Emojis are not for every brand. Here's why.

Emojis are taking over e-mail subject lines everywhere. 

A study by Appboy finds that the volume of “active customer messaging campaigns that include emojis” grew by 609 percent in just one year (June 2015-June 2016).

And why not? Most people like emojis, according to the same research. Sixty-four percent said they like or even love emojis. But that doesn’t translate into liking/loving the brands that apply emojis liberally.

Of the 540 participants in the Appboy survey, 39 percent said brands that use emojis are fun; another 13 percent said the brands are relatable. The balance, however, found messages with emojis to be at best “normal” and at worst “childish” or “inappropriate.”

This tracks with research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science that considered how consumers react to a smiling face versus a smiley face.  What they found should give you pause before punctuating your next email campaign with an emoji.

Researchers discovered that people who smile are perceived as more competent than those who wear a neutral face—whether live and in person, or in a photo. But people who use smiley emojis are seen as less competent. 

This is especially true for work-related e-mails.

"The study also found when the participants were asked to respond to e-mails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the e-mail did not include a smiley,” said lead author Ella Glikson. "We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing" (Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 14, 2017).

So, when is it okay for a brand to use an emoji?

Emojis aren’t made to be taken seriously. The Appboy study said as much (39 percent of respondents said brands that use them are “fun”). So, if you’re a light-hearted brand, say in the food and beverage business, travel and tourism or entertainment industry, an emoji may be just the right amount of cowbell for your campaign.

Some channels are more emoji worthy, according to the Appboy research. Survey participants were most open to receiving brand messages with emojis via text message (37 percent) or social media (28 percent) rather than through messaging apps, email or push notifications. Consider this sweet text from Baskin-Robbins. Now that’s fun.

Skinny websites, snackable content and more from Digital Summit Detroit.

Digital Summit Detroit 2017 delivered. In less than two days, the conference covered all means of email, content, website and mobile trends. Lots for marketers to consider and capitalize upon. A few highlights we just had to share. 

Skinny websites are in season. 

Mobile usage trends prompted responsive design, with websites being crafted to render properly across all screen sizes. It has greatly improved the mobile user experience. Instead of requiring mobile users to scroll across inches of a site from a palm-sized screen, responsive sites scale purposefully, with tools like hamburger menus to facilitate the mobile experience.  

Still, mobile users want more, according to Erik Runyon, Technical Director at the University of Notre Dame. Runyon presented a breakout session called “Improving Web Performance in a Mobile World.”

In short, they want sites to load faster. Streaming delays are stressing them out—literally.

To illustrate his point, Runyon shared a neuroscience study by Ericsson Consumer Lab that measured user reactions to network performance. The study showed that delays in loading web pages and videos lead to increased heart rates and stress levels. On average, heart rates increase 38 percent with mobile delays. Oh, and the related stress? The subjects exhibited stress levels akin to watching a horror flick or solving a math problem.

And who gets the blame? The longer the delay, the more likely it is that some of the blame will be transferred from mobile service provider to content provider. In fact, a significant delay may even drive a user to a competitor content provider.

Performance matters. Take that to your design teams, Runyon suggests. Lead and live with performance. His advice:

  1. Performance has to be part of the culture.
  2. Performance should be part of concept and design.
  3. Give your team time to focus on performance.
  4. Implement a performance budget (think ongoing maintenance and upkeep).
  5. Get competitive.

Runyon pointed to thin.npr.org and cnn.lite as examples of brands adhering to these guidelines. Both use Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to cut load time and enable mobiles users to get what they need without the wait.

Why your emails aren’t engaging or converting.

Email was a big focus of the conference, and rightly so. Every brand is doing it but only one in five emails is reaching the inbox, according to Casey Swanton of Return Path. Swanton packed a lot into her 30-minute session “Email Reimagined.”

Just like search engines want users to get the best result, mailbox writers want users to get the best mail, Swanton said. That means screening for credibility, interest and security. In-box placement is determined by sending ID (IP address, sending domain, authentication, etc.), and reputation (complaints, list quality, infrastructure, length of sending history, subscriber engagement, etc.).

