Loyalty to Brands – Samsung

Samsung (Photo credit: KiddsKids.com)

Samsung (Photo credit: KiddsKids.com)

With more than a just a slight hint in last weekend’s #SundayMusings, we walked into our latest “Loyalty to Brands” here on Shore Branding.  Founded almost 80 years ago, Samsung has become a dominant force in consumer electronics over the past two decades.  From its rapid growth in equipment and partners in mobile devices to its continued production of highly regarded TV’s, Samsung continues to become a more prevalent brand in and around our household.

How or where did my loyalty to Samsung start?  About a decade ago I led a research project on consumer perceptions of various TV’s and somewhat to my surprise, Samsung was a near dominant player in satisfaction and several forward-thinking attributes.  That caught my eye as I was in the market for a new TV for my house.  Since purchasing that 46” LED flatscreen TV and being completely satisfied with the product, it has been a growing loyalty with Samsung.

After moving from Blackberry to Android many years ago for my mobile device, I have also pivoted over to Samsung phones (Galaxy S5) given the appeal of “The Next Big Thing” campaigns and its own ability to churn throughh their product lineup and still be relevant throughout.

Samsung's "The Next Big Thing" campaign has helped build my loyalty

Samsung’s “The Next Big Thing” campaign has helped build my loyalty

Over the past handful of years and as I have become more engaged in the tech space, Samsung has continued to be a safe brand to include in the consideration set.  The overall style of their products looks and feels modern.  The quality is certainly there in my opinion.  The comfort level with their system and “how to” on electronic devices is a nice, safe way to transition/upgrade from one device to the next.

That increased comfort level with Samsung has driven the following purchases – links below for the latter two items are the product reviews put together here on Shore Branding:

  1. Samsung Ultrabook w/ Windows 8
  2. Samsung Chromebook 2
  3. Samsung Gear Live Smartwatch

Where do we head from here?  

Well, given last week’s #SundayMusings and all of the links from CES, a new TV for our living room is drawing near.  From there … knowing how rapid change occurs in mobile, I’m sure a new mobile phone will be occurring at some point a few years from now.  While my Nexus 7 tablet remains useful, I do have one eye on what’s next from both Google’s Nexus and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series.  I’m not ready for an upgrade yet, but it’s coming.  Samsung has also entered my consideration set as we upgrade our household appliances.  While there hasn’t been a purchase in this category yet linked to Samsung, it may not be far away either.

Do you have a preferred electronics brand?  If you prefer a brand over Samsung, which is it and why?  Let me know in the Comments below.

As mentioned in the past, if you have a brand or service that you consider yourself loyal to and are interested in guest blogging on Shore Branding, please do reach out and let me know via the Comments section below or through the Contact page.  Thanks!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-18-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on #CES2015 (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

This week’s #SundayMusings takes a look at the top news and stories from last week’s #CES2015 event in Las Vegas.  Here are a couple stories that I found to be of particular interest and then we’ve changed things up this week a bit.  Below that are a number of summary articles from around the web and what their respective highlights were from CES this year.

Did you make it to #CES2015?  What did you think?

#1 – “The Five Most Disruptions Innovations at CES 2015” – via Forbes.com

Premise: At each CES show Forbes puts together their “Big Bang Disruptors” that help move an existing market/product to new heights.  From self-driving cars to the continued evolution of health and fitness and into “augmented reality”, a number of companies moved the needle into areas that aren’t that far off into the future anymore.

Thoughts: CES help brought self-driving cars another step closer to reality.  Virtual reality gaming is essentially here.  What did you think was the most amazing or jaw-dropping innovation at CES?

What caught my eye in this article wasn’t even on Forbes’ list.  It was early in the article when they described Google Nest’s ecosystem and partner companies that are helping bring everyday chores, activities, etc. to the 21st century.  Nest will work with lightbulbs, washer and dryers, and more in an effort to make your life that much easier.

#2 – “Sharp unveils new Android TV-based SmartCentral 4.0 smart TV’s” via androidcentral.com

Premise: Sharp announced a number of updates to their TV lineup at #CES2015.  This included a 4K UHD TV, with several models adding Android TV features.  The company also announced 70, 85, and 120 inch TV’s.

