Jarter Jargon

Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

When Facebook and Twitter completely exploded and changed the Internet scene, companies rushed online to make their presence within the socialsphere. They tried to accrue all the likes and followers they could, but at what cost?

As we’ve seen, it doesn’t matter how many likes/followers you have, but how many active and engaged likes/followers you have. Different social dashboards (i.e. SocialBro, Tweetdeck, BottleNose, etc.) can help you keep track of what’s going on, who’s doing what, and who’s talking about what. They can even give insight to your followers. SocialBro lets you know different ratio stats about followers (e.g. they have a higher ratio of followers-to-following/vice versa), and they can tell you about inactive/unengaged users that follow you. Facebook insights also does a pretty good job of digging deep into your ‘likes.’

But looking at the strategy that goes into a brand, some are too quick to get onto social streams. The idea is that, “If our competition is doing it, we should be too.” WRONG. The idea of a brand’s strategy is to look at what problems they are facing and how they can solve those problems. If Facebook and Twitter are solutions, develop a plan. If not, don’t jump head first into it just because your competition is using certain platforms.

Social media affords businesses with the opportunity to build their brand and gain customers more quickly, as well as having a greater and more personal impact than traditional branding methods.

But as with everything in business, there is a double-edged sword. The more quickly you can spread the positives about your business, the faster customers will come running. The same can happen if a dissatisfied customer uses social media to spread the word about their experience with your company, which can cause your customer base to dwindle.

Some might even say that social media has caused companies to remain more transparent and accountable to their customers because of the tool’s ability to be used for both positive and negative, both by company and by customer.

Just because Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a hundred other social media tools are available for businesses to use, doesn’t mean that they are the best route for every business to take. Finding the tools that will work best for not only your business’s needs, but the work style of your team and the requirements of data backup, tracking and analytics will take time, but can mean saved time, money and frustration in the long run.

Adding social media to a brand management strategy may not simply be a matter of fitting it in between current marketing processes. In order to facilitate long-term success with social media brand management, it may also be necessary to take a look at the complete marketing and branding process to ensure that it contains the hierarchy and work flow to accommodate it.


The past few days have been very tense for the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Sandy has been tearing across New Jersey, New York, and other states leaving destruction in its path. Hundreds of thousands are without food and power, and many are turning to social media to find loved ones, reassure family (During Sandy, 30 million+ tweets sent, after Sandy, the top Facebook status is “We Are OK.”), and keep a captivated America connected to what’s happening in real time.

I for one have been keeping track with a #HurricaneSandy stream on my Hootsuite deck. It is truly amazing to see the outreach offered by people. Tweets of prayers for safety, Red Cross donation channels, and overall general concern for those involved are the majority of messages. However, there have been a string of comments, Twitter accounts, and corporate slip-ups that try to bring light to a subject that is devastating for millions.

Really, it’s just not funny, and those who are affected by this storm are outraged. Can you blame them?

However, some have taken it too far. On Monday, American Apparel and Gap found themselves on thin ice for their email blast and tweets, respectively.

The American Apparel ad apparently targets people who are seeking refuge during the storm. Needless to say, online backlash has been primarily negative. But American Apparel wasn’t the only culprit.

Gap also rubbed east coast-ers the wrong way as Hurricane Sandy was making its way along. On Monday afternoon, as the storm was touching down in the New York and New Jersey area, Gap tweeted the following:

Again, needless to say, it wasn’t the best thought out plan. The brand later took the tweet down and offered the following semi-apology: 

The Twittersphere blew up once again with outraged tweets.

American Apparel is just one of several companies that have committed online marketing faux pas. Last year, fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s Twitter account made light of the protests in Egypt by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

What do you think? Are you offended by American Apparel and Gap’s messages during the massive storm? It surprises me that mistakes like these still continue to happen. From the Kitchen Aid fiasco during the Presidential Debate to the mishaps during Hurricane Sandy, it’s about time people controlling these accounts realize the true potential the Internet provides.

On a rainy day in Milwaukee, what else is there to do besides settling down in Alterra and do some studying?

I met up with my buddy Alec, and he told me about the thesis for a class presentation he was working on. Before I proceed, I have to tell you that Alec is absolutely obsessed with coffee. Not just drinking it, but literally, everything about it. Different co-ops, different roast styles, different prep methods, and he can make a mean latte with a perfect tulip in the foam.

