The Oscars is a great time for brands to take advantage of real-time marketing — it’s a night full of celebrities, entertainment, and second screen social engagement with millions of Americans who are tuning in. Here are some tips for your brand to prepare for this year’s big moments.
1. Incorporate your real-time channels. Post your messages simultaneously on Twitter and other networks. Your audience may be watching live and browsing on multiple channels. You want to be sure your content will be wherever they are looking.
2. Be human. Remember your content should be adding to the experience of the show. So, participate in show like the audience does. People are more likely to respond to your messages if you behave like them.
3. There will be many quotes, surprises, and funny moments onstage and in the press room. Remember Jennifer Lawrence’s epic fall last year? That went viral right away on the Internet. Keep your eyes both on the television and online to monitor the trends while thinking about how your brand can mingle with the show.
4. Follow The Academy (@TheAcademy) to see backstage moments in the Green Room during the Oscars. Thanks to Twitter Mirror (@TwitterMirror), a mirror-shape machine offstage at awards shows, celebs can easily take selfies and tweet them spontaneously during the show. It'd be fun to see what people are doing off-camera.
5. Research the nominees for links to your brand. Maybe your products have appeared somewhere in a film or is mentioned by certain characters. Use this opportunity to show your support for an actor/actress or a candidate that is special to your brand. (For example, the nomination for "HER" will be great for Apple!)
Real-time marketing is an everyday habit. While it takes long-term commitment to engage your social audience, you will find it most rewarding during big events, when you see your daily devotion pay back with the followers and new faces responding to your messages like never before.
See you on the Oscars stream!
While last Sunday's GRAMMYs showcased some amazing helmets and hats that you will surely see on the street this year, brands took this opportunity in the social space and reacted promptly by claiming rights to the most wanted prize – Pharrell Williams' oversized hat. During big events like this, marketers jump on the opportunity to make funny content and gain brand exposure.
Here are some brilliant brand tweets that might inspire you for the next big event, such as the Oscars on March 2.
Arby's certainly was the secret sponsor behind the hat.
Or maybe it was Smokey Bear's.
They looked pretty good together.
Who knew laundry detergent could be a trendsetter?
Vogue revealed that it's vintage style.
It's officially on ELLE Magazine.
Professor Snape wasn't happy about the stolen Sorting Hat.
And then there is Pharrell-hat-inspired art, from Toy Story...
To the New Yorker illustration.
Finally, Quaker Man found his counterpart on the red carpet — now we know why he's smiling.
To make a splash during the Oscars for your own brand, look out for celebrities wearing funky clothing, making funny faces in the audience, and their meme-worthy moments onstage and backstage. We know you love celeb-initiated memes like "Lawrencing" as much as we do!
Well, 2014 is here in full swing. What better time to set some new marketing goals? Here, seven top CMOs share their key resolutions for the year ahead.
1. Use Marketing to Help Your Customers
Beth Comstock, GE’s long-time CMO, resolves to help GE customers “run their businesses better” by “delivering outcomes via big data and analytics” and encourage “more collaboration and partnership built on community.” Adds Comstock, “We recently expanded our partnership with Quirky.com, which is a good example of the kinds of partnerships in this area.”
2. Focus on the Fundamentals
In her first year as CMO at Jenny Craig, Leesa Eichberger, perhaps not surprisingly, is committed to reinvigorating the brand from the ground up. Noting that Jenny Craig “hasn't been resonating with today's audience to the extent we'd like it to,” Eichberger resolves “to keep a laser focus on the fundamentals: clear and consistent positioning, tight targeting and trackable results.”
3. Find Big Uses for Big Data
Raj Rao, VP of Global eTransformation at 3M, shares a commitment with Comstock to use big data, seeing it as a way “to transform how we play in alternate e-commerce channels like Rakuten, Alibaba and Amazon.com.” As he further explains, “3M needs to drive new revenue streams by revisiting its business models to capture revenue streams that are not serviceable in our current distribution and retail channels.”
