Bars now serving virtual reality to attract Millennials.

Bars now serving virtual reality to attract Millennials.

Virtual reality (VR) is popping up across markets from healthcare to travel. Now it’s creeping into nightlife as clubs and bars attempt to attract a waning Millennial market.

The VR tactics are varied, from VR gaming in a bar setting to part of the drinking experience itself. The MGM Grand offers an immersive VR gaming course at its Level Up bar. Powered by Zero Latency, up to eight players are transported simultaneously to an immersive universe at an epic scale where “exciting, social adventures await.” Players compete and fight the undead and killer robots over topsy turvey pathways.

Bacardi and Virgin Atlantic collaborated to create an “Immersive Digital 360 Drinks Experience” at Virgin Clubhouses. Users are invited to visit premier bars around the world while waiting for a flight.  Imagine ordering a fennel cocktail at La Guardia, putting on a pair of VR goggles and watching a mixologist at the Walker Inn in Los Angeles mix it up. By the time your two-minute VR experience concludes, your trendy drink is waiting for you IRL.

Brooklyn is also on top of the trend with a VR arcade, appropriately named VRBAR. This venue seems to focus more on the number of different gaming journeys one can take and less on the drinking aspect. VRBAR offers over 15 different experiences, from painting a masterpiece to climbing Mount Everest.

Brogan & Partners recently produced a VR spot for our client, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning targeted at the nightlife inclined. The short film encourages people to “Do a 360” before heading out, using designated drivers, rideshares and other safe options to drink responsibly.

The interactive video can be found at www.michigan.gov/360.

“The Office of Highway Safety Planning works hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to communicating about how we can reduce drunk driving by encouraging people, especially young adults, to make a plan to get home safely,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “By asking people to ‘Do a 360’ we hope to bring a unique perspective to the issue of drunk driving and encourage people to make the right decision by finding a safe ride home.”

VR is an experience. It can help take your brand story or campaign to a new level, adding emotional depth and increased consumer motivation. It has tremendous possibility across many markets. Where will it take your brand?

Weekly Recap - October 6, 2017

Instagram for the win, again. Here’s why your brand should be using the app. Giant balloon dogs and more. Snapchat continues to ramp up its AR efforts. Avoid a 25 minute advertisement. Brands navigate producing podcasts without overdoing the self-promotion. Marketing to Millennials? It’s no secret that Millennials love Facebook and Netflix, but some other names on this list may surprise you.

DETAILS, Please

80 percent of Instagram users voluntarily connect with a brand on the platform. Instagram wants to bring users closer to the things that matter to them. Check out how the social media giant has redefined what brands’ relationships with consumers look like.

Snapchat and artist Jeff Koons create augmented reality lenses. Building on the success of the app’s dancing hot dog, Snapchat wants to inspire young people everywhere to create with their cameras. Warner Bros. and Bud Light are the first brands to join the fun.

Blue Apron launches its own podcast. While building a lifestyle brand, Blue Apron sees the podcast as a way to deepen its relationship with customers. Microsoft, eBay and Tinder have already created their own content in this arena.

Top 10 Millennial brands of 2017. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Millennials want convenience and value from brands. Check out which brands are delivering just that.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Gen We expects more from brands on social media. Just when your brand had figured out Millennial social media habits, Gen We comes of age and everything changes. For these tech natives, social media is as much a part of the conversation as IRL.

THE Topic of conversation

Millennials. Discover who Millennials are, why it’s important to market to them, and how you can increase brand loyalty and engagement. Download our free whitepaper “8 Rules of Marketing to Millennials.”

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Gen We expects more from brands on social media.

Like older cohorts Gen We is active on social media, but they have higher expectations for brands in the digital space.

Just when your brand had figured out Millennial social media habits, Gen We comes of age and everything changes. For these tech natives, social media is as much a part of the conversation as IRL.  

Brands that miss this important new social reality risk becoming obsolete. Smart brands respect the social code and open up better ways to connect with Gen We, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

So, what makes Gen We consumers so different than Millennials when it comes to social media?

Well, Millennial teens grew up with Myspace and Facebook, with 55 percent adopting social media in 2007 (Pew, 2007). They shared personal stats and details, poked, and followed friends via news feed. They used bumper stickers and liked for hours. The focus was show and tell.

Meanwhile, Gen We teens had Facebook AND Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter, too—unique channels to share activities, thoughts, emotions and aspirations. They weren’t limited by a single reaction. To add color and depth to their content, they used video, memes, filters and tags. When they share, they’re starting a conversation and expect feedback, a dialog.

Per CEB Iconoculture, if the Millennial teen online presence was a profile—a static, one-to-many style of self-presentation—then Gen We teens’ online presence is a persona—a dynamic self-presentation emerging from the combination of the one-to-many (proactive) posts they create and their reactive posts (the likes, comments and reactions) they share in response to their friends’ posts.

It’s a popular forum for the cohort, much more so than Millennial teens. In 2015, Pew estimated 76 percent of Gen We teens were using social media and more than 70 percent cross platforms.

