The latest from GO2
What the office is up to, looking into and blogging about.
How to Use Emotional Targeting in Ad Campaigns

Emotions are powerful. We all know that. But what’s not so obvious is that when it comes to advertising campaigns, focusing on emotional elements can heighten the quality of your storytelling and the authenticity of your content, as well as consumer engagement and brand affinity.

Emotions are so powerful in campaigns that they can even evoke a greater intent to buy. In fact, Kissmetrics Blog mentions a research study, conducted by Pringle & Field, that finds “emotional campaigns outperform on almost every metric.” This includes revenue, profit and share gain.

So how do we successfully, and gracefully, use emotional targeting in our campaigns? What emotional aspects can we research and tap into? Read on to find out!

Psychological triggers

Emotions can lead people to take certain actions. So when developing a campaign, you’ll really need to think about why people are buying. Think about your product or service. Does it create a certain feeling — good or bad? Could it possibly make consumers think of specific life events? How do those life events correlate to their possible emotions? In general, feelings of happiness lead to more responses, shares and ultimately, sales.

This approach actually has a name: it’s called joy marketing. Eventbrite does this well in its Facebook ads. It makes sense — Eventbrite is an online event registration company for social events, so of course the ads should be inclusive to all and display happy people. However, other brands can take note of this strategy and apply it to their ads as well.

Throughout Eventbrite’s Facebook ads, you can see the company using three main tactics to elicit a certain emotion:

  • Bright and contrasting colors
  • Photos with smiling people
  • Language with positive connotation

What’s the underlying message each of these tactics is sending? Happiness. And this becomes two-fold. The viewer will likely feel the positivity that the ad exudes and begin to associate that with the specific offer and the brand itself.

Memories and associations

Similar to psychological triggers, memories and associations also play a large role in the buying process. No matter what your product is, you’ll want to extract the happiness out of it however you can. If it’s a product that’s typically associated with happy times, then you’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ll need to find a way to associate it with something positive in sentiment. When people connect your brand to happy memories or life events, you’re creating the emotion needed for more interaction and more intent to purchase.

Let’s take TurboTax for example. We all know that tax season isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite time of year. The reality is, TurboTax is starting on the negative end of the spectrum simply through association of a less-than-ideal life event. However, the company has a great opportunity to create a positive angle, which it has clearly recognized and implemented. In its advertising, TurboTax ties in meaningful life events (marriages, birth of children, etc.) to show that they can use those events to get their customers a higher tax return. It created positive emotions for the customer for multiple reasons: they’re reminded of those happy times, which can distract them from the burden of tax season, and they now understand that this company can get them more money. TurboTax found a strategic way to creatively extract the positive aspects out of its service.

Regardless of your product’s usual sentiment, you can apply creativity to showcase the positivity. We look at Hershey’s Chocolate for a great example of this. The company tweeted an Easter message with the copy, “Who makes your #Easter all the more sweet? #HelloHappy.” The picture includes Hershey’s chocolate and two small children enjoying the chocolate in all their holiday happiness. See the ad here. The sweets company mastered it with this one: associating positive memories with the product and making people truly intertwine the two — almost like you can’t imagine a happy Easter without your Hershey’s chocolate bunny.

Social aspects

It only makes sense that social elements would play into these buying emotions, as well. Feelings of inclusion and belonging go a long way when people are considering different products. More specifically, consumers want to relate to the people they see in the ads or even feel like they’re involved with a meaningful cause. If they feel like they belong with those people, or feel like they could belong if they bought the product, they’re more likely to purchase.

This can be a tricky one to master, but we see companies like Coca-Cola doing this well. For instance, look at the company’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” campaign. This shows the effectiveness of social input in advertising dating back to the 1970s! The company saw enormous brand engagement through this campaign, receiving more than 100,000 letters that shared consumers’ approval and also made requests for music for future commercials. The soft drink company was able to capture the essence of consumer engagement using positive emotions and feelings of happiness and togetherness.

The efforts from Coca-Cola still live on today, as it brought back the “Share a Coke” campaign and used the personal touch of first names on the cans. It uses the same emotional positioning of inclusiveness and friendship as its campaign in the 1970s. Check out the more recent campaign here.

FOMO

Sorry, what?

