365 Cracking the Code on Millennial Shopping

Posted by Madeleine Bell on July 22, 2016 in Branding

365In May, Whole Foods (in my world, known as “Whole Paycheck”) revealed a new business undertaking. The Whole Foods Market Inc. introduced 365, a new grocery chain aimed at offering lower prices while providing a high-technology experience for customers.

When I first learned about the chain, I thought, “Oh, it’s like Whole Foods … but I can afford it!” However, 365 is trying to avoid the title as “the cheaper Whole Foods” and instead provide a new consumer grocery shopping experience.

Instead of wine specialists, iPads are placed in the beverages section to help you find your perfect pairing. Produce is priced per piece or per package rather than by the pound. Meat, cheese and fish are in to-go packages instead of ordering them from butchers, cheese and fishmongers. Stores exclusively use digital pricing, which enables them to change prices instantly. Fast-pay areas include kiosks that only accept Apple Pay and credit cards for a speedy checkout.

According to Reuters, 365’s target market includes cash-strapped “millennial moms” and people who buy from a range of other food sellers, such as Kroger, Walmart, Amazon and meal kit providers.

365 launched its first store in Los Angeles and will be an interesting venture to watch. According to a Fierce Retail study earlier this year, 74 percent of millennials and 80 percent of Generation Z still want brick-and-mortar stores but consider the product interaction to be critical to making a purchase.

As the online marketplace expands to encompass fresh food and produce, maybe this is what grocery stores need to do to ensure a steady supply of shoppers.

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Tuesday Tips: Using Location-Based Advertising Technology

Posted by Madeleine Bell on July 19, 2016 in Apps, Marketing

My-locationIn 2013, Apple launched iBeacon, a technology that allows mobile apps on iOS and Android devices to listen for and react to signals from beacons in the physical world. According to Apple, this GPS-enabled technology allows marketers to target consumers on a micro-local scale and deliver hyper-contextual content to these users.

Location-based advertising (LBA) allows you to send notifications to customers regarding coupons, product promotions, flight delays, reservation notices, priority ordering and more. There are five commonly used location-based advertising tools: iBeacon, Wi-Fi, global positioning system (GPS), Near Field Communication (NFS) and Radio Frequency ID (RFID).

Last year, Starbucks used this technology to roll out an ordering app nationwide. Using GPS, the ordering app determines the customer’s proximity to the nearest Starbucks and allows them to submit a beverage order and pay by mobile device. When the customer is within a certain distance to the store, the barista will start making the drink so that it will be ready when the customer arrives.

Here are three tips to effectively use LBA technology with your customers:

  1. Choose your LBA carefully. Understand the quality of the data set collected, how it’s derived, how the locations are defined and what its measures are for each type of LBA technology. By educating yourself on each type of LBA, you can partner with the technology that will achieve your specific objective, whether it’s awareness, intent or purchase. Use this infographic to determine which LBA technology is right for your business.
  2. Balance is everything. Be careful not to bombard your customer with too many messages or content. Overloading the user with information, ads and content will likely result in turning users off to your brand. Remember that, more often than not, your users will need to opt-in to LBA technologies by turning on their location services and accepting the notification push for your business. You want your user to want to use your LBA technology.
  3. Consider privacy concerns. A customer’s mobile device is extremely personal. Although this allows you to customize your marketing plan to fit your customer’s lifestyle, remember that privacy is still a concern. Establish and maintain consumer trust by informing your consumers on how their information is stored, secured and used by creating an easily understandable consumer privacy and preference management policy.

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How we celebrate employees

Posted by Taylor Kennedy on July 15, 2016 in Office Life

balloons-25737_1280I strongly believe that all employees should be celebrated, in some type of fashion, big or small. So when my boss recently brought up the idea of writing down our weekly “wins,” I was on board.

Each week, every staff member will be tasked to make a running list of their “wins,” including both work and personal items. Landing a client in a magazine or achieving a challenging yoga pose could be on the same list (shhh … not giving away anything on my list). Then once a week at our staff meeting, each employee will share their wins to the group.

This is a great chance for companies to not only have their employees get to know each other better and see what everyone is working on, but to also create a positive work environment–one that celebrates your successes.