Thoughts: We’ll talk more about this in the next article as well, but we’re in the market for a new TV for our living room.  I/We need a few more HDMI plugs in our next TV.  If you replaced “Sharp” with “Samsung”, there is no doubt in my mind that this would be the next TV in our living room at some point in 2015.  Unfortunately, Samsung is not aligning with Android TV, which is quite a bit surprising … and disappointing.

#3 – “Samsung’s 105-inch Bendable TV is the World’s Largest” via popularmechanics.com

Premise: Looking for the latest and greatest 4K TV?  Enter Samsung’s UN105S9B model, which is a 105 inch screen that is bendable.  The price tag?  A “modest” $260K.

Thoughts: Many times there are articles I wish I didn’t see or read.  This is one of them.  There is absolutely no reason to have a bendable TV in my house.  None.  But reading this article gave me TV-envy.  Will we be purchasing a bendable TV?  I’m pretty sure the answer is no.  Will it be half the size of this one if we do?  Yes.

TV’s made quite the impression at #CES2015.  Which company made the most noise in the category?

#4 – Summary articles from #CES2015 that are worth your time:

  1. The Guardian
  2. The Next Web
  3. eBay
  4. engadget
  5. Mashable
  6. Digital Trends

Tweet of the Week:

First, an amazing number of attempts at finding the right wearable at #CES2015.  If you take a look at the article, the author nails it on the head.  There is a lot to like about wearables, and in particular smartwatches.  However, no one has really perfected usability, style, and more.  We will all see what Apple does in this market and how competition reacts.

Finally, for those considering attending CES for the first time in 2016, here are a few tips from Mashable worth considering:

Have a great week!  Our next #SundayMusings in two weeks will focus on the Super Bowl!

 

Pin of the Month – Social Media

January's "Pin of the Month" on Social Media Pin originally from ticsyformacion.com

January’s “Pin of the Month” on Social Media
Pin originally from ticsyformacion.com

Happy 2015 everyone and welcome to another year of our “Pin of the Month” here on ShoreBranding.com.  January’s “Pin of the Month” takes a look at several key social media numbers and statistics across several of the key players in social media.  The infographic itself was found on Pinterest and originated from this article.

So what exactly are we looking at here?  As we enter 2015, the numbers across the more popular social media networks continue to amaze.  With numbers and figures from multiple sources, let’s dive into some of the facts seen in the above infographic, specifically those that caught my attention:

  • Facebook’s log-in page is now available on over one million web sites.  That’s amazing!
  • 91% of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn to search out job candidates.
  • I’m not sure how they got to the fact that eBay is the “most engaging” brand on Twitter.  (Your thoughts on the most engaging brands on the site?)
  • 1 billion Google+ accounts … but only 359 million of them are “monthly active users”.

What platform are you planning to focus on in 2015?  With the continued growth of social media in branding efforts, have you set goals for each?

For those unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, every month we post one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let us know.

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1/4/15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Happy New Year / 2015! (Credit: wallpaperput.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Happy New Year / 2015!
(Credit: wallpaperput.com)

 

Happy new year everyone and welcome to the first #SundayMusings of 2015!  I hope everyone had a great, safe holiday season and that you are ready to make 2015 bigger and better!  Why not start with the top stories that caught my eye in branding and digital marketing as they relate to entering the new year?  Done and done …

#1 – “The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015” – via Forbes.com

Premise: “Content marketing” continues to grow.  The author has spent time in the past putting together predictions and outcomes of content marketing (links within the article).  Now he takes a look at how content marketing will shift/progress into the new year.

Thoughts: A few of the highlighted trends caught my eye, specifically #2 – “Content marketing will become inextricably linked with social media marketing” and #5 – “The reputation of guest blogging as a content marketing strategy will be repaired”.

It is hard to argue with #2, as this trend continues to grow seemingly month to month.  However, #5 is an item that is important here on ShoreBranding.com.  We have openly embraced guest posts in the past, but willingness to do so weakened in the second half of 2014.  Again, if you are interested in being a guest writer here on the site, please just let me know via our Contact page (or reach out via email / social media).

