If you’re like me, life comes to a full boil at least once a day. (Now that school is back in session, that once-a-day usually occurs right around 7:45 in the morning.) Just as one kid tumbles down the stairs, another produces a forgotten homework assignment. Meanwhile, my cell phone won’t stop chirping at me and I suddenly realize that we're out of milk.
And then it's time to get to work, where a whole other set of challenges await me.
Sometimes my four-mile commute to the office just isn't long enough to help me switch gears. But now I have a new way to hit "refresh" and get started on my second shift: Pinterest.
Have you discovered this super cool website yet? It’s a simple virtual bulletin board on which people “pin” images of their favorite things, whether they be baby hedgehogs or bridesmaid dresses; the cutest of cupcakes or a cut set of abs. For me, Pinterest surfs are as energizing as my essential cups of coffee. When I scroll through the site, I might be looking for a great gift idea but find myself lingering over a sumptuous plate of spaghetti, a clever portable salad system, or a way to belt a blouse that I hadn’t considered.
Unlike some bulletin board sites (Delicious, for instance) Pinterest seems to have a distinct voice and aesthetic—one that’s whimsical, rhapsodic, classic, and very, very cute.
In other words, feminine.
It’s clear—from both the names of the “pinners” and the growing number of my female friends who are obsessed with Pinterest—that the site is driven by women.
So what does this mean for marketers and how can you leverage this increasingly popular social media site.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Think about your audience and what they value and provide a mix of content that is interesting and engaging to them.
- Like other social media tools, Pinterest is not purely a self promotion tool. It’s about developing a conversation that requires a delicate mix of pinning your own content and repinning others' content.
- Be sure to follow people with like interests. Following people on Pinterest is as important as pinning.
- Determine how often you are going to pin and make sure you have a good variety of content that will keep people interested.
With almost 1.4 million active users on Facebook, Pinterest is yet another interesting tool in the ever growing social media toolbox.
I’m a long time fan of the TV show, The Biggest Loser. For the past five years, I’ve spent many Tuesday nights glued to NBC watching the triumphs and the struggles of a group of dedicated and brave men and women competing to lose weight and regain control of their lives. It’s a perfect mix of inspiration combined with a bit of drama to end my day. During season 7, a fellow Michigander, Helen Phillips took home the grand prize.
Last summer, I had a terrific opportunity to have lunch with Helen Phillips and get to know her off of the TV screen. Over salads (dressing on the side), we talked about our personal goals. Helen is focused on helping people live a healthier life, and I’m forever dedicated to putting an end to breast cancer. We knew we could work together to create a really great event.
On October 20, 2011, Helen Phillips and I invite you to celebrate healthy living and survivorship at our first Partners in Pink Party. Come see the historic Peabody Mansion in pink lights honoring breast cancer survivors and remembering those who have lost their battle. It’s the second year our beautiful building will shine bright pink in downtown Birmingham. We have wonderful sponsors donating food, drinks and entertainment. The majority of your ticket price will go to benefit two organizations that mean so much to us--The Helen Phillip’s Foundation and FORCE. The Helen Phillips Foundation promotes healthy living to combat obesity, and FORCE is a national non-profit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. We hope to see you at this one-of-a-kind event.
At the f8 Developers Conference yesterday, Facebook made some pretty big changes involving the personal profile changing into Timeline and applications with Open Graph. Facebook wants the online experience to be through Facebook, where you share everything – from the books you read to the music you listen to. For a complete recap, Mashable has some great summaries of the event.
The new features may be awesome, or they may be way too much information. Either way, users will adapt. Even if they hate it at first, they will learn to work within the system. Brands on the other hand have Facebook strategies that work well on the old Facebook set-up, but are they prepared for a radical change?
Ad Age said, according to Facebook’s David Fischer, they will be ‘consistent’ with the Timeline look-and-feel. It seems pretty obvious for brands in the entertainment business, but what about in the service industries? For restaurants, now they can develop an app where instead of a user simply ‘liking’ a brand, users can actually ‘eat’ a ‘sandwich’. This was announced as Facebook Gestures. But what are the dangers with this? If an angry developer creates an app against a brand where it ‘hates’ the brand? What restrictions do you think Facebook will have involving brands? Will brands be left out of the mix?
Of course we will all have to wait and see, but brands, don’t wait too long. Make sure you are starting to look at how to redevelop your strategy to stay ahead of the game, now.
Hereʼs a good example of a difference between men and women: shopping. Women shop. Men retrieve.
