Tag Archives: advertising

Are you ready for social media? Here’s a 5-point checklist to guide you.

Some marketers are making a lot of noise saying you’re missing tremendous opportunities if you’re not on social media. And that’s true – the potential is huge, and for many industries it’s still largely untapped.


Not every company or brand should be on social media. Success in the social world begins with a company’s internal structure, culture and environment. Certain types of cultures are going to work well with social, but for others it’s a minefield of potential crises and disasters. Here’s a handy checklist to help you figure out which type you are.

You might not be ready for social media if…

  1. You think social responsibility campaigns are only about faking it for good PR
  2. The true nature of your business is to make money at the expense of everything else
  3. You don’t really care all that much if your employees love their jobs as long as they do them
  4. The information in your new business pitches is more than 2% exaggeration (or, you know, not true)
  5. You’re afraid of what your customers might say about you.

If you saw yourself in that list, you’re not ready – but you’re still not off the hook.

Even if it’s not right for you right now, it’s still a good idea to understand what drives great social. That’s where your customers are beginning to look for you – so you might want to think about what you can do to help your company’s culture evolve away from dated models and toward what today’s customers are beginning to expect.

Social media isn’t about posting or tweeting or taking pictures of your lunch. Those are simply tactics (and your turkey club looks great, but think about whether it fits with your brand’s objectives). Social media is really about sharing with your community and providing value to your customers and prospects. So if you’re the kind of organization that puts selling at the top of the priorities list – and I’m not knocking it; it’s a viable business model – you’re not ready for social media.

But start giving it some thought, before your competitors swoop in and steal your market share simply by being more available and responsive to the community. Because that definitely is not a viable model for any business.


Honesty makes the best word of mouth

Honesty makes the best word of mouth

C’mon marketers. How about you impress us by doing the right thing for no other reason than that? Some companies do, and it hasn’t seemed to destroy their business model or hurt their sales. On the contrary, Zappos, Trader Joe’s, USAA and others like them seem to be growing at a fabulous rate.

But somehow we still are continually confronted with situations like Microsoft’s recent how-old.net, where so many people happily uploaded photos to a site that purported to guess their age (28 – really, Microsoft?) only to learn that they’d signed away their approval for Microsoft to use those photos any way they want. Call me silly, but I’m pretty sure most people appearing in promotional content for a brand are getting some kind of consideration (read: money) for that endorsement. I’m also virtually certain that most if not all of the participants would not have wanted to agree to those conditions.

The problem is, they did agree.

We all agree to a whole lot of stuff like this every day. In order to use all the fun apps and widgets that brands are posting, we are typically confronted with a pop-up consent box with a very long scroll and an “I agree” button at the bottom. The scroll is generally pages and pages of legal language, much of which contains terms of art we wouldn’t fully understand even if we were to read it line by line – something I doubt more than a tiny handful of people are doing.

The result? Your photo on an ad for a product you have absolutely no interest in, with no compensation or consideration.

There’s no way, when this program was put together, that the Microsoft team sat in a meeting and said, “no one will mind giving over rights to their photos.” There’s a reason that language was buried in the scroll – so we would agree to it without having read it.

Well, I just think that’s bad manners. And frankly, I think Microsoft knows better.

So I’m challenging brands right now to change this behavior. Stop burying the loss of our privacy rights in the scroll. You know what will be controversial – post it right where we can see it, highlight it and make sure we don’t miss it. Or better yet, stop looking for sneaky ways to grab data you know we don’t want to give you.

We know that our valuable data is the only reason you’re creating these fun apps. We pay for their use with it. Be upfront about it – you’ll still get tons of engagement, and you’ll also get something more valuable: our loyalty.

That’s something brands can’t buy with any number of cute free apps. Even if they do tell me I look like I’m 28.

listen – relate – grow! A powerful combination of social, tools and content. Here’s the skinny.

Here’s how it works – take a look!

soar above

listen – relate – grow

It’s our powerful potion of inbound marketing, social media, marketing automation and content marketing.

It can help you grow your community and communicate with your audience in ways never before possible.

With LRG, you can meet and exceed your business objectives, fill the sales funnel and increase revenue.

Three cheers for small clients

It’s easy to love our big clients – the ones who make up the lion’s share of billing with the largest budgets. We can do great work for them, and a lot of it, which keeps the creative wheels turning and the overhead lights on.

But let’s take a minute to really appreciate our smaller clients. These are thestartups, the spin-offs, the niche companies with great products in highly defined markets. They might be struggling, they might be growing like weeds or they might be long-established in their little domain. The one thing they have in common is – they don’t have much money to spend.

These companies can be some of our very favorite clients.

With our smaller clients, we are often able to work with top management, minimizing levels of approval needed to take action. They have a great appreciation for the expertise a professional agency can bring to the picture. And it is fun – actual fun – to see a company’s image brought to light for the first time by a great campaign.

So while landing a big client is cause for celebration on every level, we have a tremendous appreciation for our small clients as well. And we thank you for your loyal support and your business. You know who you are.

