I had a thought yesterday as I was updating my Facebook status... what does my profile convey to the social media world? All of us with a Facebook or Twitter have some sort of online personality... whether you have 50 or 2,000 friends you have some level of presence, and that presence shows your personality (good or bad, truth or lie). But what about those people or causes whose online presence reaches the masses in order to evoke change or ignite social movements?
Look at how President Obama created a sense of connection and engagement by tapping into social networks during his presidential campaign. It was an online movement that created offline behavior; producing youth voter turnout that arguably may have supplied the margin of his victory. Twitter and other social media platforms were flooded with links, images and information about the political crisis in Egypt. Did Twitter play a part in the resignation of Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak? Just last week, an online petition emerged to help save lives in Uganda’s homosexual community after the Ugandan Parliament’s attempt to re-introduce an “Anti-Homosexuality” bill that would sentence Ugandan homosexuals to death. As soon as word broke of this bill, an international community jumped to social media to sign petitions and protest the bill.
Social media started with people writing down their thoughts, then evolved to agencies like ours who engage consumers in a conversation about a product or brand. Now it’s gone even further and is being used to mobilize change all over the world. We realize the influence social media can have on people and how it engages consumers in a way that was never possible before. This is why it is important for a social media component to be part of most media plans. If not, your product, brand or cause may be missing out on a valuable conversation.
When is the last time you took part in an important social media conversation?
After receiving over 60 entries we have chosen the winner of the Michigan Business Reboot Contest. We were thrilled and overwhelmed with the amount of very deserving businesses that entered, which made our decision difficult. However, after carefully reviewing all the entries and interviewing finalists, the business we selected for the grand-prize of marketing and public relations services worth $75,000 is Mechanical Energy Systems (MES).
Mechanical Energy Systems has provided alternative energy solutions such as solar electric and water heating to homeowners and businesses. As pioneers in renewable energy products, the family-owned company is well-respected in the industry and is becoming one of the largest distributors and trainers of solar applications in Michigan. They were chosen based on their longstanding commitment to Michigan and dedication to innovation. We are excited to begin working with everyone at MES and look forward to helping them grow their business and their marketing initiatives.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Michigan Business Reboot Contest and helped make this a success.
It’s been a crazy past two weeks. Tornadoes ravaged the south, record-breaking flooding in the mid-west, a Royal Wedding last Friday, and Bin Laden’s death on Sunday. The media has been in overdrive.
But for the average American consumer, this weekend is all about moms. While #mothersday will be trending on Sunday, companies have used Facebook and Twitter to offer deals, market brands, and keep social advocacy up – all in the name of moms.
Some brands used discounts such as free shipping or discount rates to entice consumers to buy gifts for mom online. Others used promotions from bloggers in the community.
Amazon offered free 1-Day shipping in the U.S. on jewelry and watches on Facebook, while Amazon Kindle offered a free gift card for purchasing a Kindle on Twitter. Using this tactic of free shipping/gift cards can lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to more consumer sales later.
Walmart promoted their Build a Basket Beauty Center on their Facebook by using a recommendation written by a mommy blogger. A blogger’s endorsement of a product or service gives it more authority and trust.
Living Social even marketed directly to moms by providing a Living Social Beauty Package. Marketing to moms bypasses targeting the kids and/or husbands.
Other brands used a sweepstakes to pull in more ‘likes’ and increase their brand presence on Facebook.
@Target held a sweepstakes to win products from Giada De Laurentiis for mom. The link takes you to their Facebook page which lets you enter the sweepstakes, after you like them first. This tactic increases fanbase.
Kohl’s has a brag about mom contest, where if your picture is picked, you are featured for a week, with the contest stopping on Mother’s Day. The ultimate reward is $500 Kohl’s gift card.
Social Advocacy for Moms
At least one group used a Mother’s Day gift as a way to help fund a social cause.
The Breast Cancer Awareness page is offering Mother’s Day specials to help fund mammograms. Non-profits can increase funds by using creative, nontraditional tactics to fundraise.
Did you cash in on any deals for Mother’s Day?
Tiaras, the royal family and a fairytale happy ending fit for a queen (or a future princess in this case); it’s a dream come true for not only Kate Middleton, but for media and marketers alike. In less than 24 hours, the media circus that has been running wild since Prince William’s proposal will come to a pinnacle. The Royal Wedding is expected to break the record for highest ratings in television history, with an estimated viewership of over 2 billion and millions more who will stream the nuptials online. With this attention is it any surprise that marketers are giving their brand’s the royal treatment? Here are just a few campaigns that are all using different strategies to pay homage to the Prince and his bride.
