Fame and Fortune? Maybe for them…
Look around for a minute. A significant portion of commercials or ads you see showcases a celebrity to endorse the product. It is estimated that nearly 20% of all ads have a celebrity face associated with it. The main question I’m wondering is whether or not this really has significant impact and a good return on investment. Look, in today’s emerging media, ads are no longer relegated to your traditional television, radio and print forms of marketing. Social Media is quickly becoming the common powerhouse. This even makes it simpler for celebrities to endorse a product through the varied online marketing campaigns. But is it really worth it?
Some cases can be seen where celebrities are viewed as experts in the use of the product. One such field that quickly comes to mind is the athletic industry. These celebrities and/or sports figures are seen as highly knowledgeable in the product they’re endorsing. Many aspiring athletes will take that to heart and go out and purchase that product as it will miraculously make you jump higher, run faster, be stronger and look cooler. This I get. Heck I’ve fallen into this notion many times growing up.
Siri, say ‘what’ again!
BUT what I can’t get my hands around is the fact of using celebrities that have nothing to do with the product, service, quality or knowledge behind it. Let’s take Carl’s Jr ads for example. Sure they typically have the “hottest” semi-clothed women eating a burger. Sure it makes nearly every male turn and look. But really…what’s the purpose? Seeing a world known model eating a burger surely didn’t cause me to want to out and buy one nor did it cause me to like that burger chain over another. There are so many examples of this that many blog posts can certainly be written about each one.
Now what about in today’s social media world? It’s far simpler to see which celebrities are endorsing which products with a click of the mouse. With the spread of ease of using social platforms, perhaps it can be anticipated that more and more ads/campaigns featuring celebrities will pop up. However again comes the question, is it really doing anything? Several case studies show that no, not enough gains have been attributed to the use of these figures. So, if you’re looking to do the same (and have the budget to do so), how about making sure the celebrity figure can somehow tie a tangible notion to your product (like athletes can)? Otherwise you may just fall into the same trap of spending big bucks for “xyz” name and having everyone scratching their heads or worse yet, simply not acknowledging the ad.
Street Team Graphic from Rhymesayers.com
Good ‘ol Ground Pounders
The use of street teams is an old concept. If you look at the Urban Dictionary online they have a rather straight to the point definition: “A concept introduced by music labels that consists of getting naïve teenagers to do their marketing work for free”. Sure it has evolved now and being used in a much more sophisticated and meaningful manner (mostly).
Using a street team is often referred to as grassroots marketing. In its simplest form it’s using a team to build buzz around your product of service on the ground at certain venues associated to your industry. The beauty about street teams is that it’s typically made up of the most passionate and vocal fans of your brand. These enthusiastic folks can generate such incredible buzz around your product that the return on investment is significantly high.
The intent is not to go into the pros and cons or history of a street team. What I’m looking to explore is whether or not this tried and true concept can be evolved into having an “online street team”. With today’s emerging media, social networks are the top of the food chain. Imagine a team of 100-1000 passionate fans hitting the networks on a regular basis and promoting your brand? The act of developing and managing this team can be much simpler than that of a ground street team. You literally do not have to coordinate in person or be at a certain venue. Coordination can take place via emails to the collective group It almost appears to have all the pros to this approach. HOWEVER be careful. With the pros come some cons. The largest is probably reputation management. Anything can be said online and once said online, it’s there to stay. You may find that you will have a hard time fighting the fire caused by a comment from a street teamer that your company doesn’t necessarily condone or endorse. People reading comments from street teamers may not know that it is their opinion and not an official opinion of the brand. This aspect would need to be carefully managed and expectations set up front. Would I be willing to take that risk? Absolutely. I can see such a great return on investment with this approach. Now how often have you seen an organized online “street team”? Do you think it’s a worthwhile attempt? Or more trouble than it’s worth.
Does it look how it appears?
As the old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well the same can nearly be said for brands and their accompanying website or page. We all know the importance of effective site design that is compelling, inviting, functional and clean. A plethora of sites, books and 3rd party designers have put out gobs of information behind the fabled “perfect site”. After all, what mainly causes you to come back to a site? Cleanliness? Functionality? Ease of finding information? I’m willing to bet at least (2) of the three mentioned would be top priority. Now let’s take a look from the flipside shall we?
