Archive | February 2012

Do Facebook Fans Engage With Your Brand?

Consumers have several reasons for becoming a fan of a brand on Facebook.  Either they like the product/service the company provides, they want the benefit (such as exclusive freebies) that you receive once a fan or their friends are fans of the same page.  However, once you become a Facebook fan and enter a contest or receive your freebie, do you ever click back?

In his article, Even Sexy Brands Struggle With Low Engagement on Facebook, Matthew Creamer shares recent research conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute pertaining to 200 of the biggest brands on Facebook.   These companies including Nike, Harley Davidson and Ford have less than 1% of fans engage with the product…its close to only .45%.

After Matthew asked Senior Research Associate Karen Nelson-Field about the statistics, she replied, “Only one brand of the entire 200 in the analysis got an engagement level of 2%. A few over 1%. Most under 1%. So, yes, we could say that Brand A (at 1%) gets twice as much engagement as Brand B (at 0.5%), but that’s like saying, ‘You have 50 cents, I have $1, so I am twice as rich as you. ”

“Ms. Nelson-Field found that the highest engagement was in alcohol, cars, cosmetics and electronics. The lowest was in confectionery, fast-moving consumer goods (such as laundry products), retailers, and software, social platforms and apps,” added Matthew.

Does the fan base and social media really increase the likelihood of consumers purchasing/using the brand?

Social media is an effective tool in most cases; however, the way in which the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is presented to the consumers is the factor that determines its success rate.

A person that has a Facebook account knows that most of their time is spent doing a quick browse through the News Feed and usually not typing in a specific person’s name or company page.  Realizing this perspective of avid Facebook users could be useful to the 200 well-known brands on Facebook who aren’t receiving high engagement rates.

Seeing statuses promoting a company’s brand, having weekly activities or newsletters to entice the fans to visit the page, and having a member of the company follow-up on fans’ comments, questions and concerns are possible solutions to the low engage percentages.

What Facebook layout, promotion, activity, statuses, and interactions would make you have a better connection with a favorite or up and coming brand?


Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: No More Tracking

With today’s technology it seems that anything you buy online, click on, browse through, or even think about can somehow, and will be, traced back to you.  With up and coming software and services such as Google Analytics all the information needed are computers’ IP address along with the help of cookie files that are saved on a person’s computer.

However, the  passing of Obama’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights could change the possible interfering  of  “Big Brother.” In the article, Obama Administration Moves Forward With Privacy Bill of Rights, Jason Del Rey, explained the concept  and principles the bill would include.

“It will protect consumers’ personal data, provide businesses with better guidance . . . and ensure that the Internet remains a strong platform,” John Bryson, Secretary of Commerce said.

Nowadays, our personal information is stored on websites like Facebook where pictures are even displayed along with a person’s age, relatives, high school or college they are attending, and their place of employment.  As Facebook continuously advances its sharing capabilities, more privacy settings are being added including ways to make your profile only viewable to those who are you Facebook “friends” instead of the public, blocking pictures or photo albums from select friends/relatives, and even having the ability to change your name to decrease the chances of someone finding your page.

The privacy issue continues with sites such as Amazon, Ebay and other retail websites where after purchases are made on your credit card, all the information entered including your name, address and card numbers are sometimes saved in order to make the next purchase quick and easy.

The option of having more privacy or privacy settings will benefit those consumers who are hesitant about entering personal and important information online with concern about identity theft or someone else using their credit card information to make purchases of their own.

Hopefully the principles outlined in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights will encourage consumers to interact more online and as an effect, companies could also benefit with more hits on their sites and gain of consumer trust.

John Bryson outlined seven basic principles of the bill:

  • Individual consumer control over what types of data is collected
  • Transparency regarding how data is used
  • Respect by companies for the context in which data is provided
  • Secure handling of data
  • The ability for consumers to see and ensure the accuracy of data
  • Reasonable limits on the amount of data that companies try to collect and retain
  • Accountability from companies that collect consumer data

Knowing that companies, new software and technology may be unable to track the time spent on a site, information given and the location of the computer seems like a good reason to begin trusting the Internet again.

Do you believe the new privacy will increase your time and amount of information entered on the Internet?

Kraft and General Mills Will Not Back Down

In today’s society, many individuals, small business owners, and even large companies including Kraft and General Mills are affected by the declining economy.  However, Kraft and General Mills are not letting these conditions affect the investments in their brands.

