Tag Archive for: social media

Since it rose to popularity in 2020, TikTok has become the epicenter of modern culture. The threat of a TikTok ban and losing this vital pathway to consumer insight and attention is making marketers dizzy trying to understand the implications for their businesses. 

Our digital team is closely following the shifting social landscape and advising clients in real time how to address the uncertainty of TikTok. From what to do today to long-term contingency plans, we’re sharing the most critical considerations your marcom team needs to know.

TikTok app opened on a phone

But First, Why a TikTok Ban Matters:

Why are marketing teams frantic over TikTok turmoil? While it’s a new social platform, relatively speaking, it’s had a huge impact on the business of marketing.

  • It is the #1 platform for reaching a younger demographic (Gen Z, Millennials.) 71.3% of all adult TikTok users are between the ages of 18 to 34.
  • It has quickly become a popular search platform for Gen Z. Many brands, especially small businesses, benefit greatly from TikTok’s organic discovery capabilities.
  • Need to reach a niche audience? No other social platform has created tight-knit communities the way TikTok has. From #BookTok to #CleanTok, there’s a home for every user…and a gateway for every type of marketer.
  • Any action, whether a ban or something softer, could set a precedent for all social media platforms. Many are proposing the U.S. pass legislation that is similar to the E.U’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), rather than an outright ban. This could mean more challenges for social marketers in the future.

Do I Need to Scrap My 2023 Plans and Spend on TikTok?

No. Whether you’re dabbling or are all-in on TikTok, you don’t need to halt activity on the app. You do, however, need to diversify your organic and paid marketing mix. To start:

  1. Be sure you are posting content across platforms.
  2. If you aren’t already, make an extra effort to nurture your other social communities. Don’t put all your (community) eggs into one basket (TikTok). 
  3. Spread your paid dollars across other platforms. Fine-tuning your ads and optimizing for any given platform’s algorithm takes time to scale. Optimize now to alleviate a potential downturn from a ban.

Where Should I Focus My Social Efforts Today to Prepare for a Potential Ban?

While we recommend your brand be active across channels, two mediums to play close attention to are Meta’s Reels and YouTube Shorts. These mediums are the most similar to TikTok and are already popular but will skyrocket in usage if a TikTok ban is put into action. 

If TikTok is banned, we predict new apps will emerge that will try to replicate TikTok’s success. But in the near future, we expect users to spend more time on existing platforms so it’s worthwhile to make sure your team is optimizing for what’s available currently.

How Do I Preserve the Progress We’ve Made On TikTok?

If TikTok disappears, your followers, content, and engagement will too. If it isn’t clear already – you don’t own your social channels.

The best thing you can do in terms of preservation is to bring your audience into actual owned channels. 

  1. Create an enticing offer for email or SMS capture. If a ban occurs, you’ll have a medium to point users where to go next.
  2. Invest in search ads and bring users to your website. How are people finding you on TikTok? Now is a great time to test your TikTok insights and keywords and see how effectively you can be discovered through Google. 

Help! My Influencer Program Primarily Lives on TikTok

Don’t fret. In the short-term, begin negotiating for content on other channels. We recommend doing this now where creators may be more flexible as they look to safeguard their careers.

Looking ahead, focus on investing in influencers with strong staying power. Meaning, they have a brand outside of TikTok. This could look like:

  • A strong following across multiple platforms
  • A robust email subscriber list, Facebook group, or other closed-loop network
  • A highly ranked website with considerable monthly traffic
  • A jam-packed media resume, showing they’re an authority figure in their realm


We’ll continue to monitor U.S. & TikTok relations and provide strategic counsel on how to maximize social marketing efforts as new developments occur. Need advice on how to diversify your social media content? How to launch on new channels? How to turn social followers into business dollars? Send us a note.


Hayley Reissfelder is a Manager of Digital + Content at CerconeBrown.

