In the Office

Week in Marketing : Brand standards, Digital Marketing Stats, Clowns, Facebook’s Workplace, Podcasts

Social Media Policies Change for NFL Players
It is important to control an organization’s brand values and standards in all areas of marketing, including social media. The NFL recently announced that social media managers and players will not be allowed to post their own videos or GIFs . All live-streaming video platforms such as Periscope, Snapchat and Facebook Live are banned from use between the time of kickoff and an hour after the game. Teams that violate this policy will receive a hefty fine.


Must-See Digital Marketing Stats
This past week brought forth some eye-catching digital marketing stats. What makes digital marketing work so well for some and not for others? Companies can benefit from digital marketing, if done the right way. Here’s a report that attempts to give stats and advice to companies that utilize this marketing tactic.

Clowns Cause Marketing Woes
The recent frightening clown sightings have not only caused issues for the witnesses, but also for iconic brands. We all know who Ronald McDonald is and what he looks like. Sort of creepy right? McDonald’s decided to use less of Ronald McDonald in their upcoming marketing tactics until the clown sightings calm down.

Facebook Launches Workplace for Companies to Utilize
Facebook officially launches the new service called Workplace. About 1,000 organizations around the world are already using it. Workplace offers the ability to create and share in Groups or via chat, along with Live, Reactions, Search and Trending posts. There is also an added dashboard with analytics and integrations with single sign-on, which can allow the company to easily integrate Workplace into their existing IT systems. This is definitely a service to use or keep an eye out for.

Podcasts Making a Comeback
Podcasts have been around for a while. Since some 57 million Americans listen to them, they have grown in interest. Podcasts are mobile so listeners can listen to them anywhere at anytime. They also induce more emotion compared to the standard print option.

Fabulous Taylor!

Congratulations to Taylor Waddell. She has been promoted to Associate Account Executive.

taylor_waddellTaylor joined us right after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Now a skilled marketing communications professional, she is committed to producing top-notch work and has a willingness to take on the next challenge.

A media hound, Taylor has garnered some incredible local and national coverage for her clients: Eschelon Experiences, Valor Games Southeast, CORDURA® brand fabric, and KIOTI Tractor. She has also led the social media and blogger relations efforts for Precise Pet Products, who has more than doubled their fan base on Facebook thanks to Taylor.

Taylor is a diligent learner with a can-do attitude. We’re excited for all that she brings to Howard/Merrell and we’re looking forward to all she will accomplish in her new role!

Week in Marketing: Social Media Renovates, Samsung Reputation, VR, Amazon’s Alexa, Gr-r-reat


Social Media Platforms Renovate
After achieving major success in the digital era, social media platforms are attempting renovate themselves. Popular platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook are disconnecting from the “social” label and showing they’re much more. Each platform has become successful from their original upbringing as social media platforms, but they are ready to branch out into other avenues.

Samsung’s reputation in the Hot Seat
The month of September was not forgiving to Samsung and some of their products. After having to recall their new Note 7 devices because of faulty batteries that caused small fires, now the company is having issues with their washing machines. With the recall of two brand lines, people are starting to believe that the Samsung reputation may be tarnished.

Virtual Reality becoming an affordable reality
Google is making the ability to enjoy virtual reality more affordable for consumers with their new headsets. With an official release in November, the headsets will include three different colors for customers to choose from. It is considered the cheapest high profile option as Google makes their product a competitor of Samsung’s virtual reality gear.

If you have a question ask Alexa
Amazon’s new ads for the Echo and Echo dot have their users’ full questions that Alexa is ready to answer. Alexa is the voice response system that awakens the device when called upon. In the new ads, Amazon attempts to show how easily accessible the devices are and how it can help with everyday conundrums.

“Let Your Gr-r-reat Out”
Kellogg has decided to take a new direction on one of their most memorable marketing phrases. Tony the Tiger’s infamous “They’re Gr-r-reat” slogan is being changed to allow preteen adolescents the ability to express how great they are. Kellogg surveyed several preteens and dads as an attempt to understand how both parties felt about the old slogan. What they found out is that preteens wanted more opportunities to share about themselves and dads wanted the same.