FOMO: a term that Millennials have created that stands for “fear of missing out.” Essentially, it’s a feeling that comes up when a person sees something happening that they think would be fun or cool, and they don’t want to miss out on it. Although it’s a relatively new term, it is a serious physiological element to consider. People alter their lifestyles, routines and schedules in order to not experience FOMO, so brands can certainly benefit from getting a grasp on this emotional concept.

Who can you learn from in this area? A company focused on growing website traffic called Sumo. The brand uses a sense of both exclusivity and urgency to leverage feelings of FOMO within the consumer. How? The company includes copy in its Facebook ads that make it seem as though everyone else is already using the software and that if you’re not yet using it, you’re missing out. According to the Kissmetrics Blog, Sumo uses these four considerations in its copy strategy:

  • Includes a number of users already reaping the benefits of the service (which is huge in the business of website traffic growth, as you wouldn’t want your competitors to get ahead)
  • Asks a question, hinting to something great that the viewer is missing out on
  • Makes the reader curious about the community and entices them to want to be a part of it
  • Gives a time limit on the offer, adding to the sense of urgency

You can see the company’s example here.

As you can see, there are so many considerations for emotional input during the buying process. With plenty of opportunities for tapping into these emotions, research and strategy are essential — you need to know your consumer well enough to understand how they’ll react.

Have you experienced the effects of emotional targeting? Or maybe your company has taken this approach? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Sources:

Kissmetrics — How Emotional Targeting Converts More Leads
Kissmetrics — 12 Genius Ways to Apply Emotional Marketing to Facebook Ads
HubSpot

Our Strategic Partnership with Comcast: Three Years and Counting

Here at GO2, relationship building is one of our core strengths. We know the more we can collaborate and build partnerships with our clients, the more successful we can be in helping them reach their goals.

We’ve recently finished up a Retrospective Portfolio, which highlights that relationship-building element in our work with Comcast. We are at a point in our relationship where a recap is appropriate; we’ve been working with the company for nearly 4 years and have been involved in many different capacities, divisions and efforts. The Retrospective Portfolio encompasses all that we’ve done together and shows each division we work with just how deeply connected we are to the company’s brand and growth initiatives.

So what does a project like this entail? Well, first we had to look back over all the numbers — we’ve been keeping track of everything since the beginning — and we found some pretty interesting statistics to share.

  • The number of people who have worked on the account over the years was equivalent to the number of people involved in a full game of Major League Baseball, of course including the coaches, umpires, etc.
  • We’ve completed enough projects for the account to total the number of cast and crewmembers for two Hollywood blockbusters.
  • The miles we’ve traveled for meetings and presentations totaled almost the circumference of Mars.
  • The number of status meetings was almost up to the total number of songs the Beatles wrote.
  • In the hours we put into all the projects collectively, we could’ve watched the entire Star Wars movie catalog more than 1,500 times.

 


Next up, we included a timeline of major projects, new teams we’ve begun working with and new contacts we’ve met and worked with.

And then it was time for the specific project highlights. In this section we were able to show our ability to do multiple kinds of tactics and different levels of work, from strategic to executional and everything in between. We walked through the highlights of planning, employee engagement and outreach projects and explained how we categorized it.

Lastly, we shared the current team’s bios and highlighted personal accomplishments and events over the course of our relationship with Comcast.

So this is all great, right? But what does it mean? How does this actually strengthen a client-agency relationship?

  1. It shows how invested we are in our client’s brand and objectives.
  2. It highlights our strategic partnership and outlines how we collaborate to make a great team.
  3. It shows our comprehensive experience and our unlimited enthusiasm to continue expanding upon that.
  4. It demonstrates the personal relationships shared by our teams.

Our philosophy at GO2 puts communication and relationship building at the top of the priority list. What would you say are the best ways to enhance client-agency relationships? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

3 Signs It’s a Good Time to Rethink Your Brand

It’s inevitable that things evolve. And your brand should, too.

While it may have been perfect for you when it was first developed, you might find yourself veering away from your original brand identity as your company changes — and that’s OK! But when that happens, you’ll need to makes changes to your brand so it’s always aligned with the current state of the company.

Sometimes, there are obvious signs it’s time to rebrand. And other times, it may not be so clear. Here, we’re sharing three telltale signs that it’s time to start thinking about rebranding efforts.

