Archive for the ‘twitter’ Category

Twitter’s CFO to marketers: I can do that!

May 7, 2015

Newsflash: finance and marketing do not always get along.  Some may even say the disciplines share a unique symbiotic rivalry; they support one another, yet constantly battle over how to define the value of marketing.

Twitter — itself a literal symbol of marketing in the digital era — found a novel way to end that discussion by allowing its CFO to take over the marketing discipline.  The move to appoint Anthony Noto came after months of failed attempts at finding the right CMO  for the company.  So, in a nutshell, it’s just marketing!  Give it to finance!  Even though (or perhaps because) we’re losing money!

…uh…oh…

Stranger things have worked, and maybe this will end up being more about “taking control of marketing spend.”  Or maybe the surprise ending is that Noto is the rare investment banker-turned-CFO who has keen marketing insight coursing through his veins.  But for the time being, this is playing out at the pinnacle of irony, as we see a flood of media coverage about how the floundering financial officer thinks he can do this marketing thing better.

It’s not going to get less weird anytime soon.  The Verge notes that “Noto’s first task may be figuring out how to market himself a little better at the office. [A] source told The Verge, “Twitter employees [are] asking why Noto gets $70 million, but the company can’t afford to give raises, or bring salaries closer to market rates.” Although engineers make around market rate, the source said, non-technical employees do not.”

This saga has everything the modern system is geared to despise – and everything that Twitter is famous for blasting out over the cyberwhatever.  Bloated executive pay, nosediving stock, executive hubris, belittled worker bees…

What’s missing (for starters)?  A good strategy.  A strong message. A vision. Really, anything that investors or advocates can get behind.

While that may come soon, it’s already too late to leverage the first wave of media exposure following the announcement.  I bet a sharp marketing guy could have handled that.  Ahem.

Finally, in honor of Noto’s presumably irrepressible spirit and ambition:

The Ice Bucket Challenge – Why It’s the Coolest Social Campaign Right Now

August 22, 2014

Like many of you, my Facebook newsfeed is crawling with videos of friends and acquaintances pouring ice water on their heads- there are so many of these videos that they’re impossible to ignore. In a matter of days, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, with everyone from celebrities to politicians being nominated to take the challenge.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, allow me to explain; a person is challenged by a friend, family member, co-worker, etc., to pour a bucket of ice water over his/her head as a way to help raise awareness for the deadly disease ALS. If they don’t, they must donate $100 to help fund ALS research. From there, the person challenges a few friends (usually on social media) to take the challenge or donate within 24 hours.

Some people who made a video may not realize the Ice Bucket Challenge was not always connected to ALS. The idea was the same, but people could donate to any charity of their choice. When Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who has been living with ALS since 2009, and his family got involved, the challenge took on a life of its own. Frates’ father’s video tied the Ice Bucket Challenge to #StrikeOutALS, an on-going campaign for ALS.

#StrikeOutALS in correlation with the Ice Bucket Challenge has created a way for people to unite- through one cause- and through one challenge. Today, people are accepting the challenge as a way to raise awareness for a horrible disease rather than just donating to a charity of their choice. This campaign has purpose, and it’s working.

The challenge has gone viral for three reasons:

  1. There is a clear call to action
  2. There is a sense of urgency (24 hours to respond)
  3. Connectivity through hashtags

These three elements will ensure that the campaign will have a relatively long shelf life and is sure to bring attention to ALS. . While there are naysayers who believe the Ice Bucket Challenge hasn’t really accomplished much, the ALS Association has received over $53.3 million in donations between through August 22. Just as important- people are talking. People are talking about ALS about what it’s like to live with ALS, , and coming forward with their own tales. I can’t help but watch my friends and my favorite celebrities pour freezing water over their heads and know that it’s going to help people like Pete Frates and Anthony Carbajal.

To watch Anthony’s hilarious, yet heartbreaking video click here:

Have you participated in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? What are your favorite #IceBucketChallenge videos?

