Wise Approaches To Employ Social websites and Marketing

Activities in recent years certainly shows a trend toward the benefits of focusing on social networking and marketing. The numbers of both offline and online businesses getting involved with Facebook only continues to grow each day. But the great news is you can do this, as well, and work to create your own place there. If you really want to take advantage of this, then there is really no justification to wait any longer. Social marketing, at other sites apart from Facebook, contains a number of diverse methods which is fantastic for business. You should try to find the ways that can be used the best for your company.

If you want to do something that can certainly help your business, then just think along the lines of increasing your brand. Depending on your distinct business, you can brand yourself or your business. As you can easily envision, how each business is branded will vary depending on where your income takes place. You probably already know that Twitter, Youtube and Facebook are actually the three heavyweights in social media and marketing. Of course, each one must be approached differently and with different media, such as video at Youtube. You can capitalize on allowing your market have some fun and that can work wonderfully with all of them. Entertainment and the principle of fun at these sites can be tremendously effective, plus there is an higher chance of something becoming viral.

When you think about speaking to your customers, then that means social marketing and networking. Making the most through your marketing with that method is one of the most effective things you can do. Take the time to be there among those in your market, and you can acquire all kinds of useful information. One thing that ought to come to mind is market research and a new way of doing it. Then there are customer service potentials which can change into good things for your business. While you’re there you can let them know you are generally there, and then simply make yourself accessible if there are any problems. That is a level of customer support and assistance that does not exist very much, anymore.

Market research is vital for any business, and you can tap into a new way of doing that. The main way this happens is because people chat at these sites. The persons in your market will be interested in real discussions about what is important. So then just think about if they are talking about their various experiences with buying something. You will have the ability to eavesdrop about challenges in your market, or solutions that you may want to find out about. All you really want to do is show-up, and next be in a great position to pick up what is going on. It can make a tremendous difference when you are able to understand their language and the words they use. Your marketing and advertising messages and copy will convert much better when it speaks the same language as your market.

Kit de Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Kit)


KLE – Kit de Libertad de Expresión (or Freedom of Speech Kit) is a portable digital device that allows people from all over the world to participate to remote protests by sending and displaying text messages in public space. The interactive banner is (unsurprisingly) inspired by the record number of social protests that took place in Spain in 2011. It is estimated that over 23.000 demonstrations have been organised that year around the country continue

FutureEverybody, the art of participatory technologies


This year’s edition of the FutureEverything festival in Manchester brought a well-known and much discussed phenomenon to the fore: participatory culture. From Wikileaks to Iceland’s crowd-sourced constitution, to the Arab Spring, participatory technologies have demonstrated their powerful political potential. The world of culture is harnessing the same connected energies with projects that involve citizen scientists cataloging celestial bodies in the Milky Way galaxy, crowd-curated photo exhibitions and of course the many projects created by artists and designers who either directly use collective action or bring it under a new light continue

White House Attacks Fox News

WhiteHouseSealIt must be slow in the Capital these days; it seems that although our world is going crazy, the president and his staff have taken time out to wage a media attack on Fox News, making the rounds on all the Sunday morning talk shows, with one glaring exception: Fox. The gloves were certainly off as Obama’s team struck back at Fox News accusing the network of opinionated reporting. Some of the quotes from the barrage include:

Fox is “not really a news station,” said David Axelrod.

Fox, said Rahm Emmanuel, “is is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective.”
They also urged the other networks not to treat Fox News as a news station because the White House certainly did not think of Fox as news-oriented. A week ago, communications director Anita Dunn opened the White House offensive on Fox on a Sunday show: “Let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is.”  She then stated that Fox was the communications arm for the Republican Party.

President Obama

The troubling part of this whole scenario: Our government is attacking one of our news outlets, thereby risking one of the freedoms America was founded upon: freedom of the press. (No, it’s not freedom of the press as long as we like what you are saying.)

The cable news networks are highly competitive, and Fox is not only the second highest- watched cable TV network, but it carries 9 of the top 10 cable news shows as of Q1 of 2009. Despite the heavy competition, the White House’s attack has actually begun to backfire.

Helen Thomas, the senior White House reporter in Washington (serving from JFK to
Interim Communications Director Dunnpresent) warned the Obama administration: “Stay out of these fights,”  and Washington Post’s blog stated: Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault.

Some have even called the attack “Nixonian” in nature. However, the White House has an out. If the strategy fails, Anita Dunn can be tucked away easily, as she is expected to leave the administration by the end of the year.

fox news logoWhile Fox has not attacked Obama directly, they’ve unloaded on his aides, especially Dunn. Her statement naming Mao Tse Tung as one of her favorite politicians did not help nor did her speech explaining the censorship-like control exercised during the election. If team Obama felt they couldn’t control the message, or the press, they would use YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook to communicate.

While America thought that the Obama Campaign was tech-savvy, it was really just an exercise in message management.

Jeff Louis has over ten years of brand-building, media strategy, and new business experience. His passion is writing and his strong suit is sarcasm.  You can follow Jeff on Twitter or become a fan on Examiner.com.

Driving the World: Michelin’s First Global Ad Campaign

Michelin launched its first global advertising campaign last week to shine its headlights on Michelin’s USP high beams, illuminating the manymichellin benefits derived from its distinguishing characteristics. Its theme, “The right tire changes everything,” aims to drive this point home.

Michelin tires simultaneously deliver enhanced braking power, greater longevity, and superior fuel efficiency. The campaign illustrates by using the right tires, consumers can reduce fuel consumption, increase safety, and extend tread life.

