Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-22-15

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

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

Welcome to a Thanksgiving-geared, #SaveThanksgiving special edition of #SundayMusings with Shore Branding.  There has not been too much news or debate – maybe I’m too busy to notice – on retailers opening up on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday / holiday deals.  I’ve seen a number of Change.org petitions but none of them have necessarily exploded.  

In any case, for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week, I hope you enjoy it and get to spend time with your friends and family.  Onward to this week’s musings …

#1 –  “Be Thankful for Feedback: Good, Bad, and Indifferent” via Loyalty360.org

Premise: Customers have had polar opposite opinions on retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What is somewhat lost in all of the debate is the value of the feedback these stores have received due to making decisions like this.  Good or bad, listening to the feedback provided by your customers is absolutely critical.  The author provides three tips to consider as you embark on your holiday messaging.  

Thoughts: Well, the crux of our SaveThanksgiving.net efforts really started in a similar spot.  However, the overall theme here, when you pull back the curtain, really is to listen to your customers.  You have to understand the impact of the decisions you make.  

#2 – “3 tips to avoid marketing missteps this holiday season” via imediaconnection.com

Premise: How do retailers keep shoppers involved and engaged throughout the holiday season and beyond?  The author puts together three tips on what retailers can do to sustain their efforts over a longer period of time.  

Thoughts: What really caught my attention is the third tip in this article, “bridge the gap between bricks and clicks”.  If you can’t optimize your customer experience by having both channels work together, then don’t try and focus your efforts on one or the other.  It is incredibly frustrating to have a completely different user experience between the in-store and online.  

#3 – “Izze’s Friendsgiving Campaign Includes Pop-Up Social Events for Millennials” via BrandChannel.com

Premise: Fruit-drink maker Izze is back with a new campaign heading into the holidays, called Friendsgiving.  The brand will be advertising across Amazon, Instagram, and Pinterest as it targets Millennials.

Thoughts: Respectfully, I had no idea that Izze was part of PepsiCo’s portfolio until this week.  I missed last year’s campaign, but I really do like what they are doing as we head into Thanksgiving.  

What brands are using a Thanksgiving-related campaign or hashtag that has caught your attention over the past few weeks?  Please do pass them along!

Tweet of the Week:

Once again, please spread the word and help others who are struggling to put a meal on the table this holiday season.  

For those celebrating Thanksgiving this week, please have a great, yet safe holiday!  #SaveThanksgiving

 

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 – 7-5-15

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

 

Happy Fourth of July weekend to those of you in the US!  Hope your holiday weekend has been … exactly whatever it is you were looking for.

Building off of June’s “Pin of the Month”, this week’s #SundayMusings is dedicated to small businesses and small business branding.  The following stories caught my eye over the past few weeks.  If you own or work for a small business and you have recently updated your branding or turned up the notch, let me know as I’m happy to pass this along to readers and visitors.

#1 – “5 Digital Marketing Rules Every Small Business Needs to Know” – via Business2Community.com

Premise: Now is as good of a time as any to take a look at how you are promoting your small business, whether that be through paid advertising, social, and/or digital marketing.  Focusing on the last aspect, the author puts together five easy to follow steps on how to drive the results you want to achieve.

Thoughts: The steps here caught my attention because I am currently in the process of doing a few of these right now.  The first rule, “Freshen up”, is essentially what I am looking to do with your input in our satisfaction survey (please do fill this in if you have 2-3 minutes … and since you are reading this week’s #SundayMusings, I know you do …).

I am also a firm believer in #2 and #3 in this write-up.  Consistency matters, but so does your overall time and effort.  You’ll also find two solid recommendations for your advertising efforts in the write-up above.

#2 – “Utilize Local Resources to Increase Your Brand Awareness” via TimothyBrand.com

Premise: The author provides a real-life example of leveraging Meetup.com to build his network in his new hometown … leading to the crux of the write-up, networking with local businesses and other business owners is a great way to build your brand and learn on the fly from others at the same time.

Thoughts: Another article near and dear to me right now.  We are in the process of joining a local church and beyond this, I have had a desire to simply be ‘more involved’ in the local community in recent weeks and months.  That continues to be a work in progress and finding the right groups.  If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them.

#3 – “How to Be A Successful Entrepreneur At Tradeshows” via PurpleMoonCreative.com

Premise: Tradeshows are a great way to promote your business.  However, you have to be wise in selecting the right ones to attend and your message and booth need to be on point.  The author provides six simple steps to adhere to when attending tradeshows in order to get the most out of them.

Thoughts: While it may seem obvious, tradeshows almost never go off as smoothly as you would think and these tips are very rarely executed against in their entirety.  The tips for ‘streamlining your message’ and ‘having a takeaway’ are the two that I would agree with as being the most important.

I did like the thought behind visiting other booths if you have the time.  I would say, make the time.  What other tips do you have for tradeshows that have either worked for you or you have really enjoyed from others?

#4 – “What To Include On Your Small Business Website” via JillCeleste.com

Premise: Eight tips for your small business branding efforts on your website – which Jill states is or should be the main hub of your business.

