The psychology of referrals: 3 reasons people advocate for brandsPosted by Matt Kucharski on May 8, 2013 at 9:56 AM
If you've seen a recent photo of me, you know that I go through a lot of razor blades - not just for my chin but for my head. So when I read an article about Dollar Shave Club, an e-commerce business that sends a month's worth of really good shaving cartridges for a fraction of the price of what you'd pay at the store, I was all-in. Anyone who shaves every day knows that $7/month for four high-quality cartridges is an incredible deal -so incredible that I was motivated to tell my Facebook friends all about it.
Which is SO not me...
It didn't hurt that the cool people at DSC (that's what I call them now that I'm in "the club") made it really easy for me post with a simple click-and-send, but I'm really not the kind of guy to advocate for brands on social media.
It just so happens that soon after my smoother-than-LeBron-in-the-paint shaving AND buying experience, we had a SMERF team meeting here at Padilla. That's our Social Media Elite Response Force for those of you uninitiated. We got into a great discussion about why people choose to advocate for brands, and the smart folks on the team were able to boil it down to three motivators:
And then there are some that use more than one motivator. The marketers for the Broadway musical Book of Mormon are using Big Door to create a program where you earn rewards for sharing information (the free shit component), and the "street team" members also are the first to receive news about this very popular, hard-to-get-into show and can share it with friends (part validation, part helping others). Our digital creative director Bob Brin calls it "gamification." I call it "too much time on your hands."
So what's this all mean? If one of the goals for your campaign is to drive referrals, you need to understand which of these three motivators comes into play, and develop your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Oh, one last thing. Sharing this post via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook page will not only help me out, it'll also make you feel really, really good. Sorry, no free shit, though.
Live On Turfgrass - The Facts About Turf's BenefitsPosted by David Schad on December 16, 2011 at 10:28 AM
I always get a real sense of pride when looking at my freshly cut lawn, and I love the feel of grass between my bare toes. Other than that I hadn't given grass much thought. In fact, turfgrass is often overlooked by most of us, but it's very important. It's one of the most widespread, beneficial and economical plants in the country.
To tell turf's story, BASF Professional Turf & Ornamentals partnered with Padilla to develop Live On Turfgrass, an animated video that shares how turfgrass--in parks, lawns, golf courses, recreational sport fields and green spaces--benefits everyone.
The video, launched in early November, is already a hit among members of the turf industry but is gaining interest from many non-industry folks ... like me.
Watch, share and repost this short video about how turfgrass benefits you and let us know what you think.
Cruising on the Integrated Communications BusPosted by Bob Brin on October 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM
It's been a smooth ride, helping Jefferson Lines update its brand to where they're headed, versus where they've been. The refreshed brand and integrated marketing program has been rolling outta here with a road-ready new identity, a sleek e-commerce website, online advertising and publicity.
The Padilla team recently boarded a freshly wrapped Jefferson Rocket Rider for a road trip to our 50th anniversary (James) Bonding session at a super-secret location.
A Great Cause and a Cool Client - A Padilla Integrated CampaignPosted by Lynn Casey on May 20, 2011 at 10:09 AM
The links within this post are highlights of an integrated campaign launched last week for the Bush Foundation, which has engaged 14 partner universities to establish the Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT). The goal of this research-based initiative is to recruit, train and support the next generation of highly effective teachers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The campaign, produced by Padilla's Creative team, is primarily geared toward young adults who want to make a difference -- the hallmark of a great teacher. By getting to them now, we can successfully replace the nearly 50 percent of upper Midwest teachers who will retire or leave the profession in the next ten years.
Now, the favor. Please view the TV spots, which are running on select stations and online through May, and check out the website. Think of a young person you know who'd make a great teacher. Then forward this link to them, directly or via their parents. You just might spark an interest in a next-generation teacher, a very good thing indeed.
Be there or be foursquare - localized marketingPosted by on July 9, 2010 at 6:52 AM
Last week, shortly after I "checked in" at a Minneapolis restaurant (while celebrating my brother's 21st birthday), I received a text from a friend who was at a restaurant just a few blocks away. Announcing my physical whereabouts via foursquare, Twitter and Facebook paid off - not only did I get to see a friend later in the evening, but the restaurant she texted from was running a special: a free drink for everyone who "checked-in" using foursquare. Works for me!
Thanks to GPS technology in our smart phones, location-based social networks have become increasingly popular. Websites such as foursquare, Gowalla, Google Latitude and others make it simple to post your location to the web and even earn rewards (besides badges).
In April, foursquare announced it will allow businesses to claim their venue by clicking here. Why? Much like Twitter's verified accounts, claiming a venue provides the owner with access to venue control features. Providing a business with data surrounding their customers, statistics about people who check in and the opportunity to create special offers, allows for customization to meet the needs of their customers.
So where's the marketing opportunity for businesses?