“Mailbox writers care about the user experience within their space,” Swanton said. So they look for things like whether the message has been read, forwarded or replied to, marked as SPAM or deleted before reading.  Gmail is leading the industry toward better performance, Swanton said.  So, if you’re having problems with Gmail deliveries, it’s probably because that audience isn’t opening your mail.

“Relative engagement is key,” Swanton said. “Subscribers that are highly engaged with the sender are going to see that sender in their inbox at a much higher rate.  Less than 50 percent of messages are placed in email if the recipient isn’t engaged.”

She suggests these three tips to improve your Gmail results:

  1. Focus on sending to the most active subscribers first to establish a pattern of engagement to boost performance.
  2. Suppress known dead addresses. Pushing email to known inactive addresses will only hurt your engagement rate, and therefore your credibility and ultimate inbox deliverability.
  3. Don’t measure success on the size of your list. Between 50-80 percent of email is based on the quality of your list.

Work content harder.

Great content is a great brand asset. It attracts, engages and provokes action. So, work it hard, says Ursula Ringham of SAP, Inc., in a session called “Capture Your Buyer’s Attention with Innovative Content on a Community Platform.”

A video is more than a video, Ingham illustrated. It can be recast in blog, social and podcast formats. It can be worked internally to elevate employees to brand evangelists. Together, this content can be the beginning of a beautiful community platform.

Snackable assets are the new content.

Nearly every presenter talked about snackable assets. As in, “You do know what snackable assets are, right?” asked a marketer presenting on the topic of email hacks.  “Snackable assets can be used to fuel the consumer journey,” said a presenter on the subject of content marketing. “These snackable assets can also convert,” promised another expert on lead nurturing.

So if you’re tired of using the term content, use snackable asset. It’s applicable to everything from infographics to video, charts to listicles. Maybe even whitepapers, in so long as they’re not terribly filling. Think bite-sized for peckish consumers.

Why longer sales cycles make for happier consumers.

Why longer sales cycles make for happier consumers.

Impulsive buyers may seem like a marketer’s dream. They see. They want. They buy.

Forget research. Skip the comparison shopping. No need to entice them with remarketing content. Theirs is more of a buyer’s jaunt than a journey.  

But as tempting as carpe diem consumers may be, they come with a lot more buyer’s remorse, according to CEB Iconoculture research. The market trends company studied discrete consumer groups from its IconoCommunities that represent instant and delayed gratification mindsets. 

Impulsive consumers report more guilt, anxiety and fear of missing out (FOMO) when making everyday decisions than those who delay gratification. And whatever immediate pleasure they may enjoy with purchase can be overshadowed by mounting debts, late bills and concerns about making it paycheck to paycheck.

Meanwhile, consumers who delay gratification take great pride in their patience. Instead of immediacy, they revel in anticipation and control. The reward, they say, is often something bigger, better and more desirable in the end, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

“I saved money every month, and two months ago I officially bought my dream car in cash,” said IconCommunities participant Bryan, a Latino Millennial male from Colorado. “I own it outright, no bank owns me, and I paid way less than I would have with interest.”

Hudson, an African American Boomer male from urban Pennsylvania, put it this way: “I feel like a king with my choices.”

Changes in lifestage prompt changes in consumer behavior.

Impulse buyers are more likely to be single, less wealthy and younger than careful consumers. As they age and assume greater responsibilities, their spending habits tend to mature.  Major milestones like marriage, parenthood, home ownership and retirement can curb impetuous consumerism, according to CEB Iconoculture research.  

Gale, a Caucasian Gen Xer, said it all in a letter to his younger self: “Then you got married and had kids and that all changed. You were forced to change” (IconoCommunities, March 2017).

So it’s not surprising that the delayed gratification cohort shares differentiated values with older consumers.  These include thrift, wisdom, reliability and practicality.

How to tap into consumer mindsets, both impulsive and patient.

