How to Identify the True Equities of your Brand

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How to Identify the True Equities of your Brand

It is important to know your true equities as a brand. It strengthens the brand and customer relationship and identifies the individual characteristics that make your brand unique. Begin this process by identifying what makes your brand recognizable, memorable and distinctive.


Recognizable

Identify what makes your brand recognizable. The more recognizable, the more trust can develop between brand and consumer. When customers recognize a name they are more likely to reach for that product. Get your name out there. Advertising and publicity should reinforce brand voice.

Memorable

Continue on to make your brand memorable. It is important for buyers to associate your brand as the top choice. Consumers base decisions on price and past experience with a brand. Build a quality emotional and functional value for your product.

Distinctive

Determine your brand promise and how it answers to the customer. Appeal to the personality of your ideal consumer and craft your promise accordingly. Customers respond to a strong brand identity. The more distinctive and unique the more you relate to your ideal customer

By identifying the true equities of your brand you determine what value you bring to your customers. It helps you to answer: Who are you as a brand? What your brand story is? What strengths your brand has? and What your relationship to your customers?

 

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5 Tips for Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

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5 Tips for Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing campaigns are a great way for brands to reach out to their target customer. They are a fast and cost-effective way of delivering content. With more brands turning to this method it is important to approach email marketing the right way otherwise your emails risk the chance of being blocked, deleted, or unsubscribed from.

The following tips help improve email marketing campaigns.

1. Target

Don’t spam! Segment your audience according to characteristics. This allows you to tailor the content of your email to certain customers. Instead of sending everything to everyone, your campaign lands in the inboxes of the customers who want to see it.

2. Strong Subject Lines

The subject line is the hook, it needs to entice the reader to click. Subjects need to be short to help leverage curiosity. Be sure to connect the subject line to the overall content of the email. Set up an expectation for the viewer and fulfill it.

3. Call to Action

Craft a call to action in each email. Display the offer and the end date clearly to promote a sense of urgency. The body of your email should draw your customer in and lead to your brand website.

4. Responsive Design

It is important for email marketing campaigns to look good on both web browsers and mobile device platforms. Responsive designs create a better experience for the viewer and optimize the effectiveness of your campaign.

5. Analytics

Focus on the conversions. Take advantage of email marketing tools offered through Hubspot, Mailchimp or Constant Contact to help track click to open rates. These platforms help your brand get the most out of your campaign as they track sales generated.

Email marketing campaigns can be a useful way to communicate and build relationships with customers, gather important analytics and increase ROI. These tips can help transform how your email marketing campaigns land with potential customers.

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Millennials: The Hard Workers and The Savers

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Millennials: The Hard Workers and The Savers

Millennials have been accused of being the laziest generation yet. They are labeled narcissistic, impatient, entitled and disrespectful. Although many believe this, the statistics say otherwise.

According to the Pew Research Center one in three American workers today are Millennials. This year, the Millennial Generation surpassed Generation X as the largest share of the American workforce. This proves that young people are focused and hardworking.

Not only do Millennials work hard they also save hard. They are leading a new era of financial conservatism. Millennials are confident about their ability to save and diligent about their budgets. 56 percent of Millennials believe they are “good savers” and many rely heavily on banking and financial apps to help do so. They have turned to their phones to aid them in tracking their spending.

The accusations of laziness and labels of narcissism are nothing new. Each generation before has faced similar claims, the only difference is that the Millennial Generation is actually evolving. They have adapted and learned how to cope with debt and they are preparing for a better future much earlier on.


As a brand, it can be difficult to reach a generation that is unwilling to spend. On The Fresh we have explored how to craft a campaign that appeals to Millennial Women and the African American Millennial Man. Although specific, this background knowledge can help your brand become a staple to the Millennial Generation. The hard workers and savers will view your brand as worth investing in every time.

 

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Marketing to the African American Millennial Man

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Marketing to the African American Millennial Man

We have learned a lot about the Millennial Generation on The Fresh with our recent series on Millennial women but we thought it would be beneficial to dive even further into sub-sections within the Millennial Generation.


As we have explored before in our blog Change It Up, the Millennial Generation is incredibly diverse. They have become one of the most ethnically diverse generations in the United States. Specifically, the African American population has grown 64 percent faster than the rest of the country since 2010. They are the third largest ethnic group of the Millennial Generation, occupying 13 percent of the population.

As a brand it is important to incorporate this information when marketing and to not homogenize Millennials. When targeting African American Millennial men there are a few things to keep in mind:

Inclusivity

38 percent of African Americans feel underrepresented in media and twenty five percent feel that many advertisements targeted towards them are offensive. Research has shown that African American consumers tend to respond more favorably to ads that feature an African American cast compared to ads featuring a non-African American cast. This means that when you're marketing, manipulate campaigns to reflect diversity and avoid falling into stereotypes.

Social Media

African American Millennial men are avid social media users. They are reported as being the most intense users of the internet based on time and frequency. More than any other Millennial of ethnic background, African American men use social media to research and purchase the best product for the best price. When targeting African American men consider emphasizing online campaigns.

