Tag Archives: Entertainment

Riding the TIDAL Wave

By: Dallas J. Short

It has been about eight weeks, since the mega star press conference that launched TIDAL and #TIDAL4ALL. “TIDAL is the first music service with high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and curated editorial, expertly crafted by music journalists.”

Since then, people have been already saying it’s a flop, it’s dying and hurling insults. My question, have these people actually used TIDAL or is it just fun to hate on Jay Z and wish that he finally fails at something? Seems a bit too early to be writing its tombstone. I signed up for the 30-day free trial after the launch and have recently started my paid subscription. There are a few things I would like to address about the TIDAL service.

Jay Z and TIDAL never declared war on Spotify or other subscription services. He previously stated “They don’t have to lose for me to win.” TIDAL, Spotify and others might seem similar, but there are differences.

The sound quality of TIDAL is better. For people complaining about TIDAL costing more, you can pay the same price as other subscriptions and receive the same quality. You are paying extra for the higher quality, which is extremely noticeable through good speakers. I grew up spending my allowance, lunch money and whatever money I could get on music, so paying $20 a month for the high quality version still seems like I won.

The curated playlists are more intriguing. From what inspired your favorite musician, to what your favorite athlete trains to, to what a veteran journalist has created in an audio time capsule. These are not songs randomly thrown together. I’m had playlists from Angie Martinez, Elliot Wilson and the Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder playlist on repeat. “Simply the Best” is the only thing I play at the gym.

The exclusive content, songs and videos. Taylor Swift, who has her music removed from other streaming services, is on TIDAL. Jack White streamed an intimate concert through TIDAL X. Prince, who is usually anti-industry, steamed his live concert in Baltimore. Rihanna, Beyonce and others have released music exclusively on TIDAL. There is behind the scenes of videos and tours. You can win passes to exclusive TIDAL subscriber only contests. (While working on this blog, I won tickets to a private Jay Z concert this weekend, where he will only be doing his B-Sides/less mainstream songs. That alone would cost more than my annual subscription. I created a Jay Z playlist titled “Not a Businessman.”)

TIDAL gives more royalties to the artists. Support the musicians you like, let them be able to continue to create the soundtrack for your life. Yes, I have mentioned the big names and that is what will bring most people in, but TIDAL is about the music and connecting you to the artist. There are independent and underground talent who deserve to make more money from streams.

“TIDAL Discovery is the place for the up and comer. The new kid on the block. The unsigned. The undiscovered. In partnership with PHONOFILE and Record Union, TIDAL Discovery is bringing you the new place to come together. Supported and encouraged by the biggest names in music. With TIDAL Discovery, unsigned artists can upload their original music using PHONOFILE or Record Union and be heard for the first time. The possibilities are endless.”

TIDAL Rising is a featured category below “What’s New” that emphasizes growing musicians. Users can browse by album or by track, check out Q&A’s and learn more about some of music’s more concealed talent. The roster changes and it is not locked in on one genre. TIDAL lists it as “A program dedicated to artists from around the globe who have passionate fan bases and are ready to broaden that base to a wider audience. TIDAL Rising was designed to help accelerate the exposure and give voice to tomorrow’s biggest names.”

TIDAL is not based on making the rich richer, so far, it has kept the fan and the music at the forefront. It is new, it will grow and it will make errors, just as other streaming services have. You have nothing to lose, but trying out a free subscription. I have yet to meet anyone who does not like it. I have heard people just not want to recreate their playlists from other services. TIDAL also have a way import your playlists.

I’m not a complete fanboy here. I am just a supporter of great music, hearing it as best I can, discovering new talent and artists being better compensated. Are you? Make your own decision about it.

Have you tried TIDAL yet? http://www.tidal.com

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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Let the Madness Begin!

By: Dallas J. Short

March Madness is upon us. If you have not filled out a bracket, time is running out, but be warned: the person who does not watch college sports will probably win. It just happens. If you do not have an interest in the NCAA Tournament, sorry, but it almost becomes unavoidable. There is still a good chance it is the big buzz around your office or by a lot of people you know, it is especially a huge deal on social media. Expect the hashtag #MarchMadness to be trending for the next 3 weeks.

While Facebook will definitely include predictions, outbursts, and reactions – people will be on Twitter and keeping with up the action in real time. According to the research Twitter has done with DB5, “75% of sports fans on Twitter use the platform to follow their favorite teams and athletes, and 61% follow their Twitter feed and/or Tweet while watching sports on TV. Nearly half (49%) say they feel as close to the action following games on Twitter as they do watching them on TV.”