For services businesses, it's a no-brainer: they can engage with their customers no matter where they are and can target them without significant investments of time or media. If their customers aren't on yet, chances are they will be soon, with an estimated 100,000 new users every week on foursquare. And foursquare's promotional tactics, such as digital punch cards and specials for the "mayor", are paying off.
Customers are discovering that "checking-in" may be just as good for their social life as it is for their wallet.
So, what's next?
Competition, if we're lucky. Other social media companies are rolling out their own versions. Google now shares foursquare tips and check-ins on Google maps, and social media giants Twitter and Facebook recently unveiled location-based features. How could you envision using foursquare in your marketing program to engage your business customers or consumers?
Be More Social than Media: 5 Strategies for Diversifying Social Media MonitoringPosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on June 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM
We talk a lot about listening in social media. Why it's important, how to start a listening process, who should be doing the listening, etc. Those are all important questions. But don't forget to ask one more seemingly simple question: What am I listening for? Company and brand mentions, most certainly. But you shouldn't stop there.
1. Industry trends
Look for conversations related to your industry, company growth areas, new products areas or technologies where you're investing.
Seek out discussions related to events where you're presenting or attending.
3. Research results
Keep an eye out for research that's relevant to your company or business unit, especially if it supports the work you're doing.
4. Company content
When you appear in a media article, distribute a news release or complete a case study or white paper, look for related conversations where this content may be of interest
People often turn to social media to answer their questions, however, questions may not mention your brand specifically, instead they'll probably ask a broad question - looking for a new cable provider, any recommendations? What are the latest developments in business intelligence software?
"Social" is the crux of social media, and people want to hear from people. As you broaden the scope of your monitoring program and social media interactions remember that it's important to be approachable, helpful and transparent about your company affiliation.
So, what are you listening for? Do any of these "types" stand out as opportunities? What's missing from your list?
Photo credit totalAldo
Making the Culture Shift to Social Media: A4ward Social Media StrategyPosted by on June 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM
Padilla leaders Bob Brin and Tom Jollie presented a webinar today as a follow up to the launch of our A4ward Social Media Strategy process yesterday. Bob and Tom discussed some background and examples as well as the four stages of our process - including the often-missed "Activation" stage that helps ensure organizations are poised for success.
If you missed the session, a recording of the webinar is available for archived viewing:
The slides are also available via SlideShare:
If you'd like to learn more, please contact any of us at Padilla.
Will It Blend? How to Mix Offline Efforts with Online Customer ServicePosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on March 26, 2010 at 9:10 AM
Customer service and social media go together like Facebook and recreational stalking. Okay - maybe it's not that bad, but the web has become an open forum for customer feedback. Why wait for the next available representative when you can complain about your broken internet to a few hundred of your closest friends on Twitter? Is your washing machine on the fritz? Why write a letter to some faceless executive when you can post a rant on your blog to thousands of dedicated readers instead?
It's true. Social media can help solve customer problems. But it doesn't happen automatically.First, companies must be tuned into the social media channels where people are talking about them. They also must have an internal process in place that allows them to be helpful in their response. Only then can they can turn a potentially negative situation or dissatisfied customers into allies.
We're finding that when it comes to customer service via social media, thoughtful often means taking the conversation offline.
Padilla monitors hundreds of conversations for our clients daily. We see the good ... and the not-so-good. The trick is deciding when someone is just looking to pick a fight and when there's a real opportunity to win over a customer.
When it comes to effective customer service, the same rules of engagement apply whether you're solving customer problems from a call center, in person or from a laptop. The question you need to keep top of mind is this: Can anything be done to remedy this situation?
Recently, one of our clients had a great opportunity to test the waters when a customer posted a lengthy rant entitled "Why Does [Manufacturing Company] Hate Its Customers?" on his blog. The customer aired his frustration over not being able to access the company's online support database.
We flagged the post and recommended our client respond by posting a comment with the name of someone the customer could contact for direct help (in the spirit of Twitter feed @comcastcares). Our client (the ever customer-service minded) did us one better. They created a customer service ticket and contacted him directly - via phone - to troubleshoot the problem.
Just as our client was preparing to post a comment to the blog explaining the action taken, the blogger posted an update of his own. He gave the company kudos for listening and explained that they'd helped solve the problem.
The critic became ally. Mission accomplished!
Good customer service goes beyond resolution. Our client called the blogger a few days later to make sure the problem was fully solved. As a result, the blogger posted a lengthy account detailing the great service provided and expressing his appreciation for our client listening and making sure they took care of him.
Still not convinced?
If your customers are online, then using social media for customer service is absolutely a good idea and it's something you should be doing (hint: they are online). However, it's easy to get social media tunnel vision. Sometimes you need to step back and think about what you can do that would be most helpful. Oftentimes that means moving the interaction into "real life."
Are you using social media for customer service? How's it working?
