Loyalty to Brands – Samsung

Samsung (Photo credit: KiddsKids.com)

Samsung (Photo credit: KiddsKids.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do we head from here?  

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

Brand in Focus – Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

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

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

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

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

Let’s dive into each one of these pages …

Facebook:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter:

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram:

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

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

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

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

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

Vine:

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

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

Overall Summary:

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

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

Let us know in the Comments section below.

Happy 2015 everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

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

Pin of the Month – The Meaning of Brand Names

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#SaveThanksgiving - Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

#SaveThanksgiving – Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

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

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-9-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding.  Our focus this week will be on brand loyalty and the customer experience.  This builds off of October’s “Pin of the Month” and the continuation of our “Loyalty to Brands” series.  Here are the top stories from the past few weeks that caught my attention.

#1 – “Amazon CEO Wants to Make Holidays Easier and Stress-free for Customers” – via Loyalty360.org

Premise: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has issued a promise to Amazon’s customers that the company will be focusing on the customer experience throughout the holiday season.  Beyond competitive pricing, Amazon will have 15K Lightning Deals, gift lists, updated product lineups and the ability to to make purchases and contribute a portion to your preferred charity.

Amazon announced a slew of new tech products for the holidays, including new Kindles and Fire tablets.  There is a focus on kid friendly content and products.  Amazon Prime members will continue to reap additional benefits through early access to sales and exclusive deals on MyHabit.com.

Thoughts: As mentioned in our latest “Loyalty to Brands”, Amazon has become my go-to retailer and is where I continue to increase my share of wallet for holiday shopping.  I can’t think of another store or retailer where customer support has made it easier and more customer friendly than what Bezos has done with Amazon.

#2 – “Starbucks to offer delivery in 2015 in some key markets” via Fortune.com

Premise: Starbucks plans to offer up home/desk delivery of coffee and food orders through its mobile app in 2015 in select cities.  This idea is the latest effort by the coffee maker / experience provider to improve customer loyalty.  It is the latest in an effort to increase / improve consumption with its customers.

Thoughts: The coffee chain continues to create ways to drive stronger customer experiences and loyalty.  I found the focus or call-out that this delivery service would be driven through mobile devices to be an interesting side story to the announcement, i.e. “You can have Starbucks deliver your coffee, but you will need to download our mobile app.”  The other piece that I really like about this news is that the chain continues to try to break the mold and explore new and exciting options.  Do they all pan out?  Of course not, but Starbucks’ leadership team is more than willing to explore different routes with customer loyalty always in mind.

#3 – “NFL’s Seattle Seahawks Get CX Lift with Extreme Networks Enhancements: “Can you hear the 12th Man now?”” via Loyalty360.org

Premise: Extreme Network Inc. recently announced a partnership with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks club and Verizon Wireless to build a more powerful Wi-Fi connection at CenturyLink Field – the home of the franchise.  Beyond improving the signal strength at the stadium there is a program called “Eye of the Hawk” which allows fans to document their experience at the stadium.  Fans can choose various camera angles to watch/stream the game from various perspectives.

Thoughts: Attending a live sporting event is becoming less and less about the product on the field/court and more about the overall fan experience.  Technology is obviously playing a huge role in this shift.  With billion dollar stadiums seemingly popping up all over the country, it isn’t enough to just have a nice structure, franchises must keep the fan experience in mind through every little detail along the way.  We’re probably still in the infant stages of where this is heading, but it sure does pique my interest.

#4 – “If You Think 2014 Brought Marketing Change…” via Engage.Tibco.com

Premise: In 2014 there was a shift towards listening to and knowing your customer, but 2015 will continue to make dramatic changes to how we think about marketing.  That shift will be towards knowing what your customer will do next.  Anticipating behaviors will help you/your brand build stronger customer loyalty.  While we are moving beyond straight, single source data, it will be important for your brand to understand how to leverage big data from various sources.

Thoughts: Marketing strategies continue to be rewritten as we move further and further away from traditional marketing.  Plans that are put in place continue to be redesigned to strengthen customer engagement and loyalty.  The ability for a brand or company to learn and react to data from various sources is critical in today’s marketplace.

How many data sources are you currently relying on?  Are you weaving that story together across multiple channels?  These are critical elements to running your brand in 2014 and into 2015.

