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Digital Marketing

Social Responsibility for Future Generations

We are paying a very high price for our kids losing touch with the real world. Listen, I’m on my iPhone too much, but that doesn’t mean it’s a behavior that should be passed down to the next generation.  As a brand, you want to drive consumers offline – in store, of course. What if you could do more? What if you could encourage them to rethink their behaviors for them and their family?

Nature Valley Granola Bars are trying to do just that with their new “Rediscover Nature” campaign which seeks to put childhood back outdoors. So they produced a spot where they asked three generations the same question – What did you like to do for fun as a kid?

Depressing, right? Well it is a bit dramatic, but it drives home the issue. There was also a social extension that asked fans to submit their best #RediscoverNature photos to spread the message.

These days, maybe consumers are owed more from brands. Some could argue it is a brand’s responsibility to not just sell a product, but better society — like re-selling playtime in the front yard. Kudos to Nature Valley for strategically tapping into a trend…

Digital Marketing

Do You Want Fries With That? 6 Steps For Going “Viral” (aka Someone take away my social media license, I just used the term “viral”)


The Big Mac. The Whopper. Two titans of the burger industry. Never has there been a bigger rivalry – two warring peoples living in one great nation. Will the war ever end?

That’s the question Burger King posed this week to competitor and reigning burger giant, McDonalds.

It was about the burgers…but not really. Really, it was about getting Burger King on the tongues of America (pun intended). So how did they “go viral?”

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly how they did it: they created content and a storyline people wanted to share. Then people did share it. Then people shared their thoughts on it. Then people shared those thoughts. Etc.

So how can your brand do that?

1. Be Bold (aka share-worthy)

Let me be the one to break it to you – your new product launch is not going to break the Internet. Sorry, Apple. I’m looking at you.

Sharable content is so much more about what your consumer wants to share than it is what you want to share with them. Finding that intersection is where the magic happens.

Burger King chose to “call out” their number…

Digital Marketing

6 Search Engine Facts that Make the Case for SEO

You and your client may be on the fence about allocating marketing or PR dollars towards a search engine friendly website and content. If that’s the case and you want to increase traffic, raise awareness, generate sales or leads on your website search should be a part of your digital strategy. Here are a few basic stats on why search is a valuable tactic:

Why Consider Search?

1. 82% of Internet Users Use Search
With the majority of internet users “looking” for content via search it’s important that your site is showing up on page one of Google. Source

2. Over 100 Billion Global Searches are Conducted Each Month
Even if you think that you’re in an industry that doesn’t have a huge search appeal I can pretty much guarantee that someone out of those 100 billion searches is looking for content on your website. Source

3. 80% of B2B and B2C Marketers Rely on Search
Out of the 500 marketers surveyed in Web Marketing 123’s 2012 Digital Survey, 84% of B2B marketers rely on search and 82% of B2C marketers are relying on search. Clearly there’s a reason why, even then they plan on spending more marketing dollars on search in 2013. Source

Why Content Needs to be Optimized?

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Digital Marketing

The Growing Tech Trend in the Great Outdoors

Photo courtesy of Viet Lam; seattletimes.comAs I was scrolling through my social media feeds this summer, I couldn’t help but notice the number of remarkable photos that friends captured during their vacations this summer – photos of friends beaching, hiking, cliff-jumping, waterfall-chilling, snorkeling – all taken from magnificent heights and/or angles that just didn’t always seem humanly possible, unless Yao Ming had somehow been involved. That’s when I noticed another presence in some of these photos. A third arm, if you will. The selfie stick: sometimes discreet in photos, anything but discreet in person.

A New Angle on Outdoor Experiences

Technologies such as selfie sticks, GoPros and drones are changing the way we experience, document and share our outdoor experiences today. These technologies allow us capture some beautiful views and moments, if not somewhat obnoxiously, from new heights and depths.Capture

In recent years, countless conversations have touched on the amount of screen time that kids today experience on a daily basis. A nationwide poll by The Nature Conservancy showed that the vast majority of kids in 2011 were using a computer, watching TV or playing video…

Digital Marketing

On Purpose: #HigherEd, Branding and the Elusive Differentiator – Part 1

Kelly O'KeefeKelly O’Keefe has dedicated his career to innovation in the world of branding. He is a professor and founding board member of the VCU Brandcenter, the number one graduate advertising program in the country, and a partner at PadillaCRT. O’Keefe is known for pioneering work in digital marketing, brand strategy and creativity. He’s advised GE, ESPN, Walmart, Sesame Street and others on branding issues.

The man knows brands and how they can help organizations in any industry achieve their goals.

I talked to O’Keefe last week about branding and the quest for differentiation among higher education institutions.

Christian Munson: Why is it hard for colleges to differentiate?

