Awards season may just be kicking off, but work by Definition 6 is already taking home the trophies. Game of Thrones' Join the Realm, an interactive experience created by Definition 6 and HBO, won both an OMMA Award and a Stevie Award this month.
At the 8th annual OMMA Awards in New York City Monday, HBO won the category "Best Use of Fan Page" for Join the Realm. According to Ken Fadner, CEO of MediaPost, there was a record number of entries for 2013. “The quality of entries was stronger than ever, making selecting the finalists and winners exceedingly difficult.”
HBO teamed up with Definition 6 to create Join the Realm for Game of Thrones. Join the Realm is an interactive experience that allows fans to create their own 'House Sigil' similar to those in the show and then download, share, and post it in a variety of formats on leading social networks.
The tool can be used in 24 different languages and gives fans an interactive sigil editor to name their House, enter House Words, and choose from a variety of backgrounds, patterns, borders, colors, and icons. It can then be shared via Facebook cover photos and profile pictures, Twitter backgrounds, wallpapers, and Instagram photos. With Join the Realm, fans are able to create the house that most represents them.
Let's face it, news no longer comes from print newspapers and magazines. Now more than ever, people turn to the internet to watch video on newspaper websites. The message is clear: multimedia public relations is the present as well as the future.
Multichannel public relations is becoming a must for every business. The differences between PR, advertising, marketing and social media are blurring. Your customers are becoming tired of traditional advertising methods. They are now looking for the wow-factor--the engaging, thought-provoking, entertaining content that inspires them and takes them away from reality. Content is King.
Brands and organisations know they need to create content that connects with their audiences. It has long been thought that creating video was expensive and time-consuming; however, with the emergence of smart technology and inexpensive recording devices, more brands are coming around to the idea. In developing a content strategy, brands are quickly emerging at the forefront of any market. Customers want to see cool videos and interactive pieces that provoke thought and emotion while still resonating as a trusted, exciting brand.
Red Bull, for example, has a perfect approach to content marketing and they understand the value in video. By orchestrating stunts that their audience can engage with and be wowed by, they, in turn, emerge as one of the most exciting brands on the market. The old days of sending out press releases are gone.
Engaging video also aids SEO. Google does not want to see an unnatural boost of a website through paid-for methods, they want to see organic growth with the use of unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity across the internet. Coupled with informative news pieces and blog posts, video can dramatically increase your website's visibility and overall brand awareness.
Aside from this, never underestimate the long tail effect of lead generation though informative content. B2B companies are slightly behind B2C clients in adopting this technique. This could be due to the limited availability of the content they produce.
Many businesses produce multimedia content but lack a location – a platform – from which to host this content. TheNewsMarket.com provides this needed location to some of the largest organisations and brands. They upload their multimedia content to be seen and downloaded for use by journalists and media outlets around the world.
Brands no longer need to feel that their video content is wasted. By working with TheNewsMarket.com, companies can propel their multimedia assets around the world, increasing brand awareness and engaging with their customers on a deeper level.
Last night, our Director of Unified Communications Jeremy Porter participated on a panel put on by the Social Media Club (moderated by Social Media Club Chair Brian Rudolph) with Adam Rucker of Southwest Airlines and Jim Dudukovich of Coca-Cola that was "All About Content." Porter, Rucker, and Dudukovich discussed strategies for sharing content on social channels, tools that brands are using to measure success, as well as legal and customer service issues that arise when interacting with customers online.
The event brought together a good number of marketing professionals looking to learn more about social media and content marketing, and took place on the 'Southwest' branded porch of Park Tavern in Atlanta.
The panelists discussed balancing planned versus spontaneous social content, and advised brands to "use a consistent pace of content for what will keep your audience satisfied." Another hot topic on the panel was understanding real-time marketing. Jeremy Porter offered advice to brands hoping to jump on the real-time bandwagon: "Don't just look at the trending topics--think about your brand and the stories you can tell around it." Struggling to think of a good story to tell? "Think about fun dates in history that may inspire fun content for your brand." With real-time marketing putting more pressure on brands to be there in the moment with their customers, "Big brands' ability to succeed at real-time marketing is a monumental shift."
Adam Rucker of Southwest Airlines told attendees about his team in charge of managing and sharing content, including a team dedicated to handling customer service issues that arise on Twitter and other social channels. Rucker said "I hate the term 'social media expert.' Social media is still very new. There are no experts yet." Seeing as the audience was filled with people hoping to learn more about social media marketing, we'd have to say we agree!
