Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-1-13

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Labor Day weekend to those in the US!  Here are this past week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.

#1 – What Google’s Chromecast means for marketers – via 

Premise: The author takes an interesting perspective on the recently launched Google Chromecast – while you might first think that this is targeted for consumers, it is a product that will be of great aid to advertisers.  As mobile shopping and the ‘second screen’ behaviors continue to grow, Chromecast presents an ability to unite the TV and mobile device.  Advertisers and marketers will be able to collect a wealth of information on end-user behavior, key for more focused and relevant advertising.

While past efforts from Google (Nexus Q and Google TV) have failed to take off, the Chromecast might be the device that takes Google’s advertising model to the next level.

Thoughts: I purchased a Chromecast the day it was announced and have enjoyed the quality and performance of the $35 product.  At the time, I said I thought it could be a game-changer, but really only thought about it from the consumer angle.  This write-up really takes a brilliant look into the device from a unique angle – one that advertisers can really take to heart and start planning against.  The consumption data that will be generated will help marketing teams strengthen and tailor their message to the right audience. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-28-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Here are this week’s ‘Sunday Musings’ – the top five stories in branding and digital marketing.  You can find the archives of this weekly write-up under the Blog-Sunday Musings tab at the top of the page.

#1 – Starbucks Hopes to Grow Loyalty Program with Expansion to the Grocery Aisle –

Premise: Starbucks has some of the most loyal fans and brand ambassadors in the world.  The company is looking to increase their loyalty and engagement with the brand by allowing purchases in the grocery / retail store count towards their Starbucks Rewards program.  There will be a sticker on each product in the store that the shopper will need to peel off and add to their account themselves in order to receive credit for the purchase.

Thoughts: It looks like Starbucks has found another means of building/driving loyalty and engaging with those that are most connected with the brand.  Building stronger connections through retail and driving people to their rewards account online can/should help build an even stronger relationship between the brand and its customers.

#2 – “Facebook Challenges Yelp with Mobile Pages Redesign Featuring Actions, Local Biz Details and Ratings” –  

Premise: Facebook has redesigned its mobile Pages to more prominently show reviews of each page or business and what is local to the individual user.  The redesign was launched earlier this week on the iOS version and is coming to Android’s platform in May.  The article here provides several visuals comparing the old and new look to Facebook Pages.

Thoughts: In its continued shift toward mobile, Facebook’s latest updates certainly make Pages more actionable and more detailed at first glance.  I agree with the author of this article; the look of the redesign provides more easily accessible content and a better use of space.  The redesign does look a lot like a Yelp business page.  It will be interesting to see if Facebook can better compete in the local search space, given the strength of Yelp and others (Foursquare, Google Places, etc.).  

#3 – “Branding Like Apple: 20 Ways to Make Your Biz Stand Out” –

Premise: The article provides twenty different ways to help your brand or business stand out with others.  These recommendations or steps are presented in a straightforward manner with a few blurbs following each to provide a little more detail.

Thoughts: We’ve mentioned this a few times here; branding isn’t rocket science, but it is very easy to miss a step, focus in the wrong areas, and/or trip up along the way.  These steps/recommendations are good to keep by your side / in your back pocket as a reminder for your business on what to do and how to do it better than your competition.

To point to just one of the recommendations here, I particularly liked #18 – “Culture a tradition”.  I really like the thought behind this; make your customers comfortable right from the beginning.  They should know exactly what to expect from you or your company right away.

#4 – “Google+ for Brands: 4 Reasons Your Brand Should Be On It” –  

Premise: While many are quick to dismiss the platform, Google+ has grown to 500 million users, of which almost 350 million are considered active users.  This write-up provides more rationale as to why you or your brand/business need to be using the network.  With a lot more detail in the article itself, there are four steps or reasons for your brand to be on G+: 1. Better Discovery, 2. Deeper Engagement, 3. Marketing Performance, and 4. Measurable Impact.

Thoughts: Past Sunday Musings have focused on G+ and a need to leverage the site, particularly around #1 and #2 from this article – which includes our personal recommendations to engage in G+’s Communities.  The connections across Google’s platforms presented in #3 and #4 here are just as important to your brand/business.  Working with and fully understanding the capabilities of Google’s AdWords, Ripples, and Analytics will help your brand better understand your audience and to make the necessary tweaks to your online presence and to optimize your message/efforts.

#5 – “Celebrity Endorsement – 5 Key Questions You Should Ask” – Alison Cressey on

Premise: One would typically believe that celebrities help sell your brand or product.  Before spending money on hiring a celebrity to promote your business, this write-up provides a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment.

Thoughts: Interesting take on how or when you should consider celebrity endorsement here, with an appropriate caveat to why you might consider passing on this marketing technique.  I particularly “enjoyed” reading about Oprah’s promotional efforts of the Surface tablet … while using an iPad.  I would not be happy if I was Steve Ballmer and I would be pretty embarrassed if that was my campaign … and/or infuriated with Oprah.