How The Hit Show Scandal Lit My PR Fire

May 1, 2014

Some PR practitioners may be naturally born and bred for the industry, others are not. I happen to be one of them-good news for me, all is not lost! After spending years in event marketing and even dabbling in acting and modeling, something happened to me-a popular television show inspired a shift.

Scandal, starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, ignited my curiosity and passion for PR. Watching her act as a fire extinguisher, share stories and form powerful relationships with heavy hitters lit my fire!  Her performance got me thinking, I can be a PR pro too!  A little voice inside my head said, “think outside the box Stacey, and don’t just limit yourself to marketing or modeling. Don’t just consume. Create…” Yes the voice inside my head really said all of that!

After listening to my voice, I recognized three PR touch points: create a story, share the story, track the story. These are just a few of the things I am blessed to do on a daily basis in my position as a Public Relations Account Executive with Ebben Zall Group. Our boutique firm is packed with brilliant individuals who just “get it.” We understand the value of public relations campaigns and leveraging our clients’ goals.  Many are drawn to big powerhouse media, PR and marketing firms, and at EZG I have learned to never underestimate the power of a focused and fun boutique agency. Similar to Pope and Associates, a small group of brilliant people who get the job done well-EZG is home to a tight knit group of people who work well together and get results.

It's handled.

My inner Olivia Pope says, “It’s handled.”

PR and communication professionals all over the world are mastering new skills. More so, modern day television characters featured in Scandal and Mad Men, are representing the industry on a wide scale. These shows are providing a sneak peek inside the industry of people like you and me- the communications pro.  Because of these characters, the general public is now exposed to what we do every day; integrating strategy and creativity for powerful results. .

From the CEO all the way down to the interns, at EZG, one of our goals is to identify our why. We ask, what makes you tick? The natural born storytellers, loud mouths and those who hold eclectic career paths have become more attractive.Those in a position to hire are asking potential employees “what lights your fire?” and brilliant blazing teams are being built because of it.

You and I are fire extinguishers because we create content, we establish credibility, we encourage connections and are master storytellers. We integrate marketing into our PR efforts mixing the traditional with out of the box strategies. All in all, I have noticed our efforts drive new big business.

At least, that’s what’s being done here at Ebben Zall Group and man am I happy to be a part of it.

Did you know ABC’s hot show Scandal was inspired by the real life of PR Pro and Crisis Manager Judy Smith?

Take a look at Barbara Walter’s interview with Judy Smith and tell us how it inspires you @Ebben_Zall 

 

 

Which brands won at the Oscars?

March 7, 2014

Sure, everyone loves a good awards show.  Glitter, glamour, gowns, and stumbling celebrities make for great theater.  And while the nation (world?) tuned in, there were a few brands that deserve special recognition for making of the most of their exposure:

  1. Best Intentional Product Placement: Samsung
    Samsung takes home the prize for what’s been dubbed “the selfie seen around the world.”  Host Ellen DeGeneres set social media on fire when she whipped out a white Samsung Galaxy, grabbed some pals, and took a selfie with Hollywood’s hottest stars.

    What a spontaneous coup for Samsung, right?  But the plot twist is a familiar one: Samsung paid big sponsorship dollars for product placement through the evening, and the selfie was a smoothly executed part of the plan.  Yes, we’ve seen that one before, but high marks for execution and follow through.  Bravo.

  2. Best Surprise Product Placement: Big Mamas & Papas Pizzeria

    Big Mamas & Papas Pizzeria scored an unexpected on-air win when Ellen called on them for a celebrity delivery.  They knew they’d be tapped for backstage hunger pangs, but didn’t realize their pizza would be shared with the A list.  According to NBC Los Angeles, “The restaurant didn’t spend a dime on the stunt and received advertising for free, all thanks to DeGeneres’ desire to feed her celebrity family.”

    The store is now trying to capitalize on their Oscar appearance by selling their apparel right on the homepage.  Can they roll the momentum into a sequel?

