Posts

As a public relations agency with many experiential marketing campaigns under our belt, we’d like to think we’re in a good position to point out some great work by brands and our colleagues at other PR agencies.

For experiential marketing to work, it has to grab your attention. Think about it: Have you ever done something crazy to get someone’s attention in real life? Sometimes it’s the same in marketing – drastic measures in order to differentiate yourself from the sea of similar brands. It can be risky, scary, and very thrilling to pioneer experiential campaigns.

We get it. Our idea to create a mobile boutique from a shipping container for Garnet Hill raised a few eyebrows when it was first floated. But in the end, the campaign was a huge success.

That’s why the campaigns below – all daring and different – hit close to home for us.

 Apple Orchard in the Big Apple

In June 2016, Strongbow apple cider decided they would bring a taste of nature to NYC with a floating garden. In a barge filled with fruits, vegetables and herbs, people reconnected with nature, foraged for their food, and learned about all of the ingredients found in Strongbow’s Cider.

Why we love it: This took Farmer’s Markets to a new level and imprints visitors with a memory for life.

strongbow-orchard_1

swale-20170607053901766

Big city, tiny house

In May, NESTEA introduced their own tiny house in Herald Square that emulated relaxation, minimalism, and the perfect place to enjoy a glass of iced tea. Their message to consumers: life today is not easy, but NESTEA’s new line of classic teas can help simplify things.

Why we love it: Minimalism is a coveted lifestyle in busy cities like NYC. Kudos to NESTEA for capitalizing on it!

iced-tea-nestea

 

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Actress Anna Camp launches the new NESTEA in Herald Square at the NESTEA Tiny House on May 17, 2017 in New York City. Designed in part by bloggers Southern Bite, Inspired by Charm, and Hapa Time, the NESTEA Tiny House is unveiled in Herald Square. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images) (PRNewsfoto/NESTEA)

Refueling with a brew

In a refurbished 1952 GMC Coach bus, now known as the High Brew Liner, High Brew Coffee is embarking on a cross country tour. The goal is to pop up in 31 cities for people to try a cup of High Brew’s cold brewed coffee and refuel.

Why we love it: High Brew transformed the vintage bus to speak to an audience of millennials who, according to their research, go nuts for authentic experiences.

BigFoot on the loose

The Bootmobile is a rolling shoe created by L.L. Bean to commemorate it’s 100th anniversary, created for new store openings and promotional events. The bootmobile has been so successful that a new one was made and sent to Japan for their stores.

Why we love it: L.L.Bean took it global and didn’t just section it off for convenience.

20182

 

2994_Bootmobile-2

Sweat, hydrate, repeat

In the summer 2016, Propel hosted fitness events to roll out their updated electrolyte rich flavored water. The campaign went viral with the hashtag #LetsGetUgly, in the attempt to negate the glamorous and often unrealistic social media portrayal of people working out. From yoga to boxing, Propel got consumers active and hydrated them with their water.

Why we love it: Propel provided an environment where it’s okay to get sweaty and work hard.

propel_fitness_4

asweatlife_CoLabs-Chicago_1-1024x682

Touch and Feel

The Garnet Hill Mobile Boutique supported by our PR and creative services team here at Cercone Brown Company, transformed a shipping container into a moveable, shop-able, pop up shop. The revamped shipping container was a unique place for consumers to touch and feel all of the products before buying them.

Why we love it: Garnet Hill allowed their consumers to get to know the Garnet Hill products in a more natural, homelike setting.

GHcontainer27-1

GHcontainer14-3

Gone are the days of blanket advertising via commercials and print ads. People want to touch, taste, feel and smell the brand. In other words, an experience.

 

We live in the age of information; an era that gave birth to the World Wide Web, online messaging, and social media.

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 9.44.09 AM

More and more, brands are expected to keep up with digital trends when it comes to connecting with their audiences, oftentimes relying on tried-and-true approaches.

But every so often, one brand will do something completely unexpected and disrupt the digital space.

One such brand is Addict Aide, a French organization that empowers progress in the fight against addiction.

Their 2016 campaign Like My Addiction featured Louise Delage, French socialite who had it all: glamour, wealth, style … and a drinking problem? In every one of her pictures, she held a drink. Not one of her followers noticed.

