Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-3-16

Hello 2016! #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding (Photo credit: wallpapersshd.com)

Hello 2016! #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding
(Photo credit: wallpapersshd.com)

Happy New Year!  2016 is upon us and I wish you nothing but the best as we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.  Before we fully jump into the new year, today’s #SundayMusings takes a look back at some of the best summaries in branding-related stories from around the web.  

#1 –  “2015’s Top Customer Lessons” via Loyalty360.com

Thoughts: If you are looking for a solid list of hot topics in customer experience, look no further.  Take a look at what trends began in 2015 and where CX is heading this year.  There were two pieces that caught my eye – “Data Discipline” and “Getting Personal”.  Brands and companies must overlay data from various sources and have them break through silos.  At the same time, brands and companies must embrace social media channels and focus on the one-to-one experiences of each individual.  

This all circles back to last weekend’s book review – take a look here.

#2 – “What Went Wrong For Your Brand This Year” via BrandingStrategyInsider.com

Thoughts: There isn’t a better branding blog out there in my opinion vs. Branding Strategy Insider.  They consistently pump out must-read content.  Eight different targeted messages are included in this write-up for what may have went wrong for you / your brand in 2015, along with some first-step guidance on how to course correct.  This is absolutely worth the read if you feel underwhelmed with your business results this past year and a great start on how to make the appropriate adjustments.

#3 – “The best social media campaigns of 2015” via iMediaConnection.com

Thoughts: One opinion on what brands had the strongest social media campaigns of the past year.  The two that I liked the most are HP’s #BendTheRules campaign that targeted Millennials and Lowe’s “Fix in Six” Vine campaigns – that we have touted in the past.   

Tweet of the Week:

The tweet above includes a link to the best and worst branding efforts of 2015.  Yes, another compilation article and look back at the past 12 months.  Leading the way – Google.  So much news and noise for the tweaking of their signature logo.  The worst – without getting too political – was Hillary Clinton’s, who seems to be open to doing absolutely anything in order to get elected.  I’ll leave all other opinions off of this write-up.  

What caught your attention in 2015?  Have any particular brands resonated with you or driven a change in your perception of them over the course of the past year?  Let me know in the Comments section below.  

Happy New Year!

 

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

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-27-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 – Miller Lite – Free Rides

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

 

Brand in Focus – LeapFrog

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

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

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

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

LeapFrog Homepage 1

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

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

LeapFrog Homepage 2

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

Facebook:

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

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

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

Posted by LeapFrog on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 

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

LeapFrog Facebook

Twitter:

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

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

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat

YouTube:

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

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

Pinterest:

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

LeapFrog Pinterest

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

Overall Summary:

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

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

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

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-10-15

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

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

We are focusing our efforts on mobile in this week’s #SundayMusings.  With the recent announcement from Google (Mobilegeddon) and its impact on web sites and search results, it feels like a good time to keep an eye on all things mobile.

#1 – “How to Ace the Google Mobile-Friendly Test & Score 100%” – via Moz.com

Premise: Google has begun to further roll out its mobile-friendliness rankings within its search algorithms.  This write-up focuses on the mobile test itself by Google, but also includes links to several other Mobilegeddon write-ups that were put on Moz.com.

Google’s mobile checking Chrome extension will rate your site and provide feedback on areas that may need improvement.  The write-up also goes into the five components of the mobile score and quickly what each represents.  The team at Moz wound up doing their own test across 4K sites to see who did well and who scored poorly on the new algorithm.

Thoughts: What caught my eye on this article vs. the many, many others regarding Mobilegeddon was the willingness to put together real-life examples from around the web and quantifying those results.  A well deserved “kudos” to the team at Moz that went through this effort!

Have you tested your site’s mobile ranking?

#2 – “Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm A Week Later: Was It Really Mobilegeddon” via SearchEngineLand.com

Premise: After all of the uproar, did the change in Google’s algorithm drive significant change in mobile search results?  According to this write-up and the coinciding mining, the answer is ‘not really’.  Tracking results from others around the web (links included within the story, including the work done by Moz) the author finds that while changes have been seen, they are not as significant as “feared”.

Thoughts: Similar to many stories seen on the news these days, Mobilegeddon was ramped up as a colossal event that would shake the world to its core (OK, maybe that is even a bit much), only to find that the changes in search results have been impacted, but not turned upside down.

#3 – “Notes From A Mobilized Marketer – It Isn’t The Young That Value The Smartphone The Most” via JeffHasen.com

Premise: Jeff cites research from Pew Research Center that states that the older you are, the more you value your smartphone.  The vast majority (82%) of those 65+ in age say their phones give them freedom.  That’s just one of a dozen or so headlines from the past few weeks included in this “musings”-like write-up.

Thoughts: While I tend to agree that as I get older, my phone becomes more prevalent, I don’t know if I think that is because I’m getting older as much as it is the fact that my phone is getting better.  What are your thoughts on this?

What really caught my attention here is actually the news that Meerkat jumped ahead of Periscope and was first to launch its app on Android devices, while Periscope remains an Apple-only product.  If I didn’t love Twitter and Vine so much, I would make a much bigger deal out of this, but come on Periscope … we’re waiting!

We’re going to move away from more news articles this week and embed a few items of interest.  First, take a look at the SlideShare below on Wearable technology and its role in mobile:

Next, I found this YouTube video (on DigitalTrends.com) and thought how true (and sad) this is in our everyday lives:

Tweet of the Week:

Have you seen this story yet?  A woman was in a hostage situation in Florida and placed an order to her local Pizza Hut with the emergency message for help.  Truly amazing that she was able to get this through, the employees were smart enough to act on it, and the situation didn’t escalate.  It’s a crazy world we live in these days.

That’s it for this weekend’s #SundayMusings.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-12-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings are no joke, as we take a look back at April Fools’ Day news from around the web and across brands.  The first of April has become a great branding day as brands come up with fake news stories to draw some added attention in their direction.  It doesn’t always work out positively, but here are the stories that caught my attention for April Fools’ Day this year.

#1 – “The 11 best April Fools’ gags of 2015” – via theverge.com

Premise: A collection of the top April Fools’ Day jokes from brands and their respective YouTube clips.  Out of the 11 examples provided in the write-up, 5 of them are from Google or Google’s properties (Motorola, YouTube).

Thoughts: Across this list, I tend to like Google’s Smartbox mailbox, Microsoft’s MS-DOS Mobile, and Netflix’s Binge Watch Warnings.  I saw multiple people complain online about Netflix’s warning, not realizing at the time that it was an April Fools’ Day joke.  That’s phenomenal! [Read more…]

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: [Read more…]

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). [Read more…]

Product Review: Samsung Chromebook 2

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Several weeks ago we decided that we needed a second “family / house” computer.  With a Samsung Ultrabook already in our possession and virtually no issues with it over the past 3-4 years, I was leaning on another Samsung laptop.  The Ultrabook already had Microsoft Office and Windows 8 and there wasn’t a need for another $700+ laptop with all of the same programs on it.  The second laptop was going to be for web browsing, watching video and … surprise, surprise … blogging.

I quickly turned my attention to the Samsung Chromebook series and it quickly became a matter of “which one” vs. looking at other devices.  After viewing a number of YouTube videos (like the one below) on the nuances of Chromebook, I figured it was worth a shot. [Read more…]