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February 15 2014

December 26 2013

How Visual Systems Can Improve Wearable Notifications

Many brands are excited about the opportunity that wearable technology presents. As smartphones become more common among consumers, wearables represent the next frontier in engaging brand experiences for early adopters of technology. The main problem is that wearable devices aren't currently designed for the rich interactions that brands want to create.

The benefit of wearable technology is immediacy. Devices can communicate with wearers about their environment and create or change a behavior in the moment. However, most of the current wearable technology offers limited user interactions. Instead of engaging with content on a wearable device, rich interactions are facilitated through another device like a tablet or smartphone. Read more...

More about Marketing, Technology, Branding, Tech, and Wearable Tech

October 28 2013

Culture Jamming: Who's Helping Celebrities Go Viral?

Six months ago, Richard Simmons was better known for his spandex and '80s fitness videos more so than his social media following. On the edge of falling off the pop culture radar, however, the 65-year-old recently made a resurgence into the spotlight.

Simmons' seemingly random red carpet appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in August netted him 37 million mentions across social networks and turned his name into a trending Twitter topic. Meanwhile, at the Emmys in September, Simmons' camp live tweeted the ceremony, sharing memes and GIFs of him dressed as characters from nominated shows. The content reportedly reached nearly 20 million people Read more...

More about Youtube, Entertainment, Social Media, Celebrities, and Branding

September 27 2013

3 Digital Agencies Redefining Advertising

Despite the ubiquity of Facebook and Twitter, it's no easy task to become a social media maven. Building a company of mavens is even more challenging.

Between representing a diverse group of clients and keeping up with best practices for social networks such as Vine and LinkedIn, creating brilliant campaigns in the digital space requires true innovation


Three of the leading agencies in this space — and the finalists for the Mashies' Best Digital Agency award — are doing just that

While all three of these agencies, listed below, exhibit digital prowess, there can only be one winner, which will be announced on Oct. 10 at the Mashies award ceremony at New York's Altman Building. Read more...

More about Advertising, Online Advertising, Branding, Business, and Digital Advertising

September 18 2013

iTunes Radio Debuts Stations Curated by Celebs and Twitter

New streaming music service iTunes Radio debuted Wednesday, when iOS 7 became available. Though users can create custom radio stations based on songs and artists, they can also discover music through featured stations.

Among the featured stations are those curated by guest DJs Katy Perry and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto. At launch, Twitter and Pepsi also offer stations.

The Twitter #music station on iTunes Radio will play songs trending on Twitter, while Pepsi's (co-branded Pulse #NOW) four stations will play trending and emerging pop, country, latin and electronic dance music. Read more...

More about Music, Itunes, Branding, Pepsi, and Jared Leto

August 10 2013

Wi-Fi-Enabled Robot Takes You on a Virtual Trip to Italy

San Pellegrino Fruit Beverages is giving fans of Italy a free, if virtual, trip to Taormina, Sicily.

You don't need frequent flyer miles or even a thick bank roll for this trip. Just log into your Facebook account and Like the San Pellegrino page. From there, you're placed in a queue for your turn to stroll Italy's streets, thanks to a quartet of robots, which you can remotely control for three minutes. (Sicily was chosen because the 81-year-old brand's fruit ingredients come from the island.)

A two-way audio-video connection with built-in language translation capabilities allows users to interact with locals and even practice their Italian. If that's too personal for you and you'd prefer taking in a bird's eye view, you can opt for a more scenic experience from a Skybot device, a robot mounted on a 40-foot pole, with 360-degree views of the Mediterranean and the city. Read more...

More about Streaming, Branding, Robots, Italy, and Remote Control

August 05 2013

5 Common Brand Messaging Mistakes by Marketers

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Messaging is an important part of branding. Your marketing messages must capture your audience’s attention and compel them to action, whether they’re shopping in the store, browsing on your web site or recommending your product to a friend. And yet even the most seasoned marketers sometimes struggle to develop effective messaging.

“Many communicators forget that great messaging begins with their audience’s core values, not their product,” says Whitney Greer of branding consulting firm Brandularity. “When you’re not honing in on what people truly care about and coming across as authentic, your messages will miss the mark.” Read more...

More about Small Business, Branding, Features, Business, and Open Forum

August 28 2012

Get Credit for All Your Instagram Photos

If your golden shot winds up on Instagram's popular list, will anyone notice your name?