According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, values-based employee recognition significantly contributes to bottom-line organizational metrics and helps create a stronger culture and more human workplace.

In short, people like to be recognized, and I think this weekly exercise will certainly do the trick.


Pokemon Go and marketing

Posted by Taylor Kennedy on July 12, 2016 in Apps, Marketing

PokemonUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’ve heard about Pokemon Go, the overnight social media phenomenon.

Just to put this phenomenon into perspective, according to Similar Web, the app has already been installed on more U.S. Android phones than Tinder and has a higher usage time than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and Messenger.

The new mobile and augmented reality (AR) game from Niantic Labs and The Pokemon Company uses your phone’s GPS and camera to turn the real world into a massive hunting ground for the iconic creatures. But here’s the interesting part, it also transforms local landmarks and businesses into Pokemon Gyms and PokeStops (in normal speaking terms, places to train your character and collect free accessories) … aka great marketing tactics!

For example, restaurants can lure customers by creating discounts for Pokemon-inspired drink or food options if customers show the game on their phone. This is somewhat similar to marketing tactics employed during the previous craze for location-based apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

Another avenue businesses can take is purchasing “lure modules.” These attract Pokemon players to a Pokestop for 30 min. and will affect the area around that stop up to 500 meter radius. If your business is within these boundaries, it may be another opportunity to increase customers.

It didn’t take long before Pokemon hunts started showing up on Facebook. A NY Times article states that an event in San Francisco State University has more than 18,000 people indicating they’re interested in attending.

It’ll be interesting to see how long this trend will last but in the meantime, I think it’s a great way for companies, especially restaurants and retail, to generate business. Before shaking your head with skepticism, download it and give it a try.


Network of Prequalified Service Providers Launches Digital Marketplace

Posted by Allison Wallner on July 11, 2016 in Client news

July 11, 2016

Nick Lombardino

Network of Prequalified Service Providers Launches Digital Marketplace

Madison’s Atlas Providers network aims to connect entrepreneurs with prequalified service providers


(MADISON, Wis.) – Entrepreneurs looking to quickly search, review and connect with prequalified service providers can now turn to Atlas Providers, which today announced it has launched a free, digital marketplace at atlasproviders.com to better connect emerging companies and area service providers.

By offering transparency into a service provider’s compensation model, key services and expert insight, Atlas Providers gives entrepreneurs one location to pinpoint, research and connect with local experts in insurance, legal, commercial real estate, wealth management, technology, accounting, digital marketing and human resources.

“As a measure of trust, entrepreneurs want to work with service providers who have experience working with startups,” Atlas Providers Co-Founder Nick Lombardino said. “That’s why we vet providers to make sure they specialize in working with emerging companies and offer services that align with an entrepreneur’s unique needs.”

Service providers affiliated with the Atlas Providers Network are required to go through an initial qualification process that includes, but is not limited to: interviews, reference checks, entrepreneurial givebacks (mentorship, volunteering, free consultations) and evaluation of compensation model (hourly wage, commission-based, etc.).

Lombardino, Ryan Waite and Derek Notman developed the concept in 2014 following feedback from focus groups with area entrepreneurs and service providers.

To best serve Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Atlas Providers is partnering with several local organizations, including the Wisconsin Technology Council, that cater to emerging companies.

“We are thrilled to have a strategic relationship with Atlas Providers,” Tech Council President Tom Still said. “Through our partnership, we are able to offer our members a local ‘one-stop shop’ for highly experienced industry experts.”

For more information, please visit www.atlasproviders.com



Resulting Media Coverage:


How to Use Wikipedia to Boost SEO

Posted by Brian Lee on July 8, 2016 in Marketing

WikipediaYou can’t use Wikipedia directly to boost your SEO (search engine optimization), but you can use it indirectly.

Google includes a website’s (quality) inbound links as part of its ranking formula. Thus, it would seem that a link from Wikipedia to your website (either to the homepage or to a story/article) would be helpful.

Unfortunately, if you look at the source code for Wikipedia, you’ll see it uses <rel=”nofollow“> for its links, which means Google won’t count it for the inbound tally.

