Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-13-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  Our bi-weekly write-up has a new focus topic this week and that is content marketing.  Content marketing has become all the rage, but truth be told, I see it as a fancy phrase that is an extension of your branding efforts.  I’m sure many will disagree with this sentiment, but that’s my view on the latest catchphrase in marketing.

#1 – 9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared – via JeffBullas.com 

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his top nine tips for creating content that gets shared.  From identifying your audience/target through “making information accessible”, Jeff provides a good amount of context for each of his nine tips.

Thoughts: All nine of the tips found this article are useful and ought to be kept in mind as you (re-)focus on your content.  The one tip that seems highly relevant given our changes to these #SundayMusings write-ups is “#6 – Pay attention to trends”.  That was the main reason for moving to a topic-focused style of writing for #SundayMusings and our numbers and shares across social media have improved. 

#2 – “Content Marketing Without Being Pushy” – via HeidiCohen.com   

Premise: Heidi Cohen points to a recent study that suggests “less than 50% of customers trust any form of advertising”.  With that number in mind you find the real purpose of content marketing – selling without being viewed as pushing your brand/business on consumers.  Heidi then offers up five types of content marketing and, separately, five tips to support sales conversions.

Thoughts: The one type of content marketing that I want to call out is “#3 – Offer show and tell”.  Heidi mentions Instagram, Pinterest, and including videos in your content marketing efforts.  While I am a big believer of not being everywhere for the sake of having your site on each and every social media platform, you probably want to focus on at least one of these three in order to improve the visual appeal for your brand/business.

Within the five tips to sales conversions, I like the wording Heidi has gone within #3.  Rather than “call-to-action”, she suggests a “coax-to-action”.  Well played.

#3 – “Content Marketing Metrics Your CEO Cares About” via PoweredBySearch.com  

Premise: A common question for marketers is how to measure and track the success of your content marketing efforts.  What metrics do you use and how do you analyze them?  The author recommends measuring both your “content performance” and the “impact on sales”.  From there, what you want to keep an eye on in terms of reporting are “leads to conversions”, “money saved”, and “customer retention / churn”.

Thoughts: Aside from the Kurt Russell reference, this write-up caught my attention as it provides you with options on what to measure.  There are several angles that you can take and measure within the Performance and Sales buckets – you need to decide what they are and what makes the most sense for your business.

#4 – “SlideShare for Business: Tips and Tricks for Success from #SMMW14” via topseowebsitesdesign.com 

Premise: Simply put, you are missing out if you aren’t leveraging SlideShare as part of your digital marketing efforts.  The author provides three key reasons for using SlideShare – 1. Huge visibility, 2. Relevant audience, and 3. Search visibility.  The author then provides several recommendations on how to optimize your efforts on the site itself and several “tricks from the pros”.

Thoughts: The “tricks” section is very useful and a nice checklist to keep in mind if you want to incorporate SlideShare into your digital marketing plans.  Using hashtags was not a surprising recommendation, but SlideShare isn’t top of mind when it comes to using the tool/technique.  It certainly helps being found when searching for specific topics.

#5 – “Content Engagement on LinkedIn Now Measured by Simple, Powerful Metric” via SkyWord.com  

Premise: LinkedIn has launched their own Content Marketing Score to help businesses manage and develop their content strategy.  The score is a simple percentage calculation dividing the engaged members by the active audience available.  The platform will provide recommendations on how to improve your efforts, will provide competitive benchmarks, and allow you to do some basic filtering down of the data.

Thoughts: The Content Marketing Score was just one of several new features that LinkedIn is providing businesses with.  The metric will be an easy to understand snapshot of how your efforts are performing over time and you’ll be able to track the good and bad from your various posts, topics, etc.  LinkedIn isn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last, social network to offer up their own analytics platform.  If you have been reading #SundayMusings for a while now, you know that I am a fan of these efforts from each site.  The more you learn, the more you can adapt your strategy.

Are you running a LinkedIn page?  Have you begun using the new features?  If so, let me know how they are via email or in the contact form below.  Thanks!

#6 – “7 Big Brands are Succeeding in Content Marketing … You Can Too” via SproutContent.com  

Premise: The author dives into seven big brands that are successfully implementing a strong content marketing strategy – through very different avenues.  P&G and Colgate have developed highly engaging reference communities that tie together their brands with experts in those particular fields, video, etc.  Kraft and General Mills have developed branded web sites to provide recipes, tips, etc. for their respective communities.

Thoughts: Building communities is a great way to allow your consumers to help build your own brand’s equity.  These engaged users can become somewhat of a brand ambassador for you – not only online, but also promoting the site (or your business) via word-of-mouth.

What online communities do you engage with?  I have joined a number of G+ Communities and also have active discussions about sports on several sites.

Tweet of the Week:

I found the above tweet from Uberflip and wanted to pass it along as one to keep an eye one each and every week if you are consistently looking to read more on content marketing.  Every week they provide a number of links in their “Content Roundup”.

Those are the content marketing stories that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.  Hope you enjoyed the latest #SundayMusings!  Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-30-14

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

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

Happy Sunday and Happy Spring … at least according to the calendar.  This week’s #SundayMusings will focus on mobile and mobile marketing, so here are the top stories that caught my attention over the past two weeks under this umbrella.  Enjoy!

