Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-23-14

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

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

This week’s #SundayMusings is near and dear to our heart as we focus on the Thanksgiving holiday and Thanksgiving branding efforts made around the country.  For those that don’t already know, we have set up SaveThanksgiving.net in an effort to keep the holiday alive and with our respective friends and family; not at the mall and shopping for holiday sales.  That is what “Black Friday” and beyond is for.  Without going on any further of a tangent, here are the top stories that caught our eyes over the past couple of weeks related to Thanksgiving.

#1 – “How Your Favorite Thanksgiving Brands Got Their Names” – via mascola.com

Premise: Interested in learning how brands that are likely around your Thanksgiving table got their names?  The Mascola Group puts together a list of six brands that are commonly used for Thanksgiving meals and tells their story of how each came to be.

Thoughts: There aren’t any off the wall names or stories behind the names here among the six.  However, and it is potentially sad to admit this, I had no idea that Ore-Ida got its name being located in Oregon and next to Idaho (potatoes).  You really can learn something new every day.

#2 – “Brand of the Day: No, Costco Won’t Be Open on Thanksgiving, and Here’s Why” via AdWeek.com

Premise: Costco won’t be open on Thanksgiving Day, with a spokesperson for the retailer saying, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Nothing more complicated than that”.

Thoughts: You knew we were going to go here quickly, right?  Costco is one of a slowly decreasing number of retailers that remain closed on Thanksgiving Day and will continue to win my business because of this stance.  The creep of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day makes my stomach turn.  You can find a list of retailers that won’t be opening their doors on Thanksgiving here or simply right here …

#SaveThanksgiving - Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

#SaveThanksgiving – Visit SaveThanksgiving.net for more info

#3 – “7 Brilliant Brand Tactics for Thanksgiving + Inspiring Examples” via LeanBranding.com

Premise: A compilation of seven ideas that leverage the Thanksgiving holiday to spark conversation and conversion to brands.  From offering a holiday gift and hosting a meetup, Wix receives a lot of attention in the write-up, pulling out the stops around the holiday in past years.

Thoughts: Terrific examples are provided throughout the article and for each tip on how to leverage the holiday to build a little buzz for your brand.  My favorites – “Share some humor” and “Support a cause”.  I’m absolutely grabbing those memes that were created by IMPACT.  I also remember seeing a lot of support from Zynga two years ago around their holiday fundraising campaign but never saw the final numbers from their efforts ($13 million raised).  Impressive!

#4 – “Five Thanksgiving Inspired Brand Building Tips” via BrandMill.com

Premise: A quick and easy read on five tips that will help your brand distinguish itself this holiday season.  The underlying theme behind all of this – breaking out the word Thanksgiving into two parts, “thanks” and “giving”.  Show your customers and/or partners that you care about them and go the extra mile to win their support.

Thoughts: One additional piece that caught my here (as well as in the story above) revolves around giving back to a cause and the brands that take the time to set up some type of fundraising effort for those less fortunate.  Why? …

We’ve done exactly the same thing and set up an online food drive with Feeding America this year.  We’re calling it our #SaveThanksgiving food drive.  If you have the resources, please consider donating to help others who struggle to get by.

#5 – “Black Friday Creep and the Thanksgiving Day Grinch: 2014 Edition” via BrandChannel.com

Premise: The continuing battle of if or when retailers will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day takes another step forward in 2014.  A number of retailers, including Macy’s, have announced extended hours on Thanksgiving vs. prior years.  This has led to an outcry from employees, online petitions, and even protests.

Thoughts: Does opening your doors on Thanksgiving Day really make that much of a difference to your bottom line?  Do you really need to be open on the holiday itself?  As linked in the write-up, this piece in TIME says it could actually harm your brand.

What actually gets me the most perplexed is the example of Macy’s provided in the story.  Macy’s hosts the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade?!  How are their leaders not in tune with what the holiday is and means to thousands around the country?  It feels counterintuitive to be the sponsor of the holiday parade and continue to open your stores earlier and earlier on the holiday.

Finally, here is one example of an online petition to fight against store hours on the holiday from Radio Shack employees, who has since trimmed their hours but will still open on Thanksgiving.  The team over at TackBackThanksgiving.org has been updating their Facebook page consistently over the past few weeks on their planned events to help #SaveThanksgiving.

Tweet of the Week:

Shameless plug?  Perhaps.  Meaningful?  Absolutely.  Our #SaveThanksgiving efforts continue to roll on Twitter and Pinterest.  Take a look through, follow, share, etc. and help #SaveThanksgiving.

For those that may be able to, we have set up an online food drive through Feeding America for donations.  You can read more about the efforts here or visit the online food drive page directly.

That wraps up this week’s holiday edition of #SundayMusings.  For those of you in the US, please enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!  (Please do not run out at 9am to go shopping Thanksgiving morning … #SaveThanksgiving!!)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-14-13

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Below you will find this week’s Sunday Musings, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.  I have to say that this is one of those weeks where branding and dry humor met face to face multiple times.  Hopefully you enjoy the ride!

#1 – The Twinkie Returns, With Less Baggage – via WSJ.com 

Premise: Hostess products will be returning to the store this coming week, including Twinkies and CupCakes.  The new company will look much different than it has in the past.  While there are less brands under the Hostess umbrella – some brands were sold to other companies – there is a clear shift in structure and strategy.  Hostess once employed 19,000 professionals.  That number is now 1,800.  They will also be spending money on innovation and marketing, something that the old Hostess company did very little of.

