Archive | June 2013

Millennials Re-define Brand Value

835200_-holding_hands-“Millennials don’t just want to buy your brand, they want to be a part of it.”

Wow, that’s the best summary I’ve ever heard of what Millennials stand for with their buying power.

In this article by Jeff Fromm, he talks about the importance of participation.  As a Millennial myself, I know the role social media has played on my generation’s forms of entertainment and communication. It has morphed beyond just my generation to impact people of all ages around the world. Online engagement is now expected in nearly every segment of our lives, work and personal.

The Participation Economy
(emotional benefits + function benefits + participative benefits)/price = brand value.

There are three key areas of engagement for Millennials to connect with brands. They want to cocreate the products and services that you sell. Millennials want to cocreate the customer journey (customer experience). They want to cocreate the marketing, which goes beyond just social media.

Numerous brands are incorporating these strategies as seen by the increase in user-generated flavors, custom products/services and lots of surveys for key feedback in developing new products..

As brand develop new ways to engage Millennials, they should also keep in mind ways to make them share their experience. Common roads to shareworthiness include purpose and disruption. Does your marketing make them feel better about themselves at the end of the day? Is your idea causing them to stop, pay attention and engage with your brand?

Fromm states: “Millennials will impact companies’ bottom lines unlike any generation before. Already, Millennials are estimated to have $1.3 trillion in spending power, which is 21 percent of the current consumer discretionary spending. This number will only increase as the cohort matures and fully enters the workforce.”

Brands that begin to engage Millennials now will create long-term relationships and hopefully see the results in their sales.

Millennials want to be part of your brand and know WHY you do what you do… How will you engage them?


Twist on New Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Voting Contest

The newest flavor to be created from the freezers within Ben & Jerry’s shops will be created from user-generated content… kind of.

The innovative “Scoop Truck” tour, which launched a bus on each coast will stop at 11 U.S. cities and use a mix of digital votes from fans and offline initiatives to vote flavors into stores and onto the grocery shelf. While other brands like Lay’s have used digital voting, this tour uses elements in each city as unique flavor votes.

For instance, while the truck visits the nation’s capital, every Red line subway train that arrives on time at the Metro Center station will count as a vote for the Oregon Cherries flavor. Orange line trains that come in at the station on time are votes for the Fairtrade Bananas flavor.

Then in New York City the truck will count hybrid-powered cabs that are driving via Gotham’s Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Uptown-bound hybrid cabs are votes for Peppermint and Fairtrade Vanilla gets a tall for similar cabs headed downtown. These tactics tap into the iconic brand’s eco-friendly ethos.

In another wacky twist, the number of truck employees with mustaches spotted walking into Cartopia in Portland, OR will count as votes for Marshmallows. Bearded faces are counted as a vote for Graham Crackers. One consumers are done tasting from the truck, they can throw their spoon into a variety of recycling boxes label with new ingredients. Every spoon in each receptacle is another vote for that flavor.

Social media fans can also vote for their favorite flavors while keeping track of the flavor counts and truck tour on the City Churned microsite.

The multi-market, simultaneous scoop tour on the East and West Coasts is coordinated by the digital shop, 360i and will continue through summer.

So the only question is, which flavor gets your vote?

Resource: AdWeek

Are Branded Pages More Effective Than Paid Ads?

587214_handsAn interesting article on eMarketer suggested that brands rely more on branded pages than on paid ads. In fact its estimating that social network ad spending will increase to $4.2 billion by the end of 2013.

Brands however are looking for more than targeted display ads on social media platforms. Today, successful brands know they need to engage their customers online with special content that enhances their brand experience.

In the article:Forrester Consulting, on behalf of digital marketing firm Kenshoo Social, surveyed US advertisers who spend at least $100,000 on social media ads annually. The research firm found that 73% of respondents used branded pages on social networks to deliver messages, making it the most popular social media tactic among social advertisers. By comparison, 56% had purchased ads on a social media platform, while 52% had created branded accounts on microblogs such as Twitter.

In addition, six in 10 social advertisers who either purchased ads or paid to promote content on social media properties rotated through multiple pieces of creative. while a much smaller segment was interested in niche audiences… a sign that advertisers may be writing off some of the potential benefits of ad targeting on social media.

Regardless, digital content is key for a successful marketing strategy. With social media networks gathering a wealth of information on its users, advertisers would be foolish not to use the data to develop targeted messages.

Publishing’s Native Ad Trend

According to a recent article on Ad Week, Heart Magazines is the latest publisher to join the native gold rush, with new products that will let advertisers run their messages into editorial real estate and, if desired, incorporate edit-produced content. They are adding five new units designed to let advertisers take advantage of the growth of mobile devices, social media and video.

What is native advertising? Well as defined by Wiki, it’s web advertising methods in which the advertiser provides meaningful content during the users experience. Think of it as an online advertorial but with video, photos, music and interactive media elements.

From the Ad Week article:
Addressing a common knock that native advertising is unscalable, the units can run across Hearst brands, among them Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Esquire, and the content can run outside Hearst, if the client wishes.

