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Takeaways From ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Posted by Taylor Thomas on August 29, 2014 in Marketing, Public relations

By now we’ve all had our social media accounts filled with people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and making a donation to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association. Within the month, it’s no surprise the Association has seen an increase in donations from $1.9 billion to $70.2 billion. But what does this Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon do for public relations and campaigns in the future? Here are a few takeaways:

1. Encourage grassroots thoughts.
Many probably don’t know that the Ice Bucket Challenge was not created by the ALS association. According to Facebook research, it was started  by a video in late July from former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with the disease. At the heart of the campaign is the key to any successful grassroots campaign, which is shareability. In today’s world, people want to be at the forefront of social movements, which then help increase their validity.

2. Involve everyone!
Another reason for the success of this campaign was the sheer number of people it involved. The campaign was smart in having everyone nominate a handful of others to complete the challenge, helping it spread like wildfire.

3. Make it fun and easy.
How many people have a bucket, ice, water, video camera and a social media account to post it on? Almost everyone. The challenge took advantage of items around the home that were easily accessible to people of all ages.

4. Timing is everything.
It’s not every day the weather is warm enough for people to dump ice water on themselves, so this campaign had to happen in the summer months. Additionally, July and August are two of the most common summer months for vacations, leaving people with the time to participate. Also, the short 24-hour turnaround time of the challenge helped with its viral spread.

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Annual Forward Festival Focuses on ‘Next Big Thing’

Posted by Brian Lee on August 19, 2014 in Client news

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 18, 2014

Contact:
Molly Walsh
608-616-0840
molly@forwardfest.org

Annual Forward Festival Focuses on ‘Next Big Thing’

(MADISON, Wis.)—Entrepreneurs, creative designers, tech professionals and even foodies will have an opportunity to collaborate Aug. 21-28 at the fifth annual Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“With the growth of the event as well as the involvement of our community, we’re excited to showcase Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem across several industries,” Bryan Chan, festival co-founder and president of SupraNet Communications, said. “The environment is all about promoting and creating the next big thing.”

The festival’s main event is the Forward Technology Conference, which takes place Aug. 27 at the Monona Terrace. Jignesh Patel, a UW-Madison professor who sold his software company to Twitter, will be the keynote speaker.

Other highlights of the festival include a pitch contest for female entrepreneurs (Aug. 27), the annual Madison Ruby Conference (Aug. 21-23) and the inaugural Edible Startup Summit (Aug. 25), an event geared toward food entrepreneurs.

Originally started in 2010, the Forward Festival was created by Chan, Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners and Matt Younkle of Murfie to bring together professionals from a wide range of disciplines. That is evident in events such as High Tech Happy Hour (Aug. 21), the Badger Startup Summit (Aug. 26) and the Wisconsin Innovation Awards (Aug. 26).

For a detailed listing of events taking place during the Forward Festival, please visit www.forwardfest.org.

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Resulting media coverage:

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Using Social Media for Business

Posted by Brian Lee on August 14, 2014 in Social media

Anyone who has ever written a book knows it’s easier said than done. But a vision came true this month as we published our first e-book, Using Social Media for Business. Here’s a description of it:

Social media is an integral part of marketing your business or organization, but which tools should you choose to reach your customers? This book explains how to use 18 different social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, for acquiring and retaining customers and promoting your company’s products and services. The advice provided can be applied to both for-profit and non-profit businesses, as well as member-based organizations and associations.

You can buy it as a PDF or Amazon Kindle format.

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T-Mobile’s Test Drive campaign

Posted by Brian Lee on August 8, 2014 in Marketing

I admit, I was immediately intrigued when I learned of the T-Mobile Test Drive campaign, in which the company sends you a new iPhone 5S with unlimited calling, data and text messaging to use for one week. Afterward, you return your phone to a T-Mobile store, and there are no strings attached.

First, the campaign had an inauspicious start. I learned about the campaign through a full-page ad in USA TODAY. That ad, as well as the ones in other newspapers, told readers to visit t-mobile.com/7nightstand. However, that site hadn’t been created. It was only after a bit of searching that I found t-mobile.com/testdrive was the correct URL (after a month, T-Mobile has finally created a redirect for /7nightstand).

Second, I discovered Wisconsin is not a T-Mobile-friendly state. You may not return the phone to an authorized dealer; rather, you have to go to a T-Mobile-owned store. The nearest ones to Madison were Brookfield, Wis., and Rockford, Ill. To me, it felt a little ridiculous to drive an hour away just to return a free phone.

Third, T-Mobile doesn’t seem to work on Fridays. That’s when I ordered the phone, but the company didn’t process the order until Monday, and I received it on Thursday.

Just before I received the phone I purchased a protective case. For $20, it helped insure me against damage, which would result in me paying up to $600 for the phone as part of the agreement.

T-Mobile did do a good job in selecting the iPhone 5S as the trial phone. Compared to the iPhone 4 I’ve used, it’s a million times faster. I enjoyed trying apps like Facetime, which I don’t have on my Windows Phone (actually, I basically have no apps for my Windows Phone, because no one will make apps for the platform).

Finally, this experience has taught me how much I value Verizon’s nationwide coverage. In various parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, my Verizon phone would be on 4G LTE, while the T-Mobile phone was on extended network. Sorry, T-Mobile.

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What Snapchat’s geofilters mean for brands

Posted by Elise Otten on July 30, 2014 in Social media

Snapchat announced earlier this month a new feature called Geofilters that will add unique filters to photos based on a user’s location. With a quick swipe to the right, users can unlock these filters depending on their current locations and receive a text or graphic sticker overlaying the photo.

