Category: Branding


Being a jerk is good for your brand.

“Study the top stories at Digg or and you’ll notice a pattern: the top stories all polarize people. If you make it threaten people’s 3 Bs — behavior, belief or belongings — you get a huge virus-like dispersion.” – Timothy Ferriss

Many companies have recently taken a public stand on their values, and polarized the marketplace using the three Bs. They created divides on controversial issues, which in turn created buzz, generated interest and — most importantly — gave their real advocates reason to believe in the brand. But is this really that bad?

A strong brand knows who its customers are and caters to them and their worldviews. It builds a tribe around those values and enables its customers to spread the word and grow its market share. But what if those values go against the more recent movements for change? Continue reading “Being a jerk is good for your brand.” »

‘Twerking Fail’ :: Viral Success

Earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel admitted to being the mastermind behind the “Twerking Fail” video – You know, the one being shared on Facebook where the girl catches on fire? No matter your feelings on how the public was being Twerked around by Kimmel, there is an interesting discussion to be had behind the success of the video.

Twerking-Fire-Fail_ Continue reading “‘Twerking Fail’ :: Viral Success” »


The Customer Content Matrix

The content matrix below describes a 27 types of content that you can create that fit conveniently into 4 categories; Entertainment, Inspiration, Education, and Convincing. Whether your brand is B2B or B2C, you can create a variety of content that ignites action in your consumers. These content ideas connect with your consumers in either emotional or rational ways to build awareness and drive purchases.

The content marketing matrix

by first10.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


You can stop reading now, if you believe that story. Continue reading “The Customer Content Matrix” »


#ArcticReady a Frigid Fail

Or was it? Sure, in a few months this will be water under the bridge. Grimey, oil ridden, polluted water. Greenpeace covertly attacked Shell Oil Company in a faux campaign under the guise of the real Shell campaign “Let’s Go”.

The #articready campaign used a “heartstrings” effort to engage social media communities, by allowing users to create their own “Let’s Go” advertisement. They’ve supplied the images, you create the message. Let’s give the children matches! – Said No Mother EVER… but in the eyes of Greenpeace it was an perfect storm! As you can imagine the meme generator kicked off with images of sarcastic “drill the world” ads.

Greenpeace also created a Twitter account, @ShellIsPrepared, to engage users who were using the hashtag. At first it started with a seemingly honest effort (For Shell) to clean up the mess by hopelessly asking users to stop retweeting. This only made it worse. Everything was topped off with an empty legal threat, which excited the most backlash towards Shell.

Shell didn’t really mess up their social media presence, Greenpeace hijacked them. In the lst 24 hours, 1,500 tweets were generated 2,147,006 impressions, reaching an audience of 1,369,121 followers (via Great for Greenpeace, awful for Shell and a fair warning to ANYONE who is subject to public scrutiny. How easy would it be for someone to hijack your brand, your personal brand or just your likeness? This poses an interesting question on the legality, let alone ethics, of social media slander.

And what about all those people who made the meme’s thinking they were cleverly making fun of Shell. They were had by Greenpeace too. How would you feel being made out as a fool?

Below are just a flavor of the ads being generated by users through Shell’s “Ad Generator” More can be seen at this gallery, and on Twitter just search #articready.


Product Fails

27 Marketing Reasons Your Product Launch Will Fail

Well, according to the Harvard Business Journal article “Why Most Product Launches Fail“, there are actually 40 reasons your product launch will fail anywhere from the pre-launch through the launch phase. A majority of them relate to marketing. Just another reason why “Marketing is a part of Everything

Pre-Launch Phase

1. No market research on the product or the market has been done.
2. Most of the budget was used to create the product; little is left for launching, marketing, and selling it.
3. The product is interesting but lacks a precise market.
4. The product’s key differentiators and advantages are not easily articulated.
5. The product defines a new category, so consumers or customers will need considerable education before it can be sold.
6. The sales force doesn’t believe in the product and isn’t committed to selling it.
7. Because the target audience is unclear, the marketing campaign is unfocused.