Robin Steinberg, evp of MediaVest, said the products are an example of how Hearst isn’t acting like a traditional media company. “I give them a lot of credit for diversifying their offerings,” she said. “Everyone has to iterate, re-imagine the type of products they create and how they use technology to distribute.”

There doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rules yet about when editorial will supply the copy or how such copy will be labeled when it appears in ads. This trend is definitely greying the once defined line between editorial and ad/sales.

Other big magazine publishers have been active in adopting native in search of more engaging, lucrative online ad formats. But coming up with new alternatives to the tired banner is challenging. Do you think this strategy will succeed or is it just another marketing trend?

A Traveling Toilet Test Lab?

RED WASHROOMYes, that’s right, a traveling toilet test lab, brought to you by Kohler… an innovative concept to educate and get plumbers, contractors, remodelers and interior designers to test its toilet flushing technologies and innovative solutions. So how does it work?

Well, according to the article on Event Marketer, the “Trust the Flush” mobile is a customer motor coach that houses a replica of the Kohler toilet test lab at company headquarters in Wisconsin. The bus is traveling the US with approximately 270 events planned in 25 markets including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle.

The 45-foot by 12-foot bus showcases seven functioning Kohler toilets, including three NUMIs, Kohler’s most advanced toilet. The toilets are interchangeable, allowing Kohler to vary the number of toilets on display. Attendees get to watch how the toilets perform versus the competition in four tests for waste removal and cleanliness.

The bus runs off its own power supply, so events can take place virtually anywhere. Most of the stops are planned at parking lots outside of Kohler distribution counter locations where plumbers buy the product and service parts. The remainder of the tour includes showroom locations, where architects and designers can go through the lab, and trade shows. Attendees receive breakfast during the morning stops and lunch during the afternoon events as well as branded t-shirts and hats.

While this is certainly a unique way to demonstrate Kohlers product directly to its customers, do you think it will be effective in sharing the brand’s message?

Get more from your online content

1347746_12624644Content planning and distribution go hand-in-hand when it comes to optimizing the value of the content you create for your digital audience. Content marketing is less about selling your product and more about providing meaningful, thoughtful and relevant information to your audience.

Instead of selling your product, you should offer meaningful suggestions and advice that consumers can use regardless of whether they buy your product. Once you have created your article or content outline, break it down into smaller messages and forms more appropriate for social media channels. A large part of your message success will come from sharing it through the most effective channels to gain wide-spread distribution and visibility.

In the article 11 Ways to Turn One Piece of Long-form Content Marketing into Dozens More, on Chief Marketer, the author gives some great ideas for extending the shelf life of your key marketing pieces.

The basic strategy is to use one piece of marketing content and map out a plan for distribution across the most effective channels to reach your audience. Here are the suggestions for making the most of a company branded e-book:

1. Post the e-book on the company’s website (with search-optimized keywords)

2. Convert the e-book content to a webinar that consumers can register to attend

3. Record the webinar and offer it as complimentary content on the website

4. Post links to the e-book and webinar on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other relevant social channels

5. Create a presentation-style version of the webinar for easy posting on sites, like SlideShare

6. Turn each of the 10 tips into its own blog post and publish on that content on the website, LinkedIn, and Google+ using relevant search keywords

7. Include infographics, images (i.e. for recipes) and video content so the content is shareable on rich media channels, like Pinterest and YouTube

8. Publish links to each blog post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social channels

9. Host a Twitter chat for each blog post topic using relevant hashtags to engage consumers in a live discussion

10. Include trackable links and hashtags in all content so reach and exposure can be measured

11. Identify social influencers who already reach that audience and partner with them to further amplify the distribution of content

Using these tactics will extend the reach of your content as well as build stronger trust and loyalty among consumers by positioning your company as a resource and authority in the market.

What are some of the ways you have shared content to maximize its distribution?

Improve your social media metrics

Word of MouthThe Social Marketing Forum published this great white paper from Vocus on 10 key blogging, content and social media metrics and how to improve them. Read it here.

I recommend you read the full article and white paper if you have the chance, but I’ll share a few of the tips here.

Social Media Referrals
Visitors who link to your site through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter indicate your reach and influence…. they also indicate if your content marketing strategy is working. Referrals are important but you should also consider what visitors do when they visit your site/blog/landing page.

  • Adapt the content you want your audiences to find according to the networks you use
  • Focus more on share-worthy content
  • Engage influencers and connect with peers
  • Be relevant and consistent


Search Engine Ranking
Where you rank in search engines is increasingly defined by social media engagement and the relevance of your site content.

  • Test content formats
  • Focus on good incoming links
  • Mind your keywords


Email List Size
Email is a proven and effective form for communicating with your customer and converting social contacts. Its success is  dependent upon a large and actively engaged subscriber list.

  • Create great content
  • Target and segment
  • Provide choice
  • Offer more in your newsletter


Other metrics to consider:

  • Mentions – How often your site is mentioned in news articles or blog posts lets search engines know that you are credible, as well as builds exposure to potential customers.
  • Email opens – Email open rates are a great predictor of how many customers are receiving your message.


What metrics have you found to be most effective for keeping your brand message fresh and relevant?