Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-8-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

As we head into and through the end of the year, there are a number of different branding efforts taking place.  This week’s #SundayMusings runs the gamut across a few of these holidays as brands have begun their year end marketing campaigns.  

#1 –  “Top hotel bonus points promotions for Thanksgiving week stays” via LoyaltyTraveler.com

Premise: Loyalty Traveler informs its readers of the best hotel travel deals for Thanksgiving week, one of the biggest travel weeks of the year in the US.  

Thoughts: Across all of the major hotel chains – Hilton, Marriott, IHG, etc. – you will be able to find the current promotions and deals in this article.  Depending on your loyalty across each, I’m sure you will be able to find something if you are considering traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

#2 – “REI Stores are Closing on Thanksgiving” via REI.com

Thoughts: No premise is needed here.  You have probably seen this announcement from REI, completely closing their stores on Black Friday.  Thank you! #SaveThanksgiving

Even better news … the retailer will be paying its employees as if it is a regular workday and have opted to turn this into a hashtag campaign – #OptOutside.  Well played REI!

#3 – “Why Hallmark is Ditching TV, and Sentimental Ads, for a Bit of Biting Humor this Holiday” via AdWeek.com

Premise: For the first time, Hallmark is abandoning TV advertising for its Keepsake holiday ads, going with an all digital approach.  There are a handful of ads on its microsite for the campaign and the company is using the #KeepsakeIt hashtag for the campaign.  

Thoughts: It pains me to write anything about Christmas here – ahead of Thanksgiving – but I did want to bring to your attention.  It is telling when a brand rich in tradition decides to completely abandon the TV and go all digital.  The times, they are a changin’ …

Tweet of the Week:

 

Self-serving?  Sure.  A good cause?  Absolutely!  Check out the SaveThanksgiving.net online food drive on Feeding America through the link in the tweet above.  Help others who are struggling to put a meal on the table.  Thank you!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!

 

Let’s #SaveThanksgiving – 2015

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us ... #SaveThanksgiving Gobble Gobble

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us … #SaveThanksgiving
Gobble Gobble

As we kick off the month of November, Halloween has past and we move into the official holiday season here in the US.  Too often, we find ourselves skipping over my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving – in order to concentrate on Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years.  Retailers and brands have done this too, continuing to have Black Friday creep into the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  

For the past two years, we have promoted SaveThanksgiving.net and the #SaveThanksgiving hashtag across social media platforms.  This year is no different.  For weeks, I’ve seen retailers starting to decorate for Christmas.  That’s before Halloween people!  Stop it!

However, there is some hope.  Staples announced that after being open on Thanksgiving Day in years past, it will remain closed this year.  I’m hoping that many, if not all, of the retailers that stayed closed in 2014 will remain closed this year as well.  If you hear of others that have changed their tact and will now close their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year, please do let me know.  

What can you do to help?  Glad you asked …

I was thinking about creating a #SaveThanksgiving t-shirt on Booster.com.  If you are interested in purchasing one, please let me know and if a few people reach out to me, I’ll get that up and running immediately.  

Help #SaveThanksgiving!  For more, visit SaveThanksgiving.net and follow our #SaveThanksgiving Pinterest board.  

Thank you!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-25-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

Welcome to a Halloween themed #SundayMusings with Shore Branding!  With next weekend being the holiday here in the US, let’s take a look at what you may want to do, or avoid, for the holiday.  We’ll also take a look at a few early winners when it comes to their Halloween branding efforts!

#1 –  “5 Scarily Bad Brand Personality Traits to Avoid This Halloween (and After)” via Business2Community.com

Premise: With every holiday comes a desire and plan to tailor your brand’s message or social media posts to make it relevant.  However, there are a number of items to avoid when thinking about tying your brand to a Halloween, or any other holiday, themed message, post, etc.

Thoughts: This really didn’t have to be tied to Halloween at all.  However, arrogance and/or dullness in your posts, message, etc. top this list in my opinion.  There is no need to break through the clutter through something provocative if that isn’t your normal tone.  Stay consistent.  

#2 – “5 Designs We Love: Seasonal Branding for Halloween” via WorkDesignGroup.com

Premise: Five of the top branding and/or packaging items that have been seen thus far for the forthcoming Halloween holiday.  

Thoughts: I really like what Fanta did with their packaging.  Great look and an even better bit of innovation to it, by turning it into a drink dispenser and, from what I can tell, a Halloween basket as well.  Doesn’t that look like a Halloween basket to you?  

