Fitbit Leads The Way

Fitbit Image

A fellow student of mine brought up an interesting point in class today. As harmless as wearable devices may seem, these bracelets have access to private health information that can be hacked or even sold to third party companies. I personally own a Fitbit, where I update and analyze my progress every day. I would hate to find out that MY personal information was being sold to fitness facilities or even insurance companies. I am glad that Fitbit has established a new privacy policy that U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer praised:

“Fitbit’s new privacy policy which now clearly states that they will never sell personal data that identifies an individual. Fitbit will only share data when it is (1) legally necessary or (2) when the data is de-identified and aggregated, or (3) when the user opts-in and directs the company to share data. This goes to show that as technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, the greater risk we take with our own personal information.”

As companies strive to meet your interests, it is important for them to also respect your boundaries. The more data they collect about you, the better their ability to know your purchasing or routine habits. The privacy concern here is that information can be shared with third parties without your knowledge or consent. Privacy statements should be easily available, personal data should not be shared without consent, and consumers should have the choice to opt-in/out of information.

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Making Art Out of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) along with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are great ways to analyze and evaluate marketing and sales campaigns. Not only do large corporations use such technology but small business owners partake in the excitement too! Having your own blog and social media sites may be helpful in gaining followers from supportive friends and family, but optimizing search engines will build an even broader fan base. SEO is extremely important for businesses to use. For example, if you were a stained glass artist and someone were to search “local stained glass” on Google, you should have it so your name appears in the top search results for your area.

SEO

Your website must include the appropriate words and phrases to describe you and your style of art. These “keywords” and “keyword phrases” need to be placed in the most powerful sections of your site. In addition, it’s important to ensure that the keywords you use to describe your art are the same as those being used by people searching for your style of art in search engines and social media.

Social media platforms are nothing new, but the tools we use to analyze them with are becoming more reliable and increasingly popular. Beyond discovering demographics, analytical tools can help a business discover what their customers are talking about and how better to reach them. Sites such as Simply Measured, LikeAlyzer, and Google Trends are only a few of the many social analytical tools used to create valuable information for a business or corporation.

Privacy? Don’t Count On It!

In today’s society, I feel I have limited privacy. I am constantly connected to friends, family, and co-workers on a daily basis. Facebook makes it so you can see when I am on my laptop and when I am on my phone down to the minutes. Just a few days ago, I was scrolling through a Buzzfeed article “43 People Who Actually Exist”. They displayed a picture of a Social Security Card posted by a Twitter user. Thankfully, someone blurred the numbers but the caption below read “How can anyone steal my social security number? I have it with me and you won’t be able to find it!”…. I’m not even going to comment.

Information is being uploaded and distributed across multiple platforms, on sites that encourage sharing. Full name, date-of-birth, city or home town, email address, and interests are all things waiting to be scooped up by advertisers. 46% of 18-to-29-year-olds said it’s a fair trade for companies to target ads to users based on their personal information in exchange for a free service, versus only a third of the general public.

Roughly 60% of all Americans own a smartphone and have succumbed to the purchase and download of an app. These apps are also a breach of privacy due to apps requesting permission to access certain information from the phone. This leads to geo-targeting strategies. More advertisers are taking advantage of consumers using their company’s apps. This technology sends out push notifications to users when they are in a certain range of their stores. Shopkick and RetailMeNot are two main users of geo-fencing. According to Marketing Charts, geo-aware and geo-fence mobile programs produce the best click-through rates.

Only a few months ago, we were worried about Heartbleed. A flaw that basically allowed people to “break the lock” on sophisticated encryption software, get into the memory of security systems and gather up whatever personal information was there. Only 39% of internet users changed their passwords or canceled their accounts after the situation was resolved. I find this number to be considerably low. As companies strive to meet your interests, it is important for them also to respect your boundaries. Privacy statements should be easily available, personal data should not be shared without consent, and customers should have the choice to opt-in/out of information.

Books to Media: Who doesn’t love a good story?

As marketers, we are fortunate to live in a society where we have the knowledge and technology to communicate effectively with the customer. We build on the ideas from the past and translate our thoughts for today’s generations. Our society is more connected than ever before and it provides a brand an opportunity to engage in any medium possible. Tapping into emotions with digital storytelling allows us to develop a deep and lasting relationship with the consumer.

I would like to discuss a company that has discovered the power of digital storytelling and Lovemarks. These Lovemarks are a way to connect with consumers on an emotional level. The Age of Now is all about the mastery of emotional communication; not manipulation. I believe I have a good example of a Lovemark. “Cut the Cord” by Subaru.

