Tag Archives: Marketing

Lessons learned from this year’s Cannes Festival

By: Michael Scher

Lessons learned from this year’s Cannes Festival

As some of you are aware, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has just wrapped, the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. Beyond all of the hoopla, parties, red carpet events and celebrity sightings, it’s predominantly a communications platform where the most prestigious marketers and advertising professionals from around the world gather to share and build a home of great ideas. Ideas that spark innovation, creativity and most importantly, reshape the future of our business moving forward.

Among all of the great insight shared, here are some key lessons that will transform the course of communications in how we work and operate:

  1. Dare to be different. You have to push past your comfort zone in order to really create change,” said Evan Spiegel, CEO of SnapChat. He sees his company as “really trying to understand the world through people’s eyes.”
  2. The importance of rebuilding. Have power to silence your doubters and have emotional intensity to back it up.
  3. As marketers, it’s our job to lead by compassion. “People make brands. If people are compassionate, brands will be compassionate in return. We can lead each other to be a more compassionate, more empathic place. We can help change behavior. We can all learn from our mistakes and be more resilient. And we can, together, make a society where the sometimes distancing effect of technology doesn’t remove our fundamental humanity,” said Monica Lewinsky on her panel on Public Shaming.
  4. Explorations of technology, data, artificial intelligence, and collaboration, these were all common themes at this year’s event and panels. Pharrell Williams, Artist and Music Producer Extraordinaire, shared his insights on baking intention into the creative process and endeavors as the secret ingredient to one’s success. “In music, millennials know that you don’t really mean it when they can’t hear the intention – and that raises the stakes; it’s like when you see a film that looks good and has all the right actors, but there’s no intention there.” In essence, understand the goal of the objective of a campaign and/ or project, and fuel significance and meaning behind it. Consumers will trust your intentions if they’re authentic and if they’re not, you’ll be overlooked quickly.
  5. To Lead through Inspiration. “The importance of brands has not changed. Nor has the importance of ideas. The nature of leadership is also unchanged. In order to lead oneself, you need to have a dream, the passion to pursue it, the persistence to see it through, and the creativity to do it all over again. Leading others–, a learned skill, not a bestowed title—depends on sharing your vision and values while helping others grow and keeping them inspired, said Keith Reinhard, Advertising legend.
  6. Social Media to Become More Transactional. Rather than solely focus on traditional social media factors such as engagement, awareness and building an active community, marketers will elevate their communications to be more transactional; a place for consumers to shop and click.
  7. Data and Creativity Intersect. Despite what some may think, data and analytics are being used to encourage creativity. With new emerging platforms on the rise, marketers are using data to uncover insights about their target audience where they can connect with their consumers in unthinkable ways.
  8. The Everyday Will Become the New Normal. One-off events that drive massive traffic and eventually tail off are being described as a ‘lighting strike’ by industry elites. For instance, the Oreo moment where the brand capitalized in real time the Super Bowl blackout event, generating major buzz online. Unfortunately, more brands are following lead, but are only gaining short term value. Therefore, the focus should be on more everyday events and occurrences to build more common connections and relevancy with their audiences.

What inspired you from this year’s Cannes Lions festival? If you were a brand, what brand would you be? As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

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The Credibility Killer

By: Dallas J. Short

Everyone knows that buying followers on social media is not a good idea, right? You would think by now, with all the facts, all the stories and the programs out there, this would be common knowledge. It still appears though, people will falsely increase their followers without concern of the consequences. So, let’s take a quick refresher course on why it’s a no no, not a win win.

Keep it Real. The followers you are buying are not real people, they do not have real interests, they do not even have real profiles and they will never be real customers.

Mid (social) Life Crisis. Ok, you have been on social media for a while and you are not getting as many numbers as others. You begin doubting yourself. You think having as many followers as your business peers will make you seem young and hip, but just like buying a Corvette or Mustang at age 50, you might go from zero to a hundred real quick but you will be in the same situation. Have confidence in your product and concentrate your efforts on being authentic. Yes, business is competition, but this is not the way to win. These inflated numbers are not liking or sharing your information. From a marketing perspective, you are purchasing a bunch of unqualified leads. If you were cold calling, you just bought a phone book of disconnected numbers. In business terms, the ROI on buying fake followers is $0.