The other winner here is one of the most digital savvy brands we have, Oreo.  Naturally … #3 – “This App Will Help You Find the Perfect Wine to Pair With Your Halloween Candy” via AdWeek.com Premise: I’m relatively positive the title of this article says it all, as Vivino – an app for winos … excuse me, “wine enthusiasts” has launched this year’s perfect pairings between Halloween candy and wine.    Thoughts: This is simply fantastic.  Added bonus, it comes with an infographic!  An interesting point worth mentioning is that there are no specific brands mentioned or referenced in the pairing, only types of wine.  That sounds like a future brandscaping opportunity for a wine company! Tweet of the Week:

I’m not even sure where to go with this one.  Hanes XTemp technology keeps you cool as you load up on your Halloween costume, layers, and yes, hair.  Fantastic use of the holiday that can be reapplied for Christmas in a few months in a similar manner I’m sure.

Added bonus time, here is my favorite Halloween Vine thus far (from Lowe’s) …

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!  Happy Halloween and Happy Halloween Branding efforts to those giving it a try!

 

Pin of the Month – The ROI of Social Media

Infographic by Likeable Local, Likeable Media

Infographic by Likeable Local, Likeable Media

October’s “Pin of the Month” comes from one of, if not my favorite social media marketing companies out there, Likeable Local a division of Likeable Media.  Founded by Dave Kerpen, the company has taken giant steps forward over the past decade or so in social media marketing and its own, proprietary software and information.

Likeable’s infographic is a nice teaser into the power of social media and how it can improve your brand and help you achieve your goals.  In a straightforward manner, we see how WOM has changed over time, with social media making it easier to let your friends and family know that you would recommend a brand, business, etc.  Instead of that WOM spreading one person at a time, one post on social media is likely seen by dozens, if not hundreds of your friends and followers.  

The infographic quotes a few numbers from outside sources, saying a whopping 92% believe that WOM recommendations from friends and family are more believable vs. any form of advertising.  You wonder why companies are asking you to rate them across social media and online forums?

There are ways to invest in social media appropriately, including tracking how well your money spent is impacting your business.  If you have questions, concerns, or issues with your social media marketing and planning, do not hesitate to ask.  In building on the WOM aspects of our “Pin of the Month”, I would not hesitate to recommend Likeable / Likeable Local to you.  Give them a try and tell them I sent you!

What catches your attention in this month’s infographic?  Let us know in the comments below or drop me an email at john@shorebranding.com.  

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-) analyze it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let me know.  Thanks!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-11-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings takes a look at the most recent advertising stories that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.  What brands have caught your attention recently with their ad efforts – whether that be by TV, digital, or elsewhere?

#1 –  “Are Marketers Finally Getting the Hang of Locattion-Based Mobile Ads” via AdWeek.com

Premise: While location-based advertising on mobile devices has been a small portion of mobile ad spending, there continues to be progress made in this arena.  Companies like Essence and xAd have worked with Google to improve this targeted approach at mobile advertising.  

Thoughts: Location-based marketing continues to slowly move forward and we’re only going to see increases in spend levels here as technology gets stronger and platforms become richer.  Push notifications from the likes of Google, Foursquare and others on my mobile, leave no doubt in my mind that this is going to continue to grow.  

Just over two years ago (wow!) I did some testing with Nearwoo and while this slightly moves the needle from location-based marketing per se, the ability to drill down at such a granular level is a highly impactful resource for businesses – big and small.  

#2 – “Ready or Not, Here Comes Your First Big Weepy 2015 Holiday Prank Commercial” via AdFreak.com

Premise: Shaw Communications released an ad for Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday and won the internet for a few hours, surprising family members with others returning ‘home’ for the holiday.

Thoughts: Originally saw this link and thought for sure it would be Christmas ad, which naturally made my blood boil.  However, this was a great ad that truly does get you thinking about what the holidays really are, or should be about.  

As always, let’s #SaveThanksgiving – no matter what country you celebrate it in!!

#3 – AdWords and Social Media: King and Queen of Advertising – SlideShare.net

Thoughts: A look back at the history of Google’s AdWords and how it has boomed since social media has taken off over the past decade or so.  Interesting to continue to see how AdWords evolves and how powerful the platform is / has become.  

Is your brand/business using AdWords?  How effective has it been for you?

Tweet of the Week:

Well, Carl’s Jr. certainly sparked the controversy recently with its latest ad.  Let’s just say that this is the least revealing tweet you will find on their #TexMexBacon campaign.  Not only did we get the standard “sexist” commentary from this campaign, they managed to make it political as well with some folks saying it was controversial because of the US/Mexican border “issues” that are on-going.  