Just in case you haven’t seen it. It’s a wonderful 30 second clip of a nervous daughter on her first day of school and her worried father. I thought it was one of the sweetest commercials I had ever seen!

Subaru owners are very passionate about their car and are loyal to the brand. “If you ask a Subaru owner what they think of their car, more times than not they’ll tell you they love it,” said Alan Bethke, director of marketing communications for Subaru of America. Subaru connects with their customer by advertising the longevity, safety, versatility and adventure the cars can offer to the consumer.

Since they established such an emotional bond with their customers, they have taken steps to incorporate the customers into their advertising campaign by starting “Dear Subaru”. A website where Subaru owners can share their stories and pictures with one another. This along with all the other features of the car allow the consumer to create that essential Lovemark.

Get out those phones! There may be a deal in your pocket!

This week, I have chosen to write about the ‘Mobile Couponing Trend”. Now, maybe it is just my obsession with couponing but the statistics don’t lie! More than 70% of digital coupon users will use a mobile device to redeem a discount in 2014. This is becoming a major trend among the Millennial generation. Did you know that there are roughly 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion? This generation is fast-tracking how we shop, where we shop and when we shop. Newspaper and direct mail coupons may remain relevant but online and mobile coupons are gaining popularity at a rapid rate.

If you think about it, it can be a real pain when you find out you have left your coupons at home, especially when you spent so much time searching and snipping them out. Companies are taking out the “hassle” of couponing and making it more convenient with personalized savings in CRM programs, apps that offer digital coupons to use at checkout and apps that send out special alerts to shoppers through geo-targeting strategies.

Both older and younger generations like to save money but how they do so, is different. Finding the right approach for your company varies since one medium might not work as well as the other. Frugalness, free Wi-Fi and a smartphone is all you need to save a few bucks while shopping for those everyday items or even on those “need to have” items.

Customize This!

Hi folks,

Let’s take a moment to talk about an industry that is transforming the way we purchase products. The customization industry has certainly gained popularity in the past few years as the demand for more personalized products has come into play. Customization helps companies reach certain customers, especially the millennial generation who is out to find a means to express oneself and stand out from the crowd.

Shutterfly-logo

I’d like to mention a company that does an excellent job in the customization category. Shutterfly, an internet-based image publishing service. I discovered them a few years ago when looking to create a photobook. The whole process of uploading photos, creating the book and the checkout process was seamless. Upon receiving the product, I was amazed by the quality of the pictures and the double-thick paper it was printed on.

shutterfly book

Customers who use personalized sites such as Shutterfly, become engaged in the process and therefore more engaged with the company. Customers soon become brand loyal when they familiarize themselves with the company, become a member, and know the quality of the product they are going to receive. Companies are constantly gaining insight from their customers who are creating their own templates and designs. This lets the company know what customers are looking for and what will be the next big thing.

Sales of custom photo books, calendars, greeting cards, wedding invitations, and even wall decals totaled an estimated $600 million in 2012. That number is undoubtedly higher as over 22 billion photos will be shared through electronic media by 2015! We will always want to preserve our memories in one format or the other. Shutterfly gives us the option to organize, find, share and create to do just that.

Smelling Beyond Creativity – Old Spice

However outrageous Old Spice commercials can get, you have to admit they catch your attention! This company has created a level beyond creativity which leads to the question, what’s next? Their website gives the viewer more than a description off an Old Spice label. It gives the viewer an experience through outrageous, comedic relief. Developing a web site is only the first step in the digital identity process; the next step is promoting the site through traditional and emerging media and to keep the spectator coming back.

Visitors often form first impressions of web pages in less than a second! Upon visiting the Old Spice webpage, you are greeted by a shirtless Terry Crews who is about to shave off a version of him as facial hair. Sound ridiculous? Click here!  Watch other videos, such as the Mom Song, where mothers cry over their growing boys or watch a hairpiece hit on women. Old Spice is all about making you smell good and making you laugh.

Their site is far from ordinary with background textures of shower tile, hardwood floors, carpet and…hair. Scrolling from tab to tab, you learn the Old Spice language, which describes in humorous detail where you will be directed next.

Videos – “Make your eyeballs smell good”

Where To Buy – “Follow your nose to fragrant man goods”

Like every good website should, Old Spice groups all their social media links into icons at the top of the page. This makes it easier for a consumer to share their experience.

Their boldness and creativity are beyond what some companies are willing to do. This leaves the market wide open for them to be as comical and outgoing as possible. Their campaigns do a great job by exciting the target audience by relating to their humor and interests. They also do a great job with brand continuity throughout all their campaigns.