#1 – Foursquare CEO: How We’ll Tell You Where To Eat And What To Order – via ReadWrite.com 

Premise: Aside from telling our friends and family where you are via mobile check-ins, we are providing a dearth of data and information that foursquare is leveraging to help create recommendations for you in the future based on your interests and behaviors.  The author sat down with foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley to talk about what the future is or might be for his company.

The interview itself talks about the past and present numbers for foursquare and where it is seeing growth around the globe, including how to monetize the platform based on the success it has seen in the US.  It then pivots towards “anticipatory computing”, i.e. where your mobile device knows your location and is able to make recommendations for you.

Thoughts: If this is your first, or one of your first visits to the site, I’ll just preface my thoughts with the following: I’m a big fan of foursquare and the personalization I can get from the network.  I thought the interview was fantastic and at the end was an “aha” moment.  When Crowley says that if three people go to Google Maps and search for dinner, the same places will come up.  However, if those three people search foursquare, they are going to get recommendations based to their interests.  That’s the point and that’s the Holy Grail right there – you get what you want.

(If you are considering using the foursquare platform for your business, take a look at the “Tips” article we put together several months back.)

#2 – “7 Unbelievable Mobile Marketing Success Stories” – via LouderOnline.com.au    

Premise: Is your company considering a mobile campaign?  This write-up provides you with seven brands/companies that have successfully implemented a mobile marketing campaign, including; Ikea, Chipotle, Starbucks, and more.

Thoughts: I wish I knew about the Ikea app before we started home improvements two weeks ago!  Creating a virtual 3D image of how an item would look in your home sounds like an amazing feature.  Chipotle used a mobile game (Chipotle Scarecrow) to draw in millions and build awareness of their “Food with Integrity” initiative.

Another brand and unique way of driving engagement with customers is creating exclusivity in a mobile app, like Target has done with their “Cartwheel app”, providing users with unique deals.  Starbucks is mentioned in just about every success story article published.  (Therefore, it is time to put the “Brand in Focus” in the coming weeks.)

Which one of these mobile marketing campaigns catches your attention the most?

#3 – “How Mobile Marketing Can Benefit Your Business” via BrettRelander.com  

Premise: Are you taking advantage of mobile marketing for your brand or business?  The author puts together several ways in which you can use mobile to build your business – SMS, GPS-based, Search, and/or Apps.  These efforts provide you with greater access to who your customers are and helps build stronger loyalty to your brand.

Thoughts: I wanted to use this write-up in today’s #SundayMusings because it is a simple reminder that mobile marketing comes in more than one shape or size.  There are a number of different avenues you can take.  You should be picking the one(s) that you are most comfortable with and committing to them.

#4 – “A Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Up a Mobile Marketing Campaign” via ConvinceandConvert.com 

Premise: It is critical to put together a plan for your mobile marketing campaign and Convince and Convert has laid out the boundaries for you with this write-up.  From defining your objectives, through data/reporting, and follow-up, the article takes you through a checklist of items to consider when planning your mobile campaign.

Thoughts: Building off of #3 above, this article would be a nice ‘next step’ for you to consider when thinking about your mobile campaign.  Define your goals first.  Once executed, be willing and open to tweaking the plans based on learnings and findings while the campaign is being executed.  At the very end of the write-up you’ll find a well-placed campaign from Naked Juice on foursquare as an example.

#5 – “McDonald’s bets on rich media to build Facebook following” via MobileMarketer.com  

Premise: In an effort to increase their presence on Facebook, McDonald’s is turning to mobile advertising on the platform.  Given the changes on Facebook’s newsfeed, the organic reach of posts are typically declining for brands and businesses and efforts similar to this can be used to subsidize those losses.  The McDonald’s campaign has users select their favorite image and takes them to the McDonald’s Facebook page.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has leveraged social media for its promotions, having used Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in the past.  The goal continues to be to drive engagement with its fans and customers.

Thoughts: Few brands out there have the resources that McDonald’s does, but I find it interesting to see them quickly making adjustments based on the changes Facebook continues to implement on its platform.  McDonald’s is bringing in more and more mobile marketing strategies in order to stay connected with their audience.

#6 – “Google unveils Android Wear, its modified OS for wearables” via cNet.com  

Premise: About two weeks ago Google announced that they will be pushing out their Android Wear line, starting with smartwatches.  The wearables will have a new OS that will leverage Google Now voice recognition (similar to Google Glass).  Google will be partnering with HTC, LG, Samsung, Asus, and Motorola to roll out their smartwatches.

Thoughts: Let’s pivot away from mobile marketing for a second.  Are you using a smartwatch yet?  I have seen very few people with them, but as the author of this article points out, with Google jumping into the market, it does provide a little more stability to the market … at least for me anyway.

Maybe the YouTube clip will help start to pique your interest:

#7 – “Mobile Media Summit LA Puts “Cars and Stars” Center Stage” via alistdaily.com  

Premise: The largest mobile advertising conference in North America and Europe hits Beverly Hills, California this coming week.  With the continued shift in focus towards mobile, advertisers have followed suit.  The write-up provides a list of presenters and a registration code for saving a few dollars for those interested.