A woman will decide she needs a pair of brown shoes to go with a suit she wants to wear to work. A man will notice his brown shoes are looking tired and he could use a new pair. Both go to the mall. The woman will go with an idea of whatʼs in the fashion magazines, what she wants to spend, what brands of shoes fit her well and feel comfortable, what stores carry shoes she likes, what stores carry shoes she can afford. The man will go to the store where he found shoes the last time he bought shoes.
When the woman gets to the first store on her mental list, sheʼll look at all the shoes, sheʼll check out sale shoes, sheʼll tell the clerk sheʼs looking for brown shoes to go with a suit—something suitable for the office and point out a few pair sheʼd like to try on.
The man will point to a couple pair of brown shoes, ask for his size and sit down. He might check out the running shoes too. Heʼll try on the shoes. Look at the shoes. Walk around a little. Maybe try on and buy athletic shoes if the salesperson is on his game. The man will pay for his shoes and leave the store.
The woman may or may not buy a pair of brown shoes she likes. But sheʼll look at more stores for more brown shoes until she finds “the perfect brown shoes”. Sheʼll know them when she sees them. She wants to see the universe of brown shoes and some viable alternatives. Sheʼs shopping. Itʼs research. It will take all day. (Sometimes into the wee hours on the internet too.) She may arrive home tired and empty handed. (although she may take advantage of serendipitous finds too right to pass up and have several new items she “needed”.) Sheʼs a shopper.
The man will get in his car, stop for a car wash, pick up some crescent wrenches at the hardware store, stop for a beer and sandwich and arrive home with new brown shoes. Heʼll flop on the couch, turn on a game, wait for dinner. Both people will be gratified by how their day went. Both will say they went “shopping”.
Weʼre experts in how women shop. Good news for clients. Women influence 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to healthcare. Affluent working women with family incomes of $75,000 or more are growing in number, and 94.3 percent access the Internet during an average month. About half are now considered heavy users of the Internet.
And yet, only 3% of the creative directors in ad agencies are women. We have two of them.
Talk to us. How women think isnʼt theory with us. Itʼs practice. Itʼs in our DNA.
Walt Disney and happy kids. They just go together. That's why the new Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children - the whole hospital concept - is a top pick for innovative healthcare marketing. After all, Disney "Imagineers" designed it. Brilliant integration of themed environments with Simba, Little Mermaid, Jungle Book - all characters kids know and love as protectors and friends. The interactive lobby with playground and games makes you feel you took a wrong turn and are at Disney World, certainly not a hospital.
Kids get to pick their own illuminated wall visual in their rooms, whether it's in the jungle or flying through outer space. They can even request movies or a visit from Murray, the resident hospital dog, through the "Get Well Network", available in all patient rooms. The idea is a supporting cast of characters and services throughout the entire hospital designed to let kids be kids.
As a healthcare marketer, you might wonder if the Disney brand is too light, too fun for a hospital. I mean this is life and death business, right? I think as long as the hospital integrates serious language about their pediatric specialties n their messaging (i.e."more than 90 pediatric specialists trained in surgery, oncology, cardiology and transplant services...") , they can't lose with the strength of the Disney brand. It's Disney's first time to create a totally immersive hospital environment - and to lend its name to a hospital. And it's all the magical support you'd want for your child if he or she had to be in the hospital.
What are your thoughts on the Disney plus children's hospital equation?
Social media is changing the world and it’s proving itself time and again that its powers can be used for more good than evil. Exhibit A: the Bread Art Project. It’s a really simple concept with hugely impactful results. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and the like, this project has gone from an unknown to a social media sensation.
The Grain Foods Foundation along with Food Network favorite Ted Allen (host of Chopped) are joining forces with Feeding America to provide a whopping one million pounds of food for those who need it the most. And the numbers are staggering. Hunger impacts 48 million Americans, 17 million of which are children. Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to feed ourselves or our families.
And now, social media is being used to help feed the hungry, simply by making pieces of digital bread art. Never fancied yourself an artist? All you have to do is upload a picture of yourself, friends, pets, or any image that is important to you. If you’re a regular Picasso, you can even create your own design and the application will generate a personalized piece of bread art just for you. For every slice of bread art, the Grain Food Foundation will donate a $1 to Feeding America. They have already raised over $21,000 for the project and it continues to grow. Bet you never thought a digital piece of bread could be so much fun or could give back to such a great cause. What are some of your favorite causes social media has impacted?