#2 – “Hey, TV Guys! Facebook’s NFL Deal Means Facebook Is Getting Serious About Video” via recode.net

Premise: Facebook has signed a deal with the NFL to put clips in its ads.  The deal suggests that Facebook is going in the right direction when it comes to online video and how it continues to grow.  For example, your profile and/or posts tell Facebook that you are a fan of a particular team.  With this deal, Facebook will be able to target you with relevant ads or clips of said team.

Thoughts: The NFL continues to surge ahead of the other US sports leagues when it comes to transitioning to online platforms.  Working with Facebook (and Twitter) is now commonplace for the NFL.

Note that there are similar discussions between Facebook and the NBA in order to get a deal in place.  It feels like my Facebook feed is in for an overhaul in the coming months.

#3 – “2015 Social Media Predictions: 10 Forecasts You Need” via HeidiCohen.com

Premise: Aside from the 10 tips/forecasts, the article links to several other “Tips”-related articles when thinking about putting together or revitalizing your social media efforts.  The write-up predicts what is next for the big players in the social space – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and more.

Thoughts: A few items caught my attention quickly.  First, similar to the article above, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Facebook is going to be deeply cutting into YouTube’s online video space.  Second, it is said to see what Heidi predicts for Twitter … as the company continues to focus on revenue and meeting Wall Street’s demands, it will start to lose steam and interest with users.  I’m not sure I see that happening … yet.  However, I do agree that Vine’s popularity has become much more niche than mainstream.  The final item that I wanted to point out is the reference to the importance of Google+ to businesses.

#4 – “The 7 Top Social Media Trends That Will Impact Your Marketing In 2015” via JeffBullas.com

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his own take on what 2015 will look like in social media.  These focus items include continued growth in mobile, vlogging, and social wallets.  With each, Bullas provides context as to why and/or how each will continue to rise as we enter 2015.

Thoughts: We have spent a good amount of time talking about the continued rise of mobile, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  The first statistic in Bullas’ “Paid amplification” trend is mind-numbing – the organic reach on Facebook is terribly low.  That is reason enough to reconsider your Facebook strategy and effort.

“Social shopping” and “Social wallets” have started to rise in 2014 and brands / retailers are beginning to see the power of social sharing for consumers.  Social wallets and cards have started to pop up.

Are you using a social card yet?  I literally just signed up for one last week and am waiting for it to arrive.  If so, what do you think?

#5 – “What Does your 2015 Twitter Strategy Look Like?” via MediaBistro.com

Premise: The change of the calendar year affords you the opportunity to evaluate and establish your social media strategy, with the focus of this article on Twitter.  This strategy should include goal setting, execution, and measurement.  From there you will want to reevaluate your plan to see what is and is not working and go from there.

Thoughts: For the first time, I spent a little money in 2014 to help build our SaveThanksgiving.net following on Twitter.  We gained ~100 followers from those efforts and it is likely something that I’ll re-establish in the latter stages of 2015.

Do you have a strategy that is specific for each social media site that you are on?  How did you perform in 2014 relative to your goals?

Tweet of the Week:

Hopefully, you take #5 above to heart and don’t fall into the trap of our ‘Tweet of the Week’.  The good ole marketing / Twitter fails of 2014.  I can’t even pick one of these five as the worst … they are all … just … painful.  Do yourself a favor and make sure you don’t land on this list in 2015.  Please.

Again, happy new year to all of our readers and subscribers!  I hope you make 2015 great!

Brand in Focus – Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

This quarter’s “Brand in Focus” takes a look at the branding and digital marketing efforts of Bolthouse Farms.  The company’s web page promotes their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.  Noticeably missing from the links at the top for me, is the brand’s Vine page as that is how Bolthouse Farms originally caught my attention.

Visit Bolthouse.com to see the latest and greatest from Bolthouse Farms!

Visit Bolthouse.com to see the latest and greatest from Bolthouse Farms!

Bolthouse Farms’ web site is appealing to the eye, presenting a colorful display that draws your eyes to particular areas of the landing page.  Links at the top direct you to the company’s blog, information about the company itself and its products, and a store locator for where you will be able to purchase Bolthouse Farms’ products.  As you will quickly notice on the home page, Bolthouse Farms has committed itself to social media, as under the rotating images are updates across their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Let’s dive into each one of these pages …

Facebook:

With over 450,000 Likes, the Bolthouse Farms Facebook page is the company’s leading social media page in terms of total audience.  Once a day, the owner of the Facebook page drops in an update for their followers.  With each update you will typically see somewhere between 100-250 “Likes” and at least a handful of comments.

