Just like TV series…

My dear readers,

 

I have tried long and hard to keep the blog updated after I started my job at Whittard and miserably failed. I also gave myself a New Year’s resolution to try again and failed again. While we’d like to think that we win most of the battles in our lives, you have to recognise something’s not quite right when you see it. That is not to say that I’m quitting, ending this blog and shutting it down forever, but just like TV series, I’m taking a break.

And I hope to come back with an even stronger and more exciting season 2.

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Using social media for your business: Twitter

Following the previous post where I started talking about the roles of social media, and Facebook in particular, it is now time to discuss its all-time rival: Twitter. Image

Twitter stands for quick, interested audience and real-time reactions

Twitter differs from Facebook in that it’s focused much more on interests than friendships. By this I mean that people can follow the updates of someone/a company they are interested in without being followed back. Also, Twitter is mostly based on text and links to articles or photos and the text is reduced to a maximum of 140 characters. But perhaps the most important is the use of hashtags, which groups together tweets with the same topic.

This is where companies can really benefit from Twitter as they can measure sentiment around the brand by the type of hashtags used in tweets related to it, but also identify more easily which tweets are saying something about the brand. Taking it a step further, companies can relate themselves to certain events or other brands by integrating hashtags in their own tweets. To give an example, a hotel in Edinburgh can tweet about the film festival and thus associate itself with the event and suggest to customers that they should stay there. Another very popular term in this case is real-time marketing, explained in more detail here. By using Twitter, companies can react much quicker to events in the real world than through any other social media channels, a famous and brilliant example being that of Oreos in the 2013 SuperBowl blackout. 

Where there are ups…

Another aspect that is most relevant to consider is that if customers want to complain about something, they will most likely do it on Twitter. As I said above, sentiment is very easily shared to large audiences using hashtags. And it appears that companies are now taking it seriously and employing people specifically to deal with complaints on this channel. As Lisa Bachelor so nicely puts it in this article, in this day and age 140 characters are worth 1000 words.

Using social media for your business: Facebook

ImageOne of my recent thoughts revolved around the different use of social media in a marketing context. While each website/agency/blogger offer their own guide as to what you should use when, I’ll add from my research and point to the best reasons suggested by others as well. Now, this is a topic worthy of a whole book, but I’ll try to keep it simple, short and sweet. For this, I’ll publish a series of posts, starting with Facebook in this one. 

A few things which you should be aware of beforehand are engagement and purpose. One of the words most used when talking about social media is ‘engagement’ which could be roughly equated with a reaction from the reader. A high rate of engagement is obviously something to strive for. During my research, a very interesting aspect has been pointed out: the 1-9-90 rule. This rule states that 1% of your readers/followers will actually create content for you, 9% will comment or share and the rest  of 90% are only lurking around pulling content without any immediate reaction. Secondly, a very interesting theory from the Head of Media at RAPP explained that traditional advertising and online paid advertising are the factors that draw the attention of customers, after which they react by conducting own research in the social space before making the decision to purchase or not. How many times haven’t you heard about a new product and then checked with your friends if it’s any good? 

Facebook stands for leisure, fun and many-to-many

As most of us use Facebook as a procrastination tool to see Lizzy’s new baby photos or to track David in his post-university Euro-trip, the content companies publish on Facebook should be fun, easy to read (no elaborate substances to discussed) and involve some sort of emotion or provoke a reaction. But companies should be aware that Facebook is very difficult control and that once you’ve provoked a reaction, it can go either way as customers voice their opinions. You should always be ready to reply whatever that reaction is. If you’d like to read more about the types of customers on social platforms, click here.

I would also call it a many-to-many tool, more so than others, not by virtue of its easy sharing capabilities but because comments can turn into full-blown conversations and irrespective of the company’s desire to interfere, the sheer amount of comments sometimes give the conversation its own turn.

The type of content published can be explained in more words, but it should include a catchy picture or video to invoke immediate action from the viewer. A link to a different site would also work quite well in this case.

