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Three things I learned having breakfast with Sheryl Sandberg today.

Laurie Hix's picture

It’s not every day, a female trailblazer like Sheryl Sandberg comes to town. As a leader at an ad agency that specializes in marketing to women and social media, I was excited to hear the Facebook COO speak to the Detroit advertising community at an Adcraft breakfast today.

She gave a great speech, filled with personal anecdotes, that was appropriately tailored to the Motor City audience and marketing crowd. But my favorite part was what the author of the bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, said in the Q&A.

As she answered questions about balancing being an entrepreneur, raising a family and what we can do to create more female leaders, it is there she shined. And I was inspired.

Here are the three pieces of leadership advice she would pass on to women. First, acknowledge there are gender differences. Women are often wrongly labeled as whiny, looking to get special treatment or about to sue. Biases exist. For example, she says if a woman and a man’s performance are the same, the man will get more credit. This is because a man usually attributes success to himself, but a woman will attribute it to hard work, team collaboration and a bit of luck. Second, once you accept those differences, you need to adjust. Invite more women to the table to close the leadership gap. Third, encourage girls at a young age. While little boys can be labeled as leaders, little girls can be labeled bossy. She says recognize that those little girls are demonstrating “executive leadership skills.” I especially loved the part of her speech, because it showed her humility. Even though she is so accomplished (went to Harvard for undergrad and MBA, worked as an economist at the World Bank, worked at Google, now COO at Facebook, and sits on the Board of Directors for Walt Disney), she openly admits she struggles with self-confidence at times and recognizes that this is ironic, considering she just wrote a book telling women to believe in themselves.

I came back to the office and Sheryl is everywhere I look now. She just wrote an article on Beyonce for Time. And now I am obsessed googling her appearances like this Ted Talk where she addresses why we have too few women leaders.  Today, Sheryl had the podium in Detroit, but every day she has a much larger one that she is using to inspire other women to lean in and make a difference. In fact, even though she is a few years younger than me, I think I want to be Sheryl Sandberg when I grow up.

What do you think of Sheryl Sandberg and her ideas about women in the workplace? I’d love to get your insights.

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The weekly recap - April 28, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes

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Not Generating Enough Leads From Your Website? Here Are 7 Easy Fixes
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The weekly recap - April 21, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Facebook Launches a Newswire to Surface More Breaking News
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LinkedIn Opens Ad Platform
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75% Of Mobile Video Ads Happen In-App
Study also finds that shorter, non-skippable spots excel.

NYPD's Feel-Good Twitter Attempt Goes Awry
Photo contest backfires.

As seen on TV: Insurance purchase takes 15 minutes or less!
Property and casualty insurance is complicated, serious and pricey.

The 3 C's of Content Marketing
It’s not easy creating content for a brand.

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Twitter has made big changes. Have you seen them?

Kaitlynn Knopp's picture

In an effort to keep up with its social competitors, Twitter has redesigned its layout with a focus on visuals. Big visuals.

Art directors will remember that the old profile picture measured 80x80 pixels with its header photo measuring 520x260 pixels. The recommended dimensions for the new Twitter’s profile pictures are 400x400 pixels and 1500x500 pixels for header photos. That’s more than 2x the original size.

To accommodate the new visuals, Twitter now has the header photo span full-width across the page and places the profile picture in the bottom left portion of it—similar to Facebook. The Twitter background, however, will stay the same—same size, same placement, same options.

In keeping with the goal—going big—tweets will now grow in size depending on popularity. A tweet with no interaction will display at a normal size while a tweet with six retweets and four favorites will be considerably larger—making your best content easy to find.

Users also have the option to pin a tweet to their profile page. When other users visit their page, it will be the first tweet they see. This tweet is of course interchangeable, and can be easily replaced.

Twitter's following and followers lists are also noticeably different. Instead of an actual list, users will now see everything about their following and followers in a visual, almost Pinterest-esque way. While scrolling through followers, users will see everyone’s profile picture, header photo, name, Twitter handle, bio and a follow button.

Users were able to officially switch to the new layout on April 22.

What are your thoughts on the new Twitter? 