The latter really caught my eye as Bolthouse Farms is responsive to the comments that are put on their page.  Rather than deleting negative comments/feedback, the page owners address the customers’ concerns and personalizes the message.  Below you will see the team address a false concern about their products.  Not only does it clear the air, you can see that others on the page now know the truth about Bolthouse Farms’ products and state they are willing to buy their products once again.

Address customer concerns openly on your Facebook page, just like this example from Bolthouse Farms

Address customer concerns openly on your Facebook page, just like this example from Bolthouse Farms

Every post has a colorful image to go with it, but you will also find the occasional, short video as well.  These short videos help change things up on the page and, to me at least, help build that engagement between the brand and its customers/followers.

The final item that caught my attention was Bolthouse Farms’ events that they carry over on Twitter.  The company sets up Facebook Events to invite people over to their “Twitter Party” and promotes the hashtags to use for each.

Facebook Events are a good way to draw people over to your Twitter Party

Facebook Events are a good way to draw people over to your Twitter Party

Twitter:

Again, the first thing you notice on the Bolthouse Farms’ Twitter landing page is the vibrant colors and banner image at the top of the page.  What I really like about their efforts on Twitter are the RT’s they send out to their entire audience.  If a customer mentions Bolthouse in their own feed, the owner of the Twitter page is likely to RT that message.  These efforts bring a little extra engagement with the audience.

Aside from the RT’s, you will typically see one tweet per day from the Bolthouse Farms account itself.  Occasionally you will find a Twitter chat with others on a pertinent/relevant topic like the one here from 12/17 that brings in the #holidayveggies hashtag (or similar):

Bolthouse Farms' Twitter Chats like with the #HolidayVeggies hashtag also help engage with their audience

Bolthouse Farms’ Twitter Chats like with the #HolidayVeggies hashtag also help engage with their audience

Bolthouse Farms has over 13.6K followers on Twitter (at the time of this writing), which is significantly less than their Facebook audience.  I’m actually a little surprised at the gap between the two given that efforts are consistent between the two platforms.  You will find ~10 Favorites and/or RT’s for each message the page sends out to its audience.  Something feels off on the “ROI” on their Twitter efforts but I can’t put my finger on it.

Instagram:

In fact, Bolthouse Farms sees a larger audience on their Instagram page (16.3K followers) vs. Twitter and engagement levels are much stronger.  With the visual appeal that the brand brings to the table across social media, maybe it isn’t too surprising to see the stronger level of engagement on the more visually-driven Instagram.

The fan base’s level of engagement on Instagram is solid as well – as you will typically see ~200 Instagram “Likes” on their daily update on the site, along with at least a handful of comments per update.

Bolthouse Farms' Instagram page continues to build strong engagement with its followers

Bolthouse Farms’ Instagram page continues to build strong engagement with its followers

Instagram is (or at least feels like) a perfect compliment for Bolthouse Farms’ SM strategy given how eye-catching the majority of their updates are.

Vine:

Vine took social media by storm when it was officially launched at the beginning of 2013 under the Twitter umbrella and one of the brands winning on Vine was most certainly Bolthouse Farms.  However, the site’s momentum has slowed down over the course of 2014 and the company is no exception, as this is the last Vine that Bolthouse Farms has posted … back on 1/15/14

I certainly don’t blame the company for shifting its social media focus away from Vine.  However, it was doing a great job on the site.  As mentioned at the beginning, Vine was actually the platform that put my attention on Bolthouse.  It was a nice point of difference for the brand but there is likely data that suggested it wasn’t worth the efforts it was making (at least that is my hypothesis).

Overall Summary:

If there is one point of difference for Bolthouse Farms vs. other food/grocery brands that come to mind, it is certainly the visual appeal.  Its efforts across platforms leverage this across banner images on their profile pages and daily updates to their respective audiences.  Instagram is a perfect platform for the company to work with and the efforts seem to show.

Where do you think Bolthouse Farms is strong across social media?  Where do you see room for improvement?

