Weekly Recap - November 17, 2017

It's science. Spreading kindness improves your well-being. Kind, kinder and kindest. This Chrome extension lets you moderate your social media. Gens X, Y and Z love giving back. Not surprisingly, this new donor base turns to social media for charitable content.

DETAILS, Please

On World Kindness Day, this organization put up walls to spread love. That might sound contradictory. Let's put it this way—these walls are essentially murals that encourage people to put kind words out into the world.

Lionsgate's Chrome extension turns negativity to positivity. #ChooseKind. The tool uses machine learning to spot offensive content and put a banner with a more positive message over it.

'Tis the donation season. We're bringing up transparency again. Donors want to be sure their money will actually make it to the people who need it. Go figure.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Talk finance to me: how to market your financial brand to women. Marketing is not a one size fits all proposition. Especially when it comes to financial services. According to a 2013 Allianz survey, 54 percent of women believe that the financial services industry is geared toward men.

Looking for Millennials? Seeking marketing magic? Hit the library. Ask a Millennial to explain the sharing economy and she'll tell you about Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit. Ask a Mature, and she'll show you her library card.

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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Weekly Recap - November 10, 2017

Strange Mode. Some Lyft users found themselves on spooky, Stranger Things-inspired rides. Five spice girls. Six guys named Herb. KFC hints at secret recipe and rewards the Twitter user who notices. Top tier customer service. Zappos ads show just how far the brand will go for its customers.

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Lyft partnered with Netflix to bring riders into the creepy world of Stranger Things. Remember the Hawkins Power and Light billboards we told you about a couple weeks ago? That wasn't the only immersive advertising Netflix developed for Stranger Things fans.

KFC painted a portrait for the man who spotted its 11 herbs and spices stunt on Twitter. The social media publicity stunt continues. Check out how the fast-food brand uses humor to connect with customers.

Zappos turned true customer stories into charming ads. Not all ballerinas want ballet shoes. The brand reenacts the absurd lengths to which it will go to satisfy its customers.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Financial insecurity is making Millennials postpone marriage. If you wanted to marry the love of your life, how much would it cost you? Probably a lot more than you'd think. Of course, everyone's dream wedding is different...

How alcohol is influencing shoppers online and off. A third of Americans admit to having shopped while under the influence, according to the Finder.com survey. Millennials are the biggest offenders, followed by just about every other generation.

THE Topic of conversation

Authenticity. Discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups. Download our free whitepaper "3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand."

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5 tips teens can teach your brand about social media success.

Teens are the true CEOs of social media. They decide the rules, they set the trends and they have the power to turn Average Joes into stars overnight.

The young generation that was born into the social media revolution now seems to hold all the cards–whether they mean to or not. With nothing more than an iPhone and some creativity, they’ve been able to outdo brands with million-dollar marketing budgets and even turn social media into careers.

But the question remains: what do teens know that brands don’t? How are these young minds able to outperform even the savviest social media teams? 

Take note of these five tips from teens:

1.   Quality followers can be better than quantity

While brands or products with large followings certainly gain credibility with consumers, the sheer number of followers your brand has isn’t the only thing that matters. In fact, sometimes having a collection of quality followers who will like, comment and share your content could work harder for your business and your bottom line.

When “Damn Daniel” videos became an internet sensation for example, it wasn’t because hundreds of thousands of people followed the high school pair’s content. It was because their tight-knit group of followers engaged with the content at unprecedented levels and shared it with their friends (who shared it with their friends, and so on).

In the same way, brands should strive to attract quality followers who are actively interested in their content and will positively react to it.

2.   A little appreciation goes a long way

How often do you engage with your audience on social media? How frequently do you thank them for following you? Teens–especially social media influencers–make a habit of it. And followers love it.

For brands, showing appreciation doesn’t mean writing sappy or emotional posts once a month. But making small gestures of gratitude, such as liking comments and responding to individuals in the comments section, could do a lot for the favorability of your brand.

3.   Stay ahead of the curve

When new social media trends hit the scene, teens are typically the first ones to jump on board. Understandably, brands often lag behind–either for lack of knowing about the new trend, or for fearing of trying it. But in the amount of time it takes for brands to get up to speed, the trend could be long gone or wildly overused.

While your brand doesn’t have to be quite as daring as teens are, you should at least keep an open mind. Try a trend right when you see it (as long as it aligns with your brand and your voice). Explore a new platform, use popular buzzwords or be the first among your competitors to give a trend a go.

4.   Learn to collaborate

One of the secrets teens use to grow their accounts is collaborating with their friends and other popular influencers. The reason these partnerships are so successful is that teens aren’t collaborating simply to gain followers–they’re collaborating in order to create unique content and have fun.

