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Marketer’s Guide to Crisis Response

The pandemic is not the only curveball 2020 threw full-speed at the world. Within the past year, Americans have endured countless gender/racial inequalities, the Black Lives Matter movement, a global pandemic, a storming of the Capitol, and potential impeachment. Experts agree that crisis hit the world harder in 2020 than ever before.

Unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to crises, and even more accustomed to forming politically correct, empathetic, and informative responses. Companies across all industries have been thrust onto their soapbox as consumers demand acknowledgment of political news.

A New Kind of Social Activism

National or global news commentary has never before fallen under the responsibility of businesses, however social media marketing has created a whole new social standard.

Instagram story infographics seem to be a common marketing strategy among smaller businesses in an attempt to subtly illustrate their social and political commentary. These cute graphic designs are often aesthetically appealing and made in-house unless they are re-posted by larger accounts.

Larger companies are taking concrete action, as Airbnb announces a seven-step plan to protect the Washington, D.C. area, lengthening cancellation periods and “removing accounts associated with hate group members”.

Airbnb isn’t certainly isn’t the only company to aggressively implement a crisis management plan.

Social Media Crisis Management

Social Media takes the stage for marketing

As the majority of modern society becomes more outspoken about social justice issues, this passion for equality is sometimes channeled toward public figures and companies who do not take a stand.

After pro-Trump protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, ten major social media platforms have banned President Trump and his allies from using their services. Twitter was the first to boot the President while Facebook and Instagram quickly followed suit.

With hardly any options left, Trump posted a public speech commenting on the Capitol’s attack on YouTube. Since the video streaming service had not yet commented on the controversy, users began to share the outrage that YouTube was allowing such a message on their site.

Comedian Amy Schumer shared her own thoughts via Twitter on the morning of January 12th, asking YouTube and Google to #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy.

Later that day, YouTube shared to Twitter that they would be removing content posted on Trump’s account for violating their policies.

What would have happened if YouTube had not taken this action? Although it is hard to say for sure, the repercussions definitely would not have been positive.

While most of these controversial situations include acting out for equality, this recent shift has shifted power to the consumers who demand accountability. And you do not want to be on their bad side.

Crisis Communications: The 2020 Marketing Plan?

The reality is that almost every industry in the world took a hit to their business in 2020. This meant your spam email folder filled up with “a letter from our CEO”.

While at first, it may have felt like all your favorite companies were concerned about your health and well being, reality struck and it became an effective form of marketing for many companies.

As the market shifted from buying local, customer service approaches had to change to keep potential customers happy and buying.

COVID Defines Marketing Shifts

As companies started to become comfortable with the idea that marketing and communications were making a huge shift, social listening becomes a critical step in market research.

Brick and mortar retail had become complacent in their marketing activities. Why not, people historically came to them for goods and services. As the year stretched on though, companies had to get creative with marketing their products or services.

Social Media come top of mind for marketers in 2020

They now had to compete on a different plane than they were used to. Digital marketing turned from a good idea to a necessity for most businesses.

Social media turned into a critical vehicle for getting messages out to the masses and ad spend revenue again soared to new levels. Not only did ad spend rise but companies became more active on social media platforms as well.

We also continued to see a rise in video on social media platforms. It has been strengthened as more companies are using platforms like TikTok as a primary marketing vehicle.

With the world throwing so many problems at us how do we shift effectively?

Creating the Shift You Need

With all of the challenges that happened in 2020 and new leadership being a critical part of 2021, your business will need to continue to innovate your marketing.  The key to success for your business will be to innovate in the right areas.  These are 5 ways you can innovate your marketing this year.

Create an Action Plan

With all the unexpected surprises the world has faced within the past few years– we can all agree, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Although we don’t know what will happen next, creating an action plan for a potential crisis can make the response process easier.

  1. Research how your favorite companies deal with turbulent times and take note of their timing, medium, and audience response.
  2. Communicate with your social media and graphic design team. If you want to speak out about an issue, will you adjust your website’s header? Post on social media? Send out an email? All of these responses must include professional visuals and a quick turn around.
  3. Keep your clientele in mind. Depending on the geography and age demographics of your audience, you may not need to address every single trending social justice issue.
  4. Stay genuine. Of course, building a response plan can increase efficiency within your business, but stay true to your core beliefs. Don’t make your responses sound robotic or pre-planned, instead, add your own personal flair.

Be Consistent

One thing consumers love is when they know what to expect from their favorite brand. If you have defined your brand a specific way, hold on to that.

Consumers are looking for any excuse to feel “normal” amongst the chaos caused by the crisis. If you try and blow their mind with new marketing and brand updates it may push them further away.

Nostalgia builds connections

Nostalgic ad campaigns make a comeback

More and more brands are leaning on yesteryear when things were better and bringing back the nostalgic feel of ads from the past. Memorable Superbowl commercials are littering tv, and social media ads are reminiscent of years past.

Influencer Marketing yields big results

2020 was the year of the creator. It seems that when you have nothing better to do you find ways to become a professional content creator. That means all over platforms like Instagram and Tiktok there are widely known creators that will hustle your products or services for swag or cash.

Rethink your marketing

This year is the year to rethink your marketing strategy. As you find your new normal, create an action plan, be consistent and think outside the box.

Does your marketing strategy need a 2021 overhaul?

Learn about how Elevare can help you reimagine your digital presence in 2021.

McDonald’s sales tower after Travis Scott collaboration

 Food’s new fad — celebrity marketing

Celebrity collaborations have been a great way for companies like McDonald's to increase their sales among the many challenges brought on by pandemic.

Odds are, you’ve heard rapper Travis Scott’s new hit song SICKO MODE. Odds are, you’ve also heard of McDonald’s. These two well-known cultural icons recently collaborated on a joint McDonald’s and Travis Scott meal, which garnered popularity among Scott’s young fans over social media. For just six dollars, buyers receive a Quarter Pounder, French fries, and a Sprite.

On October 8th, McDonald’s Corp. released their third-quarter statistics, showing a sales growth of 4.6% in the United States. Since the quarter took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial increase for a fast-food chain is almost unheard of.

