I have never been a huge fan of “America’s Got Talent,” but last night my sister showed me a YouTube video of two of this season’s semi-finalists in action. The five-year-old and nine-year-old members of the dance duo “Future Funk” absolutely blew me away. These pint-size break dancers demonstrate skill through their advanced dance routines, and even at such young ages, “BBoy Bailrok” and “BBoy Boogaloo” exhibit marketing savvy through their matching promotional youth outerwear.
Whether taking the stage for a performance or entering the boardroom to meet with prospective clients, keep reading for a few helpful interview/audition tips…
There are few women more admirable than comic book legend Wonder Woman, who battles evil in a skimpy leotard and go-go boots without breaking a sweat. In honor of the 600th edition of Wonder Woman comics, DC Comics recently revamped Wonder Woman’s signature look, outfitting her in simple black leggings and a bustier top with a bolero jacket.
Tomorrow will mark a momentous milestone in the life of my home state, North Carolina. Krispy Kreme of Winston-Salem will release Cheerwine-infused doughnuts in 1,000 grocery stores across the Carolinas.
Never heard of Cheerwine? It’s a cherry-flavored softdrink produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation in Salisbury, North Carolina, and found mainly in the southeast. Due to its scarcity and unique taste, the brand has developed a cult-like following, spawning fansites, promotional novelties, and specialty Cheerwine Floats offered at locally owned restaurants.
photo credit: Alina Sofia
Think for a moment about the various touch points customers have with your organization- maybe your website, maybe an automated phone recording, maybe a monthly account statement. But at some point in time, most of your customers will interact with a living, breathing ambassador of your brand. In a world where processes are becoming increasingly less personal, it truly makes a difference to receive individual assistance from a trained professional.
Take the Ritz-Carlton, for example. The hotelier empowers employees to go the extra mile for guests by offering monetary reimbursements for each customer issue they are able to resolve. To find out more about the Ritz’s creative employee recognition program and how to use promotional glass awards or other types of awards to motivate your staff, keep reading.
When was the last time you spent an afternoon riding a Schwinn bicycle, sipping from a custom sports bottle, and waving to your neighbors with the wind blowing through your hair? I’m guessing, for most of our readers, not recently, although I know my coworker Acree happens to be an avid cyclist.
Nostalgia marketing is a powerful technique used by marketers to capitalize on the sentimental associations that their target audiences harbor for certain products and/or experiences. At 23, I rarely find myself feeling nostalgic about my past, but last Sunday afternoon, as I ventured out to Atlanta’s Virginia Highlands neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful weather with my dog and my sister, I spied a father on the sidewalk across the street teaching his young daughter how to ride her bicycle without training wheels.
For more about Schwinn’s advertising campaign and my latest personal wave of nostalgia, keep reading…
Home to 4000 species of exotic animals and 100 acres of lush wildlife, the San Diego Zoo is one of the largest and most famous zoos in the country. I can attest to the vastness first hand because I was lucky enough to visit the Zoo this past weekend. While there, I pet a camel, heard about numerous conservation efforts, learned that koalas are marsupials (not bears) and was able to snap this photo of the San Diego Zoo’s promotional products.
I also started thinking about how much animals influence the realm of business. Over the years, well-known companies in a variety of industries have used animals as a logo to symbolize their strong brands.
A study of Internet usage released by The Nielsen Company shows that Americans nearly tripled the amount of time they spend on social media sites and blogs between August 2008 and that same month one year later. Over the course of that time, people developed and altered the way that they gain information. Not only are consumers turning to online news sources such as CNN.com or the New York Times online, but also people are garnering more of their news from sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This means that hard news stories- about the earthquake in Haiti or the latest status update on healthcare reform- are cluttered with personal status updates, such as what John Smith ate for dinner last night or the color of Jane Doe’s new hat. What’s more, consumers are hearing the news through secondary sources that cannot help but add their own personal bias.
Personal bias about online news also applies to brands. Social media sites provide an easy and uncensored outlet for shoppers to share their likes and dislikes about certain products, companies and customer service experiences. Thus, as consumers spend more and more time on these sites, effectively changing the way they share and acquire information, marketers are forced to shift their campaigns as well. And they are. The same Nielsen study reveals that while the time consumers spent on these sites tripled, the amount of money that businesses spent advertising online increased 119 percent during that same time span.