Social media is full of noise. There are millions of brands every day attempting to make themselves heard and leave a message that resonates with their audience – it’s important that your brand can break through the babble. Stopping the scroll relies on strong creative and compelling copy; If you have aspirations of attracting a large and loyal brand following, enhancing your team’s copywriting skills should be a top priority.

At CerconeBrownCompany, we’ve helped brands of all industries and sizes enhance their social presence and pull off trendsetting campaigns that have not only grown their online following but have strengthened their relationships with customers as well (aka more sales!) Below, we’ve shared our top tips for ensuring that your social media copy will grab the attention of users quickly and easily.

1. Create FOMO

Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and stopped to look at a group of people on a beach vacation and thought, “I would do anything to be there right now?”

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a psychological phenomenon that can be described as the worry that you are missing out on an amazing experience or product. According to TrustPulse, 60% of people make purchases because of FOMO, mostly within 24 hours.

To infuse FOMO into your social media copy, quite simply show your audience what they are missing out on! An easy way to do this is by collecting testimonials about other customers’ experiences, but you can also do so by creating a sense of urgency with words and phrases like “for a limited time”,  “save your spot”, or “time is running out!”

Take the below post from clothing brand Anthropologie for example – they create a sense of urgency by emphasizing that time is running out to make holiday orders, while also highlighting that there is something for everyone at their site. This makes readers realize they are missing out on some amazing gifts for their loved ones…so time to act fast!

Anthropologie social post

Whether you choose to elicit FOMO through peer experiences, exclusive offers, or something else, the key is to make a user feel like your product or service will solve a problem better than any other company can.

2. Simplicity is KEY

You don’t want your audience to struggle trying to understand your copy. In fact, if your copy is too long, uses too much jargon, or doesn’t communicate the value right away – they won’t try. They’ll keep scrolling!

According to Boomerang, messages that are written at a third-grade reading level receive 36% more responses. Social media is something that encourages instant gratification and understanding, so most users don’t have the attention span to read long or wordy social posts. The fewer words you use, the better!

Need help writing more concisely? One exercise social media marketers can practice when faced with long-winded social copy is to delete parts of your post and ask yourself: does it still make sense? Does it still capture the essence of your message? If so, leave it out!

If that exercise doesn’t help you cut down on words, work with your creative team. Remember that you can also use your creative – whether it be a photo, video, GIF, or other type of imagery – help illustrate your message. In fact, your copy and creative should always work together.

Check out the above example from Hismile, a company that sells a variety of teeth whitening products.

This copy is simple and straight to the point – the image shows somebody who is very happy with the Hismile product, and the accompanying copy explains how being like her is easy, it can happen in just ten minutes! It quickly gets to the point and persuades readers to learn more.

3. Be Conversational

Your audience wants to feel like you are talking to them, not at them. When you are writing social media copy, try to use a conversational tone. To do so, avoid using too much jargon but feel free to add in emojis, pop culture references, and other expressions that you’d use in conversation with a friend.

Of course, if your brand’s tone of voice is more serious or if your social media posts require regulatory approval, as if often the case for B2B brands,  then you may have to work to find a compromise. However, that doesn’t stop you from creating conversations by asking your audience questions or engaging with them in the comments.

Glossier social post

A great example of this is the above Instagram post by beauty brand Glossier. With the introduction of their fourth moisturizer, they knew that some customers would have questions as to which would work best for them. They created an easy-to-understand graphic and addressed in their copy the confusion that can come from their wide array of products.

4. Nail Down Your CTA

Arguably, the CTA, or call to action, is the most important part of your social media copy. A CTA is a brief phrase – written or visual – that asks your audience to perform a specific action.

Nailing down your CTA is essential because attention spans are short – you want to make it obvious to users what you want them to do.

The value of a CTA can be statistically proven – according to SocialPilot, adding a CTA can increase conversion rates by 83%. In general, the most effective way to convert your readers into customers is to simply ask. Like many things in life, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no!”