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How’s Married Life? Are you ready to have a baby?

Lauren Zuzelski's picture

When I got married 5 years ago, it didn’t take long to start getting that common question, “So when are you going to have a baby?”  I’m sure all married women (and men) have experienced the same thing. It’s no surprise though, who doesn’t love having a new baby in the family?

When our client, Covenant HealthCare, charged us with developing a comprehensive healthcare marketing campaign for their maternity services, we couldn’t resist exploring this theme. They were recently named America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics and they have always been well known and respected in the market for maternity services but had not employed mass communication to share this information.

The goal of the campaign was to increase awareness of Covenant HealthCare as the safest, most trusted place to have a baby in the Great Lakes Bay Region and ultimately get their target audience (women 18-34) to visit the web page to learn more about their maternity services while also having the option of finding an OB.

We knew humor would be a great approach to connect with our target audience. Take a look at our newest TV spot.

My grandmother barely waited for our ceremony to end to ask that question. What about you?

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As seen on TV: Insurance purchase takes 15 minutes or less!

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

Property and casualty insurance is complicated, serious and pricey. It’s also intangible. Policies don’t instantly make life easier, prettier or more comfortable. But insurance is critical for anyone who owns a car, home, business or anything of significant market value. Without it, you risk losing everything to chance.

Then how did a gecko get the job of marketing one of the nation’s largest insurance companies? And a toothy, apron-clad, retro-perkster become the public face of another?

Because insurance is complicated, serious and pricey. And it’s highly competitive.

To create consumer preference, or at the very least, consideration, insurance carriers have adopted unique and unconventional brand personalities. Here a pig, there a duck everywhere a cave man.

And to make it easier for consumers to shop and compare—particularly with the increasing popularity of Internet commerce—insurance has become commoditized, stuffed in boxes and marked down 15 percent. I’ll take the one with a single-family dwelling, no pool, two sedans and a crossover, plus one recreational boat and a teenage driver, please.

Except it’s not that simple. Insurance policies are as unique as the families they cover. It’s a high-involvement purchase decision that takes more than a price gun and the time investment of a coffee break. It requires a conversation. And more often, several conversations.

This little lady went to market, armed with research

In a recent Brogan Talks to Women survey, 72 percent of respondents said they consulted with a family member or friend before making an insurance policy decision. Of the 127 people who responded to the informal survey, 34 percent had consulted with an insurance agent, 17 percent sought the recommendation of an association or club and 16 percent researched industry ratings.

Price was selected most among important factors influencing purchase (73 percent), with “trusted brand” ranked as second most important (55 percent), followed by “fast, fair claims service” (28 percent), “consistent, stable premium history,” (28 percent) and “my agent’s advice” (25 percent). In fact, 68 percent of those surveyed still work directly with an insurance agent.

The majority of those surveyed—72 percent—have remained loyal to their carrier for at least the last three years, and 47 percent have not switched carriers in more than six years. That jibes with a 2011 Deloitte Research survey of auto and homeowner insurance policyholders.

The online survey of 1,080 policyholders found nearly a quarter said they never shop for alternatives to auto insurance, and 27 percent said they never shop for a new homeowners policy at renewal. The Insurance Information Institute says only about one in 10 drivers actually switch policies annually, a level that's been consistent for a decade—even with the big ad push over the last decade plus.

Such loyalty is notable considering more than $6 billion was spent on advertising for automotive insurance alone in 2012 (Wall Street Journal). Geico, Progressive, State Farm and Allstate now rank among the nation’s 20-most advertised brands, outspending popular consumer-product giants such as Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Home Depot, according to USA Today.

There’s nothing like a pig flying along a zipline to jazz up an insurance pitch, especially when sweetened with a honey-glazed discount. It’s funny. It’s share-worthy. But it doesn’t send me to the market to come all the way home with a new policy. What about you?

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The weekly recap - April 14, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

How Big Advertisers Are Using Next-Gen Messaging Apps Snapchat, Kik, Tango, Line and WeChat
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Don't Count Out Email Newsletters
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Keeping Your Company/Product a Secret Could be the Secret to Creating a Viral Video
For a brilliant example of this approach, check out World’s Toughest Job, which immediately went viral upon its release on Monday.