Consumer behavior is dynamic, driven by lifestage, context, emotions and other factors. So brands need to think long-term to build satisfaction and referral. Buyer’s remorse has a long tail, especially today with social media. Make sure the stories consumers share about you are good ones. Consider the following three tips from CEB Iconoculture to better manage consumer impulses.

  1. Give Seize the Moment consumers greater control and perks. Young, impulsive shoppers are wracked with anxiety and distrust. Help them grow into more considerate shoppers with products and services that satiate their impulses and teach them to be more responsible as they grow. For example, a bank may give young savers a higher interest on deposits to encourage positive personal finance behavior.

    Discover it Student Chrome card offers college kids perks like cash back for good grades. The card gives students instant gratification by making rewards instantly redeemable at Amazon.com.

  2. Feed them along their long journey. Delay the Delight consumers spend a lot of time buried in research, comparison shopping and poking around for reviews and insights. Enrich their experience with content—blogs, infographics, videos, testimonials, reviews—and trial offers to nurture them throughout their journey.  This will help build confidence and improve the likelihood that you’ll be ever in their consideration set.
  3. Appeal to both spontaneous and calculated consumers.  Sometimes even the most rigorous planner has to make a quick call, like booking a hotel on the fly. Klimpton Hotels & Restaurants helps ease some of the sting out of paying a last minute rate by offering immediate benefits and conveniences like free WiFi and a bar credit.

Get the latest insights and marketing trends delivered to your email weekly.  Sign up for the Brogan Weekly Recap now.

Women have money to invest. So, what's stopping them?

Women have money to invest. So, what's stopping them?

When it comes to banking, women are just as likely as men to have the basics—checking, savings, mortgage, retirement plans. In fact, women typically research and initiate bank relationships for the family.

But when it comes to stocks, mutual funds and life insurance, women are far less likely than men to invest. Some estimates suggest the opportunity presented by female investors is at $5.4 trillion.

Some blame the gender disparity on confidence, specifically lack thereof. Trust for financial institutions and overall financial stability are also often cited. And while there’s credence in these factors, the leading driver is actually lower risk tolerance, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

It’s the bird in the hand is two in the bush philosophy. Women, very generally speaking, are more goal-directed and trade less. She sticks to the safe options on the menu, trading a lower return for a safer choice. She fears losing principal, and worries about having access to cash when she needs it.

To learn more, Fidelity Investments studied couples in a committed relationship. When asked if they’d be willing to invest a substantial amount to achieve potentially higher returns—even if it meant possibly losing some or all of the investment—only 4 percent of women said yes, compared to 15 percent of men. A Wall Street Journal story on the subject considered several studies which reached similar conclusions.

So, how can financial institutions convince women to invest outside the lines? Spend less time trying to build her confidence and more time emphasizing the practical and even necessary benefits of risk.

She’s eager to learn. Ninety-two percent of women want to learn more about financial planning and 83 percent want to take more control over their finances, according to other Fidelity research.

Make haste. A new crop of online financial planning firms has popped up, promoting a by women for women value proposition. Among them, WorthFM, SUM180 and Ellevest.

For inspiration, consider 6 ways brands are empowering women in 2017.

Marketing Statement - Third Quarter 2017

They’re tech natives. They’re constantly connected. They value diversity and social justice. And they can’t balance a checkbook. So, how can financial brands turn Gen We’s weakness into a win-win? And (of course) Millennials, too. Well, these people care less about YOLO, more about adulting. They like reading Money Diaries, a blog about women working small budgets in big cities—because after all, girls just want to have fun with finance. Still, they’re reluctant to stray outside of conservative investments, and the reason may surprise you. Additionally, some estimates suggest the opportunity presented by female investors is at $5.4 trillion. Now we have your attention...

How banks and credit unions can connect with Gen We. A recent report by the Organisation (“s” intended) for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that many teens aren’t financially literate. The findings, released in May 2017, are from an international student assessment, which tested 15-year-olds in several countries.