A new service called Picmo (a portmanteau of picture and promotion) wants to make sure you get credit for all those images shot to vintage perfection.

"People weren't able to brand [their] images. They weren't able to tell anybody what that photo was about, who took the photo or where they were," says creator Jason Bass.

Picmo brands your photos before you publicly post them to the web. Simply upload a PNG file of your logo, and every time you snap a new image, Picmo will create an overlay it with your logo, name or message. You can then share those imag…
Continue reading...

More About: branding, instagram, instagram apps, photography

May 10 2012

4 Tools to Enhance Brand Engagement on Facebook

The Facebook Marketing Series is presented by Webtrends, helping brands acquire, engage, nurture and optimize Facebook fans. Get the Social Media Marketing Playbook, a guide for maximizing returns. Download now.

Over the past few years, Facebook marketing has moved from the domain of early adopters to a mainstream focus for nearly all businesses. During that time, a large number of social media marketing tools have emerged to help companies reach and engage with fans, run promotions and contests, and even integrate Facebook Ad programs with the rest of their social marketing.

But while most marketers are currently using the myriad applications that allow them to run their ongoing programs, they may not be as familiar with tools they can use to enhance their day-to-day activities and make their programs more effective.

Here are four services that offer specific functionality to boost the impact of your Facebook marketing every day.

1. EdgeRank Checker

Several billion pieces of content and “Stories” are shared on Facebook every day, so it would be completely overwhelming if the news feed showed all of the possible stories from your friends and the brands you like. For this reason, Facebook created an algorithm — known in the industry as “EdgeRank” — to predict how interesting each story will be to each user and decide which stories will appear in a news feed.

While this may benefit the typical Facebook user, it creates a challenge for brands. If your posts aren’t performing well, fewer people will see them. In fact, according to data from EdgeRank Checker and AllFacebook, the average Facebook brand post reaches only about 17% of its fans due to this filtering mechanism.

“Understanding and leveraging EdgeRank is quickly becoming the new social ‘organic SEO,’” says Chad Wittman, founder of EdgeRank Checker. “Brands that are able to leverage EdgeRank to their advantage, without heavily relying on paid media, will be able to maximize efficiently their Facebook ROI.”

EdgeRank Checker has developed an algorithm that measures the average effect of EdgeRank on a brand’s content. With an understanding of how EdgeRank is impacting its content, a brand is then able to begin the process of improving this average effect.

EdgeRank Checker’s free tool allows you to see your “EdgeRank Score” and your best and worst average days of the week, while the “pro” plan (which starts at $15 per month) gives you more in-depth analysis and recommendations to boost your rank.

2. PageLever

PageLever is another analytics tool that brands use to measure engagement and boost newsfeed visibility. Used by four of the top ten Facebook Brand Pages, PageLever shows where your fans come from and which ones are leaving, as well as the gender and location of the people who are interacting with your content. You can also use PageLever to identify and drill down into major spikes in your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand what happened on a particular day.

By using PageLever, you can see how many fans you’re actually reaching with your content (i.e. how much content makes it through EdgeRank’s filtering mechanism) and use this information to understand which content is performing better in the news feed. For example, a media site could use this to figure out whether articles about Androids or iPhones are more popular on Facebook. You can also see peak traction times, so you can make better decisions about post timing.

PageLever product pricing starts at $99 per month.

3. Alerti

Alerti is a social media monitoring and management service that continuously scans all types of sources (online press, blogs, forums, microblogs, social networks, videos, photos, etc.) to allow you to follow what is being said about you, your brand or your competitors on the Internet. You can then use that information to measure the engagement of your communities and to interact with them.

One of the most interesting ways you can use Alerti is to find and republish grassroots brand content that other people are sharing. Marketing consultant Murray Newlands recommends that brands leverage Alerti capability to identify and repurpose user-generated content within your Facebook Timeline feed to boost engagement.

“Brands are built in many ways by what others say about them and the conversations they engage in, and what consumers say about a brand is also more trusted and influential than what a brand says about itself,” says Newlands. “Brands need to understand and maximize the potential of that material — using Alerti, they can increase engagement on a day-to-day basis by sharing positive and popular content from their fans and influencers.”

4. Infinigraph

InfiniGraph takes the idea of EdgeRank a step further by pre-filtering your social media content to only the most engaging and viral. Its interface enables you to understand what content is hottest with your audience at the moment, mapping your fans to the Facebook posts and tweets they’re interacting with the most as well as the other brands they engage with on social media.

