Most Influential Reading – Book Review Part 2

Photo credit: ScriptsandScribes.com

Photo credit: ScriptsandScribes.com

Building off of last week’s article on some of my favorite books that cover branding and digital marketing-related topics/issues, here are my top three all-time favorites to conclude the book review.

Similar to the earlier reviews, below I have included a link to the online reviews on Amazon within the title of the book itself.  I’ve also provided a link to a respective page for each author (Twitter feed, own home page) for those that may be interested.

#3 – “Six Pixels of Separation” – by Mitch Joel

Brief Summary: [Read more...]

Most Influential Reading – Book Review Part 1

What's on your bookshelf?

What’s on your bookshelf?

Since the early 2000’s I have really enjoyed reading business-related books and novels on brand building, digital marketing, and the occasional book that gets your mind thinking in many different directions (e.g. Freaknomics and most of Malcolm Gladwell’s work).  With a focus on the former two subjects, here are my current favorites in rank-order.  I had a hard time narrowing this down to a smaller number, so we’re going to break this up into two entries.  The first will focus on numbers 4-6.  Next Wednesday, I’ll finish the book review with the top three.

Below I have included a link to the online reviews on Amazon within the title of the book itself.  I’ve also provided a link to a respective page for each author (Twitter feed, own home page) for those that may be interested.

#6 – “Engage!” – by Brian Solis

Brief Summary: [Read more...]

Poll Question: Which social media sites do you leverage the most?

Which social media sites do you prefer?

Which social media sites do you prefer?

You have probably noticed the poll on the right sidebar of each page – Which social media sites do you leverage the most?  This poll will be leveraged to kick-off a series of write-ups that Shore Branding will be blogging about over the next few months.  The social media site with the most votes at the end of March ’13 will be the focal point of the first blog entry in the series.  The write-up on said site will consist of recommendations and thoughts on how to best leverage the site for businesses, a “do and don’t” list for your consideration, as well as infographics for the site that have been put together for each.

Over the course of time, each of the social media sites in this poll will become separate blog entries that include similar thoughts and recommendations for users and businesses of each.  Let us know which site you use most frequently and in the comments below and/or let us know what you like most about your selection and what benefits you may have already gained from leveraging the site.  We are interested in hearing what may have worked for you.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 2/17/13

Sunday Musings 3

Here are the links and stories that caught my attention in digital marketing and branding this week.  As mentioned in the first Sunday Musings entry last week, we’ll be updating this section each week with stories that caught my attention and found to be of particular interest.

#1 – The Brilliant “Most Viewed” Award from LinkedIn… – MarketingCommunicationsInk.com 

Premise: LinkedIn went over the 200 million user mark recently and they sent out notifications to the top 1%, 5%, and 10% most viewed profiles in 2012.  Their strategy of sharing this news across the web and with others seems to have been a success, as this was one of many articles written up about the initiative.

Thoughts: The writer of this particular link/article went through a similar set of emotions and thoughts that I had earlier this week when I received the email from LinkedIn saying that I was in the top 10% as well.  Was it spam, how many people does this actually consist of, and then admiration that LinkedIn was creating a good amount of buzz for their site.  I would assume this will now be an annual tradition for the site moving forward.  Here is the infographic that LinkedIn provided with the email that illustrates some of the more basic stats for their site.

#2 – “Here’s How People Look at Your Facebook Profile” – Mashable.com

Premise: Mashable provides some interesting perspective on how and where viewers tend to look on a number of social media / digital web sites through eye tracking.

Thoughts: I almost didn’t click on this due to the title and thinking it was only about Facebook.  However, I’m fascinated by eye tracking testing and where people are going/looking when they get to a web site.  Open up the gallery towards the bottom of the article to see the eye tracking results across a number of popular SM sites, including; Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Klout, etc.

#3 – “64 Google+ Content Strategies” – copyblogger.com

Premise: Copyblogger puts together a number of recommendations and thoughts on how to use Google+, along with the overall recommendation that you should use G+.  The article includes an in depth infographic at the end for your consideration.

