Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-20-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on social media! This week I’ve picked out two write-ups that speak to social media broadly and then the remaining stories cover off specifically on my favorite social media platforms – Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, and Pinterest.  We’ll go into each in more detail below.

#1 – 5 Reasons Why Brands Need Integrated Social Media Marketing – via neerajsancheti.wordpress.com 

Premise: As integrated marketing plans become more and more regular across companies, it isn’t enough to be on one or two social media platforms. The author puts together five reasons why your brand or company needs to be on different platforms and where you should think about going.

Thoughts: There is a fine line between being everywhere and being in the right places. Many try to be everywhere in order to achieve the greatest ‘reach’. However, if you aren’t engaging with your customers / followers, what’s the point? At the same time, trying to be everywhere leaves you communicating with the wrong audience more times than not. So there are some points in the write-up that insinuate increasing visibility is the best thing you can do, and I would add the caveats before deciding to sign up for each and every social media platform.

#2 – Optimize Your Posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and More via busines2community.com  

Premise: Aside from creating great content, you need to figure out the best ways to optimize your posts in order to improve sharing across social media. The author takes a look across multiple platforms and provides tips on how to optimize your posts across NINE different networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr!

Thoughts: This is an excellent resource for those that enjoy clear, concise summaries and tips on what you can or should do when posting across social media. A few items that are worth calling out:

  • LinkedIn Tip to “Edit your description” – Completely agree here, as LinkedIn allows you to provide a summary of your article or link – similar to filling in the SEO on a blog. Use it!
  • Pinterest Tip to “Avoid human faces” – Very interesting stat and not something I would have ever thought about.
  • Vine Tip, “Infinite loop” – Vine clips that follow this rule are absolutely more engaging and will receive more views than those with closure.

#3 – “5 Brands Successfully Using Twitter GIFs” via Likeable.com 

Premise: Last month Twitter announced that it would now support GIF files in status updates and brands have been trying to capitalize ever since. Likeable takes a dive into what brands are successfully leveraging the new capability in their branding / digital marketing efforts.

Thoughts: It is a little interesting to see Twitter allow GIFs well after the fact that Vine has been introduced. This leads me to believe that there is some sort of dip in Vine usage, creativity, etc. that the company is seeing. The recent updates to the Vine app make it more appealing, but to be honest, I don’t check the app nearly as much as I used to.

In terms of the five brands/companies that are provided as good examples, I find that @SBNationGIF is a tremendous follow for sports fans. I also enjoyed the few Bud Light GIF’s found on their Twitter feed. What brands have you seen succeed on Twitter using GIF files?

#4 – “10 Google+ Features You Need to Know” via Michael Bird on LinkedIn 

Premise: Michael Bird puts together a list of ten Google+ functions that can help your branding efforts on the platform. This includes integrating with YouTube and several, more functional elements to optimizing your G+ efforts.

Thoughts: My second favorite social media platform, behind Twitter, has been adding features for users since its inception and the list provided here include several items that I really enjoy. The Google+ Auto Awesome creates fantastic GIFs on your phone automatically. If you take a handful of pictures right in a row, the feature will automatically create GIFs for you when you have Google+ connected to your camera phone.

There is also a deep integration between G+ and YouTube that can be taken advantage of among those with YouTube channels. You can broadcast your Hangouts on Air seamlessly and increase engagement / commenting between the two platforms.

#5 – “Why Foursquare Lost a Loyal User” via wearesocialmedia.gr 

Premise: The author was an avid user of Foursquare but admits to using the company’s services less and less since the launch of Swarm. Given the need to monetize, Foursquare split the functionality of the old Foursquare in half and left the check-ins and social aspects to Swarm. The author provides four points that argue against the splitting of the services that the old Foursquare provided.

Thoughts: Foursquare has been one of my favorite apps and since the launch of Swarm, I find myself frustrated with the back and forth needed to get what I want out of the service. I personally do not care about the badges, but I’m in alignment with all of the other points from the article. I hate having to open up two apps to get the information I want or need.