A Guide to the Best Times to Post on Social Media (Infographic)
Do you post social-media updates when your audience has the highest chance of seeing them, or just whenever you think of it or happen to have a free minute?

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Keeping Your Company/Product a Secret Could be the Secret to Creating a Viral Video

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Everybody in advertising has heard this one: “Can you make a video about our product? And by the way, we want it to go viral!” Alas, the surest way to fail at making a viral video is to try to make a viral video.

That said, I have seen a trend in some recent blockbuster vids that’s worth noting: the spots all give their products the softest of sells. In fact, the name of the company is usually not mentioned until the video’s last seconds. You could call it a surprise ending.  

For a brilliant example of this approach, check out World’s Toughest Job, which immediately went viral upon its release on Monday.

In the four-minute video, a diverse group of gobsmacked job applicants interview for an “insane, unpaid, 24/7 job. The punchline? This is a job that billions of women do every day.

The job is being a mom.

After the applicants (and the viewers) dissolve into tears, we see a caption: “This Mother’s Day, you might want to make her a card.”

Only then, over quietly touching piano plinks, comes the sell: “Visit www.cardstore.com.”  

P&G employed the same subtlety in its 2012 Thank You Mom and 2014 Pick Them Back UP Olympic spots. Those tearjerkers briefly featured moms at work in their laundry rooms and babies toddling around in diapers, but not until the very end of the videos did you learn who was behind them.

And when that P&G logo did appear? It was next to a humble expression of gratitude: “Thank you, Mom.”

P&G’s 2012 spot won an Emmy. It was also a boon to the companys bottom line, according to an Ogilvy case study. It was the strongest Olympic sponsor ad measured and its performance was 40 percent stronger than P&G’s ads during the Vancouver Olympics.

It’s too early to gauge the impact that World’s Toughest Job will have on its company—American Greetings. But it’s impossible to imagine, after more than seven million views, that Cardstore.com won’t see an uptick in sales.

This kind of spot makes a big impression on those of us in advertising and marketing as well. It shows us one truth about videos: The ones that sell to a viral degree are the ones that don’t sell. This was also famously illustrated a few weeks ago with First Kiss. That video’s product—Wren clothing—was so subtly presented that at first, none of the entranced viewers even recognized that it was an ad.

I love this notion of selling a product or company by focusing on characters; on story. In the spot, that company may look like an afterthought. But for consumers, sensitive storytelling and humility are likely to make a more profound impact than a hard sell.

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The weekly recap - April 7, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Hey Brands, Facebook Isn't Screwing You
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Dove Launches Fake 'Beauty Patch' in Latest Play for Viral Glory
Women See No Effect from Placebo at First, Then Tearfully Do

Millennials Aren't Afraid of the Phone, or Human Connection
Prized demographic wants to talk to a person when deciding on a purchase.

Amazon's Fast-Growing Video Service Has Already Overtaken Hulu, Apple
Netflix should probably start checking the rear-view mirror.

Facebook Goes Big With Right-Hand Rail Ad Redesign
Now it looks more like news feed posts.

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Makeup that promotes inner beauty. Sounds conflicting, doesn't it?

Maila Kue's picture

By now, you’re probably familiar with The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, one of the leading campaigns in marketing to women. This campaign was initiated as a way of widening the definition of beauty. It encourages women to embrace their natural selves.

With this powerful message in mind, it makes us wonder how other companies are responding to this movement of redefining beauty. Cosmetic brands and makeup companies are in business because they provide an avenue for women to cover up the dark circles under their eyes, to prevent future wrinkles, and to enhance and highlight certain features while hiding other ones. So how can they effectively market to the same group of women, when their products seem to do to the exact opposite of embracing natural beauty? It sounds conflicting, doesn’t it?

Dermablend, a cosmetic brand, makes it possible. You may recall Dermablend from its well-known adGo Beyond the Cover,” which went viral in 2011 starring Rick Genest, or better known as Zombie Boy. The video displayed Dermablend’s makeup products and its ability to cover up just about anything, even a full-body tattoo.