So far the new feature has only been available in New York and Los Angeles for testing purposes. During the World Cup, the app offered geofilters for locations in Rio de Janiero, according to TechCrunch. It’s unclear when the feature will be available for other cities.

While Snapchat has said that it is simply excited for users to explore this fun new feature, there is clearly a marketing opportunity for brands and businesses. Based on the introduction video released by Snapchat showing two women shopping at SoulCycle and a couple taking in Disneyland, the possibilities for companies, national parks and any other operation with a specific location to market its brand are obvious. It would be in a brand’s best interest to target millennials, Snapchat’s target demographic, with this tactic.

In fact, the new version of Snapchat with geofilters could be thought of as the millennial version of a postcard. From a marketing perspective, it would make sense for companies to create their own branded filters to leverage this feature. An example in the video shows a woman taking a photo in front of a coffee shop. As soon as she swipes right, a specific filter for the coffee shop appears in the photo.

Snapchat is not getting paid by businesses to feature their filters, according to a spokesperson for the app. Snapchat also was quick to add in its blog that it doesn’t store users’ locations.

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New sheriff in town

Posted by Taylor Thomas on July 11, 2014 in Social media

We knew that YouTube is the No. 2 search engine behind Google, but did you know that it recently took over the top spot in another category? A new study from Adriot Digital showed that 68 percent of TV viewers surveyed said they consume video content from YouTube, compared to the 51 percent who consume from live television and 48 percent who prefer Netflix.

So what greater impact does that have? Well, with the recent change of viewed video content, brands should obviously focus their advertising content outside of live broadcast television, such as on their own YouTube OneChannel.

Or, brands can produce ads and place them before other videos on YouTube. According to the Adriot Digital study, 24 percent were more likely to watch the ad videos depending on the advertisement itself. Just make sure you know who your target audience is and make your messaging reflect it.

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Twitter acquires TapCommerce

Posted by Elise Otten on July 3, 2014 in Marketing

Twitter recently announced that it’s acquiring a mobile technology company called TapCommerce. Specializing in mobile retargeting, TapCommerce targets ads based on previous user activity. While this service is certainly not groundbreaking, retargeting isn’t very common among mobile marketing due to the lack of cookies. But through large amounts of data and sophisticated statistical analysis, TapCommerce is able to overcome this problem.

With more and more consumers making purchases on a mobile device, it’s important now more than ever for a brand to target and communicate to its audiences via mobile. While many advertisers primarily focus on activating new users, TapCommerce reminds brands to re-engage with lapsed users and present more relevant content. Re-activating users rather than enticing new ones also can be less costly, as we know in the arena of customer retention.

The acquisition of TapCommerce will give advertisers on Twitter more opportunities for re-engagement and better measurement of mobile marketing. Mobile consumers also will reap the benefits of this team-up by receiving more relevant ads in the apps they use.

Twitter said in a statement that it’s too early to say when users will see TapCommerce technology on Twitter, but the groups are in the beginning stages of creating a product plan.

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Congrats, Ellen!

Posted by Brian Lee on July 2, 2014 in Client news

InBusiness Magazine just named its 25 Most Influential People in Greater Madison. We’re happy to see our client, Ellen Barnard of FEED Kitchens, was listed.

We saw firsthand her tireless efforts to develop FEED from concept to reality. As the article put, “Barnard can be confident that her contributions to society are only growing.”

We wholeheartedly agree. Well done, Ellen!

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When to say good-bye

Posted by Brian Lee on June 25, 2014 in Doing business

If you’ve worked in the agency world long enough, you’ve invariably landed a client that had a bad split with its previous agency.

In some cases, the agency wasn’t the right fit. In other cases, the client wasn’t the right fit.

The latter appears to be the situation in Cramer-Krasselt’s public split with Panera Bread. A leaked memo mentioned Panera’s “constant last-minute shifts in direction, the behind-the-scenes politics, the enormous level of subjectivity that disregards proof of performance — all churn people at a rate that becomes much too much even in this crazy business. The previous agency found that out as well. There is a pattern. And in the end, no amount of money makes it worthwhile.”

I applaud Cramer-Krasselt for not letting money prevent them from exiting what seemed like a difficult and frustrating relationship.

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Nike vs. Adidas World Cup Campaigns

Posted by Taylor Thomas on June 19, 2014 in Branding, Marketing, Sports

Isn’t it crazy to think the World Cup has only been playing for a week and three more weeks remain? Not only is this the month of crazy goals between countries, but it’s also a time for sporting goods manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas to compete. This time it’s about their marketing strategies.

Nike’s commercial, “The Last Game,” features animated avatars of World Cup pin-ups Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr., as part of its “Risk Everything” strategy.  The 5 1/2-minute video shows the Nike-signed players playing one last sudden-death match against the clones, who bore spectators by playing “like it’s just a job.”

Meanwhile, Adidas’ commercial features international stars David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane. In their “All in, or nothing” campaign, the duo challenge two individuals playing the FIFA World Cup video game to a real soccer match in their house. Another strategy Adidas is trying this year is shifting to YouTube and trying to introduce real-time marketing to the social platform.

Both campaigns are attempting to show how effectively channels such as video work well with e-commerce and social media. According to communications agency Way to Blue, Nike secured 200,119 social mentions between April 20-June 6 while Adidas grabbed 88,041.

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