1. When you pursue a different target demographic.

Your target audience is (well, should be) at the core of everything you do. You create a brand that will resonate with and appeal to your audience so that you can relate to them. Not all brands will span this widely, but you can imagine how a brand geared toward millennial women would be wildly different than a brand meant for Baby Boomer men. Whether you’re making changes to a product, adding a new product, or simply tapping into a different audience group who may be interested, your brand will need to stay relevant to all potential demographics.

How might a brand expand to reach a diverse audience? Let’s look at Patagonia as an example. Incredibly strong brand, yes. But the company also has an incredibly varied target market — men, women, children, people of all ages, outdoorsy folks and more. So how do they manage to engage everyone? The company is united on its brand principles of quality products and environmentally conscious and sustainable manufacturing processes. With those two common threads, Patagonia is able to market to its differing target audiences and maintain a robust brand at its core.

2. When a competitor becomes more threatening.

A lot of times, rebranding comes from internal changes or restructuring. However, there are external pressures, too. It’s almost like playing defense. Let’s say an established competitor kicks up their momentum or a new competitor is quickly gaining attention. Rebranding can serve as a way to protect your business, giving you a chance to really differentiate yourself from others in the market.

Think about Uber and Lyft. For years, Uber was dominating the market and was hands down the most widely known. Then Lyft entered the game and gained traction quickly. This likely urged Uber to start formulating a plan, because last year around this time, they went through a rebrand.

3. When you outgrow your mission, culture, values, etc.

For this specific occurrence, all pressure to rebrand comes internally. And you’ll know when it’s time. As companies grow, they’re dealt higher expectations. Sometimes the strategy set forth from the beginning needs to be reevaluated a few years later. Whatever the circumstances, any significant company change can spark the need for a refreshed or completely rebuilt brand.

Here at GO2 Advertising, we’re currently putting the finishing touches on an exciting brand refresh. What prompted us to revisit our branding? A recent shift in our culture.

As an agency, we’ve been developing and executing strategic internal initiatives to enhance our culture. At the core of these efforts is our focus on employee-ownership — we all apply an ownership mentality to everything we do at GO2, and we wanted this positive shift in our culture to be reflected in our brand voice and visual identity.

We’re eager to begin sharing our refreshed brand elements this year, and we’re confident in what our brand will say about who we are as an agency.

Keep an eye out for a new GO2 website as we finalize our brand refresh!

Now it’s your turn — how do you evaluate when it’s time for a brand overhaul? Tell us about some of your branding challenges and triumphs in the comments below.

Influencer Marketing

Consumers’ faith in brands’ traditional advertising campaigns continues to wane. Only 47% of today’s Internet users trust traditional advertising.1 They’re tired of paid ads interrupting their experience. So ultimately, they’re tuning them out. But this vast and growing number of doubters isn’t blindly making purchases.

Instead, they’re turning to trusted social influencers – consumers just like them. People who have a following – some relatively small, others large. These influencers post authentic content that influences followers and lowers the wall between the consumer and brand, while building up the brand’s image.

smartpicksKnown as Influencer Marketing, many believe it to be the advertising industry’s next big thing. So what is Influencer Marketing? In a nutshell, it’s word-of-mouth advertising that can reach a mass audience all at once. Rather than the old-school approach of talking to a consumer with traditional advertising, Influencer Marketing talks with them, entertains them and informs them.

In more technical terms, Influencer Marketing uses key leaders to promote your brand’s message to potential customers through various social media outlets. This style of native advertising places products in organic content. Dedicated Media found that purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads.2

Now this doesn’t mean running out and paying a Kardashian hundreds of thousands of dollars to tout your product – unless that’s right for you, your budget and product. However, it could mean giving your new stroller to a mom with a strong blog following to test it out. Or giving your video game controller to a YouTube-famous pro gamer whose review could work wonders for your product. When it comes to product information, these folks are trusted sources.

They’re specialists who generate honest recommendations and create a running dialogue with their followers – a group that wants to receive updates from the influencer. Yes, some influencers may want compensation to generate sponsored content, but not anywhere in the stratosphere of Kardashian money.

moneybagsCollective Bias found that 70% of consumers are more likely to value an endorsement from a non-A-List celebrity.1 So rather than chasing premier talent, that pro video gamer (someone who can have an audience of millions) can make a big impact on your bottom line for very little expense. In fact, 82% of people are likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation.3 Micro-influencers typically have 500 to 5,000 highly engaged followers.

Influencer Marketing also has another key benefit for your brand. It can boost your content ranks on social networks. The more shares, likes, comments and backlinks your influencers’ content generates, the higher your social media rankings will climb. And who doesn’t like being more relevant on Google? Plus, since it’s digital, you can mine a wealth of data.

But don’t expect your sales to skyrocket your brand to #1 overnight. Working with an influencer needs to be a long-term commitment. Also, Influencer Marketing is still a fairly new concept, so you may encounter a few bumps on the road to social media domination in your market.

If you’re going to launch an Influencer Marketing campaign, remember to keep it authentic. If you’re paying an influencer to promote your product, they will need to disclose this. However, just because they’re paid, doesn’t mean that they can’t get behind the product and enjoy it. Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Choose the right influencers. Are their followers the market you want to reach?
  • Influencers want to be part of exciting ventures.
  • Share your influencers’ content on your own social media networks. Be sure to let them know that you’re doing this.
  • Build influencer relationships before you ask them to help you.
  • Have guidelines in place as to how your influencer reaches out to his or her followers.
  • Remember that it still takes more than an influencer to help you move sales.

Has your brand tried Influencer Marketing, or are you considering it? We’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic.

2017 Digital Advertising Trends

Advertising in the digital space is always an adventure. It is a place where technology advances at the speed of thought and ideas are shared at the speed of light. There is always some risk when investing your budget in such a rapidly changing environment, but that risk can be somewhat mitigated by staying on top of the trends.

Below you will find highlights of what the digital ad world might look like in 2017. There are some digital marketing strategy staples, some that are just beginning to settle in for the long haul and some exciting new developments.

Keep reading to see what to double down on, what to invest in and what to watch.

Staples:

The following strategies have been around for a while and consistently remain a part of any forward-thinking advertiser’s consideration and budget. Their prevalence will only grow in 2017. In fact, if you are not already thinking about whether these tactics are right for you or your clients, you’ve got some catching up to do.

Native

Native advertising – a form of paid media where the ad follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed – is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But, as modern consumers continue to reject, condemn, and go to lengths to insulate themselves from traditional advertising, it will become increasingly important to create brand experiences that integrate with their entertainment.

That includes everything from a Buzzfeed listicle to an Onion video advertorial. Offering seamless and entertaining ad experiences will continue to be a pervasive and essential tactic.

Cross-device marketing

Stories of desktop death have been greatly exaggerated. There has been much talk about a mobile-first marketing approach, but the reality is that while smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for activities such as social media, messaging and news, the majority of consumers also have a desktop, which they tend to use for more detailed review and purchasing.

Not only can you reach a broader audience by catering to the multiplatform majority, but mobile conversion rates are significantly lower than with desktop interactions. This suggests the importance of getting visitors to your site both for a quick mobile search and for a more in-depth desktop experience. So, from optimized web ads to responsive websites, every online touchpoint needs to be integrated and optimized, giving users a consistent experience across devices.

Trending:

The digital advertising trends below may be new to some and old hat to others. They have managed to gain a solid hold on our advertising focus by capitalizing on both technology advancements and broader entertainment trends and thus are a good indication of digital advertising’s present landscape and future direction.

Programmatic

Programmatic is the process of buying and selling media in an automated fashion, including the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimating that programmatic spend will grow to over 80% of marketing spend by 2018, there is almost no reason not to jump on board. Let’s take a look at how this increasingly essential ad strategy works:

  1. Brands and advertisers bid on an ad space.
  2. These brands/advertisers set different variables based on price and the audience segment profiles they are trying to reach.
  3. When a webpage is being loaded and has the space for an ad on it, information that’s been gathered about the visitor is sent back and forth to an ad exchange.
  4. This space gets auctioned off to the highest bidder and the ad is placed in the space – all of this is done in milliseconds.

With this method, rather than just purchasing inventory for a “spray and pray display,” you pay for only precisely targeted ads. Getting highly effective ads with the possibility of cross-demographic ad targeting for a relatively low cost seems like a no-brainer.