Mobile

Interestingly, African American men are 78.4 percent more likely to own an Android over an iOS device. Overall, smartphone and tablet use is very high at 90.9 percent. This sub-section of the Millennial Generation is highly invested in their phones. Interactive and easy to navigate mobile websites are a must.

After engaging with a product, African American Millennial men have significant brand loyalty. By including some of these tips and reminders, your brand can connect more closely with this important sub-section of the Millennial Generation and possibly have a lifetime consumer

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Marketing at the Speed of the Consumer

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Marketing at the Speed of the Consumer

As a brand, it is important to keep up to speed with your consumer. We have discussed this concept as it relates to social media on The Fresh before.  Our blog, The Millennials’ Most Significant Relationship: Social Media, covered what millennial women are looking for when they engage with social media.  This is just one facet of the increasing speed of marketing.

Consumers are plugged in. They are continually connected and constantly influenced. Social networks have evolved to be more interactive and multi directional. Online networking can now mimic real time communication. As a brand you must operate at this level.

All channels have increased speed.  Results are expected faster, judgements are made more quickly and demands for growth have increased. The online community can build up or kill a new product over night. New knowledge is expanding. In the mid-20th Century knowledge doubled every 50 years and in 2010 new knowledge doubled every 11 hours. Today, new knowledge most likely doubled since you woke up this morning. New information is churning out at a volume and speed that makes it difficult for brands to secure themselves in the market place. Operating at the speed of your consumer can help you stay at the forefront of this tidal wave of new knowledge.

There are several things brands can do to keep up with the consumer:

  • Leverage big data and analytics. Research and know what your customers are engaging with. Applying this data leads to faster and better responses to overall business challenges.

  • Aim for immediate satisfaction. This includes offers such as same day delivery, and instant downloads.

  • Respond. Customers need attention throughout the customer journey, no matter what stage they are in.

  • Utilize the cloud. The infinite space and flexible structure will be useful as the volume of data increases.

Brands need to launch, learn, and improve faster. By staying up to speed with the consumer, brands will eventually be able to predict what the consumer wants even before they know they want it.


Additional Sources:

Customer Think

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How Microsites are Useful for Brands

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How Microsites are Useful for Brands

A microsite is separate from a company’s larger website and often focuses on one product. It provides specialized information without the clutter of a full website. Microsites can be used permanently or temporarily to promote a new product, launch a campaign or highlight a promotion.

Microsites are an exclusive space for the customer to interact with the product. The most effective microsites have focus by narrowing in on one product and providing quality information. They bring awareness to the product, create a call to action, and creatively use the opportunity to design an engaging interactive site for the user. Microsites provide flexibility and experimentation which can branch away from the restraints of the larger company’s website.

 

When crafting your microsite it is important to focus on the buyer persona. The site should cater to the personality and characteristics of the ideal customer. This means the content should be more about the customer than the product or services. Overall, microsites provide numerous benefits including:

Microsites are a versatile space for brands to provide a personalized experience for the ideal customer to engage with a product. Having a microsite creates an online community that centralizes the brand as a major source of quality information.

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6 Tips For Great Testimonial Videos

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6 Tips For Great Testimonial Videos

Testimonial videos are a great way to speak to your customer.  They highlight the benefits your company can bring to other brands and do this without bragging.  Making testimonial videos is a relevant and authentic way of reaching out to your customers, they resonate with past and potential clients.

There are several steps you can take to ensure you create strong testimonial videos that connect with the viewer:

1. Set Expectations

Figure out the schedule and answer the who, what, when, where and why. Reach out to potential customers who would be willing to take part in the video. Target customers who feel enthusiastic about their experience with the product or brand. Make sure to outline a vision for the look and feel of the video. 

2. To Script or Not To Script

Genuine conversation and expression means more to the viewer than robotic script. Before filming, share questions with your interviewees. Your questions should spotlight the benefits your brand and product provide for the customer. Before the camera starts recording take time to make each individual comfortable. Not everyone will react positively to being on camera!

 3. Take Your Time

Testimonial videos should be short, between 45-60 seconds long. However, they can be up to three minutes and still hold the viewer's attention. This does not mean that your interview is short. The more footage you gather the more important material you find. As the interviewee continues to speak to the camera they will adapt and get more comfortable. 

4. Keep It Simple

Within the time frame of the testimonial video, choose a few select benefits to highlight. Do not overwhelm the viewer. Consumers can only digest so many messages within three minutes.

 5. Visuals

When filming take some time to record b-roll.  B-roll includes product shots, simple text, a look at the community and the activity in and around the workspace. It’s an opportunity to show the viewer the product in action, what benefits it can deliver and the environment of the company.

 6. Structure

In editing, structure the videos to capture the viewer's attention right away. Deliver your message clearly and concisely. How can you edit your video to keep the viewers attention from the very beginning?

Customer testimonial videos provide your brand with a unique opportunity to build trust with potential clients and strengthen existing relationships. They are a great way to reveal to your customers the personal side of your brand and how it benefits your customers.