The increase came at a crucial time for the brand, as their second quarter revealed an 8.7% decline after the pandemic took businesses by storm. McDonald’s also saw an international 2.2% decrease over their third quarter, as so many of their locations were forced to close.

Fortunately, Travis Scott saved the day with his exclusive McDonald’s Cactus Jack meal. Over its one month campaign, the meal became so popular that some locations ran out of ingredients. Others faced young fans stealing promotional posters to sell online, some of which are going for as much as $1,000 on eBay. Many fans have shared their buying experiences on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, making the meal’s purchase a popular trend among the other menu items.

Keeping the streak

Travis Scott is not the only artist in McDonald’s Rolodex, as the franchise releases another collaboration with Colombian singer J. Balvin. From October 5th to November 1st, customers can purchase the J. Balvin meal- which includes a Big Mac, fries with ketchup, and an Oreo McFlurry.

The 35-year-old reggaeton artist has sold over 35 million records internationally and recently released his 2020 album, Colores. His fast-food collaboration will surely work in his favor and promote his brand just after an album release.

On social media, some spectators have shared their assumptions about McDonald’s recent collaborations, claiming both Balvin and Scott’s campaigns were released to counteract racial discrimination lawsuits. According to Fox News, the fast-food chain did face two lawsuits earlier this year regarding racial discrimination; however, the chain denied its relevance to the collaborations.

Not the first time

This is not the Golden Arches’ first time at the celebrity marketing rodeo. In March of 2015, the global fast-food chain teamed up with multiple stars for their 24-hour campaign, ‘imLovinIt24’. Over 24 hours in 24 cities, the brand debuted special surprise events for customers, including secret concerts from artists Jessie J and Ne-Yo.

That same day, Ne-Yo released a song titled “Every Day With Love,” written by a compilation of lyrics submitted by McDonald’s customers. Talk about a symbiotic relationship.

For Jessie J’s charity cameo, McDonald’s U.K. customers entered a competition to win a seat at her concert. The winners were put on one of London’s iconic red buses and told they would be shuttled to the concert. To their surprise, Jessie J appeared alongside them, singing her greatest hits as they drove around the city. As a result, the intimate concert gained traction on social media and gave McDonald’s even more promotion.

Social media superstar runs on Dunkin’.

McDonald’s is not the first restaurant to make use of celebrity contacts. Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts released “The Charli,” a drink inspired by TikTok superstar Charli D’amelio. With over 93 million followers, the 16-year-old is the most followed person on the platform. Although she is known for her dance videos,  she’s also shared her love for her favorite eatery — Dunkin’ Donuts. She often posts videos drinking her own concoction, a Dunkin’ cold brew with three caramel swirl pumps. Which has caused a mass of fans to order her favorite drink.

With so many customers demanding it, Dunkin’ embraced the trend, partnering with the social media star. Dunkin’ has since added her drink to their permanent menu. “The Charli” is available at all stores and ordering ahead online will even give customers extra DD Perks on their account.

“Everyone knows that Charli runs on Dunkin’ and now Dunkin’ runs on Charli,” said Dunkin’ Vice President and Brand Stewardship, Drayton Martin.

Dunkin’ clearly hit the jackpot with this one but it’s not just the luck of having a young celebrity openly appreciate their products. It’s what they did with it. The franchise took advantage of the opportunity and seized the day. Rather than benefit off of her occasional free promotion, the brand took it a step further by creating a lasting professional partnership that will boost sales.

McDonald’s and Dunkin’ didn’t get to the top alone — and neither do any top brands. It takes a great marketing team, tactful strategy, and top tier connections. When teaming up with stars who have already accumulated a faithful following, companies are almost guaranteed a boost in sales.

Facebook Slams Door on Marketing Giant Rally Forge

It is clear in the current political landscape that social media plays a huge role.  In fact, according to data from the Pew research center, 8 out of 10 Americans say that social media platforms are effective for raising public awareness about political issues.  But what happens when organizations abuse these platforms?

In an unprecedented move, Facebook announced one of the heaviest punishments a marking firm can face.  Rally Forge out of phoenix, Arizona was banned from the Social media giant for multiple infractions around using fake accounts and pages to sway political influence.  All the accounts in questions were related to a conservative political group run by Charlie Kirk

Who Are Rally Forge and Turning Point USA?

Rally Forge is no small force in marketing.  Started in 2016 by Jake Hoffman, they now represent several companies and nonprofits in the Phoenix area.  They have become a major player in the market with annual revenues exceeding $11 Million.

According to their website Turning Point USA is a 501(c)3 organization founded by Charlie Kirk.  They focus on educating and training students in freedom, free markets, and limited government.  They claim to be the most organized, active, and powerful activist network in high schools and colleges across the country.

An Environment Ripe for Scandal

According to Facebook head of security, Nathaniel Gleicher, they removed 200 accounts and 55 pages on Facebook.  They also remove 76 Instagram accounts as well.  The question becomes how did they do it and why is it a problem.

While people make political comments on social media every day, these accounts stood out because of a few key factors.  It was noted that many of the accounts were operated by teenagers in the Phoenix area.  Additionally, the accounts often had cartoon like Bitmojis and seemed to oddly mirror real accounts.

More so the accounts seemed to create a perception of widespread support though commenting on posts by influential leaders and public filters.  The accounts were able to pass the security of the platform because they used modified spellings of real names that went undetected at account creation.

Additionally, twitter suspended 262 accounts related to the same issue.  Though neither platform has banned Turning Point USA, both platforms are continuing to investigate the issue further.  Rally Forge also put out a statement that it will be working with the platforms to correct this and remove the ban.

A History of Social Media and Politics

The use of social media to sway an election is nothing new.  In recent history, it was found that Russia interfered with the 2016 election through the active use of social media campaigns laced with false and extreme views about political candidates and issues

The US is not the only democracy to have dealt with this issue.  In, fact it is estimated that 26 out of 30 countries had similar types of interference in their last election.  It means that the social media companies are in a dire spot to reduce or remove this type of behavior from their platforms sooner than later.