Keep in mind, you’ll need to motivate consumers to oblige to your call to action. For example, a tweet that reads “Go to our website to buy our new product” directs user to a next step, but it doesn’t present the value in following through. When drafting calls to actions, ask yourself: “what’s in it for them?”

Take the below example from Fenty Beauty – offering a discount or deal isn’t always necessary, but it is a great example of motivating your users to take the next step. In both their graphic and caption, Fenty Beauty is offering customers 30% off of their mini foundation with the CTA “Throw it in ya bag!” – simple, easy, and direct.

Fenty Beauty social post


To learn more about writing CTAs that convert, check out our blog.

Differences and Examples for each Social Channel

 Something important to note is that your social media copywriting shouldn’t take a “one size fits all” approach; each social platform has unique quirks that call for different practices. Below we share our expertise and tips for optimizing your copy for each platform:


  • Make sure your copy directs users to share. Facebook prioritizes content from friends and family over brands; an easy way to increase your reach is to have users share your post to their personal profile. Be inspiring or entertaining in your copy and be sure to include “share” in your CTA.
  • Focus on people. Facebook is a place for connecting with friends and family, so posts featuring other people and your community will perform well. We’re not just talking about the photos you collect – incorporate testimonials and use brand ambassadors to help your post stand out.


  • Instagram users love a story – incorporate storytelling into your copy to grab their interest. It’s OK to share a longer post on Instagram….as long as your story is a good one!
  • On that note, if you’re going to write a long Instagram caption, begin with a strong hook before beginning a long paragraph. Only the first few words of your caption will appear in a user’s feed – think through what will intrigue a user to learn more!
  • Include hashtags – they’ll help get more eyes on your post. BUT don’t go overboard. Choose hashtags that are relevant to your post but aren’t so oversaturated with content that yours gets lost in the mix. We recommend looking at hashtags with less than half a million posts.


  • Make sure your tone is professional – but not too While LinkedIn is a thought leadership and business-centered platform, we’ve seen a shift in the last few years and, today, LinkedIn’s viral content is conversational, authentic, and inspires dialogue. Find the right balance for your brand!
  • Incorporate numbers or statistics – these stand out in a body of text and can quickly grab a reader’s attention.


  • The most important aspect of Twitter to keep in mind is the short character count – you only have 280 characters to get your point across.
  • Twitter is primarily a platform to find news, so think of your tweet as a news headline or billboard! Get your main point across first in a few words.


  • Keep it short! TikTok is a video platform, so your audience isn’t going to be reading a long caption, they’re going to be watching the video. The character limit for TikTok is 300 characters, so make sure you only include any important supplementary information.
  • TikTok captions are a great place to instruct viewers to do anything that you didn’t mention in the video (this could be something like “watch until the end” or “click the link in our bio to learn more”).


Social media offers brands a great opportunity to connect with their audience and share updates in real-time – but it’s what you make of it. By implementing these tips for your next social media post, you’re sure to see more reach, engagement, and conversions with your content.

Looking for a partner that can help you nail down your copywriting strategy? We’d love to chat.

As brands continue to compete for users’ attention on social media, the space is getting more and more crowded, and social platforms have become increasingly selective as to what content they will serve up to their users.

One way to jump in front of the line is to go the route of paid social. In most platforms, there are multiple ways to get exposure. Today, we’re highlighting the differences of  “boosting” or “sponsoring” organic content versus a straight-up paid social ad.

What’s the difference between a “boosted post” and paid advertising?

The term for “boosting” will vary by platform. For example, Facebook calls it “boosting” a post, whereas LinkedIn calls it “sponsoring” a post. There’s really no difference in how it works.  Simply put, “boosting” or “sponsoring” ensures more people will see the post by putting a little money behind it.  What many people don’t realize is that simply posting on your channels does not guarantee your followers will see it in their feed.  Boosting a post does.

