In the Office

2017 is Here!


2017 is here. What will happen in the industry this year? What will be challenging for brands? What do consumers want?

No one really knows, but here are some insights from industry experts about 2017:

Top Three Predictions for the Marketing Technology Industry
Digital intelligence platform Amplero has unveiled what marketers can expect to see in the coming year with the company’s marketing technology predictions for 2017. Rooted in machine learning and artificial intelligence experience, Amplero predicts that marketers will finally be able to take advantage of the global investment in big data infrastructure and move beyond traditional rules-based marketing automation. These advancements powered by machine learning will have significant impact on the day-to-day role of the CMO, as well as transform the way marketers approach customer-centric marketing. What else does Ampler predict?

6 Marketing Resolutions to Ring in a Successful New Year
Here are some suggestions to amp up a business’s digital marketing strategy in 2017.

5 Transformative Creative Trends
Check out the top five creative trends that will dominate in 2017 as observed at the sixth annual 4A’s Create Tech conference.

Top Five B2B Public Relations and Social Media Predictions
According to the Bulldog Reporter, 2016 was a far from average year for the media—and PR pros felt the impact. Here are their predictions of hot industry trends for 2017.

What Will it Take for Brands to Win Over Consumers?
A new study examines how brands can achieve new engagement criteria called — “wantedness.” This is “the degree to which a brand proves their commitment to earning a customer’s business across every touch point and throughout the entire path to purchase.” The study found that in the U.S., 79 percent of respondents said they only consider buying products from brands that show they care and understand their consumers, while in the U.K., the number is slightly less but still sizeable, hitting 72 percent.

4 Survival Trends Consumers Will Turn To This Year
Marketers and consumers alike are reeling from a year of deep division and chaos. What happened? And, where do we go from here? The answers…

6 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing
Not sure if these will hit the mark or not, but here are Social Media Today’s six bold predictions for digital marketing in 2017.

Digital Marketing Industry Forecast Study Compares Today’s Strategies, Reveals Shift to Brand Awareness, Loyalty Marketers are shifting their focus from customer acquisition and tools like buy buttons to brand loyalty and awareness, according to new research from Campaigner, which recently announced the results of its Digital Marketing Industry Report study. The surveyed marketers plan to rely on content marketing—and more specifically, email marketing—to help lead these efforts.

Keys to conquering social media
Social media — as many digital marketers know it — refuses to slow down. To keep up with trends, consumer inquiries and engagement efforts, it’s imperative that PR pros and social media managers learn new skills and apply them to their current strategies. To more effectively engage with audiences, there will be an increased dependence on the relationship between brand managers and influential social media users. There is more, from a 2017 predictions guide.

10 Marketing Trends to Watch
PR Daily gives their 10 trends to watch for in the new year:
1. Cognitive insights helping to predict digital behavior.
2. GPS-based search-engine optimization.
3. Content marketing conversion.
4. Balancing marketing automation and authenticity.
5. Increased emphasis on mobile marketing.
6. Native marketing on social media platforms.
7. Balancing mobile and desktop web design.
8. The rise of customer service bots.
9. News media outlets vs. fake news.
10. Using data security as a marketing tool.

Week In Marketing: Edible Print Ad, Live Stunt Advertisement, New Snickers and Burger King Ads, and Miss Piggy wears Kate Spade


Tot-loving Dynamic Duo
For a limited time only, fans can indulge on Burger King’s coveted Cheesy Tots and who better to announce their comeback than Napoleon Dynamite and his pal Pedro? The new 30 second TV spot utilizes the same humor as the popular 2004 film and charms its way into our hearts (and our stomachs, Burger King hopes). The main idea behind the return of the Cheesy Tots is to show Burger King’s faithful consumers that their voices have been heard and that their wishes have been answered.

Edible Print Ad
Airline food is just one of the luxuries that are often overpriced to the point where consumers have stereotyped them as ‘simply not worth it.’ JetBlue felt it was necessary to recap for the world that their snacks are all-you-can-eat and completely free. And what creative tactic did they use to promote their offer of free nourishments? Well, an edible print ad, of course. In the Saturday edition of the New York Post, JetBlue will run an advertisement that is completely safe to eat, composed of potato starch, water, vegetable oil and glycerin.

Live Stunt Advertisement
Volvo has made a name for itself in the advertising world utilizing live stunts in their advertisements and their newest one is just as adventurous and wild as the others. Utilizing a paraglider flying behind a Volvo rig, the ad displays how much handling and power the truck truly has.