What Does All of This Mean to You?

It means that in marketing we have entered a new era of ethical dilemma on how we approach social media.

The Ethical Use of Social Media

Marketers are constantly under the gun to drive more leads that will ultimately build more revenue for the company they represent.  At what length will marketers go to grow accounts and generate leads?

The good news is the majority will follow platform guidelines and behave in an ethical manner to ensure they are working within the values of their brand and the brand they represent.  Occasionally though you will find marketers that will step out of the straight and narrow because of an over promise or a “system” they have been shown.

What Does an Unethical Strategy Look Like?

There is no one size fits all clear answer to this question. However, there are several things business owners can look out for that are clear red flags:

  • It seems too good to be true: Often you will see marketers saying things like, “I can get you 50,000 followers in 1 week” or “I sell social media accounts with 10,000 followers.”  While both of these sound great the methods to achieve a huge audience, these often violate the terms and conditions of the social platform. They could ban your account while the scammer walks away with your money and prepares to do it to the next guy (or girl)
  • An offer for completely free services: Recently a slew of “marketers” (I use that term loosely) have taken to Facebook professing, “I have just learned a new strategy to grow your business through Facebook ads.  Before I start charging, I am looking for a business to see if I can get them results.” There are two ways to lose with this one.  You provide them access to your account and they steal all your follower data and run, or they waste your money on Facebook ads that do not work.
  • Fake Influencer Marketing/Influencer fraud: It is no lie that there are people making real money on social media as an influencer.  The reality is that the influencers are often a fad and their audiences come and go.  What you need to look at is not how many followers they have, but how many engaged followers they have.  They could have 2 million followers. But if they only engage 500 then their reach means nothing in the way of conversions to sales.

Learning From the Fall of a Giant

Rally Forge shows us that despite the size of the organization, social media platforms desire to keep the peace. Additionally, they want to make sure users are behaving in an ethical manner.  What is interesting though is how many advocates are on the platforms reporting issues that arise as well.  Seeing the user community for the most part as engaged in keeping the platforms ethical as the platforms themselves is refreshing.

Over time tolerance for unethical behavior is becoming less and less.  Some may call it censorship. However, it becomes an ethical obligation. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok must maintain safe platforms for users.

This news does not come lightly and will most likely be the center of many heated political and censorship arguments.  This is not the last we will see of social media companies seeking to maintain a safe platform for the users. Are you ready for the dominoes to fall as social media platforms start holding companies more accountable?

Our team is here to help you navigate the challenges of marketing. Ask us how we maintain ethical standards while getting the best result.

 

Is TikTok the Most Popular Platform Out There?

A New Wave of TikTok Marketing 

With stay-at-home orders forcing many to stay inside, everyone has been searching for ways to keep busy and sane. While some bake banana bread and binge Tiger King, over 800 million people have taken to the video-sharing social media platform, TikTok.

In September of 2016, Chinese technology company ByteDance released TikTok under the name Douyin, and within the year, gained around 100 million users. After changing the app’s name to TikTok in 2017, ByteDance expanded the app to international markets.

The Apple App Charts posed to be competition with the platform until ByteDance bought it for $1 billion.

The two apps were kept separate, with Musical.ly being mainly popular in the U.S., while TikTok reigned in Asian markets. However, this separation did not last for long, as Musical.ly merged into TikTok in late 2018.

With over 1.5 billion downloads, TikTok has surpassed YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, becoming the App Store’s most downloaded app.

How TikTok’s influence is changing the game

Marketing

TikTok has already created a variety of marketing options for companies eager to reach millions of consumers. The platform offers in-feed, brand takeover, and hashtag challenge advertisements at multiple costs with a vast reach.

Tik Tok users can create short videos that generate a crazy amount of video views that you can share in social media.

TikTok users can use this as a marketing strategy to build brand awareness and let users know of one’s products and services while enjoying videos. With videos as short as five seconds, in-feed video ads can blend in without a user having time to realize they are even consuming an advertisement TikTok is a $10 CPC rate.

Late last year, MAC Cosmetics created a hashtag challenge in collaboration with 18 TikTok influencers in hopes users would create their own. In a matter of a week, the #YouOwnIt campaign received over 2 billion views on millions of posts.

Some hashtag challenges have stepped it up by adding a shoppable feature. Users can click a hashtag not only to view linked content, but to see the products available to purchase. For example, Kroger created the hashtag #TransformUrDorm, challenging college users to share videos while updating their dorm rooms and encouraging them to show off Kroger products.

We are all guilty of using the Snapchat dog ears filter; a feature TikTok is also banking on.

Why you need to start advertising on TikTok

Selling the teenage dream 

Social Media Platform TikTok

With many options to market through the platform, the best approach is arguably through the influencers themselves. Although many are not even legal adults gaining fame from 15-second dance routines, these teenagers thrive on this platform

Addison Rae, a 19-year-old, is the fourth most followed individual on the platform, with just over 41 million followers. In a recent post sponsored by Olay, Rae and her mom are have an at-home spa day while her brother waits on them, holding a tray of Olay products.

The 15-second video is not overwhelming but instead features product placement. Viewed as a regular post– not as an advertisement– the video garnered over 24 million views and 4.8 million likes.

Working directly with influencers and utilizing their creativity allows access to the Gen Z user fanbase.

Influencers can generate brand awareness, popularity, and double up as a commercial all in a subtle way. Saving companies big bucks.

Changing the music industry

Teenager rapper Lil Nas X released his song “Old Town Road.” Four months later, TikTok found it popular, shooting the song to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

TikTok’s virality and short-form design are now playing a defining role in Gen Z culture and online marketing.

However you want to use TikTok, just know its popularity is just the beginning. Being at home, one has to find ways to make the best use of one’s time. Consider marketing for an extra source of income by starting with TikTok.