InfiniGraph starts by tracking your most active fans and followers. Then, it discovers what they do on other Facebook pages and Twitter profiles. This reveals the brands with which you have fans in common.

Through a process it calls “Hypercuration™,” InfiniGraph crowdsources trending content across many sites and discovers what is the most viral and would likely be of interest to your fans. Armed with this knowledge, you can then repost this pre-filtered content on your Facebook page -– proven content has a good chance of increased interaction on your Facebook Page, which will then improve your EdgeRank.

InfiniGraph’s pricing starts at $1,500 per month.

What are some of the tools you use to boost your Facebook marketing programs? Let us know in the comments.

Series presented by Webtrends

The Facebook Marketing Series is presented by Webtrends. With 850 million fans, Facebook is a marketer’s dream. Yet many brands are not seeing expected results. With the right tools and a four-step plan, Facebook campaigns can be measured, tested, targeted and optimized with remarkable results. Webtrends shows you how in this step-by-step guide. Get the Social Media Marketing Playbook Now.

More About: branding, Facebook brand pages, facebook marketing, Facebook Marketing Series, features, Marketing, mashable

January 20 2012

Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

We’ve all been hearing a lot about Pinterest lately, so you’re probably wondering whether you should take the plunge and create a profile for your company. We say you go for it, especially if women are your target consumers — 70% of pinners are female. Pinterest has a highly engaged audience — a reported 3.3 million users logging more than 421 million pageviews — so there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to flesh out pinboards and catch pinners’ eyes.

First, let’s go through a quick explanation of how it works. Pinterest is a visual social discovery network. You create online pinboards (like a bulletin board) for various categories (i.e. “dream home” or “things to buy” or “recipes”), and you “pin” items to it. You can pin a photo or video in three ways:

  • Upload it directly to Pinterest from your phone, computer, etc.
  • Use the Pin It bookmarklet on any site on the web to pin the item — it will be pinned with the URL, so you can always go back to the original source
  • Repin other people’s pins, either by seeing what your friends have posted or browsing the dozens of categories on the site

Sounds fun, right? Now, businesses beware: Pinterest etiquette clearly states that it’s not a platform for self-promotion — it’s not a broadcast mechanism like Twitter or Facebook — so brands need to approach the site a little differently. Here are some tips for navigating Pinterest, along with a rundown of how various companies are already using the visual social network.

1. Promote a Lifestyle

Pinterest designer and co-founder Evan Sharp sums it up well: “For most consumer brands, the idea behind your brand makes sense on Pinterest.” Since you’re not supposed to blast pictures of your products on Pinterest, try to think outside the box and pin images that capture a lifestyle and/or the essence of your brand. Pinterest calls for a more holistic approach to marketing, and it can be more effective and engaging than traditional advertising because the consumers can really see how your brand fits into their lives. For example, Bon Appetit can’t just pin pictures from the website or magazine, but it can pin images of cooking appliances, beautiful kitchen decor, cutlery, dinner parties and delicious creations or recipes — basically anything related to cooking and food. Seeing these culinary items will continually drive home the Bon Appetit brand, thus making pinners more familiar with and more likely to trust the brand, visit the website and maybe even subscribe to the magazine.

On your page, you can curate as many boards as you like. Pinners can choose to follow none, a few or all of your boards, so don’t be afraid to be adventurous and curate a wide array of boards — the point of Pinterest is to explore and discover new things, so eccentricity is appreciated and encouraged. If you own a hotel, post pictures of landmarks near the location, food from local restaurants and even pieces from local artists. Own a restaurant? Post pictures of the farm where the meat is raised, the appliances and gadgets used in your kitchen or anything related to the name of the restaurant — for example, Panera could have a board devoted to beautiful artisanal breads. If you’re in fashion, you can pin new trends, fashion sketches, pictures of fittings and shots from runway shows.

Beyond pushing one’s products, you also can use Pinterest as a way to convey your company culture — post pictures of the office, the mascot, people’s cubicles, lunch breaks and office events. Fans are interested in these details, and this imagery helps to humanize the brand.

For a look at what some brands are already doing on Pinterest, check out the roundup below. Perhaps they’ll inspire your own boards.