A Little Competitive Spirit
Kate Spade New York will launch a new holiday campaign next week. They let slip a little preview utilizing one of fashion’s biggest divas: Miss Piggy. In this new spot, actress and fashionista Zosia Mamet runs into Miss Piggy. The two friends become fiercely competitive, as they have to top the other’s look. The banter is clever and the fashion is flawless.

Snickers Steps Back into the Ring
Snickers has decided to sponsor the WWE’s premier wrestling event, WrestleMania, for the second year in a row after cashing in the first time around. According to the WWE, Snickers netted 1.5 billion impressions across a variety of global platforms such as TV integrations, digital and social, retail activation and appearances by the wrestling superstars. Snickers current “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign is set to release a new TV spot in early 2017 and will feature multiple WWE superstars.

Week In Marketing: Snapchat, “Fake News”, TV Advertising, Interactive Gas Pump, Harassment Policies

Snapchat Files for IPO
Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, Inc. has begun the process for making an initial public offering. Snapchat will seek to raise as much as $4 billion in its planned initial public offering, Bloomberg reports. The IPO could value Snapchat at about $25 billion to $35 billion, though a final decision on the size of the IPO isn’t set.


Facebook and Google strike out against ‘fake news’
Both companies announced policy changes to stop the spread of “fake news” by blocking the producers of that content from using their advertising networks.

The New York Times reported:
– Google kicked off the action when it said it would ban websites that peddle fake news from using its online advertising service.
– Facebook updated the language in its Facebook Audience Network policy, which already says it will not display ads in sites that show misleading or illegal content, to include fake news sites.

The companies’ decisions come after growing backlash toward Facebook and Twitter for perpetuating false news stories about the 2016 presidential campaign.

Study Reveals: TV Advertising Will Double by 2018
Addressable TV advertising—based on audience and demo targeting, as opposed to specific networks or programs—now reaches 42 percent of U.S. households, representing nearly $900 million in advertising spend during 2016. It’s on track to reach $2.2 billion in 2018, and its household penetration should rise to 74 percent of TV homes by 2020. According to a new Video Advertising Bureau report, all of that data talk around this year’s upfronts is paying off, to the tune of nearly $1 billion in addressable advertising spend this year. That number is likely to more than double by 2018,.

Twitter Updates Policies to Combat Harassment
Twitter has had many problems with harassment, and once again they are having to take measures to cut it from their platform. With their new features and policy, Twitter is enabling its users to mute any keywords, phrases, or conversations that they don’t want to receive notifications about. Twitter is also adding to its hateful conduct policy making it easier for users to report any person who targets people based on “race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” With the new policies set in place, Twitter hopes to enforce a more transparent operation and end any bullying that is present on their platform.

Interactive Gas Pump
BP is changing the game by implementing a new, interactive gas pump called Miles. Miles offers customers voice instructions for activities like listening to music, trivia, social media, and even video ecards. This smart pump is a touchscreen-enabled device that will allow BP customers to have a personal experience with every stop, from choosing their favorite music genres, as well as enabling interactive games and pictures/video options.

Taco Bell Brings Back 1995 Logo
Taco Bell is introducing their new, ‘old’ logo from 1995. Taco Bell states that this logo is a mirror for their new restaurant strategy that states that, “One size doesn’t fit all.” Brand managers at Taco Bell also said that the logo is “a modern take, color makes a splash and allows customization through patterns and textures, giving usage flexibility while maintaining its iconic framework.”

Week in Marketing: Mobile World, Emoji Use, Digital Marketing, Election Day, AR


Importance of Marketing in The Mobile World
It is so important for marketers to have an intensive mobile strategy. The mobile industry is so big right now; it is just needs to be tapped into correctly. There are 6.1 billion active smartphone users actively consumed by the information on their screen. It is surely worth understanding how to take advantage of opportunity.

Emoji Use Continues in Growth
Two big-name technology brands have brought the convenient use of emojis into the company. It seems to be a good option for targeting mobile-focused consumers. GoDaddy introduced emoji domains and Apple incorporated emojis into the new Macbook Pro “touch bar.”

Latest Digital Marketing Stats
Here are some insightful digital marketing stats about social media, VR, mobile advertising, and social research…just to name a few. Stay up-to-date with what is going on in the marketing industry.

