The week in review - August 19, 2013.


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.

Tiffany vs. Wal-Mart: Does Quality or Quantity Win on Facebook?
Retail brands that publish a small number of highly effective Facebook posts can generate nearly as much engagement volume as brands that rely on a quantity-driven approach, according to a recent report by Expion.

Pandora Says Its Mobile Video Ads Are Heating Up With Brands
Pandora is seeing a boost in mobile revenues as it adapts to digital music listeners' shift from desktops to smartphones.

Spotify in Talks With Brands To Create Twitter-Like Follow Feature
Spotify is testing a "follow" feature so that marketers can push content like branded playlists to the music-streaming service's users.

All The Facts You Need to Know About Mobile Marketing
U.S. mobile ad spending this year will surge 75% to nearly $8 billion, with Google pocketing half of that, according to eMarketer estimates.

12 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers
12 tips on how you can get more Pinterest followers and promote your business.

Lessons in social media from music festival brands.


The music festivals of 2013 can teach us a thing or two about social media. Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and smaller festivals know their young target audience and are taking social media and running with it. They’ve created an entire culture and use social media to disseminate it - from Instagram to Youtube, festivals are connecting to fans in new ways. I’ve noticed a few things that other brands can learn from festivals when it comes to social media:

Give people a reason to keep coming back. I like how Coachella’s Facebook and Twitter accounts keep the conversation going by asking fans about their favorite artists, festival fashion and more. Posts can gain over 5,000 likes, and hundreds of comments and shares. The pages engage users beyond event/product based content.

Festival social media is also employed for sharing tips and tricks. Bonnaroo’s Facebook page is full of festival veterans giving ideas and reviews to first timers. Bonnaroo is encouraging fan to fan interaction which is more valuable than just the brand speaking - 70% of people trust online reviews over paid media.

Finally, festivals use social media for more practical reasons. Lollapalooza in 2012 used social media to communicate a huge storm coming to the area and told people what to do/where to go. These “emergencies” can happen to any brand and social media can be the best way to reach everyone at once.

Build suspense. This is the smartest thing that festivals are doing these days. For the whole year before the event, Facebook pages are getting fans pumped up. MoPop Festival had a weekly countdown to the day of the event, gave clues to the lineup and posted teaser statuses before announcing their schedule. For Bonnaroo’s lineup announcement, they live streamed a celebrity filled video on YouTube where the headliners were announced one by one. Throughout the hour long broadcast, they encouraged a ton of engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with hashtags. This all-encompassing and innovative idea can be used for other brands – whether it’s for a store opening or product launch.

Do promotions. On top of everything else, these festival brands are utilizing social media to give away everything from tickets to t-shirts. They use status updates to encourage fans to like, share and comment in order to win. This builds awareness, increases fans on their pages and rewards those fans.

Have an after party. After each festival, the pages ask for feedback from festival goers. Bunbury Music Festival sends out a survey with a chance to win tickets next year attached. They also provide a forum for people to find lost items, respond to missed connections and share photos of the event on their Facebook page. This helps the event improve and continues building the community.

Be creative. As you can see from all the examples above, these brands are getting creative. They’ve got visual status updates, hashtags, live streamed videos and more. For example, Firefly Music Festival hid tickets in random states for fans to find and posted clues on Facebook. Maybe it’s the fun nature of these events, but they’re not afraid to try new things.

Social media has transformed the music festival industry – for the best. These brands are offering a rich experience that lasts for the whole year, every year.

Have you seen any other festivals or brands that are developing every facet of their social media for a well-connected experience?

The week in review - August 5, 2013.


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.

Five Common Branding Mistakes
Even the most seasoned marketers sometimes struggle to develop effective messaging.

New LinkedIn Company Page Analytics
If you’re using your LinkedIn Company Page to share engaging content with the world’s professionals, get ready for an easier way to track your page’s performance.

