In the Office

Social Channels – Which is Growing Faster?

Recent years have seen unprecedented growth within the world of social media.


Gone are the days when Facebook and Twitter alone, led the pack of companies in this race. Research shows that the two social media giants have seen significantly slower growth over the past two years in comparison to other platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Both have seen their number of users double over the past three years, with Instagram making the longest strides in growth over the past 18 months.

The photo-sharing platform gained 100 million of its now 400 million user base between March of 2014 and September of 2015. In contrast, Twitter continues to struggle to reach new heights. The micro-blogging service only saw a growth of about 45 million, up from its 255 million active users in 2015.

These social media growth patterns aren’t particularly surprising. In fact, they fall in line very closely with recent trends that show that consumers are gravitating more and more towards visual content. This is a trend that has been evident since as early as 2012, as users moved away from traditional blogging in favor of the shorter, more succinct Facebook status. Twitter took things a step further by limiting posts to their signature 140 characters.

Now, it seems, social media users agree that a picture can be worth a thousand words. While the popularity of text-based platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn wane, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are seeing explosive growth in their respective active user bases. Even before then, studies show, consumers were much more likely to interact with a brand if the brand posted pictures, rather than other forms of media.

This is a movement advertisers need to keep an eye on, as the most lucrative areas for placing ads seem to be shifting towards these newer applications. For example, although Facebook is experiencing a slower growth rate than Instagram, the company will still reap any benefits to be had from future marketing opportunities on the platform due to their acquisition of Instagram back in 2012.

Week In Marketing: Branded Selfies, Scoring and Blocking Ads, Online Shopping, Real Life Campaign


1. Snapchat to Allow Branded Selfies
Remember the craze of the limited time rainbow vomit special effect on snapchat? Well now companies can make their own filter and users can have branded selfies — an effort by Snapchat to make money. Previously companies could only have sticker filters, but now the opportunity is being expanded to custom lens creations to allow a unique experience for users to connect with companies and brands.

2. Facebook Scores Ads
Think of it as a review of performance, Facebook plans to start scoring the ads and sharing this information with the companies. This information is already used by Facebook to make decisions on ad placements among other things. Initially the scores will be on a scale of 1-13, Facebook hopes companies will use their scores to optimize their ads.

3. More Shopping Opportunities for users on Twitter
Users have been able to directly buy from twitter from select companies. Now Twitter has just extended that opportunity to more retailers with their new partnerships. This will allow more companies to offer the “buy now” feature and offer users the opportunity to shop directly on Twitter.

4. Digicel blocks ads. What does this mean for the rest of us?
A small celluar company, Digicel, has made the decision to block mobile ads unless they pay. Alone, this does not seem like something that directly effects anyone outside of Digicel, but this could open up another branch of the war against advertising. The company says they just want to receive some of the money being taken by ads using their infrastructure. Will this start a trend with carriers?

5. The Real, Real Life campaign
In an effort to reach the average consumer, Campbell Soup’s new Real, Real Life Campaign shows parents with their children in a 15-30 second bit that tells about a moment, not a whole story. This campaign not only showcases what real American families looks like, but will also be tailored to the weather. If a snowstorm comes through, the commercial will be shown on the weather channel website and will even use the name of the blizzard as the mom stocks up on Campbell soup for her son.

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Week In Marketing: LinkedIn, Dove Campaign, PR Stunt, Twitter Characters, Snicker Wrappers

linkedin-elevate1. LinkedIn Introduces Elevate
LinkedIn launched a new content curation and social sharing platform called Elevate. Elevate allows companies to maximize their marketing potential by turning their best assets into marketing tools. Elevate permits employers to curate both internal and external web content which employees can then share through their personal social media accounts. This platform allows employers to maximize their content reach and generate further online engagement with new audiences.

2. Dove Looks to Improves Teenage Girls’ Body Image
The latest installment of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” has teenage girls talking about the one thing that they would change about themselves. The video is composed of interviews with teenage girls, each of which as a physical feature that they would like to change. The story is displayed through a cycle, ending with the first girl that appeared in the video. The video looks to foster a positive body image in young girls by showing that everyone has problems with confidence and body image.

3. Call of Duty’s Controversial PR Stunt
Call of Duty, a massively popular video game franchise, made quite a stir this week when they sent out 20 tweets about a “terrorist attack” in Singapore. The “attack” was fictitious and was meant to set the scene for the first mission of their new game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Even though the “attack” was fabricated, Call of Duty’s marketing ploy caused outrage around the world. Many believed the move to be extremely insensitive and thoughtless, and the stunt has lost them a lot of support.