Additional Sources:

Wistia

 

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Personas vs. Cookies

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Personas vs. Cookies

 

Personas vs. Cookies

As a brand, there are several ways you strengthen your connection with customers. Customer personas versus cookies is a hot topic amongst brand strategists and digital marketers right now. Some businesses opt to rely on personas while others only trust cookies. Here at Minty Fresh Digital we wanted to break it down.


Personas

A persona is a fictional avatar of your ideal customer. Buyer personas are shaped out of research, surveys and interviews with the target audience. They are not broad; instead of targeting a general population personas are specific. They focus on quality over quantity. They zero-in on the characteristics of the ideal customer. Personas define the age, education level, income, location, goals, and challenges of the target customer. They outline their values, hobbies, which blogs they read, and how they get their news. Personas make clear how best to speak to the customer and and identify which of your products features and benefits are most compelling to them. With enough detail, personas allow the brand to view the product from the ideal customer's point of view.

Some argue that by focusing on a specific buyer persona you leave out or alienate possible customers. However, it is this specificity that also draws in and retains your ideal customer. Personas allow for consistency in marketing and an understanding of the customers wants and needs. Brands can use personas to build a reliable strategy to connect deeply to their ideal customer.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files placed on a user’s computers. They are used by websites to gather information about the user. Essentially, cookies are responsible for delivering a personalized experience.

For example, Amazon personalizes each customer's shopping experience with the use of first-party cookies. These cookies track what you buy and allow the site to suggest other options that may interest the customer. Third-party cookies track browsing habits across several websites. They allow for a customized browsing experience based on a customer's past behavior and help automate dynamic advertising units like dynamic banners.

Although some object to the use of cookies, believing they invade privacy, Hubspot actually found that personalized content performs 42% better than standard content. Cookies report and store hard data that internet marketers and advertisers can use to customize the user experience.

Personas and cookies are indeed different animals, but they share one important commonality. They are both proven to boost ROI by personalizing the online shopping experience through the magic of predictive and behavioral marketing. It is up to your brand to decide what is best for your product.


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8 Blogging Tips: What Brands Need to Know

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8 Blogging Tips: What Brands Need to Know

Building online content as a brand is a strong way to connect with customers. Blogging is a new part of our brand strategy, but it is already paying off. The following tips are important for brands that plan to enter, or have already entered the blogosphere:

1. Capture Email Addresses

It’s all about the list. At the end of each blog post, include an option for readers to subscribe to receive updates when there are new posts. Every time you publish a new blog post, copy/paste your most compelling fact, statistic or paragraph into an email with a link to the full article. This is a great way to increase your website traffic and email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your audience and retain readers.

2. Attend Conferences and Meetups

Become an active member of your business community. Discover what is trending and engage with like minded individuals. Conferences and Meetups provide a space for conversations that cannot and will not transpire in a digital forum.  Live events allow you to network and further your industry acumen.  Live events provide learning opportunities, ideas for your next blog post and foster lasting relationships.

3. Repurpose

Just because it is old, does not mean it isn’t still relevant. Repurpose previous content into infographics, videos or presentations. Show your readers how the content you publish is still valuable.

4. Write Often

Write at least twice a week. Publishing posts regularly transforms your blog into a hotspot for new information. It trains your readers into expecting new content from you. They will check out your site more often.

5. Less is More

The shorter the better. Blogs are effective when they are instructive and to the point. When writing a post consider writing shorter sentences and paragraphs. Edit posts to reduce the clutter.  Instead of a 500 word post reduce a post to 350 words to cut the fluff. Some may argue that long copy post (1500 words or more) rank better in Google. They do. But, writing two 1500 articles per week is not a realistic goal for most.

6. Optimize!

Incorporate keywords. After you have produced a number of posts track what posts are doing best. Invest time into Google keyword generator. Use those keywords in posts as well as headings.

7. Get Social

Post to all social media accounts. Use each account to show off different aspects of your brand. On LinkedIn, you want to be all about business, share posts that are professionally oriented. On Facebook, show a little of your personality and keep it light. On Twitter, shine the spotlight on your blog. If you want to reach the millennial audience your brand should also be on Instagram and Snapchat.

8. Don’t Give Up

There is a misconception that by simply creating a blog you will automatically attract thousands of viewers which will then lead to increased revenue far beyond expectation. In reality, blogging takes time. It takes persistence and patience to build a substantial following. With each new post, your brand voice will gain resonance, depth and distinction. Focus on your actions (writing 2 blog posts and publishing it on 4 different platforms every week), instead of comments, likes, retweets and shares.

Building a popular blog with a large readership takes time. If you use these tips and stay the course, your brand will reap the benefits of blogging.


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Millennial Women Series: Change It Up

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Millennial Women Series: Change It Up

The last of our 5-part series focusing on the Millennial woman. Today’s feature: Change or Staying Relevant.


Millennials are ushering in a wave of change — a change which should affect the tactics and techniques used in digital marketing today. This change is seen in the high diversity present in this generation. Within the Millennial Generation alone the US Chamber Foundation reports that 60% of 18 – 29 year olds classify as non-Hispanic white. There is a record low of whites, with 19% Hispanic, 14% black, 4% Asian, and 3% of mixed race or other. Minorities are becoming more and more represented.

