‘Baked In’: some great thoughts on how to ‘bake’ marketing into your product

I’ve just finished reading ‘Baked In’ by John Winsor and Alex Bogusky from one of the world’s best agencies, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. John was kind enough to give me the opportunity to review the book prior to official launch.

What a great read. As many of you know, I write a lot about Generation C – and some of the key dimensions of Gen C are their need for Co-Creation, Collaboration and Control over brand stories. Brands today need to engage their ‘communities’ in all aspects of business and this book brings it to life with some great examples. In a nutshell it’s about the blurring line between product and marketing – the need to ‘bake’ marketing into your product.  This book is short, sharp and easy to ready with some great case studies and examples from Crispin clients.  It’s the book that keeps on giving as every chapter has a twitter feed associated with it so you can join in a conversation ecosystem that’s created by readers of the book. The guys are practising what they preach when it comes to stimulating conversation within communities.


Baked In by Winsor and Bogusky

Baked In by Winsor and Bogusky



I’ve pulled out some of the most interesting statements/points of view in terms of how brands can ‘bake’ marketing into their product innovations and stories:

  • To be successful a brands story must connect with a LARGER CULTURAL CONVERSATION that’s happening
  • The MIDDLE IS TO BE AVOIDED by marketers at all times
  • Every product has a story, the JOB OF MARKETING IS TO MAKE IT SING
  • CREATIVITY IS LIKE ANTHRAX, extremely potent, hard to distribute, so to ‘weaponise’ it is to find out how to distribute it quickly and widely
  • Real innovation comes from the POWER OF RANDOMNESS
  • Culture always wants to change, especially pop culture, WHAT’S THE CULTURAL CONVENTION YOUR BRAND CAN FLIP?
  • EXPLOITING CULTURAL CONFLICTS and tensions is the key to big ideas, use them as levers to create change (this is where the boys at Crispin continue to set the standard in terms of cracking culturally interesting ideas)
  • Live your product. service to FIND TRUTHS AND INVERTED TRUTHS
  • Always allow members of your brands community to take self guided explorations of your brand
  • Brands built on INTUITION are more likely to be disruptive and adapt to a rapidly changing environment
  •  MINE YOUR BRAND’S HISTORY for interesting stories
  • Steal from other categories to innovate
  •  STORIES and the ability to share them are what make us human
  • Great product names are essential to design – bake in names that mean something in culture eg: MINI, Flip, Red Bull, ipod
  • If possible, innovate to CREATE AN ABSOLUTE – don’t bother communicating if you are ‘faster’, ‘lighter’…ER’s are meaningless

Thanks John for the chance to review ‘Baked In’ some great stuff here for marketers who are looking to engage people in the new marketing environment.

Just finishing Baked In by John Winsor and Alex Bogusky

I was lucky enough to be asked to review a brand new book just released called Baked In – written by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor from the world’s best agency CPB.  It’s about ‘baking’ marketing into your product. I’m about half way through and will be posting a full review on Monday. So far, so good, it’s really interesting and am especially loving the commentary on how brands can tap into cultural conflicts/tensions. More to come.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky Briefing Format

I’ve always had  massive respect and admiration for the guys over at CPB – I love 90% of their work, they continually create culture with the work they do for brands like Burger King, Domino’s, VW and even most recently on Microsoft and Nike +. I  came across the key elements of their creative brief which i think are fantastic, as they really lay the foundations for culture creating ideas that generate mass buzz and engagement.

The key difference with other agency briefing formats is  that they focus on ‘tensions in culture’ and a key ‘Question’ to be answered, rather than a focus on messaging. From listening to Suzanne Powers speak (Crispins Global strategy head) Crispin may go into a creative briefing with numerous ‘questions’ to be answered.

.Here are the key elements to their brief:


– What is the most relevant and differentiating idea that will surprise consumers or challenge their current thinking of the brand?


– What is the psychological, social or cultural tension associated with this idea? What makes our target tense about the idea?

Cultural truths are always moving, so tensions are everywhere. The most interesting tension needs to make you squirm a bit. That’s where energy lies.


– What is the question we need to answer to complete this assignment?

The question should release the tension by shifting culture, making it controversial and related to the product truth. If it wouldn’t generate conversation over dinner, it’s not big or provocative enough.


– What about the brand could help us start a dialogue between the brand and our consumers, among our target and/or within pop culture?

The reason I like this briefing format so much is that is is so different to that of 90% of the other agencies in the world which typically talk through Problem, Target, Insight, Proposition/Comms Challenge, RTB, Creative Though Starters, Brand Personality. It’s also maybe why there work polarises as their starting point is all about picking tensions in culture that the brand can contribute/start a conversation in culture around.

The other interesting point of note, is the fact that creative ideas at CPB are always presented back as news headlines or press releases. Getting talked about in culture is an unfair business advantage and what brands are constantly searching for in the social age.