and now they continue to use it. Source: BK Internal Data.

Some skeptical people tend to challenge some of these sales results, arguing that we were selling Whopper sandwiches for a penny. But I am not talking about units sold. I am talking about total sales value. Even though we sold some Whopper sandwiches for 1 cent, the engagement was so high that people ended up buying a lot more. That’s why the business results were so strong.

The reality is that we tried giving away products to people who used our mobile app before. So have Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and others. That’s the obvious thing to do when you want people to download your app. But have you ever heard about any of those promotions? No, right? You know why? ’Cause no one cares. To make people care you need a BIG IDEA. An idea that plays with people’s imagination, an idea that is fun and connects people to the brand. Nothing was as powerful as Whopper Detour. And that is the true value of a creative idea.

No alt text provided for this image

Image 9. Download the app and get free food (Wendy’s, McD, Chick-fil-A).

Think about that. We asked people to download the BK app, add their credit card info, enable geo-location, drive to a McDonald’s, order from there and drive back to a Burger King to pick up the order. And they did it. It’s the opposite of what any direct marketing campaign has ever done. It’s experiential upside down. It’s a promo that, in theory, has all the ingredients not to work. But it did.

Perhaps most important, this activation drove people to our restaurants. By inviting people to drive to our main competitor to get a crazy discount, we triggered the highest weekly traffic increase (traffic = number of people coming to our restaurants) since mid-2015 (Source: Internal BK Data). Can you believe that? We asked people to go to McDonald’s and we triggered the highest increase in visits to BK in the past 4.5 years (!!!). And there was no cannibalization of the Whopper in the restaurant, which shows that the people who came were actually new or lapsed customers. And they ended up buying more than just the Whopper for 1 penny.

The ROI for the campaign was 37:1. And we had people seeing Burger King as a modern, savvy, interesting and fun brand.

5 LEARNINGS FROM OUR JOURNEY

Let the idea grow: Whopper Detour was not born as Whopper Detour. Not even the name. The idea was different. But the DNA of Whopper Detour was there. Somewhere. The ability to spot that and nurture the idea was critical for this case. Actually, in most successful cases we’ve developed, that seems to happen. “When a lion is born, it’s very easy to kill it” — Kash Sree used to always say that to me. You need to trust uncertainty and invest in the idea to make it better and better. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes guts.

Big ideas matter: AI, AR, programmatic, machine learning, etc are all empty buzzwords if you don’t have a big idea. A big idea will eat big budgets, celebrity endorsements and, sometimes, even logic for breakfast. Without big ideas, our industry is boring. Actually, without big ideas, life is kind of boring. So, learn how to spot them and invest to make them happen. Don’t compromise.

The power of fun: This is an idea that had all the ingredients not to work. We asked a lot from the user. Credit card, location, space in their phones, a drive. And we gave a Whopper in return (not even, since they paid 1 cent). But people loved it. And 1.5 million people went for it. Why? Why the hell did that happen? Well, ’cause it was fun. It was fun to do it. It was fun to share it. It was fun to talk about it. Never underestimate the power of fun. It can bend logic.

If it were easy, someone else would have done it: Yes, we had to geofence more than 20,000 restaurants (all BKs plus McD’s in the U.S.). Yes, the app had to work flawlessly (or as close to that as possible). It was a technical nightmare to make everything happen. But we never thought about giving up. It took a year to make this happen. No shortcuts. If it were easy, someone else would have done it already. So BIG THANK-YOU to FCB NY, who believed in us as a client. Big thank-you to our tech team, who worked incredibly hard to make this happen. And big thank-you to all of our other agency partners (especially the tech ones) who helped us make this huge.

Remember the long-term benefits of an idea: We now have the location and credit card info of most of our app users. We can do a much better job in terms of CRM. We can do things such as send push notifications when a BK app user is getting close to a McD’s (’cause we did all the heavy lifting as part of Whopper Detour). In fact, our assumption is that the 1.5M downloads of Whopper Detour alone will trigger around USD $15M in revenue during the first 12 months of the project. So, despite the fact that the promo lasted for just nine days, the long-term impact of the project is truly significant.

 

Original Sourcehttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-detour-really-going-fernando-machado/

 

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Digital

Weekly Roundup featuring Amazon, Payless, Facebook and more…

Happy Friday, readers! Before we head into the long weekend, let’s take a look back at the top stories from this week in retail, healthcare, marketing and digital enterprise/security. Retail Payless As the retailer enters its second bankruptcy in less than 2 years, we won’t be seeing much more of Payless. All 2300 locations have […]

Healthcare

Paging Dr. AI: AI Computers Showing Promise in Assisting Diagnoses, Study Reveals

From diagnosis and pathology, healthcare’s reliance on data accuracy and utilization makes it one of the most exciting frontiers of artificial intelligence in clinical diagnoses.