Can we just enjoy advertising for what it is and not turn everything into such a PC-driven debate?!  Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!  

 

Loyalty to Brands – Guinness

"Loyalty to Brands" - Guinness (Photo by lazygamer.net)

“Loyalty to Brands” – Guinness
(Photo by lazygamer.net)

For our latest “Loyalty to Brands” we are continuing an official “Beer Month” here at Shore Branding.  Over the past decade, my taste buds have changed and my preference for which beer is regularly sitting in our refrigerator has become Guinness.

My loyalty, or even consideration, towards Guinness actually didn’t start until a trip to Europe about a decade ago.  It wasn’t a beer of choice at the time, but I also knew there was no way you could pop into Ireland and not have the homebred beer.  As soon as I tried the local Guinness, I started to get hooked.  (Note: The Guinness brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland was of course closed for some type of renovations when we visited.)

While Guinness has tried to grow through brand extensions, it is the original draught beer that keeps me coming back.  In fact, the only two extensions that I have really enjoyed at all are the Red Harvest Stout and the 1759 Limited Edition Amber Ale – check out the latter on Guinness’ page for more information and a great video.

Aside from the product itself, what has helped “feed” my loyalty towards Guinness?

  1. Arthur’s Day – a celebration for Arthur Guinness that was started in 2009 and ended in 2013 because we aren’t allowed to have nice things in today’s world.  
  2. Their TV ads …

Like this …

And this …

Those two ads “prove” you don’t have to sell comedy or sex to further sales in the beer or liquor industry.  

What is your preferred adult beverage?  Why?  Let me know in the Comments below.  

As always, 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 – 9-27-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

With the start of the NFL season in swing and Oktoberfest starting in Germany this weekend, it is time to dedicate a #SundayMusings to beer.  It has been a long time coming and will also be part of next weekend’s “Loyalty to Brands”.  Here are a few stories that caught my attention in recent weeks across beer brands.

#1 –  “Guinness raises a glass to Denis Leary’s Firefighters Foundation with $224K donation” via IrishCentral.com

Premise: Guinness has donated just under $224K to actor/comedian Denis Leary’s Firefighters Foundation, in support of firefighters nationwide.  The relationship between the beer brand and Leary has been going on for a couple of years now, with Guinness giving back to the community in a very noble way.  For more information you can visit GuinessGivesBack.com.  

Thoughts: The first thought for many when asked about Denis Leary may be a foul-mouthed comedian or the star of Rescue Me.  However, he does a lot of good through his foundation, the genesis of which comes from an unfortunate life event.  

Kudos to Guinness for continuing the relationship not only through its donations, but continued PR and ad support behind the cause as well.  

#2 – “Bud Light and Google Partner To Win Football Fans On The Second Screen” via prnewswire.com

Premise: Bud Light, the official beer of the NFL, is partnering with Google (and YouTube) to market its product to those using a second screen during football.  Whether you are searching for scores or fantasy football updates online, you are likely to wind up seeing some type of marketing effort from Bud Light.  

Thoughts: Bud Light is working with 28 of the 32 NFL teams, having created a unique can for each of the 28.  I actually saw a good amount of responses from Bud Light’s Twitter feed, as they replied to many NFL fans across teams with quick GIF files of that respective team’s Bud Light can.  Needless to say, Bud Light is listening and taking content marketing to another level through its online channels.

#3 – Miller Lite – Free Rides

Premise: Miller Lite is partnering with various transit systems and communities to give away free rides to promote safety and to prevent drunk driving with this site.  

Thoughts: How do you build saliency when your number one competitor has the national partnership with the most prevalent sports league in the US?  You do a little good for society.  The program has provided almost 5 million free rides to date.

I noticed this on Twitter as well, when Miller Lite was promoting the program for the Eagles and Cowboys game from Week 1 and thought it was a fantastic program that deserved more attention.

Tweet of the Week:

While there are Oktoberfest’s held all over the world, nothing compares to the one that started last Saturday in Germany.  Bucketlist …

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings!  What is your favorite beer and why?

 

Pin of the Month – Brands Insuring Celebrity Bodies

Infographic by MyBreast.org

Infographic by MyBreast.org

September’s “Pin of the Month” found its way into my Inbox a few weeks ago and I felt like I had to use it.  It is too good and too unique not to for brand and branding related purposes.  Kudos to MyBreast.org for putting this one together.  