How To Jump Into Risk To Find Success

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

There are millions of quotes online to help motivate us in our different endeavors. Our Mondays are especially filled with pleasant backdrops and inspirational quotes that are used to help us start our week with a positive and productive attitude. These quotes help to lighten our mood while sipping our coffee. Let’s dive into the question of how we can actually absorb that motivation to make the decisions necessary to start that project or business idea we have been planning to start.

Starting big projects that create a difference in your life or the lives of others takes steps that includes risk. Changing aspects of your life leaves room for something to potentially go wrong. You may be afraid that failure will negatively impact your life and cause embarrassment for all to see. Regardless of the potential loss, you will need to muster up some courage to engage in risk.

There are some simple steps you can do to help you make the jump. Starting a new business, or starting a new project to grow your business can feel daunting and overwhelming. Let’s figure out how to navigate situations that include risk, but have potential for true growth.

Don’t Exaggerate The Risk

Frustration from potential risk

You have a busy life. You already have a schedule full of things that you need to accomplish each week for social and business reasons. When you actually want to implement a plan to start a business venture, it can get overwhelming. It is easy to panic when you are overwhelmed.

Take a step back and look at the whole situation. Make a pros and cons list to get a better idea of what your plan entails. Be honest to yourself about the potential risks and write them down. After that, imagine all of the realistic possibilities of what could happen if the risk turns out well.

This next part is crucial to get your mind in the right head space. Imagine and record what the risks are if you don’t follow through with your plan. What could get worse for you? Your future peace of mind could be at risk due to the regret you would feel if you never follow through with your dream. Would not following through with this plan be something you regret for years to come? Think about ways that your current business or life will go if you never step out of your comfort zone to start this new project.

Once you have a better idea of the position you are putting yourself in, start taking smaller risks in your life to get yourself used to the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone. Try going to new places, try new food, clothes, or activities to train your mind to get used to doing things differently.

Choose Wisely

Choose wisely body image featuring two doors

Though taking risks is key for finding new success, you have to be smart about the risks you take. Running straight into any risk without considering what could happen could get you into a lot of bad situations. Our fear of risk can help guide us to make the right decisions. As long as we learn how to distinguish which risks are a good idea and which ones are not. A pros and cons lists will help you make these decisions.

Taking a realistic look at your timeline and when you should quit your other job or find a bigger office space are good examples of risks that should be carefully calculated before jumping in. Take your budget into account and figure out how you are going to find the funds for specific aspects of your project before taking certain actions.

Commit

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligence planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

Once you decide to follow through with your dream, go for it. Refrain from wavering on your decision from day-to-day. The only way to see real results is to jump in, knowing the risks, and work as hard as you can to achieve your goals. Once you have a good idea of the situation and what steps you need to take in the moment, you just need to fully commit and do it.

If you waste time going back and forth on an idea, you aren’t going to see the results that you will want to see a year from now. You are more likely to fail if you don’t meet that risk head on and do everything in your power to make your goal work.

Without a solid level of commitment, you haven’t truly started yet. This lack of commitment shows that you are still holding on to the fear that your idea won’t work. A lack of commitment will make you less organized and passionate about what you are doing. Once you have fully made the leap, you will be able to focus better, organize, and enjoy what you are doing without being consumed by fear.

Sometimes You Don’t Have The Answer

Question mark symbolizing not having the answers

Though your situation should be fully analyzed to see the risks and benefits, it’s okay to not have all of the answers. Sometimes you won’t know exactly what something will look like in the future, yet you should still work hard to attain a certain.

Another issue is thinking that you need to know exactly how you will accomplish everything that you would like to accomplish. Be flexible with your tactics as you continue on your path.

As times changes and you learn more, you may find new tools to make your dream work. Just take it one day at a time to meet tangible goals. Somethings will need to be figured out along the way. Taking it a day at a time will help you not feel overwhelmed despite the unknowns.

Failure Is A Tool

Inspirational quote on failure

Whether big or small, you will find some failure along the way. That may sound terrifying, but it is actually freeing. We are so scared to take risks because we are scared of failure. Once you see failure as part of life, you will be more likely to take those risks that will help you find success in your business and life.

With every failure is a lesson. Embrace those lessons and take them into your next project or the next step of the project. No one accomplishes a great goal without falling on their face a few times. The trick is to keep on going after you have failed.

Failure can do one of two things:

  1. Make you better and make it so you can meet the next similar situation with confidence.
  2. Stump you because you are too focused on your embarrassment or shortcomings.

The deciding factor for these two outcomes is your perception and how you choose to see the issue of failure. So take that failure and embrace the next risk knowing that you have learned a new lesson. With these clear steps on hand you will be able to navigate those situations that are risky but can benefit you and your business greatly.

Ready to take a risk?

If you need any help marketing your new adventure, our team at Elevare Agency would love to give you a free consultation to see how we can help. Fill out the form below so we can help you get started on this exciting new adventure!

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Gif or Jif – The Power of Cross-Brand Promotion

Is it “gif” or “jif.” How do you say it? Few seemingly meaningless debates over how a word has sparked such a long and passionate online discussion as to how to pronounce “GIF.” Who knew it would warrant a press release?

Even after the creator of GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format), Steve Wilhite finally settled the decade long debate once and for all. When he won the Webby Award, he told the world you pronounce it “JIF,” but the debate continues in underground forums and office break rooms.

This is why it’s come as no surprise to anyone with interest in marketing that JM Smucker Company Jif peanut butter brand has teamed up with GIPHY. They are releasing special edition jars of Jif (or Gif) peanut butter.

This strategic partnership is a timely one too because March 1st marks National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day. However, partnering with Giphy may only prolong the debate over the pronunciation and is unlikely to put a lid on this decade-long madness.

So, if you’re a peanut butter lover and passionate about how you pronounce “GIFs” or “JIFs,” there is no better time (or way) to make a statement at the dinner table.

The Power of Co-Branding

There is more to this promotion than just raising awareness over the pronunciation of GIF (pronounced with a soft “g” or “j”).

This is a lesson in strategic co-branding. Co-branding is a powerful way for two or more companies to come together to cross each other’s audiences while offering a product that appeals across the board.