4. Swing for the Fences
Kyle Schlegel, CMO at Hillerich & Bradsby, offers a 24-month vision as he completes “the re-launch of the iconic Louisville Slugger brand through the launch of a game-changing 2015 product lineup.” Schlegel hit upon this long-term perspective naturally, given the brand’s 130-year “legendary” history, while also noting his need to break “any relevance barriers that may have been created over the past 5-10 years.”
5. Seek a Consistent Marketing Framework
After being in a similar role at Cablevision, Time Warner Cable Business Class CMO Stephanie Anderson knows well the challenges of marketing to small businesses. Having seen others in the industry bounce from idea to idea, Anderson offers a more steadfast approach: “Top of the list for 2014: be consistent, relevant, and ‘present’ with our customers and prospects.”
6. Think Broadly About Your Business
Elisabeth Charles, CMO of Petco, has the unenviable challenge of fending off both entrenched brick-and-mortar competitors and e-commerce upstarts, who are all competing for share of wallet among finicky pet parents. In the face of this competitive hydra, Charles resolves to “develop a clearer enterprise strategy and place greater priority around digital customer engagement.”
7. When in Doubt, KISS
Jonathan Becher, CMO of SAP, faces a myriad of challenges running a global marketing operation that supports hundreds of countries, vertical markets and product solutions. In the face of this potential complexity, Becher shares the following with all who will listen: “My top new year’s resolution is ‘simplify, simplify, simplify.’”
Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages.
Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.
Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.
The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.
By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.
Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!
Though the big game is days away, major corporations like Coke, Mercedes, Audi, and Carl’s Jr. have already begun playing the field for the hearts of the 111 million viewers. Aside from the earned media potential of blogs and publications picking up the story, what advantages does pre-releasing your ad have?
In the case of Audi, probably nothing! Their pre-released YouTube tab “Big Game” seemingly gives away their entire spot, which costs around $2.5 million per 30 seconds. There is additional content around the same theme available for viewing, but unless Audi has a surprise up its sleeve for the big day, it has already run out of gas.
Mercedes and Carl’s Jr. haven’t quite shown it all. @CarlsJr has posted a few tweets with images from the ad shoot with swimsuit model @NinaAgdal as an appetizer. The full TV ad surely won’t be short of saucy. Mercedes, too, pre-released their ad spot with Kate Upton getting her shiny car washed, which alludes that there is more to bare.
Coke seems to be the most inventive, taking full advantage of social media for its big ad. Visit CokeChase.com and you can watch a pre-release video that sets the stage for the big day with cowboys, showgirls and badlanders racing to the land of sweet, bubble nirvana. Coke asks you, the user, to choose who will win the race and the final spot on the air—all you have to do is tweet your vote. The fun doesn’t stop there! Immediately in return, Coke sends you a tweet with the option to delay the contenders. This is a prime example of perfectly executed brand engagement that builds to the finale. When Coke’s ad finally rolls out on the big day, you can expect to see a hoard of tweets from enthusiasts rooting for their team.
Stay tuned to @Renegade_LLC for the Big Game Ads reviews, live as they happen on Feb 3rd.
In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.
The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein
Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.
As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.
— Jake Annear
Here at Renegade we have featured a slew of campaigns by different brands, agencies, and companies who are taking innovative strides in social media. Recently, I came across a recruitment drive by the Swedish armed forces that took a social media campaign to another level.
In an attempt to find 4,000 applicants for 1,500 new positions, the Swedish Army launched a promotion called “Who Cares?” that attempted to test how far people are prepared to go for one another. In the “Who Cares?” campaign, a person was voluntarily locked in a small, enclosed box in central Stockholm. The campaign streamed live video of the person sitting within this box and made it clear that the only way to free the person would be to replace him yourself. The person in the box agreed to sit there alone until someone else willingly replaced him. No status update or tweet alone could free the person: their freedom required real-world action. It required a stranger to sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of another; to demonstrate concern about a fellow human being – all crucial elements that the armed forces seek in applicants.
Over the course of 89 hours, 74 people sacrificed their time to “save” a complete stranger. With tweets like this one by @Soldier_H: “On my way to Stockholm to participate in #whocares with #svfm. Could be fun @ShimmeryChic,” and over 100,000 website visitors in less than four days, the campaign spread like wildfire over social media channels, with people coming to visit the cell from all over Sweden.
