Emilie Cameron, our Sr. Public Relations Manager and chair of Metro EDGE – the young professional program of the Metro Chamber, recently joined fellow YP leaders Dr. Michael Marion and Dean O’Brien for a conversation with Studio Sacramento host Scott Syphax about envisioning what it will take to attract and retain the next generation workforce in Sacramento.
With Super Bowl XLVIII over and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games opening ceremonies kicking off this evening, it’s time to turn our attention away from the drought plaguing Northern California and focus on some snow and ice… as well as some truly great ads.
As with most advertising professionals, the Super Bowl is always my favorite time of the year to celebrate our craft, and with the Olympics beginning less than a week after the big game this year, it’s sort of an extended holiday of sorts for us ad folk.
While ads for the Super Bowl try to be funny, clever, over-the-top or all of the above, ads for the Olympics typically take on a different approach. Olympic ads use storytelling – touching on the emotion of the athlete’s journey, the drama of competition and national pride.
Below are 3 ads we believe will be taking home the gold at this year’s games.
P&G “Thank You Mom”
In the continuation of a highly acclaimed campaign that launched during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, P&G thanks all of the moms out there for the sacrifices they make while encouraging their children to keep trying and chase their dreams.
BBC – Sochi 2014 Promo
The BBC’s use of Charles Dance, who plays the frightening patriarch Tywin Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” sets the tone for this dark and ominous computer generated promo for the Games.
Guinness – Barnes Twins, Biathletes
While the Guinness ad will not actually air during the Olympics broadcast, the simplicity of the creative execution, the beautifully touching backstory, and the raw emotion it evokes have already made it a viral success.
CREATIVE STRATEGY SERIES
PART 1 OF 3
Three is a magic number. Yes it is. It’s a magic number.
If you’re humming the lyrics to the iconic Schoolhouse Rocks song, then you are 1) over 35; 2) a Blind Melon-Head; or, 3) already in-tune with the Strategy of 3.
I’m not the first, last or even the third person to embrace, practice and write about the Strategy of 3, but it’s something worth repeating, as it is a valuable tool for many successful leaders and businesses.
So let me offer a proven way to implement the Strategy of 3 into your internal business communication.
Large or small, weekly or impromptu, internal communication simply drives and defines your business. The Strategy of 3 is a simple and effective way to communicate where the highest levels of comprehension and retention must be achieved. Think Commence. Condense. Dispense.
Here’s how to do it.
- COMM3NC3: Identify a simple 3-point agenda and announce it at the commencement of the meeting. (i.e. “We need to address Three Things – 1) the Triad Campaign 2) the Trifecta Team Building Effort; and, 3) the Trilogy Website update).
- COND3NS3: As the first point is properly communicated and discussed, condense the outcome into its simplest form. (i.e. “We agree that the launch date for the Triad campaign is March 3rd, Trey Triple III is the lead. Let’s move onto Trifecta Team Building with the Trilogy Website to follow”).
- DISP3NS3: At the conclusion of the meeting, repeat the 3 point agenda AND dispense the key takeaways from each discussion including, action items, leads and learning. Note: There’s a 3-point bonus if you have 3 team members repeat them rather than the initiator.
Commence. Condense. Dispense.
The Strategy of 3 can be applied in so many areas of business. It can have tremendous impact on creative design (rule of thirds) defining your brand position (awareness, consideration, conversion) and of course storytelling (trilogies, 3D, Three-Act Structure).
So while most of us aspire to be number 1, just remember, 3 is a magic number.
As 2013 comes to a close, it’s that time of year again to take a deep breath and brace for the trends of the upcoming year. For 3fold’ers, it’s a competitive opportunity to place our bets on what will rock the creative, digital marketing, and media industry in 2014. Each member of our team have focused hours of research, energy and insight to be able to preview sure bets for 2014! Grab a pen, because you’ll want to make note of these tips – for when we told you so, of course.