Within this diverse generation, Millennials are revolutionizing everything. Past expectations and stereotypes are being questioned. According to NPR, 34% of 25 to 34 year olds are waiting longer to get married. 38% have between one and six tattoos while 23% have a piercing in some place other than their earlobe.

Millennial women are a large part of this change and revolutionary lifestyle. Gender roles are being criticised and challenged. Millennial women are more career-oriented, educated and ethnically diverse than previous generations. They are pursuing independence like never before and forging new paths for the next generation

Brands must reflect the diversity that is so highly revered by Millennial women. This includes (but is not limited to) race, gender identity, sexual orientation, family makeup, body type, and cultural background. As we mentioned in our recent blog post (Millennial Women Series: Getting More Personal) this generation of women appreciates the personal connection.

ModCloth does a great job of connecting with female Millennials and honoring their diversity.  

In recent campaigns ModCloth has used actual customers as well as their employees to model their products. They have even taken a pledge promising not to photoshop their models. This marketing tactic is authentic. By using a diverse range of models and promising not to alter their bodies, Modcloth gives each customer more of a reason to connect with the brand.

Marketers should not only be considering the eclectic nature of the entire Millennial Generation, but specifically Millennial Women. Including their revolutionary perspective in brand strategy, could strengthen the bond between brand and consumer. These women are a force to be reckoned with, we shouldn’t be surprised as they create more change.

 

 

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Millennial Women Series: Find the Funny Bone

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Millennial Women Series: Find the Funny Bone

Continuing our 5-part series focusing on the Millennial woman. Today's feature: "Humor"


Women are a large segment of the Millennial generation; they’re highly diverse and challenging traditional marketing methods. One interesting way they have affected branding already is with the inclusion of both socially conscious and female-centric humor in marketing.

This is a generation that grew up watching the comedy of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig. Actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer join this genre of comic.

These types of performers manage to successfully talk about social and day-to day issues from an honest female perspective while living as a celebrity/idol. Being honest requires one to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is fearless. Millennial women are inspired by this type of genuine strength. The off-beat humor isn’t mean-spirited and relates to the actual experiences of Millennial females.

Relating a brand to humor is a clever marketing tactic and it's memorable. This is the cycle:

  1. As the customer laughs they are reminded of the brand

  2. The next time the customer sees that respective brand’s ads, a positive association with the brand is achieved. Through humor.

  3. Humor, humanizes. It builds rapport, makes brands more memorable and increases consumer-brand affinity.

A couple of ads demonstrate this tactic by successfully associating their brand with one of the comics these Millennial women look up to:

Relatability. Relevance. Realness. These are the reasons why brands choose to work with these types of female performers. Contemporary female comedians, tap into the authentic narrative of a Millennial woman. As illustrated in the cycle above, brands can leverage this gateway to strengthen their positioning. As a large portion of the Millennial generation, the female perspective is highly important to consider for brands approaching marketing. The female voice is getting stronger in marketing, humor is one way to reach this defiant crowd.

 

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Millennial Women Series: Hashtags

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Millennial Women Series: Hashtags

We're continuing with our 5-part series focusing on the Millennial woman. Today’s feature: #Hashtagit.


More than 70% of consumers are motivated to explore new brands when hashtags are present. Hashtags are everywhere and a lot of the time serve as fluff, but there is a way to use hashtags to foster conversation and unite consumers in a digital experience. With the Millennial addiction to social media using hashtags can make a great marketing technique. One click has the potential to bring each Millennial to a self curated page that showcases the brand.

When marketing to Millennial women inspiring and empowering hashtags can generate social buzz and PR. Hashtags such as #likeagirl for Always and #girlboss for Sophia Amoruso’s book have sparked online conversations.

One brand successfully using hashtags for this market is Actavis. This pharmaceutical brand offers birth control with a very low dose of estrogen. Their recent advertising campaign focuses on the hashtag #ActuallySheCan.  #ActuallySheCan was created in response to the existing catchphrase “I can’t even.” This directly appeals to Millennial women empowering them to achieve their goals while encouraging the consumer to get more familiar with the brand. 

The site focuses on a character, Violet, who is a young female Millennial. On different pages of the site the visitor has the option to engage with the brand on a more playful level. Actavis invites visitors to upload selfies to receive a personalized Shemoji and is currently hosting a writing contest called Actually 500 Words Can

#ActuallySheCan creates an online community for Millennial women to interact with the brand and learn about birth control. An online conversation is started where anyone can join or go to receive information. Their hashtag #ActuallySheCan inspires women to take part in the conversation, take control of their own health and go for their goals.

Using hashtags amplifies brand voice and allows the target consumer to engage with the product directly. Not only does it create an online community but it also stimulates a larger movement. Brands, marketers, creatives--consider reaching the Millennial women by creating a hashtag to which she can connect.

 

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Millennial Women Series: For God's Sake, Have Some Values

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Millennial Women Series: For God's Sake, Have Some Values

We're continuing with our 5-part series focusing on the Millennial woman. Today's feature: "For God's Sake Have Some Values." 


