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The Chill of the Moment

The Big Chill Part II: 5 Steps to Transform a Moment into a Movement

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought we’d do exactly that: throw it back to 2014 when  we were all engrossed with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The big news: it’s coming back.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is coming back, appropriately tweaked!

And the ALS Association is following some sage advice as it reintroduces the Challenge this August: When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; just tweak it. The unexpected worldwide virility and success of this campaign had marketers, fundraisers and the public take notice. The ultimate reward: the birth of a movement.  Given the promotions unprecedented success, ALS is turning the Ice Bucket Challenge into an annual event until there’s a cure. this week, I examine the association’s tactics to transform the campaign into a full-scale cause marketing initiative. But first, let’s do a quick throwback to August, 2014:

Jeanette Senerchia and Anthony Senerchia, who is living with ALS and a co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, ask you to accept the Challenge again this year

The back story: What started out as a single video plea from an afflicted ALS person first diagnosed with the disease at age 26, has turned into one of the best examples of a successful fundraising and awareness campaign of a horrific disease with no known cure. Through the use of social media as Facebook and YouTube, the Challenge quickly caught on and exploded into a global social phenomenon.

The results: Last year, more than 17 million ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos were posted to Facebook which were watched by 440 million people,10 billion times. More than $220 million was raised globally with $115 million going to The ALS Association to fund new initiatives to find treatments and a cure for the disease.

So how did they do it, turn a moment into a movement?

Here are five simple steps:

A Lesson in Cause-Marketing: 5 Steps to go from a Moment to a Movement

Marketing Materials like this one help turn a moment into a movement.

1. Partner with Known Organizations:Major League Baseball has teamed up with ALS to launch this year’s campaign with a big splash! Throughout the month, each Major League Club will host its own ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and will then challenge another franchise, plus two other local personalities or organizations, to participate in the charitable effort. In addition, they plan to encourage their fans to donate to the cause. MLB is also donating $100,000 to The ALS Association.

2. Tweak Key Messaging: to transform the campaign messaging into the overall objective of making a movement, a simple tweak was all that was needed. Take the Ice Bucket Challenge to adding #EveryAugustUntilaCure.

3. Adapt with the Times: The serious drought of 2015 in some sections of the country has added a wrinkle to this year’s Challenge Campaign. But, the ALS savvy marketing team has provided alternative ways to take the challenge for the drought-conscience that are sensitive to the drought-laden residents with water restrictions. Suggestions include:
– Take the challenge in an existing body of water like a lake or ocean.
– Fill your bucket with an alternate substance like spare buttons, kale, or good karma.
– Skip the first few steps of the challenge and simply donate money to ALS.

New additions to the Ice Bucket Challenge:

4. Create Relevant Marketing Materials. Embellish the existing campaign with¬ “how-to” marketing materials such as infographics, videos, content, and downloadable images for social media use to further expand the messaging and call to action.¬

In 2015, will the Challenge go Up Periscope?

5. Go Social. Will 2015 be the year we see the Ice Bucket challenges on Periscope? The increase of social video options in 2015 has the potential to even more quickly bring a campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge to virility. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of these new social video channels are utilized this year.

It’s not uncommon to repeat a winning campaign and turn it into a recurring annual event. That’s actually how most annual campaigns are born. The global social phenomenon of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a marketer’s dream come true. Transforming the moment into an annual movement is an ideal way to capitalize on an already proven cause marketing winner. Have a Tremendous Thursday. AS

Tags: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, cause marketing, social video, MLB

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Splendor in the Grass Roots

Splendor in the Grass Roots: How to Effectively Use Grass Roots Marketing

The grass is always greener with a grass roots approach.

Sometimes, the best communications tool to optimize word of mouth and  increase your return on investment is to incorporate and implement tried and true marcom tactics  at the grass roots level. Coupled with modern day technology in the form of social media, you can find splendor in the grass roots of your overall marketing campaign.

Whether your campaign is to launch a new brand, store or initiative, appeal to constituents to win favor on an issue, or to simply boost awareness in markets that need concentration, community outreach to stimulate word of mouth marketing plays an essential role.

With grass roots, all marketing is local

An effective Grassroots campaign is when you reach consumers and influencers in your key market(s) and passionately engage them to spur conversation and take action. Success is reached when you get them to care so passionately about your brand/cause  that they become your evangelists, your ultimate word of mouth tools; your cheerleaders.