#1: It’s going to be all about the “happiness factor.” Seeing how the world works up close is critical in this industry, but getting there can be draining. New mobile apps will revolutionize the days of weary road warriors. At the top of the list will be Routehappy, (especially for traveling 3fold’ers) a real-time ability to pick flights based on “happiness factors,” from legroom and chair width to connection length and amenities instead of the standard price-only comparisons.
– Gordon Fowler, Fearless Leader
#2: Real-time marketing is going to be even bigger. The right message to the right person at the right time will yield greater success than mass marketing tactics of the past. Social media showed just how effective this style can be this year when DiGiorno live-tweeted The Sound of Music, or Oreo’s quick tweeted off the Super Bowl blackout.
– Angela Criser, Number-Punching Tech Geek
#3: Gamification will be a critical tool for brand to meet their business objectives. As the fusion of content marketing and customer data becomes the standard, look for creative “gamification” models to become a critical strategy point for brands and businesses.
– Craig Amazeen, Creative Genius
#4: Data and analytics will be just as valuable – if not more – off the field as on. Brands will expand the use of and focus on data and analytics, focusing specifically on tracking fan engagement from time and money spent to influence. In particular, sports organizations will try to tap into the heartbeat of their loyal fans and followers to determine the value of these interactions.
– Scott Moak, Culture Curator
#5: The new emphasis in marketing will be images. Consumers will demand image-centric content. The rapid rise of social media platforms like Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Instagram and Vine verify image-based content is the wave of the future. Successful campaigns must integrate visual components, from compelling images accompanying blog posts to infographics visually representing statistical information.
– Emilie Cameron, PR Maven
#6: Differentiation, positioning and smart targeting will be keys to success for brands. You don’t have to struggle to sell a product that’s relevant, differentiated and positioned correctly. If your business needs a boost, 2014 is the year to take a look at how you’re talking about and marketing your brand and products. In short, start marketing. Stop selling.
– Liz Divelbiss, Resident Robot
#7: Content marketing will be bigger than ever. Using a business’s social media networks, e-newsletters, posting content on their website, and more. It will begin to edge out traditional marketing channels like TV, radio and print, meaning valuable and engaging content will be more important than ever to turn followers into brand advocates.
– Jamie Von Sossan, In-House Charmer
#8: If you’re not mobile, you’re missing your customers. You’ve built an audience online, but are they getting the same brand experience on smaller screens? Mobile advertising will continue to grow as the use of smart phones rises and consumers are more comfortable purchasing good/services on their devices.
– Matt Marshall, Campaign Crusher
#9: Design will be more angular, simplistic and futuristic. We’re often overloaded with information and data. To counteract this, refined, ultra-simplified designs will strip out unnecessary fuss.
– Landon Lee, Design All Star
#10: BABIES!! For the ringer, we predict welcoming a total of four happy and healthy babies into the fold in 2014!
The “shop local” movement has been growing the last few years, and it’s a concept me, and my company, are proud to support. However, as a business owner, I’ve always been a little concerned by the focus being so much on restaurant and retail, and often leaving out other small businesses in the push.
As an example, Sacramento has quite a few fantastic “shop local” efforts underway including:
Looking at those, though, is it any wonder why many of us only think about “shop local” when we’re grocery shopping, going out to eat or looking to buy a gift? This needs to change.
Shop local applies to more than just restaurants and retail.
As a marketing agency, one of the most frustrating things we deal with is when other local companies choose agencies outside of the region to do their marketing or rebranding work. The perceived glitz of a San Francisco or New York or Chicago agency overshadowing the very real benefits of what a local firm brings to the table—namely, local expertise and inside information. While some businesses of course need a cross-regional/state/national/global approach—and we work with several like this, so we know it can be a different story—most are focused primarily on audiences closer to home. So, “shopping local” would get these businesses more targeted and effective branding and messaging, connect them faster to important stakeholders, and streamline their media placements. It would also prove they understand the importance of supporting their fellow local businesses.