I understand why they broke up their services into two parts and I’m sure their data suggests that there is a majority of users that feel similarly. However, this write-up was actually a nice find, as I felt like I was in a small minority that didn’t like the new Foursquare/Swarm combination. What are your thoughts on the company’s decision to break these services apart?

Tweet of the Week:

I found the Embassy Suites Hotels contest as a “Promoted Tweet” on Twitter and thought that this was a great use of Pinterest. They have their own hashtag for the campaign and it felt like an engaging contest to get users to engage with the brand. Then I clicked on the link and it took me to their Facebook page and I was all sorts of confused. A Pinterest contest, promoted on Twitter, and then taken to their Facebook page?

Back to the contest itself: Pinterest has jumped into one of my favorite social media platforms and this is another great use of a contest and promotional effort from a brand on the network. What do you think of the campaign?

Thanks for swinging by this week’s #SundayMusings! What stories caught your attention this week in social media? Let us know in the Comments section below. Thanks and have a great week!

Pin of the Month – Brands on Twitter

Infographic from WSJ.com  (Link provided in write-up below)

Infographic from WSJ.com
(Link provided in write-up below)

July’s “Pin of the Month” actually takes a look at a somewhat dated infographic created by the Wall Street Journal back in December of 2011. I came across this graphic when doing some research for our next “Brand in Focus” (hint: it will be the brand that appears at the top of our “Pin of the Month”) and still feel that it is quite relevant today.

We have seen quite a few examples of brands and companies handing over their social media accounts to staff members, only to be forced into an uncomfortable situation and/or an apology due to poor online behaviors of said employees. This graphic takes a look at three brands / companies that “win” on Twitter with strong digital marketing efforts on the platform while giving only a select few the keys to the car on the network, becoming the voice of the brand for each.

Whole Foods, Southwest, and Best Buy are all using their Twitter handles to converse with their audience, building engagement and becoming an extremely useful resource for each. Each company uses Twitter in their own, unique way that has clearly resonated with fans and consumers.

Whole Foods tweets out recipes, tips, and acknowledges/responds to messages sent to its corporate account and was run by one person at the time the graphic was created. Each Whole Foods location can also create their own Twitter account, but is ultimately responsible for it on its own. What really caught my attention here is the number of followers reported on this infographic (2.1 million) vs. where they stand in July 2014 (3.7+ million). That shows exponential growth in their following on Twitter relative to the other brands shown in the graphic.

Southwest Airlines and Best Buy both have a team of employees that handle the questions that come from fans and followers. Both companies have grown marginally since the graphic was produced. While Southwest continues to leverage the platform to its advantage, Best Buy has abandoned the @Twelpforce account. You have to wonder who made this decision and why, as the company was receiving a ton of positive publications of the service. This seems to provide another example of what continues to go wrong with the company.

Are you interacting with any of these brands on Twitter … or have you in the case of Best Buy? What has been your experience? I personally love the direct connection with brands that Twitter provides. While you will tend to see a lot of grumbling on the network (self-included), there are certainly benefits to this type of connection and for brands that openly engage with its customers.

UPDATE 7/19:

GeekSquad saw this month’s “Pin of the Month” and reached out to me on Twitter.  You can see here that Best Buy has since broken out into separate Twitter accounts.  That really should have been their last tweet on the Twelpforce account to let everyone know what their plan was.  That said thanks to “Agent Derek” for reaching out to me and providing the appropriate information!

For those that may be unfamiliar with our Pin of the Month, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we typically find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a blog write-up. Follow Shore Branding on Pinterest for frequent updates across branding and digital-related information and infographics.

New Poll – What wearables are you planning to purchase in 2014?

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

Wearables are beginning to turn the corner in terms of consumer acceptance and adoption. The latest poll on ShoreBranding.com builds off of yesterday’s #SundayMusings and asks which wearable devices are you thinking about purchasing in 2014?

We have selected several of the most popular wearables for the poll but have also included a general “Other” for the many others that continue to pop up. Whether you are focusing on a smart band to track your physical fitness, or taking a step up to a full smartwatch … or even Google Glass, let us know what wearable devices are grabbing your attention and which you are most likely to purchase this year.