Easier said than done? Not really. If you are creative, know your target audience, familiarize yourself with the targeted communities’ needs and tie your key messaging for both, you can achieve splendor in the grass roots approach, too.

Here are two examples of effective grass roots outreach, one campaign completed, the other in progress. In each instance, they utilize old school marcom approaches to reach their objectives.

Campaign In-Progress

Stowaway Cosmetics

The Brand: Stowaway Cosmetics, offering today’s woman a product line of portable makeup basics, using the highest quality ingredients for luxurious products small enough to be stowed away in any clutch, gym, or travel bag.

The Objective: to raise awareness of its product line and e-commmerce site to gain customers and ultimately increase sales.

Upcoming Chicago Stowaway Summer Pop Up Event Facebook Invite at http://stowawayatrenttherunwaychicago.splashthat.com/?preview

The Campaign: A four-city tour to host a one-night only pop-up store event in select major market cities. New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Los Angeles

The Event: A Summer Pop-Up Event featuring an evening of shopping, touch-ups and wine, with discounted offers on select items at the venue. Chicago’s Pop Up event takes place Tuesday, July 28 at fashionista fave Rent The Runway store.

The Tactics: A live event promoted in each targeted market via a mix of social media marketing, direct email marketing, publicity ,co-partnering and word of mouth marketing

The Result: TBD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Completed Campaign

Uber2The Brand – UBER NYC, a ride-hailing taxi service offering consumers an alternative in transport.

The Cause – Don’t Strand New York; Save Uber NYC

The Issue – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was holding a vote to prevent more Uber Cars/Drivers in New York which would stunt its growth in the city for one year while it conducted a study on traffic congestion.

The Campaign:  A mix of targeted on-air commercials, radio spots, digital and print ads plus direct email marketing that flooded the New York City area last week. Included were on-air commercials attacking the mayor’s plan to cap Uber’s growth, featuring Uber NYC drivers endorsing the ride-service for providing jobs, coupled with a voice-over of how essential the ride hailing service is and will continue to be in the near future to NYC employment.

In addition, Uber gained positive media attention, op-ed endorsements from the major New York City-area newspapers, flooded the market with radio spots and flooded New Yorkers with direct email marketing messages asking to tweet the Mayor to stop the vote Don’t Strand New York

The Result: As of late yesterday afternoon, Mayor de Blasio announced he would postpone the vote for one year while the city conducted its traffic congestion study.

Creating happy, emotionally connected consumers and influencers that voluntarily want to share your brand’s message forward to the masses, especially in their communities, will lead to loyal consumers, enhanced reputation, strengthened awareness and ultimately, a boost in your ROI. Have a Fabulous Friday. AS

Tags: grassroots marketing, wom, advertising, Uber, stowaway cosmetics

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5 Tips to Increase Your Networking ROI

5 Tips to Increase Your Networking ROI

The importance of networking for a marketing communications professional can play an even more important role in ROI, if done correctly. As marketers and promoters of all things, it’s a given that networking is an integral part of our everyday life. How to network and capitalize on those meet and greets, friendships, conferences, social functions, charity events and the like is equally and even more essential in a marketer’s business. The ultimate ROI for any marketing communications professional occurs when a networking contact and business lead converts into a long-term client.

Today, in honor of Throwback Thursday, I revisit my blog from 2014, and take a page from Abbe Sparks Media Group and my personal experience with networking. As a marcom professional whose nickname is “miss-connected,” I am delighted to share my expertise on how we have maximized our ROI. The key is to constantly communicate with individuals you already know and those you just meet from events, business functions and social gatherings; follow up on their potential leads and convert all into happy, repeat clients

Never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up.

1. Don’t Burn Bridges – A savvy PR woman executive gave me the best piece of advice when I first started out in the business world at Warner Communications, “never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up. I guarantee it will come back to hurt you.” I can’t reiterate enough the importance of this advice. Although I changed jobs a few times throughout my career, I have remained connected with her and other then young marcom professionals from 20 years ago that have and still prove to be essential to my ROI. Some of these pros are now heads of networks, agencies and top television producers.

Make new friends but keep the old

2. Get Personal – “Make new friends but keep the old.” When promoting or sharing an event, business endeavor or a client’s news or benefit, include your personal friends in your communications and social media marketing. The personal friends I include date back to grade school. Again, some of them are powerful influencers, captains of industry and all of them are consumers.
 

Social Media is a major help in networking but is no substitute for personal interaction.