Little did her fans know, she was an actress devised by Addict Aide as part of a campaign to bring awareness to alcohol addiction.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.47.45 PM

Below we have dissected the science behind this viral campaign using an online persona and created some takeaways for your next disruption.

 

Do your homework

Underneath the seemingly simple social posts was a data-driven scheme. The creators identified their audience before the launch, studied the influencers within that space, and designed a character that would appeal to the targeted demographic.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.48.07 PM

They also used standard strategies such as posting at high-traffic times, networking with influencers, and sourcing trending hashtags.

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 3.15.10 PM

Fake it ‘till you make it

To keep “her” audience unaware, Louise Delage posted content that was relevant, attractive, and enviable. While the alcoholic beverages were conspicuous, the images crafted a realistic storyline that didn’t seem out of the ordinary.

louse

Blending in with the crowd

Users are accustomed to an Instagram feed of idealized and fantastical photos from their favorite influencers – a space that already makes it difficult to quickly distinguish reality from fiction. Louise Delage successfully played the part of “the girl women want to be and men want to be with”. She evoked jealousy and longing, sentiments that led to her reaching 50k followers in just a few weeks.

louise-delage-4

Close with a bang

The big reveal came in a short video; one that disrobed the campaign and presented the concept that you never know when someone is suffering from addiction, even when it’s right in front of your face. Addict Aide closed its campaign in a simple, informative, and nonjudgmental way.

 

The Like My Addiction finale video garnered more than 1 million views and was featured in prominent publications. Most importantly, the creators achieved their objective. Louise was more than just an interesting marketing tactic – she was a living, breathing representation of the company’s mission.

When done wisely, an alternate identity or other disruptive use of digital marketing can help to prompt brand awareness. Just remember: what you see on social media may only show a fraction of the truth.

Instagram and Snapchat are neck-and-neck in the race to win loyalty of social enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’ve naturally opted for the stream of content bites that come with Snapchat or the picture-perfect wanderlust reality filling your Instagram feed, the time may have come to finally pick your poison.

On August 2nd, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, an exciting feature with strange familiarities to Snapchat. With over 400 million active users, we are psyched that one of the most brand-friendly social networking services is tapping into the ‘real-time’ video trend. Instagram is positioning their Stories feature as the solution to the excess posting that comes with Snapchat and other apps that promote video. Since the Stories live in a separate space on Instagram, it makes it possible to post without over saturating your followers’ feeds.

2016%2F08%2F05%2F59%2Fhttps_2F_2Fblueprintapiproduction.s3.amazonaws.com.b5a86

So what does all of this mean for your brand? So glad you asked.

One platform, no worries

If you already have a strong presence on Instagram, the Stories feature gives you the opportunity to post more playful content more frequently – without being forced to build a whole new audience.

Courtesy of J.Crew Instagram

Keep your influencers close and your users closer

Instagram is a buzzing hub of established social influencers in every sector. With the Stories feature, you can maintain your partnerships AND create more complex video campaigns for both audiences. The cherry on top? Spontaneous and frequent content feels more authentic, and this authenticity will likely attract more user interaction and brand loyalty.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-23-at-2.30.00-PM

Courtesy of NASA Instagram

Reach your users the unpaid way

When you post a story, your account will show up at the forefront of your users’ feeds with a colorful ring around it. This top-of-feed, top-of-mind strategy opens up the coveted door to place organic content in laps of your users.

Courtesy of Starbucks Instagram

Just be careful not to flood their feeds with low-quality content!

 

Disappearing content

Micro campaigns, flash contests, experimental content – there is no limit to the spirited approach you can take to Instagram Stories. The 24-hour deadline means you can test the waters of different types of posts, and then roll them out on your regular feed if they perform well.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-19-at-8.12.46-PM

Courtesy of Loft Instagram

Stories are temporary, but the fans are forever

There are no “likes” or “comments” with Instagram Stories. Your users can only respond by sending a private message to your account, which is amazing for beefing up brand-client relationships and gaining private feedback.

Courtesy of Taco Bell Instagram

Will Instagram Stories last? Or will it suffer the same fate as the channels’ other tried-and-failed features like Bolt? Our secret hope? That Instagram hops on the facial recognition game. Snap-fiends love their flower crown filter.

