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Like it, tag it, buy it: Instagram’s new mobile shopping experience

Instagram has come a long way since its debut in 2010, priding itself on being a top-performing platform for mobile discovery.

And now, the beloved platform has broadened its horizons even more – it will soon allow users to purchase products directly from an image. That’s right, Instagram is joining the mobile shopping revolution. This new feature is ground breaking for brands who rely on their online sales.

Mobile shopping has become a consumer favorite, making up 30% of all e-commerce sales. In fact, it is estimated that more than 84 percent of smartphone owners use an app or web browser to view products. This is a HUGE untapped market of potential buyers who use Instagram to follow their favorite brands.

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According to Instagram, this is how shopping will work: 

  1. Each post will have a tap to view icon.
  2. When a product is tapped, a price tag will appear.
  3. If the consumer is interested, they can select to view the product details.
  4. Then there’s an option to shop now, which takes the user to the ecomm site to purchase.

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Unfortunately for those who want to jump right in, the new experience is still in its test phase. Instagram partnered up with brands like J-crewKate Spade, and Warby Parker for the beta version, gaging ease of use and depth.

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When it does go public, we at Cercone Brown are especially excited to see how brands like Garnet Hill and Stonewall Kitchen will enhance engagement with current and prospective users. Either way, our wallets are sure to be lighter.

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Creative Campaigns: Changing the Way Digital Campaigns Work

A seasoned agency recognizes that media consumption nowadays is more than just the initial viewing experience: it’s all encompassing. Your audience wants to engage, comment, share, and experience it. The ability to tap into this insatiable consumer behavior is what makes creative viral digital campaigns.

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In other words, a few small changes in how you’re approaching your audience and the creation of an interactive campaign could leave you rolling in thousands of free and easy impressions.

So what changes can you make to produce campaigns that are powerful enough to reach unprecedented audiences?

A West Jet Christmas Miracle

In 2013, Canadian company West Jet went from bargain airline to leader in the industry after releasing a video that quickly became an Internet sensation. On Christmas Eve, the company sponsored a real-time gift-giving event in two different airports to spark buzz.

To complete this goal, West Jet had to get creative to foster positive brand image from customers.

Always is Always Innovative

To drive conversation, Always took a negative stereotype about girls and molded it into a positive branding strategy.

Cardstore Has A Breakout Moment

Cardstore by American Greetings posted a video 2 years ago called #WorldsToughestJob that has almost 27 million views. People were interviewed for a job with “unlimited hours” and “no breaks” on top of an increased workload on holidays … but the audience didn’t find out what the job was until the end.

At the end, it was revealed that they job was in fact being a mother. Since they do so much you should probably get them a card … from Cardstore.com, of course.

Jet Blue Wins Big

Recently, Jet Blue created a viral campaign, which shined a positive light on crying babies during flights. The advertisement was so successful it earned them the 2016 Grand Brand Genius Award from Adweek.

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With every creative and innovative campaign, consumer expectations get higher and higher. Do you have what it takes to go viral?

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

We Must Diversify in Order to Disrupt

Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous strides in advertising diversity, from gender to religious beliefs. However, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet. There is still so much room for more progress in attaining equal representation of these marginalized groups.

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today. Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

Why Agencies Benefit from Increasing Diversity in their Workforce

At its most rudimentary level, advertising and marketing campaigns are meant to capture the attention of audiences. We do that by creating content that is relatable and strikes a universal chord. For minority demographics, we believe the best way to create content that resonates is to let them tell the story.

Agencies without a diverse staff are more limited in their understanding of their various target audiences.

With so many talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, why should we make our jobs harder by excluding their voices? We should embrace a breadth of perspectives as a way to stimulate industry progression and inclusivity.

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As Pepsi Co. Executive Brad Jakemen puts it, “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogenous groups of people. Quite the opposite. They come from collections of people with different life experiences coming together with a different perspective on the world. Different ages, races, sexual orientations trying to solve a problem from a different standpoint.”

Brands Pushing for Change

A few brands – including Pepsi Co., Verizon, HP, General Mills ­– have spearheaded this initiative by pressuring their agencies to hire diverse individuals. They’ve asked agencies to propose plans for how they will boost representation at all levels within their workforce.

The SMO for Verizon, Diego Scotti commented in a New York Times article that, “Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers. We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”

We at CerconeBrown applaud the steps these brands are taking, but recognize there is still progress to be made. When new and unique perspectives are brought into the creative process, everyone wins.

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CBC Fall House 2016

Over the course of eight days, 20 editors, bloggers and journalists from top-tier publications attended Cercone Brown’s 11th annual Fall House in Santa Barbara.screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-56-04-pm

From October 16-24, attendees from publications like People, The Huffington Post, and SELF immersed themselves in the Santa Barbara County lifestyle as they lounged by the pool, explored picturesque California beaches, and participated in adventurous excursions all hosted by our brand sponsors.

