For years in the marketing world we’ve talked about effective campaigns as those that have the ability to be disruptive. I read an article in the New York Times recently on marketing through Facebook that talked about, among other things, seeking to create a “thumbstopper,” which is an ad that is so arresting it stops the user from mindlessly scrolling through their feed. I get it. And I can appreciate the thinking. But, I disagree. The world we live in is deafening with marketing messages and people are being hit from a multitude of channels and grassroots executions. Creating something that stops someone in their digital or real world tracks can make sense on the surface. There is value in disruption, but only if the objective is an impression. If the objective is ultimately true, sustained engagement with a brand or a sale at the cash register—and, of course it always is—then the ultimate measure of effectiveness should not be disruption, but assimilation.
The most effective campaigns should create marketing that actually understands the customer’s pain point and delivers a helpful solution. The marketing should assimilate that brand into their consumer’s life.
The Real Housewives of Orange County are disruptive. They create a hell of a lot of talk value and it’s hard to change the channel when they’re on. But there’s nothing there beyond an impression. No value. It’s a car accident on the side of the road. Shock value is a short-term hit. Seeking disruption in marketing is the same thing. I believe it’s about developing programs that are creative enough to capture an individual’s attention, but lives in a place where they see immediate value so as to assimilate the brand into their lives. It’s what we hang our hat on at Curator.
Twitter has gone all Facebook on us and changed the way your timeline works. From now on, tweets that people you follow favorite can show up in your timeline.
It’s weird, because that feature ostensibly already exists in the form of retweets, but if it’s something that annoys you, there’s an easy way around it: Twitter Lists.
Lists may be the most underused and underrated Twitter feature. They’re phenomenal from a productivity standpoint. Once you’ve set them up and themed them—some of my most-used, for example, are Social Media, Mariners (news), Friends and (national/international) News—your X-thousand followers instantly turn into a couple dozen per list who are focused on a narrowly defined topic.
The upshot is that you spend less time mindlessly scrolling and looking for something to interact with. And the other upshot is of course that lists won’t show you randomly favorite tweets.
Posted in Social Media
I recently re-read a book called “Creating Personal Presence,” which is all about using body language and other social queues to help yourself get ahead in a professional environment. According to the author, Dianna Booher, personal presence is hard to define but easy to recognize. Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or a novice business professional, this book has great tips for everyone. If you don’t have time to read the book, here are some of my favorite pointers:
The message starts in the listener’s head
Stand up straight, take a deep breath and inhale enough air so you can speak with power. What you have to say is only half the battle and the delivery is really key. People will react to your voice quality first, and your message second, so don’t let your voice give away any nerves you may have lingering. It’s like reading a child a bedtime story: it’s not the words that put them to sleep, but rather the melodic tone of your voice.
On commanding the floor
If you’re in a meeting with someone who tends to interrupt, take control of the floor early on. Speak with a firm voice and lay the groundwork of where you plan to go. You can say, “I’d like to point out three reasons why we should be recommending this course of action…” If the interrupter tries to barge in, use a firm voice and say, “Please let me finish with my two other reasons…” and go on.
Think like Russell Wilson
Strategic thinking has a great deal to do with personal presence. Russell Wilson said, “Why not us?” Similarly, this book encourages you to think, “why not?” Why not think about what others are doing and ask why can’t it be done differently? Don’t be a contrarian just for the sake of being one, but there are times when it is totally appropriate to think this way in order to streamline protocols, discover new opportunities and think outside the box.
I also especially like Booher’s “Rules for Clear Communication.” This goes for speaking and writing, and I couldn’t be more on board with these as a great refresher for any communications pro:
1. Strive for simple. Don’t use a long word when you could use a short one.
2. Use strong verbs and specific nouns to state your main ideas.
3. Use an active voice, not passive.
4. Be ready to state your case, but don’t come off as rehearsed.
5. Speak, and then listen.
These are just some of the gems the book has to offer. If you have any personal presence tips you’ve found useful, tweet us about them @CuratorPR!
Posted in Public Relations
If you’ve been on social media or watched the news at all in the last couple of weeks, you’re no stranger to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is truly defining the term “viral.” For those that are unfamiliar or still aren’t totally sure what these videos are all about, here’s the gist:
ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” The ALS Association is the national non-profit organization behind the fight for finding a cure for the disease through research, education and public policy. In an effort to raise awareness and funds to support research for the disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge was born. “The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.”