Stop, Collaborate and Listen.Posted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on February 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM
In the world of social media marketing (and early 90's rappers), it's easy to get caught up in finding more followers, sharing the latest app. and getting more mentions. But all the hype is pretty worthless if you don't remember one simple rule: be helpful. That was the theme of best-selling author and social media guru Chris Brogan's keynote on digital reputation management held at Best Buy's headquarters this week.
Brogan worked his way thorough the social media framework he advocates - listen, connect, and publish - and shared a number of insights along the way (based on content from his book Trust Agents).
I've had a little time to process the event and here are my top 5 insights from Brogan's presentation:
1. Be helpful.
Being helpful isn't about broadcasting. And it isn't about control. It's about listening.
To listen well, you need to listen bigger.Think of listening as a committed long-term relationship. It takes time and effort to keep the magic alive. You have to dive beneath the surface. Get to know what's really going on. Ask all those "getting to know you" questions and then dig deeper. Where do your customers hang out online? Who do they trust? What do they like to do? What do they like about you? What are their biggest challenges? What bugs them?
It's practically impossible to figure out how you can help someone when you haven't been paying attention to the problem. And luckily being helpful doesn't always mean you have to fix the problem.
Make it all about others.
Brogan shared a little rule of thumb: for every time you comment about yourself, make 12 comments about other people. Point someone in the right direction. Give props to a fan. Share a resource. Connect people. It's the little things that make long-lasting and meaningful connections.
If you're going to talk, say something useful.
Gone are the days of organizations relying on traditional media to spread the word about their products and services. Today, thanks to blogging tools, video platforms, photo sharing, etc., companies have the power to tell their own stories in new, unique, and low-cost ways. But just because it's cheap doesn't mean you should do it. Minimally, your stories need to be relevant to your consumers. If you really want to make a splash, you need to take the next step and write something that's actually helpful.
Keep in mind that you can make all the news you want but if you haven't connected with people willing to listen, you'll be talking to an empty room. Companies that have built a tribe of loyal followers have a unique opportunity to tell their own stories.
Make sure your helpers have the right tools for the job.
You wouldn't start building a house without talking to contractors, designers and inspectors and getting the proper permits. Nor should you dive into connecting and creating content via social media without making sure you've convened the right stakeholders and rolled out the proper policies.
Brogan didn't cover this piece, but it's an important one. Identify the people in your organization that will be affected by social media - it's probably people in marketing, public relations, HR, internal communications, IT, and legal (but it could be others like sales and manufacturing, depending on the goals of the program).
Once the group is solidified, bring them together to come up with a policy everyone can live with. For some companies, it's as simple as "don't be stupid." For others, it comes down to adjusting policies that are already in place. Getting the right folks involved and establishing ground rules early on will save headaches down the road.
How are you showing your customers that you're listening? Are you being helpful?
Facebook Launches Vanity URLs - Do you need to grab your brand's name?Posted by on June 10, 2009 at 2:36 PM
By now, your organization probably has one or more Facebook profiles or fan pages. Here's some important news from the site:
Currently, Facebook-profile URLs are long and contain many parameters. For example, John Doe's URL might read:
Beginning Friday, Facebook members (including businesses) will be able to choose a "vanity" URL, providing an easier way to share your profile and allow people (and search engines) to find you. For example, John Doe's new URL might read:
What to Do
If your company has a Facebook profile or fan page, you should take advantage of your own vanity URL - both for branding purposes and to prevent someone else from hijacking your company's name. Facebook has provided businesses the opportunity to do this ahead of the launch. Just fill out this form and someone from the Facebook team should be in touch with you.
A more detailed overview of this topic can be found on the Facebook blog.
Ultimately, unique/custom URLs go beyond Facebook making your Web properties more memorable and findable and giving users an idea of who you are and what you're about. In a cluttered world of over 100 million Web sites, this can be a small differentiator with a big impact.
PR, Social Media and the Multi-Disciplined ApproachPosted by Bob Brin on May 20, 2009 at 8:29 AM
Social media sounds a lot like PR some days:
That's not to say it's just the same. It isn't. But the reason PR is finding a natural transition to social media, is based on evolutionary factors:
What PR doesn't always understand
In the end, what's needed, of course, is a multi-disciplined communications approach. And while PR folks need to leverage the affinity of their skill sets, we can't get lazy and think of sparking conversation as "getting coverage" in the new media or that we've done our job by getting some good hits. The conversation goes on.
Social media and the approachable brandPosted by Bob Brin on February 25, 2009 at 7:59 AM
Social media goes beyond marketing and networking. It's an opportunity to create or amplify an approachable brand. It's all about opening up and letting people in. Show your personality (even your multiple personalities). Expose yourself and let go a little. That means you're vulnerable. And with vulnerability comes mistakes. Those, in turn, become opportunities. What great personality isn't flawed? The approachable brand has a personality that is human, able to show humility and has a sense of humor (even about its own hubris). Recovering from missteps is easier and faster with those components to your personality.
