How brands are adapting to a changing (consumer) environment

In 2016, the world saw a rise in temperature. In fact, it was recorded as the highest on record thus far. With this shift in climate has come a significant change in consumer behavior. Many people are emphasizing an environmental consciousness and embracing what we call an ‘eco-fad’.

So, how are brands positioning themselves to adapt to this profound environmental mindset amongst its customers?

Moving Away from Plastic Bottles

S’well was launched in 2010 with a mission to reduce the amount of plastic bottles. Using a recycling bottle can help one consumer save up to 1460 plastic bottles per year.

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In its latest collection of bottles, S’well collaborated with Lily Pulitzer and Starbucks to bring other brands into the cause.

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Plant your Pencil

Sprout is a green startup that makes sustainable pencils that you can plant after you finish using them. The seed in the eraser capsule blossoms into either flowers, fruits, herbs or vegetables.     

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Drink More Beer, Save the World

A New Zealand beer company DB Breweries organized a series of fun and creative sequel campaigns to promote the importance of conserving their beaches. DD Breweries beer bottles can be crushed into sand to help restore the receding beaches – and all the consumer has to do is chug a beer!

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Eco your Journey

Tesla is known as a car company accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. With a focus on energy innovation, Tesla raised the bar for all other auto-makers in 2012 after introducing Model S – the world’s first premium electric sedan.

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With more emphasis being placed on environmental awareness, there is definitely room for brands with environmental activation missions to get involved.

3 Après Ski Essentials

After a long day on the slopes, there is really only one way to reward yourself: après ski. Après ski definitely has a party reputation, though there is no reason you can’t create an après ski party at home with your friends. We spent some time with Miraclesuit in Park City, UT and they shared three essentials that make for the perfect après ski gathering.

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1. Make Slopeside Cocktails

This is a given. And sometimes a beer or glass of wine doesn’t do it after a chilly day on the mountain. Try warming up with cozy cocktails like a hot toddy, Irish coffee, or hot spiced wine. Since we had a roaring fire pit to keep us warm, we made Pomegranate French 75 and Moscow Mule cocktails.

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 2. Warm up in the Hot Tub

There is nothing better than relaxing in a hot tub after a long day of riding or skiing. Your tired muscles will thank you! Grab your freshly made cocktail, a trendy, figure-flattering après ski swimsuit, and toast to your day on the mountain.

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Also, it might just be us, but isn’t it fun to hot tub in the winter? We love pairing our swimsuit with a winter beanie and boots. Our friends at Miraclesuit are experts in après ski style, so they gave us these outfits ideas as well.

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 3. Pull out the Board Games

Next on the list of après ski essentials: board games. Get the fire crackling and throw down a blanket to have a cozy game night with friends. We love pulling out old favorites like Scrabble and Pictionary.

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You’ll never get cabin fever when you use these three tips! Thanks to Miraclesuit we’re ready to have the perfect après ski gathering with friends.

Miraclesuit was a sponsor at Winter House, our winter-themed experiential media relations program. Interested in learning more about our House Programs, click here.

CBC Winter House: 2017 Recap

Can you believe it? CBC just wrapped up its 11th annual Winter House. And if we do say so ourselves, it gets better with age!

As communication methods evolve, so do the creative ways that we as marketers collaborate with brands. For those who don’t know, the CBC House Programs bring some of the nation’s most coveted top tier media to some incredible locations. For Winter House, Park City, UT was the perfect setting to experience brands and their products the way they were intended.

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19 editors from top-tier outlets like Esquire, Fox News, and Women’s Health joined us in Park City to ski the slopes at Deer Valley, sip cocktails by the fire at Wyndham Vacation Rentals, and experience a Rocky Mountain winter firsthand.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the brands and experiences that were showcased at the 2017 Winter House:

Miraclesuit hosted a playful hot tub cocktail hour and dinner hosted by a private chef. The perfect ending to a day on the slopes.

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Deer Valley is home to some of the best skiing in the country. Here, editors skied on perfectly powdered runs while outfitted with gear from Obermeyer, Rossignol, and the Rudy Project.

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After skiing, yoga was the perfect way to unwind and stretch out those tired muscles. Kleenex hosted a relaxing yoga class at one of Deer Valley’s most elegant resorts, The Montage.

