Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-8-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

As we head into and through the end of the year, there are a number of different branding efforts taking place.  This week’s #SundayMusings runs the gamut across a few of these holidays as brands have begun their year end marketing campaigns.  

#1 –  “Top hotel bonus points promotions for Thanksgiving week stays” via LoyaltyTraveler.com

Premise: Loyalty Traveler informs its readers of the best hotel travel deals for Thanksgiving week, one of the biggest travel weeks of the year in the US.  

Thoughts: Across all of the major hotel chains – Hilton, Marriott, IHG, etc. – you will be able to find the current promotions and deals in this article.  Depending on your loyalty across each, I’m sure you will be able to find something if you are considering traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

#2 – “REI Stores are Closing on Thanksgiving” via REI.com

Thoughts: No premise is needed here.  You have probably seen this announcement from REI, completely closing their stores on Black Friday.  Thank you! #SaveThanksgiving

Even better news … the retailer will be paying its employees as if it is a regular workday and have opted to turn this into a hashtag campaign – #OptOutside.  Well played REI!

#3 – “Why Hallmark is Ditching TV, and Sentimental Ads, for a Bit of Biting Humor this Holiday” via AdWeek.com

Premise: For the first time, Hallmark is abandoning TV advertising for its Keepsake holiday ads, going with an all digital approach.  There are a handful of ads on its microsite for the campaign and the company is using the #KeepsakeIt hashtag for the campaign.  

Thoughts: It pains me to write anything about Christmas here – ahead of Thanksgiving – but I did want to bring to your attention.  It is telling when a brand rich in tradition decides to completely abandon the TV and go all digital.  The times, they are a changin’ …

Tweet of the Week:

 

Self-serving?  Sure.  A good cause?  Absolutely!  Check out the SaveThanksgiving.net online food drive on Feeding America through the link in the tweet above.  Help others who are struggling to put a meal on the table.  Thank you!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-2-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings with Shore Branding is somewhat unique in its style in that I am building off of our Loyalty to Brands write-ups and have found recent news from brands and companies that we have focused on in the past.  Here are a few headlines that have caught my eye on several of the brands that I consider myself loyal to.

#1 – “Online shopping startup ready to rival Amazon” – via NYPost.com

Premise: Having launched two weeks ago, Jet.com’s founder Marc Lore promises to be an open book when it comes to corporate disclosure – a key contrast vs. his former boss and employer, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.  Lore provides several quotes into how he prefers to run Jet moving forward.  Jet has raised $225 million in funding but is projecting losses in its operating margin for the next five years.

Thoughts: As mentioned in last week’s Loyalty to Brands on Jet, I think it is a phenomenal site and product already.  I’m seriously considering the next nine months as the last chance for Costco to wow me with something or my membership will be cancelled.

Marc Lore has made the rounds over the past two weeks, so it is highly likely you have already seen or read what he is expecting out of Jet.com and his vision for the company as it moved out of beta testing.

#2 – “Dunkin’ Donuts Is Using 7 Social Platforms to Sell Iced-Coffee to Music-Loving Millennials” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Dunkin’ Donuts’ summer marketing campaign will go across seven different social media platforms, in an effort to better connect / resonate with millennials.  The campaign is called “DD Summer Soundtrack” and will include similar messaging and advertising across social platforms.

Thoughts: Either Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts know exactly what they are doing or this is just an effort by Dunkin’ to take some steam out of Starbucks’ connection with younger consumers.  I don’t love the idea, particularly if it was formed based on the latter assumption, but it could work out very well for Dunkin’, given its heavy promotional efforts.  I also liked to read that the brand will include a focus on Periscope – where I have seen several brands start to make their presence known.

#3 – “Hilton’s Canopy Reykjavik Offers Valuable Customer Experiences Steeped in Local Culture” via Loyalty360.eu

Premise: Canopy, “Hilton’s new lifestyle hotel brand” will be opening in Reykjavik Iceland in 2016 and be located in center city.  It will offer all of the local flavoring of the city, including food and local amenities.

Thoughts: OK, so this caught my eye and I cannot wait to go back to Iceland and stay at this new Hilton hotel.  If you have never been to Iceland, I highly suggest you check it out as the country is absolutely gorgeous.  We stayed at the current Hilton in Reykjavik and while it was very nice, it was a little off the path from center city.

Tweet of the Week:

Honda is another Loyalty to Brands focus and they have recently turned it up a notch with their digital marketing and social media efforts.  They recently aired a Periscope video rolling out the design for the 2016 Honda Accord and now have this hashtag campaign out there across networks.

The light bulb has seemingly gone off for Honda that they needed to step up their game across social media platforms.  I really enjoy what they have been doing in recent weeks.

Any of these brands in this week’s #SundayMusings catch your attention?

Happy Sunday and enjoy the week ahead!

 

Pin of the Month – Sterling Cooper / Mad Men

Infographic by Unmetric

Infographic by Unmetric

The good folks over at Unmetric are at it again in our July “Pin of the Month”.  We have used several infographics from Unmetric since launching our “Pin of the Month” feature.  Earlier this year, one of the more acclaimed shows in my memory, Mad Men, came to an end.  The infographic above takes a look at the accounts that the Sterling Cooper agency held during the seven seasons of Mad Men on AMC.

Overall, 83 accounts were portrayed on the show with only 10% of them being fake brands.  While another 12 have gone out of business, it is pretty cool to see that 64 of the brands referenced on the show are still around today.

From here, the infographic takes us down a path of breaking out the brands by category and then dives into how 37 of the brands are currently on and leveraging Twitter specifically.  This goes to show you that when you cross one of the better TV shows in recent years with the Twitter platform, you have my attention!

