Archive for the 'trends' Category

06
Jan
14

Kmart’s Holiday Ad: Below the Belt or Missed the Boat?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara for contributing this article to The Side Note.

In a 2012 article, Advertising Age discussed Kmart’s shrinking presence in the low-cost retail field (http://bit.ly/1gc3yWF). Annual sales were down, causing Ad Age to suggest the brand had lost relevance with discount shoppers. In the realm of discount stores, Wal-Mart dominates the low-price segment and Target holds the throne for hip, so where does this leave Kmart?

Over the holidays, Kmart and parent company Sears Holdings Corp. (http://www.searsholdings.com) made a big jingle in the viral world with the release of the holiday “Show Your Joe” commercial.

Show Your Joe

Following last year’s “Ship My Pants” spot and “Big Gas Savings,” all created by agency DraftFCB, this indicates a major brand shift for the retail chain. Kmart’s Facebook page received many complaints from angry viewers, calling the ad “disgusting and not fit for family consumption” and “inappropriate for kids!!!” (https://www.facebook.com/kmart). Many customers also accused Kmart of sacrificing family values and decency in exchange for cheap laughs.
Departure from their traditional ‘baby boomer’ demographic in pursuit of younger shoppers may be exactly Kmart’s intention. According to a Forbes article from last February, Kmart is focusing on improving sales within the 18-34 year old group (http://onforb.es/1gc32bp).

However, Time reported humor is not an effective tactic for converting sales (http://ti.me/1cTMyET). Although funny spots succeed at being memorable for consumers, they do not distinguish why the brand is better or what problem the product solves. “Ship my Pants” and “Big Gas Savings” have more than 30 million views combined views on YouTube, but Forbes reported 3rd quarter sales for Kmart were still down (http://onforb.es/1cTN7hT).

The Joe Boxer commercial may be the perfect example of funny, but ineffective. With more than 17 million views on YouTube, the ad has unquestionably garnered attention. However, the spot highlights only one product line available in Kmart stores rather than the Kmart brand as a whole. Plus, it lacks differentiation—what about these specific boxers make them so great? Why are they better than others? Why should I shop at Kmart for underwear? The ad does not answer any of these questions to make the brand or product relatable to the consumer. Both earlier ads by DraftFCB mentioned above do speak to benefits Kmart offers its customers, but the most effective ads connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level.

Due to holiday shopping, fourth quarter sales can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for retailers (http://bit.ly/1hrxzFG). With that in mind, Kmart needed a stellar season to climb out of the hole after six years of continually declining sales (http://aol.it/19XT3oU). Numbers for 2013’s fourth quarter have not been released yet, but if third quarter sales are any indication, this ad will not be enough to sway shoppers away from other discount stores.

Kmart may have some big…er, bells, but that might not have been enough to fulfill this retailer’s Christmas wishes.

Do you shop at Kmart? Tell us what you think of the Joe Boxer ad here. Is your brand in need of an overhaul? The Weise team can identify problem areas and create a strategy to give your brand a boost in our Navigator session. Contact us. 

25
Sep
13

Social Media Marketing: What Brands Can Learn From “Mother Monster”

What could your brand do with 40 million followers on Twitter?  What about 45 million?  Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber send out tweets daily to this amount of followers, while their fans continuously respond with compliments, love, and devotion.  So, what can brands learn from these enormous celebrities about how to create an engaging and interesting social media presence?lady-gaga-social-media-tactics

 1—Create A Culture

“Little Monsters” may be a little to eccentric for a company to call their customers, but the united culture is something to strive toward.  Lady Gaga has managed to turn her fans into a loving, supporting culture.  “Mother Monster,” as she’s called, has given her fans a home, and a sense of belonging.  Customers, consumers, and users are all terms that are too disconnected.  A brand should show their customers that they have a subculture that their buyers belong to; a family they didn’t even know existed until they started using your product and service.  Make your customers be proud to be your “little monster.”

 2—Believe In Your Message, But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sarcasm is now a language within itself.  Sarcasm and humor demonstrate personality, which is crucial to a company’s social media presence.  You want to offer a human aspect to your accounts so fans and followers know they aren’t just engaging with a robot.  Lady Gaga is never afraid to poke fun at herself, her songs, her crazy sense of fashion, and the world around her.  Showing personality helps followers relate to your brand’s voice and feel like they know you.

