I’ve always been a big fan of cause marketing, especially to reach women. Sure, we all love to get a sale price or cash back, but if the extra bang for our buck is a charitable donation, many of us are all over it. A study by Cone Marketing found that 88 percent of consumers find cause marketing acceptable, and 85 percent have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about. (Incidentally, those already super-high numbers go up to 95 percent and 92 percent when the consumers are mothers.)
Well, I recently discovered an example of cause marketing that gives both a discount and a charitable donation. It’s the Refer-a-Friend program offered by the suite of retail sites that includes Soap.com, Diapers.com, Yoyo.com, Wag.com, Casa.com, and Beautybar.com (The sites are operated by the Amazon-owned Quidsi Solutions, LLC.)
When that friend uses Yoyo, the company donates up to $30 to Save Play/KaBOOM! which builds playgrounds around the country. This, of course, ties neatly into the toy retailer’s brand. On the same note, Wag.com’s chosen charity is the Best Friends Animal Society and Diapers.com’s is the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Share the promotion via Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and not only do you help a number of friends save some dough, but the charities get more money.
Here’s why I think this promotion is both awesome and innovative:
- It’s a win-win situation. If I refer a friend, I can do good by prompting a charitable donation and help my friend get a discount.
- It’s good for the company. While all those donations and discounts will amount to a large outlay of money, it’s showing their customers they mean business. This will likely earn them some major customer loyalty.
- It uses social media to publicize the promotion. This is savvy. It’s the rare person who’s going to gush on her Facebook timeline about Soap.com. But when Soap.com gives her friend a discount and donates $30 to The FEED Foundation, she’s going to be more willing to shout about it on her social media. Again, this pumps up the brand and shows that Quidzi is serious about its charitable giving.
- It adheres to the concept of a “signature charity.” The causes these websites support relate to the products they sell. With these donations, the sites are both doing good and supporting their own brands.
I particularly like this idea of a signature cause because, in fact, Brogan & Partners has had one for years: breast cancer awareness. As our CEO Maria Marcotte wrote in 2010, “This cause if very near and dear to us. On a professional level, we have a strong passion for healthcare marketing. And on a personal level, our Managing Partner, Ellyn Davidson, is a breast cancer survivor.”
I hope this is something we’ll see more and more of: companies incorporating philanthropy into their business models and marketing, and doing it in a way that serves their mission. If a company chooses a charity that’s relevant to its product or message, it allows for impactful storytelling. It creates an emotional connection. And that’s going to make for more profit and more charitable donations.
It doesn’t get more win-win than that.
In the past couple of months, a few brands have been reaching out to Facebook fans in an extra-ordinary way – with personalized videos. Febreze is the most recent example with their “Million Thanks.” According to Mashable, the brand is live-streaming their employees saying thank you 1 million times to celebrate reaching 1 million fans on Facebook. They are allotting 52 hours for this endeavor - that’s 320 thank yous per minute or five per second! To stay true the brand, Febreze is asking fans for smelly items to put in the background of the room.
Febreze wasn’t the first to engineer something extravagant to thank Facebook fans. AT&T launched “Thank You Notes” in which they created 500 personalized Youtube videos thanking random Facebook fans. This was to highlight their page hitting 2 million fans.
Finally, in April, Kraft produced a six minute video name dropping fans who liked a certain post on their Facebook page. “Likeappella” thanked 4,600 fans throughout the video that starred an a capella group.
These elaborate social media stunts seem to be a hit with Facebook fans and are a fun way for the brand to show off their personalities. The Kraft post, for example, had the most likes than any other post on their page. Personal thank yous on Facebook might be the best way to reach fans in a medium that can feel detached at times.
What do you think? Will more brands catch on to this crazy trend or is it just another social media phase?
Advertising needs to be spontaneous and revolutionary to keep up with the ever changing, fast-paced, modern world. But recently, Pepsi has decided to not only embrace this concept, but take it to a new level with its ambitious ad campaign.
After sliding into the #3 soda slot behind Diet Coke, Pepsi decided it was time for a change. Brad Jakeman, president-global enjoyment and chief creative officer at PepsiCo, believes that the company’s weakness lies in its inability to secure a consistent identity. "Our least-impactful marketing,” he says, “has been when we've tried to reinvent this brand. This brand does not need to be reinvented. It needs to be reignited."
And reignite it they will. Pepsi recently launched the new campaign, “Live for Now,” which supports the idea of Pepsi as timely, as opposed to Coke which is known as timeless.