#5 – “Using Big Data To Shape Brand Experiences” via BrandingStrategyInsider.com

Premise: Depending on how brands are using it, big data can help create customized solutions and programs for customers.  Using Tesco as an example, it isn’t just about collecting data and analyzing it in a straightforward manner anymore.  You have to create actionable insights that can help you build stronger experiences for your customers.

Thoughts: Continuing down a ‘big data’ them here and how brands can or should leverage big data to drive better customer experiences.  I thought the Tesco example was a pretty powerful one as the UK retailer literally helped write the book on loyalty programs.  There is also an interesting graphic in the write-up, with several key stats/figures that would help build stronger loyalty and behaviors from shoppers.  The data source states that 85% of customers are more likely to shop in stores that offer personalized coupons and exclusive in-store offers. 

#6 – “2014 Customer Champions: Lifting Sights, Visions, and Standards” via 1to1Media.com

Premise: 1to1 Media has an annual awards for companies/people that create game-changing customer-focused strategies.  This year’s winners have been announced and include employees of The Melting Pot, JetBlue and more.  All in all, twelve people/companies were given awards for their efforts this year.  Through their own creative ways, each company has put a system in place to maximize the customer experience.

Thoughts: The full list of winners can be found here.  The one brand that caught my attention here is 1-800-Flowers as I recently signed up for their loyalty program and find it to be incredibly well run with perks that make it feel very much worth my while.

Kudos to 1to1 Media for continuing this awards program for a decade now.

Tweet of the Week:

Actually set up very much like our #SundayMusings, you can keep an eye on the top stories in customer service and experience through this tweet, bookmark the site, etc.

That wraps up this week’s #SundayMusings.  What are your thoughts on customer experience and how that helps build brand advocacy?  How have brand ambassadors helped your brand grow?  How can you better work with these people moving forward?

Let us know in the comments below.  Have a great week ahead!

Loyalty to Brands – Amazon

"Loyalty to Brands" focusing on Amazon.com

“Loyalty to Brands” focusing on Amazon.com

By a show of virtual hands, who has shopped on Amazon in the past week?  That’s what I figured and the leader in ecommerce is our focus in the latest “Loyalty to Brands”.  Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, Amazon has become much, much more over the years.  There isn’t much out there for sale that you can’t get on Amazon.  Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos continues to run the show at the Seattle-based giant, finding new and exciting ways to expand Amazon’s portfolio.

So what has driven my brand loyalty to Amazon?  While price is an added benefit, it is not my number one driver.  The convenience of shopping on Amazon drives my loyalty.  Specifically, Amazon Prime has made my life so much easier.  It is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the best $99 I spend every year.  With two day shipping on the majority of purchases, I know that I’m getting what I want/need in a timely manner.  If said item doesn’t meet my needs, returns and exchanges cause virtually no pain or anguish.  Over the past five years or so, I would estimate that at least 80% of my holiday shopping is done on Amazon.  In just November and December, the Amazon Prime subscription fee pays for itself.  Tech gifts, clothes, K-cups, and on and on, the list continues to grow each and every year.

What else makes Amazon appealing?  Well, with a baby in the household, Amazon Mom has been a big help in both price and convenience.  The “subscribe and save” option for diapers and numerous other products takes one less thing off my plate to try to remember.  The item shows up on a regularly scheduled frequency and I never have to think about it.  As an added bonus, you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Amazon Mom (via Babble.com)

Amazon Mom (via Babble.com)

As a final straw in building my loyalty, Amazon has made a commitment to the technology space.  What started off as a black and white e-reader and its Kindle business, Amazon has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years.  While I remain loyal to Google for their phones and tablets, a Fire tablet is likely on its way soon.  This would be a second Amazon Fire product, as Fire TV was an immediate purchase when launched and has since replaced Roku in this household.  If you are looking for a streaming device, I have no hesitation in recommending Fire TV.  All of the major apps are there, you are automatically enrolled in Prime for one year, and you can save all of your information in their cloud.

Fire TV (Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive)

Fire TV (Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive)

How often are you using Amazon?  At the very least, are you comparative shopping by checking to see what is available on Amazon and how much it costs relative to the store you are standing in?

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.