LittleMonsters-Private-Beta 3—Encourage Collaboration

Shockingly, the people that know your customer base the best are your customers!  Lady Gaga took notice that her fans were just as artistically inclined as her, and opened up her own social network, LittleMonsters.com.  This site has provided a community for her monsters to share their art, while also creating relationships based on acceptance and their love for Gaga.  Opening up an opportunity for customers to use their creativity with your brand can help build loyalty towards your brand.

What are other celebrities that companies should learn lessons from?  Or what are other lessons that can be learned from the big names in music, movies, and TV?  Share with us in the comment section below, and also on our Facebook and Twitter!  Also, check out how we create brand cultures on social media at WeiseIdeas.com.

11
Sep
13

Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.

25
Feb
13

Top 10 Things We Learned at the IFA Conference (Part 1)

Seven inches of snow greeted the Weise Communications team upon landing in Denver from the International Franchise Association (IFA) 2013 conference in Las Vegas. Paris Hilton AdThe conference was full of highlights, including:

CEO of CKE Restaurants, Andrew Puzder explaining how Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s bucked the trend of targeting mom’s with children for a fast food restaurant and changing to a ‘Young Hungry Guys’ target which led to the infamous Paris Hilton commercial and unprecedented revenue increases.

A lasting, and to many frustating experience, was the image is the ½ mile long line of people queuing up to attend the speech given by former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Her speech and the following Q&A were fantastic. She received multiple standing ovations from this friendly audience.

The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After panels, concurrent sessions, roundtables and a host of meetings, we are going to break-up the top ten takeaways Tracy and I collected at the conference. Today, the first 5 takeaways deal with macro trends and issues that are franchise business specific. In part 2, we will reveal our marketing takeaways.

1. In 2012, there was optimism that economy is turning and that financing for franchisors and potential franchisees was beginning to loosen. That optimism has continued despite the November election eliminating the chance of a lower corporate tax rate.

2. Speaking of the elections, instead of focusing on electing business-friendly government officials, the election has provided certainty how the country will be governed. We are already seeing the impact of higher taxes, burdensome regulations and costly entitlement programs. The franchising industry response needs to be: adapt, figure out how to work the rules and grow business.

3. In a panel discussion featuring Shelly Sun of BrightStar Tariq Farid, CEO Edible Arrangements and Steve Greenbaum, CEO PostNet there was an exchange about indicators of when to make changes to the franchise business model. Tariq said all franchise systems will eventually have to change. Steve provided us with key indicators on when to consider making changes. They included:

  • When your customers’ needs have changed
  • When technology has evolved past your business
  • When there is over-saturation in the marketplace
  • When there is an absence of differentiation with your business and the marketplace
  • When year over year sales are flat or declining

4. There was a lot of discussion about paying referrals to franchisees to gain new franchise sales leads. There are two legal concerns that need to be considered:

  • If a franchisor pays too much for a referral, they are exposing themselves to a potential liability. The franchisee could be considered a broker and be exposed to licensing issues
  • The franchisee could be held to the same financial disclosure requirements as the FDD

5. Operation Enduring Freedom and the VetFran Program has been a raving success. The stated goals were to recruit and hire 75,000 veterans to careers in franchising by the end of 2014. IFA President Steve Caldeira gave an update during his State of Franchising address: 64,880 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors have started careers in franchising.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

Be on the lookout for our top five marketing takeaways from 2013 International Franchise Association Conference.

 

21
Nov
12

Weise’s List of Thanks

Thanksgiving has come around once again, and we want to voice what it is that the people here at Weise are giving their thanks to this year. The holidays always remind us of how fortunate and blessed we are within our own lives. Along with the gift of health and happiness, which we each appreciate deeply, we want to personally express our thanks to our clients who have put their faith in our ability to execute their marketing programs.

That being said, we thought we would also express our thanks for the other, perhaps overlooked, abundances within our office. Along with health, happiness and our honorable clients, here are a few things the Weise team is thankful for:

1. Hilarity

If working in the marketing and advertising world has taught us anything, it is the power of having a sense of humor. Thank you to everyone at Weise for knowing when it is time to laugh at ourselves, at each others’ jokes (whether funny or not) and at our frustrations. Laughter is contagious, and we are thankful we have caught it.