Podcast

New Podcast Episode Released Featuring Craig Richardville, SVP & CIO, SCL Health

Craig Richardville is on the podcast this week after Keynoting our past Healthcare Providers Transformation Assembly. Craig is the Former CIO of Atrium Health and current SVP & CIO of SCL Health. He currently sits on The Millennium Alliance 2019 Advisory Board. Check out the episode and subscribe here >>

Financial Services

Wells Fargo Experienced An Outage Last Week: Here’s What It Taught Us

If you are a Wells Fargo customer, you were most likely inconvenienced by a recent outage that caused a shortage affecting critical systems throughout the bank’s major locations. This outage abrupted on Thursday, February 7th, and carried on into the weekend, starting with an automatic power shutdown at a major data-center facility of the bank. […]

Digital

Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King To Keynote Upcoming Digital Retail Transformation Assembly

The Millennium Alliance is excited to announce Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Burger King will be the Keynote Speaker at The Digital Retail Transformation Assembly taking place at the Fairmont Dallas from August 26-27, 2019. About Fernando Machado: Fernando is a global marketer with a passion for growing brands and businesses. With more than 120 Lions in […]

Digital , Marketing

Maggie Chan Jones, Founder & CEO of Tenshey, Inc. and Former Global CMO of SAP, to Keynote Upcoming CMO Assembly

The Millennium Alliance is excited to announce Maggie Chan Jones, Founder & CEO of Tenshey, Inc. and Former Global CMO of SAP as our Keynote Speaker at The Transformational CMO Assembly taking place at The Fairmont Hotel Dallas, TX from April 17-18, 2019. About Maggie Chan Jones: Maggie Chan Jones is an award-winning CMO and the […]

Retail

The Rise Of E-Commerce Has Created The Need For Experimental Retail

Experimental retail is emerging in the retail sector as e-commerce sites like Amazon rise, creating a new kind of customer who is expecting more.

Marketing

How Does Brand Packaging Influence Consumer Behavior?

Brands can reach a targeted audience through a variety of different ways, but the unique packaging is one way that effectively targets consumers

New Podcast Episode Released Featuring Harvard Business School

Mahek Shah, MD, Project Director and Senior Research of Harvard Business School, is featured on our podcast this week! Dr. Shah leads Harvard Business School’s Value Measurement for Health Care projects, implementing time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) globally to understand real and actual costs of care delivery. Shah teaches and advises executives at large health systems, […]

Security

Are Passwords a Thing of the Past?

Digital Diary takes a look into the future of passwords, and systems that we are going to see in action going forward. With the large amount of data breaches and password theft, organizations are changing their security for higher level protection.

Digital

A.I. And Blockchain Are A Perfect Match When Used Together

A.I. and blockchain are two disruptive trends making a huge impact on many leading industries. When used together, more limits can be reached.

Interview , News

2019 Advisory Board Annual Meeting Highlights

The Millennium Alliance Advisory Board is a group of world-renowned industry leaders and visionaries, who are tasked with providing invaluable input and expertise. The Board ensures that we continue to deliver the highest level of business transformation to our members. To officially launch 2019, we hosted our inaugural Advisory Board Annual Meeting at our headquarters […]

News

Rhonda Vetere, CIO & Global Technology Executive to Keynote Upcoming Digital Enterprise Transformation East

The Millennium Alliance is excited to announce Rhonda Vetere, CIO, Global Technology Executive and Author, Grit & Grind, will be the Keynote Speaker at The Digital Enterprise Transformation East Assembly taking place at The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, NC from March 19-20, 2019. About Rhonda Vetere: Rhonda Vetere is a seasoned C-Suite technology executive who has worked […]

News

Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding

We are thrilled for our Advisory Board Member Cynthia Johnson and the release of her new (and first!) book with Penguin Random House, Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding, available everywhere on February 5th. Check out the exclusive sneak peak of what you can expect from Platform and why mastering the art of your personal brand is vital in today’s digital age, all in this article!

News

Phil Fasano, CEO of Bay Advisors and Former Global CIO To Keynote Upcoming Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly

The Millennium Alliance is excited to announce Phil Fasano, CEO of Bay Advisors and Former Global CIO will be our Keynote Speaker at The Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly taking place at The Mandarin Oriental in Miami, FL from June 25-26, 2019. About Phil Fasano: Philip Fasano is a visionary thought leader, award-winning corporate executive and Fortune 500 […]

Security

34 Tech Companies Have Come Together To Stand Behind Cybersecurity

Today, 34 large tech enterprises have come together in order to sign an accord that pushes forward positive incentives toward protecting customers against cybersecurity.

Marketing

The Challenge For Content Creators Today

Producing top quality content at a consumers’ pace is an incredible challenge for today’s creative teams and marketers – However, if you feel this way, you are not alone.

Digital

Starting Your Digital Transformation? Think About This First

Digital transformation is a big deal for businesses. It not only creates change within infrastructures but it enables enterprises to move forward when it comes to technology advancements.

Retail

It’s Out Of This World! Samsung and NASA Partner On Immersive Moon Experience

Digital Diary reports on the up-and-coming immersive virtual reality experience presented by the partnership between Samsung and NASA, which will let you take a mission to the moon starting this July in New York.

Financial Services

Looking Backward To Move Forward: Payments In 2019

According to 451Research, purchases made online are increasing more than six times as fast as those made in-store.

Marketing , Retail

Super Bowl 2019: What To Expect For Marketing

The two participating teams for the Super Bowl 2019 have recently been confirmed: New England Patriots will take on the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3rd. Besides the parties and great company to look forward to, consumers also are preparing for the highly anticipated Super Bowl commercials making their debut on this […]

Digital , Healthcare

Emme Deland, SVP and Chief Strategy Officer of New York-Presbyterian Hospital on this weeks podcast

We have another great podcast episode this week for our listeners. Emme Deland joins Millennium Live to chat about digital technology and its impact in healthcare. Emme Deland is the SVP and Chief Strategy Officer of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Stay up to date with weekly episodes on Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast. Listen and […]

Healthcare

How Chatbots Are Changing Communication In Healthcare

Chatbots are an artificial intelligence tool that has pushed digital health initiatives in the healthcare industry by changing the way professionals in the sector communicate with patients and increase patient engagement.