So which item, or items, are you going to purchase? You can choose from the iWatch, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, LG’s G Watch, Nike FuelBand, Adidas Fit Band, and/or Google Glass. For those interested, let us know why you have selected the device you have.

Personally, I don’t see myself getting a smartwatch at this time. If Google Glass were to become more affordable down the road that is probably the wearable device I would most likely look to purchase.

Below is a presentation from SXSW regarding wearables that I found to be of interest.

Thanks for taking the time to vote! For more on wearables, you can keep an eye on our “Technology” Pinterest board.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-6-14

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy 4th of July weekend to those of you celebrating in the US and welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on wearables! Wearables are beginning to build traction with consumers, well beyond what I tend to consider the starting point of fitness programs and apps. Let’s take a look at some of the better write-ups I’ve found over the past few weeks that revolve around wearables.

#1 – Why Wearable Technology Matters in 2014 – via Likeable.com 

Premise: The wearables market is expected to double in 2014 to exceed $1.5 billion, according to Juniper Research. This presents new ways for brands to interact with consumers in varying ways. The author provides three reasons why wearables should be considered in your marketing plan moving forward.

Thoughts: Three very straightforward reasons are provided and I agree with all of them. First and foremost, to me at least, is the ability to get ahead of competition. There are a handful of major players in the space right now, but that’s it. Are you a brand struggling to turn around your archaic image? Looking for a way to become seen as a modern, innovative brand or company? You may want to consider how you can get involved in wearables.

One brand that comes to mind immediately is Radio Shack. You may remember their ad during the Super Bowl (below as well). The ad was intended to move the company’s image out of the 1980’s and into the present. Wearables might be a market worth diving into to try to continue moving the pendulum.

#2 – A 10-sensor iWatch say’s Apple’s smartwatch will be nothing like Android Wear via PCWorld.com 

Premise: It is being reported that Apple’s iWatch will include 10 sensors that will help those more interested in their own health. This strategy, if true, makes the iWatch very different than the Android smartwatches that are rolling out with Google Now. Google’s smartwatch is focused on the world around you – weather, travel, sports scores, etc. Apple’s iWatch is expected to be released this fall with somewhere between 10-15 million units available by the end of the year.

Thoughts: This would be an interesting approach by Apple and certainly takes the brand in a different direction vs. Google when it comes to wearables. It is actually a little refreshing to see two different visions for a similar product between the two companies, as many/most launches seem to be more duplicative.

What are your thoughts on wearing a smartwatch? Will you be considering a purchase in the near future? Personally, I can’t justify the purchase as I don’t think I’ll use it enough. If I were interested in tracking my movement for my personal health, I’d be much more inclined to think about it.

#3 – “Will Adidas beat Nike in the wearables game with its new miCoach Fit Smart Band” via ShinyShiny.TV 

Premise: Adidas is putting another stake in the ground on wearable fitness with its forthcoming Smart Band. With Nike’s decision to concentrate more on the software side of wearables, Adidas has the ability to distinguish itself in a new, but growing market.

Thoughts: Beyond their World Cup battles, Adidas and Nike are drawing lines in the sand on how they want to position themselves in the wearables market. As mentioned in #1 above, very few brands are legitimately playing in this space, so if Adidas can develop a product that consumers can trust, they may find themselves in a very lucrative position.

#4 – “Health Wearables To Save You Visits to the Doctor” via alleywatch.com  

Premise: WSJ produced a short video that interviewed Singularity University’s Daniel Kraft on what the future may look like when thinking about wearables and your personal health. From patches to devices that attach to your inhaler, technology is going to play a huge role in your personal health.

Thoughts: First, I want to implore WSJ.com to start allowing viewers the ability to embed online videos. What year is this again?

With that out of the way, I found this to be highly interesting. The ability to use mobile attachments to scan parts of your body and send the information to your doctor immediately is incredible to me. I realize that this probably freaks some people out, but this is fascinating in my opinion. I do get a little bothered about how much reporters focus on how they “look” vs. the capability itself. For those needing to track their physical health and/or ailments more regularly, closing comments like those made in the clip/link above create unnecessary barriers for people to get over.