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And the fun didn’t stop there. Media guests were wined and dined with POM-perfect cocktails, while bundling up in Ugg boots and Stance socks.

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To close the experience, Ester-C hosted a breakfast on the last day where they concocted juices and smoothies that included their immune boosting products. After the healthy meal, editors boarded their planes energized and fully equipped to fight off the winter cold season.

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Through the experiences provided by CBC Winter House, editors naturally connected with brands and products as a way to craft genuine stories to share with their readers. But don’t take it from us, check out the full story of #CBCWinterHouse on Instagram.

It’s Handled: Navigating Social Media Mishaps

Social media can often be a “love/hate” relationship for brands. In one sense, it allows for positive engagement, communication, and relationship-building between brand and consumer. In another, many take to these platforms to air their grievances. With all this buzz and real-time interaction, brands are expected to be very attentive when counteracting the rapid amplification that can come from negative social conversations.

And like anything – especially in regards to this new era of constant connectivity – we look to the past to plan for the future.

Uniting Against United
Almost 8 years ago, a little band known as Sons of Maxwell was flying United Airlines. It was all great until a band member’s guitar broke because the airline staff was recklessly throwing luggage on-board. After United refused to compensate him for the broken equipment, the band posted a song on YouTube describing their experience. Lucky for the band, this song went viral and was the big break in their career.

Unlucky for United Airlines, they neglected to respond until after the video garnered 150K views. This forest fire of bad PR had an effect on people’s decision in choosing an airline. BBC reported that United’s stock dropped by 10% after the release of the video – a decrease in valuation of $180 million.

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An Uber Lapse in Judgment
Earlier this month, Uber faced a blistering response after CEO Travis Kalanick failed to denounce President Trump’s immigration ban and then continued to serve New York’s JFK airport during a reported taxi strike. The company received adverse reactions on social media. As a result of the hashtag #DeleteUber, 200,000 people deleted their Uber apps and many public voices added fuel to the fire.

 

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Amid Uber’s silence, Lyft – a runner-up competitor to Uber – capitalized on the opportunity by immediately taking the opposite stance on the immigration ban. They quickly sent out an email to their customers letting them know of the $1 million donation they made to ACLU. Many Uber customers shifted to Lyft after this.

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A Salty Reaction to Cinnabon
After the death of famous actor Carrie Fisher, Cinnabon made a controversial move by tweeting the below:

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Needless to say, this particular move left a bad flavor in people’s mouths.

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Fortunately, Cinnabon’s PR team was quick and tweeted an apology early the next morning. It’s likely the brand won’t suffer permanent damage.

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The CBC Way
We at CBC aren’t impervious to the accidental dangers of digital. In late 2016, an ad from our client Garnet Hill appeared on the infamous Breitbart News website. Known for its far-right policies, anti-LGBT messaging, and overall controversial reputation, it’s no mystery why lovers of Garnet Hill were vocal about their disapproval.

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Of course, both CBC and Garnet Hill were not aware of the ad’s placement on the website until it was brought to our attention via Twitter. We immediately pulled the ad, blocked Breitbart, and informed our distressed followers that the situation was handled.

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The moral of story: Respond promptly, show genuine concern and value your relationship with your consumers. It takes years to build a brand reputation and seconds for it to crumble.

The Secret to Netflix’s Success: Exploring Netflix Originals

To say that Netflix is crushing the competition when it comes to on-demand television would be an understatement. Since it was founded in 1997, Netflix has quickly become a household staple and inspired other platforms like Hulu and Amazon to throw their hats into the ring. But it seems that no matter what the competition releases, Netflix cannot be beat.

When you consider the way we consume television, it’s no secret why Netflix is the most beloved of the options. The streaming platform has used many tactics to its advantage including: (1) binge-watching, (2) zero commercials, and most importantly, (3) releasing multiple Original Series.

In 2013, Netflix aired House of Cards as its first Original Series. Since then, Netflix has produced more than 100 in-house series. Below we look into some of the top-rated series and how Netflix’s marketing strategy positioned them for success.