Burger King's Whopper Virgins world's purest tasteless test?Posted by Bob Brin on December 8, 2008 at 8:43 AM
Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's agency, traveled across the globe to remote locations finding indigenous people to participate in a taste test: Whopper vs Big Mac. Participants in the study ('Whopper Virgins') had never seen a hamburger or been exposed to ads from the fast food giants. The whole concept (see Ad Age article) has been stirring up some controversy. Just do a Google Search on Whopper Virgins. Big surprise, given they're testing food that's already under fire on people who haven't been exposed to it, and shouldn't. Next, let's test dog food on Arctic wolves.
I don't know. Maybe it's just an expensive spoof on marketing and social media mania. Then let's not make the joke on people from another culture struggling to pick up a floppy slider. I'd rather see Burger King spend the money on helping those people sustain their culture and live better. I'd bet their target market cares more than they realize.
Check out the full-length viral video.
Twitter Means Business - A New Book on How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your CompanyPosted by on December 1, 2008 at 3:33 PM
Here's a new book from author Julio Ojeda-Zapata on how Twitter can be a good or bad thing for your business. I heard him on MPR on the way into the office this morning and he made some interesting points. For example, he explained how Twitter allows a company to speak with their audience instead of at them - something I firmly believe is at the heart of social media. Jason Falls, one of our partners with Jim Beam, is also quoted on the book's Web site giving it praise. The first chapter apparently answers many people's long-standing question, "Why should I care?" I'll give it a read and make a post after I'm finished.
If anyone else has read this book, feel free to let me know your thoughts.
Web sites should be multilingual for business scalability, not just Web site usabilityPosted by Bob Brin on December 1, 2008 at 9:27 AM
Having a global presence really means thinking (and speaking) locally. This causes me to add a fourth D to our 3D Web planning process. So now, we must consider dialect in addition to the desired action of our audiences, differentiation and dialog (ways to engage them in a conversation). Dialect is critical even for domestic organizations because most need to communicate to multilingual customer and employee audiences.
But for large organizations, dialect is not only an audience-targeting or usability issue, it quickly becomes a problem (or opportunity) of scale. Many have multiple Web sites, in multiple languages and with thousands of pages. Managing content is one thing. Managing translations of thousands or millions of pages is a really big thing. Thus there are companies like Sajan with translation management systems and an international army of linguists.
The technology makes sure you get the best use out of the linguists' hard work, by providing a database of translations and tools so that you don't have to reinvent the sentence every time you translate. This drives cost out of the system and, perhaps more importantly, allows organizations to enter new markets and roll out products faster. Globalization is really about localization. The company that can get local faster, and in the dialect that their audience understands, will sell more.
Blogger outreach and how not to overreachPosted by Bob Brin on August 7, 2008 at 7:55 AM
Social media good-guy Jason Falls passed us this blog entry by Chris Brogan What I Want PR and Marketing Professionals To Know. You may have heard most of it before, but it's a good reminder or something to pass on the client or boss who just wants those hits any way you can get them.
New media: a mile wide and dangerously shallow?Posted by Bob Brin on August 2, 2008 at 2:37 PM
I was in a meeting the other day with few people on social media plans and the brand manager commented that the new landscape was a mile wide and an inch deep. I think that's true if you look at social media as just media. We're facing many, many more "outlets" from blogs to Twitter to Facebook and so on . . . and on. Some have thousands of followers and some six (this blog falling somewhere in between). It's tough when you're a marketer trying to decide where you spend your dollars when you need to include this new stuff along with all of the traditional media like radio and billboards.
Of course, social media is not just another media. It's made up of societies. You can no longer just create a message and broadcast. Each "outlet" is a community. And while you can have communicators discover, monitor and -- to a degree -- immerse themselves in these communities, they can't completely broker the relationship on your behalf.
So where do you invest your dollars and your time? Well, as the media (meaning reporters) realize that much of the real-time dialog is happening in these communities, that's where they hang out to get their ideas and immerse themselves in the dialog or at least listen in. They want to be where the action is. So you too need to go where the societies are, get in and get involved. If you've got nothing to talk about except your products, you're not going to be terribly popular. Diving below the surface is where you find the opportunities.
"Creating Your Own Social Network" Software with Community ServerPosted by Bob Brin on July 15, 2008 at 9:41 AM
We've been kicking the tires on Telligent's Community Server as a social network platform to create a Facebook-like environment for intranets or special communities. We've played around with others in the past and we like that you can get this one affordably and still customize the look for your particular application, for example a B2B network of clients, distributors and business partners. For some clients, when it comes to social networking, we say go where the society is (i.e., Facebook and the like). For others, the community is more tight knit and not interested in their conversations being exposed to everyone. We like that CS is built on .NET, or at least our developers like that, and it appears to now have integration with MS SharePoint 2007, which is great for organizations that can afford it. SharePoint's a great collaboration platform and WSS 3.0 has built-in wiki and blog support. It's more of an information-sharing, structured environment, whereas Community Server is centered on the individual and groups. You can share files, but it's not as structured around the information. Let us know what you use/like.