Week In Marketing: Uber, Voting, Mobile Ads, Tech Giants, TV viewership

Uber now allows retailers to market directly to consumers and offer rides directly to their door
The ride-hailing app has expanded to make itself a marketing platform for large retail chains. Brands can now incorporate a link to the Uber app within their own apps and websites that automatically input the nearest retail location as the destination. car-1509852_1920While consumers still pay for their rides, retailers can offer promotional deals and campaign offers once the consumer clicks on the link.
This new service is just in time for the holiday shopping season and is expected to be widely successful in densely populated urban cities (such as NYC) but critics are skeptic as to the new service’s ability to thrive in smaller communities.

Media Platforms initiate campaigns to encourage voter registration
Last Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day and Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter each unveiled their own “register to vote” initiative in an attempt to get potential voters prepared and able to vote in the national, state and local elections that will take place in the next month and a half. This move is meant to encourage millennial voters who not only tend to have one of the lowest voter turnout rates among voter segments, but also comprise nearly two thirds of the following for presidential candidate accounts. The general “register to vote” ad campaign also adopted by Google and Snapchat last week is centered around the simplicity of registering and the importance of everyone making their voices heard. Additionally, Instagram is partnering with major news outlets such as CNN and CBS to increase their initiative’s reach and number of impressions.

Facebook’s Advertising week focuses on the growth of mobile and video
Facebook held their advertising conference this week to talk about their own advertising products with journalists and to discuss industry trends, mainly the massive opportunities for mobile advertising. It has become clear that mobile is a big challenge but can have a big payoff since it is the most convenient way to reach consumers no matter where they are. Facebook’s second-quarter earnings report revealed that 85% of their $6.44 billion in ad revenue came from mobile devices, yet one third of domestic small businesses don’t utilize this segment at all. Other highlights and key discussion points from the conference were Facebook’s focus of monetizing video, the need for better ad metrics, sound in autoplay videos, and the possibility of header bidding.

Tech Titans team up to take on the stigmas of Artificial Intelligence
Many giants of our modern digital world teamed up to dismiss qualms and fears regarding Artificial Intelligence and make it appear approachable and safe. Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft formed this cooperative mission that has been named the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. These tech behemoths will conduct research, suggest best practices and release all of their findings to promote fairness and transparency as a gesture of good will towards AI skeptics. A study was conducted by Time Etc early in the summer and discovered that 26% of consumers claim that they would not tryst a robot or ai-based machine with personal or professional tasks. It will be interesting to see if these five companies can comfort consumers and gain their trust for real-life versions of AI-based robots.

Google reveals that YouTube continues to gain on TV
YouTube recently released the results of a large-scale survey examining the video viewing habits among adults. The study revealed that adults are five times as likely to watch video online than they are through linear. It also showed that 92% of YouTube viewers use the video service’s mobile app while at home and that two-thirds of respondents use their mobile devices during a TV ad break. Other key YouTube updates include that viewership of television content on YouTube is up 230% since 2013 and that YouTube makes up over 50% of people’s time watching online video on television.

Week In Marketing: Apps, Upside Down Room, Online Content, Teaser Campaign, Instagram

Data Shows Marketing Drives App Installs
Millennials have continually taken the lead as the consumers who regularly use smartphone apps. That will likely continue. Additionally, new data shows other audiences are starting to use apps even more. In order to effectively market and engage all audiences, it is important to understand how to reach them. Here are some tips.


The Upside-Down Room
Marriott attempts to “push the limits of design” by showcasing the #MGravityRoom in attempts to build enthusiasm on social media for the new renovations. Marriott’s upside-down room is a replica of their new guest rooms, which include a closet, desk, and TV that appear to float on the ceiling and walls, and are currently being implemented in their hotels across the U.S. Along with general cosmetic updates, this new design is based off the feedback from their customers, and Marriott believes the design is more multifunctional and hopes to reinvent the travel experience.

Transform Your Online Content With Visuals
Many marketers are looking to interact more with their key audiences online. Effective content marketing is key – and don’t forget content means visual as well as the written word. Here are some tips to help engage key audiences and encourage them to invest in your brand.

How NBC Scored 10 Million Viewers
NBC debut of ‘This Is Us’ brought in 10 million viewers and had the highest demo rating of any new Fall show. NBC managed to score this many viewers from its trailer and summer-long marketing campaign. The trailer entice all ages by previewing what the show is all about without revealing the big plot twists. NBC believes the success stemmed from connecting viewers with things they really care about: people, family, parenting, and the heart. NBC plans to continue marketing the show without revealing or mentioning the twist.