When I first saw the videos cropping up on my news feed, I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention. I figured it was an awareness campaign and knew it was for ALS, but didn’t bother to investigate what that disease is or what throwing ice on your head meant. I kept some tabs on this over the last couple of weeks as I saw more friends and family posting their videos, and began taking note of all the athletes, celebrities and brands also participating. It wasn’t until last week when I was nominated to do the challenge, and then try to explain it to my non-social-media-using friends that I needed to learn more. So, I did my research, made a donation (disclaimer: because I didn’t have the ice or time to complete it within 24 hours) and haven’t been able to stop tracking the conversation since! I’m truly fascinated by the momentum and think there are some key takeaways we PR/marketing pros can learn from it.
Awareness campaigns are meant for social. As a PR professional, I look at this campaign and am instantly jealous of whoever does PR for The ALS Association. With this campaign, the stories are practically writing themselves. That’s not to minimize the coordination and efforts on their end, but the nature of social media is really the secret ingredient behind the way this challenge has organically grown. It’s pretty cool.
Celebrities, they’re just like us. The celebrity and big brand involvement has been a huge part of the success of this campaign. From Justin Timberlake and Martha Stewart, to Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg (the list seriously goes on and on), public icons are doing the same challenge that your average Joe is doing in his backyard – and people love it. Their participation no doubt plays a role in validating to fans that this is an important issue and people should pay attention.
This brings me, however, to my big question/concern about the challenge.
Now you’re freezing, so what? This challenge is talked about as an awareness campaign, but the end goal has to be funding for the Association. By the sounds of what The ALS Association shared on there press room today, they’re doing amazing (up to $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period last year). Still, I’d be curious to know the stats on what portion of the people posting their Ice Bucket Challenge videos, celebrities and brands included, are taking the time to visit the ALS site or are making a donation. Stories like this Buzzfeed article prove that some people are missing it completely (or just embarrassing themselves).
If you are interested in learning more, I would encourage you to visit The ALS Association site (donate if you feel so inclined), but also check out the SportsCenter piece on Pete Frates and his fight against ALS. I caught it last night by accident and it helped me understand where this challenge started, and what it has the potential to do. It even inspired this blog post.
Posted in Social Media
This week on tap: a grocery store where everything is free, the fried calamari index, hacks to get more out of your day, a other interesting tidbits from the world wide web. Enjoy!
Evolution of the PR Man/Woman, Ketchum Blog. Good read for budding PR pros on the evolution of the PR man/woman as told by Ketchum Europe’s CEO. While it’s still true that lots of us came from a journalism background, it’s also valid that we need to be trend spotters, agents of chance, storytellers and data geeks. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but someone’s gotta do it! — Megan
Special Sauce for Measuring Food Trends: The Fried Calamari Index, NYTimes. What do kale and fried calamari have in common? — Brooke
Copenhagen is Opening a Grocery Store Where Everything is Free, Munchies/Vice. Once again, Denmark has a crazy and forward-thinking idea. The results remain to be seen, but regardless, I’m sure they’ll be of interest. — Maggie
7 Productivity Hacks that Successful People Use Every Day, LinkedIn. Some helpful hints to help manage productivity and save time. — Noelle
‘Literal Street Style’ Series Reinterprets Photography Trend With Random Objects, PSFK. This week needs more humor! Thanks, PSFK, for pointing out this awesome photo series on street style (literally) over at The Bold Italic. — Ann Marie
Bonus link thanks to Ann Marie: My Shopaholic Bunny.
Posted in Friday Links
In the last couple years, food labeling has been prominent in my work with Whole Foods Market. Last year, we launched Will Vote for Food in support of the GMO-labeling bill in Washington state, and again this year we continue the fight in Oregon for the customer’s right to know. Working with Whole Foods Market has elevated how I look and choose the foods I consume. When you look at products on the shelves today, beyond knowing if your food is organic or fat-free, you’re bombarded with diet labels such as gluten-free, vegan, paleo or dairy-free. These labels on food raise the question: what do my eating habits say I am?
