Well, the Olympics have come to an end (sigh). The closing ceremonies are over and have successfully spiced up my life. But the completion of the games have left a void in my nightly television routine I have gotten quite accustomed to over the past two weeks. I’ve now had some time to reflect on the proud moments, the incredible athletes, and, of course, the tear jerking Olympic commercials that oftentimes deserve gold metals.
What struck me the most was the huge role social media played in this year’s games. The New York Times even referred to it as the “Socialympics”. There have been some highlights (following the athletes as on their road to Olympic stardom was inspiring), but there have also been some social media mishaps.
Here are some of the lessons we have learned that can be applied to your business or brand’s social media so that you don’t accidentally commit “social suicide”:
Greek Olympic triple jumper, Voula Papachristou, was ousted from the games and was ineligible to compete after tweeting racially hurtful comments about fellow African athletes. Not only did she get the boot, but she put a rather large dent in her personal brand.
Dick Raman, CEO of BrandReact, says, “the lesson here is think before you tweet. Because social media is instant, people sometimes don’t realize that things written in the heat of the moment have a lasting effect even in the Twitterverse.” Remember: social media is instant and permanent. This also validates that age old adage: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Photographs by Stanley Chou/Getty Images; Michael Buckner/Getty Images.
Here’s another example: Olympic Soccer player Hope Solo and Brandi Chastain got in a twitter cat fight over Brandi’s guest commentating during a match. Their back and forth was more painful to watch than the final seconds of swimming.
The lesson here may be obvious, but it’s vital: don’t talk smack about your competition. You’re better off letting your brand, products or services speak for themselves than bashing your competitors. Keep it classy.
I’m already looking forward to the next round of Olympic Games and all of the glory and controversy it is sure to bring. Until then, I’ll be keeping an eye on my social media and carefully monitoring my twitter posts.
I was pleased to hear that Lego recently launched a new line for girls called Lego Friends. My two sons love Legos (love might actually be too weak a word for their Lego obsession) and as a parent, I like them, too. The stackable bricks encourage creativity, concentration, and even math skills.
You’d think it would be a no-brainer to build on the brand that parents love to love (except for those moments when you gouge your bare foot on a Lego piece left on the floor). But apparently, creating and marketing Legos for girls is very, very hard. A Friends cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek even included a “Lego Girl Graveyard” with a sizeable line-up of failed past attempts to reach the pink side of the playground.
Friends, Lego has vowed, will be different. The company fine-tuned the line so exhaustively, its market researchers have been compared to cultural anthropologists.
So, I checked out the Lego Friends marketing with eager curiosity and high expectations. When I clicked to the website, I was . . . a little perplexed. Lego Friends is character-driven because pretend play is just as important to girls as building with bricks. The plastic figures have names, personalities and interests and they look more detailed and pretty than the famous, boxy Lego minifigure. They also look quite young—just like the 7 or 8-year-old girls in the Lego Friends commercials.
So why are the animated characters on the website so adolescent? They have shapely, figures, sculpted cheekbones, and the wide, almond-shaped cat eyes do not happen without the help of mascara. They do a lot of giggling and hugging. They’re not yet Barbies, but they’re definitely sexier than their plastic counterparts.
I bet little girls love these cartoons. But as a mom—you know, the one who’s going to be viewing the website and buying the products?—I’m a little turned off. I accept that Lego made many of the Friends sets a little stereotypical, from the beauty salon to the fashion design studio. That’s what girls ask for in focus groups. (They obviously don’t know how cool women-led ad agencies are.)
I’ll even tolerate the fact that the building aspect of Lego Friends looks less intricate than that of many “boys’” Lego sets.
But when it comes to marketing, we all know grown women are the target. And I think Lego misfired with this website. That’s a shame, because the sweet, age-appropriate Lego figurines are a welcome change for those of us who are Barbied, Bratzed and Disney Princessed out.
I’ll be interested to see if women look past the mixed message of the Lego Friends website and buy the sets for their young daughters.
What do you think of the new Lego Friends line and its marketing?
For generations there has been an endless debate of who rules the world, men or women. During the sixties, James Brown stated his opinion with “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”. In Beyonce’s new song “Run the World” she sings, “Who run the world? Girls, girls”. The debate will continue. But in the world of social media, we have a definitive gender winner. It’s women who rule. Sure, men created most of our social platforms but it is women who are maintaining and growing them.
According to Read Write Web, a study done by an online company rapleaf.com revealed that on most social network platforms “women outnumber men by a considerable amount. On Facebook, the 18-24 age group is the largest, with 1,685,029 women in that age group compared to 977,753 men.”
Why are women the largest contributors to social media? According to Jessica Faye Carter, an award-winning author and owner of Nette Media, it is simply because as mothers, we like to share information, educate others as well as develop new trends.
As expert multi-taskers, women like how easily they can share information with family and hundreds of “friends” simply with a click of a button. And as the leading household purchasing decision-maker, they use social media to share information about products, services, time-saving tips and money-saving offers.