Either way, he told me of a presentation at the 2012 Nordic Barista Cup (yes, it exists) by a man named Doug Zell, of Intelligentsia Coffee, on “Coffee Bars and the Evolution of Hospitality.” The premise is that way back when, the idea was that “the customer is always right.” Of course we all like to think that, but Doug had a different idea.

Doug’s idea is that customers should be treated like pets. Not in a derogatory sense but in the sense that there has to be the fostering of a relationship. Picture this: you come home, Fido meets you at the door, tail wagging. You greet him, petting him, telling him he’s a good boy. You reinforce healthy relationship habits to maintain that relationship with him. If you don’t, Fido will bite your hand and take a shit on your rug. And nobody wants that.

Take that same idea and apply it to brands, and you have a powerful tool to foster relationships with your audience. Of course customers have some control over the direction of your brand, but for the most part, the brands themselves need to hold the reins. At the same time, however, you don’t want it to get to the point where you have to bat customers on the head with a newspaper for bad behavior and try to reel them back in. You want to create brand loyalty and brand-customer synergy.

Let’s look at a recent example. Chic-fil-A was known as a wholesome brand. They are closed on Sundays, they call you ma’am and sir, and tell you each and every time how much of a pleasure it is to have served you. You come in, they scratch you behind the ears, and you wag your tail (and buy some delicious chicken). All was fine until last year when they donated a large amount of money to organizations that were opposed to gay rights.

That’s the equivalent of dangling a piece of bacon in front of a dog’s nose and then eating it in their face. Cue your dog biting your hand and crapping on your rug. At this point, Chic-fil-A tried to sweep the crap under the rug instead of clean it up outright.

Essentially, Doug was right. Customers not only expect an enjoyable experience when interacting with your brand, they also expect consistency. Again, your dog has no sense of time and is overly excited to see you whether it’s five minutes or five hours. We need to treat them as we would treat our furry companions, with warm respect. It only strengthens relationships and fosters brand loyalty. The customer might not always be right, but if you treat them wrong, you could end up in the dog house.

It’s a bit lengthy, but here is Doug’s 45 minute presentation.

Last month, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in an interview that the social media giant was looking to develop a search engine.

Zuckerberg believes that, with the use of internet bots, he can create a search engine unlike Google (or its estranged second cousin twice removed on its mother’s father’s aunt’s side, Bing). To emulate Google’s success, Facebook would have to invest a hearty amount, and their data warehouses are a different kind of data than that found through Google searches.

Facebook users talk about movies, music, products and vacations. Essentially, the Facebook search engine could simply become a massive consumer database. The company’s social scientists are hunting for insights about human behavior. What they find could give Facebook new ways to cash in on our data—and remake our view of society.

The problem with this is obviously security and privacy. Facebook has been slapped on the wrist quite a few times for privacy issues, but this intense data mining will definitely have to be scrutinized. Now of course, President Obama’s administration unveiled it’s “Privacy Bill of Rights” which calls for giving people more control over what companies do with personal information. Some even believe that Facebook, as the world’s largest social media site, should be subjected to specific consumer protection regulations.

While the world of commerce and information gathering continues to expand rapidly, we need to take a look at what is acceptable and not acceptable information gathered on people. But where do we draw the line on what is acceptable? Age? Gender? These are basic information, but to some it’s still too much. Salary? Spending habits? It’s a matter of how we feel individually that defines what goes too far.

Some people are smart about it while others aren’t. What gets posted online is going to be there forever. We need to be careful, just as much as Facebook does, as to what information we give out, although Facebook does a good job of burying privacy settings deeper and deeper with each new reformatting.

As everyone knows, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has been fighting hard for the ban of sugary drinks over 16 oz. in an effort to curb obesity. He is still keeping his firm stance and has recently received support from the NYC Health Panel who has stepped up to back his ban on super-sized sodas.

Restaurants, movie theaters and other outlets have six months to comply or face a $200 fine each time there’s a violation, the health department said. The ban doesn’t apply to convenience stores and groceries that don’t act primarily as purveyors of prepared foods, which are regulated by New York state. The rules do allow consumers to buy as many of the smaller drinks as they want and to get refills.