26 days ago I embarked on a challenge based on the paleo diet named Whole30. Whole30 stresses the importance of eating whole foods with no grains, no alcohol, no added sugar, etc. After I started focusing on what I could eat (steak, salmon, avocado, watermelon!) over what I could not, the challenge was really no challenge at all. But after 16 days in, I found myself needing variety in my breakfast over the daily scrambled eggs with sautéed vegetables. So, I dished up clean pancakes with egg, banana and cinnamon. All ingredients were compliant within Whole30, but a fellow ‘paleo dieter’ showed they did not agree by leaving one small comment “#Swypo :).” Swypo is a term used during Whole30 when you’re enjoying junk food in a healthy form, which by their own theory, doesn’t change eating habits. My past eating habits admittedly were to turn to a gluten free bagel (that’s healthier, right?) or go all out with a croissant. I was frustrated by the comment as it led to discouragement over encouragement.
Back in July, Jordan Younger, a popular vegan food blogger of The Blonde Vegan, announced she was moving away from the vegan lifestyle. “Food was not enjoyable anymore,” said Jordan. “I was spending the entire day obsessing about eating only vegetables, green juices, fruits and occasionally nuts and grains.” With the announcement of her decision to transition came anger from the community that once rallied behind her. Her recent blog post, a month after the announcement addressed the question “You were vegan, now you’re not, so… What do you eat now?” Jordan addressed many of the exact same thoughts I had when I was put down for enjoying a healthy meal that felt right for my own body.
In doing this Whole30 challenge, I have learned that my dinner is fuel and keeps me satisfied until bedtime. I’ve learned that the sugar craving I once felt necessary to satisfy can be diminished with a few cubes of watermelon. As The Blonde Vegan shared, “If you let yourself live your life, eat the foods you crave and the foods that you know make you feel good, you are doing something very, veryyyy special that I wasn’t allowing myself to do for a long time. You know what that is? TRUSTING YOURSELF. ” So please, keep labeling my food and giving me the option to decide what I’ll consume but don’t ask me to label my eating habits because I’m busy listening to my own body.
Any questions on my Whole30 journey or have an amazing recipe to share? Tweet me @brookeandersen.
Facebook announced last week it’s doing away with “Like-gating” as of November 5. If you’re not familiar with Like-gating, it’s basically a quid-pro-quo: You Like my Facebook page, and in return you get some sort of page-exclusive content.
For a long time now, Like-gating has been a decent way to build page Likes—sometimes even more efficient than buying Likes from Facebook. That’s likely the crux of the decision. Instead of page managers paying third-party apps to host Like-gated tabs that feature exclusive content, the most efficient way to build Likes fast will be to pay Facebook for it.
The whys don’t really matter, though; it’s happening. If you’re worried about what the change might do to your marketing efforts, here are a few ways to respond.
This is the oldest and most obvious answer to what to do. If you want a popular page with a vibrant community, you need to post awesome content that people want to see. It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s also just that simple.
The good news is that even though you can’t force a page Like for exclusive content, you can still require people to submit an email address. That’s arguably a lot more valuable than a Like anyway since it becomes an owned asset, as opposed to a rented one.
If you’re not currently focused on building an email list…who cares, frankly? Even if you don’t currently have a use for it, you have just about as much of a use for it as a Like. Most pages have to pay to reach the bulk of their audience. If you generate 10, 100 or 1,000 emails in the next few months, you can reach all of those people whenever you want, for free.
If building your Facebook audience is your top priority, look to places where you already have eyeballs: your blog, your email list (heck, your email signature), your other social networks—anywhere and everywhere. Facebook is the largest social network in the world, and odds are the majority of people you come into contact with in those other spaces are on it.
One other thing: If building your Facebook audience really is important to you, you should seriously consider buying Likes. You can target pretty tightly to make sure you’re picking up the highest-quality new followers possible. It just takes a little work and attention to detail.
If there are three things in life we can count on, they’re death, taxes and Facebook making random-and-ginormous changes on us all of a sudden. Don’t sweat this latest one. As long as you’re publishing good content, looking at alternative sources of growth, and advertising your Facebook page on all your other social and owned properties, you’ll be just fine.
Posted in Social Media
With summer winding down (say it isn’t so!), many kids and college students are heading back to school this month, making it a busy time of year for retail.
According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, people will spend about $26.5 billion on back-to-school items. The average family will spend just over $669 on things like supplies, clothing and electronics. College students and their parents will spend an average $916.
With so many choices for back-to-school style and supplies, how can brands make it to the head of the class when it comes to back-to-school shopping? At Curator, we have the pleasure of working closely with 17 Simon properties located throughout the Western U.S., and back-to-school efforts are at full steam.
