Posts Tagged ‘Communications

26
Nov
13

Starbucks: More Than Just a Cup of Coffee?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara, who is the Starbucks lover and contributor of this article.

Grande non-fat no-water single-pump gingerbread chai. That’s my current go-to drink when pulling through the Starbucks drive-thru, and I’ll admit no Saturday morning is complete without one (although I rarely make that my only weekly visit). I’ll also admit I’m a proud gold cardholder (pic), earning a free drink for every 12 purchased, and the app on my phone lets me pay, reload and track.Image

Adweek recently featured Starbucks among their “10 Brands That Changed the World” (http://bit.ly/1aqspFd), touting “they don’t merely influence our spending habits, they determine who we are.” Starbucks transformed the way we think about getting a cup of coffee, elevating it to become an affordable luxury. With sales reaching $13.29 Billion in 2012, Starbucks customers are nothing if not loyal. Paying $5 or more per drink, the average consumer visits the chain six times each month, according to Adweek. Their red Christmas cups ring in the holiday season, and terms like ‘half-caf,’ ‘grande,’ and ‘frappuccino’ have become a second language to many.

What makes Starbucks customers so loyal? As with any great brand, the answer is embedded in its culture. This culture can be defined as that intangible extra that keeps people coming back over and over. Starbucks has nailed the art of human connection, welcoming each customer in with big smiles and encouraging you to linger in over sized chairs at large tables over your cup of coffee. This personalized approach has turned buying a drink into an experience. Starbucks is a place you want to hang out with friends, study or hold a meeting, and this sense of belonging is at the heart of its brand culture. Equally important to Starbucks’ culture is Ethos bottled water, fair-trade coffee, free iTunes songs; all aspects that reinforce who Starbucks is and what the brand stands for.

ImageIn the age of technology, Starbucks has also mastered connecting with consumers beyond physical store locations. Member alerts via text and email, the Starbucks app, social media engagement and seasonal specials reinforce a sense of community between the brand and its customers. Generating an emotional response is key to reinforcing behavior and creating a devoted following, both areas where Starbucks excels. It’s not so much about the drink, but more what you feel when you’re there. Starbucks has capitalized on this feeling to turn a $.25 cup of coffee into a $5 experience—an experience that is felt in 17,500 locations in 61 countries. This sense of connectivity, this feeling, is consistent across locations.

Whether in Denver, New York or Los Angeles, each time you walk through a Starbucks door you know exactly what to expect. Your drink will be made exactly how you like it every time, which brings me to what is perhaps Starbucks’ largest branding achievement—personalization. Imagine another drive through where you can specify each detail of your order, down to temperature and ingredient amount. In an age where consumers are demanding to be part of the process, Starbucks has allowed their customers ultimate control.

What brands do you love? Tell us here! Does your brand need a makeover? Let us help at www.weiseideas.com. We will take you through our coveted navigator session to make your brand an experience.

01
May
13

HootSuite: SEO Killer or a Hotel for Owls?

HootSuiteWe are fans of HootSuite, the convenient, social media aggregation tool. We use HootSuite to scheduled posts in advance for the agency and for clients. HootSuite saves time publishing content to Twitter and Facebook. It keeps all social media streams in one location. HootSuite enables us to map out a tweet schedule, collaborate and edit future tweets.

However, we have been asked a very interesting question: Does using a third party social media pre-scheduling tool negatively affect our SEO ranking?

For this to be true search engines would not only be scanning and evaluating content, but focus on the posting methodology. We cannot find evidence that search engines are penalizing third party application programming interfaces (API). It is important to note that HootSuite makes is easy to post redundant content and commit other SEO errors.

However, we have found a HootSuite opponent – Facebook. According to a HubSpot study, content shared by third party API services received fewer likes on Facebook and fewer clicks. Facebook sees tools like HootSuite as possible vehicles for spam, and punishes Facebook pages that rely on these tools for the majority of their postings.

Our recommendation for marketers:

1. Use HootSuite to schedule non-time sensitive social media.

2. Do not use HootSuite as the exclusive method to post content.

Social Media is about engagement and if all the content provided is automated, is there much engagement? Also, it is critical to be timely and relevant. If there is a new story that has captured the collective attention of the country and you are posting a video that shows a behind the scenes look at an event, nobody is going to pay attention. Worse yet, you look like you are out of touch.

Tell us if you have used HootSuite successfully and if you agree that third party API doesn’t affect your SEO.  Share your stories with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

14
Mar
13

Vine’s six-second video new to social, provides marketing opportunity

GAP Vine TwitterTwitter, which currently claims around 500 million total users, recently launched the new video platform called Vine.  This platform allows users to share videos. In social media terms, think of Vine as a combination of Instagram and YouTube.

Vine allows users to create looping videos for friends and family, but the recording time must be six seconds in duration.