The release of their co-branded limited edition jar with a special label featuring both “Jif” and “Gif” is driving the internet wild.

To marketers, it’s easy to see Jif’s and GIPHY’s being a natural partnership. The GIF memes and jokes are rooted in the millennial culture and demographic, as is consuming large amounts of peanut butter.

Sure, it’s going to be a bit of an inside joke that most parents of millennials don’t get. But they’re not Jif’s prime customer. And having a joke half the population doesn’t understand is part of the fun anyway. Only the cool kids are privy to the great debate. If you have to ask what it’s all about, you may not be a cool kid. Leave it to the cool kids to worry over something so trivial.

Co-branding is happening all the time. Some partnerships are apparent, while others go almost unnoticed. This one, however, is finding exposure from the likes of CNN and the New York Times.

Other Cross-Brand Promotions That Made Sense

This isn’t the first time two brands have come together to make a perfect marriage – and take advantage of some cross-promotional momentum.

Below are a few other cross-branding partnerships that forged with some strategic planning in mind.

Starbucks and Spotify

Starbucks teamed up with Spotify back in 2015, and it was a win-win for music and coffee lovers.

As one of the original coffee shop chains to play popular music while serving up mochas and other beverages, it made sense for Spotify to curate and control their playlists.

Some of the offers they shared with each other’s audiences included issuing Starbucks reward points for Spotify users, and of course, advertising Spotify across hundreds of their coffee shops.

Apple and Hermes

With Apple releasing its iWatch, they saw an opportunity to make inroads into the men’s luxury fashion market by partnering with Hermes.

Hermes is one of the world’s most valuable luxury brands. With the iWatch reaching a very different audience to the iPhone, it was a smart move to partner with such a well-established fashion wear brand.

They created a separate product that went on sale across Hermes stores. Giving them exclusivity and intertwining Apple’s tech with Hermes’ status symbol in the fashion world.

GoPro and Red Bull

Red Bull has established itself as one of the most dynamic and successful companies when it comes to marketing.

It’s easy to forget that they are an energy drinks company, their logos can be seen everywhere from e-sports arenas to formula one cars.

Few of their partnerships made more sense than when they co-branded with GoPro. Both brands are synonymous with adrenaline, adventurous, action-packed sports.

Of all the events they’ve collaborated on, the most impressive was when Felix Baumgartner jumped from a space pod around 24 miles above the Earth’s surface, capturing every moment on his GoPro.

What’s in This for GIPHY?

Giphy has an interesting business model. They host the largest database of GIFs in the world and are effectively a search engine for users browsing or wanting to generate their own GIFs.

They can’t generate revenue from licensing or selling the GIFs on their site as they don’t own the rights to the images used.

Instead, in recent years they have started forming partnerships like this one with Jif. Details of the partnerships are not released, but we have to assume it works similar to other advertising campaigns.

Giphy can give brands huge exposure online. Both with animated GIFs, and by promoting brands to users of their site.

If you go to Giphy right now, you can see all the Jif GIFs and embed them on your own site.

At the time of writing this, they’ve had more than 132 million views!

What’s in This for Jif?

Jif’s side of the deal is simple; they want to sell more peanut butter.

It’ll be a while before we know how lucrative this partnership has been for them. But with more than 132 million views of Jif-related GIFs and social media buzz that’s swarming around this story, I can imagine there are some marketing exec’s patting each other on the back over at Jif HQ.

The forgotten fact in the history of the Jif or Gif argument is that we’ve heard from the creator’s mouth how to pronounce it correctly.

So, while does it feel like we’re still going to be debating it long after the Gif peanut butter labels have returned to Jif?

I’ll think about it while enjoying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on March 1st.

Co-branding isn’t the only way to gain recognition. Just ask Burger King.

If you would like to learn more about branding, advertising, and increasing your customer base, contact Elevare today!

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Why Burger King Is Advertising a Moldy Whopper

Burger King is advertising a moldy Whopper, and it has the internet stirring. When you think of fast-food ads, you think of almost too-perfect looking burgers with juicy, mouthwatering beef and crisp salad leaves, delicately arranged in layers.

The last thing that comes to mind is a moldy, disgusting burger that’s more likely to put you off fast food than encourage you to head to your nearest drive-thru.

Yet, that’s exactly what Burger King is doing with their latest global ad campaign.

If you can stomach watching their latest ad, you’re taken through a 34-day accelerated timeline of a Whopper as it sits on a pedestal.

By the end of Burger King’s 45-second clip, there sits a moldy, fluffy, purple and blue, sagging burger that barely resembles a Whopper.

To make matters worse, the visuals are accompanied by What a Difference a Day Makes, originally sung by Dinah Washington. A beautiful song that will never hold the same meaning to me now.

So, clearly this is a shock tactic being put out by Burger King’s marketing team, but why?

How are they promoting the Whopper, and their brand, by showing in high-resolution, graphic detail, how their food attracts microscopic fungi and molds when left out?

While the state of the Whopper shocks most by the end of the video, there is a subtle message.

The Message Behind Advertising a Moldy Whopper

The shock factor of showing one of their burgers in an advanced state of decomposition and being covered with mold spores delivers a message. And possibly to take a jab at other fast-food restaurants.

Burger King has pledged to drop all artificial preservatives in their Whopper by the end of the year. They’ve already removed them from their menu in some parts of the world, Scandinavia being among the included countries.

It’s the preservatives they used to use – which other fast-food chains still use – that get the blame for some adverse effects in consumers.

Anyone who watched the 2004 documentary Super Size Me will remember how the host, Morgan Spurlock, placed a McDonald’s burger in a glass jar for weeks, with it hardly degrading.

12 Year Old McDonald's Burger

Or, you can Google pictures of the last cheeseburger that came off the grill before the last McDonald’s in Iceland closed its doors. It is more than 10 years old this year and doesn’t look too dissimilar to how it did when it was “fresh.”

While it’s hard for Burger King to describe this in a 45-second video, the shock factor has stimulated several discussions that have brought this to light.

Fernando Machado, CMO for Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, said, “At Burger King, we believe that real food tastes better.”

