Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-29-15

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)

Today’s #SundayMusings with Shore Branding is going green … for St. Patrick’s Day branding news!  Here are the top branding and/or digital marketing stories that caught my attention over the past few weeks revolving around the luck of the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day.

#1 – “Liam Neeson Narrates This Gorgeous Tourism Ad for Ireland Timed to St. Patrick’s Day” – via AdWeek.com

Premise: A 60 second ad to help promote visiting Ireland with Liam Neeson as the voiceover.  The ad itself also carries the #GoGreen4PatricksDay.

Thoughts: What better way to start a St. Patrick’s Day #SundayMusings than a visual trip to Ireland?  Fantastic ad with iconic landmarks from around the world, plus the natural beauty of Ireland itself.

The hashtag probably could use a little work though.  Throwing in the “St” probably would have helped make it a little easier for others to remember / use the right phrase.

#2 – “A Diageo Reminder: ‘Guinness Is Good For You’ Beyond St. Patrick’s Day Too” via brandchannel.com

Premise: WSJ reports that four times as many pints of Guinness are consumed on St. Patrick’s Day vs. your normal day.  Guinness has been struggling to increase or even maintain sales in the US – largely thanks to the growing craft beer movement.

The brand is doing its part to promote its corporate citizenship and “green” initiatives.  The write-up includes a number of tweets circling around these programs and the promotion of Guinness Blonde, the latest brand extension from the brewing company.

Thoughts: Guinness is my #1 beer of choice, but I can’t help to think about the brand extensions they have launched here in the US and how they simply have not taken off.  Black Lager and now Blonde have no appeal to me under the Guinness name.  All I want to see is the original, no matter how much weight the Guinness name carries.

#3 – “Bud Light’s St. Patrick’s Day tweet has users seeing red instead of green” via mashable.com

Premise: To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Bud Light tried to leverage/hijack the holiday and threw in its #UpForWhatever hashtag into a tweet.  Said tweet however had of five women in it and insinuated that it was OK for you to pinch others (read: women).

Thoughts: This went over about as well as you would suspect.  Bud Light deleted the tweet, issued an apology and tried to move on as quickly as possible.  Damage done.

Seriously though, did someone really think the hashtag campaign #UpForWhatever wasn’t going to eventually lead to some level of trouble?  Whether it was from the company itself (check) or the hashtag being hijacked (check), it was bound to happen sooner rather than later.  You can read some of the replies from Twitter users within the link above.

#4 – “How To Get Lucky With Content Marketing” via uberflip.com

Premise: A catchy slideshow on content marketing from uberflip on setting goals that provides several recommendations on how to leverage content marketing and measure the results from those efforts.  The strongest recommendations however – talking to your current customers and putting that to good use, and focusing on growth metrics (vs. engagement metrics).

Thoughts: While it was put together to drive you to their free ebook, I loved the St. Patrick’s Day theme throughout the slideshow.  Visually appealing, easy to read and flip through, and I didn’t feel inundated with “sales” materials throughout each slide.  I may have to check out this ebook …

Tweet of the Week:

Rather than give you one tweet, we decided to go with a slew of them from brands and companies focusing in on St. Patrick’s Day!  Hope you enjoy …

That’s it for this week’s St. Patrick’s Day branding-inspired #SundayMusings.  What brands caught your attention with their holiday efforts?

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-15-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to the latest #SundayMusings with Shore Branding!  This week’s stories highlight the latest and greatest news as we head into 2015’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.  Are you traveling to SXSW this year?  If so, let us know what you think.  Below are the news stories that caught my attention …

#1 – “New Fitness Brand Radius Keeps SXSW 2015 ‘in shape’” – via MobileMarketingWatch.com

Premise: Fitness and wearables will play a large role in this year’s edition of SXSW in Austin and Radius will be looking to lead the way.  Radius, from NBCUniversal, works with RadiusFitness.com on personalized workouts for desktops and mobile devices.  The brand will be hosting and promoting itself throughout the festival.

Thoughts: Through sponsorship and branding at charging stations and through hosting across the festival, Radius is just one of a large number of brands looking to capitalize on SXSW’s popularity.  The brand is going to have to break out the big guns if it is going to want to break through the clutter at the event.

That said, it does make perfect sense for a brand that focuses on one of the hottest of hot topics – wearables – tries to make its mark at SXSW this year.

#2 – “Four Major Brand Activations To Look Forward To At SXSW 2015” via IPGLab.com

Premise: As we begin the SXSW conference, several brands have already made big news heading into the event.  McDonald’s has been in the news for the past few weeks for its forthcoming efforts to win more among millennials.  Twitter and PayPal will be ramping up their efforts, while Lyft (and Uber) look to continue their upward trend in popularity and usage.

Thoughts: It has been an up and down few weeks for McDonald’s as they take the stage (if you will) at SXSW.  It looks like the food chain has succumb to pressure and will pay bands to perform.  I’m not sure “I’m lovin’ it” (…) when I see they have named their WiFi stations “Fry-Fi” stations.