“Delete To Feed” Campaign
Land O’Lakes created a new ad campaign titled ‘Delete to Feed’ in order to help Feeding America end hunger. The campaign asks Instagram users to simply delete one food photo from their accounts, and in return, for each food photo deleted, they will donate 11 meals to those in need. The campaign’s target goal is to donate 2.75 million meals. Land O’Lakes has set up an Delete to Feed website to keep track of their progress in which Instagram users can connect their accounts and show which food photo they choose to delete. Wonder what Instragram thinks about this campaign.

Week In Marketing: NFL Emojis, Read Receipts, Email Marketing, Good and Bad Campaigns

Unique NFL Emojis Offered to Twitter Users
The NFL has teamed up with Twitter to keep the emoji trend going. Twitter users are now able to use unique emojis in their tweets for every one of the 32 teams. This announcement came after the statement that Twitter would be streaming certain Thursday night games during this upcoming NFL season. Every team has an exclusive hashtag and emoji. The NFL announced the news with a video.

Twitter Adds ‘Read Receipts’ to Messenger
Twitter has decided to add ‘read receipts’ to its mobile messaging service. There will now be a little blue check mark that indicates when the recipient has read the message. This feature differs from Facebook Messenger because users will be allowed to opt out of this option. Twitter also announced to users to expect ‘typing indicators’ that will tell the person on the other side of the social platform when someone is typing.

Advice on Email Marketing
Apple Watches are slowly penetrating mobile technology, especially with the second iteration of the Apple Watch expected to start shipments starting soon. It is becoming a reality that many consumers will first read their emails on their wrists. This leads to some concerns for email marketers. Here are some tips to ensure that those emails are readable on ones wrist screen.

Subway’s Campaign for a Clean Slate
Subway decided it is time wipe away its past and start again with new ingredients and a new logo. Subway plans to use fresh locally grown produce that is free of artificial preservatives. Along with that, the Subway logo was redesigned to portray the brand in a “fresh, contemporary look.” Subway filmed a commercial and created a trending hashtag #SearchForBetter. This new effort is gearing towards the consumer’s goal towards a healthier appetite.

Mattress Company Criticized for 9/11 Sale
Miracle Mattress received backlash from its 9/11 promotion sale. The store created a controversial commercial regarding their “Twin Tower Sale.” This made the public furious leading to many negative comments on the store’s Facebook page and Twitter. The ad was quickly removed and the CEO sent out a letter on its Facebook page stating that the store will be closed ‘indefinitely.’ A good example on how marketing can go totally wrong if not done correctly.

Week In Marketing: Conversion Tracking, iPhone Backlash, Airbnb Discrimination, Video Marketing, NFL Cans, Most Interesting Man

LinkedIn Introduces Conversion Tracking for Sponsored Content and Ads
LinkedIn announced a conversion tracking method for marketing users to measure their ads and sponsored content. This feature was a “most-requested” tool by brand managers in order to have the convenience of measuring content downloads, number of signups, and purchases from their campaigns. The conversion tracking will allow brand managers the convenience of assessing their target audiences. PR and marketing executives also benefit from this feature by yielding specific ad campaign results.


Apple Receives Twitter Backlash Over New iPhone
Immediately following Apple’s big iPhone 7 introduction, Twitter users expressed their dislike and disappointment over the new wireless ear pieces. The new iPhone 7 does not include a headphone jack; instead, Apple wants users to buy wireless ear pieces, called “AirPods,” for $159 a pair. Concerning the headphone jack controversy over Twitter, Amobee Brand Intelligence stated that 29 percent showed negative responses, 60 percent stayed neutral, and only 10 percent showed positive approval. Although the initial reviews may be negative, Apple has provided an impressive history of making radical changes on their devices which, in the long run, always produces an increased positive product performance.

Airbnb Addresses Discrimination Problem
Airbnb has been hit with many discrimination cases, and as a result, they released a 32-page outlined report stating a new policy on how they plan to address the discrimination problem. Airbnb has had multiple incidents in which users say hosts have canceled or rejected their reservations due to race or characteristics. Airbnb expressed their extreme disapproval of discrimination and bias and is working on eliminating this problem as well as “setting an example that other companies can follow.” Airbnb has taken steps to change this situation by hiring a whole product team to fight against bias and discrimination.