Security

Michael Coates, Co-Founder & CEO of Altitude Networks and Former CISO of Twitter, to Keynote Upcoming CISO Assembly

This April, Former CISO of Twitter and Co-Founder/CEO of Altitude Networks, will address our C-Suite members at The Transformational CISO Assembly taking place at The Hutton Hotel in Nashville, TN. About Michael Coates: Michael was formerly the Chief Information Security Officer at Twitter. In this role he led the security program for Twitter across all […]

Marketing

Check out our latest podcast episode!

This week, we released another podcast episode on Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast featuring Cynthia Johnson, personal branding expert and Co-Founder/CEO of Bell + Ivy. Check it out! You won’t regret it. Listen and Subscribe here >>

Digital , Marketing

Steve Robinson, Former CMO of Chick-Fil-A, to Keynote Upcoming Marketing Assembly

In just a few weeks, Steve Robinson will take the stage as Keynote Speaker for our Digital Marketing and Digital Retail Transformation Assembly. As former EVP and CMO of Chick-Fil-A, Steve managed brand development innovation, hospitality strategies, menu innovation and advertising. He will be joining us on February 4-5, 2019 as Gala Dinner Keynote Speaker […]

Interview , Security

Upcoming Keynote Speaker Mike Howard, Retired Chief Security Officer, Shares His Expertise on the Digital Age of Security

We had the chance to sit down with Retired Chief Security Officer of Microsoft, Mike Howard, before he takes the stage as our Keynote Speaker at the Transformational CISO and Digital Enterprise Assembly. In this interview, Mike gives his insights on the successful CSO, defending physical security worldwide, measuring risk and reward, and much more.  Security […]

Digital

Is 2019 Finally The Year Of Artificial Intelligence?

If we know one thing for sure, it is that artificial intelligence has made quite an appearance in 2018. We wrote a ton of blogs on the topic and even included it in our content agenda for many assemblies throughout the year. Digital Diary is here to let you in on a secret: artificial intelligence […]

Financial Services

The FinTech Market Affected by the Government Shutdown

Federal government’s influence more impactful and expansive than expected, especially for the financial sector.

Digital

Subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes

Friday is recording day at The Millennium Alliance! We have some great episodes in store for you, so be sure to subscribe to Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast on iTunes. Our next round of episodes will feature Executives from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Tracker Group, Bell + Ivy, Harvard Business School, and more…  Subscribe here >>

Marketing

2019 State of the CMO: Cut the Buzz, There is Only One Priority

conDati applys machine learning and data science techniques to developing solutions that transform massive volumes of customer, event, and transaction data into accessible insights and usable information. In their latest article “2019 State of the CMO: Cut the Buzz, There is Only One Priority”, conDati describes how the world of the CMO has been digitally disrupted, and how their priorities have changed.

Retail

What’s in Store for Retail this Year?

As we enter into the new year, retailers will need to think creatively to attract the ever changing customer. With new technologies approaching us every day, the ability to personalize the shopping experience as well as the convenience of being able to learn more about a product and purchase at any moment, what more are […]

Marketing

2019 Is Bringing In New Trends For Marketers

A new year means new beginnings and a fresh start for your business. It is a chance to transform start new projects and make a probably much needed to revamp and change to business operations. The best way to do this is to be up to date with all the trends that are predicted to […]

Digital

Let’s Be Brief: The 2019 Trends Executives Need to Consider

With technology being at the center of every organization, it is important to note the trends that are poised to reshape business this year.

Digital

Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast is now available on iTunes!

For those who missed it, The Millennium Alliance recently launched another outlet where our members can tune in to hear tips and insights from our top C-Suite Executives, Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast. You can now access our podcast on iTunes to make listening easy and on-the-go! Subscribe to our channel and stay up […]

Digital , Healthcare , Interview , Marketing , News , Retail , Security

Predictions 2019: The Year Transformation Goes Pragmatic

We sat down with Forrester to discuss the transformational shifts that members of The Millennium Alliance will be focusing on for the new year. Keep reading to access Forrester’s Predictions Guide, in our latest post.

Retail

These Are The Moments That Shaped Retail In 2018

2018 has been an exciting year for the retail industry. Join us as we take a look back at the moments that shaped the sector.

Security

The State of Cybersecurity in the C-Suite

Cybersecurity in the C-Suite: What you need to know and what questions you should be asking.

Digital

Millennials May Have “Killed” Canned Tuna, But They Have Not Killed Digital Transformation

Believe it or not, millennials are the key to implementing successful digital transformation.

Digital

Top AI Trends You Need to Look Out For in 2019

You can expect AI Tech like Siri and Alexa are going to become more useful and a bigger part of our lives in the upcoming year.

Digital , Marketing , Podcast

Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast releases new episode

Just released – a new podcast episode featuring Millennium Alliance solution provider, Contentstack. Contentstack is the hub powering omnichannel content, digital experiences and personalized customer journeys. It is the industry leader in the headless content management system (CMS) category. VP of Sales, Gordana Vuckovic tells us about content publishing, personalization engines and all the options […]

Digital , Marketing

Lost in a Universe of Markets: Toward a Theory of Market Scoping for Early Stage Technologies

Our 2018 assemblies may have come to an end, but we are already gearing up for the start of 2019! Our first assembly of the year will be The Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly featuring C-Suite marketing executives from around the U.S. With marketing in mind, we are excited to share with our members and readers, […]

Healthcare , Marketing

Meet Jason Pierret, The Healthcare Marketing Strategist You’ve Been Looking For

This past summer, Digital Diary sat down with Jason Pierret, veteran Healthcare Strategist and Digital Leader in creating and managing innovative strategies that build credibility for companies and organizations in the Healthcare industry.