But I said earlier that there is “almost” no reason not to adopt for a reason: programmatic ad buying comes with a serious concern about fraud. Even so, considering the importance of effective targeting, this strategy is here to stay.

Live video streaming

Video has always been an incredibly versatile medium, allowing brands to tell stories that are impactful and entertaining. It is also a medium that has seen ever-increasing online engagement: between 2013 and 2015, there was a 360% increase in video views.

And consumers are 4 times as likely to prefer video content over text. And now, live streaming video has become a trend all its own. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and availability of fast Internet anywhere, many platforms have seen the advantage of integrating a live streaming service.

Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live give brands easy access to a new way to reach their customers. These services can make customers a part of a launch event, give them a behind-the-scenes tour or show off a product demo. Whereas the shooting and editing of traditional video often comes with a high price tag, live streaming consumers do not yet have the expectation of professional polish. So, it is a trend that can fit into any budget.

Emerging:

Now, I want to touch on some developments that may not fit into the average business marketing plan just yet.

Wearables

As with mobile marketing, reaching consumers through a device that is constantly on their person seems like an obviously smart move. However, though it may seem like everyone has a Fitbit these days, not everyone would be open to their interactions with it being infiltrated by advertising. It is therefore likely that the marketing advantage wearables offer will be tied to information gathering. They have the potential to offer a wealth of useful data concerning a consumer’s location, behaviors and even their health.

Darwinian Advertising

It is probably too early to call Darwinian advertising a trend, but it is certainly an interesting development that is worth watching. In this survival of the fittest digital advertising concept, parts of the creative that don’t engage a user are automatically removed from circulation, while those that receive a reaction are reworked into further iterations.

As an example, the first experiment with this type of advertising measured response with an embedded camera. In this way, all the elements of an ad, from copy to color, can be optimized for maximum consumer reaction. While currently experimental and out of reach for most advertisers, the potential to evolve the perfect ad has an undeniable appeal.

5 SEO copywriting tips

Visual design might reign supreme when creating websites and apps because it impacts usability and functionality.

Yet, words are still the best way to build trust, deliver concepts and drive action. But making those words appealing and optimized for search engines to improve rankings is a challenge every content marketer faces. According to Copyblogger, SEO is the most misunderstood topic online.*

So where do we start? With two words – Content Strategy. The right content strategy creates a great user experience.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

seo-blog-keyword-freq

Content should be user-centric:
Your target audience comes first, long before search algorithms. The best place to start is by understanding your target audience. Then, talk your readers’ language by creating interesting, compelling, useful and visually appealing content that targets specific keywords. This will increase your content’s relevance and improve its ranking in Google. Ideally, you should put your keyword in your headline. The content following the headline should address keyword intent. And keep paragraphs short. Nobody likes to be faced with a sea of type.

seo-blog-keyword-freq

Use long tail keywords:
These three- or four-word phrases are very specific to what you are selling. They’re the phrases that consumers are more likely to use when they’re closer to making a purchase. These specific phrases also rank better than generic single or double word keywords.

seo-blog-keyword-freq

Write great headlines:

Don’t expect high click-through numbers if you have a mediocre headline. Your headline should attract people’s attention, get them to click and read more. According to ConversionXL, headlines with numbers are always winners.** This might not always be possible, but it’s something to consider.

seo-blog-keyword-freq

Don’t overlook meta descriptions:
These take time to write and directly affect traffic to a web page. When people search for keywords that are relevant to your page, Google uses the meta description on your page. Good meta descriptions take time to write and should be 150 to 160 characters and include target keywords. For mobile, keep it to 113 characters.

seo-blog-keyword-freq

Focus on keyword frequency:
How many times do your keywords appear on the page? Don’t go keyword frequency crazy, though. The folks at Google pay attention to keyword stuffing and will penalize you. It’s still a factor in ranking. Plus, overdoing keywords will turn off your readers.

 

Remember, make your content easy to read. Don’t overwhelm your audience, or pack every thought into one paragraph. Well-planned content will work wonders for your writing’s effectiveness. This will create a better user experience.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. What works best for you and your content?

 

* http://www.copyblogger.com/

** http://conversionxl.com/

Top 5 Takeaways from Content Marketing World 2016

Did you know that Cleveland is the content marketing capital of the world? With last month’s Content Marketing World offering more than 80 speaker sessions and attracting around 3,500 attendees from over 70 countries, it seems safe to say that title is official.