You were wondering what brands pony up insurance money for their celebrity endorsements, weren’t you?  This feeds somewhat off of last weekend’s #SundayMusings albeit there was a sole focus on athlete-celebrity endorsement.  

From head to toe (or foot …) brands are insuring celebrity body parts to help with the PR behind their campaigns.  Honestly, nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to celebrities and the whacky behaviors that they can get away with, so this infographic didn’t even phase me when reading what brands were doing and for how much they were insuring celebrity body parts for.  

The PR spin machines have been working wonders for years across CPG/household products and food chains.  

Which brands caught my uninsured eyes here?

  • Head & Shoulders and P&G have worked with Troy Polamalu for years so it isn’t surprising to see them insure his long locks.  
  • Sports marketing enthusiast and pizza maker Papa John’s has his hands insured because … well, naturally …
  • Gillette/Venus sponsoring a $1 billion insurance policy on Mariah Carey’s legs is probably the most eye popping.  I can actually envision Carey flipping out at the negotiation in her crazy voice saying “I demand … one billion dollars” …

OneBillionDollars Dr Evil

What brands catch your attention in the infographic above?  Let us know in the comments below or drop me an email at john@shorebranding.com.  

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-) analyze it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let me know.  Thanks!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-13-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - The Super Bowl Edition! (Photo credit: MixedNutsAndLove.deviantart.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding 
(Photo credit: MixedNutsAndLove.deviantart.com)

The start of the NFL season is upon us and this week’s #SundayMusings dives into the the top news and stories that have caught my attention heading into the season.    

#1 –  “Teflon Tom: Why Brady’s Brand Remains Bulletproof” via AdWeek.com

Premise: A federal judge overruled the NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league on New England Patriots’ QB Tom Brady’s suspension.  Over his 14 year career, Brady has developed a superior brand image through four Super Bowl rings and numerous endorsements.  “DeflateGate” and “SpyGate” notwithstanding, Brady’s image remains unscathed.   

Thoughts: If you have been following this DeflateGate story at all, you are probably sick of it and have been for months.  Nothing like Roger Goodell to overreach and then be brought back down to earth by the judicial system.  Tom Brady’s personal brand and image have nothing to worry about now and whenever he decides to hang up the laces.

#2 – “Jared Who?  Subway Turns Spotlight to Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota” via brandchannel.com

Premise: The #2 pick in this past year’s NFL Draft, QB Marcus Mariota, is the latest athlete to cut a sponsorship and ad deal with Subway, the troubled sandwich maker.  The start of the NFL season allows Subway to bombard the NFL audience with its latest sports star, trying to deflect any and all references to ex-spokesperson, Jared Fogle, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks and months.

Thoughts: With Mariota going to the Tennessee Titans – generally seen as a “small market team” in the NFL – it will be interesting to see how many deals his agent can get him signed to.  

I don’t see how this really supplants the “Jared news” however, as that unfortunate story isn’t going away anytime soon.  At the same time, Subway’s ad campaigns have been focusing on athletes for a number of years now and across sports, so this isn’t some new direction for the company.  

#3 – “JJ Watt is football’s real-life action hero” via ESPN.com

Premise: JJ Watt has quickly become a/the face of the NFL despite being a Defensive Linemen – a position not well noted for producing a lot of high-level celebrity endorsements.  While immensely talented on the field, Watt also seems to have the “it” factor off the field, and has lined up sponsorship deals with the likes of Gatorade, Reebok, and Papa John’s.   

Thoughts: There are a good number of interesting thoughts and ideas in this article from agency folk and ESPN’s own, Darren Rovell.  It is estimate that Watt already makes about $2.5-$3 million annually in sponsorship deals and that number is likely going to continue to rise.  At this growth rate, I’ll probably be sick of JJ Watt by November 1st.  However, more power to him, he needs to keep going in building his personal brand.  

#4 – “Bud Light Unveils 28 Different Team-Specific Cans for NFL Fans” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Bud Light has created unique cans for 28 of the NFL’s 32 teams – with the four exceptions (Bears, Packers, Cowboys and Vikings) being omitted because they have their own deals with MillerCoors.

Thoughts: AB continues to amp up its sports marketing efforts year after year.  What really caught my eye here is the fact that they showcase the Seattle Seahawks can at the top of the article.  If someone could send me a few of those it would be greatly appreciated …

Tweet of the Week:

Preface: I haven’t played Fantasy Football in about a decade at this point.  But DraftKings.com (and its competitors) have completely hit a home run over the past ~2 years with how they have developed and evolved fantasy sports.  Rather than having the “player” invested in a full season, they take a week by week and day by day approach to the online betting.  Not to mention, their ads are pretty awesome …

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings!  The NFL branding continues to take a hit every offseason with news and stories that take the eyes and ears away from the field.  Part of me enjoys seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell squirm or act like a pompous fool during his PR campaigns.  In any case, try to enjoy the NFL season on the field over the next 17 weeks!