News

The Millennium Alliance’s 2018 Assembly Season Comes to a Close

The 2018 assembly season has come to an end for The Millennium Alliance, but 2019 brings a bigger and brighter future as we acknowledge the successes of this year.

Retail

Is Dropshipping Right for Your Business?

Dropshipping is a business model that allows retailers to act as a middleman while selling a product. Instead of actually handling the inventory that is sold, the retailer instead passes orders onto a dropshipping company for them to complete the task of picking, packing and fulfilling the order. Essentially, this business tactic creates a relationship between […]

Marketing

Brands To Watch In 2019

The top Brands to Watch in 2019, one brand for each letter of the alphabet.

Digital , Marketing

New Podcast Episode: Damian Slattery of Fast Company

Millennium Live, A Digital Diary Podcast had the chance to sit down with Fast Company’s VP of Marketing, Damian Slattery. If you’re interested in hearing some top tips for marketers as well as the ins and outs of Slattery’s expansive career, this is the episode for you. Listen to the full episode here and be sure […]

Retail

“Retailers need to be obsessed with closing customer experience gaps” Skava CEO, Arish Ali, Shares His Perspective On Retail

With our upcoming Digital Retail and Marketing Transformation Assemblies in February 2019 approaching, Skava’s CEO, Arish Ali, shared his insights into the changing retail industry and how executives can stay one step ahead of digital innovation going into 2019.

Digital

Advanced Analytics Is Required To Win, Serve, And Retain Healthcare Customers

In Forrester’s new report, they explore the growing data assets of healthcare organizations (HCOs), and how they turn them into customer-level insights.

Marketing

New Podcast Episode Featuring Jim Stengel

We’ve released another great Digital Diary podcast episode for you today featuring marketing expert, Jim Stengel. Listen here. Millennium Live, a Digital Diary podcast, is the only podcast dedicated to bringing the latest Digital Business Transformation content to C-Suite Executives from North America’s most progressive industries, available exclusively on Soundcloud. Listen and Subscribe today.  

Digital

It’s On: Disney Looks to Embrace Technology to Take On Netflix

Disney CEO Robert Iger has proven in the past that he can build a content empire, but the use of technology in Disney’s successful track record lacks.

Digital

The Questions That Begin Your Digital Transformation Journey

Digital transformation: can’t live with it- well, actually in today’ world, you have to live with it. So let’s ignore that pun for now. As a business professional, digital transformation is vital to staying relevant, up to date and ahead of the competition. It also provides you tools to connect yourself to an audience in […]

Healthcare , Interview

The Millennium Alliance Releases New Podcast Episode featuring BCBS Louisiana and Columbia University

We’ve released another episode of Millennium Live: A Digital Diary Podcast. This week, we’re tuning in with Vindell Washington, Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana and Bunny Ellerin, Columbia University’s Director for the Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Management Program. The Podcast is now available exclusively on Soundcloud. We’ll be releasing new podcast episodes every Tuesday […]

Marketing

Is Social Media the New Television?

Is Social Media the new television? Digital Diary dives into the socially-based marketing phenomenon that has catapulted businesses into the new era of digital transformation.

Digital , Retail

How Are Retailers Preparing For Black Friday?

Thanksgiving is in a few days, which means more than turkey and mashed potatoes. It also means that another special holiday follows directly after. This holiday matters the most to retailers and shoppers alike. This holiday causes mayhem in stores, influences retailers to target marketing plans towards it, change store hours, and the list goes […]

Digital

Digital Education Going One Step Further

Digital Diary takes a look into the new idea from Digital Jersey – Digital Academy Enterprise. A new schooling system where youth will gain skills in all things technology in order to be successful in our digital age.

Healthcare

Do We Understand Lean Deployment in Healthcare?

Posted on behalf of Researcher and Author, Aravind Chandrasekaran, PhD. Do we understand lean deployment in healthcare? Deploying operational excellence in health care minimizes unnecessary variation and frees up time to cater to a highly variable population in terms of illness, economic background, language and more.

Digital , Security

The Millennium Alliance announces Mike Howard as Keynote Speaker at February Transformational CISO Assembly in Las Vegas

The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to announce Mike Howard, Retired Chief Security Officer of Microsoft as Keynote Speaker at the Transformational CISO West Coast Assembly this February 5-6th in Las Vegas, Nevada. During his 16 years as Former Chief Security Officer of Microsoft Corporation, Mike Howard held global responsibility for vital security functions including operations, […]

Digital , Marketing

Constant Craving: Marketing to Someone Who is Constantly Online

Marketing to someone who is constantly online is a challenge for most marketers in the modern space. However, with the sheer amount of information we consume every single day, you have to find ways to stand out above the noise. Digital Diary reports on the new demands of the new generations in its latest post.

Digital

Interview with Connie Weaver, Co-Founder and CEO of The Tracker Group

The Millennium Alliance was honored to have Co-Founder & CEO at The Tracker Group, Connie Weaver join our recent Transformational CMO Assembly in Denver last month. I had a chance to sit down with Connie at the event and discuss her distinguished career in Marketing, her thoughts on what it takes to be a marketing […]

Digital , Security

How to Combat the Long Lives of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities? Nir Gaist, CTO of Nyotron Has The Answers

Our Transformational CISO Assembly is tomorrow! In the run up to the event, Nir Gaist, Founder and CTO of Nyotron gave Digital Diary an exclusive look into “zero-day vulnerabilities.” Take a look below! We’ve all heard stories about advanced nation-states leveraging zero days to exploit a previously unknown security vulnerability. Perhaps the most infamous example is […]

Digital , Healthcare

The Millennium Alliance announces Skip Fleshman as Keynote Speaker at December Digital Healthcare Transformation Assembly in San Diego

The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to announce Skip Fleshman, Managing Partner at Asset Management Ventures, as Keynote Speaker at the Digital Healthcare Transformation Assembly this December 5-6th in San Diego, CA. Focusing on investing in digital health, therapeutics, mobile and data analytics companies, AMV is a Palo Alto based, early-stage venture capital firm that was […]

Financial Services , Marketing

How Finance Can Transform Marketing

The marketing and financial services industries are certainly making strides in digital transformation, but the road ahead remains long, especially when the two powerful sectors look to work together to transformation business strategy.

