what we talk about when we talk about good ideas

Should Your Brand Be on Tumblr?

A: Yes. Definitely. Right now. Because that’s where everyone else is.

If your brand needs or has a blog (good idea*) - there are a plethora of platforms to choose from to host it: Wordpress, Blogger, Posterous, Typepad, etc…Tumblr is your best bet though if you can provide fast-paced, informal content that’s full of photos, quotes, .gifts, videos, and all around interesting, shareable content that’s unique to your brand. The key to being successful on Tumblr is knowing that Tumblr’ers are visual creatures - so leverage all that you can to catch their attention.

Why Tumblr?

It’s where the masses are.
It’s one of the fastest growing blogging platforms in the world with 90 million unique visits per month with an enormous international audience made up of an (utterly close) equal male/female ratio (see inforgraphic). If you know your target audience uses social media - then a hefty majority of them most likely uses Tumblr too (so you should too). 

J. Crew
(via J.Crew)

It’s built for social sharing.
The biggest perk of Tumblr is its reblogging community with a built-in dashboard that creates an automatic streamlined feed of blogs that you choose to follow (similar to Twitter).

This is genius on a few levels -
(1) If you provide creative, share-worthy content, then its likely that someone will reblog your entry and open another door for a new set of audiences to explore your site.
(2) Your readers won’t have to go out of their way to your custom domain website every time they want to read your blog. Instead, they can see your content straight from their Tumblr dashboard where they already spend so much of their time anyway.
(3) Tumblr, like all social media platforms, is built for a two-way street where you can interact with your followers and gain credibility and influence via private messages, likes, comments and reblogging. 


(via Travel Channel)

It’s simple.
Tumblr catapulted and is the mecca of micro-blogging: short succinct entries, often visually focused and easy on the eyes. It’s also extremely simple to publish content - from text, to photo, to video. Take advantage of all three.

(Notes) If you already have a blog off of your domain website, then use Tumblr to publish snippets of your entries, and re-direct your followers to your main blog. You can also just use Tumblr separately from your main blog to purely share photos/links (ie. Bergdorf Goodman). Also don’t forget to take advantage of #hashtagging - make it easy for people to find your content.

Here are some links to brands that are already rocking Tumblr:

Follow them to get tips and gain some rep!

Pinterest: a New Social Media Marketing Tool for Brands

Pinterest is rapidly becoming the most highly coveted social network that consumers and social media marketers can’t stop buzzing about. This visually interactive social platform engages its users to discover, share, and curate photos into categorized interests and idea boards for virtual (and contagious) community sharing. With that said, Pinterest recently hit a record high of 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January - making it the fastest independent website to surpass 10 million UMVs in the US. So how can brands leverage this kind of magnetism to grow their online community and business? 

 

The first rule of thumb is to create rich content that promotes brand personality. Like most social media platforms, Pinterest is a great tool to add multiple dimensions to a brand by showcasing what’s behind the logo/product. This means don’t just post images of what the brand sells, but post photos that convey why the brand does what it does (what is it passionate about? What does it value?), convey its voice and identity (who/what does the brand represent?), and promote its lifestyle and interests (healthy? Adventurous? Eco-friendly?). In short, leverage Pinterest to let people discover the passionate side of the brand via rich pages of visually stimulating, collective images that can speak louder than a Tweet or a Facebook post.  

The second rule of thumb is to be engaging. The majority of time spent on Pinterest should be on interacting with (and learning about) the brand’s community by practing any number of the following: discovering what kind of things other people are pinning, and re-pinning the ones that are relevant to your brand, creating collaborative boards where users can contribute their own content, holding contests and promotional campaigns, using hashtags for searches or projects, using the brands’ other social media networks to drive more traffic to Pinterest, adding to the conversation via tips/opinons/descriptions of a pin, - and remembering to update your boards frequently so users will always be coming back to your site for new content.

Most often, Whole Foods and Chobani have been called on as prime examples of brands who use Pinterest successfully, and rightfully so. However another one worth mentioning is kate spade new york, a modern women’s designer brand described as “quick and curious and playful and strong,” who owns their social media strategy across the board -  from Facebook, to Twitter, to Tumblr, to YouTube, and now Pinterest. Despite only having 6 pin-boards, they have over 1000+ users following each board that’s focused on the theme of “living colorfully” - a clear reflection of their brand identity. In between these dazzling images, a few kate spade items are speckled throughout the boards, which in turn are amplified by the complimentary lifestyle visuals surrounding it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of using the visual power of Pinterest to strategically connect a brand’s core identity with its audience on a level of passion, intrigue, and influence without the hard-selling of a product. Could it be your next social media marketing tool too?


{images from Kate Spade’s Pinterest}

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent… It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” / Strength & Success of Adaptive Marketing

Ad Age just published an article on Friday by Anthony Young and Norm Johnson on Adaptive Marketing, highlighting its booming and successful strategy that many brands have adopted. This includes Amazon.com’s shopping recommendations (that you can connect to Facebook for even more personalization) and Nike ID that lets you customize your own sneaks.  Mindshare defines this as:

An approach that enables marketers to truly tailor their activities in rapid and unparalleled ways to meet their customers’ interests and needs based on data. It’s not just about advertising, but adapting every part of the marketing mix as well as the product itself to connect more consumers with the brand, make it more relevant to everyone and deliver more benefits.

There are 3 aspects to adaptive marketing that the article addresses, and I’d like to approach them separately:

1 - When marketers and brands create relevant suggestions for products/services by collecting and tracking the users’ personal information and online activity to better understand them.