Prepare your social media for Gen We.

In order to connect to Gen We via social media, brands should continue posting quality proactive posts, but add reactive posts to the mix. Follow your followers, reacting to relevant posts on their pages and participate in real conversations.

Facebook facilitates this kind of communication by posting “likes” and comments that friends make on other pages. In doing so, Facebook elevates the users’ comments and provokes reaction and continued conversation. Instagram now uses an algorithm similar to Facebook’s. In order to determine which posts might be the most relevant to users, reactive posts are used to boost the audience for a given proactive post.

Taco Bell’s burrito hostage situation on Instagram playfully demanded “likes” to keep a popular burrito on the menu, eliciting many reactive posts. In keeping with proper etiquette, Taco Bell promptly responded to consumers’ cries of delight and distress alike.

Want more on Gen We? Here are 5 things you need to know.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.
Spot the Brogan & Partners team member among the volunteers at this year’s Muir Valley Trial Days in Kentucky.

My job recently took me to Slade, Kentucky, home of Muir Valley—a nonprofit nature preserve in the Red River Gorge.

The Valley is a rock climber’s paradise, featuring 360 acres and seven miles of Corbin Sandstone cliffs with traditional and sport climbs that run 20- to over 200-feet-tall. Climbers trek here from all over the U.S. to discover more than 400 routes amid classic crags like Bruise Brothers, Midnight Surf and Land Before Time.

Here it’s not just the destination. The journey is equally spectacular, lined with oak, hickory, sugar maple and hemlock trees. Mountain laurel, rhododendron and bigleaf magnolias stretch and hover thick across the valley floor. Trails twist and climb, presenting waterfalls, caves and mountain streams.

This is a marketer’s dream. The creative brief would practically write itself. The Brogan Team would have a field day promoting this place.

But I didn’t go to Muir Valley to pitch business. There would be no campaign. Brogan sent me here simply to do good.

Like many progressive companies, Brogan & Partners encourages employees to contribute back to the community. We’re paid for a volunteer day annually and rewarded for sharing our time and talents to serve on nonprofit boards and committees. The agency partners with several nonprofits throughout the year, providing significant pro bono work and raising money for organizations like Game on Cancer.

Why doing good leads to great.

My volunteer day brought me to Muir Valley because it’s given my family so much. It’s where my son, Nick, travels with his rock climbing team in the summer. It’s where my daughter, Sofia, reads in peace and finds inspiration for short stories. It’s where we road trip on long weekends, catching up on the six-hour trip along I-75 and winding down in the hills of Kentucky.

At the very least, we owed Muir Valley a day’s work.

We joined 100 other outdoor enthusiasts to groom trails, build benches and bridges, paint outhouses and secure routes and belay areas. We met lots of new people. People just like us who had come to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge from far flung places like Brooklyn, N.Y. and Muncie, Indiana. And people who call the Valley home and volunteer regularly to ensure its integrity for generations.

We worked alongside Mike, a volunteer search and rescue team member at Muir Valley and longtime climber. Under his supervision, we pick axed, shoveled, dug and scraped post holes for new benches in the training area.

This was unfamiliar work for my family. We hiked to the job site with tools and relay teamed the building materials to the site. We learned how to use a green bar to break up a rock bed and how to secure a post by compacting soil, layer by layer, with a sledge hammer. We learned how to be flexible when nature proved otherwise.

It was hard work. By the end of the day we were exhausted and achy. But we felt amazing.

Volunteering is good business.

Volunteerism is good for the workplace, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey. It can boost morale, atmosphere and brand perception. It can make Millennial employees more proud, loyal and satisfied, and attract Gen Y talent. Survey results found that nearly two-thirds of Gen Y employees surveyed prefer companies that let them volunteer their skills.

These benefits span all generational cohorts, per the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) research. According to CTI data, older generations feel it is important to give back to their community or wider world through their workplace. This is true for 91 percent of Gen X women and 76 percent of Gen X men, and 90 percent of female and 79 percent of male Baby Boomers.

At Brogan, volunteerism contributes directly to our agency mission: creating an inspiring workplace and culture. I may have built benches in Kentucky but I came back to Brogan with so much more. Mission accomplished.

Want to learn more about what makes Brogan & Partners unique? Learn more.

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.

Weekly Recap - March 3, 2017

Pick up. Pick up. Pick up. Wondering why consumers aren't answering your calls? It's because all that ringing is freaking them out. Especially the young'uns. Or they're too busy clipping coupons and hunting for bargains. That goes double for the multicultural shopper. If you're targeting Gen X, you can probably bet they're not at the gym. Or the doctor's office. The sandwich generation would rather preserve youth with Botox than pump iron. Let's unpack.

DETAILS, please

Hold my calls. A 2011 Pew Research study found that the average person made or received about a dozen calls per day; in 2015, that number dropped by nearly half. Young adults say phone calls make them feel "nervous" and "panicked."

Multicultural consumers are savvy shoppers. Multicultural consumers spend more hours on average clipping coupons and searching for deals than general-market consumers, according to the 2016 Valassis RedPlum Purse String Survey. Latinos are the biggest coupon searchers. 