  3. Best Unintentional Product Placement: Coca Cola
    Coke doesn’t necessarily deserve free advertising, but they got it when their logo appeared on those surprise pizza boxes.  See?  Stay loyal to Main Street and reap the benefits.

    Having the brand splashed on camera (and all over social media) was made sweeter by the fact that Coke yielded its traditional Oscar sponsorship to Pepsi this year.

  4. Most consistent brand to take 2nd place: Pepsi
    Ah, Pepsi.  Will you ever win?  Or are you destined to spend blockbuster dollars, only to yield the spotlight.  Perhaps Leo should take over as official Pepsi spokesperson.  Yeah, I went there.

Stay classy, Hollywood…until next year!

What’s in a Hashtag? Entire strategies!

February 27, 2014

Hashtag

Pound sign, number sign, hashtag; whatever you want to call it, this little symbol has impacted the marketing sphere for all who work in the communications industry. It’s hard to remember a time when hashtags weren’t part of marketing campaigns because they play such a significant role when building a strategy. In fact, in some cases the hashtag is the strategy.

Since hashtags are supported on multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest) marketers realize using hashtags can be advantageous for bigger picture gains. Hashtags can be used to reach target audiences in a fun, engaging and social way that other forms of marketing materials can’t. By using hashtags, brands can create a quick connection to a large group, and if brands are really smart, they’ll connect the hashtag with a feeling. Creating an emotional connection enables the hashtag to leverage a positive brand image for an organization or individual. For example, Honda aired its touchy-feely #HugFest campaign (starring Bruce Willis) during the Super Bowl. Honda purposely did not mention their brand within the hashtag, in order to generalize it and position it to a larger group. Honda then went the extra mile and supported the #Hugfest social media campaign by launching a series of YouTube videos. Doing so caused the #HugFest hashtag to take off like a Civic Coupe on a race track. Marketers at Honda clearly know that everybody can use a hug now and then, and were wise to correlate a “warm and fuzzy” feeling with the famous auto maker.

Additionally, hashtags can be used as a fierce weapon to differentiate brands from competitors. For example, Yoplait Greek Yogurt flipped their lid and created a duel with competition brand, Chobani (the Greek yogurt giant). After realizing they would rather win the “who’s better” battle fair and square (instead of swooning shoppers with studly John Stamos) Yoplait formed the hashtag #TasteOff as a way to motivate customer feedback. A risky move that even Uncle Jesse couldn’t combat.

Yoplait invited real consumers to go spoon to spoon and vote in the #TasteOff on Twitter. Ladies and ‘gents, Yoplait won the brand battle right then and there. At EZG, we can stand behind a hashtag campaign that inspires direct engagement with consumers and promotes real brand loyalty across social media. Consumers want to be involved; they want to be spoken to and know when they’re being sold. Through a simple hashtag, Yoplait kicked off the conversation that inspired brand loyalty amongst consumers, a tasty move indeed.

At EZG we participate in hashtag specific campaigns on behalf of our clients. We conduct industry research and survey the conversations taking place on social media in order to be active social listeners. When monitoring hashtags, we filter out the noise and find the windows of hashtag opportunity where our clients can promote their brand, position the brand ahead of competitors, or just simply engage with an existing audience. Whether it is a brand specific campaign using a designated hashtag, or a hashtag that is used during an event, we understand the power that hashtags have and we love it.

What are some of your favorite hashtag campaigns? Comment and let us know which brands you think use hashtags effectively or tweet us @ebben_zall.

Two great brands that tweet great together

October 4, 2013

Just a few weeks ago I posted about “staying on top of the media mix,” looking at how the industry lines between PR, advertising, and social media are blurring to create effective marketing campaigns. I discussed how Honda’s #WantNewCar campaign strategy implemented all three elements cohesively and engaged with target audiences.  And guess what? Honda is at it again!