In terms of the social research stage pointed above, customers can get opinions and reviews directly from their social community but this is limited to the number of friends one has. Of course, there is the alternative of going on a specific product page on Facebook, but considering the people who engage there are the ones who have previously ‘liked’ the product, the information you get will tend to be biased.

For a brief explanation of twitter, follow this space for the next post.

 

Not for the fearless

It’s been 3 months and 13 days since I last published something on this blog and I feel weak even writing this. I kept postponing to write something because I thought comebacks should be strong and powerful but I’ve finally come to grips with the thought that my comeback will be humble. But by its sheer existence it will demonstrate that I’m still here. I’m still battling the dragons of finding a job within marketing, I’m still on a wild path hoping it will lead to the advertising world. Truth be told, the more I stray, the more my hope gets feeble, but it’s still there.Image

So why have I disappeared? Well, unemployment was never an option even if it meant I will postpone my dream of working as a copywriter or in marketing altogether. So I went for its distant cousin called sales and hoped I’d learn a thing or two while I keep searching for my destination. The company I’m learning this with is not really important. What matters is that I’m still here, still longing to write, still searching for purpose…so let us begin this year by being humble, hoping it will lead to great things and excusing a shaky comeback.

Feeling down during job search

I’ve heard it from countless people – job search is a tough process and it can get you down that you get rejected or even worse, ignored. I guess you can say I’ve only just started after a month of unemployment and 35 applications later. But honestly, I never thought it would affect me so much. Just the thought of applying makes me sad, I feel that I’ve wasted four years of my life getting education and I dread getting another student job again but I don’t see any other light right now.

So for all those of you who are feeling down, I wanted to share this article by Meredith Levinson. I try to tell myself to cheer up and I also want you to cheer up. We’ll get through this…somehow.

Life after graduation

I was informed two days ago by WordPress that my blog had its first ‘birthday’ and that triggered a range of thoughts.  Celebrating a year on this blog means it’s been a year since major changes in my life, like moving to England, starting my Master’s degree and adjusting to a new life.

Well, in truly celebratory fashion of that event, the time has come to adjust to a new life again. I am staying in dear England, but the end of my Master’s degree has brought a new set of priorities and desires into my life, with a big part played by the agonising process to find a job. So between writing applications I try to read advice on how to survive in this new world I’m entering, which I would like to share with you.

A very good video is the interview done by Francesca Levy, the Senior Editor at LinkedIn, with author and New York Times journalist Adam Bryant. Some of the key insights from the video is that when you get to the stage of interview, you’ve already passed the gatekeeper that reviews your skills and experience, so you should sell a different side of yourself: your personality. And while interviewers try to pose trick questions to uncover it, interviewees try to give polished, ‘right’ answers making it more difficult for everyone. An interesting approach would be to be able to tell your story as it allows the interviewee to script their story (chronological, by importance of events, etc.) and the interviewer to see how the candidate thinks by observing the underlying structure of their story. Whatever you do, you also have to show what you can bring to the company but in a genuine, conversational way which will actually reflect you as a person. I think it’s a bit like advertising really, companies who try to be too pushy, efficient, cheap, most extraordinary don’t succeed because consumers can see right through their claims. Companies who are genuine and friendly, like Innocent for example, have much better chances.

An article I read which made quite an impression on me is that of Simon Wong, from the Harvard Business Review, which praised the first jobs you have as a young person. He described his experience and how you can learn so much about people from being a cleaner in a luxury goods store or in a restaurant. Perhaps because my first job was in restaurant, the article made me think that it’s a pity you can’t mention experiences which have changed you if they don’t match the profile of the job you’re applying for. But perhaps that’s what the interview can help you with.

My biggest lesson is: try to make your personality shine if given the chance, because pretty much everyone is qualified nowadays.

Any other interesting reads, articles, thoughts would be very much welcome!

New Guardian campaign is zagging a bit too much

As much as BBH has created some of the world’s most impressive ads like their long history with Axxe/Lynx, and they are known for zagging when the rest of the world zigs, they might have taken the zagging a bit too far.