Thoughts: Interesting thoughts and ideas here from the copyblogger.com team.  I tend to agree with a lot of their thoughts, including how to share, leverage G+’s Circles, linking your blog, etc.  While I have not used G+ too much as a personal web site in the mold of Facebook, I find the content in the Communities and the ability to speak to specific people through Circles to be tremendous assets for the site.  The Hangouts feature is still just at the cusp of what it can be and what it can become in the business world.

#4 – “Poland Spring blows Rubio #watergate moment, fails Twitter 101” – CNET.com

Premise: Earlier this week President Obama gave his State of the Union speech.  The Republican response to the speech was given by Florida Senator, Marco Rubio.  During the latter’s speech, there was a Twitter storm due to Rubio’s need to reach for a drink of (Poland Spring) water several times.  This could have been an excellent time for someone on the Poland Spring team to log into their Twitter account and jump in on the fun to promote their brand, but they failed miserably.

Thoughts: This is one of my biggest pleas with companies, if you aren’t going to use a site consistently to get your message out there, why bother signing up or post anything at all?  I could understand wanting to grab the page/name itself, but to post for some time and then just give up is another thing.  At the time of this writing, Poland Spring hasn’t tweeted since 7/26/10.  This was a tremendous opportunity for Poland Spring to get out in front of the action as it was happening and capitalize on it.

After Rubio’s speech, his team must have seen the news that this was creating and tweeted the following – a second, golden opportunity for Poland Spring to capitalize on!

#5 – “American Express Syncs with Twitter to Unlock the Purchasing Power of the #Hashtag” – AmericanExpress.com Press Release

Premise: Amex continues to strengthen its digital presence with the announcement that consumers can now tweet specific hashtags and buy products on Twitter.  The early partnerships with Amex include Amazon, Sony, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Bracelet, and Xbox.  All you have to do is sync your Amex card to your Twitter account and you are all set to start purchasing through the site.

Thoughts: Continuing to invent new means through the purchase channel on digital channels has been a real strength for Amex relative to their direct competitors.  This is another great idea for trial.  My one concern is the ease of how people can likely tweet the key words and then claim they didn’t mean to or want to do so or that they were just ‘fooling around’.  This really just comes down to user self-discipline.  Overall, I think this is a great idea and has the potential to grow with more partners.

What do you think?  Did any of these particular stories grab your attention as well?  If so, why?  Let me know if the comment section below.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 2/10/13

Sunday Musings 2

Here is the first ‘Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding’ entry. Here at Shore Branding we’ll be updating this section of the blog with up to a handful of articles that caught our attention over the course of the week, along with our own thoughts and perspective on any particulars from those links/stories. So go ahead and bookmark this page if you are interested in or engaged by digital marketing and branding efforts made by companies around the globe.

#1 – “What a $4 Mil. Super Bowl Ad Could Buy in Digital” – Digiday.com

Premise: With the going rate for a Super Bowl 30 second spot hovering around $4 million this year, the Digiday.com team takes a look just how far that $4 million could go if allocated towards digital marketing.

Thoughts: There were a few eye-openers in here. The two that caught my attention the most were:

  • 100+ million video impressions on Hulu – if you have a specific target audience and you know what show(s) are in that wheelhouse and available on Hulu, that is a heck of a strong investment.
  • Twitter’s promoted trending topic for a month – look, I love Twitter. I think it is a phenomenal medium to get your message out there. Stick with it, they will come.

#2 – “Get to Know Vine: Tips for Your Next Campaign” – Medium.com

Premise: Speaking of Twitter, you have likely seen the buzz on their new six second video sharing app, Vine. Brian Adams provides a few preliminary tips and early thoughts on the app.

Thoughts: I hate that Twitter only launched this in Apple’s App Store, as I am fully committed to Android in this household. While I wait for the app itself, there has been an app created to view other Vine videos. While still trying to think about appropriate/meaningful ways for businesses to leverage the medium, I think it can and will be fantastic for bloggers that cover sports, travel, food, etc.