Below is another story that makes a strong connection between personal health and wearables:

#5 – “Here’s what Google’s Android Wear can do” via engadget.com  

Premise: At Google I/O, the company took another huge step in committing to the wearables market. As part of the demo, Google announced that the new smartwatches can sync to phones running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or higher. Through a Google Now-like card system, you can bring up the information that is more critical to you and your day. Third-party apps will be heavily engrained in the system, including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. The new LG and Samsung watches were made available to order in the Google Play store on the day of the I/O conference.

Thoughts: You knew I wouldn’t end a #SundayMusings without an article specific to Google and Android, right? If there were to be a smartwatch purchase somewhere down the line in my future, it would have to be one that is based on Android’s system.

Tweet of the Week:

An interesting discussion from #CEWeek if you have a few minutes. (Note, you may have to blast your speakers after the opening credits.) The “Nametag” technology took things a step further than I’m comfortable with. However, it was certainly an interesting demo and discussion around the 27 minute mark on augmented vs. virtual reality.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! Are you thinking about purchasing at least one of these wearable products? Have you already? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below. Have a great week!

Loyalty to Brands – Honda

The Honda logo Loyalty to Brands on ShoreBranding.com

The Honda logo
Loyalty to Brands on ShoreBranding.com

The next in our series of “Loyalty to Brands” focuses on a brand that I’ve been loyal to since my late teenage years, the automaker Honda. What started off as a friend’s recommendation in college has wound up lasting 15+ years and four vehicles. Building off of last week’s #SundayMusings we are continuing the focus on the auto industry this weekend.

Needing a new car for my summer vacation and to get to and from work, a simple recommendation from a friend sent me on my way to a Honda dealership. Given the need for a car with strong MPG and having little need for more room, it was an easy decision to go with the Honda Civic. Fast forward several years and the fact that my brother needed a car, I “upgraded” to my first Honda Accord and gave him the Civic.

It was here that my true loyalty to Honda was created. At the dealership (Coast Honda) I quickly realized that one of the salesmen was the father of a fraternity brother of mine. This made the purchase process that much easier for everyone involved. I walked away with a 2002 Honda Accord and that car lasted about 8 years and 125,000 miles.

After hitting that threshold it was time to make a decision, put more than regular maintenance into the car for the foreseeable future or purchase a new car. I went with the latter and went right back to Coast Honda for the sale. This Accord will likely remain with the family until it is time to upgrade … and if it isn’t another Accord in my future, it will more than likely be the CRV SUV.

Aside from the fantastic customer service I receive specifically at Coast Honda, there are a number of additional reasons that I love Honda’s cars:

  1. Reliability
  2. Gas mileage
  3. Style (internal and external)
  4. Price/Value
  5. Storage room
  6. Safety features

Cars tend to bring out a lot of emotion in some people. I’m not one of them. I want a vehicle that I can rely on to get me from point A to point B and one that doesn’t need to be in the shop every month. Honda’s vehicles have been doing this for me for the better part of 15 years. It would take quite a lot to get me to move to another automobile manufacturer (read: free car or an abysmal drop-off from Honda over the coming years).

Are you loyal to a particular automaker? If so, which one? My recommendation would be to take a look across Honda’s portfolio to see if there is a vehicle for you …

Which Honda is right for you?  Take a look on Honda.com

Which Honda is right for you? Take a look on Honda.com

If you have a brand or service that you consider yourself loyal to and are interested in guest blogging on ShoreBranding.com, please do reach out and let me know via the Comments section below or through the Contact page. You can find our other “Loyalty to Brands” write-ups here.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-22-14

World Cup Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding (Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.com)

World Cup Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding
(Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.com)

This week’s #SundayMusings focuses on one of the world’s largest sporting events going on right now, the World Cup. There have been a number of brands dedicating a significant portion of budget to ads revolving around the soccer/football tournament. Let’s dive right in!

#1 – World Cup 2014 – The World Cup, lived through the eyes of brands and marketing – via MarketingWorldCup.Tumblr.com 

Premise: A continuously updated branding/marketing blog was created on Tumblr that keeps track of all branding and marketing-related news and stories around the World Cup.