One of our senior copywriters attended the world’s largest content marketing event and brought back a wide array of insights. For a look at what Carrie learned during her CMWorld experience, we’ve gathered her top 5 takeaways here.

research

5. Perform original research
In his keynote presentation, Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director of Orbit Media, delivered some great advice for turning mediocre content into great content: include original research in your content marketing plan. Andy explained that by making original research a priority, you can make your brand a “primary source for an important piece of data in your industry.”

This research can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can perform valuable research through observation, analyzing a chosen data set and presenting it in a new way. You can rely on aggregation, bringing existing pieces of information together to answer a question or solve a problem. You might also consider employing surveys to find an unanswered need or identify claims that have not yet been supported. Each of these avenues can lead you to produce the kind of original content that can help establish your brand as a thought leader.

gaptarget

4. Fill a content gap
Content creation is at an all-time high, but unfortunately, so is noise. In order to break through the clutter of abundant content, Andrew Davis, Founder of Monumental Shift, advised marketers to identify unanswered questions that are likely to resonate with your audience. With that knowledge guiding your approach, you can re-evaluate and revise your strategy with the goal of filling those content gaps.

By narrowing your focus to a specific, defined audience, your brand can create and distribute the kinds of content your audience may not even know they need — yet. Target the right niche with content that successfully fulfills an otherwise overlooked need, and your brand will be in an ideal position to generate valuable engagement and build a loyal audience.

userstory

3. Put your audience at the center of the story
Lars Silberbauer, Global Director of Social Media and Search Marketing at LEGO, gave CMWorld attendees an eye-opening early morning keynote. He revealed that LEGO’s fans actually create 20 times more content than the brand itself produces. And the company not only embraces this fact, but actively capitalizes on it.

LEGO’s content strategy is built on powerful storytelling, and fans are always at the very center of the company’s efforts. “Building Together” and “Pride in Creation” are the two core ideas that make LEGO’s content strategy so effective, encouraging fans to share their ideas, tell their own stories and celebrate their integral roles in the larger LEGO brand experience.

slowdown

2. Slow down and empathize
No content marketing event experience could be complete without a session with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. At this year’s CMWorld, she acknowledged that “marketing is impatient.” We tend to work at a rapid pace in order to keep up with news, trends and consumer demands. But she urged us all to slow down and ask “so what?” when developing strategy and content.

In fact, Ann advised that unless you’re willing and able to slow down and do your content marketing the right way, then you shouldn’t bother doing it at all. This statement echoed Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi’s opening keynote, where he told us, “If you’re not ‘all in’ with your content marketing program, you should stop.”

Slowing down is most certainly a key component of going “all in.” By taking the time to consider the kinds of content you’re delivering from your audience’s perspective, your team can develop a greater sense of empathy — a vital element not only for content marketing, but for your business in general. You want to be sure you are delivering genuine value to your audience, and if you follow Ann Handley’s advice, you can identify when your efforts aren’t aligning with your objectives so that you can correct your course and keep your content on target.

why

1. Find your why
One of the most powerful messages of the entire CMWorld event came from stand-up comedian Michael Jr. You might not expect a comedian to offer many relevant remarks to a room full of content marketers, but Michael Jr. certainly proved any doubters wrong. He applied the structure of comedic storytelling — the setup and the punchline — to the kinds of storytelling that can be done through content marketing.

Your setup consists of your opportunities, resources and skills. These are the things that can draw your audience in. But the punchline is where that setup must truly pay off for the audience.

In order to make your punchline worthwhile, Michael Jr. insists, you must find your why. While it is obviously important to know what you’re doing, it is just as important to know why you’re doing it. He explained, “You have a lot of options for what, but your why never changes. What is your why? Or are you too busy jumping from ‘what’ to ‘what’ to answer that question?”

Each of these points of advice is applicable not only to building and growing a content marketing strategy, but to any efforts you make for your brand. By performing research, identifying content gaps, telling audience-driven stories, taking the time to empathize and always focusing on the “why,” you can strengthen any initiative.