The campaign features the iconic Michelin man, Bibendum, in an animated world, assisting troubled motorists and replacing their defective tires with Michelin tires, which he pulls from his body. I know what you’re thinking: Why can’t I get rid of the tires around my waist as easily as Bibendum? To answer that, you’ll have to take the advice of Esurance’s ad campaign, and “get animated.” Bibendum apparently has all the answers.

Created by TBWA, a New York-based agency that gained Michelin’s worldwide account last summer, Michelin’s campaign will appear across TV, print, and online outlets in the United States first, then in Europe and Asia in early 2010, and in Africa, the Middle East, India, and South America at a later date. The U.S. campaign features an enhanced digital strategy that introduces the official Michelin Man Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Visit michelinman.com/the-right-tire for more information.

Rohan Raj. Syrupy schmaltz. Finessing perpetual cadence. Boundless behemoth. Absence of mutual exclusivity? Priceless. Reach him via Twitter or LinkedIn.

The Future of Entertainment and Advertising

I just finished watching a Twitter reality-show pitch, and I have to say, I’m interested. The reality show, @whoisthebaldguy, has viewers following him on Twitter and making suggestions on what he should do next. It’s a great concept and could be the wave of the future for entertainment, leaving traditional TV in the dust.

Facebook has had some similar shows broadcast, as well. The first made-for-Facebook series, Ashton Kutcher’s KatalystHQ, debuted in February, detailing the day-to-day events happening at Kutcher’s production firm, Katalyst Media.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the show is the traditional integration of products, such as Cheetos and Hot Pockets. According to an article on Real-Time Advertising Week, Kutcher opined that when product placement is done in funny and tasteful ways “people are happy to consume it.”

I can’t help but feel we are getting closer and closer to making a real-life version of The Truman Show.

Both of these new shows could signify the end of television as we know it and put advertising in a whole new, but good, ball game. Where will this lead us? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Megan Green is a freelance propagation planner who has had her work published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or at megankategreen@gmail.com.

Goodby’s Poem House or What Happened to Sign Painters

image1fullHis name is synonymous with advertising genius. Got Milk? That’s his. There Can Only Be One. That’s also him. Now, Jeff Goodby backs Pepsi. He’s also launching an online “Twitter-centered” campaign. To all the advertising geeks reading this, if there was any doubt in your mind about going digital, then let this be your reassurance. If this man is doing it, you damn well better.

In times like these, we need a quote from the man himself. “I like big fonts,” Goodby said.

He’s obviously referring to his 117 year-old Victorian house. That’s really the topic here. Goodby has inspirational and evocative words painted on the outside and inside of his house, words that evoke what takes place inside.

It’s this house that seems to have played a part in Goodby’s digital switch. See, he needed someone to paint the words on the house, and it was done digitally. Upon completion, Goodby created a Web site: www.poemhouse.org and promoted it on Facebook. The rest, needless to say, was history. Once captured by the blogging fanatics, publicity instantly ensued: Tweets, re-tweets, traffic, publications, you name it.

If this is not a prime example of digital prosperity, then I don’t know what is. This small event exemplifies the marketing shift occurring today. The shift that more agencies, like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, have adapted should be adapted elsewhere. The key here is versatility. The new wave of advertising professionals are versatile (like me!! ):  They take classic technique and weave in a digital mind-set. They are more marketable and more valuable. Now, if more could firms could see that value, maybe we could even afford to live off of it.

Rena Prizant is a Copywriter, Ad Creative, SEO Gal, and mammal in the Chicago area. Visit www.RenaPrizant.com or @WriteLeft.

Jobs and Accountability for All. Except HR?

HR copyI have been applying to various agencies, consulting firms, digital design houses, and the like, and one of the so-called Human Resources’ policies has moved on my “corporate irritation scale” from irk’d off to pissed off.  For the sake of this writing, I include only the personnel departments at advertising, marketing, online agencies, vendors, and companies as the places I’ve been focusing upon.

When did it become standard for HR Departments to determine  they need not respond to applicants? Doesn’t this seem a bit counterproductive, especially at a time when companies are refocusing their entire efforts on personalizing relationships, speaking to their audiences on a one-to-one basis?

Professional glut

meter-thumb2During the past year, many professionals have been let go, from  C-level executives on down. Thus, there’s been a glut of qualified pros searching. As a professional, when I fill out an application and submit my résumé (usually using Taleo or some other third-party vendor), a cover letter, and samples in a nice package, it’s  indicative I either know your company well and am an “enthusiast,”  or I’ve researched it enough to realize there’s strong potential for both parties to  match on various levels, creating a win-win situation.

Thus, I submit what’s  required when I apply at XYZ. Not two seconds later, I receive an e-mail stating that after review, if my qualifications are a match, I may hear from someone. Otherwise, due to the volume of applicants, I will not hear another word.  First off, this is not only rude, but belittling. I have 11 years experience, and if I qualify, you may contact me? I cut my chops. I have respected your requests, filled out your paper in addition to submitting my own, and you “may” get back to me? It’s at this point I regret applying, job or no job.

A week passes.

Follow-up is key (if you can)

I call the office switchboard. I’m dumped into the HR general voicemail. No once calls back. Knowing I already have no contacts within the organization, I try to figure out if there is another way to get past the wall of silence. I begin to dial the main number with a ploy to speak to the Marketing VP I just looked up on LinkedIn.

While waiting, I wonder what’s transpired. Is the job closed? How many applicants applied? Are they still accepting applications?  Was my résumé submitted correctly? Was there something that screamed out I was wrong for the position? Did I make it to the final first cut, only to be weeded out due to my salary requirements?