Thoughts: While I can’t stand the Tumblr platform, this feels like a good place to start, no? From YouTube ads/clips to infographics to news on the World Cup’s sponsor (and “fake” sponsor) brands, this page has it all for you.

#2 – World Cup 2014: The best and worst quirky promotional stunts – in pictures via Telegraph.co.uk  

Premise: A visual look into some of the best and worst branding work done at this year’s World Cup, largely geared towards the UK.

Thoughts: There were several images in here that are eye-catching: Page 1, the stack of 1,500 Pringles cans forming the sneaker and on Page 7, the Coca-Cola promotion with the 3D painting of Brazil. There weren’t any “awful” pictures shown here as nothing was too off the wall. Although, in reading through 100’s if not 1000’s of World Cup tweets and article headlines, I know they exist out there.

#3 – “Which World Cup Sponsors Are Resonating With Fans” via AdWeek.com 

Premise: Going into the World Cup brands were already spending large amounts of marketing dollars to grab the attention of fans and supporters. Adidas is an official sponsor of the World Cup but struggled to differentiate itself as such vs. Nike. Omnicom tracked the positive and negative mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs and found that several official sponsors were struggling to resonate with fans.

Thoughts: The table at the end of the article takes a look at the official sponsors of the World Cup and their positive/negative mentions going into the start of the tournament. Hyundai and Continental AG surprisingly showed 100% “positive” comments. Even if the number of mentions is lower than most others, this is still impressive given the nature of taking to social media to talk/complain about brands. Adidas led the way in total mentions on this research but only 58% of commentary was positive, one of the lower percentages across sponsors.

#4 – “8 Brands That Totally Nailed Their World Cup Ads” via blog.hubspot.com  

Premise: The authors pulled together what they felt were the eight best ads of the World Cup. Knowing the overall size of the World Cup and how no other sporting event shines as bright on a global stage, what brands are shining/breaking through that door and standing out? Take a look for yourself … as the writer drops in the ads, the advertiser and the agency responsible for the creative.

Thoughts: My favorites among these eight are Nike’s “Winner Stays”, Kia’s “Adriana Lima Transforms a Man Cave” and McDonad’s “Gol!” ads. As you will see in a number of World Cup-related write-ups, Nike has completely hijacked the ad and branding news from Adidas – again, the official sponsor of the event. Kia essentially news hijacks the global event to create a fun ad/spot, but it was the McDonald’s ad that really won here. No famous athletes or stars, just ordinary people doing some amazing stunts. Here’s the ad itself:

#5 – “Brands Are Ready for a Socially Sophisticated 2014 World Cup” via ClickZ.com  

Premise: The 2010 World Cup started the move to a “social” event but the 2014 sporting event is taking things to another stratosphere. It all starts with FIFA and their adaptation to social media with their “Global Stadium” endeavor. FIFA is also working directly with Twitter to monitor the #WorldCup hashtag. The author then goes into a number of brands that will be leveraging social media during the World Cup, including sponsors and non-sponsors of the event.

Thoughts: Figured it was important to find an article that referenced FIFA for our World Cup #SundayMusings. The group/brand was smart to forge the partnership with Twitter (and elsewhere?) to measure (and promote) the event itself. Don’t believe me that Twitter is helping sell/engage with an audience? I’ve received a handful of emails from the site itself regarding the event, including the one below. Earlier this week, they provided an update on the Twitter Blog for how metrics were looking to that point of the World Cup as well.

Twitter is capturing a ton of data for the World Cup!

Twitter is capturing a ton of data for the World Cup!

 

Tweet of the Week:

It was virtually impossible to pick just one brand-related tweet revolving around the World Cup. The action and promotion has been non-stop. Therefore, I’ve gone with the official TV partner of the event here in the US – ESPN. Say what you will about the company, and I have, they have rolled out the red carpet for the World Cup and are doing a great job with the global event.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! What has been your favorite ad or campaign from the World Cup this year? Want more information? Take a look at the infographic below that focuses on this month’s big event!