Thoughts: Given that this is coming up this week, I wanted to put this out there for those that might be interested.  Even if you can’t attend in person, if the prior articles have sparked an interest, you can follow Mobile Media Summit on Twitter to catch the latest news from the event.

Tweet of the Week:

 

Not to be outdone by McDonald’s, here is news on Wendy’s mobile platform from engadget.  However, if you take a look at their story, you’ll quickly learn that Wendy’s has left out discount and promotional efforts from their app, unlike Burger King.

Are you using your mobile phone for payments in store?  If so, how is the experience?  What do you see as the greatest benefit to doing so?

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings!  Have a great week ahead!

St. Patrick’s Day Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-16-14

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - St. Patrick's Day Edition (Photo credit: ILoveShelling.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – St. Patrick’s Day Edition
(Photo credit: ILoveShelling.com)

 

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!  Happy almost St. Patrick’s Day!  This weekend’s #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding will focus on headlines that tie into the holiday.  Hope you enjoy!

#1 – How Irish Brands Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day – via SocialBakers.com 

Premise: This write-up is actually a summary of several St. Patrick’s Day promotions that were run for the holiday last year.  Baileys ran a contest for fans to send in their “Kiss me, I’m Irish” portraits for a chance to win a Baileys t-shirt.  Jameson and Guinness looked to celebrate with their fans, with Guinness breaking a world record for the “Largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration due to the power of social media.

Thoughts: Before we move forward, we decided to take a look back at several of last year’s holiday campaigns.  What caught my attention on this write-up is the analytics tools SocialBakers.com were using to measure reach and engagement levels for the brands.  Take a look at the fun-facts under the Guinness write-up.  That’s quite a lot of Guinness being consumed! (For those unaware, our first ‘Pin of the Month’ was done one year ago and focused on Guinness!)

#2 – “Aerva To Post Selfies On St. Patrick’s Day” – via mediapost.com    

Premise: Aerva, an ad tech company, will take submitted selfies and post them in Times Square as part of their “Show us your Irish-ness” campaign.  You can send in your picture on Twitter or via email.  Once shared in Times Square, each person will receive a commemorative of the selfie in Times Square.

Thoughts: Certainly an interesting idea to generate a little buzz for Aerva.  However, as noted at the end of the article, it looks like brands have been hesitant to jump onboard.  The commemorative element does make it seem worthwhile if you are OK with your face being planted in Times Square.

Is anyone considering doing this?

#3 – “5 Credit Unions with St. Patrick’s Day Promos” via CUTimes.com  

Premise: Even credit unions are getting into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit?!  In Tampa, Grow Financial Credit Union is partnering with the city and sponsoring the annual “Mayor’s River O’Green” celebration.  They will have a tent, photo booth, and giveaways at the community event to help build awareness.  Other credit unions from around the country have found ways to promote their business, but also give back to their respective communities with holiday tie-ins.

Thoughts: This certainly wasn’t the first (or tenth) industry I would have thought of for partaking in the holiday celebrations.  I don’t use credit unions but those that do seem to sing their praises relative to community banks.

While somewhat of a limited audience (3K or so) I like what Grow Financial Credit Union is doing, even creating their own hashtag for the event (#moreinreturn).  I also liked what SunWest Federal Credit Union did in selling paper shamrocks as a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy.

#4 – “More Important to Success: Hard Work or Luck?” via Dave Kerpen on LinkedIn (CEO of Likeable Media)  

Premise: LinkedIn Influencer and CEO of Likeable Media, Dave Kerpen put together a write-up on the network asking whether it was better to be lucky or good in business.  Kerpen takes us through how the name ‘Likeable’ came along.  Sharing your story of “luck” in the comments section on the page makes you eligible for a copy of one of the Likeable books, while the company is also running a separate promotion on their web site for the holiday.

Thoughts: I always enjoy what Likeable puts out there on a consistent basis and they do more than their fair share of promotions and giveaways to its audience.

What would you consider your lucky break?

There are two that stand out for me.  First, as I was getting closer to graduating from college I still had no clue what I was looking to do in “the real world”.  I ran into an old friend who put me in touch with the right people and key dates for what turned out to be my first job … basically starting on my own terms (when I wanted to start working, etc.).  The second is being reached out to by the owner of a sports writing web site almost two years ago.  That really became the genesis of starting to blogging and gaining an audience.

#5 – “50 Years Later, General Mills’ Lucky Charms are Still Magically Delicious” via brandchannel.com  

Premise: Tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day, Lucky Charms will officially celebrate its 50th anniversary.  While they have added a few ingredients over time, the leprechaun and their “magically delicious” tagline have remained the same and have stood the test of time.

As you might expect, there will be a few branding efforts to help celebrate the 50 years, including a new commercial, celebrity endorsement from Carlo’s Bakery, a contest on the brand’s Tumblr page and more.

Thoughts: You more or less have to like Lucky Charms’ advertising, or at least not admit to not liking it around St. Patrick’s Day, right?!  It looks like General Mills is going all out for the 50th anniversary of the cereal, integrating TV, new packaging, and social media contests for its fans.