I even tried out my art skills with a picture of me and some of my girls from Brogan & Partners. If I ever wondered what my face would look like toasted to a piece of bread…I just got my answer.
This is the third in a series about effective podcasting - today, we're focusing on establishing production values. Whether you are in a corporate marketing department or in an agency, you've most likely got a client to satisfy with your podcast series (that client may be your boss), not to mention an audience. An often overlooked detail, but one that is certain to generate tons of feedback, is the quality of the podcast from a basic production perspective.
The best podcast content in the world will only get you so far. Understanding the quality expectations of your client (and your audience) is essential. Take, for example, our client who wanted to create authoratitve podcasts for academic and scientific audiences. We had a solid content plan, and we had clear objectives. What took awhile to clearly identify was the vision for what a podcast should sound like (yes, this was audio only). It took a while for us to sort through what we wanted in a host, in our subjects, and in the basic sound quality of the series. So to save you from our challenge, here are a few things to consider:
- What is the right personality for your host?
- Should it be a male or female host?
- What is the tone you wish for the host to convey?
- How interactive or engaging should your host be?
- How clear does your client expect the recording to be? Keep in mind that social media has made production much more forgiving, but do not assume that is a quality standard for podcasts.
- How are you going to account for outlying production challenges? For example, is it OK to use online software to record from remote locations when necessary?
- What are your guidelines for editing the recording? Keep in mind that you have ethical obligation to appropriately convey the meaning and context that your subject seeks to deliver.
- Do you have a standard intro and outro for the series and is it used consistently?
- And finally, what is your approval process?
These are just a few of the questions you may need to cover - pay attention to what your client wants, even listen to podcast series that they like and ask why they believe it to be a good program. A clear understanding of the clients' expectations up front will help to prevent frustrations on the back end.
Are you currently developing a podcast series? What are your production challenges or guidelines?
What is the future of location based marketing? How far can it go, and what will it be capable of doing? While there are many possible uses for location, I think the best use going forward will be found in loyalty programs.
The most successful integration of location and loyalty can be found with popular New York dessert chain Tasti D-Lite. The company created a loyalty program designed around social media interaction. Clients can opt-in to a program that enables social media notifications through the use of their TreatCards. When enabled, the use of the loyalty card automatically sends a tweet, updates your status on Facebook or checks you in on Foursquare, earning you extra rewards points. Not bad for letting your friends and followers know that you are enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone, and who knows maybe they’ll come join you and have one themselves.
If you don’t want to actually carry your TreatCard with you, don’t worry, there are apps for that. The best example of this idea can be seen in an app called CardStar. In July 2010, CardStar began integrating Foursquare into the application. This allows users to check in on Foursquare while using the CardStar app, sharing their location and experience with friends, and hopefully influencing others buying decisions.
What do you think? How would you integrate location and geo-targeting into your marketing campaigns?
The Pew Research Center found that 83% of interviewed Americans owned a mobile phone, 42% of those have a smartphone and 25% of them go online on their smartphone to access the web or email once a day. And the research is the same across the board; consumers use smartphones to go online. But what does this mean for brands? Well, you need a mobile friendly site.
Ecommerce and retail sites have come out on top as the example for mobile sites.
Amazon has a good mobile website where you get the functionality of the full site, but it is tailored to the mobile user. You can look at reviews, order a product, and have it shipped to you – all on your mobile.
Even yesterday I ordered a pizza from Papa John’s using my Droid. It was a great experience being able to fully customize my order (I like mushrooms, but my roommate does not) and have it delivered, all from my phone.
Retail isn’t the only place that can utilize a mobile site. Every brand should be compatible with a mobile device because a potential customer can look you up on the go, and they want that information instantly.
Hospitals can use mobile to their advantage. Saint Thomas Health in Tennessee has a mobile site that has a simple navigation: Emergency Numbers, Find a Physician, Locations, Phone Directory, and Health Information. They also have links to their Wikipedia, Facebook, and YouTube pages as well as a link to their full site. Since consumers are turning to the internet for healthcare first to find information, hospitals and health care facilities that provide a mobile experience, have a huge advantage.
Below is a quick list of some points to keep in mind while implementing a mobile site. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather like a mobile site should be, the most pertinent information.
- Site needs to be branded with your logo, colors, etc.
- Simplicity is essential and can be achieved through a strong navigation.
- Make sure the mobile user can still get to all the information they want, or have a link to the full website.