Living in the moment works well for social media campaigns, so it makes sense that Pepsi is leaning heavily on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Pepsi Pulse, the brand’s new website, is a “social flow” site that relies on current news, celebrity tweets and related Pepsi hashtags to populate the webpage. The brand has also featured impromptu giveaways on its Facebook page, and its new “pop up concerts,” sponsored through Twitter, will allow users to stream concerts from major artists. Talk about living in the now.
With popstar Nikki Manaj as spokeswoman and her hit song Moment 4 Life as the new anthem, I think Pepsi is a brand to watch. This campaign speaks volumes to its target audience, young free spirits. But will it last? After all, living in the now all the time won’t be easy. What do you think? Will Pepsi score with spontaneity or will it continue to fall behind?
Listening to a friend’s house-decorating stories often means enduring a litany of woes: the rug that was too scratchy, the paint color that was too bright, the upholstery that cost a fortune, and on and on.
But my cousin, Elizabeth—who’s sprucing up her new house in Atlanta—called the other day with a happy decorating tale.
It’s also an example of some great marketing to women.
Elizabeth had an enormous window in her stairwell that needed covering. She found the perfect solution at The Shade Store—a pretty roller shade made of grasscloth. Being a green type, she liked that the shade was made from organic materials and had a natural look to it.
I wasn’t familiar with this company but from what Elizabeth told me, it sounded great. The website tells you how to measure your window, customize your window treatment, and install it by yourself. Skilled customer service people will walk you through the process if you need extra help. For a busy working mom like my cousin—or myself, for that matter—being able to order and install a quality window treatment without having to hire (and meet with and pay) a decorator is a great time-saver.
Elizabeth and her husband loved the shade, her neighbors were grateful for the privacy, and that was that—or so they thought.
A couple weeks later, Elizabeth received a “Give a Tree” card from The Shade Store. As a thank you for her business, the company (through the Arbor Day Foundation) had planted a tree in one of our fire-depleted national forests.
What a great business move.
Since The Shade Store uses a lot of natural materials (organic ones, to boot), planting trees is a great way to promote its own brand.
It’s also going to help sales. The Shade Store’s products are naturally going to attract plenty of green customers. (Incidentally, a majority of those will probably be women. According to She-conomy, women make 85 percent of all consumer purchases and more than 50 percent of women say they want more green choices.) These customers are going to love the fact that The Shade Store gives back in the form of tree planting and they’re likely to give the company repeat business because of it.
It worked on my cousin. She’s now considering using the company for window treatments in her front room. I’m sure I’ll hear all about that decorating venture, too. But given the Shade Store’s inspiring business model, I don’t think I’ll mind.
As I embarked on my first do-it-yourself project of the summer I came to a crossroads – which store do I buy my paint and sandpaper from, Lowe’s or Home Depot?
I went into both stores and came out surprised at how much Lowe’s understands women and what they want from a home improvement store. The store is brightly lit, well organized and clean. Their signs are complemented with pink backgrounds and the outdoor furniture section includes cute sun hats. Right in the front of the store is a huge display of cleaning products and laundry detergent. The paint department is covered in bright colors, floral prints and hearts (literally). All of this combined creates something much different from Home Depot’s warehouse set up.
This women centric attitude seems to be carried by each of the stores’ employees as well. At Home Depot, I was scoffed at in the paint section when I asked the difference between semi-gloss and satin finishes. At Lowe’s the woman employee complimented my shoes and asked me what project I was working on.
Lowe’s knows me and they know women.
According to Marketing to Women by Marti Barletta, women like to browse while shopping and Lowe’s provides aisles and organization perfect for that. They also put things together to create entire rooms so women can see the big picture. Finally, they take into account that women want bigger aisles for strollers and carts and keep things on lower shelves so women can reach products easily. On the other hand, Home Depot creates an environment that centers on a man’s way of thinking. Men like to walk into a store and pick up a tool quickly and efficiently. Home Depot’s aisles cater to this way of thinking.
Lowe’s doesn’t stop at creating a woman friendly environment in stores, the emphasis on women continues throughout their advertisements. Their commercials are bright, colorful and fun. They show women doing projects that real women aim to complete. Once again, in contrast, Home Depot’s ads show things that men find funny like construction projects gone awry.
There’s nothing wrong with Home Depot taking the rugged approach, but since women make 80% of home improvement decisions, I think Lowe’s is making a great decision in reaching out to a target that is less thought of in the home construction market.
What do you think? What other brands are excelling in reaching women in a male dominated industry?
You’d think in an era of social networking, it would be easier to find a job. But I meet young people all the time struggling to find where they fit in and how to get their foot in the door. And I remember those days at the University of Notre Dame, when I decided I wanted to be a copywriter, searching through the Agency Red Book, trying to get internships, mailing clever things to agencies to get their attention. So here are 10 helpful tips that I have to pass on to aspiring agency creatives.