I leave a voicemail for the VP. After a couple weeks without contact, I make a note on my spreadsheet that no one ever responded and move on to another opportunity.

Social media

Surprisingly, I see a lot of HR people using social media, especially on LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. To me, this states that HR departments are versed in basic social-media tenets:

  • Listen.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen some more.
  • Initiate on-to-one communication.


HR departments use social media to recruit. Why then is it so difficult to get anyone to respond? Why do I have to call the VP of Marketing to get a response, knowing at this point my job hopes have just been shot down?

HR peeps I know say it’s due to the massive amount of résumés they receive, and they’re too busy.I have to say this is a cop out.

Everyone is busy, everyone does more with less, and times are tense. However, most people at a business (with one exception) cannot risk ignoring anyone who contacts them, especially in an industry as fickle as this one.

WWJD, or what would Jeff do? (the solution)

As HR is capable of using social media for recruiting, then why not use social media to keep job posts updated?
It’s efficient, simple, and effective. Set up a blog page with job updates. Send out Twitter updates that a position’s been filled. Write a Facebook App that will cross-reference a job number with a status update. Have a prerecorded job line that applicants can call to learn of any updates.

Problem Solved.

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or follow him on Twitter. As always, thanks for reading.

B-52’s, Headlights, or Jugs: Breast Cancer Org’s Target Men

rib1This post covers two of my favorite topics: Breasts and advertising. When they’re grouped together, it usually means a 30-minute Girls Gone Wild infomercial. However, this post actually covers a couple advertising efforts behind breast cancer awareness, which is nothing to joke about. While humor is used in writing, and can be seen in the TV spots, no disrespect, implied or otherwise, is intended. My prayers go out to all those who have been affected by breast cancer.

All men love breasts. Some love them secretly. Others wear t-shirts that shout out that they are “breast men.” Even men that don’t dig women are drawn to a woman’s chest…not sexually, but out of curiosity. (It’s a cruel society that labels a straight man as a stalker for staring at a woman’s assets for too long while a gay man has free reign to reach right out and grab a woman’s chest in public…)

Listaholic alphabetizes 138 different slang names for breasts, among them; whimwhams, muffins, kawangas, and dinglebobbers. Which proves that when men don’t understand something, they either rename it or make fun of it.

The truth of the matter is that we probably love breasts more than their owners;

We just don’t know why…

Which leads to an obvious question: Why haven’t men been involved in the fight against breast cancer from the beginning? Like a favorite bra, it’s a natural fit; breast-lovers attacking breast cancer. As you’ll read in a couple of seconds, a couple of organizations figured it out.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 500,000 people die every year as a result of breast cancer. It ranks as the second most common form of cancer, and it’s the 5th highest cause of cancer deaths.

The push towards early detection and education of breast cancer began in earnest in 1982, following the death of Susan G. Komen. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977 and died three years later. Susan’s younger sister, Nancy, was the impetus behind the push; keeping a promise to her sister, she founded The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation with the belief that education, early detection, and research would have saved Susan.

Now known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, or simply Komen, the foundation has raised over $1.3 billion dollars for cancer research since inception and is the largest cancer charity in the world. On the global level, Komen has but one mission: To end breast cancer forever.

Spurred by National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), two separate advertisers have launched PSAs that have expanded their target audience to include men, which is ingenious: Who thinks about breasts more than men?

Yoplait has just released, “Yoplait Pledge.” It makes fun of the fact that nicknames were given to breasts at some point (hmm).

The second awareness spot comes from ReThink Breast Cancer, a Toronto-based organization that addresses the breast cancer concerns of young people affected by the disease. Rethink is a volunteer organization that is “thinking differently” on methods to defeat breast cancer (like getting men involved). The spot (below) is airing in Canada on MTV, and the woman featured is an MTV Host.

It’s obvious that breasts get plenty of attention. It’s breast cancer that we need to focus on.

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or follow him on Twitter. As always, thanks for reading.

Still Aren’t Using Social Media to Advertise?

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Revver, WordPress, Reddit, Digg, Ning, Xing, Squidoo, Tumblr and Flickr (overwhelmed yet? I can go on) are all social media. What is the hype? It’s the talk of the town and everybody is doing it. However, is it of any use as a tool for marketing? It is! And you aren’t using it yet?

As a follow up to my last post, 10 Reasons to Use Online Video for Your Business, and a non-related follow up to Megan Green’s post, I thought I’d keep the ball rolling with 5 reasons why you must use social media to advertise your business:

It’s FREE – Connecting with customers/clients through Facebook and LinkedIn, posting your deals on Twitter, and demonstrating your expertise through a blog or video can all be done at the cost of $0. What it will cost, however, is time and some DIY prowess because each social media platform requires its own variation of communication for optimal effectiveness. Some initial research is suggested to decide which platform may best suit your business. However, if you’re a strong believer of “time is money” and are too busy to teach yourself social media, there are companies that can help you and your business get started for as little as $299.

Location, Location, Location – You want your product/service seen by as many people as possible, and, without any statistics to back me up here, there are a lot of people on the internet using social media sites. A lot. We’re talking hundreds of millions. For you naysayers: as of July, Facebook alone had 250 million users. Can you afford to ignore these people? A better question: can you afford to have these people ignore you?

Sharable – Not only will your product/service be seen, you can also have it shared. If a person on Twitter sees your tweet promoting your business and knows people in his or her network that can use it, he or she may pass the promotion on with a retweet. If you write a great blog post on the benefits of your service and submit it to social bookmarking sites, people can discover and rate it moving it up the site’s ranks, which allows more people to discover it. If you made an entertaining video about your product, it could be passed around to hundreds, thousands, and possibly millions of people. Imagine that, a :60-second video about your product seen by millions. It’s FREE advertising.