Facebook Newsfeed Algorithms
Facebook announced small changes to its news-feed ranking algorithms, promising more visibility into tweaks that could affect the exposure of organic posts going forward.

Higher Tweet Volume Drives TV Tune In 29% of the Time
It seems like common sense that an increase in tweets can drive an increase in live TV viewership, but there's been scant proof of such correlation - until now, a Nielsen study has proved a relationship.

Content Curation & Social Media
Social media and brand journalism are no different. Without a blend of outside information to keep things lively and timely, it gets predictable, boring and ineffective fast.

Creating “Magical Moments” in Marketing
Imagine what business would feel like if companies focused on creating these magical moments in time, to craft our experiences with them so thoughtfully that it feels like a service.

The recipe for a wonderfilled campaign: Oreo.


I was in awe the first time I saw Oreo’s Wonderfilled TV spot. Its happy melody and charming lyrics brought me back to my Oreo-filled childhood. The brand created a Wonderfilled Anthem that sets the stage for the rest of their emotionally connecting ads. The video uses an adorable song, typography and illustration to bring a simple story to the cookie.

The second ad, Bedtime, pulls at your heartstrings and asks what would happen if a little girl gave an Oreo to her Dad before bed. A perfect ode to Father’s Day.

Finally, in their most recent Wonderfilled video, Daydream – they have a celebrity voice singing about giving an Oreo to a long lost love.

Each of these ads does something that most can’t – captures the listener’s attention and connects with them on an emotional level. Wonderfilled reaches every audience – moms and dads, children, women and men. These are videos that people will rewind to watch again and will share over and over on social media. In fact, Daydream has already garnered over 400 shares in its first few hours on Facebook.

On top of creating a unique set of commercials, Oreo has been rocking it on the social media front. Their Facebook page is constantly posting new and inventive graphics and statuses that relate the cookie to its followers. Their Twitter account has been carrying on funny conversations with consumers and other brands, like Kit Kat. Oreo also gained some recognition for its famous live tweet during the Super bowl power outage.

From social media to TV, Oreo is a brand with innovative and heartwarming marketing. A brand that we should all look up to. What is your favorite Oreo advertising moment?

The “friendlier” bank: real effort or marketing ploy?


“Human Banking” is a trend in marketing for financial services.  It is not, as I first surmised, the harvesting and storage of human organs.  I guess I’ve watched a few too many dystopic sci-fi films.

What the term Human Banking refers to is the recent effort by banks to be (or appear) friendlier, more flexible, and more caring than they have in the past.  Extended hours, treats for your dog, reduced fees,  pens without chains—these are just a few of the features now  touted by banks to convince customers that they are nicer than that other bank.

These efforts beg the question: why?  Why do banks suddenly care about appearing friendly?  Bankers have had a less than chummy reputation for decades, since before Mr. Potter put the screws to the citizens of Bedford Falls. Do they suddenly feel guilty for years of icy rigidity? 

In a word, no.  The answer is that, in a struggling economy, competition for customers is tighter than ever.  Low interest rates and stricter regulations on mortgages mean that banks are hard-pressed to differentiate their services from their competitors’.  One bank’s products are pretty much the same as another’s.  The only area for differentiation available: customer service. Hence Human Banking.

TD Bank, a large East Coast concern (headquartered in Canada) with branches in fourteen states, has taken this message to heart.   In their TV spots, they count coins for children, trust you with their pens,   and stay open longer for us working folk.  The slogan:  “It’s time to bank human again.”

Huntington Bank, a Midwestern bank with most of its branches in Ohio and Michigan, has also jumped on the Human Banking bandwagon.  Its radio campaign tells the tale of “Ben the Huntington Banker: the Early Years.”  In each spot, Ben’s parents grouse about their bank’s failings—draconian overdraft policies, fees,  and limited hours—and young Ben vows to someday become a banker and address these issues.  Fast forward 15 years and Ben works at Huntington Bank, instituting policies such as 24-Hour Grace: an extra 24 hours to deposit funds into your account before being charged an overdraft fee. 