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This year, brands like Buick, Miraclesuit, and Lather organized unique brand activations and experiences. The key to our success with our House Programs, we let the products speak for themselves. Buick kicked off the 2016 sessions with an iconic, self-guided road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway while Mircaclesuit hosted a pool party at the house.

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After all the excitement, Lather helped the editors unwind with facials and massages.

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Other brands like Sabra and Jackson Family Wines indulged the media influencers with delicious food and cocktails throughout their stay. They were even treated to a mixology class with blogger and author of This Girl Walks into a Bar, hosted by Bolthouse Farms.

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While Fall House is certainly fun for media influencers, it also encompasses a series of tailored experiences designed to give each brand meaningful exposure to media in a natural setting. Editors are experiencing a product in the way it is intended to be experienced – and without being clouded by the competition as each brand is offered exclusivity in its product category.

But enough about what we thought of Fall House – let’s let the attendees speak for themselves:

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Check out all of the social buzz from Fall House online at #CBCfallhouse.

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Facebook Urges the “Everyman” to Go Live

Even though the birth of Facebook Live occurred last April, the brand has successfully preserved the feature’s spot in the limelight.

Over the past several months, the world has watched countless brands, bloggers and celebrities use it to creatively advertise products and reach new audiences. Whether it’s through cooking tutorials, a glimpse behind the scenes or a Q&A with an influencer, Facebook Live has certainly become an industry favorite.

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In September, Cercone Brown organized a Facebook Live tour with blogger Natalie Thomas from Nat’s Next Adventure and Garnet Hill of their Mobile Boutique in New York City. Natalie gave viewers an insider’s peek into the unique boutique.

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Not Just For The Professionals

It seems that even though similar apps such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories have experienced great success, the masses have yet to heavily engage with Facebook Live. The brand is attempting to change this by encouraging people like you – the everyday person – to get involved.

The brand has launched a campaign that is based on showcasing user-generated content and demonstrating how to go live.

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While the tutorial ads feature statements like, “How to go live if you’ve got a hidden talent that you’re ready to make not-so-hidden” or “How to go Live when you have something to say and you just need to say it loud”.

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The set-up for going Live is simple and encourages a spur-of-the-moment call to action. Facebook claims that they want to make the world more open and connected through the Live feature … if only people would begin to engage with it.

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Marketing to Humans

Controversy was sparked last year when Target went gender neutral with some of its products; with it came an important conversation amongst brands about the potential pitfalls of playing into gender stereotypes.

Many consider gender to exist on a spectrum rather than a male-female binary, causing brands to realize that consumers are more complex than gender stereotypes might suggest. The result: brands that are more inclusive of all gender identities.

At Cercone Brown, we’re calling this a “Marketing to Humans” revolution.

THINX

THINX, a brand that sells underwear specifically for a person’s menstrual cycle, is challenging gender norms with its “People with Periods” campaign. The ad features a transgender man, suggesting that females aren’t the only ones who would benefit from their products.

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ZARA

Many high-end fashion lines strut androgynous – gender-neutral – clothing on the runway, however, ZARA is one of the first clothing brands to make this look mainstream with their “Ungendered” collection.

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Covergirl

Makeup isn’t just for ladies anymore. Covergirl has introduced 17-year-old social media darling James Charles as their first ever CoverBOY.

Meet James Here

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Veritas Genetics

We at Cercone Brown are joining this movement to remove gender stereotypes from marketing, particularly through our work with Veritas Genetics – a whole genome sequencing startup that also markets tests for breast, ovarian, and other cancers by testing for BRCA mutation.

 

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A mutation on the BRCA chromosome can increase the risk for breast cancer in both men and women. Among our many objectives is to build awareness that both women and men are at risk for breast cancer.

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There is still a long way to go until marketing is truly intersectional and representative of all identities, but these brands are helping lead the march towards progress.

The Art of Streaming Could Be Music to Advertisers’ Ears

The advertising world figured out long ago that consumers are hungry for media, and with that insatiable demand comes expectation for instant gratification. People want their media yesterday, especially music.

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Though music streaming platforms have spiked in popularity, they remain an untapped market for advertisers … aside from the usual digital ads.

Users of the free options are familiar (and maybe annoyed) with advertisements interrupting their favorite tunes. The platforms have provided ways around that, and many users think paying a small monthly fee is worth it to not have to listen to ads.

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It’s time to get more creative when it comes to targeting audio audiences.

Luckily, there is no shortage of users still choosing their free, ad-filled options. Between Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music or Amazon Unlimited, there are a plethora of platforms for consumers to choose from and for advertisers to pitch their products. Currently, 45 million people use the free Spotify service monthly.

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Today, digital audio ads are more popular than ads on AM/FM, which makes it the perfect platform to reach audiences across multiple devices­!