Healthcare

America’s Best Hospitals Have These Positive Qualities In Common

HealthGrades has released a list of hospitals that have proven to be the top in the country. Among these organizations, they have a few common positive qualities in common.

Security

Fractal Industries Offers an In-Depth Look into Leveraging Decision Platforms for Meaningful Analytics in Latest Whitepaper

In their newest whitepaper, Fractal identifies how the world is moving forward at lightning speed, and why businesses should be up to speed on
interconnected devices and systems that are powering the modern workspace.

Healthcare

Why 2018 Has Been the Year of the Voice in Healthcare

New ways of communication have been making their way into healthcare. The high interest and popularity of voice assistant’s like Alexa has given healthcare a new light, and that is why 2018 has been the year of the voice in the ever-growing sector.

Financial Services

Let’s Think: Why Would an Innovative Company Want to Work with a Bank?

Innovation sounds like such a good thing. Until you are in front of it. Innovation in Financial Services is has been talked about for some time, but the question remains, how can a bank get a young and innovative brand to work with them?

Security

Can Artificial Intelligence Overcome the Hype to Help Cybersecurity?

That promising view of what AI can deliver is not entirely wrong. Businesses to governments are starting to face up to the vulnerabilities of everything being online. Sophisticated and disruptive cyber attacks are continuing to increase in complexity and scale across multiple industries. Areas of critical infrastructure from energy to critical manufacturing have vulnerabilities that […]

Retail

How Technology Makes Shopping Easier

Let’s face it. We are busy people, carrying out busy lives and packed schedules that allow very few hours to enjoy the pleasure of leisure shopping. If you are anything like me, shopping is only made possible on the weekends (if I am lucky). If we were living in any other year besides 2018, this […]

Digital , Marketing

The State of Digital Content in 2018: Author Omar Akhtar, Industry Analyst at Altimeter Gives Insight into New Report

Content-strategies are shifting to product-focused information. Omar Akhtar, Industry Analyst at Altimeter sat down with Digital Diary to discuss his most recent report to date, The 2018 State of Digital Content.

Digital , Interview

Interview with Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code

Last month, The Millennium Alliance hosted the Digital Enterprise West Coast Assembly in San Francisco, CA. Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code, attended the Assembly and moderated an incredible discussion on Women in Technology. The global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers, Women Who Code has grown to serve more […]

The Millennium Alliance Is Embracing the “Good” in Goodbye

The Millennium Alliance is waving goodbye to our Vice President of Marketing, Freya Smale, and welcoming a new member to our team. Seasoned marketing vet, Greg Dicso will take on her role as our new VP of Marketing. As we send Freya off to a new chapter in her life back to her hometown in […]

Digital , Interview

Digital Diary: The No.1 Online Resource for C-Suite Digital Transformers Launches Podcast

NEW YORK, November 1, 2018 – The Millennium Alliance announces the launch of Millennium Live, a Digital Diary podcast, the only podcast dedicated to bringing the latest Digital Business Transformation content to C-Suite Executives from North America’s most progressive industries. The Podcast is now available exclusively on Soundcloud. Listen and Subscribe today >> The first three episodes are already available […]

Digital

Gartner Released New Technology Predictions For 2019: Does This Scare Executives?

It’s going to take a little bit more than ghosts and goblins to scare executives. However, if you plug in technology moving at a rapid speed, with their business trying to catch up, you may be onto something. Take the latest report released by Gartner revealing the most anticipated technology trends of 2019. Now that […]

Digital , Healthcare , Interview

Interview with Craig Richardville

The Millennium Alliance was honored to have Former CIO of Atrium Health, Craig Richardville, address attendees as our Keynote Speaker at The Healthcare Providers Transformation Assembly. We had a chance to sit down with Craig post-event and hear some more details about his role at Atrium, his thoughts on where the industry is heading, and […]

News

The Millennium Alliance Named One of the 43 Fastest Growing Companies in 2018 by the University of Delaware

We are excited to announce that The Millennium Alliance has been named named as one of the 43 Fastest Growing Companies by the Blue Hen 17&43 Awards 2018 hosted by the University of Delaware.

Marketing

Marketing And HR: The Partnership That Powers Hootsuite

Advisory Board member Denise Lee Yohn explores the relationship with Marketing and HR, and highlights why Hootsuite has become a change agent in the industry in her recent article on Forbes.

Digital , Financial Services , Healthcare , Marketing , Retail , Security

Weekly Roundup in Healthcare, Retail, Marketing, Security/Enterprise and more!

The day we’ve all been waiting for…Friday! TGIF readers. We’ve made it to the weekend. But before we cozy up for the next few days, let’s take a look at the top stories from this week in healthcare, marketing, retail and digital enterprise. Marketing Tazo The tea brand will launch a campaign called, “Brew the […]

Digital , Marketing

“Hey, Siri”- How is Voice Technology Impacting the Future of Search?

In today’s new digital era, marketing has become so competitive it is important to always stay ahead of new trends and technologies that are emerging. The Digital Diary reports on how voice searches are the newest trend that is likely to become a staple of in not only the marketing industry but in all industries.

