Author: Merlin U Ward

budwesier_fussed

Why Budweiser is Not Hypocritical

Many in the craft beer community have been pointing the finger at Budweiser for being hypocritical for bashing craft brewing while its parent company AB InBev has been snatching up craft breweries to add to its portfolio. However, it is possible for Budweiser to do this without being hypocritical. To understand why Budweiser is not hypocritical one must first understand two variations of brand hierarchy. 

Masterbrand

The first is called master brand, and under this hierarchy one brand is recognized as the controlling property and it also instills a single set of values for all its subordinates. The brands underneath are each their own brand or product but take on the values of the master brand. In most cases all the products have the same target audience.

hypo_apple_masterbrand

An example of this is Apple. We all recognize Apple as a high tech company that puts out quality products. Better yet all the products are sussinct. Your iPhone talks to your iPod and iTunes and all those can integrate with your iMac. They’re all partners in the same mission. Continue reading “Why Budweiser is Not Hypocritical” »

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing

During the Super Bowl, Budweiser aired an advertisement that enraged many of the craft beer community. It was an ad that many will regretfully have to discuss over and over anyone that knows they enjoy craft beer, and see posted to their feeds again and again.

In this ad Budweiser took jabs at the many stereotypes of craft beer drinkers. It implied craft beer drinkers dissect too much and drink strange styles. But it is what the ad didn’t say that makes it so powerful. This ad did three things that many brands don’t have the guts to do.

1. Took A Stand

The Budweiser brand has been losing market share to the craft beer category for several years (Budweiser is considered a macro beer for the unfamiliar). While it’s still one of the top sellers in the AB InBev portfolio, just under Bud Light, its sales have been steadily decreasing since 2003. All the while Budweiser has been toting its horses and puppies completely missing the connection with the new generation of beer drinkers. It was recently found that 44% of drinkers aged 21-27 hadn’t even tried the brand.

budweiser_market_share

Not only did the brand take a stand for what it is, it took advantage of the perception of the marketplace. Budweiser isn’t trying to be something that it is not, rather it is owning what people believe it to be. It claims “macro” with a vengeance, and one could only assume with the intent to transform the term. It is making the statement that it is proud to be macro. This ad brought the brand, and all that it is at its core to the foreground, out from the shadows of dogs and stallions.

budweiser_macro

Continue reading “Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing” »

New Castle Follow the Money

When all else fails, buy your Twitter followers

You may be familiar with New Castle Brown Ale’s satirical take on marketing. If not, I highly recommend watching their YouTube playlist. They call out the bullocks with no restraint and regularly newsjack big events. Most notably, the brand produced over eight videos about a “mega huge” Super Bowl ad that was never produced, and never was going to be produced. New Castle then proceeded to create videos about how other brands should have made their ads “mega huge.”

However, it wasn’t until June that New Castle turned their satire towards social media marketing. The brand launched an in-your-face social media campaign that was meant to literally buy Twitter followers. Too clever for their own good (they claim that the marketing team was not willing to put in the time to come up with a better idea), New Castle announced the “Follow the Money” campaign.

“Follow the Money” was designed to earn up to 50,000 new followers for the brand on Twitter by paying each new follower exactly $1.00 in exchange for their following. Being a social media analyst and enthusiast, I did not hesitate to participate.

After watching the video (below), going to http://FollowNewCastleOnTwitter.com (very literal) and clicking the “Follow” button, you then waited. About 6 hours later, you received a direct message from New Castle:

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

After waiting some more, you should have received a letter from New Castle around September 8th with enclosed payment for your surly duty — a brand new shiny commercial check in your name on it for the amount of one whole dollar!

Not Good Over $1.00

Not Good Over $1.00

So participants received a one-dollar check and something to blog about. But what did this whole stunt earn New Castle?

First, consider the strategy. New Castle wanted to spend the least amount of money to market their product. Let’s be honest, the new Twitter followers are just a byproduct of this campaign. The real aim was the loads of earned media from doing what every other brand did not have the bullocks (or brand voice) to do. It was a lofty goal, but not one too difficult to execute these days. You just need a wacky idea, a press release, a YouTube video and be ability to fulfill the promise.

New Castle Brown Ale ended up with 45,095 total followers (as of 9/11/14 at 5:30pm EST). Assuming they paid them all, discounting the 15,000 or so followers they had prior to the campaign, New Castle paid a total of roughly $30,000, plus postage and handling. However, the brand’s video received over 39,000 views, and the campaign received a considerable amount of media attention in the form of articles and blogs. In the grand scheme of things, the “Follow the Money” campaign was a relatively small investment compared to past campaigns, and well worth the cost per impression.

trending_via-facebook

Facebook Launches Trending Topics

In June 2013, when Facebook announced the launch of hashtags in the News Feed, it made the promise of Trending Topics as well. They are now live! On Facebook’s blog they say, “Trending shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. You’ll see stories from people and Pages who’ve shared them with you or have shared them as Public. From the right side of your homepage, click a topic that’s trending to see what people are saying about it.”

In what seems to be a full spread release, Facebook launched trending topics on both the mobile app and the desktop experience. The trends appear above posts with the topics on the mobile feed, and on the right sidebar on the desktop.

Facebook_Trending Topics Side bar

When you click on these, you will get all the relevant post in one stream for that topic.

Facebook_Trends_MLK

This has been a long time coming considering Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest have all had some sort of “trending” feature at an early start. The notion is that it helps content discovery and unites micro-communities. What are you thoughts on the new feature for Facebook?