In my opinion, the car-maker is blazing past other automotive companies when it comes to utilizing social media as a powerful marketing medium. Honda has taken to Twitter to promote a new feature added to the 2014 Honda Odyssey: a tiny, built-in vacuum that is fueling a social media surge that has sucked in the Twitter feeds of major consumer brands. Yes, a minivan and a vacuum have started a conversation that turned into a viral marketing sensation. The promotion of the newly designed Odyssey kicked off with a series of cute commercials, featuring the vacuum at center stage. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, check it out here:

After Honda captured viewers with the commercial, the marketers turned their attention to twitter. While scrolling feeds on October 1st, I noticed that Honda began tweeting @ other brands, using the vacuum as a conversation starter. Honda posted tweets that demonstrated the sucking power of the vacuum using products from companies like Oreo and Lego.  Consequently, those brands began to retweet the clever pictures and captions to their own audiences, and the campaign gained viral stardom.   

Who would have ever thought that Oreo and Honda would engage in a cross-promotional twitter strategy that appeals to the mass market?  Here’s a slide show of the images and tweets posted by Honda:

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More and more on social media we’re seeing corporate brands using digital platforms to push their overall brand or a specific product. Whether they’re taking advantage of timely content (like Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout ad), or launching a planned campaign  like Honda’s Odyssey vacuum effort, social media helps to get the message directly in front of the consumer.

Honda’s social media strategy was successful because:

  • The tweets were short and to the point.
  • They targeted brands that share their audience (families with small children) – parents can relate to lost Lego’s and cookie crumbs on the floor of their car.
  • Targeted popular brands with a large following, and using dynamic images that were designed to be easily shared amongst large groups of people.

In public relations, we are our clients’ storytellers, so it’s our duty to know which mediums act as the best platforms to get the message out. In our work with automotive clients at EZG, keeping up to date with campaigns from brands like Honda is a no brainer, so we always think of ways that we tie broader corporate campaigns to our local clients. Whether companies use other brands to help push their message, piggy back off of a corporate campaign, or blend traditional advertising and PR with social media, integrating messages and media is what delivers the best and most convincing campaigns.

Staying on top of the media mix

September 6, 2013

When it comes to PR, advertising, social media, and marketing, it’s all blending together. Many times, these disciplines cross over one another as the digital influence continues to grow and becomes intertwined with other tactics. The different spheres are no longer their own element. Social isn’t just a Twitter account, and ads are not just aimed at people watching TV; every piece is being integrated. As everything meshes the goal is still the same – to influence the audience with your message. So why not become a fluid brand and spread your message across all channels? Two brands that really come to mind when thinking about integrated campaigns are Honda and VitaminWater.

Even if you tried, you couldn’t escape Honda’s Summer Clearance campaign, it was everywhere. Whether you were watching TV, on Twitter or Vine, or listening to the radio, Honda utilized all of these outlets to fuel their annual Summer Clearance event. They advised consumers to use the hashtag, “#WantNewcar” to express why they want a new Honda and they could win one. Honda’s commercials then also featured some of these tweets. This campaign enabled Honda to do a very important thing: engage with the consumer and reward them for it.

honda pic

The sport drinks arena is a competitive one, so VitaminWater came up with a campaign to differentiate themselves from the others. Like Honda, they implemented a hashtag (#MakeBoringBrilliant) and used it not only on Twitter but across their ads as well. They got their audience talking about their brand, and engaged with their consumers.

vita water pic

These are the case studies that jump out at us, because from social media management to traditional PR efforts, advertising and creative design, EZG handles a continuous mix of tactics to build the best strategies for clients. The best part about it? We get to keep an eye on the ever-changing landscape, and look for ways to take campaigns to the next level – with kudos to campaigns like Honda’s by RPA and VitaminWater’s by CP&B.  If you’ve seen campaigns that put brands in the best light by integrating their message across different channels, please share!