3, Use Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other social networks are an essential networking tool that provides a simple and time-effective way to keep in touch with old and new friends. Thanks in large part to Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with some long, lost childhood friends and even gained some amazing clients. Recently, I posted last week’s blog entry on Google+ and a college friend emailed me with a new potential client – his company.

4. LinkedIn, Meet-Ups and other Like-Minded Social Sites – Capitalize on LinkedIn’s value as a networking tool. Attend LinkedIn local networking events. Utilize other like-minded network sites wherever possible. I can’t say enough about grabbing any and every potential opportunity that arises.

Don’t be a wallflower.

5. Be Physically Visible – Getting yourself out there is as equally important as sitting behind a computer to post or message. Attend as many networking functions, conferences and events as physically possible, time allowing. There are many events that are cost-effective and free, so don’t miss out.

Net, net – As marcom pros, we need to network as it can prove to be the most powerful ROI tool for our business. Have a Terrific Thursday. As

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A Grateful Marketing Experience Wrapped in Red, White & Blue

The Grateful Dead Lives: A Lesson in Experiential Marketing

Originally POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS JULY 2, 2015
GratefulDeadbanner
Strong brands create strong feelings among their constituents.

The ultimate experiential marketer comes in the form of a rock ‘n roll band known as The Grateful Dead, who have been stimulating and inspiring feel-good emotions for their fans for 50 years.   A marketing pioneer in creating the ‘ultimate experience’, the legendary band marched to their own drummer, inspiring a movement of peace, love and independence – allowing their fans to be free to express their individuality and market/sell their bootleg recordings of their concerts at will. They built up a direct mailing list and sold concert tickets directly to their fans.

The result: a dedicated, active community and lifestyle of “Deadheads” that spreads the legendary band’s music and beliefs freely across the globe via all channels of communication.

Ahead of its time? No.

experiencepic
The legendary band is a marketing pioneer in creating the ‘ultimate experience

Experiential is a newer term in the marketing world that many of us call consumer awareness promotion, publicity stunts, community outreach, word of mouth, etc.   The goal of experiential marketing is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by engaging them emotionally in a fun and memorable experience; one that stirs genuine positive emotions within people which makes them more likely to associate those emotions with that brand.

ConcertPic
The ultimate experience. The Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” Concert in Santa Clara June 28th had fans feeling the good karma with the controversial, yet beautiful rainbow overhead. Fabrication or real? Jury is still out.

In the spirit of freedom and The Grateful Dead’s final concerts in Chicago over the July 4th holiday, this week I highlight one of the most brilliant and effective experiential marketing events that’s reach extends far beyond the experience on a variety of marcom and social media platforms. The Fare Thee Well Concert uses America’s Independence Holiday to build brand and fan loyalty, awareness, advocacy and ignite social impact.

SocialMediaGD
Here’s an example of how the band extends its event and brand awareness on Facebook, one of a variety of social media platforms they utilize.

Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead – These final concert experiences takes on a real-time and after-life of its own across all marcom channels including publicity, mobile, cause, content and social media marketing, promotion, video live streaming, retail sales and more. A sampling of their promotion includes: three live concerts, thousands of extended parties, livestreaming and pay-per-view events planned in Chicago and throughout the country.  

ParticipationRow
Grateful Causes will not fade away. Participation Row is one spin-off element of the Grateful Dead’s experiential marketing event.

Whether you’re “listening to Grateful Dead” live …, you can now share your status on Facebook by following these steps: 1. Click Status 2. Click on the smiley face 3. Click on “Listening To” 4. Click Grateful Dead and then your post will feature the nifty icon at the top of this post!

This weekend may mark the end of a musical era for the iconic band, but the Grateful Dead’s merchandising and charitable mission to make an impact for social change will not fade way!   The rock band has been giving back to the community for 50 years through the Rex Foundation, one of the first band-affiliated 501c3 non-profits. Continuing their charitable mission, members of the Grateful Dead invited 16 nonprofits to form a “Participation Row” area at the final Chicago concerts, which will offer fans an opportunity to interact with the organizations that have formed such an important part of the Dead community.