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Powerful Partnerships

In 2016, Netflix partnered with Marvel to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of popular shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. This collaboration built niche connections between Netflix and comic fans, as well as opened the door for future Marvel Universe opportunities. In fact, Marvel Studios just confirmed seven new shows with Netflix.

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For Daredevil, Netflix created a digital outdoor stand ad in France.

In 2016, DDB Vancouver installed three billboards featuring three main characters in Daredevil’s season 2, and created individual hashtags for each character. As part of the campaign, “Hashtag your Hero to Fuel their Fury”, Netflix encouraged fans to tweet with their fav character’s hashtag (i.e. #Daredevil, #Punisher, and #Elektra). The total was counted at the end of each round and the two billboards with the least amount of social mentions were “damaged” by the winner.

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Promoting Family Values

Most recently, Netflix released two series that have proven very popular: (1) Stranger Things, which ranked the third most-watched season of a Netflix Original Series; and (2) A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the famous children’s novel series by Lemony Snicket. The latter was recently dubbed Netflix’s “first great TV for families” by the Verge.

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Surprise, Not Saturation

One year ago, the Netflix CCO declared that the online streaming giant has little need to spend heavily on marketing. However, during the Super Bowl 2017 Netflix surprised its audience with the teaser video and premier date for the second season of Stranger Things. Rather than over-saturate people with commercials, the company has opted to sparingly sprinkle in a few teasers to increase buzz.

And the fans loved it!

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Product Placement

Netflix has also made impressive use of using other brands to fund its Original Series – in other words, product placement (examples below). By subtly placing their logo or product in Netflix’s hit shows, brands are making impressions to their target audience. Meanwhile, Netflix can remain “commercial-free” in some sense of the term.

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More and more younger generations are watching television online. As marketers, we need to stay on top of the evolving television medium.

Super Bowl Commercials 2017: Miscommunicated or Misunderstood?

According to the headlines, this year’s Super Bowl was nothing short of historic. However, Tom Brady’s comeback isn’t the only thing that people are talking about. In the 2017 Super Bowl commercials, brands took strong political stances and let their opinions influence their advertisements.

We at Cercone Brown support companies that want to communicate their values in a transparent style. However, not all consumers share the same beliefs and some of the brands that aired controversial commercials this year are learning the hard way:

When using your ad to take a stand, be prepared to defend it.

84Lumber’s Journey to Nowhere

84Lumber is getting torn apart after it aired a Super Bowl ad of a Mexican mother and daughter making a difficult journey to America. This condensed version of the ad ends with a push to the company’s website to view the full length advertisement, where it concludes with the pair entering the United States through a door in a border wall.

At first, many interpreted the message as inspiring and not in support of Trump’s wall.
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However, others dubbed the ad “misleading” and claimed the company was overtly supporting illegal immigration and encouraging cheap labor.

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Audi Talks Gender Wage Gap

Arriving on the heels of the global Women’s Marches, Audi picked an appropriate time to promote gender equality and stress the importance of equal pay for equal work. The advertisement was widely regarded as powerful and poignant.

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However, the ad still garnered some negative backlash. Many pointed out that the company didn’t itself practice what it was preaching.

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Airbnb Acceptance and Inclusion

Airbnb’s commercial #WeAccept received primarily positive feedback and appreciation for their diversity and inclusion.

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Coke, It’s Beautiful

Coca-Cola’s America the Beautiful received both positive and negative feedbacks. Some commended Coke for its portrayal of diversity.

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However, others saw it as a sign of disrespect and decided to boycott Coca Cola products.

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Whether you agreed with their political beliefs or not, these Super Bowl commercials achieved their goal of making an impact. For any companies considering adding politics to their brand’s voice, just remember: you have to take the good with the bad.

How Can Brands Use Snapchat?

In September 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc., in an effort to distinguish the company from its product. Later that year, the company officially filed documents for an initial public offering (IPO) with a predicted value of approximately $25-35 billion.

As the company expands its horizons, so does the app itself. Snapchat is growing up and it is our responsibility as marketers to grow with it. With more than 240 million monthly users, Snapchat is providing more and more opportunities for brands to extend their reach by taking strategic advantage of its features.

Learn from those before you. Below are some ways that brands have successfully utilized the platform.