How to market to young Millennials. We’ve heard the stereotypes of young Millennials. But is there any truth to them? This generation isn’t all YOLO, all the time. They’re not frivolous or irresponsible in their attempt to live for the moment. And when it comes to adulthood, they’re definitely not delayed.

Money Diaries is the Millennial woman's Bridget Jones. I wonder what’s in her wallet? That’s the gist of “Money Diaries” at Refinery29, a New York-based website that publishes the daily personal financial decisions of Millennial women.

Women have money to invest. So, what’s stopping them? When it comes to banking, women are just as likely as men to have the basics—checking, savings, mortgage, retirement plans. But when it comes to stocks, mutual funds and life insurance, women are far less likely than men to invest.

QUICK study

From insights to innovation: Applying creativity to connect the dots. The 2017 Iconosphere gave us lots to think about. Our creative director captures five key takeaways.

The 3 Pillars of a Successful Onboarding Strategy in Banking. The key to moving the needle is your ability to understand why someone decided to start doing business with you — and continues (or doesn’t continue) to do business with you.

How to find a rainbow at the end of a troll storm. Blame it on the anonymity of the internet or the juiced up political environment. Whatever the prompt, trolls are inescapable. Arm your brand with these tactics to manage a troll attack.

How Quicken Loans' New CMO Moved from Fiat to Home Finance. Mortgage marketing can be tricky— Quicken Loans learned that last year when the Detroit company was hit with social backlash for over-simplifying the loan process in its first Super Bowl ad, earning comparisons to the subprime lending crisis of 2008.

Here are 4 keys to ranking for multiple keywords. In today’s SEO, where context is more important than keywords, performance measurement often still comes down to specific keyword terms and phrases that a user searches

SHARPEN the saw

You can depend on social media to change. Often. What’s an industrious, but insanely taxed, marketer to do? Read our free whitepaper on the nine social media trends impacting your online performance, for starters. It’s a quick read, but it’s rich with key insights to evolve your social strategies for optimum brand engagement. Download now.

START a conversation

Share the Marketing Statement. Tell two friends. And so on.

Weekly Recap - July 21, 2017

Amazon has officially started a supermarket war. With its recent purchase of Whole Foods, the online behemoth and Walmart are on a mission to take over the grocery industry—brick and mortar and online. Does your brand have a proper mission? Promote it in video to build loyalty. Your brand too can be a YouTube star with these pointers. Maybe even connect with Gen-Z.

DETAILS, Please

Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. A deal that will instantly transform the company that pioneered online shopping into a merchant with physical outposts in hundreds of neighborhoods across the country.

12 truly inspiring company vision and mission statement examples. Often, the reason we stay loyal to brands is because of their values. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer- and employee- experience.

7 vital elements of a successful YouTube video. YouTube is a marketer’s paradise. The statistics are mind blowing.

Move over Millennials, Gen-Z is now the largest single population segment. According to Nielsen’s new Total Audience report, Millennials and Gen-Z now comprise 48 percent of the total media audience.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

5 stats about marketing to Baby Boomers. With a median household income of $40,581, Millennials earn 20 percent less than their Boomer parents did at the same age.

How banks and credit unions can connect to Gen We.  Just because a kid has a bank account, it doesn’t mean she knows how to manage it.

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

How banks and credit unions can connect with Gen We.

How banks and credit unions can connect with Gen We

Just because a kid has a bank account, it doesn’t mean she knows how to manage it.

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that many teens aren’t financially literate. The findings, released in May 2017, are from an international student assessment which tested 15-year-olds in several countries.

On the assessment, 22 percent of teens scored below the financial-literacy "baseline level," and only 12 percent scored at the highest level, according to a story published at Bloomberg.com.  The mean financial-literacy score for U.S. teens was very close to the OECD average. The U.S. ranked seventh among the 15 participating countries and economies.

The assessment covered various financial skills, from reading invoices and recognizing a bank phishing email to deciphering a pay slip and reading stock prices recorded over time. While 56 percent of the teens studied reported having a bank account, nearly two out of three of those teens didn't have the skills to manage their account.