The bigger and more well-known the brand is, the larger the following they will have on social. When brands have huge followings online, it gets more difficult to manage voice of brand without running into potential legal issues. Jim Dudukovich of Coca-Cola offered some insight on how to work successfully with legal including creating social media guidelines and decision trees for social media managers to follow. Dudukovich suggested that companies "Arm all of [their] employees with facts so they can correctly answer questions about [their] business,' and Porter mentioned that "More companies need a checklist that allows them to post without legal permission." No brand wants to get into legal trouble on social, but it's worth the extra effort to create guidelines and checklists if it will avoid having to go through legal for every single social posting.
Closing comments and answered questions on the panel offered general advice about social media, and Dudukovich offered some winning advice: "The first step in social is listening. Find out what people care about and then step in."
Repeat after me: my name is [insert name obviously] and I am a millennial.
Such encompassing terms might prove a bit more complicated to visualise for marketers. Who do you want to speak to when you're referring to 'Millennials'? If you're indeed looking to reach millennials, then your best bet is probably to start with the person sitting next to you. According to a US-based study for example, 36% of the US workforce will be comprised of millennials by 2014 but you probably don't even need to go through your team's birtthdays to see if they fit the bill:
You can follow the trail of the ASOS and Amazon deliveries to the desk where the news is not read on paper but on Twitter while Spotify is playing on the smartphone on the desk. It's the person who admits suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and is developing a nervous twitch when the smartphone is not at an arm's reach.
If you have managed to get his or her attention with your idea, then you are probably on the right way to making it work. If your ideas don't fly within your own team, how will they manage to grab the attention of other millennials that are not even personally invested in what you want to present to them?
Having said that, there is a lot of research currently out there on millennials and how they consume and respond to being marketed to. A recent infographic by CMSWire has some valuable stats on the topic with the importance of video clearly spelt out. As Marisa Peacock rightly points out: "It isn't that Millennials don't want to be marketed to; it's that they want to be marketed to on their terms. They want to be heard. They want to be valued." And I would add that they can also very easily call out your bluffs. Millennials have been inundated with brand messages from a very young age and have had consumer power early on. They can spot at a heartbeat who's trying too hard and who is not trying at all.
The rush to get home is something that every commuter is familiar with, and I for one, think of it as my daily exercise, mainly because of all the people I have to dodge, all the standing I have to do on every form of transport I encounter, and all the complaining I have to do about it afterwards. So, whilst everyone else in London is enjoying the never-ending heat wave, I have some reservations. Hot weather and London’s public transport system seems to turn even the most rational and logical mind into a crazed animal with fourteen flailing limbs and rather smelly armpits. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that the ability to make good decisions is left at the office door at 6 o’clock, and waits there patiently for you to return like a small dog left whimpering outside a supermarket.
The Decision Making Process is a huge part of working life, whether you’re doing it on your own or with others, those decisions need to be made. The people around you right now, they make decisions all the time. They might even be doing it right now – look closely, see if you can spot their decision making face, everyone has one. Don’t stare, that’s rude. Now they’re trying to decide why you’re staring at them.
You can reduce the Decision Making Process (or DMP if you’re one of those peeps that like to abbrev. everythin’) into 5 simple steps: Situation, Options, Choose, Act, Evaluate. We do this subconsciously, it’s completely engrained in us to weigh the options before us before we act, and so we can do it in a split second, but not after 6pm. Apparently.
Think of the Situation, you’re walking onto the platform to get the tube home. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of millions of people. All of you want to get on that train, which, by the way, is already packed. What are your options? Well, you can either attempt to get on the train, or wait for the next one, which will arrive approximately 24 seconds after this one. Choose. Simple Enough, I’m getting on that train, says every commuter on that platform. Act: Push and shove forward (whilst somehow allowing others off the train at the same time) until you get on that train being very careful not to pull the emergency alarm that has somehow ended up under your arm, and with your face buried in some other commuter’s armpit. You’re now stuck like this for your entire journey while more commuters squeeze themselves in, and probably get their heads stuck in the doors.
Evaluate: You’re stuck, sweaty, unhappy. But hey, you got on THAT train, which coincidentally happens to be going in the wrong direction. Go you.
Imagine if you approached your working environment in the same way, and by not weighing up your options for longer than a second, you resign yourself to having to follow through with a judgement made in error by a desire to get somewhere faster. If we all behaved in the office the way we behave on the tube, no decisions would ever really be made because somewhere along that line, we’d realise we’d got on the wrong train and just have to do it all again. Moral of the story? Don’t be a commuter at work. Take your time with your decisions, work with people, not against them, and try your hardest to make sure you get on the right train.
Extra moral of the story. Don’t be a commuter on the Tube either, no one likes it.
Definition 6 recently worked with GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network) to launch their new website. GLSEN is an organization that works to ensure that LGBT students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Definition 6 has worked with GLSEN on video projects in the past, and GLSEN also had several needs that a new website could address.