So, for Experiential Marketing to be most effective, it should be an important tool in an overall marcom campaign. Taking a page from The Grateful Dead’s Song Book – “…wave that flag, wave it far and wide,” — do it well and you’ll create brand or fan advocates who will further spread your messages and become a loyal customer/fan for life. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace and Love. AS

Tags: #experiential marketing, #The Grateful Dead, #faretheewell #chicago #social change

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5 Killer LiveStream Apps to Know

Live Video Streaming Via Social Media: 5 Killer Apps You Should Know About

JUNE 17, 2015

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS for RFPALOOZA

Social video live mobile streaming is the current and most likely future darling in the social media fray as evident by the recent crop up of new social video mobile apps and live streaming partnerships – the most recent being June 9th’s Huffington Post announcement of its partnership with Broadband TV.

Abbe Sparks Media
LiveStreaming Video is going Mobile

All indicators are pointing to the fact that social video will quickly become an important new tool that every marketing communications professional should be aware of. Video currently accounts for over three fourths of all web traffic and that number is expected to grow. And, native video is seeing even faster growth. I am always on the lookout for the most optimal methods to promote my clients’ brands and initiatives and this week, I thought I would share with you my top five picks of mobile app offerings in this social marketing arena.  

Five Social Video Mobile Apps Brands Should Know

 

Periscope– acquired by Twitter in March, this is the app I am most enthusiastic about. Fully integrated with Twitter, it allows you to immediately connect with your existing Twitter followers – your built-in audience – and engage them in real- time live video streams by sharing your experiences, such as an event or speaking engagement. Periscope will save your videos to the app if you choose, and they’ll be available for viewing by your followers for 24 hours. You can also opt to save your videos to your phone’s camera roll. While still in its infancy, Periscope is quickly catching on with PR and Ad agencies for brand building and engagement.

Meerkat – is also an inexpensive and easy to use mobile video app. Similar in use to Periscope, the key differences are: when you live stream on Meerkat, your viewers can also text chat with you during your broadcast in real time, plus the mobile app doesn’t automatically record your videos. But, your video will automatically save to YouTube if you use the katch hashtag in your broadcast title or comment with #katch during your stream.

Hang w/ – Launched in March 2013, this mobile app claims they were the early adapters of live streaming video. Hang w/ allows users to stream live video plus broadcast it simultaneously to friends and followers on their Facebook and Twitter networks. You can host your live stream on a web page and send followers there using Hang w/’s web widget.

Facebook – Not that long ago, the social network added native video to their plethora of consumer-friendly offerings. Using its own video player, when you upload videos to your page, the news feed publicly shows how many views you receive. For brands seeking ways to connect with their FB fans, natively posted videos are now a sure bet as they are getting better organic reach than video posts hosted by competing social networks.

YouTube – The granddaddy of video sharing, this google-owned social video network has its first serious competitor in Facebook and its video sharing platform. Yet, YouTube is still very much a major force to consider when sharing your brand’s messaging, so do not discount them as a key weapon in your overall marketing mix.

According to several speakers at last February’s Social Media Week in NYC – Facebook is giving Google’s YouTube service a serious run for itsmoney and warned us not to be surprised if some day in the not so distant future, the social media giant overtook YouTube as the video streaming social network of choice. And, in a recent Fortune article, it was reported that Facebook’s video traffic has reached 4 billion daily views, making the social network YouTube’s first real rival in online video—and an even tougher contender in the battle for digital ad dollars.

So my fellow colleagues, social live video mobile apps are definitely worth experimenting with. It costs you nothing to see if you have an audience ready to view your brand’s content, experience or event. And in the process, you might become an instant hit film maker. Have a Wonderful Wednesday! AS

Tags: #socialmedia #mobile #videostreaming #tech #marketing #PR #advertising

*Originally posted by Abbe Sparks in her blog “ABBES SPARKS” for RFPalooza.

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Branding Yourself for Business Bliss

5 Steps to Effective Self-Branding

Last week, I talked about finding time to brand your agency or self. (Branding Me: A Matter of Time) This week, I elaborate on self-branding by offering tips on how to compile a checklist for a small to medium-size agency’s and/or individual practitioner’s self-branding agenda.

To thine own brand be true.

As marketing communications professionals who are experts at branding others, the most difficult challenge we face is branding ourselves. Yes, it’s a given that in order to be successful, retain existing clients and secure new accounts we have to promote our achievements. However, quite frankly, when do we find the time?

We must find the time to self-brand; its essential and the key to ROI. The same rules of thumb that apply to branding our clients also apply to us. We just have to stay the course and create a bullet proof self-branding program that we can fit into our busy schedules..