Here are some great tips from Simon, as a resource for back-to-school cool, on how to build up that seasonal brand buzz:
1. Show off the goods: As a global leader in retail real estate, one great move Simon has made this year is to align with Teen Vogue, the number one source of fashion, beauty and pop-culture news for trendsetting teens. Simon has partnered with Teen Vogue for an exclusive style guide, featuring fashion looks curated by style experts. Shoppers can pick up the guide at their local Simon Mall, or access it online at http://simon-malls.publ.com/Fashion-Trend-Report.
2. Mix fashion and music: Nearly 80 Simon Malls across the country have also partnered with Teen Vogue in collaboration with their “Back-to-School Saturdays” initiative for “ABC’s of Style” events throughout this month, which feature Teen Vogue fashion shows, editor appearances, musical performances, celebrity meet-and-greets, special deals & offers and more, all in preparation to head back to class.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Teen Vogue kicked off BTSS at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, CA on Friday with another fashion show showcasing with the hottest back-to-school trends for fall (hosted by Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley and Debby Ryan, star of Disney Channel’s Jessie) and paired it with a musical performance by The Janoskians. The intersection of music and fashion is always a great way to infuse excitment into heading back to school, by encouraging families to have fun while ticking through their back-to-school shopping lists.
Check out a clip on Good Day LA featuring some of the popular looks for this season that also were displayed on the runway at Del Amo Fashion Center.
In Southern California, ABCs of Style events are taking place at the following Simon Malls:
Brea Mall: Friday, August 22 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Highlights include a fashion show, giveaways and a musical performance by pop/rock band Before You Exit.
Del Amo Fashion Center: Saturday, August 23 from noon to 4 p.m. Highlights include a fashion show, giveaways and a musical performance and meet-and-greet with British band Rixton.
3. Give back through social: Engaging with shoppers directly through social media channels like Twitter and Instagram is a great way to amplify the conversation around back-to-school by showcasing Simon Malls as the best resource to find fashionable outfits for a new school year. This year, shoppers can impress Simon with their Back-to-School looks using the hashtags #foundationsimon and #contest to be entered to win a $500 Simon shopping spree. The entry period kicked off during this back-to-school season, and all entries must be received by December 31, 2014. Official rules are available here: http://www.simon.com/foundatsimon-bts.
Did Simon make the grade this back-to-school season? Tweet us wth your thoughts @CuratorPR.
Being that most of our written communication is comprised of type, I think it behooves just about everybody to get a little basic break down of typography. Understanding just a few principles can really help you to make your presentations, agendas or your family’s holiday update letter to feel more professional and to look nicer.
It’s not just about looking sleek: paying attention to your type can actually help you to get your points across more clearly. Better still, everything I’m going to talk about you can do in Microsoft Word. Best of all, I won’t even get all completely technical type-nerdy on you.
My starter kit for killer typography boils down to just three umbrella rules:
1. Be Context Aware
2. Create Contrast
3. Go Simple
So ditch the 12-point Times New Roman and let’s try something fun!
1. Be Context Aware
The most important thing to recognize in selecting a font is how it will be used and what message the words in that font will impart. Consider the level of impact you want each item to have, what sort of mood you want to convey. This infographic section has a pretty simple breakdown of different categories of fonts (or typefaces, if you do want to get technical).
Another thing to be aware of is readability. Always make sure to set body copy in a legible, clean font. Serif fonts are generally easier to read for lengthy bodies of text, which explains why most books are set in serif fonts. However, for any broken-up text boxes or block-text the length of – oh-let’s-just-say – a cover letter, a crisp sans serif can also make a legible and engaging impact.
Furthermore, people tend to err on the side of picking fonts that are larger than necessary. Twelve-point is kind of a default in Word, but when printing, I almost never print body copy at more than 10-point, frequently going as small as 7-point or 8-point (it helps to add a bit of space between lines to increase legibility).
If your body text is that small, you probably don’t need huge headings either–just enough difference to be understood as different types of information. The rules are a little different on screen though; things need to be a bit bigger, which usually means using type that that’s about the size you would normally expect to use anyway.