How young people get their news shows e-mail still not deadPosted by Bob Brin on May 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM
After I officially declared e-mail not dead in a recent post, I am now seeing evidence supporting my bold claim (previously my research was based on a survey of my own e-mail inbox, some 1600 messages strong). It was only a few years ago that e-mail was called the killer application and then more recently, I've heard social media experts from other firms refer to it in the past tense. From killer to deceased in a few short years.
"Also, the survey found that 16 of the 18 participants got their news through e-mail, a medium which traditional media like newspapers rarely employ."
Then again, is a survey with 18 participants research? Okay, I'm off to delete some e-mails so that the IT department doesn't kill me.
Is e-mail a dead medium or are graphics making it ghost-like?Posted by Bob Brin on May 2, 2008 at 1:27 PM
I don't really buy that e-mail is a dead communications form. If it is, I spend a good deal of my day in deadsville. As my official representative of the up-and-coming generation, my fourteen-year-old daughter doesn't do a lot of e-mail, but she doesn't have a job, either. The rest of us have to live in e-mail. But while e-mail isn't dead, there are some e-mail marketers doing everything they can to kill it. Take a look at this e-mail I just received, ironically from some guy trying to show off his photography business: Actually, this e-mail doesn't just contain graphics; it's all graphics. One of the best things you can do to get your e-mail read is to, like, use some text. Not type imbedded in graphics, but good old HTML text. Your creative or e-mail marketing folks should be testing your e-mails to make sure that they display some important words when the graphics don't get through, especially when most people have graphics turned off for their e-mail preview. In marketing communications days gone by, we used to say, "Graphics exist to draw the eye to copy." In the case of e-mail, the opposite is true. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but words are still the basic currency of communications.
PR and search marketingPosted by Bob Brin on April 9, 2008 at 5:05 AM
I hate to break it to you, but your Web site is not the center of the universe. Google is. I heard a presentation recently in which a Dell representative said that Google's search results page is your new home page. That's where people begin their search on your organization and what happens there is likely to stay etched in their memory.
PR (and I don't mean just publicity) is one of the most important disciplines for influencing what goes on in the search engine marketing space. PR and search marketing go hand-in-hand because your outreach efforts are vital to getting other web sites pointing to your site, as well as generating great content for your site(s). We think of search marketing as a solar system. At the center of our search engine marketing solar system is Google. How warmly this big star shines on you depends primarily on your site's popularity with other credible & popular sites and the volume and quality of content on your own site.
Go where the life forms are. Create presences on directories, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc. In addition to being where the people are, this creates more links back to your site and increases your popularity. Of course, the popularity of those sites reflects upon your popularity.
Get mentioned by the experts. Media properties are search engine magnets. Because of their vast amount of content and subscribers/visitors, you need a strong presence in the online media.
Send out your keyword probes. Use search-optimized press releases that will land on news sites and content aggregators throughout your universe. Place articles on sites looking for expert-written content. Post real commentary on other blogs.
Set up satellites and moons. Build microsites, blogs and even your own social networks. But remember it's not about tricking people or shallow content. Content has to deliver real value.
Thus the need for real, substantive content and communications efforts. Web 2.0 is the age of authenticity. And your success will depend on how well you explore and colonize the search solar system and how effectively you manage your messages and reputation out there.
Lazy like a FirefoxPosted by Bob Brin on March 25, 2008 at 6:03 AM
We're increasingly coming across Web developers who don't even bother to test their work for Internet Explorer. Just in the last couple weeks, we've run into a CMS tool (with this one, it's more like Ground Hog Day the movie), a national consumer brand's site and several sites running Flash videos that only work properly in Firefox.
Now, I like the alternative browser and I'm all for revolution, but with Firefox owning 16% market share to IE's 67%, according to one report, the mice aren't going to take over the laboratory (much less the world) any time soon. Testing our work on the market is not only lazy; it's crazy. Didn't we learn anything from Pinky and the Brain?
BASF launches B2B blog for turf prosPosted by Bob Brin on March 24, 2008 at 6:07 AM
BASF recently launched its TurfTalk blog (with some help from us). It's a good example of how a B2B blog can help open a dialog with a niche market, in this case, the pros who manage grounds for golf courses and the like. Various experts from the company will chime in, along with occasional industry pundits.
Related, we built the site using Wordpress, and our developers are finding it most friendly. Can I say that on a Movable Type-powered blog? We used lots of available plugins for things like the poll, the graphic icons tied to each category and the little pop-ups with each author's name. We also added Google Analytics to track traffic, FeedBurner and Share This. Share This is a great way to include all the social media sharing features (from e-mail to Facebook to de.licio.us) with one icon instead of the dozen or so icons you'd need to add to each entry. Could even spruce up this blog a bit!