Healthcare

A New Vision for Population Health Management

The below editorial is posted on behalf of Merrill Goozner, Editor Emeritus, Modern Healthcare. Mr. Goozner will be joining The Millennium Alliance Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly in December moderating key sessions in our program. Healthcare leaders need to expand their vision of what it means to pursue population health management to raise quality, lower costs, and […]

Digital

Advisory Board Member Denise Yohn Explores Brand + Culture In New Series

This post was originally published by Denise Yohn, Brand expert, author & Millennium Alliance Advisory Board member on LinkedIn. Welcome to the Brand+Culture Series! As I explained last week, I am participating in a pilot for a new offering from LinkedIn, “LinkedIn Series,” and will be posting bi-weekly on topics related to brand-culture fusion—the integration […]

Retail

‘Tis the Season… to Shop! Top Retail Trends You Should be Watching this Holiday Season

The entire retail industry has been gearing up for the biggest, and most wonderful, time of the year: the holiday season. It is critical for brands and retailers to take advantage of this surge in shopping to exceed their sales goals at the end of the year.

Digital

Weekly Roundup in Healthcare, Retail, Marketing and Security.

TGIF Digital Diary readers! We’ve had quite a week in Denver for our Healthcare Providers Transformation Assembly. Executives got to attend intimate workshop sessions, roundtable discussions and Keynote panels. As crazy as it sounds, we head BACK to Denver on Monday for a change of industry – our Transformational CMO Assembly! We are big fans […]

Healthcare

The Impact of the CVS-Aetna Merger and What it Means for the Future of Healthcare

Last week, CVS Health and Aetna received approval from the Department of Justice for a $69 billion merger that will change the face of healthcare in the United States. The merger comes at a time where costs continue to rise with several organizations fighting back against those rising costs. Members of our Advisory Board features in our latest blog post to focus on why the merger came into play, and how healthcare will change when the merger comes into effect in the future.

Digital , Marketing

Power to the People! Gaining Competitive Advantage through AI-Powered Marketing

The buzz of AI-powered marketing is had to ignore: It is the trend that is capturing the interest of all industries, especially in marketing. Read our latest post to learn what AI-powered marketing can do for your business this year.

Marketing

Do You Know The News Rules of Influencer Marketing?

Happy Hump Day! The impact of the ever-growing influence of influencer marketing this year – pun intended – is substantial and cannot be ignored. Read our latest blog post to catch up on the new rules to learn how to optimize the influencer in your business.

Financial Services

How Has The “Sharing Economy” Changed Financial Services?

The sharing economy has already revolutionized industries by decentralizing asset ownership and using information technology to match providers and users.

Healthcare

Bringing Patient-Centered Design to Healthcare

TEDx talk presented by Harvard Business School Senior Researcher, Mahek Shah, M.D. Dr. Shah will be attending The Millennium Alliance Healthcare Providers Transformation Assembly leading key sessions in the program. Design Matters Most in Healthcare. In the consumer-driven digital world we now live in, reacting to consumer needs is now an imperative for businesses across every […]

News

Announcing the October Edition of the Digital Diary Magazine

The only magazine devoted to delivering information to C-Suite Digital Transformers is back. The 2nd edition of the Digital Diary Magazine is finally here!

Digital

Weekly Roundup including Google, Humana, WeWork, Mattress Firm and Facebook

Happy Friday Digital Diary readers! Another weekend coming our way… The team at Millennium Alliance is gearing up for not one, but TWO assemblies happening within the next two weeks. We’ll be in Denver, CO for our Healthcare Providers Transformation Assembly followed by our Transformational CMO Assembly. If you’re reading this and joining us next […]

Digital

The New Dynamics of Brand Creation: Digital Content Has Changed Everything

Digital Diary shares current thought leader and EVP of Industry Initiatives at IAB Anna Badger’s recent article from Variety on how digital content has revamped the industry.

Digital

Can Innovation Be Just Too Darn Fast?

President of NostaLab, John Nosta explains why behind innovation lurks hypermetathesiophobia.

Digital , Marketing

Why Transparency Matters More Than Ever

Transparency is much more than a buzzword. The topic of transparency carries significant weight in today’s competitive business environment because everyone from executives to employees, to customers, is talking about transparency. The topic of transparency has been a running theme in the marketing world for years now, but now new reports emphasize how many marketers […]

The Millennium Alliance Celebrates The New Roles of Benjamin Kirshner & Amanda Formicola

In the past few months, we have seen some great employees recieve promotions to higher positions. We are so happy to dedicate the following blog to two individuals who have truly stood out in our culture. Thanks, Ben, and Amanda for answering some questions for Digital Diary! Amanda Formicola – Delegate Account Manager Congrats on […]

Marketing , Retail

6 Ways To Build A Customer-Centric Culture

Article previously posted Harvard Business Review. Companies have been trying to adopt customer centricity for nearly 20 years now. But the CMO Council reports that “only 14 percent of marketers say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11 percent believe their customers would agree with that characterization.” Why do so many companies […]

Healthcare

What Patients Really Want And Why Healthcare Companies Should Care

Happy Friday to our Millennium Alliance Community! Below you will find an article that was released just this week from brand leadership expert and Millennium Alliance Advisory Board Member, Denise Lee Yohn. Denise is the author of the bestselling book, What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest and […]

Interview , Security

“It is crucial for the company to understand their role and ownership of security.” Interview with Michael Coates, Former CISO at Twitter

Michael Coates, CEO and Co-Founder of Altitude Networks sat down with Digital Diary to discuss implications with the cyberspace and inevitable security attacks, as well as giving insight into his time as CISO at Twitter.