According to Forbes, consumers have proven more likely to support a brand they perceive as ethical and fair. More than any other generation Millennials have the highest ideals. Nearly 40 percent of millennials prefer to spend money on a good cause, even if it means paying more for a product. Applying this ‘Millennial perspective’ to your brand can create a dramatic change.

When appealing to the female Millennial it helps to have a strong association between brand and values. Socially conscious brands appeal to Millennial women. Brands that support wellness, naturalness, localism, and are looking to better the world or a certain community are appealing.

Method is a household and personal cleaning brand that creates “naturally-derived, biodegradable, non-toxic” products.  Their mission is to create aesthetically pleasing cleaning supplies that has the safety of the consumer as well as Mother Earth in mind. The relationship between the customer and earth becomes a large part of investing in the product. The customer ends up feeling as if they have improved earth. With a mission and brand traits that matter to the world, Method has earned a spot in the hearts, minds and wallets of Millennials.

This relationship strategy is repeated in the branding of the female care product, Thinx. A fairly new invention, Thinx is revolutionizing female care by creating "period underwear". They are environmentally friendly and for every pair a customer purchases the company sends funds to their partner organization, AFRIpads. Thinx uses creativity and social awareness as marketing tools. Millennial women care about programs such as these that help them manage their well-being and make healthier choices.

It’s more important than ever that brands either or adopt or associate themselves with an important cause. Any brand can sell widgets, software or packaged goods. Great brands can change the world. Millennial are looking for a larger story. It’s up to brands today to build a legacy that connects with the future consumers of the planet, and leaves the planet in great shape.

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Millennial Women Series: Getting More Personal

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Millennial Women Series: Getting More Personal

Over the next couple weeks, we’re launching a 5-part series of blogs focused on the Millennial woman. Today’s feature: Getting More Personal.


Millennial women are revolutionaries. Demanding change and forging new paths for younger women coming after them, Millennial women are inspiring change. Whether or not this affects marketing is not a question. These women expect to be treated as individuals and that includes how marketers and brands speak to them. There are several ways brands can get more personal with Millennial female customers to make them feel valued and take action.

Treat Them Special

Go beyond simply ‘liking’ or commenting back. Giving a little attention goes a long way.  Creating loyalty programs, recognition events, special access to sales and promotional events allows a personal relationship to develop between the brand and Millennial woman. Simply appreciating anyone builds trust. In this case it also leads to increased ROI.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Millennial women want to engage with a brand that they can relate to and see themselves. Companies like Primark do this well.  Primania is an online fashion playground for their customers to post, share and get inspiration from. This site shows a range of individuals who engage with the brand, mainly by taking selfies. It allows old and new customers to picture themselves in the products with more of a sense of reality. These women look just like the customer, they are relatable. Instead of forcing women to believe they have to look a certain way in order to participate, brands can be inclusive, showing that Millennial women of all types are welcome to interact with and benefit from the brand. Do this.

Target

What better way to personalize than to use sophisticated websites that analyze cookie data and self-service platforms? Using this information actually helps to connect with Millennial women. This group desires to be seen as unique and authentic. The information these platforms provide allows that to develop. Personalized advertising will grow in importance for this generation as they continue to be the earliest adopters of new technology.

As the buying power of Millennials increases, brands must respect that members of this generation expect to be treated as individuals. Go get personal.


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Marketing to the Millennial Woman

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Marketing to the Millennial Woman

When it comes to Millennial women, fact, anecdote, experience and conjecture all play a role in outlining what brands can do to engage better with this subsection. In this article, we combine facts, research, the experiences of women in this category who work with us, like Courtney, and our experiences with brands who have succeeded in building great relationships with this audience.  The following insights are based off of this mix. The comments below are our top tips to help brands build better relationships with Millennial women. 


Get Personal
Women, more than any other subsection in Millennials want to feel that the brand they invest in understands them.  This means that brands need to do their homework. Track and note what social media conversations focus on and pay attention to trends that Millennial women are excited about. Sending personalized emails benefits, too.

Amazon is a great example. They do an incredible job of staying in touch with their consumer by sending emails with recommendations based on last purchased. This is getting personal without being creepy.
 
#HashtagIt
Hashtags create a pocket for people to find one another and connect in. With hashtags, brands can create an online community the consumer can easily associate with.  

Urban Outfitters created an entire website dedicated to their community. The site, UO Community, is a curation of uploaded Instagram photos and pictures hashtagged #UOonYOU.  It gives inspiration to those looking at the site and neatly packages the overall aesthetic of Urban Outfitters markets.
 
For God’s Sake, Have Some Values
Align with a cause or charity but only if it is authentic.  Millennials are known for their idealism.  Companies like Toms that have capitalized on the buy a pair give a pair model are successful among Millennials because they associate themselves with a larger cause and appeal to their values. It’s about making the brand or product larger than itself and asking how it can be seen as a movement.
 
Be Funny
This is a generation of women are growing up with strong and hilarious female leaders. Millennial women look up to Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Wiig, and Amy Schumer--celebrities who are reinventing comedy with a feminist twist.  