A Look at JetBlue’s “Flying It Forward”

Staying current and analyzing recent case studies allows agencies to broaden their thoughts on advertising initiatives and increase creativity with their own campaigns, especially when those campaigns come with restrictive or challenging guidelines. With that in mind, we’ve evaluated a recent campaign from a large company in the airline industry that tried something offbeat and proved that sometimes a fresh idea can lead to new business.

Shifting Focus

If you were given one flight to inspire humanity, where would you go? What would you do? These are the questions JetBlue passengers had to answer when participating in the “Flying it Forward” campaign.

The U.S. airline JetBlue was faced with increased pressure from its financial community to boost shareholder value. The best solution for this was to begin charging passengers for checked bags, which is something the airline had long avoided. In order to shift the focus to something positive, JetBlue came up with the Flying it Forward campaign.

In this social initiative, JetBlue started a “giving chain” by handing out a free flight to one deserving person. From there, that person had to “Fly it Forward” and give the free flight ticket to another deserving individual. The campaign sent positivity all over the world, showcased JetBlue’s destination options and overshadowed any concern for the new checked baggage charges.

Making an Impact

This campaign was successful in shifting the focus to positive aspects, while also showing off the airline’s range of destinations. It was also effective as it garnered very high participation levels and overall excitement. And probably the best thing about the campaign was the potential for longevity. Unlike many other campaigns that are strong but then fade out quickly, this one provided a continual source for content and customer connection.

  • Garnered more than 188 million total impressions, 1.5 million YouTube views, 60,000 site visits and hundreds of submissions
  • Secured a finalist position in the Shorty Awards (recognition for the best people and organizations on social media) for its Social Good Campaign & Travel segments
  • Increased brand consideration and ticket sales
So what can we learn from JetBlue?

This campaign demonstrates that in less-than-ideal situations, a company’s response doesn’t have to be about damage control — it can actually be an opportunity to build something new and foster brand affinity. We can also learn from JetBlue that campaigns don’t always have to be short-lived, which helps you build your brand and conserve resources like budget and creative content. Lastly, JetBlue’s campaign teaches us how using advertising to elicit specific feelings from customers can actually have direct ROI on sales and brand loyalty.

What do you think about the campaign approach? Comment below.

Social Media Driving Sales: A Quick Look at Instagram

Social media networks are excellent outlets for making new connections, reconnecting with past friends, uniting strangers who share common interests and more. But brands have also discovered the opportunity for social media to help drive sales.

Instagram, specifically, has been a trendsetter in social media sales. With 300 million monthly users (which is more than Twitter!), brands are using this platform to interact with and invest in customers. And it’s worth the effort because Instagrammers are shoppers! Iconosquare’s 2015 Instagram study shows 70 percent of Instagram users report they’ve actively looked up a brand on the platform. And 62 percent reported following a brand on the channel simply because they like the content it shares.

What does this mean for brands? The audience is there and willing to engage! So brands have to think of creative ways to close the sale. Let’s take a look at an example of how an independent hotel chain has used Instagram to do just that.

LikeToKnowLikeToKnow.it adds a distinctive link that sends users a dynamically created sales email
image credit – LiketoKnow.it

Starwood Hotels was looking for another way to allow customers to book rooms via Instagram after the platform blocked brands from placing a direct clickable link in posts unless they were sponsored. So, the company partnered with a shopping platform called LiketoKnow.it, and together they made booking a hotel room possible in one click within the social platform users were already on. If users click on the Instagram photo, they receive an email with the next step in the booking process. It’s that easy — no more searching around the Internet or jumping from app to app. One click, and the rest is waiting for you in your email.

Sponsored posts are still very much alive and active, and Starwood Hotels uses them at times. However, this marketing team has proved that with some creative thought, there can be so many more ways to effectively reach consumers where they already are and to simplify the booking process. Now, let’s look at an example of a service similar to LiketoKnow.it and how large brands use it to drive Instagram sales.

TapShopTapShop will send users to custom landing pages when they click your photos.
image credit – TapShop

Brands like Joss & Main and Etsy use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) called Piquora’s TapShop to enhance and streamline their advertising process on Instagram. TapShop will create a landing page for each brand where Instagram users can visit, sign up for email updates and purchase products directly. Additionally, if users are on the email list, they can simply like a brand’s photo and then receive an email with the product links for purchase.