Uber and Lyft Encourage Voting on Election Day
Uber and Lyft used marketing tactics this past Election Day to get people out there voting. Uber teamed up with Google to provide an in-app feature to help users find out where their polling place was then conveniently request a ride. Lyft offered a 45 percent discount. Both companies also offered discounts for new users.

Augmented Reality
AR, augmented reality, is projected to increase massively within the next few years. Pokémon Go is a great example. Some say AR will ultimately become a staple in marketing plans moving forward. How can AR play into tactics for a company? How can AR benefit a brand specifically? Read more…

Week In Marketing: Hype, Purchasing on Instagram, Fantasy Sports Merger, Reading

Vine to Hype
After the recent news of the upcoming downfall of the infamous Vine app. The app’s founders aren’t okay to live with defeat and are already working on a new video service, which they call Hype. This new video service is focused on the concept of live video broadcasts. As Vine lives out the rest of its last days and users live in the nostalgia, the new app is preparing to compete against competitors like Facebook and Twitter.


Purchasing on Instagram
How often are you interacting on Instagram and see items that you wish you could purchase? Well, the Facebook-owned app is working in a limited beta process which allows their users to purchase items through the media platform. Working with partners that include Kate Spade, J. Crew Warby Parker, and Macy’s, Instagram will allow these retail brands to tag items for sale in photos. When a user clicks on the products for sale it will take them directly to the site where they could purchase the item. Instagram is hoping to test how easy it is to discover the tags of the items, how much value does it create for the businesses incorporated, and how native does it feel for their users.

Big Fantasy Sports Merger
Two of the most infamous providers of fantasy sports are setting aside their differences and are on route to merging together. The news of the possible merger of Draft Kings and Fan Duel came only a week after each firm settled on a six million dollar settlement for lawsuits brought upon them by New York Attorney General Eric Schnedierman. As each company looks towards the future this power couple is expecting to make up over 90% of the daily fantasy sports market.

What’s Next in Reading
Amazon is promoting literacy through a reading app called Amazon Rapid. It was released on November 2nd as an attempt to get young readers – from seven to twelve years old – more active in reading. The readers will participate through dialogue with characters of the stories and then waits for the character to respond back to them.

Week In Marketing: 5G, Snapchat’s API, Star Wars Ads, Video Streaming, Drones

5G and the Future of Turbocharged Marketing
What will happen within the next three years? Wireless speeds are set to jump tenfold, making the current network look as antiquated as dial-up modems. What will be the full impact of 5G? — Longer battery life, consistent user experience across devices, switching sessions across devices, much faster live streaming and immersive video chats. Augmented reality and virtual reality will become mainstream. Cars, homes, and everyday devices will be connected, producing unbelievable amounts of data. What does all this mean for marketers?


Brands Use Snapchat’s API to Market Consumers
Snapchat’s API gives brands the ability to experiment, A/B test ads to see which perform the best and the adjust their campaign strategies on the fly. Through this platform, advertisers can use the API to target ads by information including age, gender, location and device. Brands are excited to connect with consumers and learn how the consumers desire to interact in terms of driving brand value and impact through Snap Ads API.

Star Wars Ad Spreads Excitement in Children’s Hospital
Duracell launched a holiday-themed ad preceding the the December premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The ad, titled “How the Rebels Saved Christmas,” plays off Duracell’s 1 million battery donation to power toys at 147 different Children’s Network Miracle Hospitals nationwide and their continued partnership with Star Wars. The ad aims to celebrate the power of children’s imaginative play even while enduring hard circumstances in a hospital, and is a sequel to its previous 2015 Star Wars themed ad, “Battle for Christmas Morning.”

Free Ad-Supported Video Streaming
Walmart launched “Vudu Movies on Us” which is a free, ad-supported video on demand. This launch offers consumers high definition films and TV shows with pre- and mid-roll ads. VP manager of Vudu, Jeremy Verba, stated, “Vudu is always looking for new ways for customers to save money, and nothing is more affordable than free.” According to a research conducted by Hub Entertainment, 53 percent of people prefer free ad-supported streaming over a monthly subscription.

Uber Uses Ads on Drones to Taunt Drivers
Uber is testing out new advertising tactics in Mexico City by flying drones over cars stuck in traffic in order to promote UberPOOL, which allows drivers to commute together in one car instead of everyone driving separately. These drones are carrying signs that state things like, “Driving by yourself?” and “This is why you can never see the volcanoes.” Uber’s new tactic is being used to guilt drivers into using UberPOOL.

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.