Starbucks Dives Into Video Marketing and Announces New Menu Items
Starbucks decided it was time to jump into the video marketing platform in the “purest form” with their new series called “Upstanders.” Upstanders follows inspiring stories of ordinary people producing positive changes in their communities. This new video series has already gained 20 million downloads on mobile devices, and Chief of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, stated that their goal with this platform was to, “be authentic and the stories needed to be about the people and not about our company and marketing Starbucks.” On the other hand, Starbucks recently released a new brunch menu that should appear in at all Starbucks locations in the near future.

Bud Light Provides Football Fans With NFL Team Cans
Bud Light has taken their NFL can ad, “This Is Your Can’s Year” to the next level. Bud light released their 75 second ad displaying their limited time cans celebrating each individual NFL fan by providing beer cans with their team on it. Senior marketing director Mark Goldman expressed his excitement stating, “Just like wearing your favorite player’s jersey or team colors is a badge of honor, so is drinking from your Bud Light team can.”

Dos Equis Announces New ‘Most Interesting Man’
Dos Equis shifts to a more modern approach with their famous ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ ad campaign as former Most Interesting Man, Jonathan Goldsmith, retired. Dos Equis decided a contemporary change would be refreshing by hiring the new face of the campaign, Augustin Legrand. Dos Equis incorporated new twists on the old classic ad, by making the new Most Interesting Man more adventure and action driven instead of reminiscing on the past as the previous MIM did, while keeping the same voiceover beginning. Dos Equis is looking forward to the new spin on their ad, hoping fans will enjoy this new character as the ad debu’s.

Week In Marketing: Facebook Offers, Microsoft Sings of Macbook Inferiority, Video Preroll Ads on Twitter, Chipotle’s September Deals & iHeart Media Expansion

howard merrell week in marketingFacebook introduces a ‘Digital Coupon Drawer’

Facebook has conjured up a new way to help its users save big online. The social media giant’s updated Offers section makes it easier for users to find, purchase and organize digital discount codes for webpages all over the internet. Simply by purchasing ad space on the networking site, companies can reach Facebook’s massive quantity of consumer users who can save the offer to their ‘coupon drawer’ and be driven to the company’s webpage. While details of the Offers update are still emerging, looks like these discount ads can contain bar codes and QR codes for extremely easy use.

Microsoft Ad explains why Macbooks are as useless as “a hat for your cat”

Microsoft is making a name for its new Surface Pro 4 by literally singing its praises and singing the blues about Apple’s MacBook. Microsoft has been known to take the occasional shot at its high-powered rival, but this time the corporation is doing it in musical style. The spokesperson sings a catchy, simple tune about how the Surface Pro 4 is far superior with its “detachable keys,” “a pen so you can write as you please,” and “Surface has touch and a beautiful screen.” The ad additionally criticizes the Mac by saying it’s “useless,” and “slower, heavier and a bit square,” clearly trying to take Apple down a few pegs in areas where it is considered to be the champion in the tech industry.

Twitter’s Amplify Push Program’ now allows influencers to run preroll ads in front of content & receive a share of the ad revenue

Twitter plans to help social media stars make a little extra cash when they upload their videos. As a part of its growing creator revenue program, the micro-blogging site will now allow content creators to attach a video advertisement to the beginning of their post (much like YouTube does) if they want to to receive a portion of the ad revenue. Social media influencers will likely be glad to hear this news and if everything works out the way Twitter hopes it will, then these heavily-followed profiles may begin to post even more, thus driving even more traffic to the site.