Thoughts: Essentially, this is a nice reminder and snapshot of what your business needs to be communicating to prospects and customers.  These tips largely are there to build engagement and illustrate your expertise, while also making it easy for visitors to find out more about you on the site itself and across social media platforms.

Two quick thoughts from this list:

  • Small businesses absolutely should have a blog
  • The “As seen in” tip is definitely a nice to have, with the example image provided in the story being a little over the top

Tweet of the Week:

More tips on small business branding via infographic on Pinterest!  Somewhat related, it would be nice to have Twitter and Pinterest cut some type of deal where the pins that are shared can be seen directly on Twitter via expanding the tweet itself.

Hope you enjoyed our small business branding #SundayMusings!  Have a great Sunday and week ahead!

 

Brand in Focus – the NBA

The NBA logo, aka Jerry West via the NBA’s Twitter page

The NBA logo, aka Jerry West via the NBA’s Twitter page

With the NBA Draft this past Thursday night and my Minnesota Timberwolves owning the first pick of the draft (Karl-Anthony Towns), this feels like the right time to put NBA branding in focus!  The NBA’s branding efforts across social media have driven a nice niche for the sport, most specifically on Twitter and Vine.  Let’s dive right into it and start with the NBA’s own web site.

NBA.com ... please clean this up

NBA.com … please clean this up

For a company that does well for itself on social media, I don’t understand why the NBA’s web site always feels so cluttered and confusing.  The screenshot above was taken less than two days ahead of the NBA Draft and it is just a mess.  You have ads on the sides – which drives me bonkers across the web – and not enough focus on the one event that is in the immediate future.  I’ll save you the trouble of what scrolling down on NBA.com looks like – links everywhere, columns and rows that don’t blend nicely.

The one other item that I noticed is that the NBA has the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ counts on the top of their page, but to find all of their social media pages, you have to drag your mouse over the “More” link towards the top right and a pop up of social media sites is provided there.

Let’s move on … quickly … to where the NBA is doing solid work and driving real engagement with its fans.

Twitter:

With 15.5 million followers on Twitter, the NBA is doing a tremendous job of promoting its brand on the network.  The NBA passes along news from around the league, RT’s pertinent information from team pages, NBA players, and finally, sister Twitter feeds that have been set up over the time – @NBAHistory, @NBADraft, @NBATV and more.  A generic search on Twitter for “NBA” gave me a compilation of all of these elements:

NBA on Twitter

The league has truly embraced Twitter and has somewhat “forced” its TV partners to follow suit.  My personal Twitter feed is full of NBA news and notes from around the league no matter what time of day or night it is.  The NBA received 100’s of RT’s and Favorites when it posts its own content and is directing followers to many other pages as well with its RT efforts.

The efforts by the league’s Twitter team has also done a fine job of carrying over engagement with fans on Twitter’s Vine platform …

Vine:

With 1.1+ million followers on Vine, the NBA is blowing other US professional sports leagues out of the water on the micro-video network.  I don’t think anyone can argue that the NFL is the #1 professional sport in the US right now and they only have 350K+ followers, while MLB has over 330K.  Essentially, the NBA has three times as many followers on Vine vs. the two leading professional sports here in the US.

Need more proof on the NBA’s branding efforts on Vine, well, I actually wrote about this a few months ago – click here.

Facebook:

27 million plus fans have Liked the NBA’s Facebook page and the engagement coming from these fans is immense.  While I see a lot of duplicative effort and cross-posting between Twitter and Facebook, the NBA typically receives thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on each Facebook post.  Note that this isn’t a once a day posting either, there are a handful of posts typically coming on a daily basis from the league to their fans.

I did notice one area of improvement to recommend … it looks like the page owner’s gave up on the milestone dates after 2011 per the screenshot below.  Please, fill this in!  I truly enjoy the history lesson that brands provide when they fill this in and maintain it adequately.  The NBA does a nice job of referencing championship teams in the timeline, but also major milestones in league history.

NBA on Facebook

Instagram:

While winning on the three prior social networks referenced above, the NBA seems to have some work to do if it is going to maintain a presence on Instagram.  With the deep following on Facebook, it would make a lot of sense for the league to consider going deeper on Instagram over its time and energy on Pinterest (see below).

The NBA has 8+ million followers on Instagram and the landing page screams “Help!”.  I’m not a big fan of how bland the landing page here is.  I have really enjoyed seeing brands create a banner that rotates images on the landing page and what you see below is a pretty basic, white landing page.

NBA on Instagram

That said, the NBA is clearly embracing the video features on Instagram, uploading a number of videos for the NBA Draft throughout the days prior, as well as snippets from the NBA Finals that just wrapped up a few weeks ago.

While I believe the league’s page could be cleaned up a bit, you can’t argue with the results, as most uploads are receiving hundreds of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Pinterest:

Relative to other social media platforms, the NBA ‘struggles’ to build a highly engaged audience on Pinterest.  The league has slightly over 13K followers on the platform, well behind its other pages and networks.