Lyft and Uber are in an interesting battle in Austin over the next week or so as they both look to continue moving forward with their services.  Lyft is taking it up a notch by providing rides in more upper profile vehicles.

#3 – “Marketers Bet On Clever Hashtag Campaigns to Stand Out at SXSW” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Brands have to find a way to break through the clutter at SXSW and several brands are launching hashtag campaigns to try and do so.  Poncho, a startup in mobile weather, is partnering with Resqwater (“an anti-hangover drink”) and has created the #askponcho hashtag to help those in Austin with drinks, sunglasses, umbrellas, and more.

Thoughts: Great idea above by Poncho to work with another company to create a unique way to breakthrough the clutter.

I’m not sure I can say the same about the last example provided in the link above.  A food-photo strike inspired by people’s food insecurity?  Where are we going in the US?!  While they are linking to an Instagram feed and have created a microsite for the campaign, I really can’t get behind this one at all.  Sorry.

#4 – “Is your brand ready for SXSW 2015?” via Ketchum.com

Premise: SXSW is know for Food, Technology, Branding, and more.  Ketchum’s team is prepared based on past experiences and will be keeping you up to date on what’s working at SXSW 2015.

Thoughts: Before we get too far ahead and into the 2015 edition of SXSW, Ketchum takes a look back at what has worked in the past and provides a few key numbers that helps explain the size, scope, and potential importance of your branding efforts at SXSW.

Tweet of the Week:

Seven tips … well, five plus two promotional efforts from Simply Measured … for those heading to Austin Texas for this year’s SXSW event.  Loved the acronym “ABC … Always Be Charging” and the tip to leverage Evernote’s ability to help make your life that much easier – by keeping your receipts in one place for an expense report vs. having 50 paper receipts stuffed in your wallet or bag.

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings and #SXSW news.  What are you most looking forward to at this year’s SXSW?  Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-1-15

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)

 

We are closing out February with a Valentine’s Day #SundayMusings – taking one last look at the branding and digital marketing news from brands and companies as they relate to Valentine’s Day.  Here are the holiday stories that caught my eye heading into and through the month.

#1 – “Love Across the Twittersphere” – via blog.twitter.com

Premise: The Twitter blog dives into some Twitter Analytics and how “love” is spread across the network.  Sweden comes out on top as the most “in love” country around the globe.  Twitter also takes a look at some of the most commonly used hashtags across the calendar year.

Thoughts: The Twitter blog is a great bookmark to see the latest and greatest from the site.  It hits on current and relevant news, holidays, sporting events and more.  I’m not sure what level of humor vs. sadness I find in the hashtags across the span of a calendar year.  (OK, it’s funny)

#2 – “Microsoft’s Valentine’s Advice: Break Up With Siri and Start Seeing Cortana” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Microsoft continues to heavily promote its Cortana personal assistant and take on Apple’s Siri, continuing this direct messaging for Valentine’s Day with two new ads.

Thoughts: Microsoft is very likely waging a war that it can’t win.  As it continues to be one step behind – if not more – its role in Tech continues to be playing from behind and adjusting to go head to head against Apple and/or Google.

While Microsoft continues to dominate the workplace – with a very solid product suite – the company continues to trip all over itself outside of this niche/space.  Cortana isn’t going to win Microsoft a ton of share.  Please innovate!

If you are looking for a winning ad this Valentine’s Day, look no further than this gem found on AdFreak:

#3 – “14 Ways to Romance Your Audience With Content Marketing” via HeidiCohen.com

Premise: Heidi Cohen shows us fourteen ways in which romance is critical to your content marketing success.  Across these fourteen steps you will find a quick blurb on each one, along with examples of success from across the web.

Thoughts: My favorite ‘tip’ here is #12 – “Spotlight your customers”.  I love when big brands do this, it brings them to life and typically provides a ‘feel good’ story.  Perhaps the hardest one for me is #4 – “Skip the words”.  While the main idea here is actually to use pictures and video, I’m actually talking about limiting the number of words to get the point across.  What tip do you find to be the hardest to cover off on for yourself?

#4 – “Branding Love: Who Owns Valentine’s Day?” via BladeCreativeBranding.com

Premise: According to a report from the National Retail Federation, approximately $19 billion was to be spent in the US this Valentine’s Day.  Breaking that down a bit, there is $2.1 billion spent on flowers, $2 billion on clothing, and $1.7 billion on chocolate/candy.  Within each of these categories – along with gift cards – the author takes a look at the brand leaders within each.

Thoughts: No surprise at all that Victoria’s Secret would lead the clothing category.  1-800-Flowers has done such a great job of turning themselves into a powerhouse in the online floral market.  Their loyalty program is one of the better ones that I am a member of.  In fact, they received my vote in the poll at the bottom of the write-up.

Tweet of the Week:

Save our “Tweet of the Week” for next Valentine’s Day in case you are looking for an idea on a good hashtag campaign.  #FeelTheLove of your next campaign!