2. Humility

One of the best things about our office is the lack of rank. We are an integrated agency and everyone’s opinions and ideas are heard and appreciated. Sure, we win awards every now and again with one of our brilliant concepts, but for the most part egos aren’t part of our vocabulary. Thank you everyone at Weise for playing nice in the Weise sandbox.

3. Hip-ness

Yeah, we are a hip crew. Thank you everyone at Weise for keeping up with the times and using that know-how to bring the newest and coolest ideas with you to work everyday. Yes, we even know how to gangnam style.

4. Hump Day

Because who isn’t thankful for Hump Day. Wednesday means we survived the harder half of the week! Thank you everyone at Weise for making work an enjoyable place, but lets be real, everyone loves the weekend and ski season is just around the corner.

5. Hacky Sack

Not yet an acquired skill, but we think it’s a great invention. Thank you everyone at Weise for one day playing a killer game of office hacky sack.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! We hope your day of thanks fills your soul and your belly! What is it that you are thankful for? Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

14
Oct
11

Next Trend in Social Media – Editing Social History

Someone tags you in an unflattering picture on Facebook, you are incensed about something and you tweet a response, you answer a question on Quora without a critical piece of information, wouldn’t be great if there was a social media EDIT button?

Whether it is potentially personally embarrassing or taking an action to protect yourself from an employer, we expect to see a service in the near future for people who want to selectively edit their social history. A Silicon Valley smartie is undoubtedly working on a tool to delete photos from other people accounts, an automatic clean up of your Facebook wall and other actions to sanitize your social history.

With the controversy over Mark Zuckerberg and questionable privacy policies, we believe there will be a fundamental shift from hiding information to cleansing information. The interest in electronic brainwashing will increase and will have impact and influence for the foreseeable future.

For example, what politician would like that picture from the long, lost college days deleted from view and access well before they make the run for political office.  Wouldn’t President Obama like to have the famous picture of him smoking (right) when he was in college stricken from the public record.

In a world where perception is reality, former Iowa State head basketball coach Larry Eustachy lost his job over pictures (left) that surfaced about him drinking beer (well, Natural Light) with underage college coeds.  Some might argue that the choice of “Natty Lite” is the greater offense. Wouldn’t he like a social media cleanser?

According to the survey by Marist College in New York, half of all users on Facebook and Twitter polled say that verbal or photographic miscues lead them to believe social media does more harm than good.  We’re fairly confident that former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner agrees.

Let us know what you think will happen when someone from the ‘Millennial Generation’ runs for President. Without selectively editing social media history what do you think will happen to every tweet, Facebook status or blog post they ever wrote? Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

22
Jul
11

Capitalizing on the Daily Deals Trend

Living Social, Daily Deals, Woot and the growing beast Groupon have struck a chord with the public looking for ways to stretch discretionary spending in a down economy.

In general, the one deal per day concept is simple enough to understand. Everyday an email with a highly discounted deal from a local business is promoted. Customers go to a secure site and purchase the daily deal. Once the deal promotion has ended, the coupon is available to be printed and redeemed.

The business model is pretty simple as well. The daily deal provider collects the money and for each redeemed coupon will send approximately 25 percent of the coupon value to the business. The daily deal provider keeps all the revenue on coupons not redeemed. Yipit, a daily deals site aggregator estimates that 15 percent of purchased coupons are not redeemed. Overall revenue growth for these sites has increased more than 40 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to a report from BIA/Kelsey, a media research and consulting firm.

For local businesses, the daily deals phenomenon is attractive because there is no upfront marketing costs. Daily deals offer an opportunity to reach unknown customers, introduce products and services to new markets, reward loyal customers and purge old inventory. For this opportunity, the daily deal sites are looking for items that will sell. A deep discount on something that nobody wants will not see the light of day on these sites. Also, any business interested in participating must be prepared to put together a great package as discounts typically range from 50 to 90 percent off retail price.

However, there is one critical success factor that often goes overlooked. In order for the daily deal to be successful, the business must convert the deal seeker into a long-term customer.  This means providing a high-quality experience when a customer redeems a deal.  This is especially important in a service-based business. For example, restaurant servers has expressed how much they dislike these coupons because they are working much harder than usual during the redemption rush on the restaurant, yet they are most likely to be tipped on the reduced amount of the bill.  Keep staff motivated by giving them an opportunity for upsell or an ancillary product/service contest.