Last year, Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings found that in the US, TV broadcasts of the tournament generated 14.1M Tweets and 1.6B Tweet impressions.

Even if your team was ripped off and wasn’t selected for the tourney (Miami Hurricanes, Temple Owls), this is an exciting time in sports. The college players play with not only skill, but so much passion and heart – that it is not as easily predictable as the major professional sports. Anything can happen and there will be “madness” indeed. Duke (3) was upset last year by Mercer (14) and Twitter exploded and it actually became more tweeted about than even the Championship final. Duke is a #1 seed this year, people love to hate Duke, so let’s see how they do this year. Another story to follow is Kentucky, also a #1 seed – they went the entire season undefeated, how long will the ride last?

There are so many experts and self-presumed experts on Twitter right now, it is easy to learn more about the players, the coaches, the matchups, predictions and more. It becomes fun and addictive to stay in the know and follow along as it goes. No matter if you are using Twitter for personal or professional use during #MarchMadness, you will want to be in the know.

In 2014, Twitter users were as engaged on game days as they were on non-game days, so this a great chance for brands to be involved and jump into the conversation as well. Be prepared to be locked in until at least April 7 (Championship game is April 6), fans are watching and responding, they want a brand they feel like they are watching the tournament with, not being sold to while trying to enjoy it. Brands need to respect the intensity of the game and the fans. People tend to have deep ties to college sports and it is not just a random or forced association.

As I said in my blog for Get in the Game: Tips for Tweeting on Super Sunday, this is an opportunity for you and your brands to connect and engage on a more natural level and develop meaningful interactions and relationships. With games starting March 17 and ending on April 6, this gives you a lot more time to build and strengthen those bonds with fans, followers, and possible/future fans and followers. Do not waste any more time, jump in now.

As far as who my predictions are to win? Well, we are doing an office pool and I believe in the jinx. So, let’s talk more in a few weeks. When I’m not at work, you can be sure I’ll be tweeting along. @Meddafore If you feel like throwing your predictions out there, feel free to do so. If you think there is a better platform for #MarchMadness engagement, please let me know that too.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Free Agency & NFL Trades

By: Dallas J. Short

In case you forgot, the NFL proved this week (more so than usual), that it is indeed a business first. Veterans, starting QBs, Super Bowl Champions, no one was safe and job security was thrown out the window.

Here are a few of the dealings that caught my attention this week:

The New England Patriots decided not to pick up the $20 million second year option on cornerback Darrelle Revis, he then went and cashed in by reuniting with the New York Jets for 5 years, $70 million, with $39 million guaranteed. Revis said he was following his heart, not the money. He obviously has a heart of gold. After a bad few years, Gang Green has a reason to smile again, while Patriots Nation stick to believing in Brady and Belichick.

The Patriots’ running back Shane Vereen is out of Foxboro as well and now with the New York Giants. Vereen said joining the Giants is a “step up”, not sure how going from winning the Super Bowl to a team that did not make the playoffs is a good thing. I’m sure his new fans loved hearing it, but it just sounds ridiculous.

New Orleans Saints let Pro Bowler, tight end Jimmy Graham go and he ended up with the Seattle Seahawks. The Saints had just given him a $40 million contract a year ago. The Seahawks were already a solid team and with him now, they have got to be the favorite to head back to the Super Bowl. While some players during free agency are going to downgraded teams, this is a big win win for Jimmy and Seattle.

Two stars who have shined time and time again, but I guess once you get to that 30 club, that shines diminishes in how your team judges your worth. The San Francisco 49’ers running back Frank Gore and Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson were also released from the teams they have taken to the playoffs. This worked out well, with both former Miami Hurricanes ended up together on the Indianapolis Colts, where they are online trying to recruit other Miami Hurricanes players to come to Indy. (Currently defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who the Patriots also let go after 11 seasons, but the Pats might pick him back up.

The St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford and the Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles swapped cities, sort of how Michael Vick and Mark Sanchez did before (Philadelphia and New York), but this seemed more intentional. It could possibly be the most pointless trade, as I predict they will both end up as third stringers, behind a draft pick QB from this year.

There were a lot of things that happened (Suh to Miami, the other Eagles moves, etc.), and they will be a lot more going on before the season starts. It has been fun watching Twitter explode (announcements and reactions from players and fans), Facebook meltdown with related memes, and Adam Schefter is putting in a crazy amount of overtime to break as many stories as possible.
I stopped buying players jerseys and almost think it could be a jinx. If you like a player too much, he’ll be gone. Loyalty lies with the fans and it is a job for the players and owners, sometimes it would be nice though if NFL teams could act like it cared a little bit more and not just know no matter who they give you or take away, you’re stuck with supporting them and spending money anyway.