The Man Behind the Curtain. This is not the Wizard of Oz and people will pay attention to the man behind the curtain, which is you and your brand. Your actual fans and followers will see this number boost and no increased interaction, this is not impressive to them and will be a huge turnoff. People do not like to find out someone or something they believe in is cheating, this goes for both online and offline activities. Facebook now only shows your post to a small percentage of your followers, a false increase in your audience dramatically lowers the chances that the people who actually care about what you have to say will be able to see it. So if you are paying for those fake numbers, you are risking having to pay even more money per update to make sure your legit fans see your posts and announcements.

High Diving Off the Wrong Platform. There are many different social media platforms out there on the internet but that does not mean you have to be on everyone. Research which platforms work best for your industry or which ones you can actually devote your efforts and energy too. If your company is not as suited for Twitter (or Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, etc.), spending money on followers is not only a waste of money, but even being on there as much as you are could be a waste of time.

Numbers That Matter. When you purchase fake followers, you are losing the relevancy of your demographic information. One of the most important things of being on social media is being able to know your audience, so you can figure out more ways to appeal to and engage with them. This will also hurt your sponsorship proposals as well as most of your marketing efforts.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye. You have all these faux followers now and you want to get rid of them? This is going to cost you even more time and money. You will have to go through and block or delete all of those you paid for. You might have to even end up hiring someone to do it for you. There goes more money out the window.

If the urge to buy followers arises or you have someone in the office telling you that you should, you shouldn’t. It is unethical and it is bad business. Social media, still new and growing, does not come with a cheat sheet for success or skip to the front of the line card. It takes work, it takes trial and error and it takes honesty and authenticity. Be creative and courageous, come up with new ways to engage your audience, build your digital community and allow them to grow with you. Those are the type of people that are truly worth having associated with your brand.

Have you seen a company buy fake followers? Has it changed your opinion on them? Did you buy fake followers and regret it? As always, if you like what you read, please be social and share.

Building a Social Media Presence

By: MJ Pedone

As a professional trying to build your online brand or an entrepreneur starting or running your own business, this is what I would like to share with you about social media…you don’t need to do it all to do it well!

When marketing experts suggest brands create a presence on all the major platforms, which is somewhere around nine, and post content on them all several times a day, they’re not talking to you. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do that well.

Social media falls strongly into the “quality over quantity” category, especially if you’re a one-person shop and don’t have the resources to hire a social media manager. So if you’re trying to figure out how to stay on top of your social media game without making yourself crazy and keeping yourself relevant, here are four suggestions:

Plan First, Build Second

Many people rush to get their brands up on a bunch of social media platforms, only to find themselves completely overwhelmed with what to publish and when to publish it. To begin, pick one or two platforms and that’s it. Focus on figuring out how to grow a platform and once you’ve gotten that down, you can add more. To pick the right starter platforms, think about three things: where your audience is hanging out, which platforms you actually like using and which platforms support the kind of content you want to post. For example, if you were marketing your photography business, Pinterest would be the perfect platform to showcase your work, whereas Twitter may not be as effective.

Unless you’re already a pro on the platform, take a tutorial before you begin so you can get comfortable with creating a page, posting content, engaging followers and tracking your analytics. Having this knowledge will make the daily publishing and engaging feel less daunting.

Get Organized

I know many people out there cringe at the idea of an editorial calendar because of its rigidity, but this will help keep you on top of everything.

A well planned-out calendar will help you map out when you’ll be posting content, as well as where you’re getting that content. Are you writing it yourself? Curating it from other sites? Will you be-posting previous content? Once you have content regularly scheduled on your calendar, set reminders for yourself to post and engage throughout the day so you don’t get caught up with the rest of your day and forget to do this.

Leverage Your Content

While you don’t want to post the exact same content on every single platform, leveraging your best content across different platforms can seriously boost your social media efficiency. For example, if you write a blog every week, you can tweet the link to the blog on Twitter and post a related picture on Instagram and include a link to it in your caption. Now, instead of having to create three separate pieces of social media content, you’ve killed three birds with one stone.