No matter what the economic situation may be, companies need to continue moving forward and not only concentrate on their quarterly profit margins, but also consider their consumers’ buying habits.  When the country is in a recession, shopping may decrease regarding the “wants” in one’s life, but the “needs” still have to be satisfied.  In doing so, companies may  have to fluctuate their pricing to accommodate consumers’ purchasing traits.

Many may think the only way companies can keep consumers buying is by lowering prices, offering discounts, or possibly by accepting a loss that quarter.

On the other hand, Kraft and General Mills did just the opposite.  They increased their prices, spent more money on advertisements (to attract those who are on a budget) and increased their consumer spending.

The goal: keep the brand growing despite the recession and commodity costs.

A possible reason Kraft and General Mills experienced positive results is because of their consumers.  Accomplishing the goal can be done by continuing to make the brand loyal customers satisfied and to keep in mind the characteristics of  impulse buyers.

What did Kraft and General Mills do to overcome the pressure the economy forced upon them?  Were their strategies successful?

In the article, Kraft, General Mills Hold the Line on Marketing in Tough Environment, E.J. Schultz discussed the various way in which these two packaged-food marketers will uphold their prestigious brands, without lowering their marketing budget.

In fact, their strategies are what kept Kraft and General Mills ahead of their competitors.

Managing “input costs, prices, promotional activity and volume is proving to be as challenging as we expected,” said General Mills CEO Ken Powell.  “We generally see our business performing as expected and we intend to maintain the consumer-marketing initiatives we planned for the remainder of this year,” he added.

However, Kraft experienced a net revenue growth of 6.6% to $14.7 billion and met its fourth-quarter earnings targets.  This being accomplished after “…the company raised prices on brands in categories such as coffee, natural cheese, bacon and nuts,” in 2011.

Road blocks?

Wall Street analyst firm Bernstein Research explained, “We see increased bifurcation in consumer behavior — while some are trading back out to restaurants, which will likely put pressure on packaged food, others are continuing to trade down to private label and boosting its market share at the expense of branded players.”

The future?

Executives said, “Kraft plans to split in two companies by the end of the year, a North American grocery business worth about $18 billion and global snacks business valued at $35 billion.”

Although General Mills realized how input costs, promotions and advertising can cause a challenge to its company and Kraft, despite net growth, took “moderate share losses,” each company continued to keep the brand growing and stood out among competitors.

Is Technology Interfering With the Simplicity of Childrens’ Lifes?

  As a kid, I remember my excitement in the morning was never about what kind of cereal I was going to eat, instead it was more important that I was the first to get the prize at the bottom of the box!  Some of the fun prizes included PEZ dispensers, tattoos (washable ones of course), or a mail in offer for an even bigger prize.

What if those prizes stop being hidden beneath all that cereal and are replaced by a simple QR code on the outside of the box…will there still be the same excitement when eating breakfast?  Mark Addicks, the chief marketing officer for General Mills, is willing to give it a try!

In the article General Mills Spoons Up Digital Fun on Cereal Boxes, Jefferson Graham of USA Today  interviewed Mark Addicks of General Mills and discussed how the company will incorporate the always changing technology into their market.

“Because of the digital technology that resides in people’s hands … we can now deliver content that engages and enhances the experience. Before, we had to rely on a 30-second TV ad,” explained Addick.

Kids will simply have to scan the boxes’ QR codes with a smartphone to digitally see their “prize.”  The surprise will either direct them to entertainment or videos on the smartphone screen.

With this generation of kids knowing nothing but technology nowadays, everything is digital and any task can usually be completed from a smartphone or a tablet.  This characteristic of Generation Z is what popular toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel are going to use to advance its industry and captialize on the digital app trend.

Some of the new games that are coming out for children to play don’t even involve a board or fake money, but instead will require a smartphone or tablet. In her article, The Game of Life,With Apps, Ann Zimmerman explains some of the new games such as:

  • A new Hasbro version of Monopoly priced at $25, twice the price of the normal game, uses an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to debit or credit virtual accounts with a bank card. Players challenge each other to virtual mini games when they get one of the board game’s Chance or Community Chest cards.
  • Another new toy in the Mattel Apptivity line, which ranges in price from $10 to $20, allows children to use Hot Wheels cars to control a racetrack game on the iPad.