Here are 5 Tips for Agency and/or Self-Practitioner Branding that should be on everybody’s checklist:

  1. Join Professional Organizations. There are numerous professional organizations in our line of work that tout our accomplishments, provide endorsements and the like such as Public Relations Society of America, the Advertising Association, Direct Marketing Association, Better Business Bureau.
Finding time to brand one's self is key to increasing ROI
Finding time to brand one’s self is key to increasing ROI
  1. Network, Network, Network! Attend professional organization events, meet-ups and client-category events.
  1. Showcase your Expertise. Seek out speaking conferences and panelist opportunities that reinforce your role as an expert in your field. No time? Write a guest blog or share your professional opinion on social media channels such as LinkedIn.
Membership in professional organizations can help elevate your profile.

4.  Gain Recognition in your Profession. Apply for awards in your category. There are many opportunities to be recognized in our field – whichever communications specialty you focus on.

5.  Promote Yourself! Capitalize on media interview opportunities as an expert in your field.

Winning a few awards doesn’t hurt either.

So, fellow marketers, these are just a few of the myriad of ways to jumpstart your branding of your agency or self. Have a wonderful Wednesday. As

Tags: #SelfBranding #marketing #advertising #PR

BY ABBE SPARKS

By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.

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Stealing Time to Self-Brand

Branding Me: A Matter of Time

Clients and Family First, What About Me, Me, Myself and I?  – Promoting Thyself or Thy Agency

To some, self-branding may be narcissistic, but it’s a vital tool in today’s economy.

Promoting and Branding yourself or your agency is essential to every marcom professional’s business –whether an individual practitioner oragency owner – from acquiring new accounts to retention to notoriety to return on investment. Yet, most often, the practice of marketing oneself or agency takes a back seat to existing clients’ needs, family matters, and professional, charitable and volunteer commitments.

The old adage – woman and children first, can be rephrased here to state “clients, family and charity first.” Case in point – this blog comes out, for the mostpart every Wednesday dependent on a variety of factors: my business, workload, etc. Today being Thursday, obviously I did not get to this blog. Reason being: client deadlines, writing a speech for my mother, my children’s travel plans now that college year is almost done, and the list goes on.

Sometimes there just aren't enough minutes in the day.
Sometimes there just aren’t enough minutes in the day.

For me, it is essential that I continue a steady stream of branding Abbe Sparks Media Group, Abbe Sparks and our clients, and this ‘Abbe’s Sparks’ blog. Due to the frustrations I encounter when I can’t get it all done, I thought I’d share a few tips on time-management when it comes to branding yourself or your company:

Early bird catches the news – Wake up an hour earlier in order to schedule social media postings that highlight your company or its endeavors for the day; check your inbox and make sure you share the relevant news with all.

• Steal Time – Try to block 15 minutes to a half hour during lunchtime to catch up on social media notifications, posts and updates. Or, use this free time (I know, what’s that, right?) to delve into your to do list of self-promotion items, such as award entry forms.

Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one's self.
Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one’s self.

• Play Time – All work and no play makes a burnt out executive. Make sure to get those endorphins going at the gym, socialize with friends or catch a movie to recharge your batteries.

• Night Owls – Sometimes, returning from a night out can be invigorating and allow you that second wind of creativity to apply to your self-promotion.

• Take Comfort – You are not alone, and eventually, will achieve success.

So fellow marketers, take a page from me as my sign off for this blog is usually have a wonderful Wednesday, but if I can’t get to writing it in time, it turns into have a terrific Thursday – and this week, it’s have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend. as

BY ABBE SPARKS

By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.

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The Suite Spot: The Value of PR in a Digital World

Do You Know Your Suite Spot?

I write to you from the PR Measurement Conference hosted by PR News at the prestigious National Press Club in our nation’s Capital. Public Relations practitioners — like their marketing counterparts – are on a constant quest to seek the optimal social listening, measurement and analytics tools to maximize ROI and justify their campaigns to clients’ or senior management.

However, the difference amongst these marcom factions and even amongst PR pros themselves is in how they view the campaign leader of the pack and in what they deem as their benchmarks for measurement and for proving their worth.

PRNews
Despite many efforts, there is still no consensus on how to best measure PR. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

It was not that long ago, when PR was considered the step-child of advertising amongst marcom industry pros and as such, they demonstrated the value of PR in terms of advertising dollars for media coverage and applied ‘The Barcelona Principles.’ Many of you may recall PR pros definition to clients’ et al: “publicity is simply free advertising.”