However, I do like what the league has done on Pinterest and it might be better suited taking this style and approach over to Instagram.  If the NBA were to take the “off the court” approach that it uses on various boards and board covers on Pinterest over to Instagram, I think it could be a real winning formula.

NBA on Pinterest

Overall Summary:

The NBA is clearly doing a lot of good across social media.  However, there are a few, small tweaks worth considering in their digital marketing efforts to help build a strong brand image with (potential) fans.

Positives:

  • They have really built a nice niche on Vine
  • Consistent content is being sent to their followers on a daily basis
  • Driving engagement with fans through the use of images and video

Improvement Areas:

  • Pay attention to the details and nuances of each page – for example, keeping the milestones up to date on Twitter
  • Leverage its Pinterest approach on Instagram and maybe even consider dropping Pinterest given how far behind the NBA’s following is relative to Instagram

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the NBA’s social media efforts?  Where would you like to see the NBA make improvements?  Let us know in the Comments section below.

 

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. [Read more…]

Brand in Focus – Whole Foods

 

Brand in Focus - Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Brand in Focus – Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Our next “Brand in Focus” puts Whole Foods’ branding and digital marketing efforts under the microscope. The grocer has been growing here on the east coast and caught my eye over the past few months with its paid advertising efforts on Twitter and Facebook, announcing the grand opening of a new store in Marlboro, NJ. Digging into the company’s digital efforts there are a number of highlights and positives that caught my attention.

First, WholeFoodsMarket.com promotes its efforts across a number of social media sites, all of which we will tackle here. The landing page appeals to the eye with big, bold images scrolling behind the links. When you rollover the text on the left hand sidebar (below) you find a number of links to go to. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-20-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on social media! This week I’ve picked out two write-ups that speak to social media broadly and then the remaining stories cover off specifically on my favorite social media platforms – Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, and Pinterest.  We’ll go into each in more detail below.

#1 – 5 Reasons Why Brands Need Integrated Social Media Marketing – via neerajsancheti.wordpress.com 

Premise: As integrated marketing plans become more and more regular across companies, it isn’t enough to be on one or two social media platforms. The author puts together five reasons why your brand or company needs to be on different platforms and where you should think about going.

Thoughts: There is a fine line between being everywhere and being in the right places. Many try to be everywhere in order to achieve the greatest ‘reach’. However, if you aren’t engaging with your customers / followers, what’s the point? At the same time, trying to be everywhere leaves you communicating with the wrong audience more times than not. So there are some points in the write-up that insinuate increasing visibility is the best thing you can do, and I would add the caveats before deciding to sign up for each and every social media platform. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-13-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  Our bi-weekly write-up has a new focus topic this week and that is content marketing.  Content marketing has become all the rage, but truth be told, I see it as a fancy phrase that is an extension of your branding efforts.  I’m sure many will disagree with this sentiment, but that’s my view on the latest catchphrase in marketing.

#1 – 9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared – via JeffBullas.com 

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his top nine tips for creating content that gets shared.  From identifying your audience/target through “making information accessible”, Jeff provides a good amount of context for each of his nine tips.

Thoughts: All nine of the tips found this article are useful and ought to be kept in mind as you (re-)focus on your content.  The one tip that seems highly relevant given our changes to these #SundayMusings write-ups is “#6 – Pay attention to trends”.  That was the main reason for moving to a topic-focused style of writing for #SundayMusings and our numbers and shares across social media have improved.  [Read more…]

New Poll – Where will you be advertising in 2014?

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014? (Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014?
(Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

Over the course of 2013, we covered off on several different trends in the advertising space, including the shift to advertising on various social networks (throughout many of our weekly Sunday Musings) and mobile advertising (most specifically with startup Nearwoo).

With that in mind, our opening poll question for 2014 is relatively simple: which advertising platforms will your brand/business be leveraging in 2014 to increase awareness and/or build stronger loyalty?  The options include:

  1. Mobile
  2. Paid Search
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. Twitter
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Foursquare
  8. Other Social Media Networks

After voting, if you would like to endorse a particular avenue, please feel free to do so in the Comments section below.  If you have already leveraged any of these streams, let us know what level of success you may have encountered.

Thanks for taking the time to vote and Happy New Year!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-17-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  Be on the lookout for an announcement later this week for a project that I am really excited for!  (Teaser alert!)

#1 – 5 Reasons Why You Need to Be Mobile Ready for 2014 – via DannyBrown.me 

Premise: Danny Brown provides five (more) reasons that your business needs to have a mobile game plan based on the results of a study conducted by Nielsen and Google.  Consumers are doing more research/search on mobile – looking up information on products, for deals, etc.  While results are mixed thus far, the benefits of geo-location apps can be seen when your business is found on the likes of Foursquare and Facebook Places.  Finally, consumers are beginning to use mobile devices for purchasing / at the point of purchase and that trend is more than likely going to continue upward.

Thoughts: Over the past few months we have spent a good amount of time and effort on the importance of mobile – including our Foursquare tips and introduction to the mobile advertising company Nearwoo.  The shift towards mobile devices will continue and I hope your brand/company is ready for it.

Are you making adjustments to your mobile game plan?  Have you had early success or failure? [Read more…]