Companies like Coca-Cola offered listeners 30 minutes of ad-free music if they watch their video.

Reebok created their own Spotify playlist called “Reebok FitList” which marketed their brand without many consumers even being aware.

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Following Coca-Cola and Reebok’s lead can be beneficial for a wide range of industries, with the use of incentives and discreet placement.

Targeting consumers by interrupting their music streaming is not the way to capture hearts for your brand. Don’t be afraid get creative with how you tap into the audio audience!

Video Killed more than the Radio Star

Video progression

The conversation between consumers and advertisers is constantly changing. There has been a clear transition from “traditional” media towards social media advertising and it’s not difficult to notice the surge of this movement when scrolling through your social feeds.

The Trend in Digital Video

Dynamic visuals and videos break through the constant clutter in your newsfeed and the creative use of short video advertising is proven to grab your attention. In fact, Business Insider reported that in 2016 digital video will reach 5 billion in ad revenue. Videos are sparking people’s interest, and marketers are taking advantage of it.

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An example of a digital advertisement found on Facebook.

Facebook understands the value of video advertising and is fully on board. Infiltrating your newsfeed with muted video advertisements, the challenge of silent advertisements is now top of mind.

As quoted in the New York Times “For a lot of our clients, Facebook is a very important platform, so thinking about how it’s going to play out there without sound is coming into the discussion earlier and earlier in the process,” said Neel Williams, a creative director at the Martin Agency, which has also repurposed TV Chips Ahoy commercials for Facebook.

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An infographic explaining the dramatic increase in social media advertising. 

It’s almost like taking a step back in time. Instead of having the trendiest indie song playing in the background to get your attention, it is now the quick flashy graphics with captions.

According to emarketer, YouTube, Google and Facebook digital video content is receiving a higher rate of viewership along with clicks per minute or CPM than its competitors.

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A graph displaying what brands lead in digital video advertising.

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Facebook accumulating the most clicks per minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The surge in social media advertising is increasing at alarming rate and is estimated to increase 194% and possibly reach 15 Billion dollars by 2018.

 

What Does This Mean For Advertising Agencies?

Well the good news is this has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for digital creative work.

Each platform will need it’s own unique strategy. The viewer expectations when watching a YouTube video is that there will be sound, emphasizing the importance of music and dialogue. Similarly, when a viewer is scrolling through, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram strong visual imagery will be their main focus and sound becomes second priority.

This also raises an interesting question when it comes to TV advertising. Most of us don’t enjoy sitting through a 30-sec ad spot on TV and therefore it is likely we wouldn’t want to while at our computers either, especially when it’s when we’re scrolling through our favorite social channel. Keeping the consumer in mind while creating engaging, digital video content is key.

“The most important factor is where the consumer’s focus is,” Mr. Williams, of the Martin Agency, said. “You can have the most epic TV spot that is a visual feast, packed with the best, most well-written voice-over, read by the most famous person, but if you’re not paying attention to it, then it doesn’t matter.” — The New York Times.

The rapidly changing advertising world is both exciting and daunting. Grabbing a viewer’s attention has never been more desired in the oversaturated advertising world. Ad agencies must get smarter when it comes to creative, engaging video content if they want to win over their target audience online.

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People Remember Experiences, Not Products

For brands that want to have a lasting impact, one thing is important to know: people remember experiences, not products.

Why it’s Important

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Experiential marketing and branded entertainment immerse consumers into brands, forming positive associations and sometimes inspiring them to become brand influencers.

Through events and other branded entertainment, you give the consumer a tangible experience so that they will remember your brand. When they go to make a purchase in your category, they’ll remember that experience.

How you can implement it

The types of events and branded entertainment you host can range from strictly informative to wildly creative. Many brands set up booths at trade shows and other events to give consumers a more personal, in depth interaction with their brand.

image courtesy of Krista K. Catian, NAVFAC Pacific Public Affairs https://www.flickr.com/photos/navfac/10461564004

image courtesy of Krista K. Catian, NAVFAC Pacific Public Affairs https://www.flickr.com/photos/navfac/10461564004

photo courtesy of Nick Gray https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickgray/358452789

photo courtesy of Nick Gray https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickgray/358452789

Some brands try to reimagine the way consumers engage with their product by putting on interactive experiences.

Merrell’s virtual hike

It’s also important to leverage social media. Posting builds buzz and creates an online community to share the great experiences they had with your brand.

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Follow Our Lead

We at CerconeBrown know just how important experiential marketing and branded entertainment can be. That’s why we frequently help hold pop up shops, mobile boutiques, and special events for our clients. Additionally, we host our House Programs multiple times a year, where influencers get mini vacations at locations across the country, allowing them the opportunity to engage with our clients’ products. We know that they may forget an ad, but they’re sure to remember an experience.