One weird trick to get tons of views, shares and retweets!

Have you noticed that ad headlines have entered an alternate universe of weird tricks and miraculous outcomes?

 This used to be the stuff of 3 am infomercials. But now, since Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and torrents (which I still don’t really understand; sorry kids) have made 3 am the same as any other hour of the day for watching the content of your choice, those food dehydrators and ShamWows have really got to be suffering.

 Fortunately for them, there are still places we can all occasionally be found at 3 am – Facebook and the seventeen thousand content aggregation sites where we catch up on conscious uncoupling, U.S. Airways’ social gaffe and other important news stories. This is where those “one weird trick” ads always seem to show up.

 At this point you might be wondering what happens if you actually click on one of the ads. I can’t tell you, though, because I’m too scared to try. I’m afraid my computer will go to the blue screen of death, or start blasting “Blurred Lines” really loudly with no way to turn it down. Actually, braver souls than I have already investigated and found just what you’d expect – pamphlets with tips and tricks, and an endless range of pills to make you better in every way at a self-renewing $79.99/year.

 But my point here, and I do have a point, is that this is what cheeseball consumer advertising has come to. Once upon a time, you would pretty much have to be reading the back of a comic book in order to see a tacky ad like this. Now, it’s served up to you over and over as you travel around the web trying to read today’s news in peace.

 But maybe I’m just being negative. Go ahead and click if you dare; you might find out a flatter stomach is only 30 bananas away. Can I dip mine in Nutella?

Drowning in cats

Everyone’s trying to do it. Create something engaging and compelling, syndicate it across multiple platforms, encourage sharing and watch it go viral. It’s a great strategy – or it would be if every other client in every industry on earth wasn’t doing the exact same thing at the exact same time, with the exact same objective.

The result: your customers, targets and prospects are surrounded by tsunamis of commercial-based stuff to read, watch and comment on, all floating on an ocean of cat videos and genuinely creative non-professional efforts.

To break through, some advertisers are beginning to resort to tactics with the whiff of desperation – outrageous and borderline dangerous stunts to try to catch people’s attention. And while some of them do go viral, what kind of story is being written for those brands? Is it really the messaging they want to represent them?

When you think about brands, what is the content that has resonated the most with you recently? Is it a stunt meant to go viral that landed with a thud? A high-concept marketing event that landed on Buzzfeed? Or a great story, beautifully shot, that you talked about, shared and then watched again and again? 

It doesn’t have to be a commercial – truly great content shows up on every platform. The key is to be both engaging and relevant to the brand. It’s like being thrown a lifesaver when you’re drowning in cats.

Getting crowdsourcing right: avoiding social media disasters without sacrificing connectedness

A lot of companies have been embarrassed lately by well-intentioned forays into social media that have gone horribly wrong. Most recently, Mountain Dew’s “Dub the Dew” contest did a great job of showing how immediately and totally out of control these things can go.

On the other hand, crowdsourcing can be very effective at engaging your audience and getting them really invested in a campaign. Doritos scored with their “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign for six years in a row. In addition to the tremendous effort put forth by Doritos’ fans showing their love for the brand by producing actual commercials (some of which were amazingly slick and professional, not to mention clever and funny), the contest has spawned a whole genre of lore like this piece, which tells the entire history of the contest with wiki-worthy detail.

So there’s no question about whether this kind of effort will continue – it will. Not only is it effective, it’s trendy beyond all reason – prompting clients everywhere to push their agencies to come up with new versions of what’s already worked. Which, in turn, will undoubtedly create more disasters.

The key here for marketers is to remember that all this is for your customers. If they’re having fun playing with your brand, it’s all good. Remember, the joke can’t be on you if you’re one of the people laughing at it. Still, you don’t want to give people a platform to be hateful, nor to host nasty comments of any kind. That’s why it’s essential to manage your social media campaigns carefully.

1.    Don’t put the crowdsourcing contest on your own website

As 4chan, 9gag and hackers have shown, it’s not that hard to create all kinds of havoc and make it look authentic. However, if you put the call for entries on Twitter or Facebook instead of on your own website, there’s a normal expectation that there will be a lot of inane posts, but it won’t look like you’re endorsing them.

2.    Ask participants to use the @ on Twitter to respond instead of creating a hashtag

While any Twitter campaign gives everyone – including the grumpy, the jokers and the trolls – a platform to say what they like about you, including some things you’d probably rather not see, if you ask participants to start tweets with your Twitter handle with the @ symbol, the entries will go directly to you. Then you can manage them and show only the best ones on your own site. 

3.    Keep in mind that the more creativity you ask from people, the more likely you are to get people who are actually invested in your brand to do creative and interesting things (as opposed to simply suggesting a product name, which opens the door to embarrassment). It doesn’t have to be a full-scale video production – even just asking people to submit a description along with their name, for example, will cut out a lot of the trolls.

The bottom line is, consider the risks and rewards of a social campaign before you start – and be ready to respond fast if things start to go sideways. How you communicate with your customers can do more for your image than a hundred million dollar marketing push.