The dismal results spell opportunity for financial services. Give a kid a bank account, and she’ll have a safe place to keep her birthday money. Teach her to save and invest and she may reward you with a lifetime of business.

Credit unions have long sponsored personal finance programs for youth.  They lean on proven curriculum from Junior Achievement and National Endowment for Financial Services curriculum to familiarize kids with the credit, savings, budgeting and investments. Some even have student-run branches to teach bank management in addition to promoting thrift. 

And the courses work: high school seniors who take personal finance are more likely to save money, and have a budget and invest, according to a Discover survey.

Three ways for financial brands to connect with Gen We:

Get involved in the schools.

Your future customers are in high school. Help prepare them for the world—and your products and services—by volunteering in the classroom. Financial literacy is the ultimate brand fit. In addition to NEFE and Junior Achievement. Jump$tart Financial Smarts for Students has aggregated an online library rich with vetted personal finance classroom materials.

Seize teachable moments.

Many banks and credit unions have programs aimed at elementary-age children. The promotional items come quarterly, courtesy of a cutesy mascot and an opportunity to win tickets to an amusement park. While this tactic may have worked a couple decades ago, it falls flat on today’s tech-savvy generation. What’s more, these programs tend to fizzle out after third-grade.

Instead, shift your promotional budget to high school. This is the age when kids are becoming much more aware of money. They want stuff and want to do stuff—much of which comes with a price. Help them become good consumers by seizing any opportunity to counsel them. Yes, invite them to sign up for a checking account, and help them understand lending when they apply for a car loan or college loan. Credit is another teachable moment. While one-on-one conversations are far more personal, you can host youth seminars to reach a wider audience more efficiently.

Create Gen We-friendly products.

Gen We is growing up to be particularly entrepreneurial. They’re also more influential than previous generations on the family budget, according to CEB Iconoculture research. Rather than attempt to squeeze them into existing financial products and services, build a suite around them and market accordingly. Provide rewards and incentives for first-time borrowers and positive credit behaviors.

For more on marketing to Gen We, check out 5 things you need to know about Gen We.

Weekly Recap - June 23, 2017

Got an AJA Cion HD camera? We don’t either, but thankfully you can use an iPhone to shoot high quality web content. How’s your Instagram? If you’re looking for more followers, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a new trend in the digital world, and it’s all about CMOs. Finally, cupcakes. They have untold marketing power.

DETAILS, Please

How to make an iPhone video: a step-by-step guide. You might know that video is important, but you’re still asking the big question: how?

How to increase your Instagram followers & sales. Are you tired of posting Instagram updates to the same 100 or 500 followers? Perhaps your sales from Instagram are stagnant.

6 digital trends business owners need to be paying attention to right now. Digital marketing evolves every day, forcing all leaders to keep up of fall behind.

The greatest marketing growth hack of all time. It’s official: cupcakes are better than iPads. And they can help ramp up customer engagement.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

5 tips to boost video performance. You don’t need to do research to know that videos are going viral. Here are five tips to get clicks and make your video content shine.

Wendy’s gets real. Twitter goes wild. And sales? Sass is subjective. We know authenticity connects, but how straight fire must our posts be to win the hearts of our consumers?

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Wendy's gets real. Twitter goes wild. And sales?

Sass is subjective. We know authenticity connects, but how straight fire must our posts be to win the hearts of our consumers? Do we write with a loud voice at the risk of upsetting our audience? And at the end of the day, does it even matter? Can sass increase profits?

Exhibit A: Wendy’s bites back.

Wendy’s has a history of playful confrontation (Where’s the beef?). More recently, the fast-food brand used its Twitter account to respond to an unruly customer in early 2017. Their response went viral.

Wendy’s identifies its Twitter voice as a “challenger with charm,” keeping a cool head while not shying away from honesty. When they broke away from the formal PR strategy, consumers ate it up. Instead of friendly jabs at the competition, this brand is taking jabs at consumers.