What’s next: the combination of mobile with the daily deal. Foursquare recently announced that it will distribute AT&T’s Deal of The Day. In the future, we will see daily deal immediacy, like your phone buzzing if you walk past a store with a deal of the day.

By the way, if you have daily deal buyers’ remorse, you can resell coupons on CoupRecoup. Let us know if you are addicted to the daily deals and if you’ve had any negative experiences. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

02
Mar
11

Top 10 Things Learned At IFA Conference 2011

Weise Communications is back from the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference in Las Vegas (Feb. 13-16). The conference was full of highlights, from newest Hall of Fame inductee (Doc Cohen) and his moving acceptance speech, to 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto’s presentation on customer service and the two keynote speeches from former Massachusetts Govenor Mitt Romney and editor in chief of Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes. The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After five sessions, four roundtables and an executive forum, here are the top 10 things learned at the conference.

  1. Benchmarking KPI (Key Performance Indicators) through IFA ‘on track’ system is long over due.  Props to IFA for making this happen and highlighting it at the conference.
  2. Financing is still the biggest hurdle to overcome for franchise systems to grow. The IFA continues to push for political and financial movement in this area, while many franchisors look for innovative financing options of their own.
  3. Integration of marketing tools is essential.  Communication is no longer filtered through the media and our messages can go direct to the consumer. Thus, we need tighter control over what we say about our companies.
  4. A great way to get into the social media game is to use store locator maps on websites to help drive foot traffic. But, if you are using this tool, it is essential that locators are accurate and complete. The franchisor should own this operation, not the individual franchise owners.
  5. In 2010, there was a lot of discussion about using social media effectively in the world of franchising. In 2011, the entire conference could have been dedicated to this topic (@davemurr of Re Group). Franchise systems are increasingly savvy about driving consumers to their locations through mobile and location-based marketing, but still unsure how to use the same tools to sell franchises. Luckily we heard from some great systems that they are developing leads and closing sales based on their social media efforts. Social media is here to stay and it sounds like that message has been heard loud and clear by most franchise systems.
  6. A lead is a lead. A conversion is a sale. Franchisors are now more interested in the quality leads they can generate that actually close a deal, rather than simply how many leads they can get from any one source. The prevailing question now is, “How do I close the sale?” as opposed to “How do I get a lead?”
  7. Franchisors that still don’t believe in the value of social media probably have the wrong mindset. Social media is not pitching products and services; it is a relationship-building tool.
  8. When it comes to social media, like any other marketing outreach initiative, you need a plan that is realistic to execute and based on a legitimate goal. It also needs to be a sustainable plan because social media is not considered authentic unless it is ongoing.
  9. Separate training and support operational functions. Good professional trainers can get a franchisee started with excellent training. However, those skills are not necessarily successful for a franchisee operating for a while. They need a different level of support. Both of these functions need distinctive skill sets and most likely different people working on them. But the increased focus on the right area will increase franchisor profitability (@Mike_Walls of Caring Senior Service).
  10. Franchising industry must integrate social media with traditional methods and processes (@PaulSegreto of franchisEssentials). Social Media is a vital channel for growth both at the franchisee and the franchisor level (@JackMonson of Engage121).

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

See you in Orlando in 2012.

16
Dec
10

Five Social Media Trends for 2011 and Beyond

Previously, we shared five marketing trends for 2011.  With social media being such a huge component of integrated marketing programs, we thought we would drill down on social media trends. Here are five social media trends for 2011 courtesy of Weise Communications.

1. With the rapid adoption of smart phones, QR Codes will explode in the U.S.

The QR (quick response) code can direct a user to Internet content.  To the right is the QR code for The Side Note.  If you have an application such as NEOReader or RedLaser open on your smart phone and take a picture of this image, our blog will open on your smart phone.  Cool huh?

Mainstream adoption of QR codes appears to be starting.  OnStar and AXE Shower Gel have created traditional magazine ads and incorporated QR codes. For these codes to truly hit the mainstream, people will have to know what to do when they see a QR code, the content must be rewarding and engaging.  Also, advertisers must resist the temptation to let the QR code stand alone. Consumers need to have some expectations about the content they are going to access.

Yamanashi Prefecture has taken the QR code content to another level by producing headstones with QR codes embedded in them. The “Memorial Service Window” enables visitors to scan the QR code and get pictures, videos and other information on the deceased. It also keeps a log of each time the code was scanned so family members can know when relatives visit the gravesite.

