Sure I love the Fall because it gets cooler, football season is finally back and the leaves change color, but as a marketer I really love Fall because that means we are approaching planning season. It is the time of year we get to look back at what we have accomplished and look forward to the future. We get to have long brainstorm sessions with our clients and think through the best strategies to meet the opportunities and challenges their brands face.
As you look forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving don’t forget to pull out your planning hat and remember to keep three things in mind to ensure you have a solid Marketing Communications Plan for 2013.
- Update Your SWOT: Too often marketers neglect to reassess their company or brand’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Looking at these internal and external factors is critical to developing realistic goals and objectives and the supporting strategies.
- Look For Trends: You should be staying on top of this throughout the year, but now is the time to revisit the articles, surveys and research you have been collecting to pull out implications. Finding out things like how your audience is currently consuming digital and social media may be critical to your plan next year. Looking at trends will also open up your mind to new options and out of the box thinking rather than simply adjusting the status quo.
- Include Measurement: Often thought of after the fact, the details of how you will measure your plan may not only help you sell it through to senior management and provide data to validate mid-year adjustments, but when successful you’ll have a greater sense of accomplishment that can truly energize the organization.
What key indicators are you planning for 2013? How will you create and execute a strategy that will drive success in the coming year? Share your thoughts and ideas below.
With the advent of Social Media, the need for transparency in marketing communications is a subject that’s often broached when working with clients. Recognizing that transparency falls on a spectrum and should range from “tell only the good stuff but never lie” to “put it all on the table” is important when crafting marketing communications.
I propose that a company’s relationship with a customer isn’t all that different from a romantic relationship between two people. More »
It is official: summer is starting to wind down. The signs are all here. The temps are slowly climbing back down, and you are no longer dripping with sweat from a 10-second walk to your car. You are beginning to pull out your favorite football jersey in anticipation of the big game. And when you walk into Wal-Mart you spot aisles full of Christmas items. We can’t stop fall from coming, but to help ease your grieving we can give you the top five stories from this week you need to be reading.
1. What’s My Age Again?
There is a certain stigma with being young in the public relations world. A prime example appears in this widely distributed INC. article. The author bashes companies who trust social media to their interns and entry-level employees. And in a great twist of stories, a blogger wrote a post (which was reported by PR Daily) explaining all the reasons why companies SHOULD let newer and younger employees take larger roles in social media. Both sides make valid points, but we all applaud Lauren Rothering for taking a stand for the 23-year-olds in this field. It’s an important lesson to learn that you have to value all of your employees. Even if you think they are not as knowledgable, everyone has a perspective and value to add to your company or agency.
2. They’re baaaaaacccckkkk.
Say hello to QR codes. They seem to creep in every corner. They pop up on packaging, and you can rarely get a mailer without one jumping in your face. We could debate all day about the uses/strengths/weakness/etc., but this PR Daily article is reporting a whole new place they are most frequently being used – inside consumer homes. 60 percent of users who are scanning do it from home, reports Scanlife. This may not be groundbreaking or exciting, but it says something about how to reach consumers with these tools. With this information opens new doors and its time to start thinking how your QR code can get into the homes of your consumers.
3. Ben & Jerry’s Helps You Fix Your Sweet Tooth and Find Your Perfect Spooning Partner
We are the first ones to admit we love a great pun – which is probably why we have to love this new app by Ben & Jerry’s. It is common knowledge that most people don’t really know at least 50% of their Facebook fans. Never fear, Ben & Jerry’s enters in with the Wanna Spoon? App. The app looks for common connections between yourself and your friends on Facebook. When you match with someone, you can let them know with a message that includes “Ben & Jerry’s decided we’d make great spooning partners.” Ah, it’s pun heaven! You then are able to get a coupon for their new Greek Frozen Yogurt. Delicious and fun – best way to serve apps. (We weren’t kidding about the puns.)