- Be creative. If you want a job in creative, do not follow a so-called professional resume format. I have seen resumes on paper napkins and on video. Be different if you want to break through.
- Study award-winning campaigns. Get award books like the One Show, Archive, and Communication Arts Advertising Annuals. While you can find great award-winning creative online at places like Ads of the World, I think buying old versions of these books on Amazon.com is a great thing to have, to understand what makes a campaign and what makes it great.
- Learn the business. Seek opportunities (in class and out) to learn the business and add to your portfolio. Invent clients, do spec or do real ads for families and friends. The best way to get hired is to have a great book!
- Intern. Intern. Intern. I had two internships before I landed a full-time job. So pursue internships whether free or paid—but only at places where you like the work they do and know you can learn from their talent. Agencies like to try before they buy. An internship at your dream agency could lead to a better future than one at a mediocre one.
- Choose wisely. Big agencies are a great place to start as they hire more people more often. But at a mid-size shop like ours an intern could do web ads, social media, radio and get a shot at TV. Think about what fits you and your career goals.
- Brand yourself. Make your own brand speak uniquely through your website, business card, resume and guerilla. And be consistent with that unique quality that differentiates you from the pool of other aspiring creative. I have sent funny things to agencies over the years to get noticed. Attach a web video to your resume. Or try snail mail because in the digital world it’s a better way to break through and be noticed.
- Understand it’s not about you. It’s about what you can do for an agency. So research different agencies online and through the Agency Red Book at the library so you can talk intelligently at interviews and show them how you could move their business forward.
- Be patient and persistent. Understand Creative Directors and Creative Recruiters are busy. If they don’t get back to you, it’s most likely because it’s not a priority to them at that time. Find the Associate Creative Director or a Senior Copywriter or Art Director to glean info from. Any connection that can give you insight. Name drop their name (“So and so said to call you”) to get you to that next level. Stay visible so when they do need to hire, you make the list.
- Network. Join ad clubs. Freelance for local chambers of commerce. Friend people you admire on LinkedIn. Blog. Vlog. Increase your SEO. No contact is ever wasted.
- Stay positive! It takes time to get with the agencies you really admire but persistence eventually will pay off.
Those are the real secrets to getting a job in advertising as a creative. Take it from me, the school of life is more educating than even the best universities. Let me know if this helps. Or if there are any other tips that a young creative should try. Best of luck to you!
You can probably tell that we’re big Target fans here at Brogan & Partners. Forgive me for visiting the subject once again, but Target keeps stepping up its game, especially when it comes to marketing to women. I just can’t ignore it.
Their latest bit of brilliance? The Shops at Target. These are five actual “Main Street” type of shops—from a Boston dog bakery to an Aspen cosmetics boutique—that will be reproduced in Target stores.
I can’t tell you yet if I love the shops themselves. They don’t debut until Sunday, May 6th, but I already know the online marketing is breaking new ground for the store.
The Shops part of the website, on the other hand, looks completely different.
It starts with a chic storefront window that you really want to peek through. Then the page for each shop features the brick-and-mortar version’s colors, fonts, and vibe. The page for the Miami clothing boutique, The Webster, for instance, is sexy and lit up in neon. Privet House’s page evokes the cozy Connecticut housewares store with a fresh, green color and a romantic tree.
Here’s the best part: there’s a short documentary film about each shop. The videos are sweet, slickly produced, accompanied by jaunty xylophone music, and narrated completely by the shops’ owners, with whom we’re on a first-name-only basis.
“When people walk into Target and see our collection,” says Diane, co-owner of The Candy Store, “you’re going to feel like you’ve walked into our small store in this little neighborhood in San Francisco.”
Her other half, Brian, adds, “We want to bring a little piece of the boutique experience to Target.”
In other words, Target is letting us know: We know you’d rather shop local. We know you’d rather have unique, boutique goods, rather than Big Box ones. We also know that’s hard to do if you live in a distant suburb or you don’t have the time or money for boutique browsing. So we’re giving you with the next best thing.
With their adorable online presentation at least, I think Target is doing a pretty good job of it.
What do you think of Target’s new marketing approach?
When I take my five-year-old to the local mall, he immediately starts begging to see the “pictures that move.” This technology, in which an image is projected onto the mall floor and changes as a user touches, jumps, or steps on it (imagine bubbles popping or butterflies flying away), has captivated a future shopper and given him a reward for joining mom at the mall.