According to cognitive research, as humans we can comfortably process 2-3 words and one image per second. A Vine video of 18 words and five images should be your maximum. A six-second video is comparable to Twitter’s required 140 characters or less for a tweet.  Currently, Vine is free, but only available for the iPhone. However, it is making a large splash with fans. In just one weekend, more than 100,000 videos were uploaded to Twitter via Vine.

Many businesses are jumping on this six-second-video-clip bandwagon and are utilizing the tool for marketing purposes. Companies, such as GAP, Topshop and Threadless are using Vine as a platform to shoot short video clips of behind-the-scenes action. We expect to see teasers of larger marketing and promotional campaigns on Vine.

Vine also helps companies to drive traffic to other social media channels by including an essential call-to-action at the end of the video, such as “follow me to Twitter” or “like our Facebook page”. If done well, these clips should emotionally connect to the story, which is a vital component of marketing. Another brilliant marketing aspect of Vine videos is the endless looping, and repetition is key in increasing awareness of a brand or product.

For marketing endeavors, Vine can be a great tool to drive traffic, promote a product, etc., so long as the video includes a call-to-action in the end of the six- second clip.

Will your company be joining Vine to leverage marketing efforts? Do you think Vine will be better over time like fine wine or simply another in a line of social media apps that decline?

A huge thank you to Sarah Shepard for her research and contribution to this blog.

Share your thoughts about Vine with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

04
Mar
13

Top 10 Things We Learned at the IFA Conference (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our Top 10 list, we shared franchise industry insights Tracy and I learned at the International Franchise Association (IFA) 2013 conference in Las Vegas. Today, we are rounding out our list with the marketing takeaways.

Kate Upton says that Carl's Jr. sandwich is spicyOne of the strategic marketing concepts that we thought was astute came from Andrew Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants, describing the Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s ‘Young Hungry Guys’ target market. Andrew discussed at great length the Aspirational target market vs. Direct target market. This has manifested itself into a regular SuperBowl ad with some of the ‘it’ girls of the day. Last year’s ad was one of the most talked about after the big game and featured Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton. You might think we mentioned this to give us a reason to feature Kate Upton in our blog, you might be right.

Here are the five marketing takeaways from IFA 2013:

1. 25 – 29% of ALL Internet traffic comes from a mobile device. The percentage is continually increasing. Businesses that choose to ignore creating a mobile optimized site or developing a mobile app are going to be in trouble. Consider this: if you gave a bad experience to 1 out of 4 prospects, would you fix the problem?

2.  SEO Killer: less than 1% of franchise business listings are accurate in the top three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). It may be as simple as inconsistencies across business locations. I searched “UPS Store” and found these four results on the first page:

        • theupsstore.com                       –>  Thornton, CO
        • theupsstorelocal.com/2579      –>   Denver, CO (7th & Broadway)
        • shipgeorgetown.com                –>  Georgetown, TX
        • fsups.net                                  –>  Tallahassee, FL

3.  The overwhelming majority of franchisors we’ve met do not have the patience for social media. They keep talking about wanting some old school reactions instead of engagement, sharing or interactions. This attitude must change or Millennials will focus on brands that understand.A lack of consistency with the URLs means a more generic search like “package shipping” won’t include UPS Store locations. In fact, the search returned a US Post Office, 2 FedEX office locations and 1 DHL location.

Equally important point, do not hire interns or entry level newbies to “do” your social media. Being a digital native does not make someone a social media expert or marketer.

4. Google is working with the IFA to make Google more franchise-friendly. This is a important development for concepts that are not brick and mortar.

5. We’ve heard of success across different franchise systems using a retargeting program. Retargeting keeps track of people who visit your site and displays your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online. Every time your prospect sees your ad as it follow them, your brand gains traction and more recognition. This Kate Upton Carl's Jr.has resulted in higher click-through rates and increased conversions.

All interesting stuff you say, but we know you want more Kate Upton. OK, we get it.

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.

12
Feb
13

More than Social Media: Marketing to Millennials

Millennials: They are mobileWhile attending an emergency preparedness workshop last week, there was a robust discussion regarding the role of social media in an emergency. There were two groups of people that discounted social media.

  • First, there were those people that reside in rural areas. They argued that cellular coverage was spotty, 3G and 4G networks virtually non-existent. They needed a more reliable communication method in an emergency.
  • Second, was a distinct generational gap – the Baby Boomers in the room (born before 1964) were unanimous in denouncing the importance of social media.

Interestingly, there was a group of Millennials (born after 1984) in the workshop who were unanimous in stating the power of social media. Full disclosure: I am in Generation X (1965-1984), and in this workshop the Gen Xers were divided about the importance of social media.

The generational gap became an interesting discussion among the small group of marketing professionals. The following are the differences I see in marketing to Boomers v. Millennials.