So this is the Amazon.com example, as well as familiar Facebook and Google ads that are relevant to you because they track your internet activity. Though privacy issues always come up, people are more and more willing to give up their privacy in exchange for a personalized experience that’s useful, valuable, and convenient to them. If the trade off isn’t good enough or if brands unlawfully do it without permission, that’s when you’ll obviously face some debacles - (i.e. Path’s recent heat for uploading users’ address book data without consent - ouch). 

2 - When brands empower the users with an active role in customization and choice.

This is Nike ID, or Kleenex’s new customizable tissue boxes (for who? For why? Ok maybe…), or KLM airline’s "Meet & Seat" where you choose who to sit next to based on LinkedIn/FB profiles (examples taken from the article). I think this niche is the most experimental and for lack of a better word, fun part of adaptive marketing - where the customer gets the chance to be part of the process of creating the product/service experience. 

Not to be cheesy or philosophical, but I want to touch on the fact that we’re all creators. It doesn’t matter if we’re right brained or left brained - we all have an innate creative aspect that takes joy in making things: composing music, growing a garden, starting a business, baking a cake, etc. We love to invest a piece of ourselves in objects and see our own reflection in it - it makes it ours. 

Thus something as simple as picking the colors of your next Nike sneaker is the same piece joy, an individual trademark, a personal creation. Though its usually pricier and more time consuming for brands to offer something like this, in the long run it’s a strong investment because it creates a psychological and experiential bond between the customer/creator and the brand/creation made by them, for them ( - just make sure it was a positive experience for them).

3 - When brands listen & respond.

Yes, thank you social media! Brands are using Facebook and Twitter to listen to their customers, and the brands that do well are the ones who quickly respond and address each situation (i.e. @JetBlue or @comcastcares). It requires a lot of individual attention and will force companies to shift their structure to “become more fluid and “always-on” rather than static and sporadic,but can be leveraged to create a positive, personal experience. Smart brands are also using these consumer feedback not only to address the individual situation, but use it to understand how to improve their business as a whole.

Adaptive marketing is all about creating a personal experience. Everyone wants to know that they are unique and special and be heard with the freedom and power of choice. Brands who treat them that way will be rewarded with loyalty & royal currency.

The Guy At Home in His Underwear

One company asked me what my favorite social media campaign was on an interview, and I thought it was a great question, so I’m sharing it with you here (this campaign is bizarre balanced by genius).

Mark McIntyre, a testicular cancer survivor and hilarious, chubby do-gooder, was chosen to live at home in nothing but skivvies for 25 days while being broadcasted live 24/7 on the internet for the world to watch - all for the sake of raising awareness for testicular cancer.

This was the creative project of John St. Advertising in conjunction with Stanfield’s, an old school Canadian men’s underwear company who wanted to re-vamp their image to attract a new demographic of younger consumers. An internet phenomenon was born around the central idea “We Support Men” to raise awareness for testicular cancer via partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society. For every “Like” received on Facebook, Stanfield’s donated  $1 towards research - simple as that. By the end of the campaign, they had raised $52,000+ and Stanfield’s went from having 0 tracked mentions online to becoming the fastest growing Facebook branded page in Canada. Also worth mentioning is its 3 million minutes of live streaming, 1.3+ million page views, and 43 million media impressions (in just under a month).

The campaign endearingly shed light on an uncomfortable, yet realistic and common disease among men in an open, lighthearted, and authentic way. Mark’s average-joe body and goofy personality coupled with the credibility of having gone through testicular cancer himself made this campaign entertainingly buzz-worthy and contagiously real. Viewers got to interact with Mark via Twitter and Facebook chat, and vote on what his daily challenges would be (ie. go on a blind date, get a tattoo, fry bacon in a pan of hot oil). All you had to do in return was click “Like” on their Facebook page to show support.

3 things made this social media campaign successful:

1. It was perfectly aligned and focused from start to finish with what the brand was all about - “We Support Men” (yes literally and emotionally). It made sense to partner with a cause like testicular cancer (the most common cancer found in young men) to raise awareness in a way that resonated with Stanfield’s primary target audience. Everything they were doing made sense (in an odd way).

2. It was authentic and transparent - the two big things that social media is known for. The audience could watch Mark whenever they wanted, interact with him through Twitter and Facebook chat, and vote on his daily activities via Facbeook polls. The whole thing was highly interactive done through real people, real causes, and real-time marketing.

3. It was a 24/7 non-stop online community campaign - which is hard to pull off but the internet never sleeps, and this campaign didn’t either.

Plus who doesn’t like to watch a little reality TV while supporting a good cause?

Pinterest - A New Shopping Platform?

Pinterest is the new kid on the block who’s gaining lots of flashy attention fast. According to Shareoholic's Jan. 2012 report, Pinterest drove more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, & YouTube - combined. With 260+ million unique visitors per month, Pinterest became the fastest growing social media site (in terms of referral traffic).

What’s more, Ignite Social Media revealed that Pinterest’s audience is comprised of 80% females, over half of them between the ages of 25-54 with a college degree (60%) and decent income. This female-majority audience is clearly a driving force for Pinterest, and it’s not crazy to think that it could quickly turn from a purely social platform to an e-commerce platform - especially since each photo posted on Pinterest can be linked back directly to its source. Some popular brands who’re already pinning include: Whole Foods, GAP,  & Threadless.

For now, what I love most about Pinterest for brands is that you get to see more than just their products. These boards are a great platform to showcase a beautiful visual of brand personality - their inspirations, their lifestyle, their culture - from design, to style, to recipes, to trends. It gives consumers more personal ways to relate with their favorite brands and integrate it into their own lives. Not to mention it’s also extremely addicting…

You can follow my personal Pinterest here - it includes Caturday & You Had Me at Hello (aka guys & puppies).