Were there any deals made you that liked? How did your team make out? Is your favorite player still allowed to be your favorite player?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

The Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations

By: MJ Pedone

The terms marketing and public relations seem to always be confused and intertwined. While they do compliment each other, there certainly is a difference between the two. I’m frequently asked the difference and below I have included the differences.

Marketing
Marketing is the development of an image through collateral strategies such as your website, logo, ads, writing, social media, bio and a media kit. Experienced marketing and design professionals will assist with writing and developing your marketing materials, which will save you money in the long run. Marketing professionals will brand you the way you want and in a timely fashion.

Public Relations
Public Relations is the development and management of an image. This consists of media outreach which includes print, tv, radio, digital, social media, blogging, charity/non-profit outreach, obtaining endorsements and the distribution of press releases and media kits.

The majority of people think that public relations is an area where they can save money and do the work themselves. Writing press releases and sending them to media outlets isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The time involved in writing the releases and researching the correct contacts can take almost an entire day. Do you know the techniques involved in writing an eye-catching press release and how to obtain the correct contacts to submit your release to? Or how to “pitch” your story so that those reading it are eager to hear more and feature you? Editors today are over-pitched and hit the delete button very quickly so you will need to make sure that you don’t fall into that category.

Here are some tips when you should hire a PR expert:
• You have a solid marketing plan in place
• You want to utilize a professional who has existing relationships with the media
• You understand the value of hiring a team experienced in executing successful PR campaigns.
• You realize that although you have experience in your industry, a PR professional will brings added value to the table
• You realize that you won’t gain the earned media and awareness that you seek by just talking about it and need to hire someone who can

The power of PR can catapult your brand instantly. Start with a solid marketing plan using experienced professionals and than launch your PR campaign with a public relations team who has the experience and contacts to do so. Let the publicist do what they do best while you tend to the day-to-day needs of your business.

Do you use a publicist to get the message out for your company? Is your campaign effective? As always, we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Crowd Social Marketing

By: MJ Pedone

We’ve always trusted family and friends to give us recommendations. Now, marketers are finding ways to combine this age-old referral process with social media. It’s also called crowd-sourced marketing. This is where the social media “crowd” shares your content and conversations for free on a global web. According to a report by Nielsen, 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family as those are their trusted resources.

Use these social media tactics to reach prospects through digital “world of mouth”. This will amplify your leads, prospects and sales by tapping into the power of the online crowd.

  1. Go above and beyond realistic expectations

Exceeding expectations will always be the best way to earn referrals. Focus on establishing clear expectations and blowing them away before you dive into social media. Don’t promise anything that’s out of your scope or processes. A dedicated customer support staff is one way to communicate expectations. A personal connection is the best way to earn trust that will last after the buying process. Getting to the point where you discuss interests or even spend time together is the goal. This type of connection will make them feel comfortable with referring your service to others.

  1. Add Rich Pins on Pinterest

Tap into Pinterest’s 70 million users to increase referrals. Target added Rich Pins to their strategy and within the first six weeks, they had a 70 percent Pinterest referral increase, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Rich Pins allow additional information to be included with a pin. The most effective Rich Pin for businesses is the product pin, which includes real time pricing and availability information, interested pinners get notified if a price drops. Follow the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of pins should be products. The other material should be inspiring and useful information for your audience. These pins will be shared at a higher rate and increase word of mouth marketing.

  1. Implement a Facebook referral promotion

Facebook has implemented changes to increase referrals with the popularity of mobile usage. The changes have been effective, a report from Shareaholic revealed referrals from Facebook have grown 48.85 percent since September and represented 17.41 percent of all website referrals in November.

A Facebook referral promotion is a strategy leveraged by companies to earn referrals. A referral promotion is created by offering a base reward, like a coupon, for any user who completes a sign-up process. The user then earns credits toward a greater reward, like a gift card, as he refers more people to enter the promotion. This earns word-of-mouth referrals as people discuss the prize at hand.

  1. Share industry insights on LinkedIn

Social Sharing Platform Buffer experienced a 4000 percent increase in blog referral traffic from Linkedin over the past year. This is credited to Linkedin being the third-fastest growing social network and Buffer’s update and sharing strategy. Linkedin reported 6 out of 10 users are interested in industry insights. Offering original research and industry wisdom will get people talking about your content. This conversation drives people to your website and locks in loyal readers. A customer is much more likely to use a service if they get value from the company’s blog and social pages.