While these efforts should be applauded, there seem to be some problems in their implementation.  In a blog post entitled, “Huntington Bank’s 24-hour Disgrace,” Columbus blogger Tom Stone claims that the policy is a scam.  He writes, “They only give you more time if you have an OVERDRAFT. And you only technically have an "OVERDRAFT" if they choose to pay that item rather than RETURN it. When they choose to NOT PAY IT but instead RETURN IT, they do charge you -- the full $37.50.”

Similarly, TD Bank’s Facebook page fields quite a few comments such as ““The worst bank ever! A lot of fees and no customer service” and “Get off my fb.  I have no interest in your propaganda . . . And no, I don't want a free fkn pen.”  (In their defense, there are also some positive comments, such as, “I love this bank.”) 

If you’re handling marketing for a bank or credit union, take the hint: it’s not enough to say you’re a friendly, helpful bank.  You have to follow through.  How’s your bank doing?  Are they living up to their customer service claims . . . or is your bank a bit less than human?

The week in review - April 29, 2013.


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. 

Why Social Media Fails Businesses          
Brands have to know how to use social media correctly in order for it to yield results.

“Snackable” Content            
Sometimes little “snacks” of content are more effective than long-winded posts since attention spans are so short.
Online Videos are More Effective Than TV Ads           
The audience for online video is soaring, with 58% of the U.S. population streaming, up from 38% five years ago.

Big Brands Want Instagram Ads    
Mark Zuckerburg disagrees with brands, claiming that ads could end up stunting Instagram’s rapid growth. Instagram is currently growing at a faster rate than Facebook did at the same age.

70% of Brand Engagement on Pinterest is User Generated            
This study reveals the opportunity for brands to drive the conversation on visual platforms like Pinterest.

Instagram Adds Tagging         
On Thursday, users can tag people in photos, and browse feeds of photos you and others appear in.

Instagram tagging

The week in review - April 19, 2013.


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. 

Creating Viral Tweets
This article is full of tips on how to create content that is forwarded and shared over and over again.

Creating Viral Tweets

Twitter to Add TV
Twitter is close to reaching partnerships with TV networks that would bring more high-quality video content and advertising to the social site.

Mastercard and AmEx Feed Data to Advertisers
Credit Card companies are partnering up with digital advertisers, which makes some question the issue of privacy.

Facebook Will Debut Video Ads This Summer
It's assumed that the videos will auto play and will be presented in a video player that expands beyond the main news-feed real estate to cover the right- and left-hand rails of users' screens on the desktop version of Facebook.

A Facebook Fan is Worth $174
The study compared Facebook fans and non-fans based and their corresponding product spending, brand loyalty, propensity to recommend, media value, cost of acquisition and brand affinity to arrive at the figure, which is up 28% since 2010.

Instagramming Your Brand
Instagram is easy and engaging, so why wouldn’t you want to use it for your brand or business?

Instagramming Your Brand

Dove remembers how to market to women.


In October, our creative director Laurie Hix mourned the passing of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. For seven years, Dove had celebrated women with body fat, freckles, wrinkles, gray hairs, and other “flaws.” In the first two months of the campaign, Dove’s U.S sales increased by 600 percent, illustrating the immense power of brands that know how to market to women.

After that, the company launched a self-esteem saver and continued to redefine beauty. It made many women, including me, very, very happy.

When Dove shifted gears and started producing spots with sassy, skinny women soaping up in the shower, Laurie wrote, “It seemed like all the progress they made just evaporated.”

Well, it seems Dove got the message. If the company was seeking redemption with its new video, it has succeeded in spades. The film instantly went viral, with almost 3.5 million views as I write this. A 6.5-minute version has gotten almost half a million views. And while I’m at it, Dove’s Facebook page has more than 13.7 million likes, which blows competition like Olay’s 1.6 million likes away.