Let us know in the Comments section below.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-21-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Happy Holidays! (Photo credit: RealClubResorts.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Happy Holidays!
(Photo credit: RealClubResorts.com)

Welcome to the last #SundayMusings of 2014!  The holiday season is in full swing and so are a number of brands with their marketing and advertising efforts.  The following stories caught my attention over the past couple of weeks regarding advertising and branding Christmas.  Enjoy!

#1 – “Brands get super creative on social media for #Christmas” – via Branded3.com

Premise: Brands continue to step it up a notch with holiday / Christmas branding efforts across social media networks.  The author picks four brands that have stood out this holiday season with their respective campaigns.

Thoughts: I love the Vine from Asda in this article!  That is essentially my Christmas wish to be able to decorate the tree that quickly.  Congratulations to UPS for winning the internet for one day with their “UPS Wishes” campaign and the video included in this article.  You can send in your wish to UPS here.

#2 – “Clients Rejoice!  This Elf on a Shelf Will Judge the Crap Out of Your Ad Agency” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Agency Plan B has rolled out their own Elf on a Shelf videos for the holidays, passing along judgment in and around the office for all to enjoy.

Thoughts: I have no idea how this isn’t showing up on my Facebook wall time and time again as this is absolutely brilliant!  Plan B has hit a home run with these videos.  I love the conference call short embedded in the article itself.  How much better would your office be with this Elf on the Shelf roaming the halls (and offices … and bathrooms)?

#3 – “Booze News: Do Holiday ‘Drink Responsibly’ Campaigns Work?” via brandchannel.com

Premise: It isn’t a secret that people consume an abundance of alcohol around the holidays.  You are also more likely to be aware of ‘drink responsibly’ ads from beer, liquor and wine companies.  But does that message resonate at all with consumers?  A study conducted says “no”.  While most have a generic ‘drink responsibly’ message to it, virtually no one provides specifics on what you are doing and/or why.

Thoughts: Truth be told, the ‘drink responsibly’ ads have always been generic and you probably spend little to no time thinking about it or what it actually means.  However, it felt pretty surprising that not a single ad had some type of more specific call to action, particularly around the holidays.

What do you think?  Do alcohol companies need to be more specific in their ‘drink responsibility’ efforts and marketing?

#4 – “Ad of the Day: Apple Goes Back 60 Years to Find Its Lovely Holiday Ad for 2014” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Apple has rolled out its 2014 holiday and it is a doozie.  Actually, here it is …

Thoughts: We don’t spend much time talking about Apple on this site, largely because I don’t use their products whatsoever anymore.  However, after seeing this ad a second and third time, I thought it was awesome.  My first reaction was that it was branded very well … but occasionally, that’s perfectly OK.  Frankly, Apple’s ads have become a little too cookie cutter for me – when comparing across their ads.  This breaks the mold quite a bit and is really enjoyable.

Tweet of the Week:

A second article that actually shows off several more companies with winning branding efforts this Christmas!  As you will see, various hashtags are more than prevalent across social media.

What other brands have caught your attention this year with their TV ads or social media efforts?  Let me know in the comments below!

I hope everyone has a great, safe holiday season!  Come back for more #SundayMusings the first Sunday of 2015 (1/4/15)!

Pin of the Month – The Meaning of Brand Names

"The Meaning of Brand Names" - infographic by 7Brands Inc.

“The Meaning of Brand Names” – infographic by 7Brands Inc.

Our December “Pin of the Month” gets back to our roots of branding and provides the background for thirty five, highly recognizable brand names.  The “Pin of the Month” comes from a write-up on AdWeek and was created by 7Brands Inc which brought in information from a handful of sources on where brand names originated from.

There are a few here that caught my eye as “interesting to know/learn”, a few lame stories, and a few that seem pretty funny more than anything else.  The first thing that caught my eye during the first read through on the infographic was how many rely on translations from Latin, German, and other languages.

  • I had no idea that Pez came from the German equivalent to “peppermint” and that the candy was originally just in that flavor.
  • Durex was just something easy to say and remember, I had no idea it actually stood for something – Durable, Reliable, Excellence.  (Makes sense …)
  • Toyota definitively needed to tweak its name so that it didn’t translate to “fertile rice paddies”.
  • It was funny to see what UK consumers translated DASANI to “filtered tap water” even if it is incorrect.