When we limit our “shopping” to dining and retail, we’re missing the entire point of “shop local”. It is not JUST about eating lettuce grown within a 75 mile radius – it’s about supporting local small businesses and building local economic security. Whether we’re talking lawyers, accounting firms, doctors, business consultants, or, yes, marketing agencies, look local first. My agency does when we need services—and we’ve found the talent in our own backyard.
Across the board, industry-to-industry, I’d stack Sacramento’s businesses up against any “big city” competition. Our only downside is an unfortunate lack of community confidence. The second we stop thinking of ourselves as “just Sacramento” and start recognizing our own incredible value as a creative hub, pushing “shop local” won’t even be needed…it’ll be assumed.
This year’s Super Bowl was doubly exciting for many 3folders–cheering on the 49ers as well as viewing the latest crop of Super Bowl ads. While our hometown(ish) team didn’t take home the trophy (a result apparently caused by Gordon’s kids, who failed to get a lucky 49ers beanie on their cat’s head in time for kickoff, completely blowing the mojo), we did still enjoy a few well done commercials.
While the debate is ongoing about whether any of these ads would be added to last year’s list of favorite Super Bowl commercials of all time, a handful of spots sparked conversation in the 3fold breakroom this morning. Here are our top 5 favorites for 2013:
5. Budweiser – The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”
4. Audi – “Prom”
3. Tide – “Miracle Stain”
2. Ram Trucks – “Farmer”
1. OREO – “Whisper Fight”
On top of their stellar commercial, OREO’s social media team also scored major points with a quick and humorous shout out tweet during one of the game’s biggest moments: the 30-minute stadium blackout. Bravo, OREO, we’re buying a bag for the office out of respect.
Now it’s your turn – what was your favorite commercial from this year’s Super Bowl?
Header photo taken from NFL.com.
If you’re like us (and you’re probably not, we’re super nerdy about these things), you’ve been keeping a close eye on the ongoing Twitter v. Instagram feud. Officially, it’s a strategic distancing of one social platform from another in an effort to maintain market share while not enhancing a competitor’s share for free. Fair enough. The situation got murkier when Facebook bought Instagram in April, tacking on the long-standing Facebook v. Twitter feud to this newer squabble. So, now, Twitter no longer allows Instagram users to find their Twitter followers on Instagram and Instagram is taking their photos off Twitter’s streams–the social media equivalent of taking their ball and going home because the other kid wouldn’t share his toys.
Another feud following a similar road is the Apple v. Samsung battle over smart phone patents. Or Facebook v. … well, it just seems like everyone. In the end, who loses? Customers. And this could be a problem for all sides. Bigger brands may take longer to see a fallout, but they certainly aren’t immune. Smaller brands face a much bigger and quicker backlash, so, if nothing else, there’s an excellent business lesson in all this:
Customers don’t want to be in the middle of an argument. They don’t want to be forced to pick sides. More often than not, a customer will walk away from anything that causes them a hassle. The more uncomfortable a relationship becomes, or the harder a brand makes it for customers to not only do business with them, but simplify their dealings across the board, the less likely that customer will stay.
That’s not to say brands should not fight for their market share or defend their brand, product and reputation against competitor attacks. Of course they should. Protecting those three things is what keeps them in business. However, when conflict happens–or a PR crisis occurs, new competitor hits the marketplace, or you have a major change in your business model–thinking through your response from all view points is essential. If your response could hurt, inconvenience or just annoy your client base more than it affects your attacker, you may want to think of a better strategy.
Photo credit: John Springer Collection/CORBIS
Sometimes the best way to standout in an overcrowded marketplace is to surprise your customers–in a good way. One of the most interesting trends in business-to-consumer marketing of late is doing this by identifying your customers’ everyday pain points and offering an easy solution that fits seamlessly into your overall business plan. From lessening the pain in a bad investment day to relieving a bit of worry about leaving your dog outside while shopping, retailers, restaurants and other brands are offering up some fun and functional “pain-point” strategies that give their brands a boost in the minds of their consumers.