8. Distribution takes longer than expected and lags behind the launch.
9. Sales channels are not educated about the product and thus slow to put it on shelves.
10. The product lacks formal independent testing to support claims.
11. The marketing campaign is developed in-house by the manufacturer and lacks objectivity.
12. The product is untested by consumers; only the company can assert its benefits.
13. The website is the primary place to order, but the product description is unclear and the site isn’t fully functional.

Launch Phase

14. The product is launched too hastily and doesn’t work reliably.
15. The launch is aimed at the wrong target audience.
16. Supplies of the product are insufficient to satisfy orders.
17. The product is launched too late for its key selling season.
18. The product doesn’t fit into any key selling season.

19. The manufacturer’s claims can’t be backed up.
20. A governing body (the FTC, the FDA) pulls the product, citing false claims.
21. The product is given a limited “trial at retail” but without public relations, marketing, or promotion to “turn” it.
22. The product is launched without influencers to promote its efficacy.
23. The launch budget is insufficient to “pull” the product off the shelf.
24. The product has no trained spokesperson to educate the media.
25. Management launches the marketing campaign before distribution is complete.
26. Management has promised the board and stockholders an instant hit without considering how much time is needed to educate consumers about the product.
27. The ad campaign is untested and ineffective.
28. The launch campaign depends solely on PR to sell the product.
29. The company spends the entire marketing/advertising budget at launch, so no funds are left to sustain the campaign.
30. Company executives underestimate the value of Twitter and Facebook.
31. Retailers are given no incentives to feature the product.
32. All marketing dollars go to advertising and public relations, none to social media.
33. Line extensions aren’t test-marketed as thoroughly as the original product, so they fail.
34. The product is launched to capitalize on a fad that soon fizzles. [market trends]
35. The product design is unique but confuses consumers, who don’t understand how the product works.
36. The spokesperson is a bad fit with the product, creating a discordant message.
37. The product is priced too high for mass adoption. [market positioning]
38. Consumers are unclear about what demographic the product is geared toward.
39. The product is manufactured offshore; quality control issues result in negative consumer feedback and product returns.
40. The ad campaign is launched before the sales force is fully briefed, so customers know more than salespeople about the product.

Aside from product development and design budgets, marketing is involved. Just consider all the places and times your product touches the consumer. Each of those moments is an opportunity to market – and it better be doing a good job!

5 reasons why Facebook Timeline for business is GREAT!

Facebook is forcing all pages to move to the timeline format by March 30th. There has been a lot of backlash to the change; Even Jay Baer has taken a stand. Its been said that the changes are unfair and prohibitive to small business. Is this true or just the typical uproar of backlash to changes that always happens when Facebook switches things up?

1. Creating Jobs – Cheaper Design

The main reasons for the backlash have been visual resources, design ability, reach. Most business owners are saying they don’t have the creativity to put together a nice cover photo or rich media elements that take hold of the new found autoplay features. But the flip side to this is that Facebook is creating jobs. Designers have more work than ever with the millions of pages that now in need a new timeline cover photo. This is no cop-out excuse. Designers are small businesses too and they need the work!

The truth is that being a small business is always been difficult. You’re wearing 8 eights and trying to keep everything glued together. If you didn’t have design skills before, then your Facebook Page probably didn’t keep up with the Jones’ anyway. What you will find is that with the influx of new work for designers you can get a nice creative Facebook Timeline package for a decent price.

2. Custom is Out!

“Custom Design” is being thrown out. The custom landing pages no loner rule the call to action, which means bigger companies with more resources don’t rule the excitement anymore.

3. Focus on Engagement

The core purpose of social media is being embraced. Pages now have the opportunity to highlight their fans and engage on a one on one basis – despite what Jay Baer may say, if you get a positive comment, that’s what you highlight. Plain and simple – and your fans will appreciate it. Complaints can be taken off the walls and into a designated inbox. If you “use Facbook as your page”, then you won’t be missing any important messages.