Boosting takes an organic post (no money behind it) that you have created, hopefully with excellent, tailored content created by you or your team, and increases the chances that your audience (and the people you promote it to) see it by paying for that privilege.

Boosted posts are easier to manage than paid ads, as they are typically a one-off post and aren’t normally part of a larger campaign. Content you may boost include a timely blog post, press release or media mention.

The drawback? Your options for audience targeting, scheduling, budgeting, and ad formats are limited. For example, boosted posts only allow you to promote the post as it organically appears on your page, whereas advertisements allow you to use formats such as carousels, or collection ads for ecommerce.

Paid Social Advertising

Paid Advertising is a larger beast to tame.  As opposed to simply putting money behind a post already in your feed, these are ads created specifically for an ad objective.  As such, paid ads are part of a larger campaign with multiple copy and graphic/video variations for testing. Think of these as fractional print ads that at one point you may have run in a magazine (although, it’s important to note that paid ads can be much more than a static image with some copy.) 

Paid ads are best when pushing a set goal or objective. These have a strong call-to-action (CTA)  and are about getting an audience to click through to your website or landing page.  Paid ads are typically one of the first layers in an integrated sales funnel.

Some instances where you may want to consider running an ad campaign instead of a simple “boost” include: 

  • Highlighting a promotional offer or a direct eCommerce push.
  • Drive registrants, downloads or leads
  • Promoting a product or service with a long decision timeline (so that we can continue to nurture them by retargeting users through other ads)

Boosting Social Posts: Best Practices

A great boosted post should feel natural in users’ feeds. If they aren’t paying close attention, they won’t know it’s an ad. Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • Start by boosting content that is already performing well organically. This is a good indicator of what will work well on a larger scale.
  • The content should focus on engagement or awareness to widen your social media following. Content where you’re calling for leads, sign-ups, or purchase are typically best served in a traditional ad campaign.
  • Don’t spend a fortune. Spend a small amount, like $10-25. See how it performs and scale from there.
  • Be careful! With most of these platforms, once you take an organic post and promote it, you cannot modify it. Double-check that the copy provided is suitable to push to the masses.

Social Media Advertising: Best Practices

Besides boosting organic content, most social platforms have multiple ways to advertise – everything from display ads and retargeting to direct messaging. These are generally more expensive and rely on an ROI-centric objective. 

With paid ads, you can run variations of a single ad and test each to see which copy, image, and call-to-action (or combination thereof) work best. Paid ads also allow for retargeting and offer the opportunity to experiment with multiple ad formats such as display, text, video, etc. On some platforms, an ad campaign provides more granular targeting options.

If you’re new to social media advertising, here are some of our best tips:

  • Keep the copy short and sweet. Users may not be familiar with your brand quite yet, making their attention span for your content even shorter.
  • Run multiple variations of your ads. Test different headlines, body copy, calls-to-action, graphics, images and videos.  Unlike print or TV, digital ad buys can be turned on, up or off in midstream. Once you’ve gotten some results, narrow your ad set down to the best performers and put money behind these.
  • Leverage both graphics and video for best results. While video is favored by many platforms and consumers, it’s still worth testing both.
  • Be thoughtful and clear on your objective. Social media platforms design their ad algorithms to place your content in front of users likely to take a specific action. Selecting the wrong objective, like selecting a video views objective when your end goal is really to get people to visit your site, will lead to disappointing results.
  • Install the social media platform’s pixel on your site, where applicable. Not only do these pixels provide you with conversion data, you can also use them to create remarketing lists to fine-tune your social marketing efforts.

Ultimately, whether you choose to boost a post or run an advertising campaign depends on your goals. If you are trying to build brand awareness or drive engagement on a particular post, sticking with boosted posts would be advised. If you’re looking to drive conversions, then paid ads are your best solution.

 Need help? Get in touch.

As you may know, video content is the hottest trend in social media right now. A territory dominated by Generation Z who have grown up as digital natives – never experiencing what it was like to navigate with a map or listen to a Walkman. (Feel old yet?)

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 85% of teens say they use YouTube – making it the most popular social media platform. That means beating out all other digital behemoths like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. And an Adweek study found that half of Gen Z-ers “can’t live without YouTube.”

The overwhelming popularity of video content is changing the social media landscape as platforms try to replicate YouTube’s formula for success via long-form video. The question remains, can they do it?



Call Me on Your Video Phone

With Americans’ trust in mass media at an all-time low, digital natives are turning away from mainstream sources such as TV and radio to seek real connections from real people. The vlog (video blog) popularized on YouTube appeals to consumers who crave authenticity. Vlogs offer a window into people’s lives — and are just flat-out entertaining.

On social media, video helps us communicate in a more personalized and nuanced way than just a simple image or text-based post can. This is why marketers are increasingly switching to more video-centric content strategies for brand promotion. Social video content removes the middle man, directly connecting the consumer with the creator of the media, and this, my friends, is the future of entertainment and marketing.


Long-Form Video Gaining (Remote) Control

Let’s take a look at Instagram. What began as the perfect place to post photos of your latte art has developed into ephemeral glimpses into daily life with Instagram Stories. Inspired by Snapchat Stories, Instagram implemented their own Stories feature in 2016 to allow users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

In the last few years, audience viewing habits on social media have shifted from short, bite-sized videos to longer videos. In Q1 of 2018, 54% of smartphone video consumption was spent on long-form video content (20+ minutes), dethroning the short-form videos (5 minutes or less) that reigned king just 2 years ago.

So, Instagram decided to answer to that trend by expanding into “TV”. Not exactly like the black box in our living rooms with a remote control and TV guide, but a solve for the new way users want to watch TV – on their phones, vertically. Introducing, IGTV.



What’s the different between IGTV and Stories? It’s basically the long-form video version. Where Instagram Stories displays vertical video segments in 15-second increments, IGTV offers users the ability to upload vertical videos up to one-hour long. You can find IGTV in the Instagram app at the top right corner by your DM’s, but you can also download a dedicated IGTV app from the App Store. Users can navigate through IGTV with tabs such as, “For you,” “Following,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching” to discover videos from their favorite creators.

Recognizing this trend (and realizing they can rack up more ad dollars from displaying multiple mid-roll ads), YouTube updated its recommendation algorithm to prioritize longer videos. Facebook has also found that longer videos garner 79% more shares and 74% more views, so the company has changed their News Feed algorithm accordingly. The launch of IGTV shows that Instagram wants in on the fun (and $$$) too.



To IGTV or Not IGTV? That is the Question

Still in its infancy, the success of IGTV is yet to be determined. Just after Instagram’s announcement, many business journals and news outlets were excited about the prospect of IGTV. Forbes claimed that, “IGTV may very well change the way that TV is consumed for future generations.” It could potentially inspire a complete transition to mobile entertainment, an idea that users under 25 could really get behind. While Instagram has not yet announced monetization of videos or advertisements (AKA influencer bread and butter), the eventual integration of this could reinforce IGTV as a top target for influencers and marketers.

Despite all of the positive press, the most widely mentioned critique of Instagram’s newest innovation is that it’s just a knock-off of YouTube. (Of course, Instagram Stories started off as a knock-off of Snapchat Stories, but have since taken on a life of their own and surpassed Snapchat in popularity). Adweek has criticized the shortcomings of IGTV as a YouTube competitor, citing user experience issues that make it all too easy for distracted viewers to navigate away from long videos. Plus, since IGTV never had a soft launch with premium content from brands and creators, many users lack clarity about how to best use this feature, treating it as interchangeable with Stories or Instagram Live.

“We have to wait for people to adopt it, and that takes time,” outgoing Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a recent interview with TechCrunch, explaining the slow pace of IGTV’s growth.