  • West Elm: The furniture brand posts images of various rooms — bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens — to inspire the interior designer in you. By showering you with beautiful homes, it gets you thinking about nesting … without taking an overtly sales-y approach.
  • Gap: The fashion company pushes the envelope and goes a bit into promotional territory. It’s Holiday Gift Guide board is a collection of beautifully designed ads with marketing copy, a la the in-store signage. On a “wintry’ board, there’s a collection of images of snow and icicles, interspersed with Gap’s own puffer jackets. And there’s a board devoted to people wearing Gap, from Gap models (like Amy Poehler and Will Arnett) to everyday consumers.
  • Etsy: When your website is a marketplace for creative and adorable goods, Pinterest is your social network soulmate. The brand pins images of “handmade weddings,” stationery, fashion, gift ideas, “cool spaces” and holiday decorating tips.
  • Rent the Runway: The fashion-rental site groups its boards into occasions — bachelorette party, fall wedding, dance party, New Year’s Eve — and each board contains various “looks” for that particular event to help you get inspired and achieve an appropriate look.
  • Birchbox: The beauty subscription service pins close-ups of made-up hair, eyes, lips and painted nails to show various looks that can be created with makeup. There’s also a board devoted to food, since a girl has to eat.
  • Modcloth: The ecommerce site sells apparel, but its Pinterest page looks more like a deep-dive into vintage-loving founder Susan Gregg Koger’s mind. There are retro pictures, DIY crafts and home decor boards, which essentially make the Modcloth page a go-to for any thrift-store shopper.
  • Chobani: The yogurt brand has aggressively marketed on social media sites, and Pinterest is no exception. There’s a board for treats made with yogurt, recipes that can use Chobani instead of other ingredients such as sour cream, the CHOmobile’s travels and even utensils (adorably called “We Would Like To Eat With You”). Like the brand’s fun, healthy voice on other social media channels, the Pinterest page is a perfect destination for active individuals who embrace life.
  • AMD: The tech company curates boards for a nerd’s life — there are quirky gadgets, creative interpretations of the computer mouse, cute laptop bags and pictures of computer workstations.
  • Whole Foods: Whole Foods is a healthy lifestyle mecca, and its Pinterest boards reflect that. There are boards devoted to recycling, beautiful gardens, kitchens, art projects and even the Whole Planet Foundation, which offers microcredit to the entrepreneurs who sell goods through Whole Foods. The Pinterest is holistic, just like the brand itself.
  • Travel Channel: You’ll observe a serious epidemic of wanderlust on Pinterest, which means that the Travel Channel has an innate advantage. With access to destinations far and wide, the brand is able to fill up boards of beaches, food, city landmarks, exotic animals, travel souvenirs and more. There are even boards devoted to the channel’s various shows to give an inside look at what goes on when the camera turns off and to offer insights into the hosts’ travels.
  • Mashable: Our community team pins memes and other tidbits of web culture, in addition to gadgets, which are the facets of our digital and tech coverage that are the most visual.
  • The Today Show: NBC’s morning show has something for everyone on Pinterest, since that’s also what it offers on-air. You’ll find behind-the-scenes anchor antics, pics of the Today Plaza, recipes and even cute animals.
  • Drake University: The school pins images of dorm life, as well as bulldogs (Drake’s mascot) from all over the web.

2. Use It Like a Focus Group

Millions of people use Pinterest to keep track of objects they love, places they enjoy, foods they devour and things that inspire them. Therefore, you can view it as a sort of focus group. Look at the pinners who follow your brand — see what they’re pinning and who else they’re following. They’re volunteering a lot of information about their interests, passions, dreams and sense of humor in a more natural way on Pinterest than they would on say, a survey or even on Facebook, where they have to manually enter “sarcasm” or “travel” as an interest. Use this information to your advantage to glean insights about your target consumers.

3. Crowdsource

You can ask fans to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of yours and tag you, and then you can easily repin those photos onto a VIP board — it’ll give a shoutout to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product. If your company hosted an even recently, encourage people to pin and tag the photos as a sort of crowdsourced scrapbook. And around the holidays, encourage them to pin a “wish list” board to curate the gifts they’re hoping for.