 

Brand in Focus – LeapFrog

Visit LeapFrog.com for the latest in kids toys, games, and technology!

Visit LeapFrog.com for the latest in kids toys, games, and technology!

The next brand to be placed “in focus” is LeapFrog – which builds off of last weekend’s #SundayMusings focus on brands that have entered our household since the birth of our child last year.  LeapFrog is the creator of a number of educational toys, games, and technology-driven gadgets for the young ones in the house.  We have found their products to be fun and engaging, while also catering to my gadget geekdom.  

Let’s look under the hood on how LeapFrog brands itself online and across social media platforms in our latest “Brand in Focus”!

LeapFrog Homepage 1

LeapFrog’s own website is easy to use and makes it easy to find what you are looking for.  Directly below the headlines in the screenshot above you will find the ability to find the right LeapFrog product by product category and/or by your child’s age bracket.  Easy enough, right?

Further down you will find verbatim responses and quotes from LeapFrog users, a nice way to resonate with potential customers and those that have yet to try its products.  

LeapFrog Homepage 2

You won’t find links to LeapFrog’s social media sites until you hit the bottom of the home page – where the company has direct links to its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest pages.  Let’s dive into each …

Facebook:

LeapFrog currently has over 1.1 million likes on Facebook.  Just about every weekday you will find at least one update on LeapFrog’s Facebook page.  Engagement with fans goes through peaks and valleys, somewhat surprisingly.  There are some posts that catch less than 100 “Likes” but there are others that easily exceed triple digits.  

One of the more successful posts – in terms of driving Likes and shares – is seen below, the Facebook announcement of LeapFrog Epic, the latest tablet to be launched by the company last month.   

Introducing the brand new LeapFrog Epic, our newest tablet with a kid-perfect UI that grows with your child and lets…

Posted by LeapFrog on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 

The other item that caught my eye is that there are a lot of calls to action or tabs at the top of LeapFrog’s Facebook page – and that’s a good thing in my opinion.  They provide you with a Customer Support page for email and phone support.  They also have links to their other social media feeds, and across product pages.  

LeapFrog Facebook

Twitter:

There is a big drop-off in the number of followers from Facebook to Twitter, where LeapFrog has a little under 30K followers on the latter.  There is also a little bit more of a gap in frequency on their Twitter feed, where there is occasionally a week or so going by without an update.  

However, one item that caught my eye in August and it falls under the Brandscaping category – where LeapFrog and Toys R Us came together on 8/26 for a #ToysForAll Twitter chat.  An excellent job by the two companies to come together for a good cause.

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat

YouTube:

Similar to its Twitter numbers, LeapFrog has slightly under 30K followers on YouTube.  However, LeapFrog’s uploaded videos on YouTube have driven over 30 million views!  LeapFrog’s YouTube page provides a plethora of information and video to guide yourself through.  The content is nicely organized as well – take a look at the “Playlists” page and you’ll find that someone has taken the time to organize the video uploads by product categories.  

What actually caught my eye and drove home the decision to put LeapFrog in focus this quarter is the new ad below.  I first saw it during a commercial break on Hulu and thought it was well done … and well targeted by Hulu’s algorithm given how much kid-friendly content we have purged through in recent months.  

Pinterest:

A similar level of focus and detail can be found on LeapFrog’s Pinterest page and boards, with Pins and boards ordered by season, holiday, product category and more.  You will also see a Holiday wish-list board for each of the past three years.  

LeapFrog Pinterest

I’m a little surprised that LeapFrog “only” has 14K followers on Pinterest, as I would have thought this would be a great place for moms to follow the brand and to get ideas for their children via a more visually stimulating platform.  

Overall Summary:

I’m very impressed with the level of detail that goes into organizing LeapFrog’s content on each of the social media platforms.  Someone, or a group of people, are doing a great job at paying attention to detail for the company.  

One item that did catch my eye when flipping across networks is that the LeapFrog website does not directly connect to its Google+ or Instagram pages.  However, those do exist and are out there, but I like the focus on where they have more traction right now.  

What have you seen from LeapFrog across platforms that you like/dislike?  Are you currently using their products, and if so, why?  Let us know in the Comments section below.