4. Level Playing Field

Facebook has managed to level the playing field. Pages focus on posts and the history of the company. That is what Facebook has boilded evertyhing down to. With just a little creative talent a company can really build their brand history in an exciting way, even if it has been around for a short period of time. As long as you continue to put out content and tell your story, no one will have an advantage over you.

5. Understanding Your Audience

What about “reach”? Well, everyone is a victim of the 16% rule for posts (only 16 percent of your following will see a post in their feed). This is Facebook’s push towards more use of the Facebook Ads. What this really does is allow you, the business owner, to really consider who you clients are demographically. A great exercise in understanding your clientele base. Running ads will get you reach (impressions) and most everyone who has used Facebook Ads will tell you they are great ROI for those who have clicked – even on the cheap side.

Whether this change is a derivative of the IPO or not, it should be expected that as social media platforms evolve. Social Media is becoming a true investment, not just in time, but to make it look pretty too. Anyone who has hired a social media consultant already knows that the price of maintaining an account can be costly. The most recent major shift in Social Media lately has been visual – Pinterest, Instagram, etc – and you’re going to have to invest in developing visually stimulating content.

These changes don’t really bring more to manage, just a change in the way you manage the page. These changes are not bad, but they are changes, and businesses (all of them) will have to adjust.

Creative uses of the new timeline:

The New York Times – included their entire company history in their timeline – easily mimicked by small business
WinMe Social Media Agency – promoting a fun call to action in the cover photo and highlighting their instagram photos, which include a daily “MeetMe 4 Coffee” infograph.
The Today Show & Sports Center – their cover photos show the behind the scenes – nothing too crazy, but interesting. You could even develop a series of rotating images for each week!
Tempo Creative – put together a cover photo that interacts seamlessly with their profile avatar.

Oikos Yogurt Tackles the Super Bowl

One of my favorite Super Bowl ads this year was Oikos Yogurt featuring 90′s celebrity John Stamos. It was a great mix of the cute, “I have an attractive man”, healthy food, European ads with a hard hitting American style punch line!

The big question is why is Oikos advertising on the Super Bowl? Beer, car and tv show ads make sense. Are Super Bowl viewers now more health conscious?

Tumblr Holds Our Future

Just after Christmas, Coke jumped on the Tumblr train with their blog “Happiness Is“. It is surprising how many people haven’t heard of or explored Tumblr, but there are 60 brands actively using it, including our favorite microblogging platform Twitter. One brand that might surprise you in this mix is Huggies

So what do Coke and Huggies see in Tumblr that a lot of brands and people are missing? Tumblr holds their future! It is most popular with teens, and like the MySpace craze, you are not cool unless you are on Tumblr. Eleven million teens are using this service! Coke and Huggies are investing in their future. If you look at their blogs they are chalk full of special interest images all geared towards the younger demographic. A lot of images of trendy clothes and positive messages. Huggies posts a plethora of celebrity content you might see out of a People magazine. From a marketers standpoint, it is a genius move!

By the time these teens are of age and making purchases of their own, they will have years of embedded imagery of these brands. So, who do you think they are going to buy? Yep, any company interested in the longevity of their brand should start a Tumblr blog…

Making Boring, Better!

Even a cheese omelet can be an epic journey if it’s done right. Lurpak took emotional marketing to heart (pun intended). How else can you make butter sexy?

When considering marketing a product, you are sometimes faced with seemingly boring challenge. It’s butter, so what? We need to make this butter stand apart from all other butters, better or not. That’s where the story telling comes in… How it’s made, how it used and the variety of ways it can portrayed in it’s use. Using a fairly simple matrix you can take a “boring” product like butter and mash it into a series of interesting situationz and characters to make it sexy.

The truth is, cooking with butter is a sexy activity – the Food Network would be in a rut otherwise! The genius behind this Lurpek video is that it hits the Lord-of-the-Rings-epic-warrior-battle-preparation in every man. Just listen to the music. Sometimes making a meal after work does feel like a battle! This is a highly targeted ad, that plays to the emotions and interests of the targeted audience and when played at the right time of day, will create action.

Check out a few of the other strings Lurpeks strums…

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