Can We Close The Gap On Gender Specific Marketing?

Have you noticed that more products that were once gender specific are now branching out to the opposite sex? That marketers are finding new ways to highlight the benefits of their product to both genders? Loyal customers often get upset when a brand commonly associated with men expands to include products perceived as feminine—especially in cases where men use a particular brand to communicate their own identities. Take Dr. Pepper Ten for example, a diet soda that attempts to address the fact that male consumers think diet drinks are “girly”.

 

Gender specific products are not always easily noticeable. It’s not just ads that demonstrate a product’s intended audience but how the product is packaged, too. It was believed by 29 percent that a company would lose sales if it adopted gender neutral packaging, with 28 percent thinking gender specific packaging is a ‘smart marketing move’.

gender marketing

I bring up this topic because many products are becoming more diverse, especially with the younger generation. The ideas of advertising are changing and so are the minds of the consumers. Gender specific products has been around for quite some time and I believe that understanding this relationship will help give marketers a better view as to what works for their brand when marketing to certain genders.

The Younger Generation Seems To Have It Figured Out (At Least We Hope!)

Social media buttons

In a world full of Social Media, it is important for one in the industry to stay on top of their game. Even at the age of 23, I feel as if technology is surpassing me at surprisingly rapid pace. The woman in the Amazon Fire phone commercial pretty much sums up how I feel.

Let me see if I can get the ball rolling on some of the trends I have noticed in the emerging media world…
The number symbol, oops, I mean #Hashtag! The pound sign that groups any word or topic into a searchable link. A form of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) if you will. #Hashtags are no longer specific to Twitter as they have found a new home among Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other blogging sites. Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake seem to get the hang of it!

How many times have you looked at your phone today? I would probably be embarrassed to say myself. I feel like many, including myself would be lost without their mobile phone. Communication through voice and text, email, social media platforms, etc. You name it, your phone can make it happen. Just ask Siri! (Sorry, Android users).

Now, I know cellphones are nothing new in this trending world but what they have done is created a new way of marketing and for that, we thank you. By the end of 2014, mobile is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage. Companies are creating apps and making their website mobile friendly. Consumers are now becoming more comfortable purchasing items through their mobile devices.

The last topic I will introduce today will be, Video Marketing. A third of all online activity is spent watching videos. Companies are searching for ways to capture their audience in exciting ways and I believe video marketing does just that. Take the Johnnie Walker Blue Label commercial ‘The Gentleman’s Wager’. Never do they speak the name of the scotch nor do they even show the full label on the bottle. It is implied that, their drink of choice is Johnnie Walker Blue Label. A classy yet fun story, which may or may not have a sequel. (I am hoping it does!).

Concept Papers for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and Right at Home

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café        Image

The Focus

This will be a video that introduces patrons to Taziki’s Mediterranean Café. It will be around: 60 seconds and focus on a young woman on the go. The clip will showcase the fast-casual Mediterranean atmosphere, friendly staff and healthy food. It will be aired locally, placed on the local Taziki’s Facebook page and uploaded to YouTube.  

The Issues

Some issues that affect Taziki’s, are that they are not nationally known because they are a start-up company that does not have much money for advertising. They also do not offer a rewards program which would provide customer loyalty to this new café.  

The Audience

The Audience of Taziki’s will mainly be focused on health-conscious women. They also would be a great match for young professional’s on-the-go.

The Content Points

  • Quality/Price
  • Healthy, fast-casual options
  • Mediterranean Experience

The Brand

Taziki’s is all about the Mediterranean atmosphere, fresh ingredients and healthy food they provide. I would like to relay to the audience that Taziki’s is a new, casual café that provides quality, Mediterranean food at reasonable prices.

Right at Home              Image

The Focus

This will be a branding video that focuses on the quality and care provided by Right at Home. It will be filled with testimonials from the patients themselves, family members and even the caregivers.

The Issues

Weak media presence – since the company’s major target audience is elderly, they are not that well connected to social media. This is where I would like to target family members and promote the company in hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Also I would like to focus the attention on the certified caregivers. We want to give the patient and family members a peach of mind.

The Audience

Right at Homes main audience is elderly and disabled patients. We can rely on doctors, nurses, and family members to help relay the message to others seeking or needing in-home care.

The Content Points

  • Locally franchised
  • Commercial Testimonials
  • Certified Caregivers

The Brand

Right at Home provides in-home care to elderly and disabled parents. We want the audience to feel like they are in good hands and that their family members are safe and well taken care of.