Dermablend has recently released a new campaign. Same product, different approach. It promotes the same message of inner beauty that moved so many women – but twists it in a way that suggests cosmetics to be a tool to empower women. Using emotional testimonials, Dermablend introduces a new perspective on makeup: “Blend in to stand out.” It suggests that makeup covers imperfections so that women can reveal who they are inside. This claim challenges the message we so often hear from beauty campaigns such as Dove – that true beauty exists when we reveal our natural selves. Cassandra Bankson, a Youtube star who battles with severe acne, states in her Dermablend testimonial, “I used to use makeup to cover up and hide who I was. Now I use it to express myself and show the world who I truly am.”

Dermablend makes a strong emotional connection to women and gets at the heart of their desire to be accepted, understood, and loved – despite their imperfections. The ad provokes all kinds of emotions as we watch the two women tear up and share about their struggle with being judged and bullied for their skin conditions. As Adweek puts it, the sincerity of this ad challenges society’s association of makeup and vanity. It redefines makeup to be a tool for women to experience the freedom of shame in order to find confidence in who they really are.

Do you agree with Dermablend’s outlook? Take a look at their moving Camo Confession campaign and listen to women reveal their story about how makeup has allowed them to ‘blend in to stand out.’ Here’s to marketing to women – with a twist. 

 

 

 

 

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The weekly recap - March 31, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

A Growing Number of E-Commerce Sites Are Moving Into Print
While countless publishers are struggling to drive dollars via online shopping, there are a growing number of e-commerce companies moving in the opposite direction.

As Companies Evolve, Women Will Lead the Way
Women are creating a more open, empathetic and driven workplace.

Build Your Own iAd: Apple Throws Open Door to Platform
Starting today, anyone with an Apple ID will be able to open an account with iAd Workbench, the company's mobile-ad management tool.

Supreme Court Decision Could Mean More Ad Lawsuits
Marketers beware: A Supreme Court ruling this week could lead to more false-advertising lawsuits.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing Automation
How B-to-B marketers can avoid the common pitfalls and reach full potential.

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Taco Bell enters the breakfast ring by calling on influencers.

Christina Tebbe's picture

Look out McDonald’s and Burger King, pioneers of “fourth meal” are moving in on the first one. Taco Bell rolled out their breakfast menu on March 27, and it’s causing quite a buzz.

According to market researcher Technomic, McDonald’s has about a quarter of the fast food industry’s breakfast sales. Knowing it wouldn’t be easy to compete with those numbers, Taco Bell used none other than Ronald McDonald to get the public’s attention. Well, not THE Ronald McDonald, but they did find 400 men and women with the name Ronald McDonald—or some variation—who claimed to love the new breakfast meals in their most recent television spot and viral videos. In an effort to beat their newest competitor, McDonald’s announced they will offer a free small coffee to customers for two weeks starting March 31, according to the LA Times.  

So how else did Taco Bell get the word out about their first meal options? With the idea of getting up close and personal with fans of the food chain, they came up with feature phones. According to Mashable, Taco Bell mailed out 1,000 Samsung phones to super fans and social influencers. Recipients of these phones were unaware of the task until it came in the mail, and to the delight of Taco Bell, hopped onto their social media pages and started the conversation. The recipients were then given random challenges to complete at any time of day with the hopes of winning Taco Bell prizes (some of the prizes included a button-down waffle taco shirt or Crunchwrap Supreme bed sheets).

So did it work? Well take a look at Twitter and Instagram. The buzz is still rolling even after the feature phone clues ended Wednesday night. Popular hashtags #WakeUpLiveMas, and #BreakfastPhone are still going strong, even after the breakfast debut. Taco Bell has over 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and the recent television spot with the Ronald McDonald testimonials has almost 700,000 views on the YouTube channel. 

 So is Taco Bell’s breakfast menu here to stay? Is it as delicious as the Ronald McDonalds say it is? Well you’re just going to have to wait in line at one of the 6,000 stores in America—now open at 7 a.m.—to find out.

 

 

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