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!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-9-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding.  Our focus this week will be on brand loyalty and the customer experience.  This builds off of October’s “Pin of the Month” and the continuation of our “Loyalty to Brands” series.  Here are the top stories from the past few weeks that caught my attention.

#1 – “Amazon CEO Wants to Make Holidays Easier and Stress-free for Customers” – via Loyalty360.org

Premise: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has issued a promise to Amazon’s customers that the company will be focusing on the customer experience throughout the holiday season.  Beyond competitive pricing, Amazon will have 15K Lightning Deals, gift lists, updated product lineups and the ability to to make purchases and contribute a portion to your preferred charity.

Amazon announced a slew of new tech products for the holidays, including new Kindles and Fire tablets.  There is a focus on kid friendly content and products.  Amazon Prime members will continue to reap additional benefits through early access to sales and exclusive deals on MyHabit.com.

Thoughts: As mentioned in our latest “Loyalty to Brands”, Amazon has become my go-to retailer and is where I continue to increase my share of wallet for holiday shopping.  I can’t think of another store or retailer where customer support has made it easier and more customer friendly than what Bezos has done with Amazon.

#2 – “Starbucks to offer delivery in 2015 in some key markets” via Fortune.com

Premise: Starbucks plans to offer up home/desk delivery of coffee and food orders through its mobile app in 2015 in select cities.  This idea is the latest effort by the coffee maker / experience provider to improve customer loyalty.  It is the latest in an effort to increase / improve consumption with its customers.

Thoughts: The coffee chain continues to create ways to drive stronger customer experiences and loyalty.  I found the focus or call-out that this delivery service would be driven through mobile devices to be an interesting side story to the announcement, i.e. “You can have Starbucks deliver your coffee, but you will need to download our mobile app.”  The other piece that I really like about this news is that the chain continues to try to break the mold and explore new and exciting options.  Do they all pan out?  Of course not, but Starbucks’ leadership team is more than willing to explore different routes with customer loyalty always in mind.

#3 – “NFL’s Seattle Seahawks Get CX Lift with Extreme Networks Enhancements: “Can you hear the 12th Man now?”” via Loyalty360.org

Premise: Extreme Network Inc. recently announced a partnership with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks club and Verizon Wireless to build a more powerful Wi-Fi connection at CenturyLink Field – the home of the franchise.  Beyond improving the signal strength at the stadium there is a program called “Eye of the Hawk” which allows fans to document their experience at the stadium.  Fans can choose various camera angles to watch/stream the game from various perspectives.

Thoughts: Attending a live sporting event is becoming less and less about the product on the field/court and more about the overall fan experience.  Technology is obviously playing a huge role in this shift.  With billion dollar stadiums seemingly popping up all over the country, it isn’t enough to just have a nice structure, franchises must keep the fan experience in mind through every little detail along the way.  We’re probably still in the infant stages of where this is heading, but it sure does pique my interest.

#4 – “If You Think 2014 Brought Marketing Change…” via Engage.Tibco.com

Premise: In 2014 there was a shift towards listening to and knowing your customer, but 2015 will continue to make dramatic changes to how we think about marketing.  That shift will be towards knowing what your customer will do next.  Anticipating behaviors will help you/your brand build stronger customer loyalty.  While we are moving beyond straight, single source data, it will be important for your brand to understand how to leverage big data from various sources.

Thoughts: Marketing strategies continue to be rewritten as we move further and further away from traditional marketing.  Plans that are put in place continue to be redesigned to strengthen customer engagement and loyalty.  The ability for a brand or company to learn and react to data from various sources is critical in today’s marketplace.

How many data sources are you currently relying on?  Are you weaving that story together across multiple channels?  These are critical elements to running your brand in 2014 and into 2015.

#5 – “Using Big Data To Shape Brand Experiences” via BrandingStrategyInsider.com

Premise: Depending on how brands are using it, big data can help create customized solutions and programs for customers.  Using Tesco as an example, it isn’t just about collecting data and analyzing it in a straightforward manner anymore.  You have to create actionable insights that can help you build stronger experiences for your customers.