Creative Articulation Before ArtPosted by Bob Brin on August 29, 2007 at 11:29 AM
Don't count on miracles when it comes to creative. Count on magic. All too often, we hope for miracles when it comes to creative, which is usually a waste of God's time, not to mention the creative staff.
Magic, on the other hand, is completely deliverable. But if you know any magicians, you know that it's all about science, practice and painstaking choreography of the performance. It looks magical because the magician sweats out the details long before the curtain goes up.
So do your research before and after the creative, meaning tapping into those scientific-minded researchers to get clarification on what motivates the audiences and test concepts.
Then, craft a creative brief. This document is every bit as creative a challenge as the copy or the design and should be given as much weight. Use it to articulate the creative vision and what outcomes you're trying to achieve to get the best results from your creative efforts.
Think of the creative brief or blueprint as a creative contract between the creative department, the account staff and the client. All must agree to it and it must be formally approved. It is actually a part of the creative effort and so I hesitate to hand it off to the account staff. Not because they're incapable, but because it should be a shared creation that gets the creative team involved earlier in the process. Ultimately, when the creative brief gets the client excited and they say, "Yes, you nailed it," you've created a work of art before the artwork begins.
And then there was light!Posted by Bob Brin on June 16, 2007 at 7:44 AM
Regular readers of this blog can get a sneak peek at our new lighter, brighter Web site. If you build Web sites for a living, doing it for your own firm can be a strange and wanderful thing. That CEO of ours, Lynn Casey, has the unique and dubious honor of being our toughest client. Tough in a good way. Like a teacher who challenges you to be the best you can be . . . And sometimes like a drill sergeant who challenges you to be ALL that you can be. And be it now! Now! NOW!
The whole light-bulb/left/right brain theme evolved over the past year into a new branding expression for Padilla. But it didn't start there. Like a lot of creative, it started with a sacrificial effort that was off the mark, but a good start -- one of those "something to react to" concepts.
And it was beautiful.
And Lynn looked at it and agreed. It was beautiful. Beautiful, but uninspired.
She was expecting some element of the unexpected . . . because that's what clients expect from us. This led to further discussions, soul searching and research and another expression of what clients expect: "no surprises," as in dependable, professional service. And that presented one of those wonderful dichotomies that leads to cool creative and a new theme: "Something unexpected. No surprises."
The theme articulates what makes us unique, as a firm -- the ambidextrous nature of our nature -- we're buttoned down and focused on results like you'd expect of a planful, research-biased public relations consulting firm. At the same time, we've also got a highly creative side, use every imaginable communications channel and have a ton of fun at work. Which comes from using both sides of our brains or what Lynn calls whole-brain thinking.
At one point we were going to use a brain as the image but it was too literal. Eventually, the light bulb image emerged, with it's hint of a brain inside. And suddenly the light came on. Because our value is not just related to our brains, but what they produce: energy, enlightenment, bright ideas and greater visibility -- as we illuminate our clients' brands. See what you think. Of course, we think it's brilliant!
Now to brighten up this blog a bit . . .
Search Engine Best Practices Coming Round to Traditional MarketingPosted by Bob Brin on February 2, 2007 at 7:41 AM
Search Engine Watch and other search-marketing experts are talking about the growing inflation of pay-per-click costs as marketers have become addicted to what one pundit calls the "search crack pipe."
One article refers to a return to what was once called PR and communications:
Marketing: Formerly known as "link building," in 2007 we will begin to think of this as marketing and promotion
Refering to the waning effectiveness of link campaigns . . .
So what does this mean? It means you have to get your links by different means (in Smith Barney terms you have to "earn it"). Great content. A reputation as an open business that builds relationships with its customers and partners. In short build trust. This is what will get people to link to your site.
We often refer to the push/pull effect of traditional marketing combined with search marketing efforts for greater success. (PR learns what keywords are most effective and search is optimized continually to capitalize on changing messages, news and events.) However when search marketing is seen as the wonder drug, creating "pull" all by itself, and communications and marketing efforts aren't deployed to create valuable content, events, news links, etc. -- the things that really pull people's interests -- then search marketing has less pull and becomes a suck on time and resources.
Email Marketing Subject Line TipsPosted by Bob Brin on August 30, 2006 at 6:44 AM
The email engineering folks at Vertical Response posted a blog entry on basic tips for email subject lines to increase your campaign open rates. I would add to #4 -- Put the most valuable information up front -- that you don't want to waste that subject line real estate with "Fall Newsletter or ACME Newsletter." Your subject line is like the rail item on a newspaper's Page 1. That's where you hook 'em in. Email readers are weeding and feeding, meaning most of us are just trying to delete as many generic emails as possible to get to what matters -- emails from Mom, the boss, clients, etc. So use those 40-50 characters like a scarce resource!