“That’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colors, and flavors from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.”

Advertising a moldy burger illicits a response and gets people thinking. The more we look into how they’ve gone about pushing this message out, the more impressed and the less disgusted we are about the video.

The Power of Viral Marketing

Viral marketing isn’t a new concept. It’s been around in some form for as long as marketing has existed. It’s just that it’s a form of marketing that one must handle carefully because it’s just as prone to backfiring or falling flat as it is of succeeding. When a video, image, or piece of content goes “viral,” it means thousands of users share it at a rapid rate.

This is the ideal reaction to a marketing campaign from the advertiser’s point of view because it means their ads are getting shares and views without additional ad spend on their behalf.

It’s hard to pinpoint what and how to make an ad go viral. Otherwise, marketing teams would be able to churn out viral ads over and over.

However, some key elements of viral messaging includes:

  • Resonating with a broad audience or hitting on a particular pain point
  • Focusing on something timely that already has a lot of momentum
  • Producing something creative with a strong visual presence
  • Creating something with emotional appeal

Burger King’s strategy was to hit on one or more of these elements to gain notoriety with their moldy burger campaign.

Discussions around eating healthy and being aware of what manufacturers are putting in the foods we consume have never been hotter than they are right now.

The timing of this ad campaign is exceptional. Plus, Burger King has the well-publicized examples from McDonald’s burgers that aren’t degrading due to the amount preservatives in their food. Advertising a moldy whopper gets people thinking of the contrast between fresh and scientifically made foods. 

Sure, they’re walking a thin line showing a moldy Whopper. But it’s precisely this kind of powerful imagery that resonates with viewers, gets people talking, and carries an underlying message about the foods and ingredients we’re eating.

Will This Increase Sales of the Whopper?

It’s hard to say if it will increase sales, but it’s not going to do Burger King any harm.

Judging by the reaction so far and looking at the viewing numbers for their videos and images online, they’ve hit on a nerve and creating a viral marketing campaign.

It’s going to be interesting to see if other fast-food chains follow suit and start removing additives from the items on their menus. And more so, how they approach advertising and marketing the fact that they’re doing so.

The trend for healthier foods and manufacturers to be more transparent about the additives, preservatives, and other unnatural ingredients they add to the foods we eat isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

Burger King hit on a timely and relevant topic. Dare we say they also did it in a wonderfully artistic way?

That Whopper looks a lot more appealing than it did the first time we saw the video, we like the direction that they’re going in. If you want your own version of advertising a moldy Whopper, or to learn more about viral ads, SEO, and social media marketing for your brand, learn how Elevare can help. 

Let us help re-invent your marketing strategy today.

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7 Tips To Write A Great Customer Success Story

Getting a great testimonial from your clients is an easy way to add credibility to your company. Anyone can say great things about themselves, but getting a positive story from someone who has tried your product or service is even better. Writing a solid customer service story can be tricky as you need to stay balanced between telling a good story and making your point nice and succinct.

In a 2017 Demand Gen Report on content preferences survey, it was found that people prefer using case studies to make a decision rather than any other content. This was found for business to business purchases, though reviews are still found to be highly effective in getting the attention of any customer. When you think about it, that’s fair. Wouldn’t you rather see a third party source and how the product or service actually impacted them in a positive or negative way?

If writing a good testimonial sounds daunting to you, don’t worry, you can write a great customer success story with a little guidance. Customer success stories tend to follow a specific structure as customers have certain things they would like to see and know. This is great news as it means you can learn just a few tips and guidelines to get started.

1. Make It Easy For The Customer

Body image showing communication with a customer

To get the information and quotes you need for their success story, you need to have good communication with the customer. The best way to get the necessary information is to make the survey or interview process as simple as possible. Your clients are busy people with their own things that they need to accomplish each and every day. Most people will not want to sit down and answer a long list of questions.

If you are going to give a survey, make it short. One way to get the information you need is to set up a phone call interview and ask if you can record it. Make sure to have a set time frame for your interview for yourself and inform them how much time you are going to take. This will make it easier for them to say yes if you can tell them exactly when you’d like to call and how long it will take. Give them a nice time-frame of around 15 minutes. That along with a short survey (don’t overlap the questions) should be enough to get the information you need along with any fun quotes to liven up the picture.

It is also a good idea to ask open-ended questions. This allows the client to think of information that they would like to share that maybe you didn’t think to ask about. It is also a better way to get great quotes from your customer. You don’t want to end up with a bunch of yes or no answers.

Make sure you follow your word. Do not take longer than you intended and do not send out more surveys than you said you would. Definitely be prompt on your phone call and do not leave the person on the other line waiting. It is true that some customers will be more friendly and forgiving than others, but don’t count on that. Be professional and considerate with the other person’s time as they are doing you a favor that will continue to benefit you as long as you have the story.

2. Give Highlights

Body image showing a pen and paper

We all know that people have short attention spans these days. There are always a million things going trying to distract us on our phones, laptops, and tablets. Our days can also become pretty busy fairly quickly and usually we don’t have time to read testimonials, even if they seem interesting.

Some viewers will take time to sort through the whole story, but you need to make sure that you have a summary that readers can easily spot and learn the main point from. Of course great writing and solid information should still be a focus when writing your story, but keep in mind that many people who partially read your story are busy and distracted. These highlights should be given at the top of your story. If you have an infographic with key information, go ahead and put that up top as well. It won’t give the full effect of your story, but should communicate the main information that you need to express to your leads.

3. Numbers Help

Speaking of infographics, people love numbers and statistics to follow. This will add even more credibility to your success story and help people see the importance of your field. The more third party affirmation you can get, the better for your business.

Make sure the numbers aren’t the full picture of your story. Though extremely useful, you want to use them to simply add to the success story that you already have. They are a great way to give a lot of information in a short and simple way.

4. Challenge And Outcome Focus

Body image showing a challenging chess game

You do need to give the appropriate company or customer profile so that your readers can relate to the issue your client had. The main focus of your story, however, should be the challenge itself and the intended outcome. People are reading your story to see if your business can provide the service or product necessary to help them with a similar issue.