What brand names caught your attention?  Are there any that catch you off-guard or are surprised by?  Let me know in the Comments below.  Thanks!

For those unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, every month we post one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let us know.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-7-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to the latest edition of #SundayMusings!  This week we are going back to Black Friday to take a look at some of the brands that made news for “that day” after Thanksgiving.  Here are the stories that caught my attention:

#1 – “Thanksgiving Sets Historic Milestone as Mobile Drives More Than Half of All Shopping Traffic, Reports IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark” – via IBM.com

Premise: IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark found that more shopping was done via mobile on Thanksgiving and Black Friday than in any year past.  In addition, mobile outpaced PC’s for the first time and hit 52.1% of all online traffic.  On Saturday, IBM released a number of interesting statistics and breakdowns in the article.

Thoughts: A few tidbits from the final results caught my attention:

  1. While phones drove traffic, tablets drove sales – more people were purchasing on a tablet device this year.
  2. Thanksgiving sales continue to be more prevalent and are eating into Black Friday sales.  If you have been reading our articles over the past month or so, you know how I feel about this.  (Stay home on Thanksgiving also means talking to your friends and family, not staring at the computer.  SaveThanksgiving.net)
  3. Apple outpaced Android across three different metrics in Black Friday sales.  Here is a second article from Fortune focusing a little bit more on these numbers.

#2 – “Macy’s Black Friday Marketing Now Includes Facebook Video Ads” via AdWeek.com

Premise: On Thanksgiving evening, Macy’s started running video ads on Facebook to add to its marketing mix over the holiday.  This is an added effort to keep the retailer in mind after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade ended (live and the replay).

Thoughts: Macy’s has one of the strongest branded events across the calendar year with its Thanksgiving Parade.  As Facebook users update their status and say “Happy Thanksgiving” the ad is more than likely going to be yet another reminder to do their holiday shopping at Macy’s.

What also caught my attention was the very last blurb in the article – Facebook says that over 100 million videos are uploaded to the site each month.  Astonishing numbers as online video continues to grow.

#3 – “Black Friday or Bust: Making Your Brand Stand Out” via Business2Community.com

Premise: The ‘event’ known as Black Friday has turned into a week long event.  With the continued rise of online and mobile shopping, consumers are spending more money shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and what has become Cyber Monday.  Instead of focusing on an “earlier is better” approach, the author provides several tips for brands to consider in order to stand out from the crowd, including email and content marketing planning.

Thoughts: Honestly, simply looking at pictures of people stampeding into stores is starting to make me feel sick to stomach.  It is far too common.  That said, there are a few good tips to keep in mind here and I like the overall idea of moving away from the “earlier is better” approach.  Brands (and retailers) don’t have to be open on Thanksgiving Day if they knew how to better deliver their point of difference or unique selling proposition to consumers.  “We have the best XYZ, but you are going to have to wait until 10am on Black Friday when our doors open.”  How inhumane is that?  (Note: the sarcasm is dripping off this edition of #SundayMusings)

#4 – “One-third of Black Friday Online Revenue Was Mobile” via Finance.Yahoo.com

Premise: The company Branding Brand released its MCI results for Black Friday and reported significant increases in mobile shopping.  There are 35 retailers included in the numbers and the number of visits, purchases, and revenue are all up significantly vs. 2013.  There is an accompanying infographic that illustrates the results within the link above.

Thoughts: The results from this research and platform are another data point suggesting the continued growth of mobile devices and usage.  Updated information from the entire holiday weekend can be found on Branding Brand’s blog which also includes an update on Cyber Monday data/results.

Tweet of the Week:

What exactly is the point of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday if the sales from either or are going to be continued throughout the entire week?  The marketing behind these days seems to have grown so much that the point of either day is completely lost.  Please refer to #3 above if you are running a brand or retailer and enjoy a day off here or there over the course of the holiday weekend.  I’m relatively positive this is only going to get worse next year.

Those are our #SundayMusings for the week.  What Black Friday / Cyber Monday stories (or viral videos) caught your attention?  Have a great week!

