Interactive Marketing Archive

Inspirational Bacon

March 8th, 2011

What is the other white meat?  The National Pork Board has made sure America’s known the answer since 1987.  But now the NPB has come up with a new slogan: Pork, Be Inspired.  Along with it they are assembling a comprehensive PR package, which of course includes our favorite avenue, social media.

Their package hasn’t fully rolled out yet, but what we’re seeing so far has some promise and we’re here to give our evaluation.  Of course we’ll throw in a few pointers too.

Social media is all about being, well, social.  Thus the website’s use of the recipe page is a great idea, and since it’s linked to their Facebook and Twitter they’re off to a good start.  The pork blog, Knife and Spoon, is also a key part of their strategy linking tasty ideas and videos.  They can bolster their content with something like Pork Facts, which could offer blog posts explaining little known trivia about pork.  Or they could have blog posts with snapshots of exceptional farms.

We know the traditional PR aspect of this campaign will be strong; we’re interested to see how the NPB roll-out on the social media front will ultimately progress.

Extremely Basic Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips You Should Be Doing

March 1st, 2011

Think about when you last needed recommendations for a dentist, dry cleaner, florist, mechanic, plumber… ah, you get the point.  If you’re all 2.0 and everything, we’ll guess you went to a social media platform (probably Facebook) and posted that inquiry for your X number of friends to see and, hopefully, respond.  (Note – you may have checked Yelp, though you’re probably troubled by the allegations of that site shaking down businesses, thus tainting its value as a referral service.)

We know in real life that the best recommendations are from family and friends.  But what about today’s social networks, with less hand shaking but definitely lots of online chatter?  The social media goldmine is waiting for you to harvest the conversation and turn tweets, status updates, and other online praise into dollars.

So businesses of all stripes, listen up!  How about doing some research to see who your biggest fans are, what they’ve been saying, and monitoring online sentiment about your company?  The best social media marketing consultants can certainly get you started, and also plan the larger outreach strategy.  It’s not enough to know what people are saying, you have to act on that information – and ideally in a creative way that puts your business rivals on edge.

We hope this provides a very simple snapshot of the potential that social media marketing has.  Basic, but powerful nonetheless.

A Little Social Media Love for Greek Yogurt

February 18th, 2011

What is love? If you take a look Chobani’s new social media campaign you might be convinced love is yogurt – Greek yogurt, in particular.

Chobani shows how social media marketing can tie together a PR package by kicking off its growing “Love Stories” campaign.  They’re using their website, Facebook, and Twitter to harness all the positive energy from their product and put it on display for potential customers.  KellyOlexa tweets, “Totally down with Chobani now! Mmmmm.”

Chobani is also doing smart digital recycling.  They’ve taken some of the better digital marketing content and made television ads as well.  When you watch the commercials you can tell it’s not an actor right off the bat (no cheesy lab coat – check) and that these people have some real love for this product.  They also put out a standard PR release just to cover all their bases.

But like we mentioned before, the real star here is the social media element, which is the string tying all these elements in one neat little package.   And in the process Chobani is turning a niche market (Greek yogurt) into the market.  Chobani has seen a “225.9 percent” increase from the same 52 week period a year before.  A budding business/client romance…  A competitor like Yoplait is going to have to flex its social media marketing muscles a bit more, if it hopes to compete.

The Social Bite at the Apple

February 15th, 2011

Ever heard of a vicious circle?  It’s not the kind of routine that appeals to a business, particularly one seeking publicity.  We get smiles, instead, by thinking about “social cycles” — that is, how we can use social media business to reinforce traditional media publicity.

One of the hardest parts of public relations is delivering the theme or narrative that entices the media.  The nice thing about interactive marketing is that when it’s done well, the digital strategy translates into a traditional media strategy.  At least that’s how Spot Dessert in New York (ahem) baked their smart social media business strategy.