You don’t want to spend too much time on the problem as your reader, if truly interested, is probably already familiar with it. Keep that focus on how your product or service can overcome that challenge and better the costumer’s life. Whether your product makes life easier, saves time, saves money, or is entertaining, focus on that.

5. Your Customer Is The Star

You are writing a story, so who is the protagonist? The client. People love to read the stories of other people. Resist the urge to make your business the hero, even though you must stress your services strengths. Use fun quotes from your customer so that people have a chance to relate.

Though you should use the voice of your brand, make sure that you are still focusing on the triumph of your client or customer. Your readers want to relate and follow their story, not just read about your business and how it can help. This is simple human nature. We love relating. We aren’t just robots buying products. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with your story loving side and keep your story human focused and less corporate sounding.

6. Add Potential Future

Body image for Potential Future subheading

At the end of your story you should hint at the future. Explore how the service or product continues to benefit the customer. Learn what other new uses the client has found that are nice. Now is also a good time to invite your audience. Stress how this customer was so happy with your business that they shared their story to help people just like the reader.

7. Allow Your Customer To Review The Story

Make sure you offer to let your client or customer read the story before sending it out to be published. Now is the time to make sure that your client is happy with the results, not after. All information should be accurate to what actually happened.

Ready To Write A Great Customer Success Story?

If you need help writing customer success stories or creating any other marketing content, our team at Elevare Agency would be happy to get you started.

Fill out a form below to schedule a FREE consultation today and we can help you convert your customer success stories into customers!

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7 Tricks To Use To Save Time For Your Business

The issue of people wasting time at work has always been a hard one to tackle. According to Forbes, 89% of people admit to wasting time at work. For small business owners, wasting time at work can be even easier due to being overwhelmed by the responsibility or easily distracted without anyone to hold you accountable. Regardless of the issue, it can be hard to reign yourself in and create better systems for everyone involved to get more work done.

Let’s rephrase that, it’s not just about getting more work done. It’s about getting smarter work done. Spending hours and hours working late into the evening can actually be a sign that you aren’t working efficiently, and thereby wasting time. This can be seen more with highly motivated people. The idea behind working hard itself isn’t bad, but if you aren’t working in a smart way, you could be a roadblock for your company.

Whether you are feeling overwhelmed, like you need to do it all yourself, or easily distracted, we have some easy tricks to help you accomplish more throughout your work week.

1. List And Prioritize

Create a list prioritizing each task

We believe making lists are the starting point to building an empire. A good list is what will help you and your team stay on track and not be overwhelmed. Just make sure you create a list that is well prioritized. First create a list of the items, office supplies, etc, you will need for the week. Buy all of these items all at once; better yet, delegate the task to someone else. People love a hard working boss, but you need to delegate task to get everything done that you need to in a day. People also love having a task to do that is necessary.

Next you need to take a good look at the different things you and your team need to get done this week and month. For this week, decide what are the most urgent tasks on the list and assign them to someone on your team and yourself.

Once you have the most urgent tasks out of the way, take a look at which assignments are the most important to the functionality of your company. Maybe they aren’t urgent yet, but they must be done eventually before they become urgent. Schedule those throughout the next couple of weeks so you will be sure to get them done after the urgent tasks.

You will have some extra, smaller-item tasks that will inevitably get pushed to the side. Don’t obsess over them, but record them so they aren’t completely forgotten. Once you and your team make it through the important tasks, you can assign or take on the smaller ones on the list. Trust the list that you have created. Try not to let yourself get distracted by everything that needs to get done and try to do it all on yourself in one go. This will only create confusion and half-finished tasks that are eventually forgotten about.

2. Create Clear, Attainable Goals

Create clear and attainable goals for you and your teams

This step may need to be done before and after your list making. When creating clear goals, you will need to create sub-lists or add to the list you already have. Everything depends on the goal you have in mind and how large of a feat that goal is.

With each task or goal you need to decide exactly what needs to be done. Once you have a clear idea of how to accomplish your larger goal, assign those tasks to your team. Pay attention to which members of your team like or are skilled at each task. Allow for clear communication in your team so that everyone knows what is expected of them and so that you know what concerns they may have.

It’s important to be realistic with the time you give for each task. Yes, you would like for everything to be done and finished as soon as possible, but you also want a good product and employees that aren’t overworked. Pay attention to the task list each employee has for the week and make sure to adjust it according to which project is more urgent.

Take a minute to be realistic about the work required for the project before setting a due date. Listen to any concerns from employees. If the task is in their expertise and they say they will need more time, trust them with it (especially if they have already proven to be a hard-working team member).

3. Track The Time

Track time for maximum efficiency

An easy way for you to personally save time for your business is to track the minutes/hours it takes you to complete an item on your list. If it took you longer one day than the other to finish a task, ask yourself why and be honest. It may be that the TV was on and you were somewhat distracted from time to time. Yes, you aren’t straight-up watching TV. However, the moments you take to glance up from your screen and get your mind focused different subjects does catch up to you and the clock.

Tracking time especially helps those who are easily distracted. You may think you have it under control, but once you track your time from day-to-day, you will be able to see just how distracted you really are in your daily projects. When you are being timed, it can also make your work feel more like a game.

If you take pride in how long it takes you to do a task well, you can try to lower and lower your time to finish certain tasks. This mindset change may help you to truly boost your productivity during the day, despite all of the distractions around you.

4. Incentivise Tasks And Break

You and your team are not working machines. It is important to incentivize tasks with rewards and take breaks to refresh. Without taking the proper breaks, your team will begin to lose interest in their work as they become more fatigued and restless. If you want quality work done and for everyone to enjoy and take pride in their workplace, add some prizes and allow for breaks to keep the energy flowing.

Maybe you could have a coffee break with donuts at one point in the day. You could try having Coffee Shop Fridays where your team goes to work in a coffee shop instead of the office for the morning. Simple breaks and rewards can boost your team’s spirits and productivity.