Bringing interaction with real HUMANS into social media

July 19, 2013

Social media is awesome. I live, love, and breathe my social networks, and if you’re reading this post you probably do too. New apps and social networking sites continue to pop up daily (example: #RoyalBabyApp), and to keep up, our eyes and ears become glued to our devices. We take “selfies”, check emails, create short videos on Vine, and filter photos on Instagram.  Let’s be honest, we’re all hooked.

In the age of social media communication, news is traveling at light-speed.   As social media users, we all live this experience every single day. YouTube videos go viral and are passed around to co-workers and friends; a cute note written by a child is plastered across Twitter, and sporting event highlights are replayed over and over again.  So it’s shocking to think that until recently, a Facebook page had fallen under my radar.  There is a community page on Facebook that I wish I had been aware of all along, because of its emphasis on the human spirit. Simply put, I think this page is the bee’s knees.

Humans of New York (HONY) was started by a man named Brandon in the summer of 2010 with the idea that he could construct a photographic census of NYC’s inhabitants. With every photo, Brandon interviews the person (or persons) in the photo and includes a few blurbs from their chat as a caption to the photo.  Over the course of his journey, HONY has become a sensation on Facebook. With close to a million “likes”, the page is verified, and followers comment, like, and share every post. HONY doesn’t give out prizes, they’re not a consumer brand giant, and it is not a celebrity news page–so what makes photographing people in NYC so captivating?

I believe that HONY’s popularity is due to the fact that it combines social media with a personable touch.  In the infinite sea of social media profiles, all users are looking for something that provides a personal connection and HONY is that something.  From NYC’s smallest members, to the oldest, wisest, and most unique, HONY showcases it all.  HONY displays real life situations through its photos, and because of this, followers can relate to their own experiences through the stories.  Followers of the page share their thoughts and thank Brandon for the photos because they serve as a way to stir up conversation and provide insight on the human experience.  Here are a few of those photos taken from the HONY Facebook page:

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As a PR and social media maven, I want to take a step back and analyze HONY from a personal point of view. I’d say that HONY is doing an amazing job of:

  1. Fulfilling their goal/mission
  2. Engaging and connecting with their audience
  3. Creating and spreading important and profound messages

All brands attempt to relate to their targets, and establish a trust in their audience. With a book drop scheduled for October, I’d say that HONY has not only captured the hearts of its digital friends, but those traditional print minds as well.

Are you using the social media cycle?

July 8, 2013

3 Additional Tips for PR Success: A blog post collaboration authored by EZG’s PR Squad

On EZG TV, we recently discussed the basics of how social media and public relations practices fit together. Traditional media and approaches to PR remain crucial to shaping a story, but social media outlets provide us with an additional toolset.  Traditional media is a great “one to many” channel, and by working with journalists and other influencers we can help bring a story to life online, in print, and in broadcast media.

Social media gives another dimension to the story.  It allows companies to directly engage with audiences, provides an outlet to monitor conversations and trends, and serves as a forum to add expertise and unique experiences. This engagement with our audience allows us to connect with them on a more personal level; in a nutshell, companies are no longer just a brand, they have a personality!

To hear more of our tips on social media, please check out our EZG TV video.  As a bonus, we are sharing 3 additional tips that take social media plans to the next level:

  1. Don’t forget about creating original content

Original content is key to an influential social media presence. In order to attract attention and maintain your audience, you must come up with unique content that highlights your expertise. For example, each week we publish an EZG Tip of the Week on Facebook and Twitter as a piece of original content. We take our advertising, PR, and media relations expertise and create our own ways to share that information with our audience on social media.  We advise clients to do the same – what better way to communicate your original expertise than by sharing it to your audience of influencers?

  1. Respond and Engage

We touched on this a bit in our video, but social media is the go-to platform for responding and engaging with your target audience.   Social media allows consumer brands to respond to comments, reviews, or posts in a timely manner, opening the door to customer interaction. When something positive or negative appears on your Facebook page, for example, companies can reach out directly to the poster and respond to the situation quickly and appropriately.

Additionally, our clients ask us how we can be proactive as opposed to reactive.  Our answer is: ask questions!