Digital

Reimagining Your Tech Workforce In The AI Age

Have you heard? Artificial intelligence is significantly changing organizations. This has been repeated many times before, as you may be aware. However, IT leaders must act now to ensure their teams can handle this digital transformation since AI can be an intimidating shake-up. There is no denying the disruption that technologies like cloud and mobile have […]

Financial Services

Blockchain Goes Off Budget: Financial Services Increases Blockchain Spending

Financial services are increasing its spending on blockchain technology this year in comparison with previous years, demonstrating that the finance sector is increasingly becoming more serious over the matter.

Retail

What Are The Most Popular Items Consumers Shop For Online?

As a retailer, understanding what your consumer is shopping for online can position you to focus on the most important items as major selling points for your business.

Marketing

Advertising Week 2018 Is Here – Here Is What To Expect

If you are walking the streets of NYC, more specifically near AMC Loews Lincoln Square, and you notice an abundance professionals around, don’t be alarmed. It’s officially Advertising Week in NYC. In case you are not familiar with Ad Week, fear not. I am here to provide you with some of the trends that will […]

Security

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Digital Diary takes a look into the biggest skills gap in today’s world – cybersecurity. With increased data breaches and risks all around, what should companies do in order to gain knowledgeable and trained employees?

Security

The Future Of Business Lies Within The Role Of The CIO

The CIO is adapting with digital transformation, as technology takes over the workplace and changes the way businesses carry out everyday functions. As the roles of business professionals change, the role of the CIO is the future.

Marketing

Rebranding Your Brand? Remember These Key Factors

Rebranding your business can be a tricky task, but if you keep your team and clients in mind, it can be done in a way that makes your company stronger.

Interview , Marketing

“Get out of your chair, put away the report, and live the world a bit.” Interview With Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP & Principal Analyst At Forrester

Transformational CMO is 3 weeks away! Leading up to the highly anticipated assembly in Denver, Digital Diary had the opportunity to interview Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester. Check it out!

Digital , Healthcare , Marketing , Retail , Security

Weekly Roundup featuring Kohls, Amazon, Slack, Aetna and more…

Happy Friday to all! Believe it or not, we are approaching the last weekend in September. Time sure if flying… We’ve been working hard at The Millennium Alliance for our Digital Enterprise West Coast Assembly happening next week. But before we head to San Francisco for the program, we’re taking a look at the top […]

Retail

Are Subscription Services The New Face Of Retail?

Subscription businesses are rapidly growing in the retail industry, as they target the growing and evolving customer base in the market.

Marketing

Making ROPO An Essential Part of Your Marketing Strategy

The phrase, ‘Research Online, Purchase Offline’ (also referred to as ROPO) is becoming essential for brick and mortar stores in boosting frequency, increasing the size of your shopping cart and generating new revenue. It’s about using all that the digital world has to offer and creating an experience for consumers. About 85% of consumers use […]

Interview , Marketing

David Reibstein Interview

Last month, The Millennium Alliance headed to Dallas, TX for The Digital Marketing & Digital Retail Transformation Assembly. I had the chance to sit down with David Reibstein, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School and host of the SiriusXM radio show, Measured Thoughts. We talked all things marketing – his research in metrics and ROI, […]

Marketing

It’s True: Loyalty Can Survive in a Gen Z World

Digital Diary reports on the increasing influence of Generation Z across all industries, especially marketing. It is time for marketers to change their strategies in order to confront and meet the changing demands of this new generation.

Marketing

Culture Building That Drives Performance

The following article is posted on behalf of Denise Lee Yohn, Brand Leadership Expert, Speaker, Author and Millennium Alliance Advisory Board member. Check out her most recent book, FUSION: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies.  Gallup’s Approach to Culture: Building a Culture That Drives Performance resonates with me so much, since I regularly speak […]

Interview , Marketing

“It is more risky to be afraid of change than it is to embrace change.” Keynote Speaker Wes Nichols Discusses Marketing Transformation in Exclusive Interview

Digital Diary had the opportunity to sit down with Wes Nichols, Board Partner at Upfront Ventures and the upcoming keynote speaker at the Transformational CMO Assembly in Denver. Check it out!

Healthcare

The Facebook Future of Healthcare

Digital Diary takes a look into Facebook’s potential plans to focus in on user health data to improve medical care. The company is aiming to work with hospitals and other health organizations to access patient data and link it with anonymous Facebook accounts. This could mean increased patient care in the future.

Security

Are Executives “Sleeping” on Cybersecurity? Experts Say Yes.

All companies connected to the internet are vulnerable to cyber attacks, with the potential losses significant. Nowadays, liability for data breaches that affect customers leads directly to the leadership of the C-Level suite. Now more than ever, executives need to personally know how strong their company’s cyber defenses are, as well as the expected responses […]

Digital , News

The No.1 Online Resource for C-Suite Digital Transformers Gets A Redesign

The Millennium Alliance announces the redesign and relaunch of Digital Diary, the only blog dedicated to bringing the latest Digital Business Transformation content to C-Suite Executives from North America’s most progressive industries. The Digital Diary started out as a blog and grew to a bi-weekly newsletter, digital magazine, video series, podcast, and now its own domain.

Security

How Important Is It For CIO’s To Be Good Leaders?

CIO’s are the new leaders of the world, as we continue to adapt and head towards digital transformation in enterprises and beyond. CIOs must be equipped to wear different hats, leadership being one of them.