It may sound counter-intuitive to give breaks and awards to save time for your business. However, focused, creative employees get a lot more done in a small amount of time than fatigued employees do all day. So if you want to save time for your business, take more breaks.

5. Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings body image

If you are having trouble getting everyone together to meet for a project or idea, try using virtual meetings. Though face-to-face interactions have their own perks and help you connect better, a virtual meeting can help you get work done without trying to figure out any trips.

Especially with people that you have already met in person, save everyone some time and video call in whoever doesn’t work in your office. Meetings are infamous for wasting time. Try and keep your meetings efficient by providing the necessary information and planning ahead of time what you want to bring to the table. Once the meeting is done, everyone can go back to work without the unnecessary travel time.

6. Use A Project Management Platform

Being organized saves everyone a lot of time. With all of the lists and tasks you will be creating and assigning, it will help to have an easy-access place to have the information stored for all employees to see and utilize.

Try using a project management platform such as Basecamp or Asana to help organize your team, save time, and boost productivity. These platforms help everyone keep track of what they should be doing and how much work they have already done.

7. Hire Experts When Need Be

Hire experts for tasks outside your expertise

You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t have to try to. Make sure you delegate, even if you would prefer to do it yourself. If you try to do everything yourself, you may just be slowing your team down.

For those tasks that are outside of you and your team’s expertise, don’t be afraid to look for outside help. Whether you need a virtual assistant or a marketing firm, there are many people out there in the world who can help you get more work done and save you time in the end to do what you need to do.

Need Help?

If you need digital marketing help, from website creation to SEO, our team at Elevare Agency can help you so that you can stop wasting time and have work that you love. Fill our the form below for a FREE 30 minute consultation and we can help you create digital marketing content in a time-efficient manner.

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The Importance of A Consistent Social Media Presence

Constance and consistency, these two qualities will support you through any endeavor. From training for sports, practicing art skills, building relationships, and creating a strong social media presence. Your business needs to be cared for daily just like any other aspect of your life. Just doing a good job isn’t enough to grow your company. You need to be able to give a great product/service and know how to get your name out there using today’s tools.

Know your voice and why you’re here.

Women speaking into a speakerphone

Know who you are and what you want to share with everyone on the internet. You may be selling a product, that’s great, but make sure your company still has a clear voice and brand online. If you are selling a sturdy chair, own it. Use language that gives a confident yet comfortable vibe. Each post should have concise words that emphasize the appeal to your product.

After mastering your language, use images that have a consistent set of colors and icons that you use. When using a font overlay, make sure you have set fonts for shareable photos. To do all of this you need to brainstorm before you start posting. You can work with a new media public relations company so that they can help guide you to a brand that can truly sell and present your business well. First start with a pin and paper. Brainstorm words that you relate with your product. Try out different colors with your potential logo and incorporate that color into your photos. When you find a look that you and your group like, stay with it. You want the people viewing your work to recognize your brand before they even read the username.

If you are truly consistent with your social media, it will help you represent a clear voice to your target audience. What is a target audience? Those are the people who could really use what you are offering to the world. Don’t be afraid to stick with an idea and have a constant, clear voice on social media. The more explorative members of this group will see what you are presenting and potentially share it with their like-minded friends. These are the people you want to keep coming back to your pages.

Timing is, almost, everything.

Image of a female wrist with a watch

If your online community knows that every Monday you will post a news-related video relevant to your business, the loyal members of your audience will continue to look for these posts every Monday. As they continue to come back to your page to be entertained or learn, the better your audience will be. Your posts will be shared. More importantly, you’re posts will be truly taken in and appreciated by those that matter. Whatever your message and branding is, we hope that you truly believe in it. We hope that your content will be fully enjoyed and will make a positive impact in your local community, nationwide or worldwide. To truly get the audience that believe in your work or product, you need to have a clear schedule so they know what days to look for you.

You also need to be consistent to bring in new faces. If someone comes across your page and they see that you sporadically post, hardly post or spam post, they will be a lot less likely to actually follow you or see what you are offering. The effort you put into social media says a lot about the effort you put into your service or product. This assumption may not be fair, but it does exist. You don’t want your page and company to be passed over for lack of consistency and good branding.

Posting consistently can be a lot of work. Social media moves even more quickly than the traditional media. Even if you’re consistent, posting once a week will not be enough. Luckily, there are people who understand how to create brand awareness online and the best times to post. You can always hire someone to help get your name out there and, naturally, bring in more revenue. Elevare provides help in social media marketing to keep you constant and true to your ideal brand. If you’d like help creating your online presence with a new, sleek website, brand creation and consistent social media, we’re happy to help you with any of those needs.

Consistent community is beautiful.

A group of friends huddled together smiling

Be consistent with your target audience. People who take time to comment on your page and share your posts are your family and can’t be ignored. You need to constantly and consistently respond and relate to people who comment on your social media pages or who send you emails. If someone walked up to your store and had a concern or compliment, would you ignore them when they spoke to you? I hope not. That’s how you should look at your comments, messages and emails. Building a community around your brand is one of the fun parts of growing your business. People need to feel heard, this gives you a chance to connect with people who have something in common. We all get busy in our lives with either our brick-and-mortar stores or managing all the different online platforms, but it’s important to check your pages and interact with your clients daily if possible. Loyal clients/customers are priceless; they can help your brand more than anything. The more you interact and show that real people working in your business, the more loyal your audience will become.

Consistency is timeless.

Man reading a newspaper

The online world is a great place to build a brand in a way that was never possible before; you can create an engaged audience all over the world. Social media marketing only needs consistent care and it will grow. Post often and on schedule, create honest work and engage as much as you can. It also helps to watch social media analytics and know when to post and what hashtags to use, but without consistency any of the other tools available won’t help you. The idea of being constant and consistent has been around in media for a long time– and it still holds true today. Though the online world can seem like a whole new monster, which it can be, some old rules for traditional media still apply.

Ready To Build A Consistent Social Media Presence?

Fill out a form below to schedule a FREE consultation today and we can help you build a consistent presence on social media!

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