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

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Thanksgiving Edition (Photo Credit:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Thanksgiving Edition
(Photo Credit:

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 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

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 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

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

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


Let’s #SaveThanksgiving – 2015

Visit and help us ... #SaveThanksgiving Gobble Gobble

Visit and help us … #SaveThanksgiving
Gobble Gobble

As we kick off the month of November, Halloween has past and we move into the official holiday season here in the US.  Too often, we find ourselves skipping over my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving – in order to concentrate on Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years.  Retailers and brands have done this too, continuing to have Black Friday creep into the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  

For the past two years, we have promoted and the #SaveThanksgiving hashtag across social media platforms.  This year is no different.  For weeks, I’ve seen retailers starting to decorate for Christmas.  That’s before Halloween people!  Stop it!

However, there is some hope.  Staples announced that after being open on Thanksgiving Day in years past, it will remain closed this year.  I’m hoping that many, if not all, of the retailers that stayed closed in 2014 will remain closed this year as well.  If you hear of others that have changed their tact and will now close their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year, please do let me know.  

What can you do to help?  Glad you asked …

I was thinking about creating a #SaveThanksgiving t-shirt on  If you are interested in purchasing one, please let me know and if a few people reach out to me, I’ll get that up and running immediately.  

Help #SaveThanksgiving!  For more, visit and follow our #SaveThanksgiving Pinterest board.  

Thank you!

Pin of the Month – The ROI of Social Media

Infographic by Likeable Local, Likeable Media

Infographic by Likeable Local, Likeable Media

October’s “Pin of the Month” comes from one of, if not my favorite social media marketing companies out there, Likeable Local a division of Likeable Media.  Founded by Dave Kerpen, the company has taken giant steps forward over the past decade or so in social media marketing and its own, proprietary software and information.

Likeable’s infographic is a nice teaser into the power of social media and how it can improve your brand and help you achieve your goals.  In a straightforward manner, we see how WOM has changed over time, with social media making it easier to let your friends and family know that you would recommend a brand, business, etc.  Instead of that WOM spreading one person at a time, one post on social media is likely seen by dozens, if not hundreds of your friends and followers.  

The infographic quotes a few numbers from outside sources, saying a whopping 92% believe that WOM recommendations from friends and family are more believable vs. any form of advertising.  You wonder why companies are asking you to rate them across social media and online forums?

There are ways to invest in social media appropriately, including tracking how well your money spent is impacting your business.  If you have questions, concerns, or issues with your social media marketing and planning, do not hesitate to ask.  In building on the WOM aspects of our “Pin of the Month”, I would not hesitate to recommend Likeable / Likeable Local to you.  Give them a try and tell them I sent you!

What catches your attention in this month’s infographic?  Let us know in the comments below or drop me an email at  

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 – 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

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

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 –

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!  


Brand in Focus – LeapFrog

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

Visit 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 …


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


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


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.  


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.


Brands Winning on Periscope

What brand's are winning on Twitter's Periscope platform?

What brand’s are winning on Twitter’s Periscope platform?

Twitter’s Periscope app is in its infancy stage but I would recommend you jump on board now while the iron is hot!  When Twitter released its quarterly earnings about a week and a half ago, the call was also a “scope” and shown live on the app.  It was then I realized it was time to write a little something more in depth on the app.

While I have not broadcast anything relevant on Periscope (yet … I want to make sure I can commit to it on a regular basis and right now, I can’t) I do check it out on a daily basis, check for who is doing what, and what brands are live on the platform.  I can not speak for Periscope’s main competitor, Meerkat, as I have never checked it out.  This write-up will focus solely on those brands winning on Periscope right now.

In fact, we’re going to start with several big name, national brands but I also want to give a shoutout to two people that are really doing a heck of a job on Periscope with their personal brands / branding as well.

Bolthouse Farms:

Bolthouse Farms just gets social right.  Every Thursday they hose a #ThirstyThursday scope and have bartenders creating drinks using their product.  Check this out next Thursday!

Honda: Honda teased and succeeded with their scope on the launch / unveiling of the 2016 Honda Accord on Periscope.  As mentioned in last weekend’s #SundayMusings, someone at Honda has really changed their culture as the company is clearly “getting it” now.


I really liked what Zillow did from their home office in Seattle earlier this week.  Three employees sat in a conference room and each of them answered questions about the housing market from viewers and their respective markets.  A useful/productive way to engage with your audience and fans.

Doritos Even if Honda did get the Twitter tease from someone else – like Doritos (UK) did in June – I still appreciate the use of the platform.  Doritos is/was a very early adopter to Periscope, hosting a cross-platform #DoritosRoulette campaign across Twitter, Periscope, and Vine.  Well played Doritos, well played! In fact, this likely contributes to Doritos having a commanding lead in the Periscope game of earning hearts.  Despite having about 30% of the following of the next brand, Doritos has a significant advantage in earning hearts from its fans, with well over 600K to date.

Red Bull

The energy drink has ~40,000 fans on Periscope and has done a tremendous job broadcasting events … prior to their Lollapalooza campaign that took over their social media pages over the past few weeks.  It will be interesting to see how much time Red Bull puts into Periscope moving forward, as it feels somewhat competitive against their Red Bull TV.  An interesting storyline to follow for the next few weeks and months.

Personal Branding Winners

I wanted to also give a shoutout to two Scopers that are doing a great job on Periscope with their own personal brand – hyperlinks below connect to their respective Twitter pages:

  1. Scott Williams broadcasts frequently and has an open dialogue with viewers, along with providing tips on how to “do Periscope right”.  If you are looking to get started with the platform, follow Scott for a few days first.
  2. Dustin W. Stout has a broader focus for social media marketing but also broadcasts frequently and is very much worth the watch.  His broadcasts are very engaging.


What do you like the most about Periscope (or Meerkat if that is your live streaming app of choice)?  What brands have caught your attention?  Let me and others know in the Comments below.  Thanks!

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

Premise: Having launched two weeks ago,’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 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

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

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!


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. ... please clean this up … 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 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.


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 …


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.


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


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.


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.


  • 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.


Brands Winning on Vine – 2015

Brands Winning on Vine - 2015 Edition

Brands Winning on Vine – 2015 Edition

Since launching, Vine has made stars out of your average Joe’s.  The site took off without even having a web site at first.  The platform – which now includes a web page – continues to be one of the most appealing ways to catch my attention when it comes to online video.

Vine may or may not be slowing down in terms of momentum, but it is still a site / an app I tend to frequent regularly.  With that in mind, I wanted to update an article written back in August of 2013 and provide a new perspective on “Brands Winning on Vine”.  The brands mentioned then – specifically Lowes and Oreo – are still “winning” on the platform, albeit not as frequently, as their number of posts have slowed down.

However, other brands and companies have certainly picked up the slack.  With that in mind, here are a few, new brands winning on Vine: [Read more…]