Find Some Great Tools

When you’re working solo, you’re always fighting against time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to successfully do your job and maintain an engaging presence on social media. The good news is, there are plenty of tools and apps that can help keep you on track. Inc. compiled a list of 60 of the best social media tools, like Hootsuite and Pocket. Most of the times, we look to experts and best practices to tell us how to engage with our community on social media. And while there’s a lot of great advice out there, if what they’re saying doesn’t resonate or doesn’t feel realistic to you, you’re never going to do it. People ask me all the time: How many times should I really be posting on my platforms? And my answer is: How many times can you realistically be posting on your platforms? Start there.

Social media, albeit time consuming, is a great way to garner brand awareness and potential business. Keep at it and don’t give up! As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Hey, I’m Here! 10 Tips for Live-Tweeting

By: Dallas J. Short

YourDictionary.com defines live-tweeting as “posting on Twitter during an event in an ongoing way,” while that seems basic enough, there is much more to it than that. Live-tweeting gives your live event a life in the digital world. It expands the reach of your event and allows attendees and non-attendees to both be involved and engage with you. I’m a fan of live-tweeting, both at our own events and also following along with sporting events and television shows. Here are ten tips I came up with that could help you with live-tweeting from your next event.

1) Pound it! The #Hashtag is key, it will be the way people follow along and helps stream the information. Pick a short and applicable hashtag and make sure you let people know what it is. When you promote the event beforehand, include the hashtag, so people who cannot make it know they can still follow along. You need to promote the hashtag heavily the day of the event and you should have the hashtag on promo materials around the event as well. You want others engaging, adding to and using it as well. Every live-tweet you send about the event should include this hashtag.

2) Solo mission! It will be most effective if you have only one person tweeting from the event. It helps define the voice of the live-tweets and gives it a personality. You do not want a lot of people from your organization tweeting from the account, it will seem disorganized, all over the place and hard to follow. One person handling it right gives it more life.

3) Sharing is caring! Tweet out pictures and videos during the event. You want people to see what they are missing, without making them feel left out. Yes, you want photos of the layout, what’s going on, speakers and celebrities in attendance. You also want to include people attending, be sure to tag @ them as well. They will more likely be faster to tweet, favorite, retweet and will include the hashtag, helping your event’s live-tweeting presence grow.

4) Insider info! Including behind the scenes looks and tweets not only makes non-attendees feel like they’re “in the know” and receiving exclusive information. It also gives attendees a reason to follow along with the live-tweeting, because they are already aware of what is going on in front of their eyes and you are basically taking them backstage and behind the velvet rope.

5) Live in the moment! You and your event have a purpose, a mission and a message you want to get out there. This message should be pushed before the event, at the event and after the event. However, this message should only be sprinkled throughout your live-tweeting. You do not want to appear robotic, people follow live-tweeting like they are there hanging out with a friend. If your friend just kept repeating themselves all day, you would look for a way to ditch them. Don’t get ditched. I would suggest you have those “mission/message” tweets scheduled already (Hootsuite, etc.,) so the person live-tweeting can focus on the live event conversation and not get distracted by making sure they hit the certain number of “required” purpose messaging.

6) Don’t drop the ball! If the conversation and engagement are flowing, there is not a limit on live-tweeting. Keep it going and keep it growing, the more the merrier. If it is not flowing, you do need to make sure you are not pushing the issue. Having some slow moments or downtime is not the end of the world. You should never just stop live-tweeting though. Finish out the event. Do not make people wonder why it stopped? What went wrong? If someone was not there and searches the hashtag after the event and it just goes silent, it will raise red flags and could prevent people from attending in the future, if they perceived the quietness as an unsuccessful event. Give it your all, start to end.

7) Tune in, tune out! If you end up with a heckler or someone who is going out of their way to bash your event for no reason, ignore them. Do not waste your tweets sending out dislike or negative feelings. If someone has a concern or an issue it is alright to address that to clear up a problem or confusion. The majority of people are following your tweets and using your hashtag like they are tuning into their favorite television program and they want to be involved. They care about what is going on and what you are sharing with them. They do not want to follow a hashtag thread that looks like a bad, bickering reality show and miss out on the fun and happenings of the actual event.