#3 – “How to Maximize the Shareability of Your Blog Posts With Multiple Entry Points” – Dashburst.com

Premise: I think the title takes care of the premise, no? There are eight steps in the article to use / consider on how to better promote your blog, which can be synonymous with business here. There are a few technical items here to help strengthen your digital strategy and a few recommendations that can be easily applied, or at the very least considered, by small business owners.

Thoughts: Found this personally interesting as I am still debating on how to optimize the sharing tools for this blog myself. I have absolutely no interest in signing up for every SM site and trying to carry each article over to every single one of them. However, finding a scalable means to get content out there is critical and I’m still tinkering with that strategy as you read this.

#4 – “Forget about Social Media for a moment. What’s your mobile strategy?” – BrianSolis.com

Premise: Mobile is rapidly growing and that curve isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Is your brand or business focusing on its mobile strategy at all or are you solely focusing on “social media”. With the continued evolution of online behaviors, your business must be thinking about mobile.

Thoughts: Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Zynga, and others have released their Q4’12 earnings and one of the most talked about current and next steps for these companies is building and improving their presence in mobile. This is particularly true for these social media / digital companies, but it holds to form for any and all businesses as well. You do not want (potential) consumers going to your web site on their mobile devices and finding it difficult to use, read, search, etc. If you aren’t, please start thinking about your mobile strategy.

#5 – “Mobile Web Mastery: 25 Tips on Designing for Mobile Devices” – WeGraphics.net

Premise: Sticking with the mobile theme, I found this article in a Branding Community on Google+. The article provides more tips and thought starters when thinking about your mobile strategy.

Thoughts: The only recommendation in this article that I disagree with the notion of is choosing a separate URL for your mobile site. I just do not see the point in doing this in today’s environment. Most sites are building mobile friendly capabilities right from the start. On top of this, I hate the idea of having/sending mixed messages to your consumers when they visit your site from different access points. Keep it simple …

These are the stories that I found of particular interest over the past week or so. Barring unforeseen events, this will be a weekly write-up that I’ll be posting each Sunday with new stories and thoughts from the world of branding and digital marketing. I hope you stick around!

Super Bowl Ad Review

 

You may have already heard that the Super Bowl was this past weekend, which brings on the annual tradition of dissecting the advertisements and putting together our own rankings from “tremendous” down to “hideous”. Well, I’m no better. Here are a handful that I thought were well done for our first Super Bowl Ad Review. This list will not include this year’s one colossal failure – which, likely to no one’s surprise, is GoDaddy’s mess. Here are my personal favorites:

#5 – Doritos, “Goat for Sale”

This Doritos ad had strong branding right from the very beginning all the way through to the end. The bags are highly visible throughout much of the ad. At the same time, I thought it was pretty comical. I giggled when the goat screeches at the empty kitchen the next day and again when he closes the door behind him at the very end. Well played!

#4 – Oreo, “Whisper Fight”

Again, the ad quickly tells you who the ad is for if you are paying any attention to the words. The “Creme” vs. “Cookie” has the potential to go a long way. It immediately brings back memories of the Miller Lite “Tastes great, Less filling” ads that ran … well, almost forever. I thought there was a decent amount of humor in this one as well, but the end really stuck with me. The link/directive to go to Oreo’s Instagram page caught my attention right away; I don’t recall another brand pointing consumers to Instagram, so that was certainly unique to me.

(One other ‘win’ for Oreo was from their Twitter feed during the blackout at the Super Bowl. This is fantastic, on the spot / in the moment engagement with consumers – see the tweet below. Wired had a very nice write-up about this as well.)

#3 – Budweiser, “Coronation”

Budweiser is releasing a new variant into the family (Black Crown) and I thought the first ad that they aired, ‘Coronation’, had slightly stronger branding in it vs. the second ad, ‘Celebration’. To me, ‘Coronation’ built a stronger “prestigious” image to it in both the ad content and with the music selected for the background. Showing the people around the table and having the guy make a proclamation made me think that this was more of an up-scale product vs. the ‘Celebration’ ad which was a bunch of people dancing around like you see in two-thirds of the ads for beer.