In a time where the easiest way to express yourself and show what you care about is through social media, the Swedish Army took a very innovative approach to recruit their infantry. Instead of using patriotic propaganda or super-human like analogies for the people they want in their armed forces, they simply staged a scenario to see how far people were prepared to go for another. And the conversation blew up from there. Instead of simply stating the benefits of joining the army, this campaign made people realize the benefits for themselves.
This video gives the full story on the campaign:
This campaign was a huge success because it was a social media campaign that wasn’t about social media. It was about real world action and human interaction. The Swedish Armed Forces started a conversation amongst their target group and got that target group to act in anonymous and selfless ways that in the end got the armed forces the desired result: quality applicants. In fact, as a result of the campaign In fact, as a result of the campaign, the ended up getting twice the expected amount of applicants for the open positions, and bonus: it facilitated a huge online conversation in the process. It goes to show that social media campaigns that go beyond online interaction require real-word activity can be quite effective and memorable.
- Jake Annear
When I first joined Pinterest, I was like any other social media user. I was excited to try a new network, prepared to link my pins to my Twitter and Facebook, and to create content that would be shared. Though I was initially thrown off by the columns upon columns of wedding gifts, recipes, and fashion I saw on my first log-in, I now can easily find things that I'm interested in and spend a minumum of one hour per day on the website. Thanks to Pinterest, I click on images that link to pages I would have never seen from a Google search. I feel like the creators of Pinterest knew exactly how to keep my attention. Because pinning only take a couple of clicks and is the site's main encouraged behavior, one user can easily pin and re-pin a lot content in a matter of minutes.
(Easily one of my favorite pins. Don't lie, you tried to eat your screen)
One day while looking at my activity, I noticed that a brand that makes recipe books repinned the above picture onto their dessert board. After looking through the board that it was pinned on, I discovered a whole new world of food images that linked to new recipes I’d never seen before, and I immediately clicked the ‘Follow’ button. This certain brand got me. I fell into the strategy of a great marketer.
I've noticed that a few major brands have also joined the Pinterest ranks, and they have quickly set the trend for marketers to follow in order to receive engagement and increase their referrals, all while gaining likes and followers.
Some best practices that I’ve seen are:
1) Properly name boards and fill the description with appropriate keywords. Name your boards after the pins that it will represent. If the name of a board is "Ice Cream Creations," I’d expect to see images of large sundaes, shakes and floats. Babble’s board titles have names that clearly represent the pins that will be found within each. When a user clicks on their ‘Outdoor Play & Getaways’ board they’ll see a bunch of outside activities that users and their children will enjoy.
Pinterest’s search option is very specific. It won’t go out of it’s way to find corn by-products for a user. A search for corn recipes will return pins, boards and people that contain this keyword.
2) Don’t only self-promote. Pinterest is a social community, so the key to growing is to be social; in other words; make it a two-way conversation. Comment on and share other user’s pins that relate to your brand. Starbucks does a good job of this. They have entire boards dedicated to things that have nothing to do with Starbucks. This can give a level of transparency to the brand to show that a company is more than just the products it creates. This outreach can lead to a follow for that particular board or your entire page. A brand can search for their keywords to find users, boards, or pins to follow or re-pin.
(This is a Starbucks board)
3) Use good quality images that don’t directly promote. Pinning images that contain all your products with a white background that links to a page where a user can buy them is boring. People want to see how they will use your brand’s product in their everyday life so that they can see how they can benefit from it. Chobani pins images of mouth-watering food that link to recipes that use their products. Users don't want to see images of Chobani's different flavors, so the company became creative and displayed other ways to promote Greek yogurt. Additionally, Pinterest is an image-focused network, so the most aesthetically pleasing pictures will command attention.
4) Add contributors that share common interests. Brands can let users add pins to their boards. Of course, they should make sure that they are pinning images that relate to a particular board first before they're given this permission. Whole Foods has a number of boards that use several users. Brands can also use this tactic for contests as well.