Tweet of the Week:

Looking for a few recommendations for St. Patrick’s Day?  Well, this tweet and link will help get you started.  Do you and/or your family make a special meal for the holiday?  How do you celebrate the day?  Let us know in the comments below.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s festive headlines!  If you are out and about celebrating the holiday, remember that you can “replenish” your system with a half price cheeseburger at Sonic tomorrow!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-2-14

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

 

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  As mentioned in our last write-up, our #SundayMusings will continue on a bi-weekly basis and each one will focus on a key topic of interest.  This edition will focus on the various aspects of loyalty – from setting up a loyalty program, to specific rewards programs, and several other unique angles or pillars that all fall under the loyalty umbrella.

#1 – Sochi Olympics Shows Us the Future of Marketing … and It’s Very Cool – via LoyaltyLab.com 

Premise: The Olympics coverage has leveraged a new way to understand and interact our customers through video data.  Those that are already integrating video data with the information they are receiving from their loyalty programs are creating powerful tools and information to analyze.  This of course assumes that those marketers have the right loyalty program in place, collecting the right information to improve their respective businesses.

Thoughts: To be honest, when I first decided to move to a bi-weekly format, I thought for sure we would be covering the Olympics through a branding lens in this week’s edition.  However, I spent all of about 10 minutes watching this year’s Olympics and didn’t find it to be of much interest.

This felt like a good starting point of talking about loyalty programs based on the caveats the writer mentioned.  Anyone can initiate a loyalty program.  It is what type of information you collect and how you use that can really separate you from your competition.  Set your goals, think about what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there, and be open-minded enough to consider what changes may need to be made as the program progresses … without annoying your customer. 

#2 – “Five Reasons Why You Should Create a Customer-Loyalty Program” – via MarketingProfs.com    

Premise: This write-up looks into the “why” you want to consider setting up a loyalty program, with five key reasons: Permission, Privacy, Process, Profitability, and Purpose.  You want to build stronger loyalty with your customers.  Following these five steps will help you better manage the program.

Thoughts: The fourth “P” here (Profitability) is a tricky one and I don’t want anyone to assume that setting up a loyalty program means you will automatically become profitable.  If used correctly, it can certainly assist you down the path to profitability, but there are a number of moving parts that aren’t tackled or really suggested here.

I do however wholeheartedly agree with #5, Purpose.  You’ll need buy-in from everyone in the organization to do their part and share in the common vision of building stronger loyalty and more profitable customers.

#3 – “Jamba Juice Debuts New Jamba Insider Rewards Customer Loyalty Program” via CustomerInsightGroup.com  

Premise: Jamba Juice has initiated a new rewards program (“Jamba Insider Rewards”) for customers of the smoothie and health-conscious food maker.  Customers can sign up with their phone number and receive an immediate $3 coupon off their next purchase.  Members will earn a point for every $1 they spend, as well as receive personalized deals and discounts.

Thoughts: Have you ever had a Jamba Juice smoothie?  I seek out a kiosk when traveling through airports as I love them.  Unfortunately, there isn’t one near my house or office.  This rewards program, for me at least, is a no-brainer.  It will be interesting to see what Jamba Juice does with their data, how they tailor promotions to the individual users, and how they use technology (web and mobile) to grow the program.

#4 – “7 apps to take your customer loyalty program mobile” via ZDNet.com  

Premise: The author offers up seven different mobile platforms to consider in order to take your loyalty program away from a card or piece of paper and into the world of mobile.  There is a blurb on the size and scope of each app, along with a few personal thoughts from the writer.

Thoughts: Anything that relies on a QR code has already lost me, so ignoring those apps that are referenced, there are definitely a few to check out on this list if you aren’t using or considering them already (from either the personal or business side).  Belly and Front Flip certainly sound intriguing for a business and we have covered off on Foursquare here in the past a number of times – the size and scope of the platform make it appealing from the get-go.

#5 – “How Do The Best Companies Deal With At-Risk Clients?” via ClientHeartbeat.com  

Premise: Losing a client is tough, but what if you could predict that a customer was unsatisfied and adjusted the necessary means before they were lost?  The author puts together five steps to leverage in order to better satisfy your current customers/clients.  Starting with a customer satisfaction tool and progressing through internal and external reviews, as well as continuous adaptation, you will learn more about what the positives and negatives are in your customer’s POV.

Thoughts: This pivots the conversation of loyalty a little bit and puts the topic in a slightly different perspective.  Sure, this can be applied to a business – consumer relationship, but this ties more closely to a business – business relationship.  Also, just a note that the author includes a separate link for more information on each of the steps along the process in this article.

#6 – “4 Reasons Employees Are Your Best Brand Advocates” via AlleyWatch.com  

Premise: Who are, or at least can be, your businesses great advocates … your current employees.  This write-up focuses on the benefits that can be achieved by leveraging your employees in order to build a stronger brand/company.

Thoughts: Again, this pivots in another direction under the loyalty umbrella – focusing on strengthening the appeal of your business amongst your own employees.  Engaged employees can lead to a stronger business, as they can help build your brand, deliver new leads, and create new business without having to spend a small fortune on marketing and advertising.

Are you doing anything to better understand how your employees feel about your business?  How engaged are they with your line of work?  Are you trying to make improvements in areas of weakness?  All of this can be better understood by measuring and understanding your employees’ thoughts and opinions of your business.