#2 – M&M’s, “Love Ballad”

M&M’s has made it easy for themselves. The M&M characters are an obvious way to break through the clutter of advertising, build recognition and have people correctly associate the appropriate brand to the ad. Not bad at all, huh? The ad uses a very memorable song (good ole Meatloaf is back!) and while I wasn’t aware of this at the time, also stars actress Naya Rivera from the TV show Glee. Sorry, I don’t watch Glee. Excellent use of sponsorship and an actress that will resonate with a younger audience, plus the added bonus of Meatloaf’s “I will do anything for love (but I won’t do that)” song for the background that might appeal to a slightly older audience. (I may or may not have slid in the word “slightly” there after realizing I was falling into this category…)

#1 – Taco Bell, “Viva Young”

Admittedly, there is some bias here. Fun’s “We are young” has become one of my favorite songs released and is perfect for advertising to a younger audience (or those that want to believe they are still young). Taco Bell’s slight twist to sing the words in Spanish was brilliant. For those that want to complain that the translations don’t match up, I can only say … that was the point! My first thought was that this was a good way to appeal to the growing Hispanic market, but I could be wrong there as some people are apparently offended at the translated version. Again, that was the point, it was tongue-in-cheek.

Nevertheless, this was my favorite commercial from Super Bowl Sunday. I thought it was hysterical and included my favorite song from the past handful of years. Could it use a little more branding? Sure. Was it still the funniest commercial released? Absolutely. You have a man doing the robot, another man flashing his “upper body” to customers in a restaurant, and the silence when the cops drive past them. Phenomenal.

What did you think of this year’s ads? What were some of your favorites?

Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Ciao, Privet, and 你好!

 

Shore Branding

 

What is Shore Branding?

Welcome to Shore Branding – a brand and digital marketing consulting site started with one goal in mind; helping business owners strengthen their market positioning and optimizing their strategies and engagement levels with (potential) consumers. Shore Branding will leverage both a scientific, data driven approach with common sense realities that many struggle to bring to market.

Whether you are a small business owner or an established brand or business, Shore Branding’s consultative approach will help you better understand your current strengths and weaknesses. This approach looks to build strategic partnerships and long-term relationships.

For small business owners, Shore Branding will partner with you and provide a full top to bottom analysis on past, present, and future strategy in building a more successful business. This includes, but is not limited to; brand building, marketing, PR, and digital strategy. Whether you are just getting started or looking to tweak your communication with clients and consumers, Shore Branding will help you build a winning, go to market strategy.

Why did Shore Branding come to exist?

Brands and firms have made mistake after mistake in building, or trying to build consumer engagement, particularly among their own users and buyers. Why? When you have someone that is willing and compelled to your brand/business for one reason or another, why would you not give them the utmost attention and ensure that they stay with you? This remains a mystery.

At the same time, along came this life changing “thing” called the Internet. While the web continues to evolve, brands and businesses continue to find new ways to turn off their customers. New businesses struggle to find the appropriate strategy in digital, believing that as long as they have a page on every new, up and coming web site, they have their business covered. Wrong! Pick and choose your battles and when you pick them, engage with your (potential) consumers and make a connection with them. Give them a reason to keep coming back.

This is by no means groundbreaking material here. However, it is amazing to see just how many brands and companies can’t do this correctly. Shore Branding is now here to help!

What’s next for Shore Branding?

Our goal is to help business build levels of trust and engagement with new and existing consumers. Continue to check back on the page to see our latest thoughts and ideas in building your consumer base. Beyond our own thoughts, the blog will be updated each weekend with musings and links focused on branding, digital, and/or marketing strategy. We hope you stick around for the ride.

If you would like to talk about your own businesses needs or strategy, or you believe Shore Branding can help you get through a particular business issue / time crunch, please feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation via e-mail or via phone at 732-970-4237. Thank you!