5 Tips to Ensure Digital Marketing Success in 2014

ClickZ-Live-Logo-NewIn early April I had a great experience at the ClickZ Live Digital Marketing Conference in New York. During the three-day event I was bombarded with glorious amounts of information, stats, “aha” moments, head scratchers and confirmation that what I’ve been reading hasn’t been a bunch of malarkey. It’s impossible to synthesize all the information I ingested into one blog post, but I hope this synopsis provides some high-level insight into and provokes thought about how brands and marketers currently utilize the digital environment.

The State of Digital Marketing

zettabyteThere is no magic marketing bullet: I’ve spoken about integrated marketing in past posts, but this conference really confirmed that success in the online world will rely on a multitude of tactics, strategies, devices and channels to ensure that marketers reach their target audience. In a landscape where 2.7 zettabytes of digital data exists, campaigns that solely focus on paid, earned or owned media will easily get lost in the noise created by this continual and exponential growth of digital data.

Ensuring Digital Success in 2014

To cut through those zettabytes of digital noise, great content needs…

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Repetition Works

“15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.”

I was curious to know how much GEICO was spending to make America so unbelievably aware of who they are and what benefit they provide. According to AdAge’s “Most-advertised Brands by 2012 U.S. Measured-Media Spending,” GEICO was the fifth biggest media spender, posting a near billion dollar effort ($921 million) in 2012.

But has all that spending paid off? I turned to the GEICO section in the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Shareholder Letter to learn what Warren Buffett, whose company owns GEICO, had to say about it:

In 1995, we purchased the half of GEICO that we didn’t already own, paying $1.4 billion more than the net tangible assets we acquired. That’s “goodwill,” and it will forever remain unchanged on our books. As GEICO’s business grows, however, so does its true economic goodwill. I believe that figure to be approaching $20 billion.

And he goes into more depth a year earlier in his 2012 letter:

GEICO led the way, continuing to gobble up market share without sacrificing underwriting discipline. Since 1995…GEICO’s share of the personal-auto market has grown from 2.5% to 9.7%. Premium volume meanwhile increased…

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PR challenge: A turnaround story for the Porta Potty experience

Potties R UsWith the Virginia tourism industry projected to grow substantially in the coming years, Potties-R-Us approached PadillaCRT about creating a strategy that would make its product line the top choice for local event management organizations. We were glad to take it on – after all, if we can turn around the porta potty experience, we can do anything.

We might assume that when you gotta go, you gotta go. But Potties-R-Us went the extra mile and set themselves apart in the market with deodorized units that provide the highest level of sanitation and comfort on the market. The challenge was to differentiate Potties-R-Us from a crowded market of outdoor bathroom facilities. Especially when some would say that one porta potty is no different from another. Besides, after a marathon isn’t that runner thinking, “Get out of my way. I have to GO!”

PadillaCRT found this was not the case. In 2013 we sent our team to 100 festivals and outdoor events around Virginia to conduct primary research on a variety of Potties-R-Us’ key competitors. Our study included the Richmond Folk Festival, NAS Oceana Air Show, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and First Night Alexandria, and…

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Don’t be generic (or tragic) like this brand video

These days, a company’s brand is just as if not more important than its products. And, a trend has emerged where we are seeing a whole lot more brand advertising in videos designed to emotionally connect consumers, wherein companies small and large don’t really attempt to sell anything. They just hope viewers will connect with their company, values, purpose, and their brand.

Influential and highly emotional storytelling can connect audiences locally and nationally for nearly any brand if there is a strong message behind it. By eliciting feelings in viewers, brand videos can encourage increased sharing and maximize earned media. With the flexibility of online video, a company has the opportunity to create a story around its brand and share it with the world. And, consumers are definitely watching brands’ storytelling videos – since 2009 we’ve viewed branded videos more than 19 billion times. A study by Visible Measures says “of those 19 billion views, audiences themselves generated 3.4 billion views by copying, re-posting, or even making parodies of the original.”

So, what’s in a brand video? Is it an exciting and inspirational instrument used to relay a company’s purpose? Or has it become a collection of stock footage?


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How to Get Complete Strangers to Reveal Their Deepest Secrets

(a.k.a. How to Conduct a Great Research Interview)

So many of us have to conduct interviews as part of research. It’s one of the most important parts of the research process in many projects, especially when we do corporate branding here at PadillaCRT. I like to say that we never “invent” brands, but instead “discover” them; meaning, we start on the inside of an organization in order to uncover a brand, based on the deepest truths of that organization.

So what’s the inside of an organization? Its people. Every organization, at its core, is made up of people; hence, plenty of in-depth research interviews.

Even though these internal interviews are incredibly beneficial and important, many of us dread them or are even scared of them. They can be tough, especially since most of them are basically phone conversations with complete strangers. But not to worry! Conducting a great research interview doesn’t have to be hard. Based on my experience conducting interviews as a brand strategist, here are a few tips that could even make them the best part of your day.