Long Lasting – Once your business/product/service information makes it onto these social media sites, it can live on forever. That’s a long time (don’t worry, it’s a good thing). There it is, your info being seen and promoted long after you posted it and readily available when you want to put some extra muscle behind it.

Engagement – People who use your product/service will have an opinion about it, and more often than not, they will voice their opinions through social media, and you should know exactly what they are saying, good or bad. If someone sings your praises by writing an elaborate blog post, you can share that with your network or use it as a testimonial on your website. If someone tweets a complaint about your product/service, you can address it and ideally change their mind. No one likes to feel ignored, so if you can show your customers/clients you care and listen, that will definitely strengthen relationships.

There are easily more than five reasons to use social media for your business, so be sure to come back for updates. As usual, feel free to ask a question or drop a comment.

P.S. Once again, to redeem my cool points, here’s a video from my Creative Director poking fun at so called “social media experts,” because you can’t be an expert in something that is constantly changing with new platforms, bells & whistles.

Tommy Liu, the man, the legend (to be) wields his pen of creativity against the injustice of mediocrity plaguing the world as the Senior Account Executive at Supercool Creative & SpotZero where he also manages the blog. Click here to view some of his battles (he doesn’t always win).

Rachel Nasvik, Pirates, and Hand Bags (Oh My!)

ThrillofTheChaseIn June, Beyond Madison Avenue ran a post about designer Rachel Nasvik, a New York City designer famous for chic, custom-made handbags, and the “scavenger hunt” in New York city where consumers followed clues published on social media sites to discover where she had hidden 96 of these designer handbags around the city. The campaign was a great success, and displayed a great use of social media as well as a natural knack for getting noticed.

Well, Rachel Nasvik has again taken to the streets, but in an entirely different manner.

New York City (NYC) is known for many things, one of them being a place where consumers can purchase merchandise that has been pirated from well-known designers. Basically, knock-offs sold on the street for nothing that look like the original.

VendorWell Nasvik and team turned the tables on the design pirates by using their fly-by-night grocery carts as a means of promoting original Nasvik designs. In what could be called a second scavenger hunt, Nasvik sent clues to her 1,000+ followers on Twitter, alerting them that the game, once again, was a-foot. This time she was hiding her designer goods amidst the copycats roaming the streets of NYC. The cost for a Nasvik original off the cart was an affordable $10, while down the street at Saks, the same bag brought in $300. This obviously was not going to make Nasvik any money.

Yet, what she lost in terms of dollars was replaced by her gains in public relations, love from her fans, earned media coverage, and a creative use of distribution channels. She has taken social media to a whole new level, interacting with her fan-base personally with a fun and competitive game that was not online, but in the “real” world.

Plus, her brand is now being copied by pirates…meaning that Nasvik’s designs have truly “made it.”

Jeff Louis is a Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. You can reach him on Twittter or LinkedIn. He is always searching for great ideas and new friends.

Vegemite: Kraft’s Relaunch Leads to Top Global Brand Affinity

Vegemite3Sometimes the past is fulfilled with wonderful memories of friends, music, good times and lots of laughter. Or, the past should remain exactly where it is, especially when remembering how you dressed, your bodily piercings, and that mullet with the spiked top that would never go out of style. If you remember the mullet, do you recall these lyrics?

Buying bread from a man in Brussels He was six foot four and full of muscles I said, “Do you speak-a my language?” He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
By: Men At Work, “A Land Down Under

What in the heck is Vegemite, anyway? Until writing this post, I didn’t know, nor care. Then I found out that Vegemite is actually produced by Kraft Foods, and that Kraft has developed a new Vegemite formula and has rolled it out in Australia…

My first thought: “Would this be the next huge marketing FAIL, akin to the New Coke Formula back in 1985?”
Knowing absolutely nothing about the product, I had to do some research. What is Vegemite?

Vegemite is similar to the British product Marmite, which is a tacky paste, brown in color, with a salty “beef broth” or “meaty-like taste.” Marmite is usually spread on toast or biscuits but can also be mixed with hot water to make a drink. Marmite is made out of yeast extract saved after the beer brewing process. During World War I, the flow of Marmite to Australia was interrupted and an Australian cheese company, Fred Walker & Co., commissioned an Aussie scientist to come up with similar replacement.

Vegemite was introduced with great fanfare (including a national naming contest) in 1923. The naming campaign was a big success; the product flopped. Despite various marketing efforts, Vegemite sales remained poor. Kraft purchased Walker & Co. in 1926 (forming the Kraft Walker Cheese Company) and in 1928, changed the name to Parmite, which killed Vegemite’s tiny though hard-won market share. Vegemite never recovered.

vegemite2So, with plenty of Vegemite on-hand, the Kraft Walker Cheese Company started giving it away with Pontiac automobiles and cheese products. Sales responded positively; then, the British medical association proclaimed that Vegemite was a great source of Vitamin B. Sales increased more. By World War II, Vegemite was in 9 of 10 Australian homes, had become part of a soldier’s daily ration kit, and was even carried by Aussie’s traveling abroad due to lack of availability in other countries. Today, Vegemite is one of the most well-known global brands and outsells Marmite in Australia by huge margins.

Kraft tried to extend the brand with a cheese and Vegemite “single,” but failed. However, marketing contests, such as limerick and song competitions, boosted sales. Then, following the war, the baby boom hit and Kraft jumped on Vegemite’s Vitamin B content for infants;

“…baby care expert Sister Mc Donald, said in the Women’s Weekly that “Vegemite is most essential”, further cementing Vegemite’s reputation for nutrition and wholesomeness. Infant Welfare Centres were recommending babies have their quota of Vitamin B1, B2 and Niacin. Vegemite had them all!”