The outcome

After the first tweet, the fire burned for the next few days as consumers wanted to talk to this new, sassy Wendy.

Image result for wendy's sassy tweets

However, the streak ran for less than a week before Wendy’s Twitter returned to status quo. In this spike, 95 percent of activity came from replying to users. People wanted to interact with a brand, and that’s a beautiful thing.

This isn’t the first audacious act toward consumers. People seem to prefer the humanized voice of Wendy’s, and other brands that dish out ‘real talk.’ Screenshots of customer/brand exchanges could end up on everyone’s Twitter feed, or blogs like ours.

Salt is in the air, but how are the sales? Terrible, actually.

The full report details an almost $100 million drop in Wendy’s revenue from 2016. While this has less to do with tweets and more with fewer company-owned resturants, it proves that cheeky personas aren’t able to save a business. The company has been going through a rough patch as other resturants, like Taco Bell and Subway, take the lead in sales.

What’s next

Why didn’t this work? Well, it’s hard to see a real difference if you only change your strategy for a few days. Over time, the continued sass could lead to a buildup in sales, or maybe none at all. We wouldn’t know, since this tactic is so new for Wendys. Is it even possible on Twitter, where trends come and go so fast no one would be interested in an attitude for that long? Could be.

By April, the company had switched up tactics again. The tag #nuggsforcarter went viral after a young teen went on a mission to get 18 million retweets to win free nuggets for a year.

Like before, this could be a game chagner. Perhaps that is the ultimate creative strategy of Wendy’s: listening. In these instances, they have shifted to pushing for dialogue, rather than pushing messages. How will it reflect in the net quarter? Time will tell.

As of now, things seem to be business as usual for the company. If you want some snide comments from Wendy’s, you’re about six months too late. Yet that doesn’t mean they stopped the sly jokes altogether.

So, what’s this mean for your business? A bit of attitude may not drive up profits, but it may ramp up your brand engagement. If you’re considering adding some spice to your social, go for it. Keep it light and have some fun. You might just grab your two days of fame.

How to find a rainbow at the end of a troll storm.

"That's 2017."

This from my 14-year-old daughter, Sofia, in response to my confusion over trolls who litter the Money Diaries website.

Launched in 2016, Money Diaries is a website featuring more than 100 diaries from women who chronicle their spending over a week's time. The writers give an intimate look inside their lives as they share daily choices to work their budgets. Women, mostly Millennial women, are addicted to the site for its authenticity and transparency.

Others love it just to hate it.

Like "Heroic Eye," who wrote this in response to "A Week in New York on a $53,000 Salary:"

"These are not meals. Also, she literally drinks alcohol 6 out of the 7 days she recorded info for this series. There's a hella lot of coffee with not a lot on her stomach (so she can feel awake). And most of the nights she listed, she doesn't get home until 12:30-2:30am (even though the majority of her mornings begin between 7-8am)."

"Fresh Heart" had this to say about the same diary after another reader defended the author.

"Hey — you put it out there in a PUBLIC article, you will get judged. It's not like we're breaking into her apartment and judging her. She wrote it up and published it online for all to read, so shut up. That's asking for judgment."

Blame it on the anonymity of the internet or the juiced up political environment. Whatever the prompt, trolls are inescapable. Even puppies aren't immune. Sofia showed me a YouTube post where a girl proudly introduced her new ball of canine cuddliness. Someone actually accused her of being a cat-hater.

Even puppies aren't safe from trolls.

If puppy posts aren't safe from scrutiny, neither is your brand. If you're on social media or you host a blog, chances are, you've already met a few trolls.

Campbell's sparked a troll frenzy after featuring a real-life gay couple and their toddler son in an ad. A woman named Jessica from the ultra-conservative group "One Million Moms" sparked the feud, posting on Campbell's Facebook page: "I'm so sick of this homosexual agenda, you sell soup… Please take your ad down or you will not have a company anymore!"

Campbell's responded with a statement supporting families of "different configurations, cultures, races and life choices."