This means you fans of the 7/11 Big Gulp can breathe a sign of relief. Although, the 7-11 Double Big Gulp holds about twice the amount of fluid than the average adult human’s stomach. The average adult human’s stomach can hold comfortably about 32 ounces at any given time. The Double Big Gulp holds about 64 ounces of soda or Slurpee.

However, going back to the fact that even though sizes over 16 oz. in establishments that fall under the ban’s control, people are still able to buy as many 16 oz. cups as they want as a way to kind of circumnavigate the ban. But how are brands responding to Bloomberg’s efforts to combat obesity?

Many of the large players, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, are arguing that it restricts freedom of choice. In all actuality, will this ban really move their stock needles? The future shall tell. But what about the mom-and-pops of the city? This ban could have devastating effects.

While the ban restricts drink choices, certain beverages are “clean.” Drinks that you sweeten yourself are fine (e.g. certain Starbucks’ venti drinks), as well as certain beverages that are also 50% milk (e.g. a big 32 oz. Oreo Coolatta from Dunkin’ Donuts).

What can companies do to offset the effects of the ban? They could undercut consumers and jack up the prices of the 16 oz. drinks, but that is highly unethical. Another route that I could see happening is a revamping of drinks offered. Is it possible that we could see new lines of drinks rolling out to get around the ban?

Let me know how you feel about the ban in the comments below. In the meantime, enjoy this short video explaining the ban (and poking a little bit of fun):

Recently, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s new CEO, announced that all employees will be given a new smartphone. Mayer is going to allow employees to choose from an iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, a few HTC devices or Nokia’s Lumia 920. Notably absent from the list: BlackBerry. Yahoo is going to move its users off of BlackBerry devices in 22 countries and onto something more consumer friendly.

But why the switch? If you really look at it, Blackberry has been slipping in numbers for quite some time now. The iPhone and other smartphones have taken control. Mayer’s reasoning is to get Yahoo! employees to start thinking and acting like most of its users.

For a company like Yahoo — whose business is a purple mix of technology services, display advertising and media — it doesn’t make sense to focus on attracting BlackBerry users. It’s also unlikely that Yahoo sees much of its mobile traffic coming from BlackBerry users.

If a company is going to create consumer facing products and services, it needs to be able to experience those products the same way its users do. It’s a genius move on the part of Mayer, because it helps push employees from all parts of the company — from product managers to engineers, from sales to customer support — to look at and approach Yahoo from the point of view of the average user.

To me, it seems like Mayer knows exactly what she’s doing. Positioning your entire staff to look at your own business from the eyes of your audience gives you great insight on managing and maintaining a huge brand like Yahoo!. I wouldn’t be surprised to see new features that integrate smartphones in the near future. I think Yahoo! will do great things to develop better experiences for users, and I honestly think it’s something other corporations should take a look at.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that all corporations should give all its employees the newest smartphone; it just means that a lot of corporations spend large amounts of money to gain insight on target audiences when all they need to do is try and view themselves from the eyes of that very audience.

There are maybe 300 people around the world who make a living as a typeface designer. So when two just happen to be living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and they run into a brand consultant, it becomes an equation of grassroots awesomeness: a typeface called Chatype.

D.J. Trischler, brand consultant, and Jeremy Dooley, typeface designer, were meant to be best friends. Sparks flew as soon as Trischler and Dooley began fantasizing about revamping Chattanooga’s image in a new and unusual way. Teaming up with typeface designer Robbie de Villiers, Trischler and Dooley started designing a font that would become the city-wide visual identity.

The font itself is inspired by the town’s Cherokee roots, its industrial upbringing, as well as being home to Coca-Cola’s first bottling plant. Imagine an exclusive font that brands your city from it’s street and park signs to businesses and even the Visitors Bureau website.

These are exciting times for Chattanooga, but what’s most exciting is the idea that something as simple as a font could put a city on the map. A clean, well-thought typeface like Chatype could be the first ever to do so. If you are interested in finding more information on Chatype, check out their Facebook and Twitter as well as their Kickstarter page.

Don’t Call it a Comeback, Call it Chatype

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