Gen Xers invest more in beauty than health.  Gen Xers are more likely to spend money on anti-aging products and services than exercise regularly, according to the MDVIP Health & Longevity Survey. Only 50 percent of Gen Xers have had a checkup in the past five years, compared with 72 percent of Boomers.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Everything your brand needs to know. Debating which visual social platform is better for your brand? Let's break it down filter-by-filter, post-by-post, percentage-by-percentage.

How to get more patients to try telemedicine. Telemedicine is at a tipping point. The medical community is on board. Patients say they're in to it. So, why are they so reluctant to use it? Here are four ways to increase patient adoption.

THE Topic of conversation

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, greatest and free whitepaper "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

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And the top mobile marketing healthcare leader is...

The government. Great, creative mobile marketing is about building relationships. And the government has my number. Okay, so even though they have a satellite in outer space tracking my every move...I chose to opt in to a mobile text message campaign for the Center for Disease Control.

And I like getting their text messages. From quizzing me about the temperature of my turkey on Thanksgiving to concussion signs during ski season, I feel they are my friend giving me advice that even my BFF Becky could not (sorry Becky...). And isn’t that what marketing is all about? At Brogan & Partners, we just did a text message campaign consisting of “Love Notes” for our client, Covenant HealthCare. And for our client, the Michigan Department of Community Health, we are doing all kinds of WAP sites with creative that drives you to them. Big beauracracies may be big, but they can sure turn on a dime to innovative new solutions.

So how do you feel about text campaigns? Are you opting in or out?

CDC text message campaign on iphone

Research-based H1N1 ad.

By now, we've all seen a lot of H1N1 ads. But are they working? Our client, Michigan Department of Community Health, decided to go straight to the target audience - minority populations of African Americans, Arab Americans and Hispanics who have NOT received the vaccine - with focus groups to understand WHY NOT.  The problem? They simply don't trust it.  Respondents said it was "rushed into circulation", "pushed by the government", and is "unsafe", "untested and experimental," and "unproven." Of course, all misperceptions and untruths, as the vaccine is the safest, most effective way to prevent the flu. We know that trust is a critical component of the healthcare marketing equation -- and that we had to overcome this basic feeling of mistrust. Since the majority of respondents said their doctor would be the single person they would trust the most about whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine, we encouraged action through this open door. Even though we know 61% if adults search online for health information and 81% of Internet users search online for health information (Pew Research Center), we bravely persevered with what research told us is the most effective call to action: TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

The print ad is straightforward. Designed to help people make a list of questions to ask their doctor about seasonal flu and H1N1. I think its simplicity and utilize are unexpected -- and will break through the clutter.

stop-the-spread-7-125x4-812.JPG

Kudos to MDCH for their research-savvy approach. We'll keep you posted as this just started running.  Let us know what you think!

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: COLEMAN YOUNG’S OPINION ON COBO.

So...some Detroit City Council members are questioning the wisdom of a regional authority buying and running Cobo convention center.  And they are looking for allies—even among the dearly departed.  What, for example, would the late Mayor Coleman Young say?

Of course, everyone agrees Cobo needs a big time facelift and expansion.  And that Detroit doesn’t have the big time bucks to do this.   Still, some Council folks and City residents oppose regional ownership simply because Cobo belongs to the City, it is a City jewel.  Some question the fees being paid to the City for Cobo’s parking garage. 

For many, however, the biggest problem is that the regional deal does not give contracting preferences to Detroit businesses and residents.  And they infer that Coleman Young would stand with them in insisting that Detroit should be Cobo’s primary contracting beneficiary. 

This could be hard to refute … unless someone happened to know exactly what Mayor Young wanted to communicate when he expanded Cobo in the late 1980’s.  Well, it so happens that Brogan & Partners was Cobo’s ad agency during that time and we needed Mayor Young’s OK for ads and TV spots. And this is what he wanted said about job preferences in communications from 1987:

COBO Hall Expansion Print Ad

COBO Hall Expansion Print Ad

COBO Hall TV Ad

So SURPRISE! to all those who loved Mayor Young for being completely Detroit-centric. 

And BIGGER SURPRISE! to all those who disliked Mayor Young for not being regional enough. 

Blog Category: 

Hooray, no more election ads!!!

As a marketer, I obviously like advertising.  But with the election FINALLY coming to an end today, there may not be anyone happier than me for campaign ads to be done for a little while.  The economy's downward spiral is bad enough, but pile on the negative campaign ads one after another, and I'm more than a little stressed out!

Campaign ads are an important part of our American democratic process.  And I know we'll see some local stuff again soon (especially as the mayoral campaign heats up here in Detroit), but I for one can't wait to see a barrage of Budweiser spots, Visa spots, even the local home improvement spots.

So even as I went to vote this morning, thinking about this historic election, another part of me was excited to see the Geico Gecko a little more in coming days.

How about you?    

Blog Category: 
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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

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  • 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

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