Things got really interesting when someone set up a fake Facebook Page "Campbell For Help" to troll the troller. "My word, Jessica. That's quite a leap. While we at Campbell's Kitchen take pride in being empathetic, we are finding it hard to empathize with your vantage point. Would you just prefer we send you some of our classic tomato soup? It's real soup-er?"

Four tactics to tackle trolls.

You can't count on a white knight troll to save your brand from such attacks. So, if you've not already established a plan to manage negative posts, get to it. Your plan should include at least four basic tactics—watch, ignore, engage and employ.

  1. Watch. Take a deep breath and see if any fans come to your defense. There's nothing better than a loyal fan fighting for your honor.

  2. Ignore it. Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing at all. This is especially true when the troll's comments are especially outlandish. Your followers know the difference between a rant and a true injustice. You're a big brand. You can take a few hits without damaging your reputation. For courage, visit the social media channels of airlines, hospital systems and utility companies. Pacific Gas & Electric didn't engage with the conversation below, however tempting.

  3. Engage with it. When people feel wronged today, they're more likely to post on social media than pick up the phone. If you're in the business of serving customers, your Facebook page is most importantly an extension of your customer service team. Customers expect swift and thoughtful action.

    When your brand is in the wrong, own up to it and use the opportunity to deepen your customer relationships. Kroger gets it. The community managers there are prompt and courteous. The proof is in the posts. Once the team responds, most conversations are wrapped up in a tidy bow. Here's just one of hundreds of recent exchanges:

  4. Learn from it. In addition to vanity metrics—likes, shares, follows—brands should be using social media to manage customer satisfaction and referrals. Your social following is a living, consuming focus group. Use their input to discover flaws and realize opportunities. Find the rainbow at the end of a troll storm. Cue Target.

    When the superstore announced plans to scrub stores of extraneous gender-based signage—boys' toys, girls' bedding, etc.—the trolls marched all over Target's Facebook Page, fuming about political correctness and threatening boycott.

    Target followed up months later with another controversial move, welcoming customers to use the bathroom and fitting room in accordance with their gender identities.The bold move was likely advanced, in part, by the enormous support the retailer received on social after the earlier gender-neutral signage brouhaha. The waters had been tested. They were ready to go full inclusion, knowing full well that it would ignite a vigorous social media debate.

Got a troll nipping at your brand? Use it to the best of your brand's ability. Need help managing your social media channels? These apps are a good start.

Money Diaries is the Millennial woman's Bridget Jones.

Money Diaries is the Millennial woman's Bridget Jones.

I wonder what’s in her wallet?

That’s the gist “Money Diaries” at Refinery29, a New York-based website that publishes the daily personal financial decisions of Millennial women. Think Bridget Jones Diaries for the gal who cares more about stretching a dollar than a donut.

For those unfamiliar with the fictional Bridget Jones, she measured a day’s success based on the amount of calories, alcohol and cigarettes she consumed. She’d chronicle her intake painstakingly—and defensively—like this account marked January 1:

“129 lbs. (but post-Christmas), alcohol units 14 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year's Day), cigarettes 22, calories 5424.”

Money Diaries features a seven-day snapshot of mostly Millennial women as they work assorted budgets in mostly high-end cities. The site presently features a recent grad who struggles to live on a $50,000 ($2,430/month) in New York City. A sample entry:

“I stop in CVS to pick up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and my birth control. Unfortunately, my health insurance doesn't cover my particular birth control, so I have to pay out-of-pocket every month. It's getting expensive, so I make a mental note to call my gynecologist this week to talk about other options. (Hello, IUD!) $84.13.”

Launched in 2016, Money Diaries hosts more than 100 diaries of women with various income levels and lifestyles—salaried, interns, students, travelers, mothers and brides-to-be. Followers live vicariously through the protagonists’ money decisions (Starbucks or free work coffee?). Some readers even weigh in, posting to The Conversation. Like this one from “Peaceful Phone:”

“I admire your decisions to pay off your student loans so quickly! I'm too nervous to give up the money I saved while living at home. It's nice to have a cushion for those unexpected expenses, but these student loans are brutal.”