Ever gone through that painstaking effort of trying to call the customer service center of a company for a product you bought? You know the never ending elevator music which is followed by the 100 different options to punch in to the dial pad. Once you naively think you’re getting somewhere you’re lead down the rabbit hole to a seemingly endless amount of options just to get to speak to someone. AND when you finally think you’re there, you’re somehow transported back to the very beginning to do it all over again. It’s similar to being put in a round room and told to sit in the corner. Or better yet, remember those old “Choose Your Adventure” books where you are given a choice and you flip to page 100 and see that you made the right call to continue or to page 150 where you get crushed by a boulder? Yes, exactly! Well ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you the false site.
This site has all the makings of a near perfect design, looks as perfect as a fitness model or bodybuilder and seems to smile at you. However beauty can sometimes be skin deep. I have run across a few of these companies that when you peel the onion, you find nothing but emptiness, lack of emotional bonding and lack of real engagement. It almost appears to be a one way street when you’re trying to actually find help to get your answers questioned. As sad as this is, it’s out there. They undoubtedly have the same customer service experience once you miraculously find a contact number to call. So what am I getting at? I’m trying to say, if you have a site that is the face to your brand, give it some personality!! Give it some proverbial emotions! Give it some quality interaction with your followers or consumers. Don’t fall into the trap of putting 100% of your effort into designing the perfect look if you cannot perform what is probably the most important job of your brand…customer service! Because I will tell you what, it takes only one bad experience with your service or quality and you will forever lose that follower or customer. And with Emerging Media these days? Good luck not having the world find out based on the not-so-wonderful review you will certainly receive. So beauty is one thing. Add some quality personality to it and you’ll find out that those with beauty can have the complete package.
Eh do I need the #hashtag?
Ahh the #hashtag. Surprisingly there are still many out there who have no idea what this is, nor use it in social media. This is not a beginner’s guide to the hashtag but more a quick discussion on the topic. To the un-informed, this weird word preceeded by a # (pound sign) may have no meaning or bearing what-so-ever. Oh to the contrary! This little collection of words and pound signs can help all social media users keep track of a discussion or trend. The #hashtag becomes a clickable link that leads the user down the rabbit hole to a collection of all posts that mention the same tag.
Now with emerging media, the hashtag become that much more important. Social Media is exploding in an exponential rate on a daily basis. Every topic imaginable is being or has been discussed to some degree. One of the most organized ways to track that discussion is, yes you now guessed it, the hashtag. However interestingly enough, there are many who are not fans nor users of the hashtag. The most successful companies, brands and even celebrities are coming up with creative uses for the hashtag. Take for example on http://www.hastags.org. Dane Cook, yes the funny and clever Dane Cook, engages with his fans through a campaign called #AskDane. I’ve participated in many of these types of campaigns and it certainly is fun and engaging.
If you haven’t figured it out after the first two paragraphs, an important social media marketing tactic is to marry the hashtag with one’s brand. If not done already, you are simply missing out on an entirely new world for bringing notice and visibility to what you have to offer.
Social Media Frenzy
Ahh emerging media. It’s that elusive marketing trend of today’s fast moving technology. With media always changing, social networks are now the significantly powerful tool being used by most corporations and brands. Notice I said most as sadly there are a handful that have yet to realize the impact these networks could have. However I digress. Today, consumers and followers want to feel engaged. Engagement is the two way communications road that will propel a brand’s reputation if used correctly. Social networks provide this avenue to communicate with the target audiences.
Now the big question for today’s topic is which one should you use? There are obviously the big hitters like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Many new to social media marketing would immediately create accounts on every known social platform out there. In my opinion, it’s a big NO NO. Social media marketing is not a set it and forget it effort or one that you spend 30 minutes a week and expect great return on time investment. Oh no, to do it right takes a lot of effort, from managing your reputation and reviews, to engaging with your followers, to posting relevant and useful content. AND this is only the tip of the iceberg. If one were to sign up for every platform the best you’ll probably get is half-assed efforts and frustrated followers.
This is of course assuming your new brand or even established company doesn’t have the work force to man the social media department full time. So which do you start with? My opinion is to take into consideration (2) things. The first is which are you most comfortable with? If one platform is well known to you certainly use that. The second is which will hit your target audience better? Are the followers in your audience more video content crazy or more to follow blogs and RSS feeds? There are tools that help automate the tasks, however don’t be fooled into thinking that it will take care of everything freeing you to sign up for more networks. Remember folks, the key is engagement and useful content. Be sure to have quality service and the followers will follow. Nothing is more frustrating when I follow a brand I really like to see that they make 1 post a week and a weak one at that. I always opt not to respond because I know they will engage with me or anyone else.