It was clear from the start that the important work GLSEN does and their extensive resources needed a website that organized their research and assets for easy access, promoted their positive message, and would engage and appeal to their three key audiences: educators, students, and supporters. The old GLSEN.org had some great content but it was difficult to navigate and failed to reflect either the GLSEN organization or their audience.
In the more than two decades GLSEN has been working to create safe and respectful schools for LGBT students, they have amassed an impressive amount of content. GLSEN is dedicated to making their case through extensive research and they have lots of data to back up their position. On top of that factual foundation, GLSEN is a vibrant organization that views the future with hope and optimism. They know that while there is much still to be done, there has been great progress. GLSEN's new website needed to be a functional portal for all their great content while reflecting the positivity and spirit that is inherent in their organization and their audience. They have an important mission and their website is a vital tool for success.
The new GLSEN.org lays out the site's vast content and education information in an easy to understand format, and engages the three main types of visitors with calls to action about GLSEN's many education resources, fundraising events, and opportunities to get involved and support the organization's mission.
In a serendipitous demonstration of synchronicity, the new site went live the same day the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The site's new features help foster informed conversation and facilitate a discussion about current events, increasing awareness about GLSEN and getting more people involved in their mission. That mission has been influential in creating a safer environment of respect and understanding for LGBT youth. As a gay man, and the uncle of a gay high school student, I can speak first hand to the tremendous work GLSEN is doing, and I am very proud to have played a role in the creation and launch of their website. Visit GLSEN.org to check out the new website and find out how you can get involved!
Albert Einstein stated that “Information is not knowledge”. I would certainly side with him in this day and age in terms of Big data and how it is interpreted and applied. Do you know that 90% of the data existing in the world today has been created in the past two years alone? Big data is so often talked about, so much so that it is often ignored. A box of business cards, so large in volume one does not know where to start in tackling the information at one's fingertips.
Big Data is now a well-recognised Buzzword in the world of Marketers. But what exactly does it mean? I think the hype has been bigger than the information it provides. It goes without saying that Big Data has the potential to unlock valuable insights but, without the correct application, the amount of data simply adds confusion to a busy working day. How do we convert this valuable information into useable insights?
As a digital Marketing agency, Definition 6 optimises online campaigns and Big data plays a key role in how it is done. I believe that with data available, Marketers should put more emphasis on analytical skills and tool sets. With good use of analytics, we can all respond to the analysis of data with real time decisions based on audience behaviour.
How to get the most out of Big data…
1) Don’t underestimate the importance of the data
Data will drive everything. The premise of digital technology runs from analytics and data creating insights to address consumer needs. Make sure you tell people what you learn from your analysis. The best businesses learn from experience and real-life examples.
2) Decide which data is relevant to you
Huge quantities of data can be intimidating. Marketers often don’t know where to start. Only once you begin to look at the correct points you can begin to understand how to use the information to your advantage. My advice would be to plan, start small and select a specific set to work with.
3) Don’t let numbers scare you
Make use of all available resources, sites and communities. Google Fusion and Many Eyes are both great tools. Perhaps nominate one person to focus on and analyse a particular data set. This will avoid confusion and provide clarity when forming insights based on findings.
4) Be granular in your approach
One mistake people make is in not describing the source of your data. This in turn will drastically affect your credibility. Try not to jump to the final outcome of a finding, consider the steps that were taken to get there before making assumptions from the final figure.
5) Give Data a good reputation
Data is often avoided purely because it is considered boring and irrelevant. Data is not all about spread sheets and numbers, it is in fact useful findings to use in creating and improving excellent products and services. Spread this information and get people loving data.
Keeping these points in mind, I suggest we drop the term ‘Big’. Yes, there is a mass of data but the important thing is how you then convert it into something that is palatable, simple to understand and easy to read and learn from. Start small, focus on a particular subject and use your findings to improve present and future campaigns.
I am, as I have been told many times, in a rather unique situation. By day, I work in Media Relations in the Definition 6 London office. By night, I live in a convent. It’s only temporary, you understand, but it does give everyone in the office a great deal of amusement to call me a ‘Trainee Nun’.
On a daily basis, I communicate with people I have never met in countries I haven’t yet been to, and in the office too, where a mixture of different cultural habits is continually present and discussed. The workings of the NHS compared to the Portuguese healthcare system is a recent example, with the ways that both cultures view this huge organisation being both informative and, at times, downright hilarious. I have learnt, in the short time that I have been working here, the importance of communication in a business setting, the tailoring of pitches and responses to suit the intended audience.
Recently, I have begun to realise how that affects my ‘home’ life on a similar basis. We tailor our responses to all communication, even unconsciously. You wouldn’t swear in front of an elderly relative or small child, but in front of friends, it’s (mostly) perfectly acceptable. We are constantly learning new methods of communication, depending on the people we meet and the ways in which we engage them.