World Cup Infographic - Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding

World Cup Infographic – Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding

Pin of the Month – Retail Loyalty

June's "Pin of the Month" from Kobie Marketing Retail Loyalty in 2014

June’s “Pin of the Month” from Kobie Marketing
Retail Loyalty in 2014

Our June ‘Pin of the Month’ focuses on retail loyalty and how mobile technology is forwarding the market. The infographic is brought to us by Kobie Marketing. We’ve been focusing on mobile in recent weeks through our bi-weekly #SundayMusings and even in last month’s Pin of the Month – the Smartphone Revolution.

If you have spent any time on this site over the past year, I think we can align on the fact that more and more people are using smartphones and they are becoming more and more of a part of our everyday lives. Within the infographic we see a relatively bold statement from Kobie that “2014 will be the year of seamless transition between brick-and-mortar, online, and mobile”.

How many of you are already using your mobile while you are out shopping to do comparative pricing, find a quick recommendation or feedback on a particular item, etc.? I know I find myself doing this a lot more frequently. Given this behavior, Kobie’s infographic would include me in that 40% consulting three or more channels before a purchase and the 78% that are checking social media platforms to interact with brands.

How are brands and companies dealing with this in order to win more frequently with potential customers? They are leveraging mobile-based technologies, most specifically GPS or location-based services to better target consumers. You see targeted ads across mobile applications, more relevant advertising in your Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc.

How relevant is mobile in your current shopping patterns and behavior? How do you think that will change this year?

For those that may be unfamiliar with our Pin of the Month, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we typically find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a blog write-up. Follow Shore Branding on Pinterest for frequent updates across branding and digital-related information and infographics.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-8-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings! This week we will be focusing on retail-related news and stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks. As a quick aside, we will also be focusing on retail and retail loyalty in the forthcoming June “Pin of the Month” next weekend. For now, here are the stories that caught my attention.

#1 – Do Tablets Have The Power To Revolutionize Retail – via CMO.com 

Premise: While not there yet, tablets will soon be everywhere. Similar to how the iPod revolutionized the music industry, tablets will turn the retail landscape on its head. It is predicted that half of the US will have a tablet within the next few years. Tablets are a research-friendly device for customers and the author provides several additional motivating facts for leveraging tablets for your business.

Thoughts: The second screen has changed consumers’ behaviors – from how they watch television to the entire retail/shopping experience. The Nordstrom example provided by the author is a great way to show how a retailer can leverage a tablet to create a unique experience for its customers. Bookmark the site for future write-ups on how tablets are impacting additional industries as well.

#2 – Square Begins Offering Data Driven Cash Advances To Small Businesses via TechCrunch.com  

Premise: Square, the mobile payment company, announced that it is rolling out Square Capital which will offer cash advances to businesses within its network. Companies already leveraging Square’s services will be able to access the cash advances and each business will be individually judged on the amount of the advance based on Square’s in-house data.

The benefits of the service include faster turnaround for receiving the cash advance and the significantly lower fees vs. a typical loan. The data that Square holds allows the company to update its offers to businesses on the fly.

Thoughts: Square continues to evolve and the more I read about the company the more I am impresses with the company’s management and management decisions. This offering injects capital into retailers and other businesses and allows them to invest what they want and when they want it. The background data that the company holds on each business allows Square to make smart business decisions on how much the advance can and should be.

#3 – “7 Easy Loyalty Program Ideas for Your New Store” via TheStoreStarters.com 

Premise: “Customers love loyalty programs” and the author provides seven different ideas for how your retail business can leverage a loyalty program to increase engagement with customers. From punch cards to couponing to more strategic efforts, the author’s tips/ideas are all up for consideration across all types of stores and retailers.

Thoughts: The last two items listed in the write-up caught my attention. “Social media loyalty discounts” seem to have gone by the wayside a bit. I see less and less deals on foursquare in my area, while employees at several retailers are completely unaware of the offerings when I show them my phone for the deal. If you are going to offer deals on social media, make sure you keep up with the times, refresh the offer to change things up a bit, and please ensure your employees are aware of any and all offerings out there.