  1. Create and promote giveaways and contests

Ask customers to provide leads in exchange for raffle tickets for a gadget, tablet or industry tool. This leads to referrals from customers familiar with your service and product. A Facebook contest is another great way to create buzz and bring in leads. Dove created the Real Beauty Should Be Shared contest where entrants shared stories of people who represent real beauty. User-generated contests take away the cost of a prize item and get people talking about your brand in a positive light.

  1. Create an internal sharing network

According to Jack Morton Worldwide, 49 percent of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness. Employees often have more robust and active social accounts than employers. Encourage employees to share company content with their personal network. This comes back to that 80/20 rule, don’t expect employees to share content if it’s constant promotion. An organized system for internal sharing is the social tool Addvocate. This makes content sharing user friendly and more effective with analytics.

  1. Update in time of crisis

The social media platform Buffer, faced a social-media crisis when their system was hacked in October. The company had to put their own social media advice to use. Users began tweeting and posting about spam and other issues. Buffer responded with a support tweet 16 minutes after the initial complaint. The reaction from customers was overwhelmingly positive and earned Buffer some positive press. When mistakes happen, be prepared to update customers of exactly what happened and what you’re doing to correct the situation. This creates a positive memory despite a negative circumstance.

  1. Ask for referrals on social media and return the favor

It’s essential to consistently ask for referrals. This seems obvious but 72 percent of marketers still don’t recognize and leverage the value of customer referrals, according to research by Loyalty 360.

Asking over social media takes little time and clients will feel more obligated to respond to keep their account looking fresh. A referral request can be attached to any email or built into a PPC ad. However, offering an incentive will increase the conversion rate. Similar to a Facebook referral promotion, offer discounts or rewards for referral traffic. Think about colleagues and friends that could benefit from your client’s services. This quid pro quo effect increases the chance of a referral. 85 percent of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others. Use Facebook as a medium to promote your clients to others and the same will happen in return.

  1. Follow and engage in social conversations

You should already be engaging with the social media audience. Positive feedback is easy to handle, but responding to negative comments is warranted if validity is there. Companies like Zappos and LifeLock make a point to promptly respond to users on their Facebook pages. This strategy provides consistent customer service while increasing the brand’s buzz.

Fans recommending brands on Facebook do so because of either the quality of the product or based on the customer experience. 

   10. Identify influencers

Reaching out to the influential figures in your customer circles is the best free promotion available. Tools like Topsy and Followerwonk show the most-shared tweets and bloggers or executives with the largest social following. Make a connection with these influencers and show how your product provides value for their followers. This will provide target audience exposure that can’t be duplicated by another method. Pinbooster allows marketers to analyze their Pinterest campaign, identifying the most shared pins and highly influential pinners.

What have you found works for you to date? Have you been researching other social strategies? As always, I welcome all feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

Who will win the 2014 World Cup: Coke or Pepsi?

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are always battling for consumer attention surrounding big events and the World Cup is no exception. What’s exciting this time? The soft drink giants are battling it out for PR headlines and video content with real-time, interactive branded experiences.

Coca-Cola Company

This year, FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola launched its first global real-time marketing campaign around the World Cup. They will generate insight from social data to analyze and respond to real-time feedback from fans across 14 platforms during the matches.

In April, Coke released a digital “One World, One Game” documentary telling the story of how four football teams from different parts of the world overcame difficulties through their love of the sport. They are backing this with their third “Trophy Tour” which is a 221-day tour that will take the Jules Rimet Prize to every country that has won the World Cup.  People in every city the tour stops in will be able to take a picture with the trophy. Additionally, Coke will be giving out 1 million free samples of soda and branded footballs “to encourage people to take part in more physical activity.” A series of short “Where Will Happiness Strike Next” films will also be captured during the tour further supporting the content drive with real-time marketing activity.

Joseph Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer at the Coca-Cola Company, says: “Through ‘The World’s Cup’ campaign, Coca-Cola wants to celebrate real people playing football, demonstrating how the game is a force for a more inclusive and connected world.”

PepsiCo

Pepsi is looking to steal Coke’s spotlight with their own World Cup campaign, #FutbolNow with FC Barcelona player, Lionel Messi fronting it. The campaign includes nearly 100 companies and promotes brand ambassador Janelle Monae’s remix of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The song is used in a TV ad, “Now Is What You Make It” featuring Messi and other World Cup hopefuls and following Icelandic rapper Stony in Rio playing the song on Pepsi bottles and other everyday objects. While watching the ad fans can unlock original content at various points.