Thoughts: Continuing down a ‘big data’ them here and how brands can or should leverage big data to drive better customer experiences.  I thought the Tesco example was a pretty powerful one as the UK retailer literally helped write the book on loyalty programs.  There is also an interesting graphic in the write-up, with several key stats/figures that would help build stronger loyalty and behaviors from shoppers.  The data source states that 85% of customers are more likely to shop in stores that offer personalized coupons and exclusive in-store offers. 

#6 – “2014 Customer Champions: Lifting Sights, Visions, and Standards” via 1to1Media.com

Premise: 1to1 Media has an annual awards for companies/people that create game-changing customer-focused strategies.  This year’s winners have been announced and include employees of The Melting Pot, JetBlue and more.  All in all, twelve people/companies were given awards for their efforts this year.  Through their own creative ways, each company has put a system in place to maximize the customer experience.

Thoughts: The full list of winners can be found here.  The one brand that caught my attention here is 1-800-Flowers as I recently signed up for their loyalty program and find it to be incredibly well run with perks that make it feel very much worth my while.

Kudos to 1to1 Media for continuing this awards program for a decade now.

Tweet of the Week:

Actually set up very much like our #SundayMusings, you can keep an eye on the top stories in customer service and experience through this tweet, bookmark the site, etc.

That wraps up this week’s #SundayMusings.  What are your thoughts on customer experience and how that helps build brand advocacy?  How have brand ambassadors helped your brand grow?  How can you better work with these people moving forward?

Let us know in the comments below.  Have a great week ahead!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-28-14

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

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

Our last #SundayMusings that focuses on LinkedIn as we close out “LinkedInMonth” – which turned into two months given the amount of content.  We have focused our #SundayMusings efforts on the professional network over the past few weeks and have our last two “Pin of the Month” entries on the platform as well.  Next week will wrap up our efforts with a new “Tips” article focusing on business/company page recommendations, which follows our personal branding Tips for the network.

Here are the stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks:

#1 – LinkedIn takes steps toward an ad network – via DigiDay.com

Premise: LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of Bizo will help the network vastly improve its business-to-business marketing and will serve as another source of revenue for the platform.  While LinkedIn will not call Bizo a pure ‘ad network’ play, the site will soon be able to sell B2B ads that are more targeted on-site, but also off-site.  The July acquisition takes LinkedIn another giant step forward from past efforts in building ad revenue with more powerful targeting.

Thoughts: LinkedIn’s CEO Jeffrey Weiner seems to continue pushing all the right buttons in moving the platform to the next level.  With a need to now answer to shareholders, the acquisition of Bizo represents another huge opportunity for revenue growth.  Targeted marketing continues to become more and more prevalent, while at the same time, becoming stronger and more efficient thanks to companies like Bizo.

#2 – “33 Tweet-Size LinkedIn Tips You Need to Try” via themuse.com 

Premise: An infographic from Ethos3 provides 33 tips for consideration when looking for improvements to your LinkedIn profile.  Each tip is a quote from someone else’s thoughts and gives credit to said person or company.

Thoughts: There are a lot of good ideas within the infographic.  However, I do want to point out one that doesn’t jive with others here.  I do not agree with #6 – although I am guilty of doing this myself in the past – in the recommendation “Skip the “How do you know this person” step.  Click “Connect” from search results, instead of profiles. @SylvanLane”.  Why do I disagree with this?  Simply scroll down to #19 – “Don’t use automated invitation messages … @dailymuse”.  There isn’t a way to do both and I would strongly recommend personalizing each invitation that you send out.

#3 – 5 Reasons Sales Professionals Should Publish on LinkedIn via Jeff L. Herrmann on LinkedIn.com 

Premise: The author provides more rationale to use LinkedIn as a publishing platform vs. just using it for your job search.  The five reasons are straightforward, including the ability to position yourself as an expert in your sector and building trust with others.

Thoughts: The one ‘reason’ that caught my attention and got me thinking was Jeff’s last point: “Comments, likes, and views on your published content are a much better endorsement than the skills boxes.”  I thought about this a little bit and it’s an interesting POV.  Specifically to sales professionals, which this article is focused on, this makes a lot of sense.  To the general job seeker, etc. you are going to need those skills listed out on your profile and endorsements from your network.