Now, it looks like that technology (or similar) has entered the ranks of point-of-purchase. In a Mashable post by Lauren Indvik, we get a glimpse of how a retail signage company, Perch Interactive, is working to change the shopper’s experience at retail. Simply by picking up a product, a user will activate marketing messages and visuals that will help him imagine how the product will fit into his life. It’s gotten me thinking about how this experience might become personalized – could it sync up to social media, so you can “like” something from the sales floor (great way to build a Christmas list)? Or could it become a loyalty tactic – driving rewards for shoppers who spend time with products?
Maybe that is a lot to ask from some lights and projectors (forgive the understatement), but who knows what is possible? We’d love to hear what you think.
There are clothes I’ll keep forever for sentimental reasons, like my old sorority sweatshirt and the shoes I wore at my wedding.
Those of you who’ve splurged on a pair of super-comfy Lululemons know what I’m talking about. You stretch and sweat in them, you wash them a gazillion times, and they continue to hold their shape (not to mention flatter your shape) and look brand new.
So I was fascinated—as both a marketing expert and a consumer—by this Wall Street Journal article about “Lululemon’s secret sauce.”
With some brands, the high quality of the clothes alone is enough to draw a loyal following. When Lulu added some savvy marketing to the mix, it turned their loyal following into a cult one, giving the company a market value of $10.4 billion last year.
A couple interesting bits of Lululemon wisdom:
- Don’t try to gloss over high prices with sales. Own the fact that high quality clothes are expensive and make that part of your caché. Lulu never discounts the prices on its staple items and rarely holds sales. According to the article, 95 percent of Lulu togs are sold at full price.
- Leave ’em wanting more: When Lulu introduces new styles or colors, they’re released in limited quantities. Customers know they’ve got to grab their goods quick before they’re gone. According to the WSJ piece, “a hot-pink color named ‘Paris Pink’ that launched in December was supposed to have a two-month life cycle but sold out its first week.”
- Pay close attention to consumer feedback and don’t be afraid to act on it. Lulu doesn’t punch focus-grouped data into a computer to make business decisions. Instead, they design the stores so that salespeople fold clothes right outside the dressing rooms—the better to eavesdrop on customers and learned what they really think. Sometimes it’s Lulu’s CEO, Christine Day, who’s listening in. Another great quote from the WSJ: “Ms. Day spends hours each week in Lulu stores observing how customers shop, listening to their complaints, and then using the feedback to tweak product and stores. ‘Big data gives you a false sense of security,’ says Ms. Day.”
I like the straightforward approach of Lulu’s marketing. It’s not right for every business or every product, but in the age of search engine optimization and algorithmic everything, it’s refreshing to see a business become hugely successful by kickin’ it old school.
What about you? Do you have more examples of successful companies who’ve ignored current marketing trends to do things their own way?
Here are three things I’ve noticed lately:
- When I got my summer Athleta catalog in the mail, the swimsuit models were buff! We’re talking some seriously strapping beauties. Even the models who didn’t have obviously defined leg muscles or eight-pack abs looked strong and healthy, not to mention happy! There wasn’t a broody waif among them.
- While watching a recorded episode of The Good Wife the other night, I opted not to fast-forward through three Kohl’s commercials. Each featured Olympic athletes talking about the “sport of shopping.” Mia Hamm, Lindsey Vonn, and Dara Torres looked awesome as they riffed about the thrill of the score (of a fabulous leopard print bag) but they did not look like glamorous, otherworldly models. They looked strong, sporty, beautiful—and real.
- Jennifer Lawrence. Well, how can you not notice The Hunger Games star? Her image is everywhere to promote the blockbuster flick, which I loved seeing recently. The casting of Lawrence has gotten some criticism. Is she too robust and healthy-looking to play a character in a deprived dystopia? In my opinion, the answer is no, and not just because Lawrence is great in the film. It’s also because I love seeing a strong, muscular character played by a strong, muscular actress. If it was one of Hollywood’s many delicate, twiggy starlets saving the world from the evil Capitol, would you believe it? I’m not sure I would. Beyond the movie, I’m excited to see Lawrence—with her curvy figure and pretty, round face—on so many magazine covers. It shows women and girls that you don’t have to have razor-sharp cheekbones, bony arms, and a jutting jawline to be gorgeous.
In journalism, they say “three makes a trend.” If that’s the case, then using athletic, powerful women in marketing is officially a new trend. Let’s hope it sticks around. Not only do I love seeing these inspiring looks in the marketplace, I want my twelve-year-old daughter to take note, too.
Have you seen any marketing featuring strong women lately? Share in comments!