At home, I have had to prevent myself using the phrase ‘Oh my God!’, but in the office or out with friends, it’s perfectly common. Engaging in regular communication with a nun is at the best of times, a pleasant experience, they are continually positive and really rather lovely. It can be, however, rather strenuous if one doesn’t know what to say. The golden rule with nuns: take it slow, frame your conversation with description and nice things, and don’t make too many references to pop culture. They have, however, heard of One Direction. Unfortunately.
When speaking with journalists and broadcasters, the opposite is true: Don’t waffle. Make your point, ask as few questions as possible, be professional. These are busy people, they probably don’t want to discuss your love of knitting, and how beautiful the Houses of Parliament look at dusk.
Communication then, is the most useful tool anyone in our industry has in their arsenal. In fact, communication is the most useful tool in the world’s arsenal. Social media allows us to engage with different cultures on different platforms every day, which is incredible. The more personal touches such as communication via phone and in person, allow us to advance our knowledge of communication as an ever changing medium, to engage with more people with confidence, and to tailor our responses to ensure that your messages are always translated cross-culturally in an appropriate and hopefully beneficial way.
The Oxford English Dictionary today announced that the word “tweet" will be added to their next edition, signalling the fact that the internet is causing fluid changes in our language and that a bird in the internet land is worth two in their book. The jargon behind technology is a funny thing--lag behind and you look like a dinosaur, run too far ahead and you are speaking a language that people need to Google.
The above news got me thinking, because over the past two weeks I have been slowly introducing new technological phrases to my parents after they both bought iPhones on the same day – 4th June 2013. I think it would have been better for everyone involved (Apple, Vodafone, www.headinhands.com) if they had staggered their purchases over a nine month period. I note the day because it will forever be etched onto the wall of my mental prison, alongside the Kennedy Assassination, Arsenal’s signing of Dennis Bergkamp and the day Coca-Cola mixed Coke with Vanilla to create super pop. Sam from Vodafone Customer Services will also never forget that dark hour she truly earned her pay after repeating ‘home screen’ 2,345 times within a two minute window.
The journey on this long and 18 month contractually binding road brought me to the conclusion that the bridge between technology and its application can only be built through inclusive language. Apple does a pretty good job of this but after attending a number of conferences and marketing events I always come away with a feeling that speakers are looking to ‘confuse and befuddle’ rather than ‘entice and include’ by using fenced off language. Of course the super intelligent types at these conferences usually lap up this type of oratory but inevitably this type of language permeates downwards and shapes the message my mum and dad ultimately hear. Perhaps a better approach would be to imagine my mum and dad sitting front and centre in the audience. They ‘get’ the concept and like the technology but they don’t instinctively understand the language.
Anyway, my Mum now has a working iPhone and is up to Level 2 on Facetime and Facebook and has completed Photostream. It pains me to say that my Dad is still a work in process but after 14 days my greatest victory thus far is that he has finally stopped using the back of his iPhone to call the future.
As an aside, I am writing this while attempting to radiate a cutting edge persona by wearing fake Google glasses. They are just two pairs of Ray-band’s sellotaped together with Casio digital watch fronts glued onto both eyes. I think the staff in Starbucks are suitably impressed and may have mistaken me for a celebrity as I am being ushered out of the shop by a five man police escort.
Snapchat is the latest app craze that allows users to add friends and then send them a picture or video. The catch? The media you send them only stays on the screen for a maximum of 10 seconds, and then disappears forever. As Snapchat says, “It’s about the moment.”
When I first heard about this app, it was about how it’s the perfect tool to send frisky and flirtatious photos, without the repercussions of the photo being saved and/or distributed to others. Sounds too good to be true, right? It is. Despite having to hold down on the screen in order to view a photo, users of course found a way to screen shot the photos they were receiving.
Though sending rated-R photos is not really my idea of time well-spent, I like to find out for myself what the latest app crazes are all about. Snapchat is pretty fun on a "PG" level. I usually just send people pictures of my cat or pizza, and receive the same sort of nonsense in return. And if someone takes a screenshot of something I sent, well, who would want to? It’s a fun way to kill some time, much like Instagram or Vine.
With any great new social app, we eventually wonder “what more can we do with this?” Could Snapchat be used successfully for brands? It may be too early to tell right now, but some savvy brands are already trying to incorporate Snapchat into their marketing campaigns in creative ways.
One example of a brand using Snapchat is Taco Bell. Taco Bell took to Twitter to ask it’s followers to add them on Snapchat. The brand then sent a picture of a burrito with a release date on it. This is a great idea for brands to send out product announcements or previews. Just imagine, a new iPhone is being released and Apple snaps a teaser photo of the new phone before the announcement. Or maybe a musician is about to release a new music video and sends you behind the scenes snaps. There are many possibilities to reach that “exclusivity” factor that people love. Though, brands should be wary that users can in fact still screen shot.
Another example of a brand using Snapchat is 16 Handles, the frozen yogurt chain. 16 Handles utilized the app in a more interactive way. They had users snap a photo of themselves eating their brand of frozen yogurt, and 16 Handles would respond with a coupon to show the cashier. This is pretty cool, but I would have my reservations with only 10 seconds to scan this coupon. And what if it doesn’t scan? What if you don’t receive a snap back until after you’ve left? What if you receive a coupon randomly and then you can’t use it because you opened it and can’t retrieve it? So many questions but also so many possibilities!
What do you think? Can you envision a way you could leverage the Snapchat phenomenon for your brand?
Interested in learning about other mobile trends? Like video? Fill out your email below to download our whitepaper about Vine!
Way back in December of last year (an eternity in Social Media Network time) Facebook announced that a new timeline design was coming. Mashable broke the story here, and apparently New Zealand got to play guinea pig before the rest of us. Yeah, New Zealand always gets the good stuff first.
Facebook introduced the 'new and improved' version of timeline, coming soon to your profile. Mine just showed up today. I know several people who have had it for some time. But if you haven't yet been admitted through the velvet ropes to the new layout, I will detail some of the significant changes.
Now that you've seen my new timeline above, let's talk about the major changes. The 'tabs' are back and the tiles are out - see the toolbar right under your name with Timeline, About, Friends, Photos? Their behavior may remind you of the infamous 'tabs' from the previous layout. The two column layout holds everything that you post to Facebook on the right side with, you guessed it, bigger photos.
The left column now holds your About, Friends, Photos, Places, Music, TV shows, Books, Games etc. each in their own little modules. If you have connected Instagram and Pinterest to your Facebook account they will show up here too. Hook up your Pinterest account to Facebook and everything you pin will appear in that box and in your timeline. You can customize who sees what, so if you're a hard core Instagramer/Pinner, you can limit your distribution of sepia toned cat pictures to those who are interested.
The new "Edit sections" part is interesting because you can arrange the order in which the left column modules load. Would you prefer to show off your Instagram photos over your Pins? To access, just rollover the top right side of any of the modules to get a little edit button. Click and you'll get this box.
If you really hate the new layout (and of course, true to Facebook tradition, everyone will for a couple months and then adapt and forget) you can add a plugin to your browser and revert it to a single column layout. I'm sticking with the new one, it's lean and clean. Hard to gauge the zeitgeist on this one, but I've seen plenty of whining. Remember Facebook's philosophy- "Move fast and break things."
Final thought--I am pretty sure these changes foreshadow big News Feed changes that are afoot. Get your name on that waiting list here. Let's see if we can beat New Zealand this time.
As the saying goes, "A picture is worth ten thousand words." And in social media, no truer words were spoken. With a plethora of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, the power of visual marketing is abundant. In fact, Facebook has more photos uploaded than Flickr, Instagram and even the Library of Congress. So how can brands harness this power and gain more brand affinity and engagement through visual marketing? The truth is, most marketers are missing the point.
We have a lot of bad habits from our traditional media practices that we hold onto that are really ineffective in this new medium. It seems like mass media, but the rise of social networks and digital media has created an opportunity to create real and meaningful dialogue with our audiences on a one-to-one level through technology. That technology has become ever-present and critical component to everything we do. But while the technology is key to distribution, the story is what matters to the audience. And this is something we must not take lightly. Combine that with the right visuals in photos, videos, infographics, and you're onto something.
So how to you get there? First you have to uncover the underlying motivations of why people share in the first place. To give value and entertainment to others, to provide a sense of who we are, to stay connected and build relationships with others, to create personal involvement and stay connected with others, and to persuade others to care about what we care about.*
*Source: NYTimes Customer Insight Group study
It's the content, in the right context, that will ultimately drive conversation. The intersection of where you (as a brand) can share what you want to say and what they (as your audience) are interested in consuming. Relevance is key to great content. Timing is also extremely important. You must consider how the consumer is bombarded with content and navigate the right communication path to ensure your content gets seen, heard, read and shared.
To address which visual platforms would work best for your brand, it would be best to ask yourself these questions - What are your brand's goals? What are your brand's resources? Where is your brand's audience?
Then you can decide which platforms make the most sense for your brand's content.
Here's the lowdown on the platforms:
Pinterest: Reflects aspirational desire and "want" - intent to purchase with aethesthically beautiful photos. For Brands - huge opportunity to express brand ideals, authenticity and style.
Instagram: It's about art, not ads. Be the brand, not the product. Fuels into other networks so use as an opportunity to cross-promote.
Tumblr: Blogging platform; social network; content distribution platform - use when you are trying to young adults. Most popular with 13-25 year olds. "Facebook is where teens and young adults connect with family and friends - Tumblr is where they connect with like-minded people about topics they care about" - Tim Peter
• Use images that are beautiful/eye-popping/funny/inspirational/emotional/relatable/shareable (that you have rights to) and distribute them across social platforms
• Think about streams: timing of publishing and catching people’s attention
You don’t have to win The Super Bowl to have an excuse to go to Disney World in February, you just have to keep tabs on the Ragan Communications’ Events calendar. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of beautiful, sunny days with a few hundred of the best and brightest minds in communications last week at the 6th Annual Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The conference featured presentations from communications professionals at Disney Parks, The Phoenix Suns, Whole Foods, Google, ESPN, Southwest Airlines, Marvel, Microsoft and Zappos to name a few.
I was fortunate enough to participate in a panel discussion about how brands can use Pinterest for Storytelling. The panel featured Whole Foods’ Michael Aaron Bepko, Global Online Community Manager; Samantha Hosenkamp, Social Media Director of Ragan Communications, and Kevin Dando, Director of Marketing Communications for PBS.
As a supplement to the ideas I shared during the lively discussion (thanks to everyone that turned out to pack the room during our session), here are 6 tips brands can use to leverage Pinterest for brand storytelling:
1. Incentivize Your Community to Participate - consider sponsoring contests and promotions to reward your community for generating content on the platform. For example, start a "Pin It to Win It" campaign where Pinners - users who pin specific images related to your brand. Everyone that pins within the guidelines of your promotion are entered to win a prize or some recognition for their efforts. Perhaps the winner serves as your Pinterest brand ambassador or gets some more formal role for a period of time (e.g. summer intern for your brand).
2. Tell Your Story Over Time - use a Pinterest board like you would time-lapse photography or a flip book to tell your story. Do you own a pumpkin patch you want people to come to this fall? Start by pinning images of you unpacking the seeds, planting the seeds, watering the seeds, watching the seeds sprout, etc. - tell the story of pictures all the way through families coming out to your pumpkin patch to get their prized selections. You can do this over the course of a long period of time, or you can do it in a day - for example, show images of your upcoming road race starting with setting up the course, runners starting to pile in each hour, people running the race, and the first and last people to cross the finish line. There are endless opportunities for using images over a designated period of time like this.
3. Guess The Picture - ask your audience a trivia question, with an image-based question. For example, guess the destination we're sending one lucky winner too. Take a picture of the event and cut it up into 20 different images. Post different pieces of your image puzzle over the course of the contest and enter all correct guessers into a drawing to win - then pin a picture of the winner receiving their prize.
4. New Product Launches - there's no rule that says you can't use your Pinboards to promote the products or services you sell. When you get in a fresh batch of your latest product, why not pin an image of those products going onto the shelves? Come in and get yours before they're all gone. Feel free to update the board as your limited supply leaves the shelves - you just might drive in-store traffic. You can do the same with sale items, clearance items or event items that you sell online. Show images of your trucks being loaded with product heading out to all your retail stores if you're a wholesaler. Customers buy from you, why not remind them what they buy?
5. It's Okay to Be Fun and Goofy - you don't have to be serious with everything on Pinterest. Consider putting a funny or witty spin on the drab and boring stuff some might perceive about your business. GE does a great job of this with their "Big Ass Machines" board. They show pictures of, well, big ass machines they manufacture. They could have called the board something more descriptive (and boring), but we wouldn't be talking about it. What do you joke about inside the company that people outside your company wouldn't know about? That type of stuff can be gold on Pinterest.
6. Pay It Forward - it's not all about you. Consider sharing content from other brands' boards to generate interest for your own brands. Are you inspired by the products and services other brands post on their boards? Create a board of your inspirations or things you love and share it with your community. Those brands - and the people enjoying your curated content - will reward you by sharing your content. Pay it forward.
BONUS: here's a bonus tip for you… are you looking for clever images to include with your blog posts? Embed an image from your Pinterest board as the visual to complement your next blog post. You'll drive traffic to your Pinterest boards from your blog - but you'll also attract new readers to your blog from Pinterest.
What ideas do you have for telling your brand stories via Pinterest? How can your favorite brands leverage Pinterest to make their content more interesting and engaging? What are you doing on Pinterest that our readers would be interested in? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Want more about Pinterest? Check out these Definition 6 resources:
Everything I needed to know about last night's Super Bowl XLVII I learned from social media.
Considering the fact that the Falcons fell to the 49ers, I chose not the watch the Super Bowl last night. I figured if there were any good ads I missed, I could catch them online. Well, as it turns out, I didn't even need to be watching it in order to understand what was happenning--in real time. All of my Facebook friends and the people I follow on Twitter were giving me the play-by-play, and not just of the plays. The Ravens held down a lead throughout the entire game, Beyonce was awesome, everyone was grossed out by the GoDaddy commercial, the Superdome experienced a power outage in the middle of the third quarter, and everyone took to social media to air their jokes and commentary about everything that was happening.