8) Respond, react! You might not be able to follow the entire hashtag thread of what others at the event are saying, some of it might not even need you to respond, and it will just be people using your hashtag. Do look for questions that you can answer, positive interactions to favorite and retweet. Tweet at and acknowledge them. Making people feel involved and valued is key to the live-tweeting success. I would also suggest asking some type of questions (that relate to the event) to increase engagement and conversation. If something happens at the event, react to it, but there is a great chance that others will be reacting (and with the hashtag) as well.

9) The show’s not over! After the event, go back and follow up on any important questions and comments you might have missed from people during the live-tweeting. People understand that things get busy and chaotic, but making sure people feel appreciated and their comments did not slip through the cracks (after the event) will show them you do care. Go back through your own posts and see what received the most comments, the most favorites, the most retweets and also look at which ones didn’t. Keep that in mind when live-tweeting at your next event to be even more effective and engaging.

10) Try Again! You could have a great event, full of great people, great fun, everything’s great, except your live-tweeting never caught on. It is ok, sometimes an approach just will not catch on. Do not give up, try live-tweeting again at your next event and figure out new attempts that might work for your crowd. There is not a cookie-cutter way for everyone, you will need to know your audience and tailor your tweeting to have them interested. If you have an event where live-tweeting took off, it is not automatic that your next one will too. Stay focused and keep trying. More times than not though, live-tweeting leads to higher engagement and followers.
There is always the chance live-tweeting is not appropriate or will not benefit your event. There is a chance that you would have better results if you tweeted more from a news reporter/journalist point, as opposed to being a fun, event-goer. Know your audience, trial and error, live and learn. I hope these tips can help you out with your future live-tweeting and always remember to charge your phone and have an extra battery.

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

Elements for the Perfect Logo

By: Gina Mason

What do Nike, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, BMW, ESPN and IBM all have in common? Well, besides being on Forbes 100 Most Valuable Brands List, they all have very distinctive logos that can instantly be recognized by millions of people all over the world. Logos are incredibly powerful and they not only dictate brand loyalty, but they can also dictate the success of a company. From a branding perspective, having a great logo is absolutely imperative if you want to stand out amongst your competition and appeal to your audience. However, coming up with that perfect logo isn’t always so easy. For those of you who are looking to create a new logo or rebrand, here are a few elements to keep in mind:

Aesthetically Appealing
Just like anything else in life, first impressions are extremely important especially when trying to make your logo aesthetically appealing to your audience. A good logo will trigger positive emotions in your mind and is more likely to create brand loyalty while a bad logo will do the opposite.

Relevancy
Your logo is your calling card and must be relevant to your audience and your industry. Your logo should be a visual representation of your business objectives and should speak directly to your audience. MagicDust Designers warn, “avoid unnecessary elements that may be visually pleasing but don’t support your message.”

Simplicity
Some of the best logos are simple (i.e. Nike “Swoosh”) and an understated logo isn’t always an understatement. Some of the most powerful logos in the world are incredibly simple and their simplicity make them extremely effective (GE, Apple, Disney). MagicDust Designers suggest, “Flat shapes, bold lines and clear type are hallmarks of simple logos that never run the risk of appearing busy or worse, confusing.”

Versatility
A good logo has to work well on a number of different platforms including the web, collateral materials and ads and this is not always something people account for in the planning process. The font should be balanced and readable at any size. Also, don’t forget about choosing the right colors. A full-color logo may not translate well to B&W or print as well on different types of paper so keep that in mind as well.

Timelessness
According to Huff Post’s Bianca Rothschild, “a good logo withstands the test of time. It may need some touchups to keep it fresh and prevent it from looking dated our out of style, but that’s all it should require. Changing your logo when it already has memorability in place is bad for your branding. You want one logo that works for as long as it can.”

Creating a great logo can take a lot of time and effort, but is it all worth it in the end. Don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to ask for several opinions. Speaking of logos, what to test your logo knowledge? Check out this logo quiz here: http://www.creativebloq.com/logo-design/quiz-can-you-guess-logo-1012976

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