Brands, too, have benefited from these collaborations. Companies like GoPro & Red Bull, BMW & Louis Vuitton, and McDonald’s & Hello Kitty have leveraged the power of collaboration to generate publicity and increase favorability among their respective brands.

Whether it’s with another company, an individual or a nonprofit, well-executed collaborations could do your brand a world of good. Hint: joint live streams and giveaways are great places to start.  

5.   Don’t go dark

One of the most important social media lessons you can learn from teens is to post frequently and consistently across all channels. The majority of top teen accounts post at least once a day, and even those who don’t are expected to post great content on a regular basis. While it’s important to find a balance for your brand, the lesson here is not to go dark. Posting content regularly will create repeat visitors, and repeat visitors will help your social media presence thrive.

The next time you post, keep these tips in mind and don’t overthink. Few teenagers do, and their content consistently reigns supreme.

Looking for more tips to enhance your brand’s social channels? Download our free Social Media Guide.

Marketing Statement - Fourth Quarter 2017

Blissfully ignorant. That’s one way to describe the financial state of Millennials as they head down the aisle today. Many know little or nothing about their partner’s spending habits, according to a new survey. Meanwhile half of Millennials would surrender the right to vote for student-loan forgiveness. Hello, teachable moment. App something already. (Honeydue before “I dos?”) Counsel, guide, advise. Even with all this fintech, branches still matter big time.

Before the big day, fiancées aren’t talking finances. According to an Experian survey, more than one-third of couples are in the dark on their wedding day. Thirty-six percent of them don’t know anything about their spouse’s spending habits.

Half of Millennials would sacrifice the right to vote for student-loan forgiveness. An astonishing 50 percent of Millennials with student loans are willing to give up their right to vote in the next two presidential elections to have their debt forgiven, but far fewer would give up texting.

To manage joint finances, couples consider mobile apps. Honeydue works with more than 10,000 banks across the country, so partners can import information from their checking and savings accounts. All expenses are automatically categorized, which provides an accurate snapshot of their spending.

Customer loyalty is a long, winding road. Ask a banker. Bank customers of all ages want financial tech and branches, too. This according to the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2017 Banking Report (and the construction of new branches everywhere).

QUICK study

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. 

A clothing store with no clothes? Nordstrom Local reinvents retail. Retail is having a tough year. It’s no secret. While brick and mortar behemoths and multi-level department stores once dominated the market, there’s a new sheriff in town: online.

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. 

Why longer sales cycles make for happier consumers. 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.

8 signs your website is past its prime. In the course of a year or even months, a high performing site can be dealt brutal blows that negatively impact results. Your organization may shift focus, launch new products and services, invest in new markets. Search engines alter algorithms, revamping rules in pursuit of the ultimate results. Designers craft new designs, inspiring the next evolution of content management systems. Browsers update.

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.

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Weekly Recap - October 20, 2017

No need to leave the app. Facebook now has an “Order Food” option. You might’ve guessed it – Snapchat is the number one social media app in teens’ eyes. People from 194 countries participated in this game of “would you rather.” 9GAG used their responses to bust myths about Millennials in their black paper. New data alert! Nielsen will now measure and publicly share Netflix ratings data.

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You can now order food on Facebook without leaving the app. Delivery just got even easier. Facebook tests an “Order Food” feature on both desktop and mobile.

Snapchat is teens’ favorite social app. Snapchat continues to gain popularity among teens despite copycat features from Facebook and Instagram. Check out other teen favorites from this annual “Taking Stock With Teens” report.

What Millennials value most in their lives, careers and personal tech. In two weeks, 9GAG’s survey received nearly 135,000 responses. This “would you rather” questionnaire can tell marketers more about Millennials than you might expect.

Nielsen will share ratings for Netflix shows. Netflix isn’t thrilled about it, but the rest of us have wanted to see this data for years. Nielsen will expand the offering to Hulu and Amazon next year.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

How dentists can build business with content, counsel. People aren't just researching health-related issues; they're making decisions about their healthcare services and products because of online brand content.

At-home DNA kits help consumers take control of their health. Did you know you were Scottish? Or Western Asian? Or that you have a third cousin who lives just a couple of towns away? Well, now you might–all thanks to the DNA kit boom.

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals. 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."

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Weekly Recap - October 13, 2017

#Sponsored? The FTC wants disclosures on paid content from social media influencers. All your favorite apps are coming together. Snapchat partners with other big names to give us more location information. Now that’s customer service! Watch brand calls thousands of customers to personally apologize. Is Amazon’s ad business threatening Facebook and Google? Research from Catalyst suggests it might be.

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What marketers should know about the FTC’s crackdown on influencer-driven social media. Some influencers aren’t happy with these requirements. Check out the FTC’s recommended hashtags for paid content.