That wraps up our Valentine’s Day #SundayMusings.  Did any brand catch your attention with their holiday messaging?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

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

 

Pin of the Month – Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

Brand in Focus – Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

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

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

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

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

Let’s dive into each one of these pages …

Facebook:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter:

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram:

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

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

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

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

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

Vine:

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

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

Overall Summary:

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

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

Let us know in the Comments section below.

Happy 2015 everyone!

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

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!

Eight Tips When Leveraging LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

As we close #LinkedInMonth (plus) here on Shore Branding, it is time to look at several LinkedIn Tips for building your company page on the network.  We previously looked at improving your own, personal page on LinkedIn but now it is time to focus on business pages.  Several tips are similar in concept, but LinkedIn has rolled out new features that only business pages can take advantage of.

Here are eight tips to improving your business/company page on LinkedIn.

#1 – Maximize the information you put on your profile & consider some of LinkedIn’s special offerings

Provide all of the pertinent information in your company description – who you are and what you do, your company history, corporate portfolio, and a link to your web site.  List your specialties to help with appearing in search within LinkedIn and provide any type of unique selling point (USP) that you would typically promote anywhere else.

Are you looking to hire?  Post your job opening(s) directly on your LinkedIn page and track who and how many people are responding to each posting.

LinkedIn used to have “Products” and “Services” tabs as well but they have since removed this information from company pages.  However, they now provide a “Showcase page” where you can focus your message and target others with your core capabilities.  Take your USP’s and build pages for them, providing enough depth and breadth for others to notice.

LinkedIn Showcase Page

#2 – Publish regularly scheduled content on LinkedIn

Whether or not your company has a blog page, leverage your LinkedIn network to promote your work, white papers, PR, etc.  Update your status on some type of regular basis … whether you commit yourself to a daily, weekly, or monthly update/post, stay true to form over time.  Publishing your material to LinkedIn allows you another avenue to promote your expertise.

Beyond this, make sure you have some type of consistent branding on your posts.  It can be as simple as your brand logo at the top of each page/slide or you can leverage an appropriate color scheme, hashtag, etc.  Add some consistency for your audience.

#3 – Target your status updates 

Have a fragmented audience or do you offer up a number of services?  LinkedIn now allows you to target your status updates by company size, industries, job functions and more.  This obviously says a lot about the data available on the LinkedIn servers and your ability to target down to the right audience.

Targeting your audience on LinkedIn has never been easier!

Targeting your audience on LinkedIn has never been easier!

#4 – Start a LinkedIn group and participate in others 

Vastly similar to what is recommended for personal branding on LinkedIn, this is yet another area and opportunity to promote your core competencies and expertise.  Groups are an invaluable resource for many LinkedIn users and you can find/connect with like minds, while also seeing what your competitors might be suggesting in your space.

Starting a group is another aspect for consideration, allowing you to regularly moderate the group, initiate and steer discussions, etc.

#5 – Leverage SlideShare

Have sales sheets, infographics, training materials, business goals, and more?  Drop any shareable information into SlideShare and upload the information to your profile – whether it be part of your regularly scheduled updates or within your company description, SlideShare adds a level of visual appeal and helps break up the text on your business profile.

#6 – Stay up to date on the latest LinkedIn innovations

As mentioned above, LinkedIn is continually tweaking their offering on both personal and business pages.  As these options are deployed, figured out what makes the most sense for your business page and what you are most comfortable with.

For the latest and greatest news, bookmark this page on LinkedIn.  As you will see in that link, occasionally there isn’t an update to company pages for weeks and months.  However, looking at April and May 2014, there are also times where LinkedIn is continually updating their features.

#7 – Use LinkedIn’s analytics tools

LinkedIn continues to update and improve its analytics offering.  This will allow you to help track your audience on a daily/weekly basis and to begin to understand how your efforts on the platform are paying off (or aren’t).  You’ll understand both reach and engagement on each of your updates and in total.  One of the more powerful pieces of the analytics tool is the ability to understand the success rates of LinkedIn’s advertising platform – sponsored links/updates, advertising your company page itself, etc.

Know your audience better with LinkedIn Analytics

Know your audience better with LinkedIn Analytics

Speaking of …

#8 – Consider leveraging LinkedIn’s advertising platform 

LinkedIn’s advertising platform is easy to understand and incredibly easy to use.  Pick the type of ad that you want to use – text/image, video – and where you want it to appear on the network.  Then, start targeting your message appropriately.  Finally, set your budget.  You can set per day limits and pay by the number of clicks you receive or on the number of impressions out there.

A bevy of options with LinkedIn Advertising

A bevy of options with LinkedIn Advertising

There you have it – eight tips to improving your company’s LinkedIn page and to help with your branding and digital marketing efforts on the platform.

If you have any other tips for running a company page on LinkedIn, let us know in the comments below.  If something has (or has not) worked really well for your business, let us know as well.  Thanks!