Lastly, remember to keep on your toes.  This generation of Millennial women are groundbreakers.  More than ever before, stereotypes and previously crafted expectations are being broken and revolutionized.

That’s it. Well, almost it. Courtney, nice work of helping us pull this together. Thanks for your research, positioning, and writing. But most importantly, thanks for your honesty, insights and willingness to give a part of yourself to help others see what’s effective in marketing. And thank you, reader, for taking the time to find us on #theFRESH. 

We’d be happy to share more of our insights around this audience. Connect with us today.  

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The Millennials' Most Significant Relationship: Social Media

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The Millennials' Most Significant Relationship: Social Media

Millennials are challenging the status quo within marketing and advertising--forcing new tactics within the industry. There has been so much reported, researched and written about the habits of this generation. But one thing stands out: the significant adoption of social media into their lives.


Millennials barely watch television but sleep with a mobile under their pillows. For them, the mobile device is an extension of the body, mind, mouth and heart.  Socializing and connecting is in the palm of their hand. Whether it is through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Yelp--starting a conversation has never been more instant. These social media sites allow millennials to like, hashtag, repost and share content.  They are given the freedom to create their own online archive. 

But what aesthetics are millennials actually looking for in social media? Here's what our research and work tells us:

  • Mobile content
  • Consistent themes, both written and visually
  • Clear and accurate content that is impartial
  • Various viewpoints and recognizable names
  • High quality videos and photos
  • Brands with a sense of community
  • Interactive platforms

These qualities attract Millennials. They help to deliver concise, digestible messages and create a personal experience online. When crafting any content, to engage your millennial audience it helps to keep the following in mind:

  • Reveal the human side of your company
  • Write short status updates (recommended under 100 characters)
  • Respond to each comment or post on your page promptly
  • Produce content that is relevant to your audience/followers (know who they are)

Brands need to act like Millennials to attract them. In doing so, brands reduce the distance from themselves to their customers. That gap is now replaced with a personal connection the customer feels towards the brand.

Questions? Give us a buzz or send us an email. We’d love to discuss our insights and what’s worked for us. 

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What We Can Learn From Millennial Behaviors in the Alcohol Market

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What We Can Learn From Millennial Behaviors in the Alcohol Market

Millennials have changed the drinking culture. Alcohol brands have four generations to consider; the Greatest Generation (68+), the Baby Boomers (49-67), Generation X (37-48), and the youngest, the Millennials. In this article we look at alcohol preferences of Millennials to outline behavioral patterns of this group that can be applied across industries.  


Social Is Important:
Drinking alcohol is much more of a social activity than with any other generation. Millennials associate drinking with outdoor activities and holiday occasions while older generations think of drinking as something to do alone. And why wouldn’t they? Being social is a fundamental behavioral trait for people age. It’s also mirrors the digital experience Millennials have today. 

Authentic Identity and Storytelling Are Critical:
Millennials look for more authentic and flavorful experiences with their alcohol. They prefer to support brands they feel could make a difference in their own lives. What they choose to drink, is an extension of their identities. “Traditional American” beers, like Budweiser, are seen as bland so they choose craft beers, like San Francisco’s own Anchor Steam. Craft beer brands have found success by creating niche stories and designs that connect authentically. This type of experience has become the standard of trustworthy marketing to Millennial audiences. Simply put, Millennials are receptive to this flavor of content campaigning. 

Event Marketing and Blogs Rule:
When it comes to alcohol, Millennials respond best to in-person events and online blogs. Traditional marketing can be seen as untrustworthy and unnecessary. They take pride in finding a brand they love and discovering it on their own.

Brands from all industries can learn a lot from these preferences when it comes to connecting with Millennials. Baseline opportunities: 

  • Provide opportunities for the consumer to engage with and get-to-know the personality and values of your brand.
  • Align with the storytelling, authentic and adventurous spirit of millennials (How does your brand act as an extension of their respective identities?)
  • Create unique environments for to connect with your brand on a human level, whether it’s in person or online. 

If you’d like more information about how to better connect with Millennials, contact us.  We’d love to discuss how we can help you with your goals. 

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Fresh Perspectives: Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE

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Fresh Perspectives: Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE

Welcome to the FRESH Perspectives series. FRESH Perspectives is designed to give top insights from VIPs, industry influencers, marketing leadership, and all around amazing people. 

This week, we're profiling Tarah Feinberg, or as we call him, one of the most amazing people in New York. We're not just making that up. Tarah's spent 15+ years in entertainment and marketing as a translator, creator and ambassador for emerging technologies. He's launched new divisions and practice areas, like the Digital Studio at NBC Universal and iCrossing's social media and real-time content marketing group. Currently, as CMO and NY Managing Director of KITE, he leads communications and customer development as well as KITE’s NY operations. 


FRESH PERSPECTIVES: TARAH FEINBERG, CMO & NY MANAGING DIRECTOR, KITE

FRESH: What are the two biggest issues marketers are facing today?