Snapchat Context Cards will bring a lot more information to snaps. Swipe up for more. The social media giant teamed up with other big brands, including TripAdvisor, Lyft and OpenTable, to bring about this new feature.

This brand is calling 17,819 customers to personally apologize. It may be a publicity stunt, but it’s still good customer service. Here’s why Filippo Loreti is calling so many of its customers.

63 percent of Amazon advertisers plan to increase spending over the next year. Amazon’s shopper data could be too good to pass up. More brands are planning to up their Amazon advertising budgets than their Google and Facebook advertising budgets.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Bars now serving virtual reality to attract Millennials. 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 Topic of conversation

Instagram. Learn how your business can use Instagram to build brand awareness and increase engagement. Download our free whitepaper "Why your business should be marketing on Instagram."

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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.

Weekly Recap - September 29, 2017

Ecobranding is the new black. Slight alterations to traditional logos can have HUGE ecological and economic impacts. 140 characters not enough for you? You can now double your tweet lengths in most languages. Watch the disruptors. Tiffany & Co. reveals what it learned from newcomers in the market. Mindset matters. When shoppable ads meet active consumers, purchases happen.

DETAILS, Please

One designer’s plan to make brand logos more eco-friendly. Ecobranding could be the future. Check out how one creative director cut ink use to make logos more environmentally and economically friendly.

Twitter finally tests a 280 characters limit. In a world where attention spans are decreasing, will longer tweets be beneficial or irrelevant for marketers? Twitter promises to keep us all posted about how users react to the doubled limit.

What Tiffany & Co. learned about mobile from watching its competitors. Scared to diminish its own merchandise, Tiffany was once reluctant to use a mobile platform. Now, the VP of marketing shares how mobile helps the brand connect with young shoppers.

Shoppable media is transforming how consumers find and buy products. Serve your ads at the right time. Consumers in the “active” stage are three times more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a shoppable ad.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

A clothing store with no clothes? Nordstrom Local reinvents retail. Retail is having a tough year. It’s no secret. While brick and mortar behemoths and multi-level department stores once dominated the market, there’s a new sheriff in town: online.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture. Volunteerism is good for the workplace. It can boost morale, atmosphere and brand perception. It can make Millennial employees more proud, loyal and satisfied, and attract Gen Y talent.

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."

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Weekly Recap - September 22, 2017

Are you making any of these social media mistakes? Consider these do’s and don’ts to connect successfully on LinkedIn. Increase authenticity, drive engagement. Check out how deeper relationships with influencers can help brands bridge gaps with consumers. Data is the answer. Signals offer more precision about what consumers are interested in than traditional survey-based information. Thirty million Pandora users opted in to this program, and marketers couldn’t be more excited.

DETAILS, Please

20 LinkedIn do’s and don’ts from digital marketing pros. From blind invites to selfies, there are a lot of things you may want to avoid doing on LinkedIn. Follow this advice from leaders in the industry to get the most out of the professional platform.

Why more brands are adding social media influencers to their marketing teams. Collaboration is key. With millions of Instagram followers, these teens are helping brands like Target and CoverGirl connect authentically with consumers.

Why signal planning is the most compelling media planning strategy. Whether they’re searching for a brand or researching products on Google, signals tell us when and what consumers are ready to buy.

Brands can now reward Pandora users for watching their ads. Consumers want replays. If they listen to at least 15 seconds of your ad, they can earn them.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Emoji’s 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).

THE Topic of conversation

Instagram. Learn how your business can use Instagram to build brand awareness and increase engagement. Download our free whitepaper "Why your business should be marketing on Instagram."

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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 tweet from Baskin-Robbins. Now that’s fun.

Weekly Recap - September 15, 2017

Girl power! How a small statue rocked the advertising world. Not just Millennials. One-third of the U.S. population cares about company reputation. One-click ordering is the answer. Quick and painless checkouts could mean billions for retailers. Want to get the most out of your video campaigns? Contextual targeting may help improve your reach.

DETAILS, Please

Fearless Girl stole the world’s heart and brought this company millions in free marketing. The iconic girl standing opposite to Wall Street’s Charging Bull created a social media storm, but the marketing campaign had a deeper purpose. Don’t miss these insights from the campaign’s creators.

‘Corpsumers’ care as much about a brand’s values as its products. Millennials, high-earners, and parents seem to agree. Check out these stats from MWWPR to see how ethics affect consumer  buying decisions.

How the end of Amazon’s ‘1-Click’ patent will change web-wide checkouts. Before Prime, the simplicity of checking out was a huge component of Amazon loyalty. Now, retailers all over the web may start implementing simplified purchasing.

When it comes to marketing on YouTube, context is key. Consumers seeking out and watching certain content provides distinct signals about what they may be interested in buying. Here’s how to use those signals to reach the "unknown" demographic.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

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. 

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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