4. Run Contests

We’ve talked about crowdsourcing and asking people to tag you in their pins — the next step is to run a contest on Pinterest. Since the site is relatively new, there aren’t that many case studies, but one company recently did a particularly good job harnessing the power of Pinterest. From December 14 through 21, Land’s End Canvas‘s “Pin It To Win It” campaign asked users to create a Pin It To Win It pinboard (in the women’s or men’s apparel categories) and pin 10 to 20 images from the Land’s End site or repin them from the Land’s End Pinterest page. Once your board was complete, you were to email the URL of your pinboard to Land’s End for a chance to win one of 10 $250 gift cards — this was your official “entry” for the contest. The winning boards belonged to Crosby Noricks, Michelle Berkey, Tony Kim and Debbi Seibel (pictured above), to name a few. A search on Pinterest shows that there were around 200 boards created for the contest, with each containing at least 10 to 20 images, which means a lot of Land’s End merchandise was injected into the Pinterest feed at no cost. Running contests like this is a great way to expose your brand and products to a large audience, given the viral nature of these images and the engaged Pinterest audience.

5. Inspire Your Team

There are a lot of inspiring things on the web, and you can create a sort of mood board for your company, pinning things that are relevant, interesting or inspiring to you brand and your team. Pin logos and websites with good design, clever copywriting, images of possible team outings (bowling night or karaoke, perhaps), colors to figure out your new advertising palette or use it to brainstorm an upcoming campaign. By browsing Pinterest, you might even see items that could inspire your company’s next big idea, so keep that Pin It button handy.

Does your brand have a Pinterest? Share your tips in the comments below.

More About: branding, features, Marketing, mashable, open forum, pinterest

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January 18 2012

How Celebrity Appearances at CES Backfired [INFOGRAPHIC]

By now, you can easily name the celebrities who attended the Consumer Electronics Show last week. But don’t be surprised if you’re struggling to remember which brands they represented.

An overwhelming 85% of social media mentions about those celebrities did not reference the gadgets or companies they were promoting at CES, according to research from marketing agency Oxford Communications and social analytics company NM Incite.

SEE ALSO: I Went to Find a Robot at CES, But Found Justin Bieber Instead

“Having Justin Bieber at your booth may get you some extra press coverage, but there are very few teen girls walking around CES,” Christopher Stemborowski, associate communication strategist at Oxford, told Mashable. “So what is a brand like TOSY getting for what was likely a significant investment?”

Just 10% of the buzz about Bieber on social networks mentioned robotic toys company TOSY, which reportedly spent six figures to have the YouTube star-turned-mega-celebrity endorse a robot.

Aside from dishing details on celebrities, the infographic below — cleverly titled “What Happens at CES?” — offers a visual wrap-up of the tech-heavy Las Vegas trade show, including a deep dive into which brands and gadgets people were discussing the most online (Samsung, Google, Microsoft, tablets, smartphones and TVs) and which tech enthusiasts were most influential when sharing CES content (Mashable editor in chief Lance Ulanoff).

Do you think celebrity endorsements are worth the steep investment? If you were managing the marketing budget for a big brand, would you consider roping in a celebrity to help create buzz for your product or service? Sound off in the comments.

More About: branding, celebrities, CES, Entertainment, Marketing, Tech

For more Business coverage:

January 02 2012

6 Steps for Protecting Corporate Reputation in the Social Media Age

Layla Revis is vice president of digital influence at Ogilvy PR Worldwide. Her specialties include international affairs, tourism and multicultural marketing.

It takes years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair, as executives at companies from Dell to Domino’s certainly have found out.

This was a sentiment echoed by executives at the Senior Corporate Communication Management Conference in New York when discussing social media and corporate reputation and how to embrace the new reality of immediate communications.

When you consider the sheer volume of earned media, or word of mouth generated on the Internet each and every day, it is clear that “controlling” messaging is no longer an option for large companies, who, for many years, have been in the driver’s seat when it comes to their own reputation.

So how can a reputation bashing be avoided on the social web? Open communications and speedy response are among the pointers for corporate communicators. Marcus Molina, SVP – Latin American Communications, MasterCard shared these classic examples of corporate crisis and advice on how manage them effectively.

Dell Computers

In 2005, Dell computer owners experienced problems with the company’s formerly excellent customer service. Jeff Jarvis, a Dell customer, went to war with Dell on his blog BuzzMachine. Jarvis’s campaign brought the power of blogs to international attention, but it’s important to keep in mind that, as Market Sentinal pointed out, corporate reputations are damaged not by bloggers, but by corporate missteps.

Dell’s problems arose from its failure to deliver on customer service promises, not from Jeff Jarvis’s blog. However, once the customer service problem became public, Dell committed a second error by failing to address in public the issues that Jeff Jarvis had raised. Dell later decided to engage by establishing Direct 2 Dell, it’s own blog channel to address the concerns head on.