5) Put a Pinterest link on your website. If a brand is serious about growing their Pinterest following, they should add a ‘Follow Me’ button to their website in a prominent position. You can find a button on Pinterest’s Goodies page. Adding social buttons creates exposure for the brand's presence on social networks, and gives users a more in-depth look into who you are as a brand. That's the true essence of all social media.
There’s no doubt that Pinterest has massive potential for reaching users of all demographics. It’s up to marketers to figure out how to use it best for their brand.
-- Sean Clark is a blogger and social media enthusiast. Follow him on Pinterest.
I consider Tumblr to be a guilty pleasure of mine, and to be honest, I probably spend more time on that website than on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter combined. I think it’s because Tumblr has a very different culture than the other sites, and it’s a culture that I’m very in-tune with because I fit into the majority demographics quite well. I am, after all, an Asian college student between the ages of 18-24 with no kids making less than 50k. While that might seem like a very niche group, Tumblr’s growth in the past couple of years seems to suggest otherwise. In fact, Google’s data predicts that there will be more people searching the word “Tumblr” than “blog” by the end of this year. So, take these pros and cons into consideration and decide for yourself if your brand belongs on Tumblr. If you decide to jump onto the bandwagon but don’t have a marketing team consisting of teenagers obsessed with One Direction, read the rest of this article to get ready to Tumbl.
What happens on Tumblr stays on Tumblr
There’s a saying that goes, “What happens on Tumblr, stays on Tumblr,” and for good reason. This platform has been known to be somewhat of a “second life” for “Tumbleloggers,” a place where people post things that they wouldn’t share with their Facebook friends, but would gladly share with a group of like-minded Internet friends who follow each other due to common interest. For example, on Facebook I’ll often share news articles and music videos that I feel might spark the interest of the general public. But on Tumblr (I can’t believe I’m admitting this), I’ll re-blog photos of beluga whales and Rick Genest and follow blogs that share similar things. I wouldn’t share these particular things on Facebook or Twitter because I can’t think of one friend or follower of mine that would appreciate this content. Tumblr thus creates the perfect opportunity for businesses that want to connect with a niche group.
A few things that make a microblogging site like Tumblr so popular are the ease of navigation, the simplicity of design, and ability to post virtually anything – meaning brands can share different media, including text, photos, links, chats, audio and video, all on the same platform. Here are some tips on what and how to post on Tumblr:
Photo: The Tumblr dashboard, displaying several posting options
- Keep the words to a minimum. Tumblr is highly image-based, and because most Tumbleloggers come across content by simply scrolling down a dashboard, it’s best to keep lengthy written posts to a minimum.
- Post content that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. People won’t want to subscribe to accounts that post things they could easily find on a website or on a Facebook page, so even if it’s just an office playlist or backstage photos of a fashion show, there are Tumbleloggers out there that would love to share your “insider” content with their followers.
- Tag your posts! Tags allow your posts to be “Tumbld upon” by other users who are searching the same tags, leading to more views, likes, re-blogs and new followers.
A few examples of noteworthy Tumblr presences:
- Oscar De La Renta: Their bio – “…reporting from inside one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses” – says it all. Vintage photos, quotes from De La Renta himself, backstage photos and more.
- Universal Music: An inventory of online tidbits about Universal’s top artists. A vintage photo of The Rolling Stones, .gifs of Lana Del Rey’s newest music video, and never-before-seen photos of Justin Bieber attract music fans of all types.
- Sesame Street: A perfect account for bloggers who look forward to visual mementos from childhood popping up on their dashboard. Puns from the street, celebrity appearances, photos of the characters and share-able, kid-friendly holiday cards are popular on this Tumblr.
- NPR: By far my favorite account to follow for stories and interesting pictures from their worldwide coverage. For wordy posts, NPR publishes engaging, clickable headlines that direct to the whole post.
Photo: screenshot of a photo post from the NPR Tumblr with options to "reblog" and/or "like" in the top right corner
What are some of your favorite brands to follow on Tumblr, and what do they post that you would consider reblog-worthy?