4. Google Uses Newspaper Advertisement to Sell Google Advertisements… Cue Head Scratching.
In what they hoped to be a clever way to point out that newspaper advertising is dead, Google bought ad space in the Canadian Globe and Mail. The copy was simple, highlighting that people looking for services are searching online, not the newspaper. It is debated in the comments and reopens the question of how relevant newspapers still are. It is an interesting twist on advertising, and we almost admit it is clever. Not many people would think to advertise in the competition’s playing field. We should all take a lesson from Google and try to stretch beyond the norm. After all, if digital advertising is putting placements in print advertising space, can anyone really say there are limitations anymore? Read all about it on Mashable.
5. An Ode to Pepsi Advertising.
To warn you all: we could easily write 1,000 blog posts explaining all the reasons why we love Pepsi’s advertising strategy. It’s the way they beautifully target the young “Pepsi Generation.” Then, add in Pepsi’s ability to get influential stars to sell soda in such elaborate costumes (Everyone must give props to Nicki Minaj for making pink hair look normal). Then, the way they keep every advertisement similarly messaged while making them all feel different. It is literally advertising genius. To really get hype going about their “Live for Now” campaign, during the Nicki Minaj concert Pepsi live-streamed fans tweets in Times Square, as detailed in this Mashable article. While this isn’t the newest strategy, it’s important to highlight what an impressive and cohesive campaign Pepsi ran. They truly have targeted their fans and included their interests into every piece. The commercials always make you stop and watch. The radio advertisements are clever and witty, and the website with pop culture references and stories screams “Pepsi.” They really have committed to the “Pepsi Generation” strategy.
As the week comes to an end and the sweet smell of weekend bliss fills the office, take a moment to reminisce on this week’s hottest stories!
Incredibly Detailed Ink Illustrations
What is doodling? Maybe, it’s what happens when both your mind and pen begin to wander during a less-than exciting meeting. Perhaps, doodling is a form of relaxation when the work day is beginning to wind down and you’re brain switches into hibernation mode. Latvia-based artist Alex Konahin is putting doodlers to shame with his series of three-dimensional drawings, created through the simple tools of a black pen and hard work. Take a look!
Advertising in the A.M.
Have you ever stopped and thought about the amount of advertising you are exposed to on a daily basis? Probably not. Thankfully, Talent Zoo is breaking down our daily routines and opening our eyes to the constant flow of advertising being pumped into our minds. They’re examining everything from your morning cup of Joe to the songs jamming on the radio during your morning commute to work!
Skype Lands on the PlayStation Vita With Video Calls
Don’t you hate it when you’re in the middle of saving planet Earth from an alien invasion and you’re interrupted by a pesky phone call? Yeah, it’s a bummer. Well, thanks to the geniuses at Skype and PlayStation, you won’t have to choose between answering a call and saving the planet from complete annihilation. Skype and PlayStation have teamed up, allowing you to pause your planet-saving mission and answer the interrupting phone call. Mission complete.
Scientists Unveil Mind-Controlled Robot
Scientists in Switzerland have unveiled the latest in robotic technology, a robot that is manipulated through one’s thoughts. Through thinking the commands, the robot can be controlled through simple instructions such as which direction to turn. With the hopes of one day serving people with severe immobilizing disabilities, the scientists believe that the robot avatars will eventually help the disabled to interact with their surrounding environments.
Google Street View Investigation by U.S. Declared Closed
With a $25,000 fine and a teeny-tiny slap on the wrist, the federal investigation into illegal and unwanted Google Street View data collection is officially closed. Google came under fire in May 2011 for their unwanted data collection of emails and text messages, passwords, and Internet-usage history through their specially-equipped Google cruisers aimed at collecting information for Google Street View. A $25,000 fine later and a pinky-promise to be good, Google is set free to roam the streets and we’re left wondering if Google is watching.
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:
- “cute as hell”
- Did that just happen?!
And of course… kitties!
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?
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?
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:
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.
- 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.
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.”
“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.