In April 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave live streaming new meaning when he rolled out the Facebook Live Application. This gateway for both brands and users to engage in is an influential marketing tool that many companies are not taking advantage of … and they should be. Streaming in real-time provides the ability to field your audience’s burning questions and tailor content based on the reactions of your followers.

Live Q&A with astronauts on the International Space Station! L…

Live Q&A with astronauts on the International Space Station! Leave your questions below.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Below are a few ways marketers can benefit from Facebook Live:

Reach New Audiences in New Ways

Facebook Live gives users the opportunity to watch content on your brand’s Facebook page in an automatic, non-pervasive way. Facebook Live posts will not only engage your current followers, but also attract new ones. Plus, tying a visual to your brand will garner invaluable reactions and comments. Partnering with another brand of influencer in a video is another way to extend reach with this tool.

Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!

Posted by BuzzFeed on Friday, April 8, 2016

Connect in Real-Time

The Live feature gives you a similar function as that of a newscast or a television show – the ability to connect to your live audience and start a conversation. Loyal consumers of your product get a notification when you’re live and will ideally open the dialogue.  As they comment, your brand responds in real time.

We got some great news on jobs and the economy this morning, and President Obama wants to tell you all about it. So pull up a chair in the Roosevelt Room next to his economic team and listen in!

Posted by The White House on Friday, March 4, 2016

Customize Your Story

Whether you are consumer or marketer, your Facebook Live story will represent you. With creative filters and tools, it is easy to express yourself on different forms in an instant feed.

Live at the Airbnb Treehouse at the World Premiere of The #JungleBook!

Posted by The Jungle Book on Monday, April 4, 2016

Exclusive Content

Live interviews, event coverage, and behind the scenes footage are all ways to share exclusive content with your following.

Live Interviews: Hit the streets! Steve Portigal for Interviewing Users states, “Interviews create connections between builders and the consumers. It makes the problems tangible and human”.

Watch our #GraziaxFB Brexit Debate with Stella Creasy, Yvette Cooper MP, Penny Mordaunt, Theresa Villiers and chaired by Anushka Asthana.

Posted by Grazia UK on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Steaming Events: Red Bull rep. and pro wake boarder Steel Lafferty shows us some moves on the water for a Red Bull event using Facebook live.

Wakeboarding LiveStream!

Posted by Steel Lafferty on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Behind The Scenes: Jason Carr, a former news anchor for FOX 2 in Detroit, updates Facebook Live viewers on a ride to a gig at WDIV-TV, Local 4 News … but he doesn’t tell that right away.

Hey!

Posted by Jason Carr on Monday, May 23, 2016

Live streaming is not just here to stay – it’s dominating the social scene.  We suggest you don’t sit on the sidelines for this one.

Your hair is a mess, you spilled coffee on your shirt, and the morning seems like an utter disaster. You’ve fallen victim to the clock and you’re not alone in your frantic run to the T. But once you are en route, you have space to take a breath, hopefully score a seat and enjoy the ride.

But, like so many city-dwellers that rely on public transportation, the commute to work can get dull. What do you do to pass the time? Chances are, you get lost in your phone for the next 45-minutes.

If you want to see technology truly captivate an audience, glance around the next time you are on public mass transit during commuting hours. You will likely see a sea of people scrolling and tapping away over their to-go coffee. Why do we care? These highly receptive times of day offer an invaluable window for any marketer to take advantage of as a way to promote their brand.

It is very rare that you will run into an individual on their commute who is not glued to their phone. This was made even more obvious when the hashtag #guywithoutaphone first started trending – a hilarious ode to the one person at a train station without a cell phone ironically surrounded by people that are attached to their devices. These pictures show that in down time, people are interested in being either productive or entertained during their daily commute. Well … except for the #guywithoutaphone.

big-platform-guy
Untitled

The national average for commuting times is about 25.4 minutes. According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 10.8 million people, or 8.1% of workers, commute an hour or more to work each way ­– when you think of all the ways you can harness this time to make conversation with your social scrolling consumers, the commute might just look a little bit sweeter.

So advertisers, marketers, and everyone in between, we have some words of wisdom for you: time is money … literally. The posters and signage within trains and busses are effective but realistically, where is everyone looking? Their phones. That’s the reason why this year, US advertisers will spend $40.24 billion to reach consumers on tablets and mobile phones.

Those tedious travel times are inevitable, so why not give your commuting consumers something to think about?