Digital , Marketing , Retail

Video Interview with Jim Stengel

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jim Stengel at our Digital Retail Transformation Assembly in Dallas, Texas. C-Suite Executives from top brands came together and engaged in workshops and panel discussions throughout the day. Attendees ended Day 1 on a high at our Gala Dinner where Mr. Stengel presented his Keynote […]

Marketing

Rethinking Your Brand In The Era Of Voice

Hey Alexa, what’s the best voice strategy for brands in the digital age? Read our new article on keeping your brand relevant in a voice-dominated world.

Weekly Roundup featuring Amazon, Office Depot, J. Crew, 23andMe and more…

Happy Friday, Digital Diary readers! Just yesterday we had our CMO Day West Coast Assembly in downtown San Francisco. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in some great workshop sessions and panel discussions throughout the day. Stay tuned for a recap post on the assembly! In the meantime, let’s take a look at the top […]

Digital , News

451 Research Survey Uncovers the Positive Benefits of AI and Machine Learning

Congratulations to Millennium Alliance partner 451 Research who today made a very exciting announcement. Read the full press release below. New York, NY, September 13, 2018 – 451 Research announced its Voice of the Enterprise (VoTE): AI & Machine Learning – Adoption, Drivers and Stakeholders 2018 survey results today that suggest most organizations are adopting or considering adopting machine […]

Healthcare

Payment Reform Tests Positive

The below editorial is posted on behalf of Merrill Goozner, Editor Emeritus, Modern Healthcare. We are looking forward to welcoming Merrill at The Millennium Alliance Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly in December. New analyses of the major payment reforms begun during the Obama years suggest they do in fact lower healthcare spending. While the savings are […]

The Rankings Are In: WSJ/Times Higher Education College Rankings

Here at The Millennium Alliance, we value our relationships with our academic partners. Academics offer a unique perspective to our members and attendees at our programs. This week, we got a chance to look at the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings and are proud to announce partnerships with many on the list! The […]

Marketing

It’s Prime Time: Every Brand Now Needs An Amazon Strategy

The power of Amazon is difficult to ignore in the midst of the shift in consumers moving from in-store shopping to online shopping. Digital Diary reports on why all brands need to incorporate Amazon into their business strategy to sustain competitive advantage at the end of 2018.

Digital

Technology Only Works If Your Enterprise’s Culture Works With It

The influence of technology on an enterprise is apparent. As a business leader, you cannot ignore the influence of trends on business models to employee satisfaction. As an executive, you must be aware that technology will only work if your company’s culture works with it too.

Digital , Healthcare , Marketing , Retail , Security

Weekly Roundup featuring Amazon, Target, Aetna, Deloitte and more…

We hope everyone had a seamless transition into the work week after a long Labor Day weekend! Here at The Millennium Alliance, we are gearing up for our next assembly – CMO Day West Coast! We’ll be in sunny San Francisco talking all things marketing. But before we get carried away, let’s take a look […]

News

Announcing The Launch Of The New Digital Diary Website

The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to announce the launch of the new Digital Diary blog. Our leading content platform has taken on all things new and exciting, and we are so excited to be able to share this with you, our valued reader!

News

Digital Diary 2.0

Digital Diary 2.0 is finally here! Read up on today’s top content right here and all in one place.

Healthcare

You Want a Revolution, I Want a Revelation

Let’s take a look into the healthcare revolution. We’ll dive into the trends happening right now that we need to watch out for in order to prepare ourselves for the future.

Financial Services

Real-Time Push Payments Are Here To Stay In Financial Services

Real-time push payments are emerging in the financial services sector more than ever before, especially when it comes to catering to the on-demand customer, offering convenience.

Retail

Co-Working is the Next Hottest Retail Concept, All Thanks to WeWork

Co-working is a rapidly expanding the retail industry and it’s not just changing workspaces, it’s changing all adjacent industries in the era of retail transformation.

Interview , Marketing

Rethinking Business, Branding & Life with Jim Stengel, Digital Retail & Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly Keynote

We were thrilled to sit down with Jim Stengel, President/CEO of The Jim Stengel Company and Keynote Speaker before the Digital Retail & Digital Marketing Assemblies in Dallas this past August.

Digital

Digital Transformation Is Redesigning The Leadership Role In Marketing

Yes, as you already know, it is the era of digital transformation. So, how digital transformation is affecting the role of the C-suite in the marketing industry? Read and find out!

Security

What Has The Impact Of Cloud Computing Been Thus Far?

Cloud computing has made a large impact in a variety of industries, changing business operations and functions with efficiency and agility.

Financial Services

The Role Of The Financial Leader Continues To Expand

In today’s financial sector, the role of the financial leaders continues to expand through their willingness to adapt to different sectors of business from human resources to information technology.

Retail

Robots Are The Future Of Retail: Marks & Spencer Follows Suit

Digital Diary takes a look into the burning question of retail: Will robots be the future? UK retailer, Marks & Spencer, recently announced its collaboration with Twilio, in order to use robots at their call center. We’ll look into the benefits of this non-human interaction and think about the future of retail.

Healthcare

Telehealth Is Improving The Hospital Revenue Cycle

The increasing involvement and implementation of Telehealth in hospital system-wide care is catching on like wildfire across the industry. With Telehealth, hospitals can provide a payment model that not only works for them, but for the patient.

Marketing

Embracing The Shift to Experiential Marketing in the Digital World

Customer experience is not a new concept. In this blog post, Digital Diary writes on why brands and marketing leaders should embrace experiential marketing in the digitally connected world.

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Launched in 2017, Digital Diary was created to provide premium content to our readers interested in all things business. With our blogs catered to deliver the top news stories, trends, and interviews from across all industries.

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