Don’t neglect the obvious.

Do a bit of research on the person you’re interviewing. Know why you’re interviewing them…

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Got Milk? What Kind?

Last night I went to Trader Joe’s to buy milk. Sounds like a simple task, right?


This was me when I got to the milk aisle:

Baby gif

There were so many options, I didn’t know where to start.

Soy? I hear that’s good for you. Almond? That sounds delicious. Coconut? Will it make my skin look like I’ve been at the beach?! Rice? Hmmmm ….

Twenty minutes of hemming and hawing later, I left with a carton of each.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had that experience.

hand raise

My own experimental purchase, along with that of millions of other purchasers in the past year, is a threat to real milk. It’s one of many challenges the dairy industry has to contend with in its quest to grow milk sales, which declined by about 1% in volume last year according to Euromonitor International.

While cow’s milk still dominates the market (its sales are valued at 9x that of non-dairy per Ad Age ) exotic plant-based options have crept up like a pride of lion prepping for a kill. Last year, Silk Brands, which makes…

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Tips for Brand Buy-In on the Inside

Fewer than half of employees believe in their company’s brand.

Even less are equipped to deliver to on it.

Often, this happens when a company focuses all its brand launch efforts on external messaging and media, leaving your team feeling disengaged and skeptical. But, recently, we’ve seen more and more brand repositions work best when they are spearheaded from the inside and by top-level leaders who believe that investing long-term efforts internally first, nurtures a better attitude toward change and greater benefits when the brand reaches your clients.

So, how do you drive success for your team and motivate them to view a brand launch as a catalyst that reframes their own view of the company, boosts them to a new mission, and engages them in change? Here are four tips to leading an internal brand launch plan.

RStart on the inside. The days of beginning with the client are long gone. If your team doesn’t believe in, isn’t motivated by or isn’t able to deliver your brand positioning then how will your client be affected by it? While emotional influence, nuanced language and smart messaging gets noticed, it can sometimes be…

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Our Purpose: Helping You Achieve Yours

PadillaCRT_icon_f04100_redValuable brands have one thing in common: they take us to a place beyond products, pricing, promotions, processes and even people. Yes, they deliver on these attributes. But they also tie themselves to deeply held convictions. Their every interaction is an expression of brand strength.

At PadillaCRT, we are building a brand that is respected by our clients and our communities, anchored not in products and services, but in the convictions and values that set us apart.

Every agency will tell you it does media relations, marketing communications, brand strategy, event planning, crisis management, creative design, digital solutions and all of the other tools and tactics of our trade.  We do, too — and to great effect, as our awards and case studies testify.

But we don’t believe that’s enough anymore. After all, carpenters aren’t defined by the tools they use; they’re defined by the things they build. So what are we building at PadillaCRT?

A bigger tool shed, so we can deliver all the expertise that’s needed for the absolute best solution to a client’s problem or opportunity.

A commitment to growing the influence of brands beyond the “Likes” and “Shares”…

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An Open Letter to Bill Gates and Satya Nadella

satya nadellaThis week, Microsoft moved forward with a management team that was both familiar and radically different. Satya Nadella, a 20-year Microsoft veteran took the helm as CEO and at his right hand, Bill Gates returned as Founder and Technology Advisor.

The company is far from a failure, with sales of $83 billion and a market worth of over $300 billion, but the company has been plagued with slow growth, declining market share and troubled product launches. (Raise your hand if you have a Zune..?)

In his letter to employees, Nadella called Microsoft a company that empowers people to “do more.” There’s no doubt this is true, but for Microsoft to regain the power and respect it once possessed, it should start by doing less.

No organization can do everything well, and those that try to be all things to all people generally end up doing nothing well.

Yet Microsoft has endeavored to jump into almost every category of computing. No other company has attempted a broader offering. From video games to search engines to phones to servers and on and on, Microsoft seems to respond to every competitive…

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Five Reasons Harry and Hermione Would Have Never Worked


Without question, the “Harry Potter” franchise has become one of the biggest pop culture phenonoma of all time and a marketer’s dream.

Ron and HermioneAn interview of “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowland  (conducted by none other than Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson) due to appear this Thursday in the entertainment magazine, “Wonderland” reveals that Rowland now wishes she had married off Hermione to Harry instead of sidekick Ron Weasley. Britain’s Sunday Times published excerpts of the interview in a front-page story, “JK admits Hermione should have wed Harry.”

Potter fans are aghast. While the “Colbert Report’s” February 3 show panned that “…you didn’t need a Sorting Hat to figure that one out,” I wonder if a Potter-Granger union could have really worked.

Here are five reasons why I think not:

  • Honey, he who should not be named made me do it. How do you deal with a husband who has a perfectly valid excuse to periodically validate being MIA with no rational reason where he’s been, why he was gone and what he was doing? …
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