By the 1950’s, Vegemite was to Australia what apple pie is to America, aided in part by consumer-oriented campaigns initiated by J.Walter Thompson.

On July 7, 2009, Kraft released a ’second’ Vegemite. The new Vegemite is a mix of Vegemite and cream cheese, is less salty, spreads much easier, and supposedly tastes better. To coincide with the release of the new recipe, Kraft is running a competition to give the new flavor a name, hearkening back to the competitions that worked 50 years ago. Kraft recently launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to name the new Vegemite, drawing on the successes of past campaigns that involved the public.

In fact, the new campaign mixes both traditional and Social Media, including an interactive website that includes fun facts, the naming contests, and the history of Vegemite. The new Vegemite can be found on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Below is the one of several commercials. This one has been extended to be 48-seconds long:

And, just as in the early days, J. Walter Thompson was chosen for creative expertise. While some wait to see if this brand extension will be a coup or a pile of crap, early research shows that Vegemite has more brand affinity than Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Nike (globally);

The research analysed 1.5 billion posts across 38 languages within social networking sites, blogs, message boards, and online news. The results discovered 479,206 mentions for Vegemite, with brand affinity found more often than any other product globally.

If this was an election, the early results would show that the new Vegemite is a serious contender; however, all the votes haven’t been cast. Based on my research, I believe that the new Vegemite will most certainly take space in Australian kitchens.

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger and aspiring writer. To contact Jeff, leave a comment here, or find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Required: One BS Detector

The rapid changes in technology, advertising, and social media have brought along their baggage: jargon, political-correctness, new terminology, “cutesy” names, and phrases that just are not understandable. At least once a week I find it necessary to search for meaning on “new” words. When I spell-check posts or documents, many of the words that I read, or even use, on a regular basis show up with the red squiggle…misspelled. The real fact is that they did not exist when Office 2007 debuted, so the handy-dandy dictionary doesn’t recognize them. Thus, my custom dictionary is growing. Now I have to worry about the fact that if I misspell a simple word, such as bitter, I may end up with bit.ly. Thus, read and re-read everything you write.

Along with these new words, we seem to be using more words to say less, working in keywords along with key points into our blogs, press releases, and online articles. Companies, wanting to look smarter, are actually failing to get their point across due the amount of BS they incorporate with their corporate communications.

And that’s why I use HubSpot’s BS detector, or, as they call it, the Gobbledygook Grader, which grades exactly what you think it does: crap.
The site is very simple to use:

  1. Enter copy into copy block area on Grader site
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Hit the “Grade Content” button

What comes out can be quite disappointing, especially if you think that you’ve written a masterpiece and find out it’s a turd. It’s not a perfect measurement tool, but it does provide a list of the Gobbledygook words, a word cloud so that you can see how many times you’ve overused certain words, as well as a word-counter, sentence counter, and the minimum education necessary to read the document. (Although mainly a PR tool, it’s become rather useful for cover letters, blog posts, and articles.) Realize that if you are grading something other than a brochure or press release, the calculations don’t work out perfectly and the score will be low. However, I use it as a proofing device, so it’s not the score, but what it displays about my writing, or over-writing.


The top ten “worst of the worst” words are, from most-offensive to least: lead generation, robust, flexible, world class, easy to use, scalable, cutting edge, well positioned, market leading, and mission critical. If you’re using these words in your writing endeavors, please stop now.

HubSpot also offers graders for Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Social Personalities, Press Releases, and Web Sites, so it’s simple to gauge where you, or your company, “rank” in the Social Media sphere. To access all of the graders at once, go to HubSpot’s website and click on the Grader link.

As the online space expands, rest assured that the cutting-edge, scalable, mission-critical buzzwords will become a robust and break-through method of delivering market-leading information in a user-friendly method.
(Authors Note: none of the 18 Gobbledygook words included in this post were harmed during writing.)

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger and aspiring writer. To contact Jeff, leave a comment or find him on www.linkedin.com or www.twitter.com.

Social Media: 5 Reasons to Love It

social-media-marketingToday somebody asked me why I love social media. There are so many reasons and it’s hard for me to choose only a few. So I did what any other social media savvy individual would do: I posted the question on Facebook, Twitter and other outlets. I was able to use social media to explain why I love social media and I think fellow blogger Jenna McWilliams says it best: “Social media is not a trend, but a fundamental human urge to communicate,” and now we have more ways to do so. So, my top five reasons:

1. 1-800 customer care number? Consider it a thing of the past. Remember the time when we had 1-800 numbers? We’d wait on hold for eternity to finally get connected to someone in another country who was so far from executives that we were sure our complaints or problems would never be heard. Social media has changed that. Now companies have to listen to their customers because unhappy ones can broadcast their displeasure through social media. Also, it’s no longer a one-way conversation. Some companies have jumped onto the social media bandwagon (as they should) and created accounts to ask consumers to help create and improve their brands.  Two most notable examples are Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea and Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice.

2. Efficiency of reaching consumers. Look at social media this way – imagine all of your customers coming together on a daily basis and talking about topics that pertain to you and your company, thereby spreading even more information about your company and gaining more recognition and consumers. One of my favorite quotes comes from my mentor and good friend, Griffin Farley of 22squared: “Don’t plan for the ones you reach, plan for the ones they reach.”