The bakery recently used social media to boost its sales — and along with that new business activity comes attention from larger media sources.  In this case, the Wall Street Journal profiled the bakery, and we’ll bet the reason why is that the social media business narrative is quick, direct, easy to understand, and applies to basic business fundamentals.

The lesson: Hooray for you if your business succeeds in getting customer traction through social media… but don’t stop there!  Pitch the business growth to traditional media and see how far you can ride the social media wave.

How to “Socialize” a Focus Group

February 14th, 2011

… and no, we don’t mean funding an interactive marketing campaign with a government bailoutFord Motor Company’s newest marketing campaign for the Explorer model has gotten a major kick-start with a very effective Facebook marketing strategy.  The lesson is simple but powerful: any business can use Facebook to replace traditional, expensive marketing focus groups.  Here’s how Ford did it, and your business can too.

Instead of relying solely on the traditional focus group model, Ford embedded a Facebook tab on the Explorer’s dedicated Facebook page.  The tab asks site users to imagine a dream adventure with the Explorer, thus letting people create their own brand narrative.  With this feedback, Ford then generated content and a theme for their regular marketing campaign.

Imagine the creative input your company can get – for a fraction of the cost of old school focus groups – from thousands of fans, thus giving them a share of brand ownership over future marketing messages.  When consumers see their input as part of the business, they develop affinity in a way that personalizes the product beyond what regular TV commercials or print ads can do.

Praecere specializes in developing intuitive digital strategies for businesses of all types, and can design a similar interactive Facebook campaign that fits your needs.  We’ll show you how to have an ongoing dialogue with your target customer base, one that becomes an integral business component and benefits your bottom-line.

So in conclusion, bravo Ford!  Sort of like Elvis, 140,000+ Ford Explorer fans can’t be wrong!

Remember that Amazing Tweet? Of Course You Didn’t…

December 29th, 2010

In the most recent issue of Wired, Clive Thompson offers a smart analysis on how long-form content is superior to much-hyped online buzz communications.  To support his argument, he cites a study showing that the most popular blog posts average 1,600 word count.

More importantly, Thompson puts things into perspective and explains that when we’re bombarded with multi-platform bite-sized communications, the missives are intended to be digested quickly.  But, for true, valued consumption, long-form content consistently wins because it engages readers for thoughtful analysis.  That’s something you can’t squeeze into 140 characters or less.

Praecere advises clients that while digital strategy is an important PR consideration, digital platform stability is never guaranteed.  Today’s Twitter could easily be tomorrow’s AOL.  The-next-big-thing in social media is always lurking around the corner, so instead of stressing about how to condense communications and media outreach, concentrate more on flattering the public with fun and interesting content.

After all, you’ll always remember a moving speech or essay… can you say the same about a random Tweet of Facebook status update?

No matter what, in PR, content will always trump the platform.

US Airways Still Hasn’t Checked in on Tech Trends

December 28th, 2010

At the Blog Aesthetic, our articles are inspired by current events, public affairs, the latest celeb flubs, or anything else with an interesting PR twist.  And, sometimes, serendipity is our muse.

Today’s topic evolved from real-life travel events, namely in trying to check-in via mobile phone for a US Airways flight.  You’d think that mobile check-in capability would be standard for major airlines today.  Indeed, American, Delta, Continental, United, JetBlue, and Southwest all offer this feature to travelers.

As for US Airways… unless you fly out of Las Vegas (see below), you’re out of luck.

This is sad for several reasons.  First, one of the earliest and prominent mentions of this technology was a USA Today article … in 2007! Right now we’re only three days away from 2011, and US Airways remains firmly grounded on integrating mobile check-in technology.

Second, every single major competitor offers this service, so it should be safe to rule out technological hurdles.  In seeking good PR, businesses must promote a characteristic that positively distinguishes them from the competition.  For US Airways, this is hard negative distinction that no company should tolerate.

Third, if an airline can’t keep up with simple tech trends like this, what does that communicate about their brand and corporate ethos?