My favorite part of the infographic is where it dives into the engagement that these brands are creating on Twitter.  Bacardi and Heinz are the most engaging brands among Sterling Cooper’s clients, followed closely by Gorton’s Seafood – definitely a surprise number three to me, particularly with “only” ~7,500 followers on Twitter.

The other piece that caught my eye is the rank order of the types of content that is/was most engaging on Twitter.  I’m not too surprised that “Brand News” would be at the top, but second on the list is “Campaign” tweets … I’m assuming that these are Twitter ad campaign tweets and these numbers suggest the power behind advertising on Twitter.  This is largely superior to “Events” and “Contests” across the brands examined and somewhat surprising – it might be interesting to overlay this with spend levels to put a bit more context on the results.

So what caught your eye in this month’s “Pin of the Month”?  Did you watch Mad Men?  When these brands came up in the show, what were your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments below or drop me an email at john@shorebranding.com.

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-) analyze it in our “Pin of the Month”.

If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let me know.  Thanks!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-24-15

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone in the States!  In this week’s #SundayMusings we’re going to build off of last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” on mobile travel and link in loyalty-related articles, ahead of next weekend’s latest “Loyalty to Brands” write-up.  Here are several write-ups that I have found on brands that I have some level of loyalty to when booking travel.

#1 – “National’s App Adds “Virtual Aisle” Service” – via AutoRentalNews.com

Premise: Earlier this year National Rental Car deployed a “virtual aisle” to its Emerald Club members and users of National’s mobile app.  At specific airports around the US, National’s mobile app allows you to conduct a real-time inventory check on what cars are available at the airport.

Thoughts: National Rental Car has always been my preferred rental car provider for as long as I have been traveling for business.  The bypass of the counter feature was enough for me right out of the gate.  However, I’ve never had a negative experience with National, their customer service has been solid, and their mobile app includes just about everything you could possibly need.

#2 – “Hilton HHonors Rewards Program” via Wanderbat.com

Premise: Wanderbat provides a rundown on the Hilton HHonors program and all of its features, implied value, the encompassing hotel chains that fall under the program’s umbrella, and more.  The write-up suggests that earning points via your spend level at Hilton properties does not carry as much value as other hotels.  However, there are a number of partner programs that can be connected to your Hilton HHonors account.

Thoughts: This write-up provides quite the extensive list of benefits, how to earn and redeem points, and runs the gauntlet of coverage on the program.  Within a few clicks you will be able to find a similar rundown for your hotel of choice.

You may have already seen this but my loyalty in the hotel space has been with Hilton HHonors.  That will provide you with everything you need to know about why I am a loyal member to their program.

#3 – “Best Airline Rewards Programs” via USNews.com

Premise: USNews.com reviewed the top ten frequent flier / airline loyalty programs and came away with the ranking found in the link above.  JetBlue and Southwest are at the top of the list, respectively.  The bigger airlines – United, American Airlines, and Delta – find themselves in the middle of the pack.

The page linked to above provides a quick summary blurb for each of the ten airlines measured.  Each airline is then one, additional click away for a more comprehensive review of their respective loyalty program.

Thoughts: While I have preferences in airlines, I am not loyal to anyone in particular.  This is largely due to differences in flight destinations, convenience, and price.  Very rarely do I purchase an airline ticket without checking prices and flight times at each of the following locations – Newark, JFK, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia.  All four are anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes away without any major traffic issues.

It is incredibly tough to be loyal to an airline when you are traveling to various locations.  If you are traveling to one location for your job every week or month, it makes it a lot easier to rack up miles and eventually earn enough for reward travel.  However, I let my points accumulate with Hilton vs. any airline program due to what I view as stronger, more usable benefits.

Moving away from stories and reviews, I wanted to provide a few additional links for mobile travel.  Here are a few mobile travel apps that I find to be very helpful while I am on the road.  The links below are to the apps’ Google Play page.

  • FlightTrack: Offers free and paid versions – link is for the free version – and is typically ahead of airlines when updating delayed flights, gate information, etc.
  • Waze: When I run into issues with Google Maps and the navigation within it, I quickly turn to Waze.  This is somewhat ironic since Google now owns Waze and they should probably be better intertwined by now.  I digress.  Waze will provide you with the appropriate driving directions, alternative routes, and notify you when law enforcement may have been tagged by other users on the roads ahead.
  • 1Weather: I started using this weather app when I purchased an Android Wear smartwatch.  However, I wouldn’t recommend waiting to use this app for your weather and forecasts needs instead of The Weather Channel app.  It is far superior in my opinion.

Tweet of the Week:

Found Simplify’s tweet on a Twitter search for “mobile travel” and loved the link that is embedded here.  Tnooz.com provides a quick summary on travel and hospitality news, specifically with links to mobile and technology.  No surprise that the top stories connect mobile travel to the Apple Watch, as more brands look to make their mark in the wearables market.

That’s it for this weekend’s mobile travel-related #SundayMusings.  What apps do you find most useful when you are traveling for business or leisure?  Let me know in the comments below or via email so I can check them out.  Thanks!

 

Loyalty to Brands – Hilton

Loyalty to Brands - Hilton

Loyalty to Brands – Hilton
(Hilton HHonors)

Our second “Loyalty to Brands” focuses on a brand that I have become loyal to over the past ten years or so due to business travel and personal vacations. While I typically shop around for the best price/offer for airline tickets, there is very little comparative shopping being done when thinking about what hotel chain to stay at. Approximately 99.5% of my hotel stays are at a Hilton property.

What made me loyal to Hilton? First and foremost, the overall quality of just about every property I stay at – whether it be a Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Doubletree, or Embassy Suites, I can’t remember a truly bad experience. Here is what I tend to find at most Hilton properties: quality of the room itself, room upgrades, the breakfast (at many), and/or the service from employees. [Read more…]