Thoughts: After parent company Hostess went bankrupt in November of 2012, we now have the resurgence of Twinkies (and other iconic brands) coming to your store shelf!  If you get a chance, watch the video on the second tab on the link, there is an interesting four minute clip there that covers off on much of the write-up.  It will be intriguing to see how the branding and marketing efforts are deployed.  The new tagline being used is “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever”.  That certainly is pretty loaded, but could also lead to some entertaining advertising. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-5-13

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 – “Facebook Earnings Results Show Progress On Mobile” – ReadWrite.com

Premise: Facebook reported their financials from Q1’13 earlier this week and results were largely viewed as positive among investors.  Mobile advertising numbers grew significantly (23%) from Q4’12 o Q1’13.  Facebook also made several strong statements during the earning’s call regarding the advertising benefits of the site, driving traffic to app markets for downloads.  They also showed the overall growth of their mobile platform, a significant focus for the company now and moving forward.

Thoughts: The continued shift in focus towards mobile looks to be righting the ship that is Facebook and its stock performance.  It was also interesting to see the upward trend in the mobile numbers (usage, spend, etc.) from the call.  While brand new for the site, the article hints at weakness on several of the recent launches – Facebook Home and Graph Search – areas that will be of interest in future earnings’ reports through the remainder of 2013.

(In case you didn’t see it, here are our tips and recommendations for using Facebook for your brand or business, released earlier this week.) [Read more…]

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

Sunday Musings 2

Here are this week’s links and stories that caught my attention in branding and digital marketing this week.

#1 – Why Some Brand Extensions Are Brilliant and Others Are Just Awkward – Time.com

Premise: Brand extensions are happening all of the time – some of them work tremendously, while others are tremendous flops.  This article provides a few, recent examples of both.  The good: Chipotle and NyQuil; the bad: Zippo and Virgin.

Thoughts: Failed brand extensions and product launches that go too far beyond a brand’s core principles drive me a little batty.  If a brand feels the need to reinvent their wheel and go in a completely different direction, just start a new brand and give it a unique name.  Know your strengths and your limitations of where you can go, and “Focus” on what you are doing right to ensure you have a sustainable business.

(The “ “ around focus is intentional, as we’ll be starting a book review this coming week on some of my favorites around the world of branding and digital marketing.  Cliffhanger alert.)

#2 – “Groupon’s Andrew Mason: ‘I was fired’” – AdAge.com

Premise: After Groupon’s latest quarterly report, the board finally pulled the plug on its founder and CEO, Andrew Mason.  The article pastes in Mason’s full email to his employees.

Thoughts: I have sparingly used Groupon over the past few years but never truly understood how this could be a sustainable business model, particularly with the likes of Google and Amazon continuously looking to get into this space.  Groupon has proven to be one big mess of a company since going public, burning through cash at an alarming rate.  (Mason once turned down a $6 billion offer from Google several years ago.  Ouch.)

With all of that said, I thought Mason’s email to employees, as well as his general humor on social media about being let go, were done in good fashion.

#3 – “Zynga Joins Gamble on Online Gambling” – MobileMarketingWatch.com

Premise: It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” online gambling comes in full force to the United States.  Nevada and (my very own) New Jersey are pushing down on the accelerator here and others are sure to follow.  Zynga and its CEO Mark Pincus are looking to join the fray, taking online gambling and making it “social”.

Thoughts: Zynga’s move towards “real” online gambling is a no brainer for the company.  The potential revenue from this is tremendous.  The company already enjoys millions of players for its Zynga Poker game and has recently launched ‘Go Slots’ and ‘Lucky Play’ (a sportsbook) on its own web site.  Similar to Groupon, Zynga has had a tough time convincing investors the company has a sustainable business.  However, the quicker online gambling is adopted in the US, the quicker Zynga can turn around its business.

(Disclosure: I bought Zynga stock when it first went public and have since bought on the huge drop-off.  Still holding now and waiting for … well, the above to come to fruition.)

#4 – “Making LinkedIn Work For Your Business” – manireblog.net.  

Premise: LinkedIn continues to mold itself into a preeminent spot on the web for businesses.  The author takes us through a few of the more powerful steps in which LinkedIn can be leveraged, most specifically on lead generation.  With the redesign of the site’s ‘company pages’ feature, businesses have the opportunity to customize their design and message on their page.

Thoughts: As we have mentioned here a number of times over the first month of the Sunday Musings, LinkedIn has continued to shape the functionality of its site for both businesses and individuals.  While a few of the thoughts and recommendations may seem a little basic to some, this article does a nice job of explaining what you should be covering off on if you are creating or updating your businesses LinkedIn page.

#5 – “Google Glass Changes Everything Including Inbound Marketing” – Square2Marketing.com

Premise: Google Glass has been launched and rather than just “Ooh” and “Aah” over its design and capabilities, this article takes a unique perspective on how Google Glass can have a significant impact on inbound marketing.

Thoughts: This is an interesting spin on what Google Glass can do for businesses and marketers.  The continuous search for more content, knowledge and power takes another step towards being at our fingertips 24/7 with Google Glass.  Connecting and sharing content through voice command is going to be taking a significant step forward in 2013 and into 2014 with Glass.

Take a look at the official video and feel free to “Ooh” and “Aah”:

There was a lot of news in technology this week, particularly in three companies (Groupon, Zynga, and LinkedIn) that went public more recently.  While LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth over that time, the others have struggled.  What do you think the future is for any of these three?