Do you believe these steps are necessary for General Mills and the toy companies to take in order to keep up with the continuous advances in technology?

Or do you agree with  the mother that blogged, “I take issue with throwing technology at kids. iPads aren’t toys.”

Super Bowl XLVI Commercials-Hit or Miss?

What does a superstitious polar bear, a baby in a sling shot, talking candy, and Matthew Broderick all have in common?

Each of those were seen advertising products shown in the 2012 Super Bowl commercials by over 100 million television viewers this past Sunday.

Were some of the commercials more exciting than the big game?  We took a poll in our office of our favorite and least favorite 2012 Super Bowl commercials.  They are as follows:

Judy’s Picks


  1. H & David Beckham
  2. Sketchers: “Go Run”
  3. Bud Light: “Rescue Dog”

Least Favorites:

  1. Chrysler: “Halftime in America”

Laura’s Picks


  1. Doritos: “Sling Shot Baby”
  2. GE: “Building Something Big in Louisville”
  3. Volkswagen: “Dog Strikes Back”

Least Favorites:

  2. Geico

Stephanie’s Picks


  1. Sketchers: “Go Run”
  2. PepsiMax: “Check-Out”
  3. Coca-Cola

Least Favorites:

  1. “Free to Pee”
  2. Chevrolet: “Stunt Anthem”

In general, our favorite commercials earned their place by being creative, clever, new and different.  While the others did not grab our attention or didn’t seem to actually promote the product, we may have not been their (commercials) target audience.  Even with some companies deciding to place its “Super Bowl” commercials on the internet several days before the actual game, each one was stilled looked forward too and created big online buzz.

For example, with Coca-Cola releasing its football polar bear theme days before, viewers were still entertained when siting and waiting to watch the losing team’s polar bear’s (at that point in the game) reaction and actions.  Without any words, the audience was  able to connect to both the product and to each of the Coca-Cola’s bears’ personalities.

Which commercials hit the mark?  Do you feel there were any that had a poor/unclear message?  Will you remember what product a commercial was advertising if asked a week from now?

To watch more Super Bowl XLVI commercials check out Ad Ages’ article, Instant Replay: See All the Super Bowl Spots Again and Again.

Don’t forget to read the News Herald article, Some ads miss the mark, others fail to make one and read more about Laura Lytle’s opinions of this years’ Super Bowl commercials.

GM Chooses UK Agency over US for Media Buying


Earlier this week, General Motors’ (GM) CMO Joel Ewanick announced its $3 billion account will be taken over at the end of June by one of UK’s media planning & buying specialist, Carat!  Hasn’t GM every heard of the saying, “you help me out, I’ll help you out?”

So quick the company forgot about its 2009 bailout by the United States.  When General Motors needed the assistance, the government was able to financially secure the company.  Without the government intervening, the auto industry and its suppliers across the country would have closed down.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of people would have been without jobs.

Does General Motors understand that what it was trying to avoid a couple of years ago, it is now choosing to do?  By choosing to invest its $3 billion in Carat, instead of its current agency, Starcom, (located in Chicago), GM is implementing a decision that will affect more than itself.  Even though this decision will affect more than its employees, General Motors is content that the marketing campaigns are more important than those who will turn be viewing them[campaigns].

In an Ad Week article, GM Traps Carat for Global Media Planning and Buying, Katie Feola explains that Carat’s new $3 billion account will include global planning, buying duties and medias including social and digital.

Joel Ewanick explained the reason for the change as, “We wanted a media agency partner with the sophistication to leverage global marketing opportunities.  Carat has an innovative approach to drive significant marketing value, and their service model has been tailored to align well with our global and regional brand.”

With the decision recently being released, probably following with several more statements, there are sure to be more questions asked.  Some of ours include:

  • Besides being on the other side of the glob, does Carat’s global marketing opportunities and value outweigh a US company, including those on Madison Ave.,  Leo Burnett, and what about Starcom?
  • How will this affect Starcom’s employees and revenue once a billion dollar account is taken away?

How are other consumer’s feeling about the shift of $3 billion US money being put into the hands of a UK company?  Are you willing to still trust GM, who encourages consumers to invest in American made cars, when the company itself isn’t investing its money here?