Although adoption has been slow, some media companies are excited to be the trailblazers of IGTV. DigiDay analyzed the future of IGTV with a case study of magazine publisher Meredith’s decision to pilot 10 new long-form series for the application. Meredith with be drawing funding from advertisers to sponsor shows such as a Travel + Leisure series about travelling Insta influencers and a Real Simple series about commuter beauty tips. The Meredith take on IGTV is relatively simple: why not test out a new social media opportunity? If it takes off in the next 3 quarters, then they’re ahead of the pack, and if not, Meredith has still expanded their content repertoire, which can easily be repurposed for other platforms.

The future of IGTV may still be hazy, but its creation represents a new emphasis on long-form video for both social media platforms and the brands who use them. Whether your brand is experimenting with IGTV or sticking with tried-and-true options like YouTube, long-form video is a can’t-miss opportunity to connect with today’s audiences thirsty for more content.


If you’re ready to expand your long-form video efforts, the CBC team is here to help! Our revolutionary content studio, Sidebar, produces engaging video content optimized for social media. Intrigued? Let’s talk.

CBCUncorked is back with another unfiltered, unedited question of the month:

For the month of March, we asked CBCers to scroll through their social feeds and tell us who they chose as their “social media spirit animal” and why. Social media spirit animal can be defined as a social account (person, place, animal etc.) that you feel sums you up in some way. Read through our answers below to find out about our online alter egos.


“Rachel from @AdultYoga b/c she is weird, randomly dark, and always hysterical.”

– Kelsey Damrad, Digital Marketing Specialist



“My dog @frankedoodle. Because the most stressful thing in his life is catching anything that moves (which he never does) and lives life without a care in the world.

– Jen Newberg, Director of Business Development



“Real spirit animal: Sea Otter. Social media spirit animal: @olliebopz, Fur boss.”

– Blair Curzi, PR Specialist



“@ronniefieg, without a doubt. Not only is he a streetwear design/collaboration legend (Kith), but his love for cereal led him to also develop an unreal, boutique-style cereal bar (Kith Treats). Streetwear and cereal are two of my favorite things, so the fact that he is killing the game with both makes him my idol.”

– Jared Ravreby, PR Associate



“I can’t pick just one! I love @erinoutdoors because I love outdoor adventure travel. But @overheardnewyork reminds me of everything I miss about home. And @newyorkercartoons just makes me laugh.”

– Franny, Senior Brand Specialist



“Tie between #gracesbedhead (an ode to Grace Joy, @PureJoyHome’s daughter) and Nora of @jessannkirby”

– Kerryn Connolly, Senior Manager, Brand Integration



“This may be the hardest question I’ve ever been asked. But it would probably have to be a three-way tie between @BusyPhillips due to her unapologetic, unedited and #nofilter personality on Instagram, @kaitlynbristowe because she gets my love for puns, wine, and inappropriate jokes (+ her and Shawn Booth are #couplegoals) and @WallyBenjagram because of his flawless ability to strike a pose, any time, any place.”

– Gina Uttaro, Digital Marketing and Content Strategist



“@girlwithnojob – Yes, I have a job (thank you CBC), but she is Jewish, likes to eat a lot and sings in the bathtub…I’d say that we are pretty similar.”

– Andi Wollin, Brand Associate



“Can it be a brand? Mine would be @Fahertybrand. Farhety Brand to me stands for free-spirited, authentic, summer, sun, laid back, fun and celebrating life’s simple things. Also comfort and kindness.”

– Robin Mack, VP of Brand Integration



“@studioplants is the houseplants and tips account of Jeannie Phan – illustrator and cat lady. She’s the reason for my recent Philodendron purchase (and why it isn’t in the trash yet), along with the numerous other plants sprouting up around my home. I love her suggestions for plant care and accessories, the beautiful photography and an occasional snoozing Odin.”

– Alex Hanson, Senior Graphic Designer



“My social media spirit animal is @alisoneroman – the author of the Dining In cookbook (featuring the chocolate chip cookies seen all over Instagram). She loves cooking and entertaining her friends, traveling, champagne, she’s a *little* disorganized AND I feel like we would be best friends. Best part is she’s constantly instagramming delicious food (those cookies!) and that’s all I really need.”

–  Annie Draper, PR Specialist



What’s your [social media] spirit animal? Tweet us @cerconebrown.

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.



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!



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.




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.



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.



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.


Casey Neistat is a YouTube influencer and vlog pioneer.  With cinematic shots and clear narrative lines, his high-quality daily vlog has been a breath of fresh air in a genre filled with shaky selfie-like shots. Moreover, Neistat has built himself a loyal audience from the ground-up; one that follows his recommendations devotedly and takes his word on different products as the undying truth.

Digital influencers like Casey are the ticket in for successful marketing campaigns. In fact, MuseFind revealed that 92 percent of consumers trust an influencer more than a celebrity endorsement or traditional advertisement. With that, companies are doing everything they can to foster these unicorn relationships as a way to build loyalty with consumers.

Earlier this year, Samsung recruited Neistat to be the face of their “Do What You Can’t” campaign, to position the Galaxy S8 as the device to have in today’s creator-driven landscape. The campaign celebrates everyday people who use social media and new technology to shape their careers.

Samsung’s choice to solicit an influencer was understandable; however, how valuable a choice was it? Historically, Neistat is a loyal and vocal fan of Apple – a major rival to Samsung with a reputation for innovation.

Neistat’s following responded to the Samsung partnership negatively, saying it wasn’t the authentic story. Perhaps Samsung made a bet that the benefits of Neistat’s endorsement and the exposure would outweigh the questions the partnership begs. But evidence of that can’t be found in the comments of Neistat’s video.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 9.40.20 AM

Unnatural brand and influencer partnerships can tarnish an image. Comments from Samsung’s Oscar ad are pretty mixed, but the animosity towards Neistat for working with Samsung centers on him “becoming a sellout”. As Neistat once said, “The key to cool is that you shouldn’t have to tell someone you’re cool.” Seems like Samsung wasn’t listening. That said, the entertainment industry is changing, and the line between marketing and entertainment is blurring. Many influencers have started launching their own brands using platforms like YouTube, allowing them to control their own image and ensure everything they endorse remains authentic.

Jeffree Star is one example of this kind of self-made influencer. Originally a makeup artist, Star began his climb to top-tier influencer as a Myspace musician and makeup/beauty vlogger. A few years ago, he launched an eponymous cosmetics line.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.41.43 AM

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.44.24 AM

Star also uses his products to secure trust and strengthen his brand’s image.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.51.11 AM

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.49.19 AM

And that feedback loop has led to immense commercial success for Star, who now employs over 100 people. Star almost never partners with anyone; however, when he does, it’s either his best friend or a brand he truly believes in, allowing him to ensure his image and messaging are consistent. As Samsung proved with Casey Neistat, all of this matters when fans are loyal to their influencers and can recognize an inauthentic partnership.

When brands and influencers partner, both need to make sure their actions and essence align. Audiences can smell inauthenticity a mile away, and you can bet they’ll have something to say about it.

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.


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.


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.

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 12.58.59 PM

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.03.57 PM


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.


Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.01.28 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.01.45 AM

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.02.05 AM


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

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.30.37 AM

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

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.30.24 AM

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.15.18 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.18.49 PM


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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.19.48 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.20.07 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.20.29 PM

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.

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.09.00 PM

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.


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.


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.

netflix stranger things posterimage

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!

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 3.28.38 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 3.29.02 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 3.30.40 PM

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.

dunkin-donuts-orange-is-the-new-black-600Screen-Shot-2013-07-31-at-5.36.02-PMheader B_1hga_VEAIH_Ln

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

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.
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 1.17.57 PMScreen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.01.51 AM

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.


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.




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

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, 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.





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.






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






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.



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.




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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.