United Airlines

When a country musician saw his guitar tossed by United air raft handlers and United refused to offer any reimbursement for his damaged instrument, he recorded a song and posted a video on YouTube which, to date, has garnered 11 million hits, and was picked up by major media outlets.


Qwikster, an online streaming service intended to offer Netflix subscribers more convenience, instead forced the company’s nearly 12 million customers with streaming + DVD accounts to create two accounts at two different domain names with two different sets of ratings and preferences. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take long for Neflix to kill the idea after massive complaints. But in the three months it did take for Netflix to respond, its stock price fell from around $300/share to around $70/share.

Here are those critical steps to heed to avoid crises like those above.

1. Don’t Pretend a Crisis Is Not Happening

As Gemma Craven, EVP from Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence team says, “It’s no longer the Golden Hour, but the Golden Minute. Lack of a well crafted, well meaning response could cost you.”

Similarly, Robert DeFillippo, chief communications officer from Prudential Financial explains, “It’s just as dangerous to over respond as it is to under respond.”

2. Don’t Make an Empty Gesture

Apologizing for apologizing only comes across as lazy and uninspired.

3. Don’t Refuse to Backtrack

Netflix refused to go back to its original price and its stock still sags below what it used to be.

Social media should be used as a tool for honest communication. Admit your mistake, and speak directly to your customers about how you’ll be going back to fix things.

4. Develop Channels of Communication

Utilize or establish a blog, Twitter and Facebook networks and a strong company intranet to reassure customers and employees. This allows you to convey messaging through email, video, or webchats. It’s very democratic in nature. It’s a need in a world that evolves at the speed of light.

5. Establish a Crisis Communications Response Team

Companies must drive the messaging and response. Use listening platforms, monitor sentiment, and establish a dedicated team to inform and advise internal and external stakeholders of issues and responses.

6. Become Influential and Change Perceptions

Become influential. We are the centerpieces of this new world. If you don’t write, take speaking engagements, talk to your audiences and connect, you become irrelevant. You simply disappear.

Use these channels to focus the conversation around your brand so that when a crisis does arise, you have more control over the perception.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, iPandastudio

More About: branding, Business, contributor, features, Marketing, pr, Social Media

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December 16 2011

Branding: How It Works in the Social Media Age [INFOGRAPHIC]

Branding and social media — they seem to go together so well, yet they’re both widely misunderstood. While social media can serve as a gigantic megaphone for your brand, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter can also give a company a golden opportunity to shoot itself in the figurative foot.

How are people using social media to interact with brands, and how are companies using the power of social media to reach more customers? Who is most receptive to brands on Twitter? How about on Facebook?

SEE ALSO: Google+ Brand Pages vs. Facebook Fan Pages

It’s time to shed some light on branding and social media, and to do that, AYTM Market Research surveyed 2,000 Internet users, randomly chosen from its huge built-in online panel. The researchers asked a variety of questions about how Internet users like to get updates about brands, where they like to hang out online, the kinds of people brand managers can expect to encounter in the social media universe, and whether prospective customers prefer to interact with brands on social media.

Branding and Social Media Statistics - How People Are Interacting With Brands Online

More About: branding, infographic, Social Media

October 12 2011

5 Digital Marketing Commandments for Luxury Brands

Duke Greenhill is the founder and CEO of Greenhill+Partners, a premiere New York-based creative marketing agency specializing in luxury brands and engaging the emerging affluent. You can reach them at TheFutureOfBranding.com.

Lately people are talking about luxury brands and digital marketing. I can’t count the number of times this week I’ve seen tweets asking, “Is Digital Killing the Luxury Brand?” Invariably, these discussions evaluate the dangers of leveraging a wholly democratic platform in order to promote a wholly exclusive industry. But, as usual, the discussion misses the point.

The question is not if luxury brands can safely leverage digital media. The question is how. With that in mind, here are five commandments for marketing luxury brands using the most democratic media in the world.

1. Thou Shalt Democratize, But Not Downgrade

Luxury brands obsess over losing exclusivity in the digital space, but this concern puts the cart in front of the horse. A luxury brand generates exclusivity by cultivating a block of consumers who wish they could buy the brandʼs products, but cannot afford them. Simply, if luxury brands want to remain luxurious, they have to engage not only their paying customers, but also people who want but canʼt have.