Fourth, steer your eyes back to the image.  Tech-savvy folks will notice an iPhone 3 is the example phone, a product that is already behind the iPhone 4.  This glitch adds more momentum to the idea of US Airways being out-of-touch on tech trends.

And lastly, it’s one thing for a company to acknowledge a deficiency and take steps to correct it.  It’s another for the company to peddle a “nothing to see here” attitude, or exaggerate the truth.  For US Airways, take a gander at their Twitter feed, where a recent status update exclaims they have “mobile tools for boarding passes” – which we now know is a fib unless, of course, you are in Las Vegas.  And only flying out of Las Vegas.  Too bad the airline is rolling the dice on staying in touch.

What’s the Price of Social Media? If You Have to Ask…

December 10th, 2010

As much as social media gets hyped as the ongoing, forever-happily-ever-after next big thing, this blog has soul-searched and been willing to criticize the grandeur often associated with the relevant platforms.  We have preached over and over that communication channels are always second to content – and that will never change in the public relations industry.

So it should come as no surprise that we’re not particularly impressed with the latest viral Facebook fad, where site users changed their profile pictures to their favorite childhood cartoon character.  To promote advocacy efforts on child abuse.  That’s it.

Er… What?!?  Ok, let’s pick this social media disaster apart:

Who’s in charge? When your business or organization launches a social media campaign, you must communicate very clearly who’s running the show.  If you can’t get this basic point across, the train’s gonna run off the rails.  We think this might be the online HQ… or is it this?

What’s the big idea? We ask this to learn more about the social media campaign, and also in the “hey, who’s that in my chair” sort of way.  Aside from making people reminisce for a few moments about childhood nostalgia, what exactly is the connection between a cartoon character and ending child abuse?  We can’t think of a single answer that passes the smell test, and that indicates the premise of the campaign is flawed.

Where’s the call to action? In other words, what are the next steps campaign organizers want users to take?  Wait… you mean there aren’t any, beyond admiring your new profile pic?  A successful social media advocacy campaign must encourage users to take some specific action that furthers the advocacy angle.

Is this even real? At this point, the whole thing gets so absurd that we wonder if it’s a hoax.  Apparently we’re not alone.  When a vast number of people think your social media campaign is a joke, that gives the effort the kiss of death.

This debacle should serve as a lesson to future social media campaigns – vet the basics and determine the value of what you’re asking for from the public.

Dialing back Electronic Privacy Expectations

November 16th, 2010

As smartphones continue to replicate or replace other daily means and devices, it’s only natural that the base technology will expand even further into individual users’ routines.  The big news of the moment is the collaboration between Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to bring consumer payment services to mobile phones.  Dubbed “Isis,” the project will have the three companies integrate near-field technology and piggyback on Discover’s financial network – thus crossing swords with the other major credit card companies.

We all love convenience, and one less piece of plastic in our wallets is great and all, except… what does this mean for digital privacy in the new pay-to-play age?  And, what are the members of Isis doing to communicate their expectations and positions on this very topic?

Even if we’re wowed by the ability to pay for goodies with our phones, Congress will likely want to learn more at a looming lame-duck hearing on technology and telecommunications privacy issues.  Here are questions that will probably be asked at that hearing:

What security measures are in place to protect consumer credit information? (The flip-side of this coin is that the credit card companies have decades of experience and knowledge on this front.  If they wanted, they could easily run a PR campaign to show how far ahead they are and counter the Isis business objectives.)

What will the default settings be on phones for consumers, will they have to opt-out of the service?

Will phone companies now make such a payment service a mandatory part of all phone service plans?  In other words, will the payment service be bundled with all cell phone plans?

How will payment information and customer profiles, purchases, etc. be shared?  Will that information be sold to marketers and retailers for use in targeted advertising?

This is just the tip of the iceberg – the policy implications are dizzying, as is the future of electronic consumer transactions.  When so much is on the line, it behooves the corporate players to be very transparent and smart in their communications and media efforts.