4. Twitter Rethinks 140-Character Limit
Twitter has been known for its 140-character limit since the platform’s conception, but that could be changing in the near future as the social media site questions its limitations. Twitter’s potential move to expand the character limit has had varying reactions. Many see the potential for increased customer service, with retailers being able to provide more complete troubleshooting in fewer tweets. However, others fear that the increased character limit could lead to more “long-form” content, which goes against Twitter’s to-the-point sufficiency.

5. Snickers New Name-Calling Wrappers
Snickers has taken a page out of Coke’s marketing book and is putting names on their wrappers. However, unlike Coke, the names on Snickers’ wrappers aren’t necessarily nice. In conjunction with their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ads, Snickers’ wrappers have adjectives, or “hunger symptoms,” such as Cranky, Grouchy, Curmudgeon and Spacey.

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How Are Ads Impacting the Consumer?

These days, a cell phone can easily double as an all-in-one shopping companion. Any info about a new product or service can be accessed in the palm of a person’s hands. According to Mashable, mobile continues to be the fastest-growing platform in digital advertising. It is regularly touted as the most personal screen yet, which makes it a primary candidate for hosting ads that connect with the consumer on a more emotional level. The convenience and directness of mobile advertising gives ad developers the opportunity to contextualize the moment, add to the moment, and then turn it all into a sensory moment by adding touches such as a vibration or sound.


So what does this mean? Not much, if you fail to figure out just how these advertisements are impacting the consumer in the first place.

The mobile phone has changed the way the consumer views advertising. So, isn’t it time that we change the way we create advertising?

Neuromarketing research allows advertisers to access and tap into the emotional and subconscious responses that a consumer is already experiencing when they encounter an advertisement. Researchers are able to record and analyze a person’s emotional response to sensory stimuli. This offers insight on the actual impact that ads are having on their target audience, on a much deeper level than can be gleaned from more traditional research methods, such as surveys or interviews.

One prime example is how we helped a national turkey brand use Neuromarketing research to extend their brand beyond Thanksgiving. We recorded the biometric responses of consumer response to a series of concept boards focused on Thanksgiving experiences. Biometric measurement of galvanic skin response, heart rate, and respiration, allowed our research team to get a glimpse into the unconscious emotional responses to Holiday festivities. Based on the study results, we were able to understand the emotional meaning of the Thanksgiving experience and the role the turkey brand played. The results of this study led us to develop implications for brand extension beyond Thanksgiving and an emotionally engaging campaign.

This methodology can be adapted for every medium of advertising, including mobile phone advertisements. As a consumer experiences a wide range of emotions and levels of engagement on a daily basis, A key to highly effective adverting is to understand which messages evoke positive emotions

Neuromarketing research can help highlight and understand these highs and lows, and develop more engaging messages for specific demographics. Want to learn more about Neuromarketing research and how it works? Download our white paper here.

Week In Marketing: Virtual Reality Videos, Twitter Polls, Best Posting Times, New Beverage Ads, Starbucks Express


1. Facebook Goes Virtual
Facebook has added 360-degree virtual reality videos to its newsfeed. Brands such as Disney and NBC have already jumped on this new feature with others soon to follow in the near future.

There is a lot more coming with Facebook in the future.

2. Love the Smell of Instagram in the Morning
Research has been conducted to see when is the best time for brands to post. Studies have shown that brands get more attention between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. How will this affect future brands? How will this change the way brands interact with consumers?

3. New Beverage Ads
Pepsi and Heineken have come out with some new commercials that are worth checking out:

– Seattle Seahawks standout Marshawn Lynch is featured in Pepsi’s new TV spot. Lynch is known for his dynamic attitude during post-game interviews and this ad doesn’t fall short of him living up to this. The commercial features him mouthing words as someone else does the talking for him. He then takes a swig of the Pepsi and finishes with a one-liner. Well done Pepsi.

– Heineken’s new ad features Daniel Craig as the infamous James Bond. The commercial gives a cinematic feel different from what other brands have done in the past. It is action-packed, suspenseful, and highlights the brand in a new light to drive the consumers’ interests.

4. Twitter experiments with user-generated polls
Twitter is testing a polling feature within tweets. Using the feature, Twitter users can ask followers to pick between two choices, with the number of respondents showing up within the tweet. Each poll lasts 24 hours. A handful of brand accounts, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and NFL on ESPN, have already taken advantage of the tool. The company hasn’t announced details nor when the service would roll out to all profiles.

5. Starbucks Express Checkout?
The wait is literally over! Starbucks has implemented a new app where customers can order through the app and pay to avoid waiting in those long, winding lines. This opens up a door for the brand, making it more convenient and accessible for those coffee lovers. Make it to your destination on time and order online!