3. Being connected (this was the most popular answer I received after posting the question). When something happens to ourselves or to someone we know, we share it with others through pictures, comments and tweets.  More importantly, it’s a new way to get news, support, and advice on anything.What better way to educate yourself on advertising and marketing than by following an expert in a specific field? Who knows, it could even get you a job (Tweeter Neal Schafer had it happen to him after he started his blog and web site).

4. Creative campaigns. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if I had a TiVo, all I would record are commercials. I like advertising, but not because I want to learn about the products. I like the  creativity used to showcase a product to consumers. And now with social media, they’re becoming even more creative. Viral videos, Twitter giveaways, Facebook fan pages, etc. I can’t get enough of them. Old school + new school = awesome, consumer-activity-inducing campaigns.

5. The best thing about social media? It is changing the way we think. And with the exponential growth of it, no social media professional can be sure of where these new media will lead. But I can tell you that it’s exciting to see the evolution.

Megan Green is a freelance propagation planner who has had her work published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or at megankategreen@gmail.com.

You’re Not on Twitter Yet?

twitterIt’s out there and everyone’s talking about it. It’s been proven to give companies an edge on competition and the ability to form a bond with customers. So why aren’t you involved in social media yet?

As a freelancer in social media, I’ve noticed that there are numerous corporations that are still not involved with Twitter, Facebook, or anything on the Internet beyond a website and an email. This is, in essence, what it would be like when everyone started to advertise on the television when it was first invented and a company simply ignored it and kept to the “old school” ways of handing out fliers to people. Although it is important to respect the more traditional ways of advertising, you must also incorporate the new to properly promote and advertise your company and brand (my fellow Beneath the Brand blogger Jon Leung agrees – check out his post Marketers’ Dilemma: Facebook or Twitter).

The best thing about social media – it’s easy and free. At the moment, I recommend starting with Twitter because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s becoming more and more similar to the dot com boom (i.e. don’t be the last one to figure it out).

Look at Twitter this way: imagine all your customers coming together on a daily basis and talking about topics that pertain to you and your company, thereby spreading even more information about your company and gaining more recognition and consumers.

Let me use a company as an example that I am currently involved with: Dolphin Blue, Inc. Dolphin Blue helps businesses go green through its office supplies. If you thinking of promotion from a networking standpoint, the first thing you would do is to find a group that matches your interests, in this case, any green groups that deals with the ecosystem or world health. You would then attend the group sessions, meet people who have those same interests, and start conversations with them about your company. Twitter is exactly like this, only on a much larger scale.

After creating a Twitter account, log on to www.search.twitter.com and search (#green) for people talking about green issues. “Follow” them, re-tweet things they’ve tweeted that you agree with and *poof,* people will start following you, re-tweeting things you’ve posted, and, most importantly, become aware of your services. And thus, networking and building your business starts on a national level. The more people you meet, the more people who talk about you and your company.

Within four hours of Dolphin Blue publishing its Twitter account, it had six mentions and 26 followers! On day two, those numbers grew to 14 mentions and 93 followers. Imagine how many more people it’ll reach within the next week, month or year.

I think Griffin Farley of 22squared said it best. “Don’t plan for the ones you reach, plan for the ones they reach.” It’s all about who you know, right?

Megan Green is a freelance propagation planner who has had her work published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or at megankategreen@gmail.com.

Don’t Sell Just Sell It, Noit It!

online_shopping2Can you feel it? Probably not…it’s much like the spin of the Earth. E-v-e-r  s-o  s-l-o-w-l-y, we’re being herded by unseen forces swirling about; price, comfort, security, and laziness. Why fight the crowds or the traffic when it can be done from home? If you don’t have to leave the house, then don’t.

Massive online sites such as Ebay and Amazon make shopping online simple. Well, prepare to add another couch magnet to your arsenal: NoitWorld.com.

Before you ask:

In the US Military, the term “NOIT” is used to describe something as “cool” or “hip.” This Military slang term served as the impetus for the creation of this website, which combines the variety and diversity of a true online marketplace with the cool, hip world of social media.

NoitWorld, launched on June 1, 2009, heralds itself as the  ”newest, coolest, and most consumer friendly online marketplace for buying and selling new and used merchandise. Although I have never used the site I did peruse it extensively. Very simple to navigate, users have the ability place products  in more than 100 categories, such as Anything Goes, Motorcycles, Cars, real estate, etc. Depending upon the item being sold, ads are posted for 30 days and are either free, $20, or $25 per ad. The site is actually global in scope although most items listed currently are from the US or Mexico.

Noitworld.com, however, is not “just another sales site.” It is the first site of it’s type that allows users to re-post listings on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more. Todd Foret and Sean Legros, both of Yuma, AZ, developed the sites unique strategy:

“With so many internet users spending a majority of their time on their social media sites, it only makes sense to provide a buyers and sellers market that can interact with these sites,” said Foret.

Although “in business” for just over a month, there are plenty of items available, from a classic Styx CD to a beach home in San Felipe, Mexico. As the economy doesn’t seem to be immediately bouncing back,  maybe it’s time to start “Noiting” all stuff.

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner & Brand Project Manager for B2B and B2C clients, he is fascinated by innovation in the face of adversity, branded creative that is on-strategy, and past participles. He can be contacted via  Twtter or LinkedIn.

Stickercards: Simple Change May Change Biz Card Industry

guy K faceAs most know, I’ve been writing about innovation in the face of adversity; our industry’s changing, the economy’s sucking the breath out of  good companies, and, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the bubble won’t break until at least 2013. That’s four years of this. Tired of the bad news, we thought that we would task this highly creative industry to either show us your stuff, or keep your mouth shut. Talking the talk is easy. Prove to us, and the industry, that you’ve got the creative mojo and win some free publicity.