This is where the democratizing power of social and new media comes into play. Social media enables luxury brands to build tremendous clout among the aspirational set. In some cases, social media may be the only place aspiring consumers can reach the brand at all. This, in turn, builds tremendous prestige among the affluent set.

In order to democratize without downgrading, luxury brands must maintain the digital conversation by engaging more aspirational consumers and including them in a controlled brand dialogue. On the other hand, the brand must prevent brand downgrading by embracing cleverness and avoiding mimicry, by ensuring innovation and not stealing from their traditional campaigns, and by treating digital media like the marketing powerhouse that it is. All the while, luxury brands must strive toward the highest creativity, elegance and production quality. Only in this way can luxury brands both cultivate desire and maintain exclusivity, and thus, grow in the digital world safely.

2. Thou Shalt Not Kill The Conversation

Luxury brands worry that if they allow interactivity or user-generated content, if they initiate a conversation between brand and buyer, they will lose control of the brand image. This is simply not true.

There are many ways to encourage interactivity while still maintaining control of the brand. Look at Burberryʼs
Art of the Trench,” a photo-sharing destination that primarily features Burberry-commissioned, high-end photography of models in the brandʼs seminal trench coats. What’s more, it also allows consumers inside access if they upload their own pictures (which are vetted and selected by the brand). Therefore, Burberry successfully reaches a significant audience while maintaining brand control.

Like Burberry, luxury brands must learn that they can create digital campaigns with embedded brand control. Killing the conversation outright is not the answer.

3. Thou Shalt Honor Digital Media

If luxury brands indeed fear brand dilution, they must first stop diluting the quality of their digital media. Time and again my own luxury clients say, “But itʼs just a behind-the-scenes video for Facebook and YouTube! Do we really need to spend that much on production?” The answer is always “yes.” Digital luxury marketing is only as luxurious as the brands are willing to make it.

Just like the luxury products and services themselves, the quality of luxury digital marketing relies on ideation and execution. A dress is not inherently luxurious; the difference lies in its design and high-quality manufacture. The same is true of digital marketing media. Luxury brands must decide whether their digital marketing is luxurious or commonplace, and they must commit to making their digital messaging more beautiful, more innovative and more elegant than anything else out there. Only then can they preserve their up-market brand values.

4. Thou Shalt Not Steal From Old Media

The primary reason luxury brands fail at social and new media is because they haven’t bothered to understand it. Luxury brands, more often than not, suffer from what I call the “Paper Pixel Syndrome.” They take media developed and produced for traditional deployment and force it onto their social and new media platforms.

For instance, they digitize a traditional TV spot by compressing and uploading to YouTube, or they post a print ad to Facebook. This blanket strategy weakens the perception of luxury brands. Just as one wouldnʼt put a 30-second static print ad on TV, so should one avoid stealing traditional media by hawking it in the digital space. Luxury digital media requires a development, production and deployment strategy specific to its digital channels. Nothing less will do.

5. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Media Channels

Just because one luxury brand is successfully utilizing a particular digital approach does not mean another luxury brand should follow the same strategy.

As an example, take Vera Wangʼs Weddings app, or Tiffanyʼs Engagement Ring Finder app. Both are directly motivated by a core brand value or consumer need.

“There is a sense of urgency associated with digital platforms,” says Vera Wang president Mario Grauso, but luxury brands must be careful not to embrace a platform just because itʼs hot. Only those platforms that spring directly from a core brand ideal or customer need can succeed without diluting the brand itself.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, jsp, Flickr, pasukaru76

More About: Advertising, branding, contributor, features, Marketing, Media

September 06 2011

The Songs Behind Your Favorite Commercials [VIDEOS]

Songs in Commercials

The union of music and advertising dates back to radio’s infancy. Now, the world’s biggest companies are infusing their commercials with songs from popular musicians as well as emerging artists, to brand their latest products and services.

But why? Studies dissecting music’s effect on consumers suggest that songs — more often than not — positively mold a viewer’s response to an advertisement. The right song choice can influence how long a person watches a commercial and sway them into buying what’s in the ad.

“Music creates a certain mood, feeling or association within consumers you want to reach,” says Jessica Page, marketing manager for Exfm, a music-discovery browser extension for Chrome. “It’s a key part of creating a bond between consumers and brands.”

Take Chrysler’s Super Bowl 2011 commercial, for example, says Kion Sanders, MTV‘s social media coordinator. The “Imported From Detroit” ad (see video five below) praises the Motor City, features Detroit native Eminem and uses the accompaniment from his “Lose Yourself” track. Sanders says Chrysler chose the right song for the right campaign. “The rapper is extremely passionate about his city and so is the brand — this is a win-win situation.”