BMW On the Move

As the primary sponsor in North America for CNN, BMW rolled out a series of short video ads on CNN’s Snapchat Discover section. Later, BMW followed up by creating a microsite that allows consumers to write, draw and design messages on a holiday-themed red BMW X4 SUV with a snow-covered windshield.

By targeting the millennials through their beloved mobile messaging app, BMW is able to reach a younger consumer group for the sales of X4 SUV model. However, it is still a question whether this is a wise placement that led to more purchases.
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Sports Game Time!

Both Under Armor and Gatorade have created special campaigns to put on Snapchat. First, Gatorade designed a low-pixel tennis game that can be played directly on Snapchat. In this interactive way, it was able to generate more significant impressions on the audience.

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Under Armor, on the other hand, not only designed a Snapchat game, but also launched 10-second Snap Ads on the sports channel of Snapchat Discover.

Olympics and America

During the last summer Olympics, seven big brands partnered with Snapchat. Walmart highlighted its patriotism by supporting more American-owned business and a study later proved that 34% of American shoppers said they would be more inclined to opt for Walmart after seeing the Snapchat ads.

To promote The Angry Bird Movie, Sony Pictures created a 360-degree marketing campaign across television, digital, and social. On Snapchat, they created seven short film pieces of which two show clips from the film.

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As Snapchat continues to update, more features will be presented to accommodate marketing and advertising opportunities for brands.

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Transmedia Storytelling in Longlasting Campaigns

All advertisers strive to produce great work that goes beyond selling and becomes viral entertainment that consumers talk about for weeks. But then what?

Many have gotten into the habit of cranking out one campaign after the other, without too much diversity in-between. But in the pursuit of staying fresh, they lose the longevity of their brand identity.

This is where Transmedia storytelling comes into play.

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source: Wise Geek http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mass-production.htm#

Transmedia storytelling is simply defined as “telling a story across multiple media” and thrives off audience engagement. Different media forms work together to create a larger, more engaging story that immerses the consumer in the brand.

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Traditionally, media franchises (like Harry Potter and Star Wars) have brought this technique to life by building off the original content with related games, toys, theme parks, etc. This results in a natural build of brand awareness and loyalty.

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Perhaps the best example of a brand using transmedia storytelling happened in 2008 when car insurance company Progressive brought out Flo, the quirky saleswoman who has since become the face of the brand.

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Over the last nine years, Flo has appeared in over 100 commercials, has her own bobble head, a Halloween costume, and even has a role in the racing video game ModNation Racers.

Flo’s ability to transcend traditional marketing mediums has helped Progressive appeal to the elusive younger audience.

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PSAs have a bad reputation. So when Melbourne Metro had to release a PSA for train safety, they seized the opportunity to break the monotony usually associated with PSAs by using transmedia storytelling.

The campaign started with a catchy jingle but has since expanded to an iPhone game, plush toys, and figurines.

 

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When executed well, transmedia storytelling can extend the lifetime of a campaign and strengthen brand identity.

Why Fake News has a Real Impact on Brands & Consumers

BREAKING NEWS … or is it?

If you’re a regular on social media, you’ve likely seen the recent flood of alerts cautioning consumers to beware of “Fake News”. While news parody websites like The Onion and Clickhole are upfront about their satirical content, this other unfortunate trend appears to exist purely for clickbait on websites claiming to be authentic.

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Advertisers and consumers alike need to be aware of the fake news circulating online, but it can be tricky to spot.

Fake News’ Impact on Brands

But the landscape of your newsfeed is not the only thing impacted by fake news. This is the first time in history that billion-dollar corporations are sharing blatantly incorrect information without being held accountable for it.

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These “articles” have hurt brand reputations when a company’s remarks are spun into false statements. For example, Pepsi experienced the perils of fake news when the CEO made a statement about employees’ reactions to the 2016 election results. The innocent comment led to a lot of people boycotting the brand.
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Pepsi isn’t the only one who has fallen at the hand of fake news. New Balance was targeted by a white supremacists news site, dubbing the company as the “official shoes of White people”.

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As advertisers, we can help mitigate this flood of false information by publishing brand-honest content on responsible platforms. While there is no easy way to extinguish the wildfire that is fake news, advertisers must focus on reporting honest and reliable information about its brands and influencers.