The last tip/idea of making exclusive offers for loyal customers also caught my eye. You want to create brand ambassadors for your business so that they will talk about you to friends and family. Offering them exclusive deals will help increase their engagement with you and keep them coming back for more.

#4 – “Mobile Apps – Changing the Face of Retail Industry” via ExploreB2B.com  

Premise: Mobile has made a significant impact on the retail industry, changing shopping behaviors and keeping consumers more informed about the products they are considering buying. Mobile apps are helping retailers better understand their customers as well. Retailers are able to improve loyalty, push out notifications, and engage their customer base for feedback through their apps. The author provides four ways in which mobile apps are helping improve the shopping experience, not only for the customer, but also for the retailers themselves.

Thoughts: Mobile apps help build/improve a strong loyalty program for the retailer and can be an important part of CRM. Perhaps the most effective part of a good mobile app, at least in my opinion, is the third example the author provides – the app can be a low-cost, yet effective marketing tool. Retailers can push out deals and offers to its customers – those that have “opted in” to the brand simply by downloading their app.

(A great example of this is Starbucks – take a look at the first few paragraphs of our last “Brand in Focus” which compliments the retailer’s mobile efforts.)

#5 – “How Walmart Uses Receipts to Personalize Mobile Marketing” via GetElastic.com  

Premise: Last month, Walmart made a potentially important change to their mobile marketing platform, allowing customers to save their receipts to their mobile application vs. receiving paper or email receipts for their purchase. When checking out the customer can provide their mobile number to receive a text message that will sync to the mobile account. There are benefits to the system on both ends, for the customer and for Walmart.

Thoughts: For those willing and able, customers can make their shopping experience that much easier by converting to the mobile platform Walmart has installed. However, from the retailer’s perspective, this system will provide a wealth of data and information that Walmart can then use to help tailor its marketing for individual users based on past experience.

Are you willing to sign up for this type of offer at Walmart, or any other retailer that this type of system could be installed in?

Tweet of the Week:

Last month Amazon and Twitter announced a partnership that will allow Twitter users to make purchases on Amazon by simply sending a tweet marked with “#AmazonCart”. The first step is to sync your Amazon and Twitter accounts. From there, if and when you see an item from Amazon all you have to do is respond on Twitter with the hashtag and product and voila, you will/should have the product in your Amazon orders.

A similar type of program was launched on Twitter with American Express last year. It will be interesting to see if or how this takes off and if this truly builds a stronger platform for both companies.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! Have a great week ahead!

Brand in Focus – Starbucks

 

Recognize this logo?

Recognize this logo?

Welcome to another edition of ‘Brand in Focus’ – our look into the branding and digital marketing efforts of specific brands and companies. In this edition we’ll be focusing on one of the most talked about, successful brands to engage with its customers across social media … Starbucks.

Starbucks.com promotes its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, before we even dive into each one, let’s take a minute to talk about their own web site. In preparing this entry, the ‘current’ landing page goes right into mobile marketing with a request to text them to receive offers over your phone. I happened to give this a whirl and was signed up for their SMS program and this was the second message that was sent my way:

Starbucks Mobile Ad ... Thank you!

Starbucks Mobile Ad … Thank you!

Awesome! Immediately under the SMS program / headline is a link to sign up for their My Starbucks Rewards™ program (commonly viewed as one of the premiere rewards programs out there). There is a wealth of information on the home page, including a store locator, a link to your personal account, a search box and another link to sign up for their email program. Immediately, it is pretty clear that Starbucks “gets it” when it comes to what a company web site can and should be used for.

At the time of this write-up, Starbucks can boast a strong following across networks: 36.6+ million fans on Facebook, 6.1+ million followers on Twitter, and 2.5 million followers on Google+. Let’s take a look into each.

Facebook:

Clicking on their cover photo below, I found that this actually came from a fan’s Instagram account. You can view the conversation that the Starbucks team is having directly with the fan and asking them permission to use the photo on Facebook. You don’t think that this is creating a lifetime fan immediately?

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

One of the items that I particularly enjoy reading about is the brand’s timeline, particularly those that go back and tell the story of how the brand was started and key events that took place over time – well before Facebook and others ever existed.