Category

Baby Boomers

Millennials

Advertising Method Unwelcomed Interruption Engagement
Advertising Content Features and Benefits Sincere Authenticity
Desired Response Reaction Share/Interaction
Desired Result Repeat Users Engaged Participants
Expectations Big Promises Personal Gestures
Marketing Success Consumer Co-creator
Never Return Broken Promise Corporate Shill


Marketers have figured out how to position their products and services to the Baby Boomers. However, for many, it is a new frontier in marketing to Millennials. Here are a few tips:

  • Tablets are currency to the MillennialsCompanies must develop a participation strategy in order to engage Millennials. This is not a quick fix; patience, consistency and long-term commitment are key factors to success.
  • Companies must provide a way to make Millennials look good to their peers. All you need to do is look at the way Apple markets products. The white earbuds of an iPod became an iconic symbol. If you had the earbuds, you were identified as part of the inner circle.
  • Millennials strongly desire to be part of the solution supporting a greater cause. They favor employers who actively support charitable organizations and they purchase products and services from companies that are active with altruistic endeavors.
  • Mobile presence is no longer negotiable if you are targeting Millennials. It is not just access by smartphone; they are also using tablets and gaining knowledge about your company through mobile apps.

All in all, if you want success in marketing to Millennials, you should seriously consider utilizing these four tips. Even better, when combining these tips with a reward program that provides genuine value as compensation for loyalty, you have a winning formula. Because what Millennial doesn’t like ‘free’ compensation.

Let us know your thoughts on marketing to Millennials. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

06
Feb
13

“2013 Health Care Advertising: Looking for Answers”

Here is a preview of my featured article,”2013 Health Care Advertising: Looking for Answers, seen in the February issue of The Review.

To read the entire article, click here.

With the future of health care evolving, consumer behavior and attitudes must be examined. Weise Communications Co-founder and President Tracy Weise offers her top five suggestions for health care advertising and consumer engagement for 2013.

1.            Create Medical Communities through Social Media

Hospitals and health care systems can optimize outreach to educate consumers by moving beyond corporate websites and creating a strong social media presence via social media sites, blogs, referrals and webinars.

2.             Increase Engagement with Mobile Media

As more consumers utilize their smart phones and tablets for Web browsing, medical apps will allow consumers to order medication, set appointments, learn about health initiatives and obtain the contact information of health care institutions.

3.            Take a Broad Approach to Community Wellness

Online and offline advertising communication messages featuring, “well care” not just “sick care” will motivate consumers to take control of their own health in order to decrease hospital readmissions.

4.            Be Keenly Aware of the Competition

In order to prevent patients from traveling far and wide seeking optimal doctors and ideal medical costs, health care advertising can lesson competition for the health care consumer by creating specific and consistent messages to target audiences.

5.            Show Sensitivity for Consumer Anxiety Through Proactive, Targeted Communications

Health care institutions can ease consumer fears of the changing health marketplace by emphasizing positive messages about health care changes, providing dedication to community health, and advocating for the most profitable health care institutional services.

 

31
Jan
13

Is the Volkswagen SuperBowl Ad Racist?

Watch thisGet in. Get Happy. What is your first reaction? 

Sit with that reaction for a minute. 

On this morning’s Today Show, check out the following exchange: (we are using a transcript rather than a video because NBC will likely have us remove the video)

Here is our transcript from Matt Lauer interviewing Ad Critic Barbara Lippert. Lippert was with Adweek for more than 20 years before leaving for mediapost.com

Matt Lauer: Barbara, first reaction when you see the ad?

Barbara Lippert: I was shocked. Didn’t anyone look at this? This is so racist. My problem with it is that there’s no link to Volkswagen. Its a German car and they are showing happy people because they have black accents. And maybe Jamaicans didn’t find it offensive for a Jamaican Beer or something, but it’s just saying that black people are happy.

Matt Lauer: I take a completely different view of it. I have to be honest with you. I thought if you buy this car, it puts you in a happy place and what’s happier than all the memories we have on being on beautiful islands on island time? That’s the way i took it.

Go back to your initial reaction when you saw the ad. Whose opinion do you more closely align with Barbara or Matt?

Here is my opinion and analysis:

This is a funny ad delivered using obvious parody. When you first hear the Jamaican voice in the elevator, you have an image in your head of the person saying those words. When the person is revealed to be a 6’5″ clean-cut white guy, you now have the tension that makes this ad effective. You are engaged as your mind shifts its paradigm. Then, you are treated to funny vignettes, which engages you emotionally. The hero in this ad is the Volkswagen. When the main character drives his Volkswagen, it makes him happy.

With all due respect Ms. Lippert, you are seeking to be offended from something that is not offensive. In fact, I am stunned that your claim of a racist ad is based on your phrase “black accents.” Jamaica is a country, it is a culture. It is NOT a race. To address the people who could be most sensitive to the tone and content of the ad, Volkswagen Marketing Officer, Tim Mahoney, said Volkswagen conducted research including interviewing more than 100 Jamaicans to ensure the ads were not offensive to the country and culture of Jamaica. Well done, Tim!

So, what do you think? Has Volkswagen produced a racist ad?  If so, please comment below. 




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