For some, this practice is still relevant. For others, new measurement tools from granddaddy companies such as Cision, BurrellesLuce and BusinessWire, newer mainstays as Google with its google trackbacks, and buzz words like social listening and social engagement, reach are being applied to dashboards for their social analytics tools. The key here is to apply humanistic value to each.

New measurement tools from granddaddy companies as Cision, BurrellesLuce and BusinessWire are a few in a continually crowded playing field. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Thankfully, in the ever evolving era of digital, times have changed. Public Relations and its value firmly stand on its own two feet. I’m sure many of you non-PR-centric pros are now thinking “spoken like a true spinster.” But, in all seriousness, the lines between public relations, advertising, marketing and digital PR and marketing are now blurred.

The vaunted Barcelona Principles. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Today, we have commonality: the collective We; integrated departments and campaigns; ad agencies with public relations arms, and PR agencies with marketing divisions. And, everyone in the marcom industry is either on the digital bandwagon or about to hop on. If not, they’re missing the ride completely.

Successful brands, nonprofits, causes, and corporations are those that ‘get’ the vision of a unified voice in all their communications endeavors – messaging, objectives, strategy and results. PR Measurement Conference keynoters and panelists from all parts of the spectrum – non-profits, agencies, authors, researchers, providers, corporations and government agencies — each had their own spin on how best to listen, learn, analyze and measure to demonstrate PR’s value in and of itself and as part of a bigger campaign.

Creating dashboards with different metrics and headers such as PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned channels} vs. vanity (number of followers and likes) were key buzzwords throughout. The common thread: the end game. Dependent on goals: is it to:

  • IDENTIFY influence to learn effectiveness for the next PR campaign?
  • MEASURE effectiveness based on certain criteria and behavioral patterns?
  • LISTEN to discover true audiences for a brand?
  • PROVE PR’s VALUE: just show how good your agency/department and/or the campaign is? Or
  • All of the above
MeredithStevens
Meredith Stevens, Director of Digital Strategy for The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association displayed their dashboard at a panel on Integrated Measurement: How to Sell PESOS to Senior Leaders and Client. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Net, net: Whether you’re the client or agency, companies are still in a constant search for a universal social listening, measurement and analytics solution. PR pros have been striving to find the best data system to validate PR’s worth to upper management. After attending the conference, I soon realized we are still searching.

I’ve mentioned the hope to find a universal analytics system for time efficiency and effectiveness in an earlier blog about social media week, and the same holds true here – there are “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” but no answer yet or unilateral consensus on which method is best. And, when it comes to proving your PR or marcom’s value — It’s still based on whatever your client’s suite spot is – messaging, branding, audience, results, etc. Have a wonderful Wednesday. as

Tags: #powerofpr #AbbesSparks #sociallistening #prmeasurement #prnews

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Digital Luxury is a Diamond Gal’s Best Friend

Sitting in the Lap of Digital Luxury – A Jewelers Tale

Luxury brands and their customers are a very discriminating and exclusive breed. In the ever-changing digital world, effective luxury marketers  need  to be on top of their technology game as well as consumer trends across all generations, especially in the high-end private jewelry industry.

Luxury goods marketers are going digital!

 

For successful independent private jewelers, the digital age and social media marketing have opened up a whole new diamond star-studded world! For the top luxury jewelry brands and retail stores, traditional marketing avenues still are heavily prevalent but are now coupled with social media marketing and e-commerce. The successful independent luxury brand jewelers, who have always relied on word of mouth marketing and referrals for their clientele, the digital age has brought new opportunities.

According to a recent article by Luxury Daily: 61% of all affluent consumers said technology had allowed them to make more purchases, while 65% said it was changing the way they shop with luxury brands. For a private brand, these stats are very telling in their favor. Based on my queries plus my own past client experience, it’s very common for a client to scour the internet, visit several jewelry stores, thumb through many magazine ads before they come to a private jeweler to purchase a gem and create their own bauble.

Take it from Diamond Deb, Digital Drives Diamonds.

 

Private jeweler Conrad London Jewels, LTD. founder Debra Lynn Harris, a/k/a Diamond Deb, is one private luxury brand that has capitalized with the digitization of marketing.