Tweet of the Week:

For those that aren’t already following them in some capacity, Loyalty360.org does a fantastic job of creating and aggregating loyalty-specific stories on a daily basis.  Their inaugural awards conference will be held in Florida from 3/17-3/19.  There are five categories with four tiers of awards within each.  Definitely keep your eyes open for more news and the winners next month!

I hope you enjoy the new set-up for our #SundayMusings with more focus on a specific topic per write-up.  Several months ago I made a note to myself to consider a new series of write-ups on ShoreBranding.com that focused on ‘Brands I’m Loyal to’ and this week’s write-up has helped push that decision further along.  Look for the first entry to come next weekend!

With that in mind, what brands or businesses are you loyal to?  Let us know in the comments below!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 2-16-14

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - The Valentine's Day Edition! (Photo credit: blog.templatemonster.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – The Valentine’s Day Edition!
(Photo credit: blog.templatemonster.com)

Continuing our holiday spirit, this week’s #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding has a Valentine’s Day twist to the top news in branding and digital marketing from the past week!

At the same time, I want to make a quick announcement and decision on the frequency of our #SundayMusings write-ups.  We’ll be moving to an every other week frequency moving forward due to several contributing factors.  What I would like to do is focus on a particular topic or storyline in each write-up.  This gives more time to come up with better stories that tie together under said umbrella.

#1 – How’s Your Brand’s Love Life – via Strategy-Business.com 

Premise: After reading “Romancing the Brand”, the author of the article was able to ask a few questions to the author of the book about how brands can build deeper, more meaningful relationships with brands.

Thoughts: Beyond being a Valentine’s Day-related write-up, this article caught my attention for two reasons.  First, it looks like there is another branding book to put in the queue.  Second, the Radio Shack Super Bowl ad was used as an example of brand authenticity in its communication to consumers. 

#2 – “Physical Brands Send Some Digital Love This Valentine’s Day on Social” – via brandchannel.com    

Premise: Valentine’s Day branding on social media was in full swing this week and the author put together three great examples of brands using different platforms to build engagement.  Evian, Necco (the maker of the heart-shaped candy), and TGI Friday’s were put in the spotlight with their campaigns.

Thoughts: While I enjoyed Evian’s efforts, Necco’s “#tweethearts” campaign is great.  Even a company that is over 150 years old can figure out how to leverage digital marketing and engage with (potential) consumers.

Nice job from TGI Friday’s as well, rewarding the first 500 people to tweet their message with a gift certificate to the restaurant.  Contests are still an effective means of winning the hearts (pun intended) of consumers.

#3 – “10 Valentine’s Day Tech Gifts to Warm Hearts With Cold Silicon” via DigitalTrends.com 

Premise: Sick of the same old flowers and candy gift ideas for Valentine’s Day?  Well, here you go; gift ideas for her and him!

Thoughts: I’m incredibly impressed with BloomThat Flowers – order from your mobile and the flowers are delivered within 90 minutes (in San Francisco)?  Wow!  The QR code necklace was a bit too far, no?  I can imagine trying to scan the code and running into all sorts of annoyances.

For men, it was interesting to see Dollar Shave Club as a tech-related gift, no?  I can’t stress enough how handy my touchscreen gloves are this winter.  Everyone should own a pair, no matter what brand you want to put money out for.  I can’t say I have convinced myself into the smart-watch market yet, but Pebble Steel makes an interesting case by running both iOS and Android systems.  The fact that it is waterproof is an added bonus.

What tech gifts might you be looking for this weekend?

#4 – “TechCrunch Giveaway: A Bouquet of Flowers” via TechCrunch.com  

Premise: TechCrunch ran a promotion this week that gave five lucky readers free flowers from a company called BloomNation.  All readers had to do was drop a comment in the story above and they picked five lucky winners.

Thoughts: More than anything, I thought this was a good example of “brandscaping”.  First, from the TechCrunch perspective, you invite a company to sponsor a promotion on your page.  You then ask readers to pick up the engagement level a little bit and add a comment to the write-up in order for a chance to win a prize/gift.

From the BloomNation side of this; would I have ever known about this company if they weren’t running this promotion on TechCrunch?  No.  Running a promotion that fits with your core values as a business with a site that receives heavy traffic … brandscaping 101.

#5 – “Ad of the Day: Heineken Wants Guys to Show Their Feelings This Valentine’s Day” via AdWeek.com  

Premise: Forgot about Valentine’s Day this past Friday?  Did you happen to see the latest campaign from Heineken as a potential saving grace?  Heineken asked followers to tweet “#DateInABox” to their US account and those that shared the experience on their Instagram account unlocked the code for the “free” date night.

Thoughts: In the shadows of their “Departure Roulette” campaign, Heineken comes up with another “fun” campaign for the risk-takers out there.  It surprised me a little bit to ask followers to jump from Twitter to Instagram – given the Twitter/Vine and Facebook/Instagram obvious connections.

Do you know anyone that gave this a shot?  See the video below …

Tweet of the Week:

Yet another use of the hashtag for the holiday, this time from The Cheesecake Factory, who decided to go all Phil Donahue on us with advice/verdicts to those that sent out tweets with the “#sliceofjustice” hashtag.

That wraps up today’s Valentine’s Day edition of #SundayMusings!  Look for a new ‘Pin of the Month’ later this week and based on our new writing schedule, a new #SundayMusings in two weeks.