People love to be asked a question because it makes them feel as though someone is listening.  This kind of brand engagement was big with consumers when Lay’s launched its “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, for which fans were asked to vote on a new potato chip flavor. The winning flavor would be Lay’s latest chip to hit the shelves. Bonus Tip: By asking your audience questions, not only are you demonstrating that you value their thoughts, but it also allows the brands to tap into the wants and needs of their audience.

  1. Pick Appropriate Channels

There are multiple sites that you can utilize on social media, but it is important to pick the right channels for your brand and message. Most consumer brands take advantage of a wide variety of channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. A consumer brand can utilize almost any social media site, but the content on each site should vary. For example, photo sites should share posts that inspire desire, Twitter posts should be designed to spark a conversation, and Facebook posts should be full of relevant information.

Professional brands must also choose appropriate channels for social media. Unlike consumer brands, it is not always appropriate for a professional brand to be on all forms of social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and a corporate blog are much more appropriate and influential channels for professional brands.  When crafting original content on a corporate blog, professional brands should utilize “share” tools as a way to engage with their followers.

These 3 tips – as well as the points we discuss on EZG TV – are all important elements to consider when making the most of your social media presence. When you use each feature properly you will see the benefits of social media content: the right channel that communicates your original content will help engage audiences, and effectively bring more traffic back to your website…it’s the social media cycle!

Speaking of original content, we are always interested in your thoughts; do you have any tips for creating posts on social media?  Let us know @ebben_Zall

Adidas: All Day I Dream About Sales

April 10, 2013

win for Ware

March Madness has come to an end with the Louisville Cardinals being crowned the Men’s NCAA Division 1 champions. But almost two weeks ago the spirit of the team was crushed when sophomore stand out Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture to his right tibia on live television. If you were fortunate enough to miss that game you were spared the unexpected gross factor, but social media outlets like Twitter (#PrayForWare) and YouTube quickly got you caught up to speed.

CBS – the network that was broadcasting the game – acknowledged the severity and sensitivity of this injury and chose to limit the amount of times they replayed the incident. Instead, they took to airing the reactions of fellow teammates, the competing Duke team, and the expressions of those in the arena. I truly give CBS kudos for their tasteful actions.

However, not everyone involved in “March Madness” acted with such class. Almost immediately after Ware’s injury, Adidas – which is the University of Louisville’s athletic sponsor – created a T-shirt sporting their new slogan “Rise to the Occasion.” The problem? The “S” in “Rise” was the same font and color of Louisville’s #5, Kevin Ware’s jersey number. Adidas saw the endless amounts of prayers, well wishes, and support from fans, fellow Universities, and even NBA players, and so they decided to capitalize on the situation. They directly played on the emotions of the consumers who were supporting the student-athlete, and used that player’s injury to make a buck.

For $24.99 consumers were able to purchase the t-shirt (until recently when Adidas pulled the t-shirt from sales). What makes this marketing fiasco even more of a hot topic is the constant discussions of whether or not college athletes should be paid. I personally do not think student-athletes should be compensated. You choose to play a sport, you choose to go to a big time school, and if you’re a great player you go into that University knowing that your school will profit off of your success. I personally believe student-athletes and their schools use each other to better themselves. The school provides the platform for you to be seen, bettering your chances of playing professionally, and in return they market your legacy to attract revenue and recruit new students.

The issue that I have with Adidas is that Kevin Ware wasn’t the all-star player on Louisville’s roster. He became famous because of his injury, and to profit off of his misfortune is distasteful to say the least. His injury was used by a multibillion dollar company for marketing, and the NCAA as well as Louisville stood idly by instead of protecting their student-athlete from exploitation.

Kevin Ware’s basketball future seems uncertain. To come back from such an extreme injury will take time, dedication, and support from those around him. My hope is that the school and the NCAA remember that this is a young man who may go pro at something other than sports, so it is important for them to support him on and off the court.


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