Archive | October 2012

Halloween is more than candies and costumes

Have you ever thought about Halloween as one of the most marketable holidays… Every year people buy new costumes, tons of candy, decorations and food and drink for Halloween parties (both kids and adults), and let’s not forget dressing up our furry friends – a whopping $370 Million industry all by itself!

All of this excitement and months of marketing (starting in July, haha) for one spooky night of fun. But now, let’s take a closer look.

According to the New York Times, “Candy Brandy Step Up Marketing for Halloween,” there’s an increase in Halloween party participation this year up to 36% compared to 25% in 2005, National Retail Federation. Another sign of a recovering economy or just the success and power of marketing?

Chocolate marketers are taking a bite into retail by promoting certain candy brands and giving new options to consumers. With the rise of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, marketing options are spread out to reach consumers at every touch point and last beyond October 31st.

For instance, some brand are branching out beyond the traditional orange and black of the season for an overall fall festival approach. Hershey’s is highlighting fall colors and graphics. While other brands like Oreo (orange creams) and Reeses’ stick with tradition for their loyal customers.

And don’t we all love the candy TV commercials. Reese’s classics and some new ones like Snickers – carrying its overall brand strategy of “you’re not you when you’re hungry” theme, the latest commercial from BBDO New York puts a new twist on the “horseless headsman.” (Check it out)

One of my favorites things from Halloween is the leftover candy – i.e. sale candy, and the recipes that pop up every year from brands and consumers.

So with all these spooky displays and special products (thank you General Mills for your Franken Berries and Boo Berries cereals), I say stock up on your favorite goodies and get ready for this years trick-or-treats surprises!


When will your next crisis hit?

Some recent client activity prompted me to brush up my crisis communications skills… which made me wonder, are YOU ready for the coming crisis?

Now, my client had a minor crisis (no nuclear meltdowns fortunately) but any situation can get out of control without communicating the right message over the best media channels to reach your audience quickly and get them to respond or take action.

A Crisis can come in many forms, i.e. a defective product, employee accident, facility/machine malfunction, spokesperson comments, lawsuit, etc. The way your company responds to and deals with any crisis however has a lasing impact on your brand.

For instance, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A made some personal comments to a reporter and within a few hours a major brand image crisis developed to the extent of customers calling for boycotts and sit-ins all orchestrated through social media. How would you have handled this situation?

Well if you’re not sure, you need a plan.

In fact, you should always have a plan. While you can never be prepared for every situation, you can have a crisis communications strategy ready to implement at a moments notice.

Here are 5 Tips for Responding to any Crisis:

1. Assess the situation.
What happened? Is it ongoing? First, you need to assess the crisis and determine how serious is the situation. On a level from one to ten (ten being a plant meltdown), where does your crisis fall? Gather the facts and define the situation.

2. Who needs to know?
It is an internal or external crisis? Should you tell the media? Who does the crisis affect? Determining which audiences need to be informed is key in providing information and responding quickly.

3. Develop your Message and Identify your Spokesperson(s)
Once you have all the facts you can determine what you need to say about the crisis. Controlling the details of the situation will help control the crisis level and impact on your audiences. Keep your message clear, concise and consistent. For instance, you may need to tell your employees more details than you would want to tell your customers or the media. Determine what are the most important facts your audience needs to know and tell them.

If you don’t know that facts yet its okay to say it. It is better to be honest about the situation then try to control a message when you don’t have all the facts – you will confuse your audience and discredit your real message when you have the details.

You will also need to identify a spokesperson(s). This person should be fully aware of the crisis and most importantly prepared to answer questions from your audiences. If this person needs to address the media, a prepared statement or talking points should be provided to give a consistent message to all of your audiences.

4. Distribute your Message Quickly.
How quickly does your audience need to know of the crisis? Should you send an email or letter? Do you put the message on your social media channels? Do you call a media press conference?

It is very important to respond immediately to a crisis. Depending on the level of your crisis and your audience, you can easily determine what channels are the most effective in reaching them with your message.

5. Reassess and Respond.
Finally you’ve sent your message to your audiences, now what? If the crisis is ongoing you will need to make updates to your audiences of the situation until it is resolved. If it has been resolved, be prepared to answer additional questions from your employees, customers and the media.

Note: Your spokesperson should be the sole person to respond to any follow up on the crisis – that’s why you chose and prepared them for this situation.

Of course, you should never wait for a crisis to communicate your company’s news to your key audiences, but always be prepared with a strategy for when a crisis does strike.

What did you learn in your last crisis situation?