Founded in 1978, Diamond Deb and her company have the diamond blueprint for keeping up with the evolving times and turning customers into happy repeat buyers. Word of mouth marketing and referrals have always been Diamond Deb’s best method of securing clients across the globe. Social media has definitely played a huge role in reinforcing the WOM messaging and reputation of Conrad London Jewel’s inventory, quality and supreme customer service. Yet, Diamond Deb, herself, explains that “It’s truly a referral-based business – it was in 1978, and remains so today.”

Facebook has been a real game-changer for Conrad London Jewels

 

It definitely helps if your independent luxury brand client is visible in the public’s eye, especially when referrals are key. Diamond Deb is a people person and applies her personal passions to her business networking. On a recent out of state travel to attend a music concert, she connected with a famous headlining musician who in turn, purchased an engagement ring through her. In fact, today, she is in Colorado to meet with same client, who is purchasing a few more gems for his now wife.

Social media channels and new tech tools play a key role in today’s contemporary luxury marketing world, especially during gifting holidays like Mother’s Day. “Facebook has definitely increased my sales in the past few years; it truly has paid off,” says Debra Lynn Harris.

Don’t let the market pass you by. Go digital!

 

How do private luxury brands compete against the big stores? Easily. Significantly less overhead is the secret to being able to charge a customer a fraction of what the luxury retailers would. “Every savings is passed on to my client, while providing exceptional quality and service,” says Diamond Deb.

As the younger generations grow into affluent consumers. luxury marketers will be increasingly utilizing digital and social media to connect their products with the right consumers. So marketers – make sure to keep your brands in the lap of digital luxury! Have a marvelous Monday. as

 

Tags: #luxury #jewelry #digital marketing #social media

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Booking it in the Digital Age

How Digital Publishing Can Work for You

There has never been a more exciting time to promote an author and his/her new book then now in the digital age of social media. Yet, book promotion, as in any industry, is not without its challenges. Book marketing has changed a great deal from the glory days of established large publishing houses that infused thousands of dollars towards the promotion and publicizing of a new book by unknowns.

It’s not all about the bookstore anymore

Today, authors have a myriad of choices when it comes to publishing and promoting their book — traditional publishing houses vs. self-publishing, digitally or print-on-demand – which to choose? Each has its plusses and minuses. According to several new and established authors, the general consensus is the “different strokes for different folks” theory, or in this case different authors” applies perfectly! While the powerhouse traditional publishing companies like Random House and Simon & Schuster still thrive, today they mostly put their huge marketing and promotional dollars towards their established renowned authors or celebrities. Therefore, for the common or first-time author, they would more likely than not be left to their own devices for promoting and publicizing their book.

The ‘big guys’ are hesitant to take risks on unknown authors.

Self-publishing has increasingly become a very lucrative option for writers, especially for first-time authors. Since they largely have to market their own books regardless of which publishing method they choose, this seems to be the winning choice. Most self-publishers list their books on amazon.com, which helps promote and sell as well as offers authors tools to self-publicize at authorcentral.amazon.com,. Bookbaby.com (sister site of CD Baby) is another site offering tools for self-publishers. The main reason why one would select self-publishing is due to maintaining creative control.

“I opted to self-publish to keep creative control and keep my own time”. My book is a story I needed to tell, and tell it my way” – Marc Tayer, author, Televisionaries

According to Marc Tayer, author of the newly published ‘Televisionaries’, “The mainstream publishers wanted to promote my book with the PR angle “50 Shades of Digital TV” and the university publishers wanted to print it as a textbook.” Neither of these options were ideal to me nor suited the book. I opted to self-publish to keep creative control and keep my own time”. My book is a story I needed to tell, and tell it my way.”

It’s a whole new world.

Here are a few topline Book/Author Promotion tips for marketers to help sell a client’s book when launched, whichever publishing method is chosen:

Create a strategic comprehensive traditional marketing plan and timeline for promotion of book launch.

Use Social Media Networks: Post, post and post. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn each have different audiences so make sure your posts complement each other but speak to the right groups. In the case of non-fiction, positioning your client as an expert in the field is key.

Blogging: create a blog for your client that complements the story line or facts in the book you are selling and share.

Book Signings/Events/Appearances: Create speaking events and book signings for the author; it’s an integral and necessary tactic for selling.

Create Promotions: Hold contests, incentives or discounts for purchasing a copy of the book via social media, local market radio and/or tv stations for a limited time.

Remember, whichever publishing avenue your client selects for his/her book, a blend of good old fashioned promotion and publicity stirred with social media and digital marketing is a sure winner for book ROI. Have a terrific Thursday. as

ASMGROUP

By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.