A few years ago, they created the story of the three pigs who set their house on fire to get insurance money and then blame it on the wolf (you can see the video of that here in case you missed it). And yes, they won Cannes Lions prizes for it. So it was truly a ‘zagging’ campaign. But they decided to go further this time for their client The Guardian, and they created something which resembles an apocalyptic, American blockbuster action/horror movie campaign which I’m not sure appeals to many. In the attempt to own the weekend, they appear to be copywriting the term weekend, brain-washing/turning into zombies citizens and providing everything you need for the weekend.

Sure, it might spike conversation as I’m writing about it right now, it might raise a few eyebrows but it’s one of those ads that are made for the award rather than for the client. Does it make me buy the Guardian? No. But maybe I’m not the target audience for it. What do you think?

Last square, Milka’s take on the Coca-Cola campaign

It’s not often you see that companies actually change their products specifically for a marketing campaign. There’s the huge success of Coca-Cola in Australia and then Europe with the names printed on the bottles or cans in order to increase sales. At the time when I discovered the first campaign from Australia, I wrote a post on my old advertising blog, which you can read here. I was amazed at the simplicity of the campaign designed to simply sell. Which ultimately what every ad should do as Master Ogilvy once said.

After Coca-Cola’s worldwide success, another company changed their product for a campaign, but it wasn’t one I would have thought of. Milka, the chocolate company, introduced a campaign in which you could send the last missing piece of a bar to a friend, or claim it back through the post. This might sound simple, but it actually meant restructuring the production of the bars. The ‘Last Square’ was introduced to the French market and you can see a presentation video below.

Question is, will it be as successful as Coca-Cola’s campaign? Does it have the same drive to make people buy? I could have an indefinite collection of bottles with my name, but will I want to send a piece of chocolate to all my friends? In a digital-driven world, this campaign seems to combine a good amount of new media and actual physical product promotion. We know chocolate is on everyone’s craving list but does it have the power to entice for more. I think yes, but for a short term. Is it enough to make you buy? Tell me your thoughts.

Marmite should be rescued against the ASA, not consumers

Marmite yesterday launched a new ad in which rescue teams go and salvage jars of Marmite from owners who’ve kept them hidden in the back of cupboards, unused for a long time. While this ad is a funny approach exaggerating the importance of Marmite in order to remind consumers of it, some have taken a different interpretation approach to it. According to Brand Republic, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 250 complaints concerning the offensive approach towards animal welfare organisation and child protection agencies.

It could even be argued that Marmite want it to spark some online conversation to their ad, but did they anticipate so much negative sentiment to it? To me, the ad seems to take a humourous view on the importance of Marmite and it’s not in any way offensive to people working in such honourable careers. What could definitely be said is that Marmite created an ad that, like their product, you either love it or hate it.

What do you think about this ad? I would love to read your thoughts on it.

‘Santa for your vagina’

I admit that the title of the post is not of my own thinking, but I found it brilliant so I decided to use it. Despite the offensive language in it, I think it’s shocking enough to draw attention to this campaign and to the service offered. Shocking enough to have cut-through and reach the consumers.

If you’re still wondering what I’m going on about here, watch this video.

The brief story is that of the first girl to get her menstruation on a summer camp who becomes the ‘Camp Gyno’ terrorising all the other girls. Until…Hello Flo delivers the solution comprised in the simple sentence ‘Santa for your vagina’.

Now, why is this campaign so brilliant in my view? Because, first of all, it dares to say words like ‘menstruation’ and ‘tampons’ without a faux-pas fear. And that ‘Camp Gyno’ is pretty much the pain and terror women go through every month. But the ad is great because it introduces a villain – personified by that little girl, introducing the humour element -, a setting, some characters and the solution and ‘slaying of the villain’ with a dual sense of both the Camp Gyno and the terror or your next period.

So I don’t know about you but I might just give it a try. Well done, Jamie Mccelland and Pete Marquis for writing and directing this tongue in cheek ad!