Pepsi also created a documentary, “The Art of Football” that explores their art collection of street art, photography and football.

Where I think where Pepsi trumps Coke is by giving fans a unique and immersive experience with their #FutbolNow skills challenge featured on 20 interactive vending machines around the world. A large video screen on the front of the machines allows users to play a motion-sensor football game with free drinks as a reward if you can keep a virtual ball in the air for 30 seconds while doing all the moves prompted on the screen. They are directly getting people who are engaging with Pepsi to simultaneously engage in physical activity.

When you add in a game component you will attract far more people than if you didn’t use something interactive with a competitive component to it. This should prove to be a big winner with hype spreading through word of mouth, rather than direct advertising.

Kristin Patrick, global chief marketing officer for beverages at PepsiCo, says the campaign aims to build on its “long-history” of working with the world’s best football talent. “Our content plan to capture this spirit celebrates the creative passion of footballers with music and how both of these awesome forces inspire us to Live For Now.”

Both of these marketing campaigns are well thought out and will be successful and by connecting people around their favorite soda with fun, interactive content each company is strengthening the perception of their brand. Although I am a diehard Cherry Coke Zero loyalist, I give the trophy to Pepsi this year. In both you get a free soda but nothing beats the sweet satisfaction from showing off your skills in front of friends and strangers to earn the reward and bragging rights!

What do you think of these multi-layered campaigns? Are you more enticed by Coke’s connected world theme or Pepsi’s focus on physical activity? As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.

 

How Podcasts Can Help Your Business

Author: Gina Mason

There seems to be a trend here in New York City and after walking around for just five minutes, you may notice it too. The trend of plugging in and tuning out seems to have caught on and literally everyone is wearing headphones these days. Sure, this could be problematic for people crossing the street or for humanity in general, but in an attempt to find the silver lining, it is a great thing for people who utilize the power of the podcast.

For those of you who are still stuck in the Walkman days, a podcast is defined by Merriam Webster as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Thanks to modern technology, podcasts can now be recorded and downloaded anywhere on almost any mobile device. Who needs the radio when you can eliminate traditional advertisements, annoying DJs and tune into the topics or music you want to hear? Not to mention, podcast popularity is growing at an exponential rate. From news outlets to the White House to Podcast.com, these digital episodes are popping up everywhere.

Some of you may be thinking, podcasts are great for personal use, but why should I start one for my business? Here are a few reasons why you should consider using podcasts as a marketing tool:

It’s easy and inexpensive

It doesn’t cost much to start your own podcast and it takes less than five minutes to create an account. There are hundreds of free podcast hosting sites that you can use such as PodCast Garden, Blog Talk Radio, Podcast Machine and PodCast.com. All of which are FREE and easy to navigate and use. (Here at Indra PR, we LOVE Blog Talk Radio). The only thing you really need to begin your podcasts is little time, some great content, a phone and a Wi-Fi connection. It is as simple as that.  

You can brand your podcast

Just like anything else in business, the brand of your podcast is very important. Brainstorm a great name for your show and come up with an interesting logo that is similar to your business logo. This leads me to my next point, be sure to keep the brand of your podcast aligned with your business. For example, if you are a mechanic, talk about the auto industry, interview influencers and share tips on what you have learned over the years. Also, utilize your podcast to drive people to your website, blog and/or social media sites. With that in mind, try not to overload your listeners with too much self-promotional information during the episode.

You control the content

Podcasts are another great tool to spread your strategic message to your target audience and distinguish yourself as an industry expert. Podcasts provide you with an informal way to “get inside in mind of your audience,” and speak to them directly. However, the content of your podcast is very important so make sure that you have an outline of topics or ideas when doing your show live. However, don’t forget to have fun with your podcast! Content is key, but if you are entertaining during your podcast will be more successful and you will keep listeners coming back for more.

The benefits of podcasts go on and on, but the most important thing to keep in mind when starting a podcast is consistency. To build a following, you need to make sure that you are consistently posting new episodes and that you are keeping your content fresh and exciting. Podcasts can really give you a great alternative when it comes to communicating directly with your audience and can expand your marketing efforts.

Lastly, be sure to check out Indra Public Relations’ podcast, Live with MJ! on Blog Talk Radio. Live with MJ! features Indra’s very own President & Founder, MJ Pedone and me, Gina Mason as her co-host. Each week, MJ and I interview influencers who are making an impact and discusses everything from sports and entertainment to philanthropic and charity events.  Here is the link to the Live with MJ! to learn more: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/livewithmj

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.