It doesn’t have to be “ads” or “campaigns.” It could be your business model, an engaging strategy, how you changed the way you purchase media, social media tactics, recession-proof tactics, or even a small, “Hmm, I wonder…” question that turn into a creative leap. Something like what Guy Kawasaki, owner of Alltop, just engineered.

Alltop gives its clients, prospects, vendors, and friends both business cards and business stickers. However, Guy admits that while he freely gives out cards, he’s reluctant to hand out stickers to promote the brands because they could be used to deface property; plus, he did not want to “burden” others with his branding efforts. And there is always the chance an Alltop sticker might end up plastered on the toilet of a rank rest stop on I-70. Can you say, “negative brand association?”

alltop-fullThen he had an “A-Ha” moment: could the business cards and business stickers be combined? He emailed one of his friends, who happened to own StickerGiant, to find out. He asked this friend, John Fischer, if a business card could be printed on the back of a sticker, and if anyone had done this before. John answered that, yes, it could be done but, no, it had never been requested. So, Guy requested his friend to check into it.

Writing on Open Forum, Guy describes his thought process:

“Psychologically, a stickercard is a powerful concept. By applying the teachings of Robert Cialdini, I hope that it engenders reciprocation and consistency. That is, since you’ve given someone a cool sticker, the person feels like they should reciprocate by sticking it somewhere visible. (Did you donate money to Hare Krishna because one of its followers gave you a flower?) Then, once the stickercard is stuck, the person is more committed to the company, product, or service. That stickercard on laptop is a declaration to the world that they like the what it stands for. To be consistent, they must stick to their positive opinion of your company, product, or service.

picture-2The process, or how the idea comes alive, doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It’s the idea that matters, and whether or not it works.  At any moment, Guy Kawasaki could have stopped and said, “This is stupid.” Instead, he followed through. His tweet tonight stated that the stickercards was his best idea ever.

His best idea ever… and he’s had a lot of ideas. To take it a step further, the first thing he did with his new “invention” was share to it, which speaks highly of his character. He sent out the tweet and a link. StickerGiant made a video. And the stickercards went from idea to product in a week. Be warned though, StickerGiant charges $500 for 500 cards. At least Guy has character.

If your company has something that makes “the cut,”  send it my way. Until that time, leave a comment… it will raise your social media score.

Jeff Louis: A Strategic Media Planner and Brand Project Manager for both B2B and B2C accounts, he is fascinated by past participles, brands, and innovation. Please contact him on Twtter or LinkedIn.

The Friendship Model: Brandon Murphy at 22squared Gives the Down and Dirty

22squaredAdvertising and marketing have taken new directions with the recent integration of social media and consumer advocacy. Agencies have been forced to rethink their ideas and strategies to reach their consumers. One such agency, 22squared, has done just that with the help of its SVP Director of Brand Marketing, Brandon Murphy.

I had the opportunity to catch Mr. Murphy on the phone this past Friday and ask him about the company’s model, The Friendship Model: How to Build Brand Advocacy in a Consumer-Driven World.

“I think that basically it’s an approach for brands to build advocacy. When we first introduced this thing, it was mostly an internal thing, and actually still is. In essence it was an internal way to focus the agency on what marketing was about today, what a person does to make and maintain a friendship, earn enough respect, and I guess enough attractiveness for a consumer to advocate for them like a friend would advocate for a friend,” Murphy said.

Murphy says one of the hardest questions companies face when creating campaigns is the question, “How do we build advocacy?”

“A lot of times it comes down to not what you say but what you do,” he said. “How can we get the customer to interact with us. Your next customer could turn into your next 10 customers. It’s a pretty simple idea.”

Griffin Farley, senior brand planner from 22squared, has a great saying for this: “Don’t plan for the ones you reach, plan for the ones they reach.”

How can this model help an entire agency? I listed those questions and responses below:

Megan Green: For people now looking for work in progressive ad agencies, why is it important for them to know about advocacy, social media and word of mouth?

Brandon Murphy: The simple reason is because that is how brands are growing now. Brands aren’t growing by increased awareness, they are growing with people talking about them…that’s how people are choosing products and what brand to use.

MG: Media Planners are specialists at reach and frequency. Are those still important skills to know when advocacy is the end goal?

BM: I think there is always going to be a critical mass of people you have to reach to keep your brand afloat. You look at our agency, it’s not like we don’t do media plans, it’s just that we’ve changed how we do our media plans and how we engage the customer. For media planners, the one thing is that it is no longer about buying space and just calculating reach or frequency, it’s about getting opportunities for the customer to talk.  Media planning has gotten to get more strategic and inventive to get messages to customers.

MG: When you brief Creative Teams, does the Friendship Model help them get to a better creative deliverable?

BM: The Friendship Model does a few things. First, it gives a sense of direction in work and strategy. We always still do the right things in understanding a customer and how a brand can fit into a customer’s life. The key thing is to think entirely around a problem and all different ways to solve it. Sometimes it’s something really cool or something simple. We’ve looked back and told a client, “it’s not a TV campaign you need, but it’s an associate campaign,” like we told Buffalo Wild Wings and Lincoln Financial. Second, [the model is] something else that makes them work better, it forces you to figure out what the brand’s purpose is. If a brand has a purpose beyond just selling something, as a customer you’re more likely to invest in it.

MG: Has the Friendship Model helped your New Business Team win accounts or peak interest among search consultants? What feedback do you hear from them?