Up2d8Posted by on January 27, 2006 at 3:35 PM
Smart retailers are using online storefronts as their Maginot lines. And if they’re really smart, they’ve created an online experience that sells, creates cross-selling opportunities and keeps customers coming back for more.
There’s nothing new in the theory. Retailers have been doing this in varying degrees for years. However, what many retailers are not doing is nurturing and cultivating new customers. Retailers can’t sit back and wait for legacy shoppers to emerge – they have to create and capture new blood at the point of sale. That means luring people to their sites and keeping them there, whether they purchase or not.
Very smart retailers keep you at their sites and nurture you while they attempt to convert you. It’s great if you buy something. But it’s more important to identify with the brand – purchases will follow. And, as in the case of Target, deliver marketing messages that tell consumers (in this case, teenage girls) that Target is sick (in a good way) through Target Up2d8.
The next step in online retail evolution is social networking. Create such a resonant online experience that real conversation between peers happens as part of the purchase experience and ultimately influences purchase. It’s unlikely that retail social networking would supplant My Space and its counterparts, and it shouldn’t. But it can augment a consumer’s online experience and offer affiliate and advertising opportunities.
Hey…just found out camis are the Trend 411. L8R.
You’re hungry…you’re hungryPosted by on January 18, 2006 at 10:44 AM
Each day, consumer marketing comes dangerously close to abhorrent and complete mind control. Ok, so the panic button may have been pressed in haste. But I can envision the next step from Kraft’s new Game Pad to be some sort of implant into the hypothalamus (done in the womb, of course) to tell us that we’re hungry for Kraft products that will delight us from cradle to grave.
Or, it's simply a nifty marketing tool designed to bring Kraft brands one step closer to the consumer – literally – by allowing them to play branded games and learn dance steps from a branded, downloadable program.
Ooh…suddenly I’m starving for Cheese Nips.
Consumer De-generated MediaPosted by Bob Brin on January 11, 2006 at 9:33 AM
Yes, with today's consumer-generated media, you too can be an author, a critic, an analyst, a hotdog, a weenie. Take Wikipedia, where anyone can not only contribute articles to this online encyclopedia (if, say, you're an expert on pileated woodpeckers), you can even edit other people's stuff.
Imagine the controversy that could erupt should one contributor believe she's more expert than the expert. Better yet, don't imagine. Go to this article on the ancient civilization of Kush which I tripped upon while helping my 6th grader with her homework. The article looks peaceful as a sand dune, but under the "history" tab at the top of the page, you find a not-so-civilized war waging beneath the surface as one user tries to edit the editor (reads chronologically from bottom up).
Consumer "Deeceevoice" attempts to change the content and says:
Stop this false, racialist dichotomy of sub-Saharan and North Africa. Both were the sites of early BLACK African civilizations
No need to bring modern racial divisions into our Ancient history articles.
If you link to Deeceevoice's profile page, you find a warning about the page from none-other than Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia:
I am strongly advising this user to replace this offensive rant with a calm discussion of the issues the page raises. There is absolutely nothing wrong with raising questions about systemic bias and how racism and other hostile ideologies can affect Wikipedia negatively, but this page is not contributing constructively to the debate. Do not disrupt Wikipedia to make a point.
Deeceevoice then volleys with a link to his/her page, which includes [WARNING] swastikas, offensive photos and crude language, which deeceevoice says others injected. (see comments)
Consumer-generated media can definitely give power to the people. Just be prepared to deal with dialogue that degenerates into graffiti and graphic violence.
Is your Web content gregarious?Posted by Bob Brin on December 12, 2005 at 12:10 PM
Back when I worked at a software company, the developers used to refer to “promiscuous code.” That meant the software code was very friendly with other programs. I like to think of content in a similar way, but let’s call it “gregarious.”
Ask your PR team or Web folks what they’re doing to make your Web content more gregarious toward search engines, blogs, news publications and others who would possibly spread the word-of-mouse about your company’s products, ideas and knowledge.
In addition to search engine optimization, one of the best ways to make your news, articles and other ideas more outgoing is by using a “feed.”
Public relations people understand news feeds: PRNewswire and BusinessWire feed their press releases to reporters who “subscribe” to the content and then pick and choose what releases they’re interested in using. Yet few of us are using the do-it-yourself feed technology that has grown up alongside blogs. Technologies like RSS and Atom allow bloggers, reporters and others to receive your content right from your blog, online newsroom or knowledge center, and plug it into their articles and entries.
This blog, for example, has a feed (see the RSS icon at the bottom of the home page). That way, someone with a blog reader (like Bloglines) can simply enter our URL into their blog reader and get our content delivered to them, without the risk of spam. (We also let people sign up in e-mail, if that’s their preferred method of delivery.)