- Kodak’s print campaign uses a play on the future princess’ last name to advertise their All-in-One printer with the tagline, “Say goodbye to Middle tones.” Two other taglines in the campaign are “For richer not poorer,” and “Prints Charming.”
- Post-it took in to account the amount of people travelling to London this week and launched an outdoor campaign for their Super Sticky Note. These ads show an enlarged Sticky Note with the soon-to-be newlyweds’ names, a heart and the congratulatory message, “May you stick together forever.”
- T-Mobile took an even lighter approach. This video, which has almost 13 million views on YouTube, uses royal family look-a-likes busting a move down the aisle to promote their “Life’s for Sharing” campaign.
Have you been following the coverage? Will you be donning an over-sized hat, pouring a spot of tea and tuning in for the royal ceremony?
Another day, another breakthrough. Remember this one? Close your eyes for a moment and it will come back. Simple, elegant, sepia-toned hospital branding with really great headlines. A different look for its time (6 years ago). A different approach to testimonials and doc touting. You guessed it. Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. A top Healthcare Advertising Award and ANDY award winner, this print, radio and outdoor campaign did it for me.
Smart and emotionally connecting. Giving you confidence that this indeed is the hospital you turn to for the most horrific of diseases and disorders.
I searched and googled to see if this innovative healthcare marketing campaign lasted, hopefully growing, transforming with the medical center. But couldn't find anything. Nothing on the hospital website, Facebook or YouTube. I wondered what the market research said. So often healthcare marketers tire of a brand campaign (even a winning one) before the target. Another day, another ad campaign? Let me know if you know. And any favorite innovative healthcare marketing campaigns of yours.
During the era of poodle skirts and pedal pushers, Harry J. Hoenselaar began a tradition that that would be loved by generations. He opened his first HoneyBaked Ham store in Michigan. With the finest-quality ham and mouthwatering sweet glaze, Harry invented Ham, as we know it--through his novel invention of the spiral-slicing machine. For 50 years, the world has loved the tradition of HoneyBaked. So to keep the brand fresh for the next 50 years, we used non-traditional media.
When taking a traditional brand into non-traditional media, it is important to carry through with the emotion of the brand. For HoneyBaked it is the nostalgic memories that takes you back to your first HoneyBaked holiday and makes you want to pass the tradition on to the next generation. People love sharing HoneyBaked with those they love; so social media is a natural environment for HoneyBaked marketing. Through social media, mobile media, mobile advertising and online streaming, HoneyBaked has been able to reach out to their fans more than ever. As a result of marketing efforts of five divisions, HoneyBaked attained nearly 10,000 fans in the first 5 months of launching their national Facebook page.
What are some ways you have discovered traditional brands in non-traditional media?
With Easter, this weekend, you may consider being a fan yourself at facebook.com/HoneyBaked.
Thanks for tuning in to the second in my podcasting series. Today I’m talking a little about developing content for your podcast program.
Choosing a Format
One thing I’ve learned about content development for podcasting is that content planning has to start with choosing the most appropriate format. A program is a program because it consistently delivers information in a highly recognizable package. Intros/outros, music bed, a dedicated host – these are all cues that help the listener know that this podcast is part of something bigger. But going beyond that, you must decide how you want to present what it is you have to say. Whatever format you conceive, just be sure it suits the content you want to deliver. A few questions you might ask yourself:
- What are the logistics for recording – can I reasonably get my host and any other subjects to the right place with the right equipment?
- Do I have a host who has the personality, charisma, and versatility to carry a regular solo performance?
- Is my subject area best served with a journalistic approach – an anchor host that hands off to reporters?
- Does the series gain credibility from an interview format, borrowing on the credibility or talents of interviewees?
Aligning Sources with Goals and Objectives
In my last post, I wrote about determining the goals and objectives of your series - an effective content plan is what gives those objectives life. If your goal is to be an authority on a topic, for example, then you need to determine what kinds of content are considered authoritative. Regardless of what you are trying to achieve, having a plan for sourcing proper content will save headaches down the road. Consider:
- What makes a source acceptable – what makes it fit your objectives? Objectivity? Credibility? Popularity? Timeliness?
- How much variety is appropriate in selecting sources?