Men want to rule the world. Women want to save the world. So it’s no wonder so many women are using social media to make social change. Whether raising awareness for lead paint or money for the breast cancer 3-day, women are using these social tools to build a better world for all of us.
Who do you think will rule the social media world in the future?
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.
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?
Change is good. We all need a good reboot every so often to grow and move forward. And since Michigan has entered into an era of reinvention, we thought we’d like to help facilitate some change for a Michigan business. Brogan & Partners wants to give a local business the tools and support it needs to reinvent and refresh its brand. A rebooting, so to speak.
The Michigan Business Reboot Contest is a competition for a business headquartered in our home state to win a complete marketing and public relations makeover by Brogan & Partners. It will include a marketing strategy, creative, social media and public relations - a total value of $75,000.
Do you know of a Michigan business that needs a brand reboot? It just may be the best upgrade for the future a company could make this year.
Learn more about the Michigan Business Reboot Contest here.
There is nothing like waking up to the smell of change. And today all of us at Brogan & Partners got a snootful.
We have a new managing partner: Ellyn Davidson. She replaces Deidre Bounds who is moving to our sister company, Ignite Social Media, as its COO. Ellyn started as an intern at Brogan 16 years ago. She quickly proved indispensable, ambitious and immoderately capable. She first tackled media and rose to media director, then turned her attention to client service and was soon heading our most important accounts--Michigan Department of Community Health, Travel Michigan, MEDC. She became an agency partner in 1998 and stockholder in 2004.
In 2007 she faced her biggest opponent--breast cancer--and won, becoming an activist, blogger and fundraiser for a cure.
Her next business issue was to learn social media. She has spent the past year working with Ignite Social Media on strategy and business development, as well as conducting a social media boot camp and weekly lunch & learns for all B&Pers.
Today she brings all this experience, energy and brainpower to her new post.
Ellyn will team with a brand new CEO--Maria Marcotte. Maria is our senior partner, second largest shareholder, COO. She joined the agency as business manager in 1990 and soon formed a corporate support team to handle all non-advertising stuff. Money. Legalities. Benefits. Buildings in Detroit and Research Triangle. Interns. Technology. And our most important issue: Morale. She has been part of ensuring that B & P is a place our staff wants to come to every day... that while we have abnormally high productivity, we also make sure every staffer feels loved and valued. Through regular thank yous, Hero of the Month awards, our annual out-of-town Mystery Trips, free Monday Morning manicures and more.
Somehow Maria also finds time to exercise her creativity. As cartoonist for B & P's annual booklet spoofing politics, as an award-winning oil painter, and as a scarily realistic duck carver.
Maria was named COO of the Year by Crain's Detroit Business and has won national Sloan award for innovations in Human Resources.
More soon about Maria and Ellyn's new vision for the agency!
What about me--the agency's former CEO/managing partner? I remain chair and stockholder of Brogan & Partners (as well as co-owner/COO of Ignite Social Media), work for both businesses part-time, and am on the lam the rest of the time. This month, for example, I am in Carmel as a temp nanny to my two-year-old granddaughter Brogan. In March I spent two weeks in Morocco with the SheMachine. I continue to work for boards/orgs who do good deeds. Next spring I plan to intern in DC for a Michigan Senator or Representative. See? Life can be good even when you shake it up and turn over your beloved businesses to others.
In the remake of "Red Dawn", I played a Chinese soldier invading the United States, but the only invasion I was really thinking about was how Hollywood is invading Michigan. Recently on the set of "Red Dawn" in downtown Detroit, as I was filming a scene with multiple explosions, cast and crews of other movies being filmed here were passing through and saying hello. I thought to myself, Detroit and I could get use to this. I had never been to Hollywood, but thought that this is how it could be. There were 3 movies being filmed blocks away from each other on the same day, "Red Dawn", "Game of Death", and "Vanishing". I also drove pass another set on Woodward shooting "Breneta". This doesn't even include other movies being filmed around the area like "Cedar Rapids", "Something in the Dark", "Stone", etc. And there are lots more coming.
My experience in "Red Dawn" has literally been a blast. It has been 3 long months of action packed explosions, crashing, gun firing and laughter, and I've enjoyed every moment of it. I met so many nice people on the crew and cast, and made many new friends.
Thanks to the film incentives, Michigan has been attracting Hollywood to an area that has the diversity in people, landscape, lifestyle and weather to accommodate any imagination. Although all of this may never fill in all the pockets of the automotive workers who lost their jobs, it is definitely filling in the morals of hope in the state.
Each year Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing publishes a tongue-n-cheek, just-for-laughs political sticker book that is distributed at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Island Leadership Conference. Polisticks has become a sought after commodity. This year was no exception. I made it as far as the Arnold ferry dock before someone asked, "Where's the book?". Which of course caused me to chuckle as I slid the little red booklet, which smelled like freshly printed paper, out of my bag. At that moment the laughs began and didn't end until the drive home three days later.
See for yourself why conference attendees can’t wait to get their hot little hands these nuggets of comedic wisdom (or not). Click on the image to see a larger version.