Social media ROI — especially linking social media ROI to sales and real business growth — has been elusive… until now.

Through our partnership with Overdrive Interactive, we now offer the industry’s first social media ROI system. This Social Media Dashboard compiles all social media touch points, from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube Channels.

But what’s more, you can also bring in feeds from Google Analytics, your call center, e-commerce sales and event retail sales.   The result is an overlay that ties together your social media efforts with the real-time results that will make any CFO happy.  Contact Anne Houseman for a demo.

As readers of this blog know, Cercone Brown is deep into online marketing and social media.  As a communications firm with a large PR component, we’d better be these days.  Now our work is being recognized on a national stage.  Cercone Brown & Co. Named Finalist for “Best Online Marketing Campaign for 2009” for the PR Platinum Awards.

The firm was selected from from 800 submissions for its “America’s Least Wasteful Cities” Campaign for bottle-maker Nalgene.  We’re off to NYC for the luncheon this morning.

We’ll write more about the campaign, how and why it worked, and lessons learned.  For now, keep your fingers crossed.  There’s a quick case study posted here, which we’ll change into an easier to use flash version this week.  Also, check out the release we’re issuing this morning…

Boston, Mass. (October 21, 2009) — Blending social media marketing, interactive design, and press relations has become a hallmark of Boston advertising and PR firm Cercone Brown & Co., helping brands such as GMAC Insurance, adidas, Quiksilver and others build campaigns that drive awareness, sales leads and ROI.

Now the firm is being recognized as one of the nation’s best as a finalist for the prestigious Platinum PR Awards for Best Online Campaign for 2009 for its “America’s Least Wasteful Cities” work for reusable bottle icon Nalgene.

Read more

Yesterday, the FTC announced new guidelines that could have a huge impact between PR pros and bloggers.

In short, there’s two parts to watch: First is disclosure regarding advertisements, endorsements, paid endorsements, paid-in-kind endorsements, etc. The second is about accuracy of bloggers’ claims.

While the social media universe is all abuzz today, from a PR professional’s perspective these guidelines fundamentally change nothing.  You may not realize it, but we’ve always been liable on these fronts.  It’s just that most have been oblivious to the laws.  (Remember, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.)

All along when pitching bloggers (or any press, really) AND providing free product or services for review, we have been required to tell them in writing to disclose that they, in fact, received freebies.  Also, if these folks may inaccurate claims based on a pitch (even if we didn’t give them the inaccurate info.), we are responsible.

So instead of complaining about it, here’s what you should consider.  BUT, like anything else, this is my opinion based on my knowledge of the law.  You must consult your own legal counsel before creating your own policies and actions regarding social media (hows that?):

1. Create a standard disclosure statement regarding free product and the like and make it part of all your email communications.  I’m not sure if the mouse print thing is considered enough here, but it seems it should suffice.  Again, I’ll talk to our legal folks and follow up…but the point is, make it part of your standard communication, and not some last minute awkward…”Oh, hey, don’t forget to tell everyone I gave you this for free.”

2. Get a REAL social media monitoring system. I’m not talking Google alerts, guys.  You need a system like Radian6 with a dedicated staffer to monitor ALL the chatter across blogs, forums and social networks (there’s MANY more than Facebook, BTW.)  Get this alerts in real-time, and set the record straight immediately.

There were about 250 great business reasons to do this before, but maybe this is the one that gets companies to take monitoring and reporting seriously. It’s not an intern job!  Social media marketing is moving faster than most even know, and now the legal system is catching up.  If you haven’t already, you should do the same.

It seems all the madness around social media marketing focuses on the usual suspects: Gen Y and Millennials. But lost in the shuffle is Generation X (30-43 yeas), the most often overlooked group in the eyes of social media marketers.

Last week, Forrester Research released a study that showed 59% of people in this age group are actively participating in social networks, most notably Facebook and Twitter. However, when it comes to sharing purchase recommendations digitally – the great accelerator of word-of-mouth – Gen X behaves quite differently than their younger counterparts.

The current assumption by marketers is that by providing engaging, social-media-enabled content on Facebook, Twitter and others, these networks will categorically spark viral transmission.

However, while these broadcast towers work fine for the under 30 crowd, GenXers find them too public for sharing purchase recommendations (the Holy Grail of word-of-mouth).  GenX shares their influence via more private networks, most notably via email.