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

What also caught my attention here is that, in comparison to the amount of Likes, Shares, and Comments the company sees on its regular posts, this particular entry “only” has 1,300+ Likes and 70+ Comments. Now, compare that to your regular postings from Starbucks:

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall ... Oh my

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall … Oh my

Multiple items worth calling out here:

  • Starbucks regularly creates its own hashtags for its posts
  • You won’t find a recent post that doesn’t have an image attached with it
  • Hundreds, if not thousands of shares
  • Thousands of comments, including interaction between Fans – not always positive, but Fans very much willing to engage with one another and the brand
  • Tens of thousands of Likes on each post

Twitter:

Starbucks’ Twitter page is a little less visual given the more frequent messages that are being sent out on the network. The brand has sent out over 20K tweets since joining Twitter. One item that quickly caught my attention was that the Twitter page clearly has owners at the company (see red box within the image below).

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

You’ll find a slew of hashtags being used by the company on Twitter. One of the more regular hashtags being leveraged is “#ProTip”, where the company offers up an ingredient or mix to delight your (or someone’s) taste buds.

On average, Starbucks will see several hundred retweets and upwards of around 1,000 favorites for their tweeting efforts. Not bad at all, but clearly not the level of engagement they see on Facebook either. Given their advanced use of social media in general, I have to imagine that they are keeping an eye on many, if not all, of the hashtags that the brand throws out there on a regular basis to see what type of traction they are getting.

Google+:

A few items caught my eye on the Starbucks “About” page on G+. First, they have created a Community called “Starbucks Partners” that is an online forum for all of its employees. This is a fantastic idea to give employees an open forum to talk about the company. Second, the company has taken the time to put together a thorough ‘Story’ on the G+ page.

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

At the bottom of their “About” page you will find a number of links, including; their homepage, YouTube page, Facebook, Twitter, as well as several Starbucks-branded landing pages – Ideas for others to submit, eGifts, and an online shop for its products. Once again, a very strong page that provides a tremendous amount of information that drives engagement with its followers/customers.

A typical post on G+ from Starbucks receives somewhere between 500-1K +1’s and ~100 shares. It looks like holiday-themed posts with pictures draw more traction with followers. Bringing in Oprah to promote a SKU for one of your latest acquisitions (Teavana) doesn’t hurt either …

Starbucks adds "a little" celebrity power to it

Starbucks adds “a little” celebrity power to it

One final spot that I took a quick glance at was the Starbucks YouTube page that is directly connected to their G+ profile. The brand has playlists broken out by its footprint in various markets around the world, as well as their commercial spots, Starbucks jobs, and several other topics. The page has approximately 30K subscribers.

Overall Summary:

Starbucks is a clear star (oh boy…) in social media. They have developed a passionate following for the brand and have built thousands of brand ambassadors. Their efforts on all three social networks are held in high regard as the company adapts their message to each platform appropriately/accordingly.

What is your opinion of Starbucks’ branding and digital marketing strategy across each network? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-25-14

 

A mobile #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit: ZDNet.com)

A mobile #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit: ZDNet.com)

 

Today’s #SundayMusings puts the focus back on mobile and mobile marketing thanks to last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” from guest writer Dean Olsen. Here are the top stories that relate to mobile from the past couple of weeks.

#1 – Wearable Baby Tech Aims to Bring Peace of Mind to New Parents – via BrandChannel.com 

Premise: There are a number of new products entering the market that bring tech to our children, including wearables. There is the Mimo Kimono that feeds a baby’s information to an app for parents, to a smart sock from Owlet Baby Care. Finally, Leap Frog has a new product called the LeapBand that works vastly similar to adult bands that track your activity over the course of the day.

Thoughts: This caught my attention for multiple reasons. First and foremost, we introduced our first child to the world last week and it has been a whirlwind ever since. Second, I can’t decide whether or not this technology is a good thing or bad thing, as I completely see both sides of the fence. I’m hoping my wife can make the call on this and whether or not we want to purchase any of these products (or similar ones). I’ll keep you posted … [Read more...]