The video portrays women who’ve been partnered with a stranger for reasons unknown to them. After spending some time together, each subject goes into a sunny loft and describes herself to a forensic artist. The artist is separated from the subjects by a screen and draws their images based on the subjects’ descriptions only. Next, the partner describes this same woman to the artist. Then the subjects come and view their two sketches side-by-side. Invariably, the self-described portrait looks heavy, unattractive, and downright melancholy compared with the prettier pictures made with input from the strangers.

As the women view their sad self-images, their faces fall. One of them even cries. I must admit, when I watched it, I teared up, too.

The message at the film’s end, accompanied by quiet piano music, is, You are more beautiful than you think.

I’m excited by Dove’s return to its Real Beauty roots for a couple reasons:

  1. Money Talks
    Such a quick reversal might indicate that Dove’s sales fell when they started using conventionally beautiful models instead of women who were both beautiful and (take your pick) short, flat-chested, overweight, or older.  This shows that a cultural shift has indeed happened. In addition, a powerful branding phenomenon has happened. Dove spent years carefully and even lovingly building a brand around this idea of real beauty. They sent positive messages in both their advertising and their products like the lotion they named Pro-Age instead of Anti-Wrinkle.

    That’s why women felt so connected to the Dove brand—and why they may have stopped buying when the Real Beauty ended.

  2. The Expansion of Advertising
    These videos (you can choose between a 1.5 minute version, a 3-minute one, and a 6.5-minute one) are not commercials. They are films, with a narrative arc, beautiful art direction, and a real emotional impact. (Have any of your Facebook friends shared the video with the comment, “This made me cry?” Several of mine have.)

    Dove isn’t pushing product here. They don’t even mention a product, or the Dove name, other than a brief flash of the logo at the end. Yet the impact on the brand is massive.

This shows me just how powerful it can be to think both outside the box and in long-range terms when you’re molding a brand. If we’re brave, genuine, and give our target audience—women—what they really want, we can achieve big, big things.

When Dove does a more conventional soap sell, as Laurie pointed out, it looks just like its competitors. It’s when the product takes a step back—and lets the beauty of real women shine—that the brand really stands out.

I hope the instant success of this video encourages Dove to stick to its guns—to connect to women in a unique, respectful, and beautifully real way. In short, to make an emotional connection.

Marketing to women that connects, example 9: Dove.


Some marketing goes beyond building brand awareness, but builds something more: a bridge to change the culture in which we live. The Real Beauty Dove Campaign did exactly that. They took a brand that was just a generic soap that had been around for ages, and reinvented it for a new generation. But before they introduced the line of shampoos, they got into the heads of women. After conducting a global research study, they challenged the idea of beauty. They championed a new idea of beauty. And in doing so, changed the way we thought about beauty, the Dove brand and ourselves.

I remember when the video, Evolution, went viral. It was so powerful; I immediately shared it with my friends and my daughters. I remember how the print in its raw, in your face state, stood out amidst the beauty ads in magazines. And I marveled, as a marketing to women marketer, the social and cultural effect the campaign had. It made me proud of being in the business to see a company do something so noble as they did through their campaign, their social mission films and their commitment to redefine beauty and boost the self-esteem of young girls.

But lately, as Dove abandoned the “Real Beauty” campaign, for something less controversial and more “fresh,” with the “Go Fresh” campaign, it honestly bummed me out. They were just like any other brand in the category. And while they stayed true to their social mission with programs like “The Dove Mission for Self-Esteem,” it seemed like all the progress they made just evaporated. Gone is the emotional connection, the cultural phenomenon, the brand that went beyond, and all we are left is just the product shot on limbo with cucumbers. It’s disappointing that a brand that connected so deeply at one point with its audience is now so unconnected and simply just selling soap. It may be clean. It may be safe. But I prefer the Dove that got its hands dirty making a difference.

Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.

Social media and the Olympics: what we can learn from our biggest winners' losses.


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.

Hope Solo and Brandi Chastain
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.

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