Other posts you might like:
Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing

During the Super Bowl, Budweiser aired an advertisement that enraged many of the craft beer community. It was an ad that many will regretfully have …

New Castle Follow the Money

When all else fails, buy your Twitter followers

You may be familiar with New Castle Brown Ale’s satirical take on marketing. If not, I highly recommend watching their YouTube playlist. They call out …

untappd_supporter

Exclusive content done right: Untappd Supporter

There are nearly infinite tactics for content creation and distribution. Any business hopes that content creation will result in revenue of some sort. If you …

hashtags

Creating Unique Hashtags

Companies want to make big waves when it comes to Twitter, and one way to do this is to use hashtags to create communities around their brands. But there are two ideologies when it comes to using hashtags. The first is to create unique hashtags. This allows brands to lay claim to the viral movements they create on the social platform. The second is to use existing hashtags that have brand-relevant conversations around them.

When many brands first started to use Twitter, they included hashtags in their TV advertisements. This tactic has been particularly popular in recent retail and fashion advertisements. TJ Maxx has #maxxinista, Marshall’s used #fashionfound and Target recently used #mykindofholiday for discounts. Below is the example of #mykindofholiday usage on a graph, and as you can see they have significant spikes.

mykindofholiday-hashtag Continue reading “Creating Unique Hashtags” »

untappd_supporter

Exclusive content done right: Untappd Supporter

There are nearly infinite tactics for content creation and distribution. Any business hopes that content creation will result in revenue of some sort. If you are looking for a great way to build a community of passionate customers and generate revenue, there is one content tactic that you may want to consider: exclusive content.

Truly exclusive content is rare these days. Many companies have simply disguised readily available content as “exclusive” by putting it behind a landing page with a form on it. There is little or no vested interest in offering content only to devoted members of an audience. Rather, it is a bait-and-switch with hopes of creating a sense of scarcity, rather than added value. To do exclusive content correctly, it has to be genuine and of real value to the person jumping through the hoops to acquire it. Continue reading “Exclusive content done right: Untappd Supporter” »

fab_feature_marketing

FAB Understands Marketing is a Part of Everything

The philosophy of “marketing is a part of everything” is the notion that every part of your business that touches the customer is an opportunity for marketing. Not marketing in the sense of selling, but true marketing that reinforces brand values, builds consumer relationships and, yes, sometimes up-sells. It describes marketing that touches every part of your business; product design, manufacturing, customer service and billing all have marketing built in. 

fab_card-pile_marketing

You are likely familiar with the discount design shop FAB, or at least familiar with this type of business. FAB is an e-commerce website that offers time-sensitive deals on designer products. Based purely online, this company must have precision marketing to grow and sustain its business. That is where the “marketing is a part of everything” philosophy comes into play.

I recently purchased something from FAB (a nifty pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves). When my package arrived, it came with a note and four cards. The note said, “Here are three gift cards for your friends. Keep one for yourself.”

fab_message_marketing

Even after I purchased, they continued market to me, and even empowered me to market for them! It’s the holiday season, and I passed the cards out at the office. FAB used the delivery of purchased items as an opportunity to spread the word about the company.

They needn’t reward me, but it certainly helped. FAB’s success is based almost purely on word of mouth. Tactics like these help FAB empower its customers to market for them. Nearly every touch point that the company has with its customers can be a marketing opportunity.

fab_card-square_marketing

Every business can do this. Invoices, inbound phone calls, packaging and paper receipts are all opportunities to market the business and tell your story. If you are handing people plain, brown, recycled paper bags to carry your product in, it better be part of your eco-conscious, world-saving story. Otherwise stop being a cheapskate and get something printed on them that reinforces your brand values or entertains your customers! You are missing a big opportunity for your business. Think it through, consider all the touch points you have with a customer and make them all work together to tell your story.

Other posts you might like:
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Why Budweiser is Not Hypocritical

Many in the craft beer community have been pointing the finger at Budweiser for being hypocritical for bashing craft brewing while its parent company AB …

you_get_what_you_give_read

Why You Would Read “You Get What You Give”

I recognize there is a disparity between "best practices" and your business practices. Social media (and marketing in general) can be a tough gig, especially …

Socialbakers_Engage_2013_New_York

A Great Conference has Lessons Learned!

#ENGAGE2013 Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Engage NYC 2013 event held by Social Bakers. It was a huge breath of fresh air …

you_get_what_you_give_read

Why You Would Read “You Get What You Give”

I recognize there is a disparity between “best practices” and your business practices. Social media (and marketing in general) can be a tough gig, especially as a sole business owner. There are a lot of reasons I wrote You Get What You Give, and many of them are likely to be reasons you would want to read it.

  1. You’ve deleted a post hoping no one saw it. We’ve all read the recent debacles in social. There seems to be a new one every week! But you’ve dodged the bullet. For now.
  2. You’re under pressure to prove social media’s value as part of the marketing machine. Continue reading “Why You Would Read “You Get What You Give”” »
lessons_justine_sacco

Justine Sacco: A Lesson In The Three Lenses of Social Media

The recent Justine Sacco debacle has brought to light what I believe to be a very serious problem in marketing and PR. There is a linear relationship between responsibility and one’s prominence in the public’s eye. The more public you become, the more responsibility you have to act in a manner befitting of a public figure. Social media has altered your relationship with the public. Your prominence now has an exponential relationship your responsibility to behave appropriately online. What you say can quickly be spread across the Internet, far beyond your immediate reach. Even if you have a private account, someone will screenshot what you have written and repost it. Continue reading “Justine Sacco: A Lesson In The Three Lenses of Social Media” »

Christmas Jammies Viral Video

This morning many of you have seen the above video. If not, you will likely see it pop up in one of your streams as it is officially going viral. It is perfectly crafted to do so as it has all the elements of a viral video; emotional driver, relevant, low barrier to share, a community, plus bonus kid cuteness.

I posted this video on Facebook to see what people thought. Based on the comments received, it hit home for many people.

Continue reading “Christmas Jammies Viral Video” »

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