A few interesting examples popping up recently:
New York City’s Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria prices its cocktails according to the day’s stock market results.
Just watching those images of the stock market floor stresses me out, so I can only imagine how much of an emotional roller coaster it would be to live that drama daily. I can imagine quite a number of end-of-day drinking happens amongst the financial industry’s players. When you’re one restaurant amongst thousands, even when you’re one based at the Waldorf, a little bit of whimsey goes a long way–particularly if that whimsey makes the day’s lackluster results a bit less painful. Bull and Bear created a promotion which gives a discount of $1 on cocktails for every 1 percent that the markets declined that day – the worse they performed, the larger the discount. Additionally, the campaign adds a little social cred by requiring patrons to like the Bull and Bear Steakhouse on Facebook or follow the brand on Twitter in order to redeem the discount.
IKEA (one of them) introduces dog parking bays, enabling dogs to be safely left outside while their owners shop.
While far away from the dog-loving streets of Sacramento, an IKEA in the Cologne region of Germany has built special bays where owners can tie up their dogs. Since the store has a no-pets policy, the outside spaces include astroturf-covered platforms and water bowls for the waiting canines. The offers some relief to the worry of dog owners about leaving their pet at home or in hot cars, letting dogs remain comfortable for the duration of their owners’ shopping excursion. It’s a simple idea that could offer tons of appeal for dog-loving locals, while also encouraging a safer option than locked cars on summer days.
Ocra Chevrolet, a Brazil-based dealership, develops Rescue Drive—a new campaign that offers broken down drivers a test drive while their car is towed.
Talk about reaching a potential customers in their most primed state, this Brazilian dealership partnered with a local tow company to help rescue needy motorists while showing them they have other options than the broken down clunker they currently have. Basically, they follow the tow trucks in their rescue cars to the site of drivers whose vehicle had failed then offer a test drive of the Chevrolet Cobalt to wherever they were headed. Free lifts, saved days, primed customers–assuming they stayed “good guy” and not “pushy salesman”, what a fantastically simple strategy with tons of potential.
Across all industries, Sacramento has some of the most creative business people in the country, and some truly inspiring brands. If the above brands could make waves with this clever concepts, I’d love to see what “pain-point” marketing strategies we could come up with in our region.
In the first two months of the year we celebrate some major leaders and innovators. We take days to remember and honor Abraham Lincoln, our country’s 16th President, who led the collapse of slavery in this country; George Washington, our first President who presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787; and Martin Luther King Jr., who led the African American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
There are many more worthy candidates that don’t get their own holiday, but definitely deserve their due credit in shaking up the establishment and helping others. Some well known, others, not. This list highlights some people who’s vision and action led to creating a positive impact on millions of people worldwide.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver: A longtime advocate of children’s health and disability issues. Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968, which now brings together 4 million athletes with intellectual disabilities in over 170 countries in Olympic style events.
“When we wake tomorrow, let us not forget that we have miles to go to overturn the prejudice and oppression facing the world’s 180 million citizens with intellectual disabilities. But what joy for together we have begun.”
White House Speech
July 10, 2006
Millard and Linda Fuller: Saw the need for decent and livable shelter for those in American and in Third World countries. Out of this need came Habitat for Humanity in 1976. Today, Habitat for Humanity and its volunteers have helped build over 500,000 affordable homes and has served over 2 million people around the world.
“For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.”
Father John P. Foley, S.J.: In 1995, helped kick start an innovative college-prepatory high school system for low-income families, including one here in Sacramento. Students attend classes and work five days each month in an entry-level job at a professional company with the fee for their work being directed to underwrite tuition costs. There are currently 24 high schools in the Cristo Rey network in 22 cities, serving 6,500 students. A segment that aired on “60 Minutes” can be found on this page.
“Cristo Rey is magical. What you see is that hope, that optimism.”
- Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Scott Harrison: In 2006, Harrison was turning 31 and for his birthday, he asked his friends to give $20 to help fund clean drinking water in Third World countries. Over 700 people came to his birthday and donated to the cause. The result was Charity Water, which to date has funded 6,185 clean water projects and assisted 2,545,000 people in 19 countries in getting access to clean water.
“For me, charity is practical. It’s sometimes easy, more often inconvenient, but always necessary. It’s the ability to use one’s position of influence, relative wealth and power to affect lives for the better. charity is singular and achievable.”
Robert Egger: Egger began DC Central Kitchen in 1989. The nonprofit takes donated food from the hospitality business and farms and instills culinary job training to homeless and hungry adults. 3fold had the pleasure of bringing Egger to Sacramento to speak to several of the area’s nonprofit leaders in the 3fold Spark! series and inspired the group with his client’s stories of survival and redemption. In 2011, DC Central Kitchen produced over 1.8 million meals, recovered over 242,000 pounds of fresh produce, graduated 80 students from the Culinary Job Training program and placed over 87% of the 2011 Culinary Job Training graduates into jobs.
“If you chase money, you’ll be on an endless loop. If you chase results, the money will come.”
You have probably seen QR codes, aka “Quick Response” codes, out there in the wild. For the past couple of years, marketers have been excited by the potential of these little square boxes that you can snap pictures of with a smartphone’s camera to be sent to all kinds of mysterious brand experiences. However, as much as we love them, we also have to wonder if the public will ever embrace this tool to its fullest potential.
In theory, QR codes sound wonderful — they are an a easy way to get more information to or connect with your brand’s audiences. The only problem is, people just aren’t buying it.
Even with the growing smartphone and app markets, QR scanning is often a whimsical experience that soon becomes forgettable. Add to that the too often disappointing execution–you pull out the phone, fire up the scanning app, struggle to get it to scan, and, once it finally works, you end up at the homepage of a company website–where’s the reward, the value for consumers?
A recent article, “Why QR codes won’t last“ by Jon Barocas of bieMEDIA made a compelling argument against the QR’s survival. Beyond that fact that only 5% of American mobile device users have ever interacted with a QR code, the larger impediment is humanity itself. Barocas argues human are inherently visual, we look to images and graphics to link our emotions to the world. QR codes lack this basic visual appeal, they all look the same at first glance, so people’s behavior is not driven to use them. Can this be overcome?
We’ve seen some great QR code examples, like the posters for free puzzles and books at the airport that provide value to travelers looking to pass time in terminals or on flights, as well as some really bad QR examples, like placing a QR code at the bottom of a poster across the tracks of the Tube in England. It’s these bad apples that are overshadowing the potential.
So, yes, QR codes face a steep, uphill battle, but I truly do not think hope is lost. QR codes can still be revived if we start using them in smarter ways, more visually appealing ways. An informative article by Leah Goodman on great uses for QR codes for Marketing Land offered some great suggestions on what to do, what to avoid, and what to keep in mind:
- Make QR codes mobile friendly. When something is meant to be used by mobile phones, the landing page you are sending people to should probably be mobile-friendly. Don’t frustrate your fans.
- Give a reward. Scanning the code takes work and effort by a consumer. Thank them for it. Also, offer a reward that tells them what they get right off the bat. Whether it’s a link to a movie trailer on a print ad or a QR code on a store’s “Closed” sign that gives visitors a coupon for their next visit, make your QR pay off.
- Take action. Whether it’s as simple as “Liking” your page on Facebook or adding a user to an email mailing list, take some additional action beyond the scan. Remember, this is about saving your audiences extra work, so the action you take has to outweigh the time spent scanning the QR code.
- Be creative, but not too creative! QR codes should be fun, but don’t make the experience too difficult that users cannot interact with the code. A giant QR code done by a skywriter? Creative, but probably not practical.
- Build it for low quality phones. Not everyone has a top-of-the-line phone, so make sure your QR code can be easily scanned by low-quality cameras as well.