Is it worth the effort? Considering the time and effort it takes to develop the content, you will want to leverage it for everything you can. Also, as IT folks continue to turn down the screws on what can get through their e-mail system, even those who have subscribed to your e-mail newsletter may not be receiving it. Adding a feed to your site takes a bit of coding, but it’s relatively straight forward and there are even authoring tools out there that make it doable for the Dreamweaver-dependent crowd.
Gregarious Web sites that radiate their content to the world will become the norm. We suggest getting into it now to stay a step ahead of your competition.
Biting the HandPosted by on November 16, 2005 at 8:59 AM
CEOs come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and flavors, but one thing is common among them: communicating using new channels (read: technology) scares the pinstripes off their suits.
So it’s no surprise that survey after survey casts CEOs as a cautious lot when it comes to using blogs to communicate. But what’s concerning about the C-level view on blogs is the notion that, despite trepidation, blogs might be a good way to quickly communicate new ideas (read: self promotion).
Some C-folk have tried it and are generally accepted as early adopters of blogs for corporate gain. General Motors’ Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is a regular contributor to FastLane, GM’s executive-to-consumer blog. I’m not fond of product blogs, including FastLane (though as a former Opel owner, I went misty when I saw the new Opels).
I’m troubled by the fact that it’s called a blog. It looks like a blog, maybe even smells like a blog. It allows for comments. But let’s not be mistaken. It is not a blog. It is opinion pieces and news releases with one big corporation telling us how great it is. And there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as it is crystal clear.
Surveys like the one just conducted by PR Week/Burson-Marsteller and Milward Brown miss the point. Of course CEOs are going to say it’s great to talk about the company’s new ideas by using a blog. Hey, great, one more way to blow our horn. Unless the blog is clearly identified as a marketing tool and not a traditional blog that encourages two-way conversation, it’s not really a blog.
Marketing guru Seth Godin says blogs work when they are based on:
Then he says “Does this sound like a CEO to you?” and “Save the fluff for the annual report.” Through this lens, FastLane isn’t a blog.
I wonder if the PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller survey asked this question: As a CEO/executive, are you willing to receive honest and harsh criticism in an open, public forum, and are you ready to answer critics?
Though FastLane isn’t really a blog, it does answer that question. Its redeeming quality is self-proclaimed, and it’s the perfect CEO blog role:
“The FastLane blog is all about the cars and trucks. GM leaders discuss all aspects of our vehicles. We look forward to hearing your ideas.”
No fog there.
Creativity is like chiliPosted by Bob Brin on October 13, 2005 at 4:26 PM
A primary benefit of our Lumin collaborative is shared knowledge: whippersnappers like me get to season our thinking with the hickory-cured wisdom of pros like Patrice Tanaka of PT&Co. We just had an online lesson from her on Creativity in Public Relations. In the session, she mentioned holding multiple brainstorm meetings until you come up with that breakthrough idea.
[sound of record needle ripping across vinyl] Multiple brainstorms?
When do we ever get the luxury of multiple brainstorms? Or . . . I mean . . . struggle that much?
. . . And then a Grinch attack . . . my heart grows three sizes this day . . . . Maybe brilliance doesn't happen in one meeting.
Maybe it's like chili. Good the first day, but better the day after, and even better the day after that.
Too often, we expect creativity to happen in a single session. The team gets briefed on the spot and we try to blanch the ideas out of everyone's brains before we lose them to another meeting. And when we're done spanking the last drops out of the coffee pot, we better see some brilliance! More meetings means impending failure and we go back to the drawing (and quartering) board or bring in a fresh team of Thoreau-bred geniuses. And we're betting they're faster!
Somewhere, a VP stews . . .
I like this slow cook approach. Hereafter, our process forever should include:
* Ingredients-gathering (background and research)
[roll guitar music: Texas shuffle]
Or maybe creativity is like beer . . .
News as a search engine magnetPosted by Bob Brin on September 18, 2005 at 7:43 AM
Propulsion on the Web is like any energy expenditure. Most of your cost is in getting off the ground and most of the benefit comes at cruise speed. PR and marketing communications requires a significant investment in careful crafting and packaging of words. But then you get maximum acceleration by leveraging the heck out of your content, rather than letting it get locked into a press release or newsletter. Merchandize that content by: . . .
--optimizing individual pages (press releases, newsletter articles, etc.) for the search engines
Have you Technorati'd yourself lately?Posted by Bob Brin on September 17, 2005 at 7:23 AM
You've heard of Googling yourself to see if you're famous on the Web. Inappropriate as it may sound, it's a good idea and very healthy, actually. (I found I'm not as famous as Sergey Brin, but he has an inside advantage.)
Technorati is a Google for blogs. BlogPulse is another sort of search engine for blogs. These will tell you what people are saying about you and your customers and their products and their mothers on the blogs. Or maybe you can't handle the truth . . .