Product Review: Samsung Chromebook 2

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Several weeks ago we decided that we needed a second “family / house” computer.  With a Samsung Ultrabook already in our possession and virtually no issues with it over the past 3-4 years, I was leaning on another Samsung laptop.  The Ultrabook already had Microsoft Office and Windows 8 and there wasn’t a need for another $700+ laptop with all of the same programs on it.  The second laptop was going to be for web browsing, watching video and … surprise, surprise … blogging.

I quickly turned my attention to the Samsung Chromebook series and it quickly became a matter of “which one” vs. looking at other devices.  After viewing a number of YouTube videos (like the one below) on the nuances of Chromebook, I figured it was worth a shot.

The Samsung Chromebook 2 has not disappointed.  We went with the 13.3 inch screen, Luminous Titan version due to the slightly stronger specs vs. the 11.6 inch versions.  It has been exactly what we were looking for at a relatively inexpensive cost.  Here is a deep dive into the positives, “opportunity areas”, and more.

Positives:

You may recall my proclaimed loyalty to Google and their products/services.  After unboxing the Chromebook it was up and running in less than five minutes.  My Google account and Chrome preferences were instantly carried over to the device.

The hardware itself feels sturdy, the keyboard and touchpad work with virtually no issues whatsoever.  You may want to watch the YouTube clips embedded in this write-up for a few tips and tricks on how to work a Chromebook touchpad if you are new to Chromebooks or are considering one for the first time.

The video playback and quality is phenomenal in the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2.  Whether you are viewing video in Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or elsewhere, the 1920×1080 LED HD screen makes watching content incredibly easy/enjoyable.

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

Here are several additional tips for using a Chromebook:

Where there is room for improvement:

There is one particular area that I am struggling with.  When grabbing images to coincide with blog entries, I do need to revert back to our other laptop and MS Paint.  While Picasa is an available option, it will not allow me to customize image sizes as easily (by specific size) as MS Paint.  While you can crop and choose different size options in Picasa, I need to be able to specify the width of images and can not do that in the current tool.

(Here is where I am asking anyone for a tip or secret to how to better leverage the Picasa photo editing tool because I have yet to find something that would allow me to never touch our other computer.)

While we leverage Hangouts for video chatting with friends, it would be nice if the Chromebook would allow access to Skype.  I somewhat understand Google’s decision to push people towards their own products, this is a nuisance.

Apps:

If you leverage a Google/Android device for mobile (phone or tablet), you won’t have many surprises at all.  Everything is in the Chrome store for you to download to the device (now including MS Offices extensions).  If you are unfamiliar with the Chrome Web Store, take a look for yourself and decide if the market has what you are looking for … or an acceptable alternative.  I’m virtually certain you will find what you need.

Overall:

Before purchasing the Samsung Chromebook 2 I posed a question to the Jelly community and received the following feedback:

  • “You can find a better laptop”
  • “Make sure it can play well with the rest of your gadgets.  Install Google Remote Desktop to control your Chromebook from your phone anywhere.  Highly suggest Chromecast”

After receiving that first comment several others chimed in that the Chromebook isn’t meant to replace a laptop, etc.  I couldn’t agree more.  The Chromebook is a fantastic second computer in our home and is as fast and easy as hoped/imagined.

From the un-boxing to date, the Chromebook has been a great device that meets our specific needs.  Connecting to our other devices around the house was easy and Google’s ability to transfer preferences, account information, etc. makes it a highly recommended device.  The price/value of the Chromebook series of laptops is just the icing on the cake.

If you are looking for a second laptop or a lower-priced first option, I would recommend the Samsung Chromebook 2 without hesitation.

I’m always interested in learning more tips and tricks.  If you have any for the Samsung Chromebook 2, I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email.  Thank you!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-23-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Thanksgiving Edition (Photo Credit: GlowRockport.wordpress.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Thanksgiving Edition
(Photo Credit: GlowRockport.wordpress.com)

This week’s #SundayMusings is near and dear to our heart as we focus on the Thanksgiving holiday and Thanksgiving branding efforts made around the country.  For those that don’t already know, we have set up SaveThanksgiving.net in an effort to keep the holiday alive and with our respective friends and family; not at the mall and shopping for holiday sales.  That is what “Black Friday” and beyond is for.  Without going on any further of a tangent, here are the top stories that caught our eyes over the past couple of weeks related to Thanksgiving.