BM: Well the good thing about the Friendship Model is that it really does help filter out clients that are right for you and clients that aren’t right for you. The client typically hates it [the model] or loves it. It’s a nice screener for us and prospective clients. It really puts ourselves out there and we’re really passionate about building advocacy.  Also, search consultants really like it. Search consultants are tasked with bringing agencies that bring in business. With this model we can focus on the things that bring in sales. We can tell them how much they can expect to increase sales given an increase in advocacy or reach of other people. That’s really been super attractive to some consultants.

MG: Does the Friendship Model help Account Service strengthen the relationship with the clients? Do clients value the philosophy?

BM: In two ways. One, it’s kind of a gut check for us. The way we act and the people in our agency – it creates a pretty high road for us to walk in terms of being passionate and doing the right thing. You know, it’s interesting if you think about the relationship between friends, it’s not all nicey-nicey and how can I serve you. It’s real. It gives us a nice path to travel on how we build relationships with clients. Two, it most importantly gives our clients something to circle into. Clients always have business goals, but doing it through a filter of building relationships and advocacy gives the client a way to lead that they hadn’t had before. Most of the Friendship Model is based on what we currently do for our clients. It feeds the development on how to win over customers and act differently than other brands, like Publix Super Markets, Inc.

MG: Finally, as Director of Brand Planning, what skills do you look for when you hire Account Planners that want to work for 22squared?

BM: Planners have to be insatiably curious and really, really good at writing and getting ideas across to people. Those two things are core building blocks for planners. Something else we look at is planners who are always able to take a different look at things than most people. Whenever I hire a planner, I make sure they are not only smart, but smart strategically and creatively. Our planners are much more active in participating in the creative. We look for planners that understand how to engage a customer and not just about bringing a message but about where we engage, how we engage, and the content and value of the brand. Planners are provocateurs by nature. At least we want them to be. We want them to cause people to look at things differently. They need to be the glue that holds people together.

Want more information on The Friendship Model and what it means? Check out this video that 22squared put together, “I Love Blank”, or Brandon’s white papers.

Megan Green is an advertising and marketing professional published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. She specializes in social media and is currently looking for a full-time advertising position. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or at megankategreen@gmail.com.

Social Media Changing the Face of the English Language

twitterWe all know social media is changing the way we connect with people, but it’s also affecting the way we communicate with each other; that is when we actually speak instead of text, tweet or write on someone’s wall. I have one friend in particular, who tends to use the phrase “O.M.G.” for everything (for those few out there who do not know what that stands for, it’s “Oh my God”) in normal conversations.

At first this didn’t bother me much; however, it’s now affecting more than just my personal online life. Even getting asked out on a date no longer warrants phone calls, or even texts, at the very least. Instead, I receive Facebook messages, instant messages, or e-mails. I’m waiting for the moment I get tweeted for a date.

At one point in time, we actually called someone to speak with them and actually heard their voice. Now, we text. Add abbreviations of texting to our limit of 140 characters on Twitter, and abbreviations are now correct spellings of words. No wonder grammar and spelling are going down the drain.

Consider an abbreviation like “TTYL” (talk to you later) or “LOL” (laugh out loud). Next, look it up on Wikipedia or Dictionary.com. They are actually listed! And there is a correct way of writing these Internet lingo (granted it’s not AP Style, but that’s only a matter of time until the Associated Press has to put it in the manual). Of course, not all abbreviations are listed in a dictionary, as many are made up, but soon our abbreviations will get longer and more complicated because we can’t post, type or text fast enough.

Realistically, this is how most languages evolve. Have you ever read a King James version of a book? I can’t figure out what it’s saying either without reading it five times and having a dictionary handy. In the future, we could progress to “talking” in abbreviations completely, or even symbols. Tht wuld b crzy @ tmes!

It all boils down to the fact that we want information faster.  Having to wait to type out a word such as “antidisestablishmentarianism” won’t cut it, and ignoring abbreviation use may just keep businesses and personal lives in the dark. So, with that in mind, I leave you with a few of the most popular abbreviations (I’ll start out slow):

APT: apartment

BYOB: bring your own booze

NM: nevermind

FTW: for the win

BLOG: Web log

DVD: digital video disk

WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get

Want more? Standard Word Abbreviations: http://www.abbreviations.com/; http://www.acs.utah.edu/acs/qa_standards/psstd02a.htm.

Megan Green is an advertising and marketing professional published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. She specializes in social media and is currently looking for a full-time advertising position. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or at megankategreen@gmail.com

Cheap Zombie Flick? You Have No Idea

What can you do with $70 and some social networking? How about produce an interesting zombie flick from the point of view of the zombie that will wow audiences and critics at the Cannes Film Festival and then have the rights of the film bid on by Japanese as well as American distributors? According to CNN, this is what is happening to the no-budget film Colin from emerging British director Marc Price. That’s right, Price made a film for $70.

How in the world is that possible? “The approach was to say to people, ‘OK guys, we don’t have any money, so bring your own equipment,’” and that they did, along with that Price borrowed make-up from Hollywood blockbusters like X-Men and taught himself how to produce special effects. Oh, and he used a couple of websites called Facebook and MySpace to get actors to volunteer to be zombies along with his friends.

This is social networking at its essence; connecting and bringing people together – and when together some amazing things can happen. And now, through social media the movie is picking up more buzz and recognition. The Internet sure is a beautiful place. Who knows, if this movie gets picked up by Hollywood maybe Price can have a bigger budget to work with, like $100. Check out the trailer here.

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Tommy Liu is a Creative at Supercool Creative where he also manages the blog, feel free to leave him a Tomment. Click here for more of his writing as well as his contact info if you dare.