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

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-15-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to the latest #SundayMusings with Shore Branding!  This week’s stories highlight the latest and greatest news as we head into 2015’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.  Are you traveling to SXSW this year?  If so, let us know what you think.  Below are the news stories that caught my attention …

#1 – “New Fitness Brand Radius Keeps SXSW 2015 ‘in shape’” – via MobileMarketingWatch.com

Premise: Fitness and wearables will play a large role in this year’s edition of SXSW in Austin and Radius will be looking to lead the way.  Radius, from NBCUniversal, works with RadiusFitness.com on personalized workouts for desktops and mobile devices.  The brand will be hosting and promoting itself throughout the festival.

Thoughts: Through sponsorship and branding at charging stations and through hosting across the festival, Radius is just one of a large number of brands looking to capitalize on SXSW’s popularity.  The brand is going to have to break out the big guns if it is going to want to break through the clutter at the event.

That said, it does make perfect sense for a brand that focuses on one of the hottest of hot topics – wearables – tries to make its mark at SXSW this year. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-18-15

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

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on #CES2015 (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

This week’s #SundayMusings takes a look at the top news and stories from last week’s #CES2015 event in Las Vegas.  Here are a couple stories that I found to be of particular interest and then we’ve changed things up this week a bit.  Below that are a number of summary articles from around the web and what their respective highlights were from CES this year.

Did you make it to #CES2015?  What did you think?

#1 – “The Five Most Disruptions Innovations at CES 2015” – via Forbes.com

Premise: At each CES show Forbes puts together their “Big Bang Disruptors” that help move an existing market/product to new heights.  From self-driving cars to the continued evolution of health and fitness and into “augmented reality”, a number of companies moved the needle into areas that aren’t that far off into the future anymore.

Thoughts: CES help brought self-driving cars another step closer to reality.  Virtual reality gaming is essentially here.  What did you think was the most amazing or jaw-dropping innovation at CES?

What caught my eye in this article wasn’t even on Forbes’ list.  It was early in the article when they described Google Nest’s ecosystem and partner companies that are helping bring everyday chores, activities, etc. to the 21st century.  Nest will work with lightbulbs, washer and dryers, and more in an effort to make your life that much easier. [Read more…]

Product Review: Samsung Gear Live

What do you think about Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch?  (Photo credit: play.google.com)

What do you think about Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch? (Photo credit: play.google.com)

After focusing a Sunday Musings on wearables last month and toying with the idea of getting a smartwatch for about a week, I finally caved and purchased the Samsung Gear Live from the Google Play Store.  Within two days, the smartwatch was at my doorstep and ready for use.  Below are a few thoughts and considerations for the device, along with a wishlist for improvements.  You will also find a few app recommendations sprinkled in.

Ahead of the purchase, I had read a good amount of complaints about the Gear Live’s band and the way that you snap it into position on your wrist.  I actually don’t have any problem with getting the band on my wrist and it fits comfortably. [Read more…]

New Poll – What wearables are you planning to purchase in 2014?

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

Wearables are beginning to turn the corner in terms of consumer acceptance and adoption. The latest poll on ShoreBranding.com builds off of yesterday’s #SundayMusings and asks which wearable devices are you thinking about purchasing in 2014?

We have selected several of the most popular wearables for the poll but have also included a general “Other” for the many others that continue to pop up. Whether you are focusing on a smart band to track your physical fitness, or taking a step up to a full smartwatch … or even Google Glass, let us know what wearable devices are grabbing your attention and which you are most likely to purchase this year. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-6-14

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy 4th of July weekend to those of you celebrating in the US and welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on wearables! Wearables are beginning to build traction with consumers, well beyond what I tend to consider the starting point of fitness programs and apps. Let’s take a look at some of the better write-ups I’ve found over the past few weeks that revolve around wearables.

#1 – Why Wearable Technology Matters in 2014 – via Likeable.com 

Premise: The wearables market is expected to double in 2014 to exceed $1.5 billion, according to Juniper Research. This presents new ways for brands to interact with consumers in varying ways. The author provides three reasons why wearables should be considered in your marketing plan moving forward.

Thoughts: Three very straightforward reasons are provided and I agree with all of them. First and foremost, to me at least, is the ability to get ahead of competition. There are a handful of major players in the space right now, but that’s it. Are you a brand struggling to turn around your archaic image? Looking for a way to become seen as a modern, innovative brand or company? You may want to consider how you can get involved in wearables.

One brand that comes to mind immediately is Radio Shack. You may remember their ad during the Super Bowl (below as well). The ad was intended to move the company’s image out of the 1980’s and into the present. Wearables might be a market worth diving into to try to continue moving the pendulum. [Read more…]