#1 – “How Your Favorite Thanksgiving Brands Got Their Names” – via mascola.com

Premise: Interested in learning how brands that are likely around your Thanksgiving table got their names?  The Mascola Group puts together a list of six brands that are commonly used for Thanksgiving meals and tells their story of how each came to be.

Thoughts: There aren’t any off the wall names or stories behind the names here among the six.  However, and it is potentially sad to admit this, I had no idea that Ore-Ida got its name being located in Oregon and next to Idaho (potatoes).  You really can learn something new every day.

#2 – “Brand of the Day: No, Costco Won’t Be Open on Thanksgiving, and Here’s Why” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Costco won’t be open on Thanksgiving Day, with a spokesperson for the retailer saying, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Nothing more complicated than that”.

Thoughts: You knew we were going to go here quickly, right?  Costco is one of a slowly decreasing number of retailers that remain closed on Thanksgiving Day and will continue to win my business because of this stance.  The creep of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day makes my stomach turn.  You can find a list of retailers that won’t be opening their doors on Thanksgiving here or simply right here …

#SaveThanksgiving - Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

#SaveThanksgiving – Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

#3 – “7 Brilliant Brand Tactics for Thanksgiving + Inspiring Examples” via LeanBranding.com

Premise: A compilation of seven ideas that leverage the Thanksgiving holiday to spark conversation and conversion to brands.  From offering a holiday gift and hosting a meetup, Wix receives a lot of attention in the write-up, pulling out the stops around the holiday in past years.

Thoughts: Terrific examples are provided throughout the article and for each tip on how to leverage the holiday to build a little buzz for your brand.  My favorites – “Share some humor” and “Support a cause”.  I’m absolutely grabbing those memes that were created by IMPACT.  I also remember seeing a lot of support from Zynga two years ago around their holiday fundraising campaign but never saw the final numbers from their efforts ($13 million raised).  Impressive!

#4 – “Five Thanksgiving Inspired Brand Building Tips” via BrandMill.com

Premise: A quick and easy read on five tips that will help your brand distinguish itself this holiday season.  The underlying theme behind all of this – breaking out the word Thanksgiving into two parts, “thanks” and “giving”.  Show your customers and/or partners that you care about them and go the extra mile to win their support.

Thoughts: One additional piece that caught my here (as well as in the story above) revolves around giving back to a cause and the brands that take the time to set up some type of fundraising effort for those less fortunate.  Why? …

We’ve done exactly the same thing and set up an online food drive with Feeding America this year.  We’re calling it our #SaveThanksgiving food drive.  If you have the resources, please consider donating to help others who struggle to get by.

#5 – “Black Friday Creep and the Thanksgiving Day Grinch: 2014 Edition” via BrandChannel.com

Premise: The continuing battle of if or when retailers will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day takes another step forward in 2014.  A number of retailers, including Macy’s, have announced extended hours on Thanksgiving vs. prior years.  This has led to an outcry from employees, online petitions, and even protests.

Thoughts: Does opening your doors on Thanksgiving Day really make that much of a difference to your bottom line?  Do you really need to be open on the holiday itself?  As linked in the write-up, this piece in TIME says it could actually harm your brand.

What actually gets me the most perplexed is the example of Macy’s provided in the story.  Macy’s hosts the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade?!  How are their leaders not in tune with what the holiday is and means to thousands around the country?  It feels counterintuitive to be the sponsor of the holiday parade and continue to open your stores earlier and earlier on the holiday.

Finally, here is one example of an online petition to fight against store hours on the holiday from Radio Shack employees, who has since trimmed their hours but will still open on Thanksgiving.  The team over at TackBackThanksgiving.org has been updating their Facebook page consistently over the past few weeks on their planned events to help #SaveThanksgiving.

Tweet of the Week:

Shameless plug?  Perhaps.  Meaningful?  Absolutely.  Our #SaveThanksgiving efforts continue to roll on Twitter and Pinterest.  Take a look through, follow, share, etc. and help #SaveThanksgiving.

For those that may be able to, we have set up an online food drive through Feeding America for donations.  You can read more about the efforts here or visit the online food drive page directly.

That wraps up this week’s holiday edition of #SundayMusings.  For those of you in the US, please enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!  (Please do not run out at 9am to go shopping Thanksgiving morning … #SaveThanksgiving!!)