But there is some shining light. Since your website was considered worthwhile to which to link by the overly strict editing community at Wikipedia–their subjectivity is a major flaw–other websites may eventually link to yours. Assuming they don’t use the “nofollow” code, you’ll get the SEO boost from them.

Of course, you shouldn’t make this tactic the centerpiece of your SEO strategy, but every little bit counts.



Transparency in organizations is important

Posted by Brian Lee on July 5, 2016 in Public relations

2016_Summer_Olympics_logoTime and time again, businesses and organizations make decisions without publicly providing the rationale, and that usually riles up their audiences (e.g. stakeholders, customers, shareholders, etc.). This is one reason why transparency is important.

Now let’s look at the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

Seven years ago, the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted for Rio to host the 2016 Olympic Games over Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo. I was not alone in being stunned by the decision. Sure, South America has never played host to an Olympics, but the other cities were better suited for such a monumental task.

In the first round of voting, Madrid was first with 28 votes, and Chicago was last with 18 votes. I’ve read speculation that Chicago didn’t get many first-round votes because everyone assumed the city would win, and voters were trying to help the other cities save face.

Now that fateful day could have some major repercussions.

Forget the Zika virus. Rio’s major obstacle to a successful Olympic Games is Rio itself. A recent New York Times op-ed paints a picture of how far behind construction is, the crime near the Olympic arenas, the lack of leadership and the budget shortfall. How worried are you if you are an Olympic athlete or a fan that plans on attending?

To this day, IOC members have not revealed why they voted the way they did. Being transparent removes foul play and corruption from the equation. When you explain how you came to a decision, however difficult, you’ll at least achieve informed consent.

In a time when we’ve seen leaders from FIFA get charged with corruption, transparency in sports–and all industries–is more important than ever.



Instagram Hits Half a Billion Users

Posted by Madeleine Bell on July 1, 2016 in Social media

instagramInstagram hit a significant milestone at the end of June, announcing it now has more than half a billion active users, with more than 200 million people using it at least once a day.

The app was purchased in 2012 by Facebook for $1 billion. Since its acquisition, Instagram also has launched three standalone apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse. These three apps focus on photo collages, looped mini videos and moving time lapse videos, respectively.

Although Instagram is still focused on the still photo, the company is starting to embrace full-length videos and carve out a niche in video sharing. Instagram also started launching mobile ads on its newsfeed–in other words, it started making the big bucks.

Instagram is growing at a rate of 10 million new users every month, outpacing Facebook and Twitter whose user growth has stalled. However, Instagram is still facing a threat from competitor Snapchat. According to a USA Today article, Instagram user growth will slow down as “competition from Snapchat escalates.”

Regardless of the Snapchat threat, Instagram has a giant population that don’t show signs of stopping its app-use anytime soon. Can you answer this question: how can you use Instagram to your company’s advantage?


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Dane County Small Business Award

Posted by Brian Lee on June 28, 2016 in Doing business

DSC02148As any small business owner knows, it’s not easy being in business. That’s why, in my acceptance speech for the 2016 Dane County Small Business Award, I said the award was actually recognizing the culmination of our first five years in business.

According to the website, “these prestigious awards will recognize 10 successful small Dane County businesses that have rewarding workplace environments and contribute to their community.” Regarding the latter, we’re happy to continue offering non-profit organizations discounted or pro-bono services as well as taking active roles in local boards.

I’m so thankful for the talented staff (past and present) we have at Revelation, and the support I’ve received from so many people (you know who you are!). And, big congrats to the other nine winners, several of which we know.


Read the article about the award in InBusiness.


Supplier Diversity

Posted by Brian Lee on June 24, 2016 in Doing business

NMSDCI’m pleased to announce that Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media earned recently its MBE (minority business enterprise) certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

(We received our State of Wisconsin MBE status in 2012.)

Revelation is seeking both Tier 1 and Tier 2 vendor opportunities. As you may know, the business case for diversity is important. Let us help your company be more inclusive in your supply chain.

We can work in almost any industry. Please contact Brian Lee, brian [at] experiencerevelation.com or 608-622-7767.

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