Imagine that.  Email – not text, not Twitter – is the killer app for GenX.

This little revelation is important to marketers in three ways:

1. Chiclets Must Value Email: When using sharing applets (called Chiclets), it seems “more is better” rules the day.  The truth is that you should confine the choices to the top networks you target, and make sure “email to a friend” is prominently displayed.  And while you’re at it, populate that email with meta language someone will actually use and content rich with photos or video.

2. Rethink Your Email Marketing Approach: All this social media activity should result in a prospect opting into to your direct campaigns.  But don’t only send inbox-stuffers like “free shipping”, but add real content that engages your best customers and encourages them to share your brand with others, as well as offers.

3.  We Know Virtually Nothing About Social Media Marketing: This study shows that the same social network and combination of networks can be used very differently by different demographics.  We are still in the very early stages of development, and we are sure to see more patterns emerge.  Keep a close watch (or CBC will do it for you!)

As GenX moves into their 40s (some of us are there), they will become more and more the financial engine for many, many companies.  Already jaded and disinterested in most advertising, marketers will find the best success when they seamless fit into the private conversations of this age group.

Muck Rack recently launched a new service where PR pros can pay $50 for a Tweet.  The service claims to be a conduit to reporters, so you’re paying them the same way one would use PRWeb, Business Wire or PR Newswire.

Sounds like a good idea at first, but upon further investigation it seems that of @muckrack’s 3,800 followers, very few are journalists.  However, Muck Rack does a great job of aggregating Tweets from journalists and indicating trends.  As a research tool, we love it.  As a paid service to reach journalists, not a big fan.

The reason is that unlike real press release distribution services, Twitter is a personal (remember, SOCIAL?) medium.  Building a following is a one-by-one endeavor.  True, when you get a following, you are talking to a lot of folks.  But they follow you or your client because they are interested in what’s on your mind…to get the scoop on what’s happening.  As soon as you pay someone else to write and communicate, the trust and validity of the medium is compromised.

Bottom line: if you don’t have time or ability to build a following of PR pros, or consumers for that matter, don’t use Twitter.  And don’t try to get into social media.  It’s a very hands-on, time consuming effort.  You don’t outsource it like getting your lawn mowed.

This is another indication that as communication becomes more “democratic” through social media, it does not replace good judgement OR the hard work in creating and maintaining relationships. That goes for PR pro to reporter, or company to consumer. Sadly, these new vehicles will expose more shoddy work by PR agencies…the same folks that called everyone in the news room on a petty release with the ingenious pitch: “Just wanted to make sure you got my release.”

That’s enough ranting for now.  Besides, I need to Tweet this post.

For a good review on Muck Rack, read today’s post on Bad Pitch Blog.

Social media marketing drives sales, a new study says. According to the study by Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group, “companies find correlation between brands’ social media efforts and financial performance.”

The challenge is that this study looked at the 100 most valuable brands in America.  Great.  What about the other thousands of brands that we all know and love that don’t have the money or power of Google, Microsoft and Starbuck’s…all which fared well in this gauge?

First, the study confirms that deep social media engagement with consumers through online channels correlates to better financial performance. The ENGAGEMENTdb study (www.engagementdb.com) showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement.

In short: social media marketing delivers measurable ROI.

These “Social Media Mavens” on average grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.

The good news is that it’s true that better engagement with your prospects will drive sales, and online on social media marketing will work wonders. But the real danger with this study is that many marketers will look at it this and say to social media marketing agencies like CBC: I want that! Now!

It’s like a couch potato looking at Men’s Fitness and not realizing the amount of time, dedication and hard work it takes to get AND maintain a model-perfect body.

So if this study serves as inspiration to get going on social media marketing, I’m all for it.  But a word of caution: online and social media marketing requires a great plan, a full commitment and a new mindset for marketers.  It’s not about a Facebook page or Twitter feed, which are merely parts of your infrastructure. It’s about creating content in all its forms that is valuable, entertaining and, most importantly, not available anywhere else.  Then bringing all your resources to bear to promote and maintain this communication platform.

Watch this space for a new eBook: The 7 Deadly Sins (and 7 Golden Rules) of Social Media Marketing. It should be ready in the next week or two.

Portfolio Items