#4 – “LinkedIn Sales Navigator Goes Mobile and Adds Redesigned Salesforce Features” via Sales.LinkedIn.com 

Premise: LinkedIn launched Sales Navigator earlier this year and have already announced an upgrade with the release of its iOS mobile app.  Following general behaviors in the marketplace, the shift to mobile continues and LinkedIn continues to invest in the platform.  The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator app provides several key benefits: Real-time updates, TeamLink, and Saved accounts and leads.  The app also works directly with Salesforce and includes new features there as well.

Thoughts: A couple of items caught my attention beyond the announcement itself.  First, it drives me crazy when companies release an iOS version of something only.  I completely understand why they do it, but it still drives me a bit batty.  Second, it didn’t go unnoticed that LinkedIn’s own posts continue to drop in Slideshare presentations.

Tweet of the Week:

What I really like about Pam’s podcasts is that she provides an in-depth summary and corresponding write-up with them.  This allows you to read up on what is covered in the podcast and decide whether or not you want to listen, skip around, etc.  The highlights towards the end of article is a quick list of benefits of leveraging LinkedIn.  If you have been following “LinkedIn Month” here on Shore Branding, you know we’re aligned with a lot of these areas.

OK, so this is a little dated at this point, but I wanted to bring the focus to company pages on LinkedIn as this will be the focus of next weekend’s “Tips” write-up.  I couldn’t find an updated Slideshare for 2014 (yet?) but many of the strengths highlighted in the above presentation still exist.  I really like what Dell has done visually on their company page.  Their image has since been updated, with the new Dell page promoting a “#DoMore” campaign.

That wraps up our LinkedIn-geared #SundayMusings for another week!  What caught your attention on the network?  Have a great week!

Pin of the Month – Retail Loyalty

June's "Pin of the Month" from Kobie Marketing Retail Loyalty in 2014

June’s “Pin of the Month” from Kobie Marketing
Retail Loyalty in 2014

Our June ‘Pin of the Month’ focuses on retail loyalty and how mobile technology is forwarding the market. The infographic is brought to us by Kobie Marketing. We’ve been focusing on mobile in recent weeks through our bi-weekly #SundayMusings and even in last month’s Pin of the Month – the Smartphone Revolution.

If you have spent any time on this site over the past year, I think we can align on the fact that more and more people are using smartphones and they are becoming more and more of a part of our everyday lives. Within the infographic we see a relatively bold statement from Kobie that “2014 will be the year of seamless transition between brick-and-mortar, online, and mobile”. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-8-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings! This week we will be focusing on retail-related news and stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks. As a quick aside, we will also be focusing on retail and retail loyalty in the forthcoming June “Pin of the Month” next weekend. For now, here are the stories that caught my attention.

#1 – Do Tablets Have The Power To Revolutionize Retail – via CMO.com 

Premise: While not there yet, tablets will soon be everywhere. Similar to how the iPod revolutionized the music industry, tablets will turn the retail landscape on its head. It is predicted that half of the US will have a tablet within the next few years. Tablets are a research-friendly device for customers and the author provides several additional motivating facts for leveraging tablets for your business.

Thoughts: The second screen has changed consumers’ behaviors – from how they watch television to the entire retail/shopping experience. The Nordstrom example provided by the author is a great way to show how a retailer can leverage a tablet to create a unique experience for its customers. Bookmark the site for future write-ups on how tablets are impacting additional industries as well. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-25-14

 

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

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

 

Today’s #SundayMusings puts the focus back on mobile and mobile marketing thanks to last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” from guest writer Dean Olsen. Here are the top stories that relate to mobile from the past couple of weeks.

#1 – Wearable Baby Tech Aims to Bring Peace of Mind to New Parents – via BrandChannel.com 

Premise: There are a number of new products entering the market that bring tech to our children, including wearables. There is the Mimo Kimono that feeds a baby’s information to an app for parents, to a smart sock from Owlet Baby Care. Finally, Leap Frog has a new product called the LeapBand that works vastly similar to adult bands that track your activity over the course of the day.