For your personal entertainment, a list of my top five favorite Tumblrs to follow:
By what means should a company communicate a message to their target audience? Companies typically tackle this question by considering both influencer and advocacy outreach programs. Influencers possess the power of visibility. They have a fan base and following in the thousands (if not millions), which gives them the ability to sway consumer behavior by carrying your brand's message to a massive audience. It is important to note, however, that an influencer may or may not be an advocate, so to what extent can an influencer generate natural loyalty and support for your brand or product? This is where the advocate comes in. Advocates are individuals who are loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the brand or product within their communities, and they will passionately praise, support, and defend your brand, even when the company isn't there, without any expectation of an incentive. Through social media, brands can manage influencer and advocacy outreach programs to generate both visibility and loyalty among consumers.
As you might expect, influencers have used social media to identify and organize their fan base online to establish a digital presence. These individuals may have thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, RSS subscribers, etc., and utilize their immediate access to a large audience to give visibility to a brand or product. The relationship between a brand and an influencer, however, is almost always built on incentives, such as free products for review, or some other good or service of value. The brand will provide this incentive in exchange for the influencer's support, hoping that the influencer can generate enough awareness and demand to increase sales.
While advocates may only have a few hundred Twitter followers and Facebook friends, they actively and voluntarily praise the brand (both on- and offline) to affect change among the people they have relationships with. Strong advocates typically support a brand or product based on the lifestyle they live and the interests they have. For instance, a local fisherman or the mother-next-door of two infants may loyally support a specific line of fishing rods and diapers, respectively, because it accommodates or enhances their lives.
The influencer may have an advantage over an advocate when it comes to communicating a message to a mass audience. However, a collective group or network of advocates can be just as powerful (if not more powerful) than an influencer: today's social media tools allow advocates to actually become influencers! Through platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook, people with similar lifestyles, interests, and values are able to connect like never before. Within these online networks of similar people, there almost always arises a "leader" who serves as (1) a representative of that community to the outside world, and (2) a gatherer and sharer of relevant information within the community. Using social media tools to stand out in fulfilling the two above roles, these leaders in turn become the influencers for their respective audience of fellow fisherman, housewives, video-gamers, and sports-fanatics who follow them on social media. One example is John Prolly, who turned his passion for cycling into a blog/digital epicenter, Prolly Is Not Probably, for fellow cycling enthusiasts and associated cycling brands. Another example is Kevin Ma, a lifelong sneaker-head and the founder of the fashion and lifestyle blog, Hypebeast. Hypebeast is a go-to resource for fellow enthusiasts of fashion, music, art, and creativity, and can make or break an underground fashion line or artist on the rise.
People may debate whether an advocacy or an influencer program is more important, but they are both vital in their own ways. Given the above dynamic, companies can use social media to identify the core values, interests, and lifestyles of their target audience, and in turn, empower them with the tools necessary to not only be advocates, but leaders, and thus, influencers amongst the rest of this audience--in essence, allowing these influencers to facilitate visibility and loyalty for your brand.
An example of this strategy is found in Kotex's Pinterest campaign. Using Pinterest, Kotex identified the most appreciated items from a select group of fifty women relative to their target audience, and made fifty personalized gifts comprised of these items. The fifty women were notified via a Pin on Pinterest that they each received a gift from Kotex, but would only receive it if they repinned the gift. Once the women did so, the gifts were sent, and almost 100% of them shared about their gift via Pinterest and other platforms, resulting in a robust conversation of about 700,000 impressions. In this case, Pinterest gave the power of influence to a select group of similar people, to bring visibility and advocacy/loyalty to the Kotex brand. The women selected were (1) representative of a larger body of people, and (2) collected valuable information (in this case, exclusive access to a gift) to share with other similar women.
Although it is a relatively common strategy to hire a cultural icon to provide visibility and be an influencer for a brand, it's best not to underestimate the power that advocates can have. In addition, it is not a good idea to only use influencers (who may not be advocates) to generate loyalty for your brand. Using social media, we can understand the desires of our target audience like never before, and use that information to identify and construct advocacy programs, by empowering these natural advocates with the tools necessary to spread awareness amongst other potential advocates. Thus, through awareness, creativity, and market generosity, your unheard advocates can be your biggest assets.