2. Go Simple
There are loads of resource sites (Check out Font Squirrel, Google Fonts, and The League of Moveable Type for starts.) where you can get free fonts that range from highly practical and useful additions to your library, to exciting-and-fun fonts that can look a bit ridiculous if overused. Don’t overdo it; be sparing with all the crazy-cool decorative fonts to punch up the overall feel of whatever you’re making. Think of decorative fonts like neon: a great fashion accent, but it takes a real fashionista with a wild streak to pull off a whole outfit. For example, the largest headers or the title work well with creative fonts being that they are short and surrounded by extra space, but I wouldn’t recommend applying them to subheadings–that can get overpowering and illegible (and for the love of Eric Gill, never set paragraphs in script).
The key point of maintaining simplicity is to limit yourself to two or (as needed) three typefaces in a document. One to two of these should typically be very utilitarian and legible, while the other can be a little more expressive in terms of mood. If you don’t know what to think about a particular font, search up some reviews. Designers are typically very vocal online, sharing resources and opinions steadily.
3. Create Contrast
The last step is to consider how to create variety in your document. It’s helpful to establish something of a hierarchy of information. Different parts are assigned different levels of importance or relate to different elements. The best way to differentiate and help readers quickly ascertain what relationships exist between different pieces of written information is to use different fonts. Think of all the different types of information you might have: headers, subheaders, body, contact info, captions, quotes, time schedules– it’s a lot of different things. But didn’t I just caution against using more than 2-3 typefaces? Well, sure, but it’s all about how you treat them.
A single typeface, particularly a good one, has a lot of breadth. You can use it in all capitals or small caps; italic or bold. Many typefaces have ultra-light or ultra-black weights in their indexes. Capitalize on them! As always, size and scale are other ways to create contrast within a document, but if you can treat the scale with more subtlety and work different weights and complimentary type pairings instead, you’ll find you have a more sophisticated final product.
When choosing your typefaces, the trick is too make sure that they not only aren’t too similar, but that they also compliment each other. Usually, pairing a sans serif and a serif will work in your favor, but there are some handy pairing guides (here, here, and also here) that I’ve enjoyed and made use of to help you start.
It’s a commonly held belief that typography is such a utilitarian element of communication that it doesn’t necessarily need to be original so much as it needs to be good. So feel free to seek out and employ precedents.
A final helpful way to create contrast is to find different ways of breaking up text. Use columns or pull quotes to add variety to your reader’s flow. As we all know, nobody really likes to look at long monotonous documents so the more points of interest, the easier to engage people with content(cue the guffaws at my ultimate failure to provide such things in this post).
Now if you’ve made it this far, you’re basically qualified to take on my internship (That’s everything: my entire design BA in a blog post). If you’re nerdy enough to still be curious, check this out because it will make you smarter and cooler almost immediately.
I wish you all Garamondspeed in your future day-to-day typographic endeavors.
A few marketing fails, some food news and more to take you into your weekend! Tweet us what you read this week at @CuratorPR!
Didn’t Enjoy Your Hotel Stay? That’ll Be $500, Please, Mashable. Yikes! This is not the way to combat negative Yelp reviews. What not to do, here. — Noelle
Nine West’s New Ad Campaign For Women Massively Backfired, Business Insider. Not sure what Nine West was thinking when the shoe company recently launched it’s new “Husband Hunting” campaign. Yeah, that’s right, Nine West is marketing leopard-print shoes as the pair single gals should wear when on the prowl for a mate. The controversial campaign also suggests women purchase a leather tote bag for the “anticipatory walk of shame” or high-heeled booties to help “Mommy” wipe away “happy-sad tears” when she sends her kids off to their first day of kindergarten. #marketingfail – Jennifer
The Healthiest Travel Food To Pack Before You Go, Food Babe. This is a serious list of natural food snacks to pack with you on an upcoming trip! I have no travel plans but might stock my office drawer with one of everything. — Brooke
Turning Off Comments and Why We Will All Be Okay, Chris Brogan. If you heard a bunch of feathers ruffling at the social media nerd table in the cafeteria this week, it was probably because of this post by Chris Brogan. He’s turning off comments on his site in favor of comments on social networks. It’s not unprecedented (Seth Godin’s done it that way for years), and it’s not as big a deal as some people are making it, but it’s interesting, and it may be worth considering if you, too, run a blog. — Paul
Pizzeria Gabbiano Opens Next Week, Eater Seattle. What this neighborhood needs is more pizza, and next week it’s becoming a reality! — Megan
Posted in Friday Links