“The intensity of the song mixed with a narration of Detroit’s history sent a goosebump-worthy and unforgettable message.”

Page says Eminem’s song set the tone for the commercial, which wanted to define Detroit as a city that makes luxury cars. “The intensity of the song mixed with a narration of Detroit’s history sent a goosebump-worthy and unforgettable message. … Everything about his personal story speaks to the city’s blue-collar history as does his music,” she says.

Here are 15 videos from this year that showcase what happens when music and advertising collide. Each video‘s caption lists the name of the song and artist.

What other commercials have memorable or popular music? Let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome

"Sort Of" by Ingrid Michaelson


"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO

Nokia N8 Pink

"Freedom" by Sugababes


"The Wash" by Brenda and The Tabulations


"Lose Yourself" by Eminem

Google Chrome

"Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga


"I'm a Goner" by Matt and Kim featuring Soulja Boy and Andrew W.K.


"Take on Me" by A-ha

Motorola Xoom

"Ponds" by by Biggi Hilmars


"Climbing Walls" by Strange Talk


"The Golden Age" by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Trident Vitality

"Hello" by Martin Solveig and Dragonette


"Black Betty"


"Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe

Amazon Kindle

"Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk" by The New Pornographers

Image courtesy of Flickr, craigCloutier

More About: advertising, branding, business, consumers, MARKETING, viral videos

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

June 27 2011

May 25 2011

May 18 2011

5 Tips for Building Vibrant Branded Online Communities

Justin Fogarty is the online community manager at Ariba, a leading provider of collaborative business commerce solutions. Follow Justin on Twitter @justacio or join the thousands interacting on his community, the Ariba Exchange.

The goal of many companies is to facilitate a vibrant online community around a brand or product. “Engagement” is a refrain we’ve all heard time and again, but it is crucial if you want to gain traction on the social web. We can look to the undisputed champ of engagement, Facebook, to inform our own strategies, communities and web presence.

This isn’t just about creating better Facebook ads, or even in getting more “Likes.” The bigger question is, what can our brand communities take away from the success of Facebook’s platform?

1. Facilitate What Customers Already Want to Do

It’s not about ROI or advertising dollars at the beginning. It’s not about messaging and positioning. Customers will come back to a place with a compelling reason for going there in the first place. Let the user determine the model, and look at the type of user that you want to attract as the primary driver behind the online presence.

In Facebook’s case, they started with simply facilitating the sharing of information — from personal profiles to pictures. They’ve kept that same core model but expanded into everything from shopping to events. What can you facilitate that will help your customers?

2. Extend Traditional Success

Most communities, like Facebook, are natural extensions of what happens in the real world. Facebook mimics personal relationships. Your online community should mimic the positive interactions traditionally formed within your company. If connections are made at trade shows, then start discussions online that would typically take place at a trade show. If your company’s growth is from sales in a particular vertical, then facilitate connections with influencers in that market.

3. Keep it Clean

If there are two things we learned from MySpace, not everyone is a web/UI designer, and people prefer a clean community. This is online design 101, but it applies to your brand as well.

The web has the power to infinitely enhance your capabilities online, but start small. Keep a simple, clean interface with a clear direction for a user to personally benefit. It will keep your brand’s image in focus, and give users a sense of the benefits they’ll get from engaging with you.

4. Treat Engagement as a Long-Term Process

Your content should be short, frequent and easy to engage with. Facebook’s News Feed is effective because of these principles. This keeps visitors coming back and spending more time with your community.

If done right, these returning visitors will slowly phase out some other older, inferior communication tools. For example, think about the things that Facebook has trumped — from classmates.com to that old personal blog you haven’t updated in months.

5. Make Engagement Easy

Generally, most people online are “lurkers,” viewing sites and communities without ever interacting with them. Enter the “Like” button, which made engagement quick, easy and approachable. With your business, create a community of quick and easy participation. This will get people invested in your message and enable continuous interaction.

Keeping these tips in mind, your business will be well on its way to creating unique experiences, increasing engagement and enthusiasm for your brand, and developing a truly interactive and meaningful community.

For more lists, how-tos and other resources on this topic, check out Mashable Explore!

More About: branding, community, engagement, facebook, List, Lists, social media, social media marketing

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