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.
When I began my career in marketing seven years ago, I seemed to successfully stumble into the account services side of the business. I was organized, detail oriented, a “people person” and not afraid to speak up with our clients – a natural fit, right? The picture I had in my mind of what being an account manager meant was essentially an outgoing project manager. Little did I know, our job on the account side of the house serves a much greater purpose than information gatherer, planner and communicator.
As account managers we are responsible for guiding our clients, helping them understand their goals, and find out who they are trying to reach. When trying to communicate the goals, deliverables and other pieces of information to our internal team, I soon found out I had no idea how important one little word would be – “Why?” Over the years I started not only asking myself that question, but asking it of my clients and more-and-more to my team…
- Why are we talking to this demographic?
- Why do you think you need a brochure?
- Why are you rebranding?
- Why should your customers choose you over your competitors?
- Why are you on Twitter and not LinkedIn?
- And the list goes on…
Here at 3fold the importance of proper planning and fact-finding is at the core of what we do. We often find out our clients may not always ask themselves this important question enough. And that is just fine.
Ask any account manager on our team, I’ve told every one of them, if a client is asking you for a product (“I need a brochure” or “we want to do a newsletter” or “we need a press release”) or other deliverable, you must first ask them why they think they need it.
Perhaps they are asking for a brochure to fulfill their need to share information. But, what if that isn’t the best tool to reach the right audience. Instead maybe a website overhaul may work better, or a simple reminder card may be more effective. This may not always be the case. Sometimes our clients are right on with their requests, but part of our job is to ensure that what we deliver will not only solve the problem at hand but be the most effective and efficient.
To make a long story short, three little letters rule our process here at 3fold. If you can’t answer the question “why?” with precision, it’s time to go back to the drawing board to find the answer. Admittedly, it’s my favorite part of this job.
In case you haven’t heard, the Super Bowl is this Sunday and besides the championship NFL game, we get our annual fix of groundbreaking television commercials. Sure there have been duds making us wonder why they spent that much money but usually there are a few that get some big laughs or an OMG out of even the most finicky of viewers. We’ve already been teased and spoiled with a Ferris Bueller spot for Honda and a genius barking dog Star Wars commercial from Volkswagen, so there might not be too many awesome surprises come Sunday. In any case, we’ve dusted off some of the gems of the past and in typical 3fold fashion — added our own touch! We asked our team here to select their favorite Super Bowl TV commercial and then share their own three-word reaction. We’ve
censored compiled all the entries and present the 3fold top Super Bowl ads ever!
Pepsi, “Forever Young” — 2009
“Vintage meets contemporary” — Elise Crispen, Account Coordinator
Budweiser, “Respect” — 2002
“Important to remember” — Andi Justice, Account Manager
Old Spice, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” — 2010
“On a Horse” — Alicia Allen, Social Media Coordinator
E*Trade, “Girlfriend” — 2010
“No she didn’t!” — Curtis Ebo, Account Coordinator
Levis, “Flyweight” — 1997
“It’s not CGI!” – Steve Alfano, Creative Director
Bud Light, “Fergus, Bud Light!” — 2004:
“Winning Paws Down” — Phyllis Marker, Office Manager
Volkswagen, “The Force” — 2011
“Use the Force!” – Scott Moak, Director, Nonprofit Services
EDS, “Herding Cats” — 2000
“Good luck, buddy!” — Amanda Chaffee, Graphic Designer
Miller Lite “Evil Beaver” — 1998
“Holy Chompers Batman!” – Brian Blank, PR & Social Media Manager
Monster.com “When I Grow Up” — 1999
“Start 3foldcomm now!” — Gordon Fowler, Founder and CEO
Volkswagen “New Beetle” — 2011
“Oh heck yes!” — Allison Yee-Garcia, Director of Account Services
Career Builder “Board Meeting” — 2006
“Sales are Up” — Ross Villegas, Nonprofit Division Coordinator
Apple “1984″ — 1984
“Who needs humble?” — Angela Criser, Director of Digital Strategy
Doritos “Dog Gets Revenge”– 2010
“Feel the Bark!” — Kim Tucker, Vice President, Nonprofit Services
Pets.com “Deliveries” — 2000
“Pets. Dot. Bust.” — Clay Nutting, Account Executive
Just earlier today word spread throughout the Twitterverse that SOPA and PIPA have been delayed/postponed. The general consensus is that this fight is not over, but, in the absence of any additional detail around when we can expect Congress to take this issue up again, the team here at 3fold spent some time this morning having a good laugh over some of the tweets that came out of the protests. In particular, those using the hashtag #FactsWithoutWikipedia. Until we know about about the future of these proposed bills, please enjoy these tweets while you wait:
As usual, we are always looking for your input. What were your favorite SOPA and PIPA moments from Twitter the last few days?
Wilson takes the best from nonprofit storytelling in describing how NFL footballs are manufactured. Great video!
Here is an inside look into Wilson’s Ada, Ohio, football factory where all of the official NFL game balls are made. The video shows the step-by-step process that each football goes through.