What caught your attention this week?

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 2-9-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding refocuses on branding and digital marketing and moves us away from news on the Super Bowl and its advertising.

#1 – Only Twitter TV Can Save Twitter – via Mashable.com 

Premise: Twitter held its first earnings report since going public last year and things are off to a rocky start.  The company reported a profit, despite posting a one-time, half-billion dollar loss for going public.  A major concern is the slow growth in total users, while CEO Dick Costolo also suggests that while Twitter has high awareness, engagement is not where it needs to be.

The author’s suggestion to help Twitter grow is to launch “Twitter TV”.  The idea is to have a steady flow of tweets across a number of popular categories (sports, celebrities, technology, etc.) and have related tweets under each channel on the Twitter home page vs. the basic sign-in screen, where only users see anything at all, and that is among the people that they follow.

Thoughts: This article quickly caught my attention, as I was under the impression the author was suggesting that Twitter should release its own TV platform, similar either to what Intel and others have tried to do, or similar to Apple TV and Chromecast.  I’m glad that isn’t the actual suggestion here and the author’s comments do make sense.  At the very least, this gives non-users the ability to see what Twitter is all about and the ability to look at news/tweets on the topics they are specifically interested in.

#2 – “Esurance Hands Out That $1.5 Million, Releases Mind-Boggling Stats From Twitter Stunt” – via AdWeek.com    

Premise: A fantastic use of digital marketing from Esurance, who purchased the first ad slot after the Super Bowl for $1.5 million less than what it cost to advertise during the game itself.  Esurance’s campaign was to give that $1.5 million to someone that used the “#EsuranceSave30” hashtag on Twitter.  What ensued is an impressive outpouring of reach and impressions across social media and a spike in traffic to the Esurance web site itself.

Thoughts: What a way to leverage Twitter and the power of a hashtags to run a wildly successful digital / social media campaign by the company.  4.5 million people used the hashtag in the first 24 hours, and all of this created over 2.5 billion impressions on Twitter alone!  Kudos and congratulations to Esurance for coming up with an engaging campaign on the biggest night in TV history.

#3 – “CVS Brilliantly Encouraged People To Share Its Tobacco Story” via Forbes.com

Premise: Earlier this week, CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products in its store by 10/1/14.  Beyond simply making the announcement itself, it encouraged others to share the story on social media and put together several steps to turn this announcement into a feel-good campaign / promotion for itself.  The pharmacy company built its own landing page (CVSQuits.com) that includes a plethora of information, including facts and figures, pictures, etc.

Thoughts: A second example this week of brand/company taking a little bit of time to think about a better way of getting their message out to the masses and allowing the power of social media to allow others to take care of most of the work.

#4 – “Foursquare Gets $15M And Licensing Deal From Microsoft To Power Location Context For Windows And Mobile” via TechCrunch.com  

Premise: Foursquare received additional funding from Microsoft, strengthening the relationship between the two companies, and giving more location-based data to Bing and Windows products.  Microsoft will be able to leverage Foursquare’s geo-based targeting system on its platforms and will provide users with notifications and stronger integration into Microsoft products and devices.

Thoughts: Foursquare continues to move further and further away from “mayors” and “badges” and deeper into ‘big data’ and the future of location-based services.  Pretty soon, your mobile device is going to be directing you where you want to go for dinner based on your prior input and preferences and where you are located.  That probably scares some people, but I think it is pretty awesome!

#5 – “Is Seattle’s Russell Wilson the Perfect Brand Ambassador? We’re About to Find Out” via BrandChannel.com  

Premise: The starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, stands to heavily benefit from last weekend’s Super Bowl result.  Wilson is a young QB and seems to have many of the attributes brands are looking for in a celebrity endorser.  Wilson already has deals with Nike, Levi’s, Alaska Air, and American Family Insurance … but expect this list to continue to grow as more brands find out more information about the type of person Wilson is and what he does on and, more importantly, off the field.

Thoughts: You didn’t really think we would miss one more opportunity to talk about the Seahawks victory in last weekend’s Super Bowl did you?  What a great victory!

Back to the article though, I wholeheartedly agree with the premise and will not be surprised when Wilson’s name and face are all over the TV in the coming weeks and months.  In just two seasons in Seattle, he has taken over the city and would almost definitely win in a landslide if he ran for office in the city or state.

Tweet of the Week:

We’re cheating here due to last week’s sports-geared write-up.  This tweet from Laura Ries is a great resource for all things branding-related and how/why your brand should “focus” in a particular area in order to win.  The link will take you to a PDF that offers up Ries’ prior writings and various consulting options that they are offering for brands.  I’ve read several of their writings and others are in the queue – this is certainly worth looking into for those interested in branding.

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings!  What caught your attention this week?

Super Bowl Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 2-2-14

 

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

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

Welcome to a Super Bowl themed #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding, the top branding and digital marketing stories from the past week, all of which revolve around today’s Super Bowl here in the US.

#1 – NFL Digital Media Offers Fans the Most Comprehensive Coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII – via NFLCommunications.com 

Premise: The NFL announced their digital plans for Super Bowl XLVIII and it includes the use of NFL.com, SuperBowl.com, a lot of mobile content, and a number of other features – many of which are largely seen or portrayed as being ‘fan-friendly’.