The power outage being a particularly unique incident during the Super Bowl, many celebrities and brands were tweeting about the situation, making jokes and turning hashtags like #superbowlblackout and #superbowlpoweroutage into trending topics on Twitter. Not only did the blackout give us something to talk about online, it also gave us an oppotunity to take ownership. Not unlike the Mars Rover adapting a popular sarcastic Twitter handle of its own, the Superdome lights now also has a Twitter with nearly 2,000 followers already.
Brands especially saw the blackout as a situation around which they could create content that active social media users were sure to see and understand, during a time when social media websites (mostly Twitter) peak in traffic.
One of the most powerful aspects of effective marketing is being in the same place as your audience--at the same time. In this case, brands like Oreo and Tide saw millions of Super Bowl fans turn to social media to discuss the blackout, and they simply decided to join the conversation. According to the statistics, at 14,000 retweets, Oreo is particularly popular in the social conversation. Looking back on how rapidly football fans, and then brands jumped on the topic of the blackout, the advertising cycle is getting much quicker, and now more than ever it is important for brands to be there for their fans in real time.
Editor's Note: It’s that time of year again…time for Definition 6 CTO Paul Hernacki’s annual “Make Fun of Marketing People” Cartoon. As usual, prepare to laugh… because the only other option for this kind of truth is to cry.
Yes, in my role as CTO for a Unified Marketing Agency I spend most of my waking hours squarely at the crossroads of marketing and technology. And our own marketing department at Definition 6 has been bugging me for weeks to write a blog post about the top things people should be thinking about in 2013 related to innovative use of marketing technologies. But the crazy pace of work that is so common in the agency world right before the holidays as we rush to finish up so many big projects and campaigns for our clients left me with little time to actually sit down and write something meaningful. So instead, I created this video. It's cloud-based. And cloud-ready. And cloud-enabled. With mobile accessibility and social shareability. Enjoy. And good luck to everyone in 2013... even the Mayans.
There was a lot of great content presented at Mashable’s Media Summit last week in New York – far too much for me to summarize for you in 500 words. That said, Mashable did a great job summarizing the day via Storify. If you weren’t able to attend, you can get a good feel for the day’s content over there.
I would like to take a moment to highlight a couple of significant themes that emerged throughout the day, particularlyaround the rapid developments in Web design we’re seeing materialize before us on a daily basis. For a great current example, head over to Mashable today to witness the execution of the ideas I’m about to summarize. Mashable has revamped its Web experience to take full advantage of how content is discovered and shared on the Web today – across every type of device we use.
Here are my key takeaways from the day – consider this a cheat sheet for revamping your Web content experiences in 2013.
1. Mobile first, not desktop – the post-PC era is here. It no longer makes sense to design Web experiences around the desktop as the primary device. Device proliferation requires a new solution, one that optimizes the experience for every reader. The most buzzed-about approach to designing for this new era – which you’ve no doubt heard of by now – is responsive Web design, where the Web experience adjusts to the device and browser used by the visitor. Responsive Web design only scratches the surface, addressing the problems of device proliferation. What about context though? Some would argue responsive approaches address context, but expect a new term – reactive Web design – to creep into the lexicon in 2013. Reactive web design as a label expands upon responsive approaches and strives to adapt the digital experience to predicted needs of the user. For example, using IP lookup, geolocation, or some other known visitor data, the Web experience (and content) can be tailored to render a more contextual Web experience. These will be exciting times for content marketers.
2. Social first, not search – there’s been a lot of talk about social being the new search. I don’t like this, because social is not search – but I get the point. Old school SEO tactics – pre-Panda tactics – aren’t what they once were. Content that is shared aggressively will drive more consumption than content that is simply linked to a lot. Shares impact SEO – in many cases, impacting search rankings more than links. When planning your content strategy, search should follow social in order of importance. Writing a great, sharable headline that gets readers to read is more important than getting high authority links to that same piece of content. If it’s shared at a high frequency, search engines will reward you and the traffic will come.
3. Visuals matter – high-quality imagery amplifies content consumption by a factor of two or more. Mashable reports that it generates 8 times more traffic on a post with a video than plain text. Brands should use images and video liberally on their content sites, and those images and videos should be easily shareable. In many cases, the images and video themselves serve as micro-content that users will share independent of the content on the site. This is particularly evident across the newer image-centric social channels such as Instagram and Pinterest. If you have high-quality images and video in your content, people will share your content across these channels. Remember, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster. For example, posts that leverage video generate three times more inbound links than plain text (SEOMoz).