WNYC’s Radiolab — a fantastic podcast — had a fascinating short this week called “Do I Know You?” about people with a delusional disorder called Capgras.
A woman suffering from Capgras comes home to find a man sitting in her living room, wearing her husband’s clothes and containing all his physical features, but who, to her, simply is not her husband. In actuality, he is. But she can’t shake the feeling he’s an impostor.
On my way to work each morning I drive by one intersection that always has someone dressed as a reindeer, dancing, waving, and holding a sign that reads “Caribou Coffee.” I have never stopped at that Caribou Coffee on my way to work, nor do I plan to, as I make coffee at home in the morning and have my first cup of the day on the road, and then my second (or third…) using the coffee maker at the office. However the cheerful, dancing deer often leaves me with a feeling of pleasantry as I continue on my morning commute.
That is until I reach another intersection probably about a mile down the road (maybe 2? I am terrible with estimating distances). It is at this intersection that I am confronted with two (sometimes even three) people dressed in the most terrifying costumes resembling the Statue of Liberty(see scary mask below) that one could ever imagine holding signs that say “Income Tax” in bold letters with a telephone number below. They rotate their body position to direct their signs toward different directions of oncoming traffic, but cheerful they are not. No dancing, and I have only witnessed a wave once maybe twice. I suppose it may be fitting as income tax is not generally considered to be a “cheerful” subject matter, and certainly is less of a joyous matter than say, coffee at 8:45 am. And the costume, though frightening, is also fitting, as they are advertising for Liberty Tax Service whose logo includes a portion of the Statue of Liberty’s head (though the signs do not even denote the company’s name – I figured it out through a little online research).
Some further research led me to find that there are more than 2,500 Liberty Tax offices in the United States where more than 10,000 people are seasonally employed to wave at passing cars. This must be a reactionary effort created by the current administration’s job stimulus plan, was my first thought. My second – does this form of advertising really work? According to Paul Mason, professor and chair of the Department of Economics & Geography at the University of North Florida, it can:
“At first I thought that it was stupid, like people standing on the street waving for their political candidate,” he said.
So like any good skeptic, Mason began investigating to see if the sign holders made any difference in helping a business grow and thrive.
“I have asked business owners, restaurant people, etc., about how effective the sign holders are,” he said. “I discovered that particularly for stores that don’t have strong street presence or are just opening, it seems effective at letting people know that the place is there. It helps people try new stores by announcing their presence.”By Joseph Baneth Allen Publication: Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)
I have not done any of the cost analysis (nor could I find any done by anyone else online) but I just cannot imagine that this form of advertising to the local community could be more cost-effective than say, doing a promotional products mailing to residents of the area. If you do choose to employ “Costumed Sign Wavers” however, please make them cheerful, and do not have them wear scary masks. Thanks.
Team Lead – Multimedia
What do golden arches, a partially eaten apple and Mickey Mouse have in common? This question might sound like the start of a bad joke, but the answer is no laughing matter. These items all represent strong brand identities, which belong to McDonald’s, Mac, and Disney respectively (not that I had to tell you that.) Moreover, these symbols prove that a company name, logo and even a mascot send a message about the quality and consistency of the brand’s products or services.
As Jaime and Kim mentioned in their blogs earlier this week, it’s important to set yourself apart from the competition. The methods you use to attract consumers- offering free shipping, next day delivery or even just a catchy name and Web site design- all fall under the larger umbrella of branding. Business might be booming, but if no one can remember your name, customers will soon be drawn to competitors who offer similar products. Whether you are just starting up or trying to re-brand an established business, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are on the right track.
To start with, who is your target audience? Go beyond just demographics and consider what types of products these people buy and how frequently they make purchases. Your research should certainly incorporate statistical analysis, but never underestimate the power of speaking directly with your customers. Listening to consumers’ needs and understanding their backgrounds will help you determine the most effective way to reach them; proven strategies often include interactive Web sites, social media, and promotional products. At the end of the day, your brand should be able to tell a story– if it doesn’t, you might need to step back and take a revitalizing approach. Does your brand need an extreme makeover? Use promotional products to re-brand.
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