Money has long been a sensitive, even taboo topic. The popularity of Money Diaries suggests that today’s Millennial women are ready, if not eager, to talk candidly about personal finance. This spells opportunity for banks and credit unions to build trust and confidence with this desirable cohort.

Not sure where to begin? First, get better acquainted with the Millennial woman. Get to know her preferences, values and key purchasing motivators. This blog is a good place to start.

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Marketing Statement - Second Quarter 2017

Want to build your Millennial market share? Stop thinking like a Boomer. Sure they may get a little monthly stipend from mom and dad, but that in no way implies that they bank like their parents. They're using utility bill history to apply for loans and lurking in financial fiction for advice and inspiration. And just when you thought you’d figured out their fave social platform they get all post shy and feed sensitive. When all else fails, invest in blogs. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Millennials find clever ways to finance life. No score, no savings, no sweat. Plucky Millennials will find a way to finance that purchase and invest in themselves—with a little help from mom and dad.

5 fast facts about Millennials' financial habits. Bonus for Millennial singles. They also double as pickup lines. So, what’s your credit score? Shop here often? Tell me your latest Story and I’ll tell you mine.

Forget Bridget Jones. Millennial women prefer to know how you spend your money than your calories. Fans of "Money Diaries" at Refinery29, a New York-based website, pore over the routine financial minutiae of strangers' lives like your grandma working a Sudoku.

African Americans and banks: It's complicated. There are many reasons African Americans are more likely to be unbanked or underbanked. Here are three ways credit unions and banks can start making important inroads.

QUICK study

Hold that post. Social media users are scaling back. Blame it on the election. Or one too many tags. Some have comment remorse. All of this and more is giving users pause to reflect before sharing. What’s it mean for your brand?

Facebook and Google are losing the war against ad-blockers. Today, 11 percent of users have ad-blocking software. Male Millennial techies are partly responsible for the surge, but not totally. Is your target audience blocking your bits? How to win them back.

Is your banking investing in blogs? Content is kind of like that compounding interest your member service reps preach to young savers about. Get started or get better with 8 things every blogger must know.

SHARPEN the saw

Show then tell. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

START a conversation

Share the Marketing Statement. Tell two friends. And so on.

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  • Brogan & Partners has worked on a wide variety of health issues for us over the years. They have not only consistently provided innovative ideas and award winning campaigns, but they continue to help us work towards our overall goal of improving the health of Michigan residents.  Their creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm makes them an invaluable partner in our... More

  • Hiring Brogan & Partners to help Michigan Women’s Foundation create the brand and messaging around the campaign to raise millions of dollars to solve the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit was a slam dunk!  With a well-deserved reputation for getting to the heart of complex and highly-charged issues with clear, action-driven communications, the Brogan team... More

  • A well-oiled machine operates at full performance, fluid and unyielding. At Frankenmuth Insurance we have often referred to Brogan & Partners as a well-oiled machine. Our experience with Brogan has been very strong and successful from the start. We view our partners at Brogan as an extension of our own staff. They are readily available to us at any time and deliver... More

  • When launching a startup, resources are very constrained and a startup has to pick its partners very carefully and with deliberation. There were many services that we have had to forego in the early stages of our company, Memloom. One crucial need, however, was identifying and aligning with a strong marketing partner who could help us with our brand, positioning and... More

  • We have been working with the Brogan team for the past 18 months. The Brogan team has truly been our marketing partner. They guided us through development our brand and messaging. They lead our our website redesign and deployment. And they provide excellent counsel on business development and market entry strategies. More

  • From the very first meeting we had with Brogan & Partners, it was clear that they had done their research on PREZIO Health, our competitors and the industry.  It has been  a very positive experience working with the Brogan & Partners team to re-design all of our service and product sheets as well as the total re-design of our website.  Their creativity is top-... More

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