So, what are your thoughts? All for one or One for all?
Marketing these days is taking the shape of all forms, sizes and types. While some are tried and true (ie television and print), others are drastically making their way up the food chain. Now, are they fads or trends? Well some may be, but others are too early to tell. Let’s look at videos. With today’s DSL, Cable, WiFi, broadband b/g/n/etc it’s no wonder why videos are the hot thing. In fact, over 50 percent of traffic in our wonderful online world is video-based.
Things brings up the topic of digital storytelling for marketing. It’s a relatively newer tactic used by some companies to generate buzz, a following, and anticipation. Let’s take for example the DICK’S Sporting Goods Hell Week campaign. I absolutely love this campaign. It not only serves a fantastic purpose in highlighting youth sports, it also ads a factor of the “human” side to the company. The best part is that the campaign doesn’t lace every second with store products. This is storytelling to the extreme (literally). According to DICK’S Sporting Goods site, Hell Week, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, provides an intimate look at the most brutal week in high school sports. Each year, DICK’S gives us a behind-the-scenes look at high school athletes as they trek off for a week of all-day practicing, conditioning and strategy. Players bodies are tested. Their minds and collective wills are pushed to the limit. The ultimate goal is to prove something that DICK’S thoroughly believes: what you learn on the field is what defines you in life. The campaign originally started as an online series. However, with the popularity of this campaign, Hell Week was picked up by ESPN Network.
DICK’S has made a significant push over the past couple years to be the largest US based full-line sporting goods retailer. In addition, they have created such a solid brand that defines a lifestyle. DICK’S is no longer just looked upon as a store. They are aiming to be the definition of the true athlete. They have taken social media and created a universe in which many user submitted content is available through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This Hell Week campaign has been resonating to today’s youth athletes. These athletes are seeing a brand that supports their hard work, dedication and perseverance.
There you have it. A great example of video storytelling that serves several purposes and generates a significant amount of buzz for the company. In addition, it showcases the trials and tribulations of some of today’s youth sports athletes. This is a job well done and one I was excited to write about here. How about you? Any thoughts behind video storytelling?
Marketing these days are taking the shape of all forms, sizes and types. While some are tried and true (ie television and print), others are drastically making their way up the food chain. Now, are they fads or trends? Well some may be, but others are too early to tell. Let’s look at videos. With today’s DSL, Cable, WiFi, broadband b/g/n/etc it’s not wonder why videos are the hot thing. In fact, over 50 percent of traffic in our wonderful online world is video-based. Look around, how often do you see product sites that do not have video descriptions, up-sales, reviews etc? For your own brand, your consumers will be happy to view your videos provided they are of quality. Yes Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y. While that word and concept may seem trivial, there are hordes of horrible ones out there. I get it, not everyone is an award winning producer and director or video editor. However, for the love of God if you can’t make a decent video yourself, please contract that out. Nothing is worse than a shoddy video that you’re trying to tie your brand to. Regardless of the message and/or image you’re trying to portray, it will most certainly and painfully get trumped by that blurry and shaking video of yours.
During my review of the use of videos for marketing, I ran across a list of the three values of using video:
- Brand Awareness – We all know what brand awareness is and the importance of generating notice. However on top of your standard brand awareness generating gimmicks and marketing strategies, videos give a personal or human side to the marketing for many brands. Consumers can put a face or even voice to the product which can’t be done with text.
- Engagement With Users – Sites with video, on average, have longer viewer stay compared to sites with just verbiage. People love visuals and will tend to watch those visuals rather than read the long winded description.
- SEO (or Search Engine Optimization for those of you who have lived under a rock ;-)) – Studies have shown that higher click through rates have occurred due to videos. Google’s search engine site ranking algorithms love this!
Here is a great article I ran across in regards to blogging vs vlogging. That topic alone can be a whole new article by itself. If you’re up in the air as to which to concentrate on, this will be a good start: Blogging vs Vlogging.
So which is it? Is Good or bad when it comes to video marketing? Do tell your side! Or better yet, what is the best…or. worst marketing video you’ve ever seen. There are tons of them out there and it may be hard to just pick one. But nonetheless, give ‘er a shot. Many are proponents to this strategy and style while some are against it. Yes, interestingly enough, I’ve heard views of why videos aren’t an asset when it comes to branding or marketing. Of course, these are probably the same folks that truly believed cell phones had no future 10 years ago. Of course in my humble opinion.
Take a look at this fantastic video for GoPro: