In the Office

Weekly Wrap Up #26

We’ve had another exciting week here at HM&P. Like many of you, we spend some time looking at what’s going on these days. Here are 5 articles this week that caught our attention.

1. Instagram Purchased by Facebook for $1B

Yes, you read that correctly. ONE. BILLION. DOLLARS. Just last week we touted Instagram’s 1-million download mark, and one week later, the handful of employees from Instagram are sitting happily on a pile of cash! Instagram, which started in 2010 has grown incredibly and is easily one of the most used photo sharing applications for the iPhone, and now Android.

2. How do we do mobile?

AdWeek shows an infographic on how we use our mobile devices, including tablets. I’ll let the infographic speak for itself:

3. What makes a video go viral?

Mashable sat down with the partners of Seedwell who specialize in the production of viral videos and hit some key notes for a viral production. So what does make a video hit the top ranks on the web? The partners highlight three key points:

  1. Parody
  2. “cute as hell”
  3. Did that just happen?!

And of course… kitties!

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4. Drinking Boosts Creativity

No, I don’t mean you can get sloshed before you create a pitch or concept a full-on marketing plan. A couple drinks, however, can help your problem solving skills. Why? Alcohol removes the natural inhibitions that we have reserved and don’t express because of years of “education.” See: How Schools Kill Creativity So enjoy a beer or two, and watch the creative juices flow!

5. Dads are on the rise in Social

With more and more men becoming stay at home fathers, the rise of dads flocking to social media sites and blogs is on its way! Brands are seeing more dads using Pinterest, creating blogs for their day-to-day life at home, and becoming a more vocal part of the social sphere. So how will you leverage these guys?

The New JCP

You may have already seen the new J.C. Penney logo or heard about the new Fair & Square pricing, but did you know they launched the campaign this month to celebrate their 110th anniversary? Their ‘In Praise of Fresh Air’ launch event looks like it did just that– literally breathe fresh air into an old company.

What better way to add life to the brand and set the tone than to use Ellen Degeneres, a former J.C. Penney associate, as their spokesperson. I don’t think Ellen would come to mind as a persona to associate with JC Penney but isn’t that the goal – to launch jcp and to have Ellen make the new jcp come across as hip, fun and a little different. It will be interesting to see how this reinvention pans out. What do you think of the new jcp?


3 Myths Busted by B2B Social Media

This past month HM&P had the opportunity to bring back two former employees, Jeff Cohen (@jeffreylcohen) and Kipp Bodnar (@kippbodnar) to HM&P headquarters to share insights from their new book The Social Media B2B. Kicking off their book tour, they stopped off here at their old stomping grounds to give our team a presentation on the state of B2B Social Media. In the next few weeks, we will be sharing key takeaways from our session.  We hope you enjoy these insights and gain a new perspective on social media and it’s role within the B2B space.

Of the many myths that surround social media, Jeff and Kip aptly debunked the following:

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Social Media Is More Than A Tweet

Social media is more than a buzz word – it’s part of almost every campaign we work on these days. We all know it. The tough part is making sure your social media efforts produce results.
In fact, we held a lunch and learn here at HM&P about this last week. We welcomed two former HM&P-ers back to discuss how the social media landscape is changing. Kipp Bodnar and Jeff Cohen, who each led the HM&P social media team in the past, spent time with us and our clients to share insights and experiences. As the authors behind the top-rated B2B Social Media blog, they recently co-authored a book: The B2B Social Media Book.  Their mantra? Social media programs can – and should – produce major ROI. They should drive sales leads and garner engagement beyond the web. They should impact a business.

Here’s how:

  • Create original content: white papers, blogs, infographics
  • Strategically deliver it: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest
  • Create a call to action:  Webinar sign up, Facebook Like Gateway Download
  • Convert to leads: Funnel the information to the sales team
  • Get new business.

When you do it right, the results can be phenomenal. When you do it wrong, you are left asking where the value is.

We know our clients, friends and prospects ask these same questions. So, we spent some time with Kipp and Jeff. Asked them questions and picked their brains. We’ll be sharing those interviews here in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll find the information valuable and insightful.

Until then, check out their book. It’s a good read full of great tips.

Read 3 Myths Busted By B2B Social Media

The Step2® Company Names HM&P As Agency of Record

RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 17, 2011 – Howard, Merrell & Partners was recently named the agency of record for the Step2® Holdings Company, LLC – and its Step2® and Infantino® brands that foster learning and development through creative play in children from birth to school-age years. Howard, Merrell & Partners will provide brand management support, integrated marketing collaboration, public relations and social media, event planning, and creative development..

“We need an agency that can look at our business strategically and execute upon that knowledge in an integrated fashion across multiple marketing disciplines,” said Jerry McDermott, chief marketing officer, Step2® Holdings. “Howard, Merrell & Partners possesses a long and outstanding track record of seamlessly integrating marketing activities into unified campaigns that strengthen brands. We are looking forward to this partnership.”

Read the full release.

5 Ways To Connect With Consumers With Pinterest


“Are you on Pinterest?” This question is coming up in more and more conversations by the day. If you answered no, you’re missing out on one of today’s hottest social media platforms. Despite its invite-only status, Pinterest experienced tremendous growth with a 4,000% increase in site visits from 275,000 per week to 11,000,000 in the latter half of 2011. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where users can pin and organize images from around the web to different boards. These boards can help them do everything from collecting recipes for their next dinner party to discovering DIY tips for turning their old cardboard boxes into stylish storage solutions.

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Weekly Wrap Up #16 – It’s all about Facebook

This week in Facebook!

Yes, that’s right. This week’s wrap up is all about Facebook. The mega-awesome, all-inspiring, IPO-releasing (eventually…), Facebook.

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The Art of Storytelling

We don’t often realize the advertising industry is an intrinsically complex-natured place. Too many times do we attempt to “dumb things down” so that the essence of an idea, or concept, comes through without a hitch. We attempt to make things as simple as possible in order to get our “value proposition” in the right place. We make things simple in order to drive ROI. We make things simple to get better conversions on our landing pages.

As marketers, advertisers, creatives, and interactives we sometimes overlook one of the most beautiful aspects of what we love doing. As we keep delving into more data and more statistics in order to drive a bottom line, we forget to tell a story!

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Major Culture Shift and I’m Jumping on the Band Wagon

I’ve been at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC the 15th & 16th of November, and I have to admit I left feeling like a changed woman.  As for any conference, the speakers and sessions can be hit or miss.  I gained some valuable industry tips on paid search, digital marketing and SEO but the most impactful event for me was the keynote speaker, Gary Vaynerchuk.  Prior to the conference, I’d never heard of this guy and now I can’t wait to read his book, The Thank You Economy and use his business practices in my own life.

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Worst Ad in America – 2011

According to the readers of Consumerist magazine, the worst ad of 2011 is Luvs Diapers’ “Poop, There It Is.” Can’t say I’m too surprised. There’s something about competitive pooping that’s a bit disturbing to me.

So, one might say that Luvs really sh*t the bed on this TV spot. Or did they? It might not be the most liked ad out there, but it’s drawing plenty of attention. The brand is getting a lot of publicity. Hey, it made its way on this blog, and I assure you, it’s been posted on plenty of other sites too. That raises the old question, is bad/annoying advertising effective? Will Luvs’ stinky commercial move diapers off the shelf? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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