Thoughts: The NFL has slowly but surely transitioned to digital elements over the past handful of years and this year seems to be a heavy turning point towards mobile.  The league’s (very different) partnerships with Verizon and Fox are bringing a whole new viewing experience for the game, as well as providing a ton of content for fans to obsess over leading up to today’s game.

I’m not sure if they have done this in the past, largely because I didn’t have a vested interest in the game like I do this year, but I thought it was a great idea to allow fans to download the official game program to your tablets.  ($1.99 on Google Play)

#2 – “Super Bowl Branding Lessons” – via BrandingStrategyInsider.com    

Premise: The author takes an interesting approach on the importance / relevance of advertising during the Super Bowl.  While the ‘reach’ is certainly massive for those advertising during the game, can you really tell how effective / impactful your ad is or was?  Perhaps more than anything else, advertising during the Super Bowl provides you with “bragging rights” – the fact that you made it and can afford to pay for the ad to be aired during the game.

Thoughts: After thinking the ad was going in the direction of bashing brands that pay for their ad time, this article took a very interesting turn into a very different direction.  The perception of a brand that advertises during the Super Bowl is likely to change among those smaller brands that are advertising for the first or second time.  I also agree with the author’s comment that the bigger brands that have been using the Super Bowl for years are essentially expected to continue to do so.  I really liked the author’s analogy of the Super Bowl being the “private jet of advertising, when everyone else is flying coach”.  Well said.

#3 – “Super Bowl Tailgate: See Kia’s Version of ‘The Matrix’, Toyota’s Muppets and Jaguar’s Villains” via AdAge.com 

Premise: Earlier in the week AdAge provided a few early looks at the forthcoming Super Bowl ads and those featured in this write-up include Kia, Toyota, and Jaguar.

Thoughts: I used to really like “The Matrix” movies, so it was good to see Laurence Fishburne revive his Morpheus character.  I also enjoyed “The Muppets” ad with Terry Crews for Toyota … which is apparently a lead into their ad that will air during tonight’s game.

What is your take on airing your Super Bowl commercial before the game?  I asked this on Twitter as well.  I like the element of surprise during the game vs. seeing them a week prior.

#4 – “Meet the Unofficial Super Bowl Advertisers That are Packing a Punch Without Paying Up” via BrandChannel.com  

Premise: Don’t feel like spending the ~$4 million for a 30 second ad during the big game?  Either do these brands, who have jumped into the advertising fray with spots that will air during the pre- and post-game.  While PepsiCo will air ads during the game for its Pepsi and Doritos brands, their pre-game marketing spend will go towards Mountain Dew.

Thoughts: There is always a way around the system, right?  While the buy rates are certainly higher than normal for the respective timeslot, there are millions of reasons (read: viewers) to consider airing during the pre- and post-game.  I liked the new LifeLock ad that was included in the author’s write-up.  However, the winner of the week goes to …

#5 – “Anna Kendrick: Behind the Scenes of the Mega Huge Game Day Ad” 

Thoughts: Newcastle Brown Ale strikes again!  An absolutely hysterical “behind the scenes” ad with one of the more popular actresses around these days, Anna Kendrick.  The beeping over her saying “Super Bowl” (and a few other choice words) was fantastic.

What ad have you enjoyed thus far going into tonight’s game?

Tweet of the Week:

Skittles and Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks Running Back) finally aligned on a sponsorship deal this past week.  For the past couple of seasons, Skittles has gotten a good amount of free PR from the RB, given his propensity to eat the candy during games.  With the Seahawks now in the Super Bowl, it was an easy connection to see coming from a mile away.  Now, if I can only get my hands on one of these blue and green bags of Skittles …

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings.  Look for our Super Bowl Ad Review to be put up towards the middle of this coming week.  (Here is a link to last year’s review.)  Now, go enjoy the Super Bowl!  #GoHawks

One last YouTube clip from this past week that I thought was well done by ESPN:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-26-14

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Hope you are enjoying another weekend!  Welcome to #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding, the top branding and digital marketing stories from the past seven days.

#1 – The Healthy Brand: Take Your Brand From Good to Great – via ParkerWhite.com 

Premise: The write-up starts out with a good introduction to the importance of branding via 90 second YouTube clip from ParkerWhite Brand Interactive.  How do you make a great brand?  The company provides a thorough checklist of items to consider and answer for your brand/business in order to ensure your branding efforts are doing the most for your business.

Thoughts: ParkerWhite has dubbed brands that are fulfilling items on this branding checklist as “healthy brands”.  I just came across this site this week and will be keeping an eye on it in the coming weeks, given the comments towards the end of the write-up that they will be providing further information in the coming weeks on what makes a “healthy brand”.

As for the checklist itself, “Focused” and “Supported by brand loyalists” are certainly topics that have been discussed quite a bit here in the past within Sunday Musings.  I wouldn’t question any of the items on the checklist at all.

#2 – “20 iconic brands – and why they work” – via CreativeBloq.com    

Premise: While potentially not the biggest, CreativeBloq has created a list of the 20 most iconic brands.