TF: Growth and disruption. Fortune 1000 isn't seeing the double-digit growth that they got used to before the Lehman Brothers crash, but their shareholders expect greater performance and increased profits more than ever. That requires marketers to find new ways to differentiate and to capture the attention and affinity of consumers at every point along the purchase journey. Innovation is vital to long-term marketing success as well as customer and consumer relevance. Large enterprises tend to move quite slowly, so it's essential that they look outside of their own walls to invigorate the growth they need. 

Disruptive innovation relates to the companies that might steal large market share and/or drastically change industries. Enterprises have historically been pretty bad at predicting or recognizing these threats (which could be great opportunities) before it's too late. 

One of my favorite tweets when Google bought Nest came from Aaron Levie, CEO of Box: "The future will confuse lots of companies: one day you make home appliances, the next day you're competing against a search engine."

Just think: Uber never would have come out of a taxi or transportation company; Airbnb would never have come out of Hilton or Marriott. Leading corporations are starting to recognize that disruptive innovation rarely starts (or flourishes) within, so they are looking to startups for growth, competitive advantage and to strengthen all aspects of their business, from the most intractable problems to existing initiatives. 

FRESH: What did you learn from your big brand experience (HBO, NBC, iCrossing)

TF: I believe that a lot of success comes down to timing and the willingness to do things that have never been done before. I feel incredibly fortunate that my career has afforded me the opportunity to work at a range of progressive companies within which I was able to launch new divisions and capabilities. This gave me a lot of insight into the nature of entrepreneurialism within enterprises, which has led me to where I am today. 

At HBO, I learned storytelling from the masters and worked with a marketing team that rarely used the same playbook twice. At NBC Universal, I helped to launch the Digital Studio, exploring and defining how to tell stories and create interactive entertainment experiences across the many screens and devices that were just starting to emerge. Then, I saw a huge opportunity to help brands connect to more fragmented audiences through content and social, so I dove into the world of digital marketing, producing competition reality shows for Neutrogena, documentaries for pharmaceutical companies, casual games for CPG brands, launched many brands' social media channels, and more. 

Over time, my big brand clients began to express increasing demand for "innovation", which usually meant that they knew they needed something new, but weren't quite sure what that was. This required us to approach marketing with approaches that don't necessarily fit into traditional media or creative briefs -- an area where startups were becoming increasingly important. I found myself often playing the role of "innovation strategic planner" or creative technologist, an emerging tech ambassador tasked with seeking novel solutions to marketing challenges. This led to some really interesting campaigns and partnerships, but there were tons of silos within our organizations, it was really tough to stay on top of trends and constant developments in this dynamic ecosystem alongside the other 10 day jobs we had, and it was taking too long to get partnerships done. That was the impetus for building KITE -- if we were recruiters, we'd be using LinkedIn. If we were realtors, we'd be using Zillow. We needed software to make innovation partnerships scalable.

FRESH: Tell us a little about what you're working on these days.

TF: I'm helping marketers and corporations to solve their business problems with emerging technology partnerships. At KITE, we're building a software platform that makes it much easier for big companies to  discover, evaluate, socialize and partner with tech companies with a lot more speed, precision and scale. It's not easy to change existing business processes and incumbent models. Our software is engineered to accelerate enterprise innovation efforts, from discovery and evaluation to selection and management, implementing concrete partnerships that solve an organization's most important business challenges.

FRESH: What's your proudest accomplishment at KITE?

TF: It has been amazing to facilitate some of the most brilliant alliances between enterprises and startups through our platform over the last few years. Companies that probably would have never found each other, or would not have considered working together in that context, have secured partnerships because KITE removes adverse selection and helps drive the decision-making process. Large corporations that were somewhat paralyzed by a lack of process and unified internal communication around emerging tech are now addressing business priorities all across their businesses. Startups that were having trouble finding the right decision-maker layers deep within a potential customer are now locking in deals that give them the market fit validation, case studies and revenue they need to grow and succeed. It has also been extremely fulfilling to see our solution apply across a range of industries and verticals, including our first non-profit/NGO, as we just helped USA for UNHCR to secure a startup partner for its efforts to address the refugee issue in this country. 


FRESH: Where do you think Marketing is headed?

TF: Innovation is at the top of the CMO agenda. Because the CMO is responsible for growth, digital business models for marketing and business transformation have entered the enterprise through marketing. The marketing function has developed some of the most sophisticated models and processes for testing, learning and evolving investment in emerging media, platforms and technologies. Leading marketers in Auto, CPG, Finance, Health and Telecommunications are adopting a “golden ratio” for embracing, investing, resourcing, measuring and committing to innovative models and platforms: 

  • 70%: traditional & existing
  • 20%: digital and mobile
  • 10%: new and experimental

The "new" is the opportunity for true differentiation. A lot of these efforts begin in the incremental space, solving immediate business problems; more and more, though, enterprises are beginning to explore more transformative and disruptive innovation, which is where much larger growth potential lies. The explosive growth and diversity of startups solving immediate business problems and disrupting incumbent models—backed by over $50B/year in venture funding— challenges every business to lean into this ecosystem with their most trusted partners.

FRESH: How has Minty Fresh played a role? 

TF: Desmond has been one of my most trusted colleagues and partners since the beginning of our careers, producing a wide range of content together over the years. In Minty Fresh, he has created a highly valuable marketing company that has helped KITE to capture, promote and communicate our clients' and our own accomplishments. I have seen Minty Fresh develop unique, winning marketing strategies for a range of brands and see them as an essential extension of KITE's marketing department as we grow, bringing core expertise, a flexible model and unwavering creativity to our business. In short, they make us look really, really good. 

FRESH: What's next on your agenda?

TF: In a study KITE conducted at the beginning of the year, we found that about 77% of Fortune 100 companies already work with startups in some capacity.  We've learned a ton from our early customers, which has helped us to continuously improve our software. Now it's time for me to step up our marketing and business development efforts to capture more of that 77%, not to mention the many more companies beyond the top 100 that are hungry for tech partnerships. There's a huge addressable market out there for us, so it's time for me to make sure that everyone knows that any serious marketer should be using KITE to power his/her innovation efforts. 

To connect with Tarah or KITE, please him find him here on LinkedIn

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How to Select the Right Music for Your Brand Videos

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How to Select the Right Music for Your Brand Videos

I grew up in a musical household--played every instrument, composed, constant music, sat in studios as an observer or participant in cities all over the country. This year I went to LA to support my mom's Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal album. I know a lot about music, but I cannot tell you, on the spot, what type of music is best for your brand videos.  The only people who can do that are your customers.

Taste in music is personal. Rhythms, notes, sounds all connect and resonate with us in different ways. This is why, time after time, in every video that has ever been done, music is often the most contentious issue. The process: The marketer gets the video cut, several different music options, plays the music options to the team, the team states what they like personally, and whoever has the best job title and loudest voice, usually makes the call. While many of these marketers look at it through the lens of what they like the most, the best lens to look through is that of the audience. 

Here's a great analogy: It would be insane if the goal was to create a print ad and everyone listed their own favorite colors in the decision-making process. Color palettes are determined very early in the branding stages. Similarly, music and should be a part of the brand planning also. And just like other elements with the brand, it should be based on what story is told and which story resonates best with your audience. 

Tips:

  • Use best practices: Think about a couple of songs for long videos. An anthem song for campaigns. Avoid using music with lyrics under voiceovers. Standardize the audio levels so listeners don't go deaf even though the track might be exciting. 
  • Create a video brand plan and include music as a category. If video is important to your content strategy, create a video brand plan section within your brand guidelines/visual center where you provide audio examples of what the brand sounds like. This way, the brand guidelines follow through on a promise to unite people around the brand.
  • YOU are not the audience, and we're not so sure your interns are either! Your interaction with the brand prevents you from having a biased opinion. So seek out the opinions of your audience for music. Small focus groups with your audience base are great. (See our blog post on DIY focus groups! It's really helpful for this!)

Questions? Call us, or shoot us an email.  We're happy to help and give some insights on what's worked for us!  

 

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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

We're hiring for a few positions so I spent about 4 hours yesterday reviewing resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles. I stopped at the ones with big brand experience in their portfolios and looked at the ads.  For the most part the ads...looked like ads...with a big famous brand logo on them. "Okay, this is someone who knows the system, who is capable of creating for our clients."

But the few that really caught my eye were designers who were able to tell stories. They highlighted their love for storytelling in their portfolios, even in their approach to creating their own portfolios-- how they told their own stories of who they were, what they did, and why they loved design. It was an entirely different approach to design and self-identity, which made me feel like I was breathing different air. 

Behind every design is an amazing story. Great brands don't hire designers and say, "Design us an ad that tells a story." Storytelling is part of the way the brand THINKS. It's part of brand DNA. Designers follow brand guidelines when creating. Therefore, storytelling must be derived from brand guidelines and brand visual centers that emphasize storytelling. Here are some steps to bring a storytelling approach to your brand:

Write a Brand Manifesto: Great writing is something we can all get behind. The Declaration of Independence is a great example. "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...inalienable rights..." We each see something powerful when we say those words. Brands are no different. A brand manifesto conjures up an emotional connection. It defines the purpose of the brand--the why, when and where for audiences. Most importantly it creates a bridge from POV to visuals that a great designers can feel and manifest visually.

Create a Visual Center...No Really Do It. Brands need more than visual guidelines that align folks on font types, logo lockups and colors. Great brands that tell great stories need visual centers that show more than use cases. The visual center is where the manifesto and brand values marry the visuals. The story, mood, and purpose of the brand appears with photos, drawings or other stimulating visuals.

Change Your Creative Process: If you're looking at this and wondering why storytelling isn't a big part of everything that is produced, take a step back at the creative process. Is your creative process designed to prioritize storytelling? Does your creative process take into account the hard work that's been done on the visual center and brand guidelines. Are sales goals and deadlines preventing the creative process from actualizing? Take all of these things into consideration and map the process to the importance of storytelling.

If you'd like more info on how to bring better storytelling to your brand, we're happy to help. Yaaas!  Feel free to reach out to us directly. 

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