The questions and thoughts here make a lot of sense.  You need to make sure the celebrity endorsing your products connects with and is relevant to your target market / audience.  You can quickly waste a lot of cash by not fully understanding these components.

What caught your eye this week in branding and digital marketing?

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3/10/13

Sunday Musings 3

Here is the first ‘Sunday Musings’ since going live with the blog this past week.  You can find past entries under the Blog-Sunday Musings tab at the top of the page.  The top five stories to catch my attention in branding and digital marketing this week are as follows:

#1 – “McDonald’s takes No. 1 spot in 4Q Restaurant Social Media Index” –

Premise: McDonald’s overtakes Starbucks as the number one brand in the ‘Restaurant Social Media Index’ (RSMI) in Q4’12.  McDonald’s has seen tremendous growth on Twitter and Facebook in recent months according to the index, particularly in building consumer engagement and sentiment – as tracked by Digital Coco.

Thoughts: McDonald’s surpassed the titan that is Starbucks on social media, building its presence on the most prominent SM sites.  See, you can still win there if you are doing it correctly!  At the time of writing, McDonald’s falls short of the overall number of Followers and Likes on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, but has made the conscious effort to engage its customer base.

While short vs. Starbucks, McDonald’s 27.5 million Likes on Facebook dwarf its direct competitors in fast food; Burger King has 6 million, Taco Bell almost 10 million, and Wendy’s is under 3 million.  While there is certainly a stronger global presence for McDonald’s vs. these competitors, those gaps are outstanding advantages for the golden arches.

It is also important to note that this isn’t a “sound the alarms” for Starbucks and their SM efforts, and the author of the article does a good job of making this point.  In the current world we live in of overreaction to any piece of news, it was nice to see them not take that tone “against” Starbucks and say that they were a diminishing brand on SM.

#2 – “How Starbucks Uses Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+” –

Premise: has been reviewing various company’s social media efforts and strategy across platforms and took a look at Starbucks this past week.  The author provides a quick overview of Starbucks’ efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram and highlights how well received the company is by its “followers” on each.

Thoughts: Reading through the article/review, I started to wonder how or why Starbucks has such a loyal following on SM platforms given the uninspiring review.  However, it clearly works with its fans and has come to be known as a golden star in social media – as mentioned above in the first article as well.

One note: I’ll be covering this in the near future specifically, but I have to mention it here given the content Starbucks puts out across platforms; I cannot stand posts/updates that are pushed out at the same time across SM sites.  Facebook posts that show up in Twitter feeds and vice versa make me cringe.  Take the ten minutes to write a unique message for your followers on each.  

#3 – “SXSWi Day 1: Grumpy Cat, 3D Printing and Other Highlights” –

Premise: The South by Southwest festival kicked off earlier this week and Mashable provides an overview on the highlights from day one.  Successes from SXSW include hubs from Las Vegas, American Airlines’ tent to help promote its merger, and 3D printing.  Cats also stole the show…

Thoughts: Even if Grumpy Cat makes me laugh every time, can we skip any further thoughts on cats?  Good.  I really need to get back to Austin and visit SXSW sooner rather than later.  As SXSW continues to grow, more and more brands are dedicating more resources to sponsorship and events for the festival.

Have you been to SXSW?  If so, what did you think and what were your personal highlights?

#4 – “Pizza Hut To Hold 140-Second Interviews For Social Media Manager Position at SXSW” – 

Premise: Pizza Hut is looking to hire a new Social Media Manager and is going about it in quite the unique way at SXSW.  You can take a look at the job description here as well:  The pizza maker is interviewing candidates in record time and will continue to do so via Google+ Hangouts in a few days.  For those interested and on location at SXSW, interviewing is actually happening today at the Austin Hilton between 1pm – 5pm.

Thoughts: In one word: Phenomenal!  Yes, this is another article that points us to SXSW, but this is quite the unique means of trying to find the right person for such an important position in the company.  I have seen several articles and news stories where companies are leveraging G+ Hangouts and Skype to conduct interviews, but have never seen the coordination with Twitter’s mantra (140 characters / seconds).

Good luck to anyone that is reading this and heading over to the Hilton on Sunday.

#5 – “16 Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter Vine” –

Premise: Vine continues to pick up traction with brands and companies finding new ways to leverage the medium.  SME has a few tips and recommendations on what to do, based on what has been seen and shown from both large and small companies over the first few months of Vine’s existence.  Here’s the #1 rule: “Engage your followers in conversation”.

Thoughts: While Vine continues to be an Apple only app (?!?!) it continues to grow.  The power of Twitter speaks volumes here, as competitors to Vine such as Tout do not seem to be growing at the same rate.  SME provides a nice array of tips and recommendations here, as well as examples of what others have been doing with Vine thus far.  It should not be any surprise that the number one rule is “Engage”.  If it is a surprise, we need to talk.

As you can see, a lot of branding news caught my eye this week, particularly at SXSW.  What do you think of Vine and the future of online videos?  As mentioned earlier, I would love to hear more from those that have attended (or are attending) SXSW.