2. Location-based marketing will take on more prominence

Services like Foursquare and Gowalla use smart phones geo-location capabilities to let users notify others of their locations by “checking in” to that location.  Marketers will develop more innovations to drive traffic to retail locations.  One that we really liked was a Foursquare promotion in which mayors of 37 Arby’s locations from Evansville, Ind., to Huntsville, Ala., get reserved seats at “Mayor’s tables” and 50 percent off meals.

This is a great example of how location-based marketing will become wildly successful.  It will get more narrowly focused. People are more likely to use like Foursquare and Gowalla when they believe they will receive special treatment and can point to a specific value from participating.

3. Wikileaks is a pre-cursor to a new wave of privacy concerns

One of the side effects of Wikileaks, and the rapid explosion of released classified information disseminated through Wikileaks related social media, is that companies will tie social media information and interactions with the desire to keep certain information out of public forums.

Wikileaks has spawned new social business intelligence companies. These companies are working on the ability to effectively obtain and combine mobile, online and tangible information in ways that will identify information about a person or a business that is more accurate than having someone’s Social Security number.  Before this begins to sound like the ramblings of a conspiracy-theory freak, the trend we see on the horizon companies being more vigilant about data privacy in social media.

4. Measuring social media effectiveness will NOT solely be based on ROI

Retweets, fans and likes are not reflected on an income statement however, it does not mean that they are without value and merit. Marketers will have to push the C-Suite to recognize the value of these indicators beyond the bottom line.

Forrester research reveals that most companies don’t know how to determine the ROI of social media and offers a balanced marketing scorecard that incorporates customer attitude shifts about a brand and the ability to respond in a crisis.

5. Twitter figures out how to monetize the service

Twitter failed with Early Bird and is having mild success with promoted tweets, but we think Twitter will finally realize the secret of their service is…that they are a search engine.  Here are a few suggestions that Twitter can implement to start generating serious income:

  • Allow an auction/bid process for keyword purchases
  • Deliver targeted ads based on search terms
  • Deliver targeted ads based on tweet history

We also wonder if Twitter will give companies the opportunity to purchase followers.  How would those on Twitter choose to opt-in? Could the Twitter account holder share in the revenue? If your bought, can you ‘unfollow’?

Tell us what social media trends you see taking off in 2011. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

 

 

30
Nov
10

Five Marketing Trends for 2011 and Beyond

As 2010 is drawing to a close, marketers reflect on the past year in order to prepare for next year as well as avoid mistakes and surprises. It is also a good time to reflect on changes and leverage some marketing trends. Here is the first Weise Communications list of marketing trends for 2011:

1. Marketing Budgets Shifting Toward On-line

Clients, customers and prospects are spending more time online and are going online earlier in the buying process to collect information, create relationships, compare choices and determine conclusion about the items they will buy. Therefore, marketers must reposition marketing budgets to reflect their customer and prospects preferences.

2. Corporate Social Media-ization

Many organizations have deployed social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. However, they have not fully integrated it into their corporate website.  Primarily, this is due to the pressure to simply “be there.” 2011 will bring social media/website integration and a recurring social media marketing cycle:

  • Research
  • Plan
  • Engage
  • Measure
  • Repeat

3. Location-based Marketing

As smart phone adoption grows, according to a 2009 study from nielsenwire the U.S. smart phone penetration is 17 percent, location-based marketing and mobile applications will be a key mobile marketing trend in 2011. As of October 2010, Foursquare had more than 4 million users and has spawned a slate of competitors: Gowalla, Google Latitude and the recently launched Facebook Places are just a few of the mobile applications poised to take advantage of this trend.

4. Video as a Marketing Tool

YouTube is not simply a way to share video clips. It has become a massive search engine. Video content that addresses common concerns and issues clients, customers and prospects are facing then distributing video through social networks is a powerful way to stamp impressions into their memory and strengthen customer relationships.

5. Privacy is a Major Concern

The Internet has made it easy for anyone to obtain someone else’s birth date and social security number. It also houses other personal and potentially embarrassing (but technically public) information. While some may never be comfortable with data nudity, marketers must be leaders the privacy protection issue as enterprise marketing gets more social and mobile. One high-profile mistake and the entire industry could face forced government regulation.

Tell us what marketing trends you see in your 2011 crystal ball, if we have missed the boat or if you have another trend to add to our list. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

 




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