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Going The Distance For 1-800-Pack-Rat

When moving and storage container business 1-800-Pack-Rat asked us to help drive more traffic to their site, we of course had a few questions. As it turned out, so did many of their potential customers. How does it work? What are your containers made of? Do you move long distance? We saw a big opportunity using FAQs, and delivered a series of web videos that people would actually want to watch.


Week in Marketing: Bacon Lovers, Fighting Ad Blockers, Direct Arrow, Interactive Advertising, Smart Home

WeekInmarketing bacon

1. Oscar Mayer Wants to Help You Find Love
Who doesn’t love bacon? Oscar Mayer has just launched an app called “Sizzl” to help users “find their bacon soulmates.” The app allows users to create a profile and enter their bacon preferences, and then matches them with other users based on a mutual-matching system, similar to Tinder. Users are then able to message and meet up with one another. The app is free on iTunes.

2. Marketers Gear Up to Fight Ad Blockers
As more and more consumers install ad blockers within their web browser of choice, more and more advertisers are considering investing in technology that would effectively block the ad blockers. While most people install ad blockers to reduce page loading time and protect their privacy, the ads that are being blocked have cost advertisers and publishers an estimated $22 billion. This could prompt more websites to require members to pay for access in order to recoup, if a solution isn’t found to combat the losses.

3. DKNY Gets Direct With Fans During NY Fashion Week
It’s Fashion Week in New York, and DKNY is taking advantage of the event along with Instagram’s new “direct” arrow. By following the looks from the show via the #DKNYSS16 hashtag, fans will be able to send their favorite looks directly to DKNY’s official account. In turn, the brand will respond directly with content and background information about the designs, in an attempt to personalize marketing to the fans.

4. Hershey Offers Free Chocolate for A Smile
Hershey is one of the latest to turn towards interactive advertising. The brand created a kiosk that uses technology that is able to read and analyze human emotion from a single expression. Upon being approached, the kiosk prompts consumers to smile into the machine for a free sample.

5. Smart Home by CNET
CNET launched a smart home in Louisville, Ky., where its editorial team can see how the homes of tomorrow will function. The staff can tinker with the various gadgets home owners are expected to buy over the next three to five years. Generally the tech inside the smart home will focus on giving consumers a peek at how they can make their homes more secure, energy efficient and comfortable. As part of the project, it launched a hub for all of its smart-home reviews.

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Week In Marketing: Advertising on Social Channels, Retweets of Love, Marketing Stunts, and Silent Ads


1. Starbucks brings back a Fall fan favorite Tumblr promotion
With Fall ready to make its debut, Starbucks fans are on edge waiting for their first chance to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). What better way for Starbucks to introduce its new Tumblr account. This year, if you were a MyStarbucksRewards member, you were lucky enough to get your pumpkin-fix early through a Tumblr promotion. By entering the password “pumpkin” and a mobile phone number, members were sent a pass to show to their barista for their first PSL of the season.

2. Diet Coke shows fan appreciation with “ReTweets of Love”
Diet Coke is taking fan appreciation to a new level with their new “ReTweets of Love” campaign, but its more than just a simple ReTweet. When Diet Coke fanatics tweet about their love for the popular soft drink there is a chance they could see their tweets used in jewelry, framed artwork, a large-scale outdoor mural in New York City or even in the pages of their favorite magazine. This is just one way Diet Coke is returning the love to their fans.

3. Cadillac hits new heights for latest Marketing Stunt
The west side of Manhattan was taken by surprise as Cadillac airlifted vehicles from their new XT5 luxury crossover line. This stunt was part of the launch plan and partnership with a fashion and design firm. Cadillac is hoping to grab the attention of a different audience with this campaign, the main focus being fashionistas rather than car buffs.

4. A Silent McConaughey in new Lincoln ads
In the latest version of Lincolns ad campaign with Matthew McConaughey, the actor uses no words to captivate viewers, but the ad tells a story through events and the product itself. Under new direction, the three part ad series tells a story that can be followed and further explored on the Lincoln website where viewers can also learn more about the Lincoln MKX series.

5. Instagram offers more options for Advertising
Instagram has been slowly expanding its advertising game for the past two years. Now its opening up the option to any advertisers as well as expanding to 30 global markets. Along with this expansion they are introducing a “home-page takeover” called marquee, as well as techniques to utilize the new non-square photo options. The same tools used for purchasing Facebook ads will be used to purchase ads on Instagram.