Prove the Value of SEO in Minutes

I came across this great article by Josh McCoy at about proving the value of SEO in just 10 minutes… now if that’s not effective in telling the power of online influence, then you’re stuck under a rock.

While most of the digitally connected world already knows the influence social media and our peers have on our purchase behavior, it made me think about how I could be more effective in telling my clients about harnessing the power of the Internet (and their online advertising).

The article focuses on using Google Analytics (which I just LOVE!) and how in the past few years the program has become more detailed in its multi-channel data attribution and ability to capture where and how your visitors find your website and use your website.

Online organic search (once thought to have very little influence) now carries some weight with the general public endlessly searching the vast spaces of the web. Using the charts you can easily see whether a majority of your traffic comes from search, referral, direct or a campaign… and which visitors then convert and explore your site.

The Multi-Channel Funnel is another great tool that analyzes keyword referral tracking, helping you to make new tags and SEO keyword planning improvements to your website.

What tools of Google Analytics do you find most helpful?

Political Ads…

Love ’em? Hate ’em? Just tired of ’em?

I’m for the later…

Most Influential Women in Advertising

In an Ad Age special report, the magazine reviews the most influential women in advertising from current marketing powerhouses like Oprah to the women who started it all, the special section truly honors the “Mad Women” of our industry.

A few interesting women of note:

Christine Frederick
Founder, Advertising Women of New York

“She decided that bath tubs and breakfast foods and other modern things were good; not alone because she was asked vigorously to decide, but equally [as] much because they fitted in with the trend and logic of her thinking about family hygiene and diet,” wrote Christine Frederick in her 1929 book “Selling Mrs. Consumer.”

A home economist and consulting editor for Ladies’ Home Journal at the turn of the 20th century, Ms. Frederick founded Advertising Women of New York in 1912 after being denied access to an event held by the all-male Advertising League.

However she is best know for the book quoted above, which helped to redefine women’s role in the economy. In it she argued that women play a key role in the consumer economy and that advertising should be used to inform them of things that would improve their lives.

Cathy Hughes
Chairperson and Founder, Radio One

Cathy Hughes became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded company in 1998 when Radio One went public. It was a long road that began in 1973 when she became sales manager at Howard University’s radio station and bought her first radio station in 1980, WOL AM in Washington.

She pioneered the “quiet storm” nighttime format at Howard and “24-hour talk from a black perspective” at WOL. She began assembling the Radio One network in the ’90s, which now has 53 stations in 15 markets. An outspoken advocate for African-American issues, Ms. Hughes has also been called the most powerful woman in radio. Now her influence is expanding: In 2004, Radio One teamed with Comcast to create cable channel TV One, with goal of creating and delivering programming from the African-American point of view.


Helen Lansdowne Resor
Copywriter, J. Walter Thompson

She’s been called the first female copywriter, but she could also be called advertising’s first feminist. On the ad side, Helen Lansdowne Resor was one of the first writers to inject sexuality into advertisements, via what was probably her most famous work, for Woodbury’s Facial Soap. The ad, ranked as No. 31 in Ad Age’s “Top campaigns of the century,” showed a man embracing a woman accompanied by the headline “A Skin You Love to Touch.”

Alongside her husband, Stanley Resor, Ms. Resor built J. Walter Thompson into one of the biggest and most-successful ad agencies ever. She has been credited with pioneering celebrity endorsements and hiring women in positions where they could make a difference until her death in 1964. But while she kept feminism alive and well in the halls of the agency, she didn’t forget about the outside world, taking part in suffragette marches and enlisting the agency’s women for the cause.

Best Global Brand – CocaCola

That’s right… (and no surprise to me)  CocaCola is the #1 GLOBAL Brand according to The New York Times article “Best Global Brands Report.”  Coke has now held this title for the past three consecutive years.

The article reviews the 13th annual Best Global Brands report from Interbrand, a brand consulting company owned by the Omnicom Group. The report ranks what it deems the 100 most valuable brands on criteria that include financial performance, the role the brand plays in influencing the choices made by consumers and the brand’s ability to help its parent’s earnings. The 2012 study is released as top industry executives currently dwell in the newest marketing ideas from Advertising Week 2012.

So which other brands topped the list… #2 Apple, #3 IBM, #4 Google. Other notable mentions include McDonalds #7,  Disney #13 and Amazon #20. Interestingly Apple moved to the #2 spot from #8 last year (quite a jump?!) and Disney fell from a consistent #9 to #13 – change in marketing message?

Personally, I’m a Pepsi fan based on product taste but I’ve always loved the competition in advertising between Pepsi and Coke… the battle will go on.
Do you agree with the study results? Who do you feel deserves to be the #1 global brand?