- Make sure links take you to the correct page – avoid sending users to the homepage over and over again.
- As with all sites, avoid using Flash.
- Be sure to test your site on different devices.
- The mobile user is most likely using a finger to click on links – keep in mind that the mouse is gone
What has your experience been as a mobile user? What things drive you crazy and what things do you love on a site?
Yes, it has finally happened. People are putting QR codes on tombstones. For those of us (50+ like me) who are still learning the many possibilities offered by using QR codes, it’s amazing to see them “engraved in stone”… on a tombstone. Upon reflection, this offers a way for folks to connect with others in a meaningful and deep way, the very essence of the power of social media.
I read this article on Mashable QR Code on Tombstone Creates Dynamic Memorial. It tells the story of an Israel-based technology executive who could not decide what to write on his mother’s tombstone. He deliberated with his family and they settled on using the technology of a QR code to connect people to a dynamic and evolving tribute website that memorializes his mother’s life.
Many of the comments on this story brought up concerns about whether this sort of technology will withstand the test of time. Will people even be able to access this information in 20 years, much less in 200 years? I have to believe that questions like this, while interesting, are not fundamentally necessary in making communication decisions. A serious artist will of course consider the longevity of his or her materials when creating art that is supposed to last (rule number one: don’t paint your masterpiece with washable markers on toilet paper). But that same artist (or writer) should not worry if their message will be understood in future generations. We know that if a message is important, future generations will appreciate it. After thousands and thousands of years, we still study and appreciate hieroglyphics and cave paintings.
The concept I take from this story is that social media is providing new ways for us to communicate. Use the technology and trust that if your message is important, it will be read, now and in the future.
At Brogan & Partners, we pride ourselves on being one of the best healthcare agencies in the country. We have a passion for it. And our client loyalty and creative portfolio demonstrates it. But it’s nice to have the recognition of your peers in the highly competitive, realm of national advertising award shows. So we are thrilled that we have won two awards at The 28th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report.
Our teen driving public service poster (see below) for the Michigan Department of Community Health received a Silver Award. And we won a Merit Award for our TV commercial “Close Up” created for Covenant HealthCare (see below). The MDCH teen driving poster also received a Silver Award at the Aster Awards as well.
Every year we are proud to bring home the hardware from award shows, but we realize that agencies like ours create award winning work every day. The difference is having great clients. Clients who recognize great ideas. Who push it through their own internal bureaucracies. Who add their own passion and creativity to the process. So thanks to our clients who made these healthcare awards possible: Geralyn, Jason, Amy, Kelly, Larry and Barb. You are the prize. Great clients like you (and we are lucky to have many) are what every agency creative director like me covets. Thanks for making us all winners!
In my second summer interning at Brogan & Partners, I realized something about the way my generation uses facebook. Even though we didn’t know it at the time, my high school classmates and I were all branding ourselves on facebook. The kind of music we liked, who we were “married to,” the events we were attending, the number of wall posts we had—all of it conveyed a very specific image of who we were, or who we wanted to be, to our facebook stalkers. At the same time, we worked hard to rid our facebook of all pictures of red cups and scandalous Halloween costumes so our image amongst aunts, uncles, parents, and principles would remain untarnished. Some made their pictures private, while others made their facebook profiles unsearchable via google and facebook.
But now that the high-school-facebook generation (HSFB, if you will) is graduating college, the way we treat our facebook profiles, and the way our personal brand is perceived by our audience, is about to change. Instead of hiding our profiles from authority figures, we need to make our profiles more available, and attractive, to future employers. Not only do we need to revamp facebook by ridding it of all shameful pictures, but also use facebook to our advantage as a functional, professional branding tool.
Some add professional elements to their current facebook profile, while others create an entirely new facebook fan page for the use of potential employers. On these facebook pages, our resume, contact information, and links to other social media sites should be available. But this “grown up” facebook shouldn’t be devoid of any personality. By retaining some of the information from our “kiddie” facebook, (i.e. about me, interests, music) we can make a good first impression with potential employers before we even set up an interview. Based on the more personal aspects of your facebook page, your employer might feel like they know you a little better—maybe your shared TV shows indicate a similar sense of humor or political viewpoint, maybe they love your ultrahip taste in music, or maybe you even put up a video resume, so they’ve already learned what a great public speaker you are.
Personal branding isn’t a new thing for generation HSFB. The personal branding strategies that used to impress the cool girls and high school jocks can now work the same wonders on future employers—the brand might just need a little tweaking.