4. Ads are content too – If you have ads on your sites, you need to remember that ads are content too. There was a lot of talk about native and responsive advertising at the Mashable Media Summit event. Stated plainly, responsive advertising is the application of responsive Web design to the ad units. Your ads should look great across any experience. You don’t have to be a responsive Web design expert to capitalize on responsive advertising. Expect ad-serving platforms to support your responsive advertising needs in 2013. Slightly different from responsive advertising is native advertising, where advertising is built into the content experience itself. Facebook’s sponsored stories or Twitter’s sponsored tweets are an example of this evolving ad unit.
I’m excited to see so much fresh innovation going on in Web design. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve seen this much change in so little time. Then again, most of the innovation in recent years has come on the back end of our sites. As we move into 2013, expect to see more site experiences built around content, context and conversations, the essence of our Unified Marketing strategy here at Definition 6.
Today the ad:tech NY tradeshow kicked off in NYC while the city is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, we're now getting hit with blizzard like conditions. Will this ever end?
Despite the weather, many digital marketers, agencies and brands gathered at the Javits center to network, learn and hear about successful case studies that brands delivered during the year. Our own Paul McClay spoke on a panel about Advanced Video Integration focused on delivering successful campaigns using TV, YouTube, and DOOH.
Moderated by the lovely Amber J. Lawson, the panel featured case studies from RPA, Giant Media, Definition 6 and a digital out of home company.
San Tong kicked it off with case studies on placing video content on YouTube and how to execute a successful campaign. The most memorable one she discussed was how Honda used YouTube to drum up excitement for their iconic Superbowl ad featuring Matthew Broderick as "Ferris Bueller" by seeding teaser videos and extended scenes online and leveraging bloggers to view, share the content. Make it interesing and shareable. Key components to successful video campaigns.
Paul McClay from Definition 6 presented two great examples of video usage in social media for HBO's True Blood Immortalize Yourself Facebook app and Facebook's Timeline Movie Maker. With "Immortalize Yourself" he mentions that by creating compelling content and using the "fans as its distribution model," this content delivered massively successful engagement metrics. Timeline Movie Maker was designed to encourage people to voluntarily make the switch to Timeline on Facebook by giving folks added value in doing so - a one-minute movie that highlights major moments of your life that you've shared on Facebook. By making this video personalized, it gave people a positive incentive to make the jump to a new layout, something that most people complained about in past years.
Video is powerful and the best storytelling mechanism. By creating a strategy, creating interesting content, and leveraging influencers to communicate your video message, campaigns can be tremendously successful.
When a crisis hits like the recent Hurricane Sandy, social media becomes even more important and provides a way to mass communicate to friends and family, find out breaking information, and gives the ability to share details in real time, especially when the lights go out. As we witnessed on the East Coast this week, much of the communication during the storm happened via Twitter and Facebook, and on mobile devices. It’s hard to imagine what we did before.
But with so many without power, it does force us to use real human interactions to communicate -- neighbors meeting each other, helping one another out, sharing generators, and more - and to get through this trying time.
And while technology is extremely useful, it begs the question - do we rely on it too much?
Today’s technology allows us to be connected everywhere we go—but does it simultaneously disconnect us from our real surroundings? Our devices have an impact on social interactions and business communications. The rapidly increasing integration of technology into society has altered the way we interact on a daily basis, and it’s important to be aware of its implications. Even “the telephone call is a dying institution…Americans ages 18-29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.” 
While seated in my big comfy chair at a coffee shop recently, I noticed a husband and wife walk in, holding hands. When they sat at the table, however, both individuals took out their iPhones and spent the entire visit on their phones. Once, at a nice Italian restaurant I watched a family of three during their meal. The father on his Blackberry, the mother on her iPad, and the son listening to music—for the whole meal, not one word was spoken except to the waiter.
Are you using technology to communicate with someone while ignoring a real human connection face-to-face? Of course making this substitution can be perceived as rude. However, it is important to look at communication technology as a means to an end. If we are using technology in order to arrange a face-to-face meeting, how could that be bad? If being able to communicate with someone even when they are not anywhere nearby brings you closer together, technology can be viewed as something that nurtures relationships, not creates distance within them.
Face-to-face meetings in business are ideal for productivity and clear communication, but how often is something less personal used as a replacement for a face-to-face meeting? With today’s technology, we may be losing the art of real conversation as we slip further into our devices as mean of communication. Effective conversation is critical to effective business. When used correctly, technology can nurture our communication abilities and teach us important lessons about making the right impressions.
Balance is to this, as it is to everything--the key. Finding the right balance is critical to a healthy and successful usage of technology. It is important to ask yourself—what am I ignoring while using technology? And—what do I have the potential to gain while using technology? The answers to these questions will help create boundaries in your real space, strike a natural balance, and help you to never forget the art of real conversation.
We are a unified marketing agency, connecting brands with people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions - while unifying the disciplines of marketing and technology.