Thoughts: This caught my attention for multiple reasons. First and foremost, we introduced our first child to the world last week and it has been a whirlwind ever since. Second, I can’t decide whether or not this technology is a good thing or bad thing, as I completely see both sides of the fence. I’m hoping my wife can make the call on this and whether or not we want to purchase any of these products (or similar ones). I’ll keep you posted … [Read more…]

New Poll – Will your brand spend money on mobile ads this year?

Are you budgeting for mobile advertising in 2014?

Are you budgeting for mobile advertising in 2014?  (InteractiveMarketingTraining.com)

 

As witnessed in our May 2014 “Pin of the Month”, mobile and smartphone ownership and usage continue to grow. It seems like every few months, if not weeks, we are spending more time focusing on mobile-related stories in our Sunday Musings (including this coming weekend).

So our latest poll on ShoreBranding.com is simple – will you be spending any portion of your marketing budget specifically on mobile? A simple “Yes” or “No” is all it takes. It doesn’t matter where – whether it be on social media apps, location-based services or companies, or anywhere in between. [Read more…]

Pin of the Month – Smartphone Revolution (Guest Writer)

For May’s “Pin of the Month” we have a guest writer to provide their thoughts and insights on the “smartphone revolution”. Dean Olsen volunteered his writing services for this month’s Pin. If you enjoy his write-up, you can find more of his thoughts on his writing portfolio – Observations by Olsen

In modern times, you would be hard pressed to find anyone without some kind of smartphone device.  Actually, according to this infographic, there may even come a day where there are more smartphones than people.

Smartphone Revolution - Infographic from 1800NumberNow.com

Smartphone Revolution – Infographic from 1800NumberNow.com

[Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-27-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

 

After focusing on content marketing in the last edition, today’s #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding focuses on some of the latest and greatest write-ups I’ve seen on digital marketing over the past few weeks.

#1 – Using Social Media to Influence Your Brand Image – via TheSocialMediaHat.com 

Premise: Understanding what your brand image is and how social media can play such an important role in building that image is crucial in today’s world. Social media connects you with millions of people from around the world and can have an immediate and enormous impact on your brand and business … when done correctly; by engaging with your audience, having meaningful content, etc.

Thoughts: While a little bit older than we typically use here on Sunday Musings, The Social Media Hat is a great resource for digital marketing. This write-up takes a branding angle on your digital marketing efforts and how said efforts can impact your brand image. Whether you are looking to share opinions, looking for recommendations, or sharing other people’s work, social media can help take your brand to another stratosphere. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-30-14

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

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

Happy Sunday and Happy Spring … at least according to the calendar.  This week’s #SundayMusings will focus on mobile and mobile marketing, so here are the top stories that caught my attention over the past two weeks under this umbrella.  Enjoy!

#1 – Foursquare CEO: How We’ll Tell You Where To Eat And What To Order – via ReadWrite.com 

Premise: Aside from telling our friends and family where you are via mobile check-ins, we are providing a dearth of data and information that foursquare is leveraging to help create recommendations for you in the future based on your interests and behaviors.  The author sat down with foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley to talk about what the future is or might be for his company.

The interview itself talks about the past and present numbers for foursquare and where it is seeing growth around the globe, including how to monetize the platform based on the success it has seen in the US.  It then pivots towards “anticipatory computing”, i.e. where your mobile device knows your location and is able to make recommendations for you.

Thoughts: If this is your first, or one of your first visits to the site, I’ll just preface my thoughts with the following: I’m a big fan of foursquare and the personalization I can get from the network.  I thought the interview was fantastic and at the end was an “aha” moment.  When Crowley says that if three people go to Google Maps and search for dinner, the same places will come up.  However, if those three people search foursquare, they are going to get recommendations based to their interests.  That’s the point and that’s the Holy Grail right there – you get what you want.

(If you are considering using the foursquare platform for your business, take a look at the “Tips” article we put together several months back.) [Read more…]