- What is the process for verifying sources?
- What is the appropriate way to credit sources?
Determining a Content Schedule
I should backtrack for a moment and mention that, as part of the planning process, successful podcasters have defined early on how often they want to post. And the availability of content is part of that.
- Do you have a pool of credible resources to pull from?
- Do you know and have access to experts or popular figures in your area of interest?
- Is there someone on your team that is skilled at creatively identifying great subjects and angles off which to build a podcast?
If you are lacking these resources, your content burden is greater, and you probably should factor that into your posting schedule.
Consider the Longevity of the Program
A podcast series, like any other communications tool, should fill a need of your target audience. For some programs, content that ties to trends and current events might be perfect for your series even though it may date the series or lessen its impact over time. Other series may be less about getting immediate listenership and be geared more toward providing a long-lasting resource or historical record of sorts. Know what is right for your program and plan content around it.
Knowing Where You are Headed
At the risk of sounding old-school for a moment, I’m also going to recommend a loose “editorial schedule”. Having a roadmap of where to go helps to keep the focus of a series, but don’t be so tied to a set schedule that you can’t be responsive to what is happening around you. Podcasts can be a great way to build visibility for your organization or brand if you embrace content development with an opportunistic mindset and flexible approach.
Every program has its own set of unique content needs. What have you run into along the way? What other factors should readers consider before diving in? I’d love to hear what you think.
Here at Brogan we don’t just talk the talk – we walk the walk – and I don’t just mean in advertising. We’re setting the bar high in health management by bringing Weight Watchers to work. As avid healthcare marketers, we are taking responsibility for our own health on a daily basis. We are turning an important part of our work – healthcare marketing – into a lifestyle. As Florine Mark, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The WW Group, Inc. said, “The whole key is changing behavioral patterns or habits.
We are what we are because of habit.” And she’s right. Mark has made a habit of a healthy lifestyle – and she’s been sticking to it for 30 years.
With only two states with an obesity rate less than 20 percent, weight management is a serious issue nationwide – something worth connecting on. My advice? Form a group with some of your coworkers. Take turns bringing a healthy lunch. This way everyone eats healthier, saves money, and only has to think once a week of what to bring for lunch. Take 3 p.m. walks or even schedule an after-work bootcamp. Works like a charm, and it’s fun.
Here’s to a healthy lifestyle – at home and at work. Here’s to learning and focusing on healthy eating. Here’s to kicking obesity to the curb. Here’s to healthcare awareness. Here’s to healthy healthcare marketing and healthy healthcare marketers. A lifestyle of feeling good day in and out. How does weight management healthcare marketing affect you personally? Can you relate?
The first crack of a bat and pop of a glove are sounds coming from baseball diamonds all across America as MLB opening days start off the season. It’s also a big day for some advertisers because they can start monitoring their in-stadium campaigns. What are some of the newest ways advertisers are reaching fans at games this year?
We have seen the amount of exposure a product/service can receive from advertising at a baseball stadium. From the LED panels behind home plate, first base and third base, to the eBlasts and texts that persuade fans to “play this game,” or “check out our Facebook fan page.” But don’t forget about the advertisements that are strategically placed around concessions, on cups, napkins, seat cushions and foam fingers, because really…what’s a game without SWAG?
One of the newest ways to reach fans is by going right to the one thing that keeps them most connected with the world, their phone. To many people, cell phones are like an extension to their body; glued to them at all times making them always accessible. Next time you’re walking into a stadium, look to see if there are any signs outside that say, “turn on your Bluetooth, sign up and win free stuff!” Advertisers now have the option to place Bluetooth deliver devices at stadium gates that scan and pick up any Bluetooth signal. This will send a welcome message that allows fans to download an application to receive exclusive coupons, make reservations, play interactive games to win prizes, buy merchandise or even participate in a charity event. In the Detroit market at Comerica Park, Cedar Point ran a text promotion that played a video on the big screen of people riding a rollercoaster. Fans had to text a number and guess which coaster it was at Cedar Point. The first person who guessed the correct coaster won day passes to the amusement park.
Mobile technology and stadium advertising has opened many doors and given us endless ways to reach a niche consumer on a personal level, even in the middle of an exciting baseball game. By the seventh inning stretch, how many coupons, Facebook pages and promotions do you think you have you been exposed to?