Week In Marketing: Burger Wars, Drinkable Ads, Instagram Sizes, Google’s Logo and Crowdsourcing


1. McDonald’s Declines Potential Partnership with Burger King
McDonald’s and Burger King have been in increasingly bitter competition over the fast food market for decades, a competition that has been aptly named the “Burger Wars.” However, this week Burger King put out full-page ads in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune asking for a ceasefire to the “Burger Wars” between themselves and McDonald’s. Burger King, acting in conjunction with nonprofit Peace One Day, proposed that the two companies join up to create a limited edition “McWhopper” that would be sold on International Peace Day. McDonald’s politely declined, saying that the two brands “could do something better to make a difference” in a statement sent out by CEO Steve Easterbrook, It looks like our dreams of a McWhopper will have to be put on hold.

2. Coke Zero’s Drinkable Ads
While you can’t literally drink Coke Zero’s new ads, the “first-of-its-kind drinkable marketing campaign” comes pretty close. If viewers use the Shazam app during one of Coke Zero’s 10 new college-football themed commercials, they will see a glass on their smartphone begin to fill with Coke Zero. Once it is filled, the viewer will be awarded with a coupon for a free 20-ounce Coke Zero at retailers including 7-Eleven, QuickTrip and Domino’s.

3. New Portrait and Landscape Formats for Instagram
Instagram users and advertisers alike are ecstatic at Instagram’s decision to incorporate portrait and landscape formats into the app. While the change seems miniscule at first glance, businesses are already feeling less constrained by the app and advertisers are already rolling out new, more creative ads using the new formats. Instagram prides itself on its minimalist look and feel, but the need to make money may force them to begin catering to advertisers more and more, like other social platforms.

4. Google Unveils Flexible New Logo
Say goodbye to Google’s familiar face; the iconic Google logo that we have all known and recognized for so long will be getting a makeover. Not only does the logo look more modern, it also has the ability to transform to fit Google’s other services and products. The brand’s leadership team had this to say about the new logo, “We think we’ve taken the best of Google and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.”

5. Marriott Crowdsourcing New Innovations
While many businesses have begun catering to millennials, few have done it as ingeniously as Marriott. But how did they know what millennials wanted? Simple¬—they just asked them. Marriott asked millennials how they could improve their hotels to better cater to the younger generation. The response was extremely enthusiastic, and some of the ideas that were generated include health-conscious vending machines, shops with authentic gifts in the lobby and a “bartender-in-residence” program. “Digital is not a phase, digital is something that has to be a part of the Marriott culture going forward. It has to be a part of the Marriott DNA,” says Kenyon Rogers, Marriott’s former senior manager of digital channel research.

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Kicking-off the Season with Media Buys

It’s finally here, football season. The time of year where fans throw on their favorite jersey and get riled up to witness their number one team fumble, or claim victory. Not only does competition take the field; it tackles the media as well.


ACC QB Challenge Presented by KIOTIWe were looking for a way to take brand recognition to the next level for our client, KIOTI Tractor. So, we reached out to Raycom Sports to discuss a media buy that would present a unique opportunity to elevate KIOTI’s brand. After a few conversations and negotiations, we kicked-off our efforts with a media buy consisting of a sponsorship featuring a new ACC football gaming app and syndicated television, digital, mobile and social promotions.

In August, we collaboratively launched the new gaming app, ACC QB Challenge Presented by KIOTI Tractor, with the television, digital and social promotion following suit. But before the big buy, three integral aspects were considered: placement, price and relationships.

First and foremost, we had to consider the placement of the buy to the right audience, at the right time both effectively and efficiently. After determining a correlation between KIOTI Tractor dealer locations and the ACC Network’s broadcast coverage, our team pursued sponsorship opportunities with Raycom. The ACC Network affiliates reach more than 80% of US households, and the ACC QB Challenge Presented by KIOTI Tractor gaming app is free and accessible through any smart phone or tablet. These allow brand recognition to reach the intended audience in a fun and interactive way.

It’s important to consider competitors’ budgets, and if they can outspend our client; it’s equally as imperative to find ways to maximize the impact of a media spread. After witnessing the success of Raycom’s previous sponsorship opportunities, as well as their dedication to quality, our team knew that the teaming up with Raycom would result in something exciting, highly merchandisable and a great value for the dollar.

The relationship between agencies, clients and outside parties are essential to making the buy happen, and is arguably the most important aspect of a buy. Together, the parties have created a platform that creates positive brand affiliation between Raycom, the ACC and KIOTI Tractor.

We’re excited to witness KIOTI receive maximum exposure, spreading over a variety of different and new audiences.

Be sure to stay on the lookout for KIOTI Tractor orange this football season!