Chipotle to utilize new promo deals to recover after food safety crisis

September will be a great month for Chipotle-loving students and families. The popular Mexican grill chain announced two new promotional deals for this month, likely as an attempt to combat recent low revenue reports. Every Sunday in September, Chipotle will give a free kid’s meal with every purchase of an entrée, hoping to bring in the family demographic that started slipping away after their E Coli outbreak last year. And on Mondays, students who present a valid high school or college ID will receive a free fountain drink when they purchase an entrée. These two promotional offers join Chipotle’s ‘Chitopia’ rewards program as the company seems to be ramping up its discount deals.

iHeartMedia is growing, growing, gone from simply being a radio service 

“You can’t possibly correctly predict what’s going to be the next big thing two years from now,” Darren Davis, president of iHeartMedia Networks and iHeartRadio, told Adweek. “So our strategy has been, don’t guess, just go everywhere.” iHeartRadio has done just that and it seems to be an excellent strategy so far. The media group’s software app is compatible with over 90 different devices ranging from smartphones and tablets, to cars and wearables. iHeartRadio has also struck gold on video-sharing platforms with a widely popular Snapchat that has one of the largest read-rates among the promoted Discover stories, as well as becoming the most-followed publisher on the livestream network YouNow.

Week in Marketing: Marketing with Technology, Millennials, KFC Sunscreen, Google Storage

Marketing with Technology
Technology is always evolving and changing the way rules of which things were done previous. See how these two marketers are hoping technology will improve their marketing:

Dominos is a complete believer of out with the old and in with the new, as they continue to push the envelope. The pizza provider has been stirring things up as they attempt to incorporate more technology into their marketing strategies. Is Dominos the next tech giant? Check out what they are up to…with videos


Virtual reality has become a major craze for consumers and Best Buy is ready to cash in. Their Chief Executive Officer loves the concept of virtual reality and is ready for Best Buy to be the hub for the first mainstream testing sites for virtual reality products. If things go well and these products start to fly off the shelves, this could stand as a great indicator of their lifespan.

Marketing to Millennials
Millennials are beginning to make much more of America’s population and marketers we need to adjust their strategies if they want to catch up. The older model of doing things are fading out and new marketing approach must proceed to follow if companies want to reach this younger market. The best way for them to grab their attention is to learn how to adapt and relate to this newer audience.

KFC Sunscreen?
Kentucky Fried Chicken has recently attempted to leave a mark on this warm weather, by offering its very own KFC sunscreen. Their new marketing campaign allows their customers to truly live the lifestyle of the Colonel and enjoy tan skin that’s associated to the chicken that’s consumed. Besides mirroring the look of their signature fried chicken, the sunscreen will also offer the same aroma as well. For now, this product is offered on a limited basis and can only be purchased online.

Google’s New Storage
As people we all want to feel that we are being relatable and that others can relate to us. Google’s new storage struggle ad has captured the attention of many iPhone users, and they can relate. The ad displays a video of users living their lives and attempting to capture a moment until they are interrupted by the unforgivable notification about the lack of storage space.

Week In Marketing: McDonald’s Health Campaign, Twitter vs Snapchat, Video Platforms, Millennials

McDonald’s Attempts to Have a Healthy Campaign
With the Olympics dominating the news and the new Pokémon Go game, there is a clear burst for healthy living in America. McDonald’s is trying to hop on top of this trending topic by including fitness trackers as kids toys in their happy meals. mcdonald-friedlogicHowever, recently the “Step It” toys were pulled due to wearers receiving skin irritation. It will be interesting to see how McDonald’s responds to this negative publicity.

Twitter is Trying to Keep Up with Snapchat
Twitter has added a new feature, which is allowing individuals to express themselves by adding stickers with embedded hashtags to their photos. As of right now Pepsi is the exclusive partner for this new feature, but there will be an opportunity for select marketers with managed accounts to be sponsors as well. Twitter is clearly following in Snapchats footsteps with this idea and similar to Instagram’s new story feature, it will be interesting to see how consumers respond to these new features.

Social Media Platforms Are Trumping Video Platform
According to a study created by Trusted Media Brands, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are seen as more important for marketing outlets than YouTube. It is very possible that this decrease in marketing appeal for YouTube is related to Facebook’s newest feature, Facebook Live, being recently released. This new channel that will be able to combine social media and video platforms is bound to be the new marketing focus, as 72 percent of marketers in this study are willing to invest in it.

Millennials Receive News Via Social Media
Millennials are more likely to use social media as their news source, rather than traditional news programs. Advertisers are catching onto this trend and are finding ways to market millennials with this knowledge. According to the study, reviews from people in their social media circles is the number one factor when determining to buy a product. Before it had always been TV advertising and then word of mouth, but with this trending outlet there is a change. It will be interesting to continue to see how advertisers will use this channel to reach millennials.