Charlie Sheen is officially taking over the world. You cannot open a magazine, browser, or news page without seeing his name. After nearly shutting down Twitter by grossing over a million fans in less than 24 hours, it was apparent he wouldn’t stop there. His mission? Total domination. He is no longer just a crazy celebrity with addiction problems (although he claims “the only thing I’m addicted to is Winning”). Charlie Sheen is now a powerful brand and has transformed himself into a mega-marketing-mogul.
He observes all the classic rules of marketing and shameless self-promotion. Want to be associated with one word that sums up your whole brand and becomes a household name? “Duh, WINNING”. Want to be a part of the energy drink boom and capitalize on sales? Just drink Tigerblood. How about becoming a big time celebrity chef like Bobby Flay? Charlie’s got that covered with “Winning Recipes by Charlie Sheen” (he can cook with his mind). He is now even a “marketing rock star” on tour, going from city to city to rant and rave for packed audiences.
Most brands focus on marketing positive messages and pay millions of dollars for public relations professionals to monitor every word they utter. Historically, celebrity branding aligns a celebrity and their status with a product, service, or charity (think Michael Jordan for Nike, or Lance Armstrong for Livestrong). Charlie Sheen is the antithesis to this method and proves that it doesn’t always need to be puppies and rainbows to rake in the cash. He might not get endorsed by Boys and Girls Club of America, but he could potentially be marketing gold for Trojan, liquor companies, or brands that have the cojones to gamble on a guy like Sheen.
Love him or hate him, we are all watching as he is banking on every minute of publicity he gets. Only time will tell how far he will be able to push it. Do you think Charlie Sheen will reach world-wide domination or do you think he will self-destruct along with his “fire breathing fists”?
Sick of the Sheen Mania all together? Now you can download a browser add-on to remove the mention of Charlie Sheen permanently from your daily digital life.
It’s no secret that search engines love new, relevant information, hence why blogs rank higher. And we also know that press releases belong in the same category and can bring users to your site if written correctly. There are blogs about most common SEO mistakes in PR and the role of public relations in a blogger world, but if you are writing press releases that you are distributing online, what style of writing should you conform to? The traditional journalistic style or a more search engine friendly way of writing?
Overall, writing high-quality content is the only way to write online content, whether for a press release, blog, or product description. The worst thing that can happen is a prospective customer clicking on your site and then clicking off again right away. You just lost a potential sale.
Good content on the other hand holds a customer on your site. Who knows, they may click around and end up inquiring more. Whereas ‘writing for a search engine’, will lead a potential customer right back to square one.
As you are writing your high-quality content, you need to be aware of your keywords. And this is where conflicts start to arise. For example, the correct form of the word according to the AP Stylebook was ‘e-mail’, with the update coming from them last month to ‘email’. The Oxford English Dictionary added OMG and LOL to their list of acceptable words last month as well. There are dozens of other examples.
The best starting point when conflicting over which term to use is to look at your keyword data. Data from your website is a very valuable piece when you are distinguishing keywords. If you have the data to support a change of the correct form of the word, then use that spelling. Just be aware that you are deviating from the correct version. If a journalist does decide to pick up your press release, they may change more of it if it doesn’t conform to AP style; however, you still get the benefit of having a search engine optimized press release.
And if you distribute your press releases through personalized emails (which you should and tailor them to each journalist), then use the correct form of the word in the email to the reporter, but put the more search engine friendly term on your website. The same goes for the wire service.
Deciding the right words to use is a balancing act between correct spelling and grammar and search engine friendly terms. Language is evolving with time, abet slowly.
Do you always conform to AP style when writing a press release? How do you deal with the dilemma?
As a mobile web designer, testing usability on all mobile devices is a crucial part of our quality control process. But for those of you who don't have every mobile devices out there, here's an option:
iPad and iPhone emulator
This is a cross platform simulator that works in Windows, Linux and Mac using Adobe Air 2. Props to Blackbaud, Inc. for coming up with this. Oh, and if you get too excited to drop in your URL before reading the opening page, here's the keyboard shortcuts.
I must say that emulators will never be able to provide you with the true user experience on a device that requires a touch compared to a click, but they can give you a good idea of how a mobile site will appear. It may even help you solve some technical issues. Of all my researching and testing, this is the best I've found to date. It can even switch between an iPad and iPhone via hot keys too. Cool, huh?
Keep in mind that this tool is primarily for designers to view their sites. It is not a full simulator for developers to troubleshoot apps or bugs. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite emulator?