Thoughts: An interesting list to say the least, including several brands I’ve never heard of and a few missing that I thought for sure would be included in a list like this.  I’m a little surprised to see The Red Cross at #1, ahead of Apple and others.  I’m also not sure I see how or why Bass Ale is rated so highly, when there are a number of more popular and iconic beer brands out there.  Where are McDonald’s, Nike, Starbucks, etc.?

What are your thoughts on this list?  

#3 – “Our first birthday: A year on Vine” via blog.twitter.com 

Premise: Saturday, 1/24, marked the one year birthday for Vine and what a year it has been.  People are connecting on Vine and producing a wide range of content from jokes to meaningful events.  The writer says that Twitter introduced Vine with the desire for others to create and share videos from mobile.

Thoughts: In one year, Vine has helped create a new marketing machine for both brands and individuals.  The six second clips are perfect for today’s short attention span and brands that are successful at it should be congratulated.  The one thing that I would have liked to have seen here are a few updated numbers on the success levels that Vine is seeing – number of users, number of uploads per day/month, etc.

#4 – “USA Today Expands Super Bowl Ad Meter” via AdWeek.com  

Premise: In 2013, the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter was opened up to the public for the first time.  USA Today is taking it one step further this year and will be segmenting the results by various demographics.  Since 1989, USA Today has been gauging reaction to Super Bowl ads and they are now adding new wrinkles to the system.  Results will appear online and in USA Today’s 2/3 print edition.

Thoughts: For those interested in voting on the Super Bowl ads, you can sign up here.  This is certainly an easy way for the paper to build a little engagement with both readers and non-readers of the newspaper itself.  Voters get a chance to voice their opinions on the most popular advertising event of the year here in the US.

What are your thoughts on brands/companies now releasing their Super Bowl commercials before they air during the game?  Personally, I don’t like it.  I think it takes away from the “mystique” (for the lack of a better word) of watching the ads for the first time during the game.

#5 – “The Future of Facebook [Research]” via HeidiCohen.com 

Premise: A research study conducted by Princeton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering focused on the behaviors of social media users, taking a look at what to expect for Facebook moving forward.  The research says that Facebook has reached its peak and that the downward trend will continue in the years ahead.  Heidi Cohen provides four indicators that support the findings from the report, and three tips on how to adjust/adapt your digital marketing efforts.

Thoughts: You have probably seen the “Facebook is doomed” posts and predictions before.  However, this does seem to paint a ‘not too rosy’ picture for the site moving forward.  We know how quickly Myspace fell and it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see something similar happen to Facebook (or others).   The four indicators that are provided here are certainly items that Facebook must account for and find the means of adjusting.

What are your predictions for Facebook moving forward?

Tweet of the Week:

Old Spice is at it again, bringing back Isaiah Mustafa back in the fold for another humorous campaign.  From the tweet above you will be taken to a landing page and if you wait a few seconds, you will find the true meaning of the site.  The ability to prank your friends and family with these marketing ideas is yet another great use of digital marketing for the brand.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!  Have a good week ahead!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-19-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding, the top branding and digital marketing stories that caught my attention from the past week.

#1 – The Best-Perceived Brands of 2013 – via AdWeek.com 

Premise: YouGov’s BrandIndex results are in for 2013 and Amazon has become the strongest perceived brand, followed by Ford and Subway to close out the top three.  Banks/Financial institutions started to rebound in 2013 as well, with four out of the top five most improved brands coming from this arena (with the other being American Airlines).  The article includes an infographic of the results and at the bottom you find the top brands by political affiliation.

Thoughts: It isn’t surprising to see Amazon at the top of the list, given their customer service and experience, along with the growth in Amazon Prime and the Kindle.  What is surprising is to see the Kindle itself come in at number 10.  Also surprising are the number two and three top brands – Ford and Subway, respectively.

What brands would be at the top of your list?  I would put Google and Amazon at the top of mine. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-12-14

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Happy New Year / 2014 everyone!  I hope you have a great year ahead of you!  This year on ShoreBranding.com we’ll continue with the weekly #SundayMusings, will be putting together several more “Tips” articles, and putting more “Brands in Focus”.  Look for those in the coming days and weeks ahead.

For the first #SundayMusings of 2014, I have broken this up into two parts: reflecting on 2013 and looking forward to 2014.  Here are this week’s top branding and digital marketing stories:

#1 – Signs that you need to rebrand your company – via iMediaConnection.com 

Premise: When is it time, or what are the right signs that point to a need for rebranding your brand or business?  The author puts together a checklist of signs that may help you decide that it is time for a change.  From focus, to staffing, and through the 3 C’s, if your business is failing or in decline, you need to reevaluate your strategies for moving forward.

Thoughts: I would/could easily lump the 3 C’s together with “focus” and make this a two point system.  If you aren’t focusing on the right people with the right message, you need to consider going back to the drawing board.  My wife and I have been binge watching “Bar Rescue” on Spike TV and a recent episode seems to fit this message perfectly.  A family from Long Island opened a bar in North Carolina and their food menu had nothing to do with NC cuisine, trying to ‘force’ NY hot dogs and similar menu items on the local market.  Bad idea.

I also truly believe in the second sign or recommendation in this article revolving around staff buying into your brand/business.  Your team is only as good as your weakest link/player.  An energetic staff can be spotted from miles away. [Read more...]