There are many services similar to TapShop and LiketoKnow.it, and each one offers slightly different engagement and purchasing options for the customer. Regardless of which one brands choose, it’s clear that there are many options other than simple sponsored posts alone, and brands can creatively combine these methods to effectively refine the purchasing process for Instagram shoppers.

What are your thoughts on using social media as a sales channel? How might you engage potential customers following your pages?

The psychology of color and your brand

Colors have a profound effect on the way we experience the world. They have the power to affect our emotions, our behavior and even our physiology. So, it’s no surprise that choosing the right colors is one of the most important decisions you can make about your brand. There are many decisions to make regarding what colors will look best together, but you also must evaluate what message is being sent by your choices and how consumers will react.

Common associations:

Red:

Red is a bold, assertive color that suggests excitement and passion. It is great for creating a sense of urgency and grabbing attention, which is why sales and clearance materials are almost always red. It is also known to elevate heart rate and increase appetite, making it a common choice for fast food restaurants. Our eyes are naturally drawn to red due to its long wavelength and its prevalent use on things that need our immediate attention like fire trucks and stop lights. This makes it a tempting choice for advertising, but too much red will seem pushy and aggressive.

 

Blue:

Blue is a cool, dependable color associated with tranquility and maturity. Shown time and again to be the most popular “favorite color” around the world, blue is a good bet for brands looking to promote trust and simplicity. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought while soft blues will calm the mind and can aid concentration. While blue might seem like a safe choice, there is a risk that it will seem cold, aloof or too conservative.

 

Yellow and Orange:

These are bright, warm colors that evoke optimism and cheer. Used carefully, they can lift spirits, inspire confidence and be great positive attention grabbers. These are fun colors that can be used to create a friendly brand image; however, their vibrancy merits caution. Overuse or the wrong tone can cause anxiety and a feeling of overstimulation.

 

Green:

Green is a gentle, peaceful color connected with nature, growth and health. Green is reassuring on a primitive level, its presence indicating nearby water and plentiful vegetation. Its association with environmental friendliness is so strong, the two have become synonymous. Its relationship with nature also gives it a sense of power, making it a good choice for brands that want to seem strong like John Deere and Land Rover.

 

Purple:

Purple is a rich, creative color that suggests decadence and imagination. Located at the end of the visible spectrum of light, just before the wavelengths that are inaccessible to our eyes, it is often used to create a sense of mystery and imagination. Described as the color of royalty, it can be used to present an air of glamour. Its connection to flowers and the feminine also makes it a popular color for beauty products.

 

Black:

Black is a strong color associated with authority and decisiveness. Black can be used to portray intelligence, as with the New York Times and Wikipedia logos, or confident simplicity, like the Nike logo. Like purple, black can also be used to invoke a feeling of mystery.

 

White:

White is a clean color that evokes purity and sophistication. It promotes an image that is uncompromising or even sterile. It can be used with other colors to soften them up, or with black for a stark, no-nonsense contrast.

 

Gray:

Gray is a neutral color connected with balance and practicality. While some gray can lend an aura of timelessness to a brand, too much gray is boring and depressing.

 
Perceived appropriateness:
Doctor

We’re ready to see you now.

Do your color choices seem to fit the products or services you are selling? This perceived appropriateness is a strong indicator of how someone will react to your choice of brand color. Here are some examples of how this takes the common color associations one step further:

  • You want consumers to have warm, happy feelings about your brand, so you choose a nice, bright orange. This choice makes sense if you are selling a fun line of clothing, but not if you are a hospital, where a dependable blue would be more appropriate.
  • You want to grab the public’s attention, so you go with a bold red logo. This choice makes sense if you are a toymaker, but not if you are a wildlife preserve where a natural green would be more appropriate.
Cultural context:

Sometimes it is necessary to look beyond the ordinary color connections to make yourself stand out in the crowd. For example, while green has a strong association with the outdoors, our culture also associates it with money, making it an obvious choice for the financial management service Mint. Green also, as mentioned above, tends to have a calming effect, which is the last feeling you want to evoke if you are the makers of an energy drink. Yet, Monster Energy has successfully utilized the color in its logo by making it a glowing radioactive green that we would naturally associate with, well, monsters.

Knowing the emotions associated with your color choices and the reactions they are likely to evoke is important — whether you want to utilize these expectations or skillfully subvert them.