Kelly O’Keefe: Thousands of colleges compete for student attention. Many are so similar that if you were in the halls of any one of them and didn’t see a sign identifying the college, you’d have no idea what college it was. The buildings are similar, the faculty is similar, the programs are similar, the culture and environment are similar. That sameness has gotten worse because of rankings, such as those from US News and World Report. Rankings tend to push colleges toward making decisions that make them…

Digital Marketing

Report from TEXSOM: Top Beverage Trends

TexSom.jpgAttending TEXSOM has been on my bucket list, and this year, I finally made it. In its 11th year, the 2015 conference brought together more than 1,000 attendees, including roughly 25 percent of all industry pros who have earned the title of Master Sommelier.

Below are five takeaways from the “BevLab: Ideas and Issues in the Modern Beverage Industry” session, a panel discussion of current wine trends. Moderated by writer Jordan Mackay, the panel featured John Blazon MS; Levi Dalton (host of podcast “I’ll Drink to That” and wine columnist for eater.com); award-winning restauranteur Shelley Lindgren, and Antony Moss MW AIWS. These five beverage trends were worth noting:

 1: Restaurant Costs Skyrocket: Ready-to-Drink Wines Benefit

As the economy improves, restaurant rents are skyrocketing. Lindgren, who is in lease renewal negotiations now, said her landlord proposed a 43% increase over her last contract. How does this affect food and wine programs? Dalton suggested that restaurants can’t expect to be 20-30 year propositions any longer. That affects how wine directors buy wine and build restaurant cellars – there is not as much inventory, and…


Partner and Multiply Your Marketing Power

intel-insideWhether purchasing a new laser or computer, buyers believe the products they purchase are only as good as the components engineered into them. Just consider your perception of a PC branded with Intel Inside® compared with one that’s not. Intel is a classic co-marketing example. When done well, co-marketing can be among the most effective tactics in a marketer’s toolbox to quickly shift buyers’ perceptions.

No company is all things to all people. Forming co-marketing partnerships allows companies with complementary offerings to align their interests, resources and marketing muscle to reach new markets and close more deals than they could alone. Such partnerships offer customers more comprehensive solutions and better services, and they forge lasting relationships between partner companies and customers.

This article explains how to start a co-marketing partnership, as well as possible elements to include in it.

How to start a co-marketing initiative

So you have some ideas for the activities you could execute in a co-marketing program; now you have to find the right partners to make them a reality. As you search for the right partner company, reflect on what would make a company a good fit for your…

Digital Marketing

Banning Social Media in College Football


College football – it’s not only a major money-maker for universities, but also tied to their reputations. College stadiums often hold more than 100,000 fans, while most NFL stadiums hold no more than 80,000. That’s a lot of ticket sales. And, according to Freakonomics, winning at football increases donations, applications, academic reputation, in-state enrollment and incoming SAT scores.

A successful football program can make a big difference for a school, and so it’s important for these teams to win. This puts a lot of pressure on a group of very young men – many of whom aren’t even old enough to drink legally. While coaches strategize, train their players and do everything in their power to win, it never can be completely in their control. So, they’ve turned to focusing on something they can control: social media usage. Social media has become a breeding ground for college sports scandals from online hazing  in women’s lacrosse to the infamous issue with Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o’s fake dead girlfriend. To avoid scandals like these that wreak havoc on sports programs, some teams have officially banned social media for their players. Most recently, the Clemson Tigers have…


Communications in a New Cuba: Rum, Cigars and Corporate Responsibility

150720_cuba_us_embassy_lgYou probably know that U.S. relations with Cuba are on better terms than they have been in decades. In fact, today marks the official opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Havana.

This is important for many reasons: Cubans are closer to reconnecting with the wider world, and the world is closer to tapping in to 11 million people ready to buy stuff that they never could before. This is not to say that Cubans don’t know what a Big Mac* is, but in the near future, they may be granted access to spend their hard-earned pesos on the American classic. The opportunities for growth are immense to say the least, but how do the world’s largest mega corporations, like a McDonald’s, or even a smaller business come to plant their American flags in Cuba’s white sand beaches? Corporate responsibility… In order for these businesses to really make a case for their Cuban operations (facilities and a native workforce, they’re going to have to earn it.

In order for these businesses to really make a case for their Cuban operations (facilities and a native workforce), they’re going to have to earn…

Digital Marketing

Consumer Trends: 6 Apps and Tools to Help You Survive #BackToSchool Shopping

Back to school

I’ve started seeing Facebook posts of friends gleefully sending their kids off for the first day of the new school year – marking the unofficial end of summer.

Can it be? It’s only mid-August!

The start of the school year brings with it the mad dash to complete back-to-school shopping lists.

However, this year’s back-to-school shopping season isn’t shaping up to be as robust as 2014. A survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates that – on average – families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend $630 on clothes, electronics and other school supplies in 2015, compared to an average $669 a year ago. Families with college kids plan to spend an average $899 this year.

One reason for the more modest back-to-school shopping may be the lack of “must-have” gadgets on kids’ wish lists, according to Russell Price, an economist at Ameriprise Financial.

Also, more kids are wearing school uniforms. Twenty-eight percent of parents surveyed by the NRF said their children wear school uniforms, the most in the survey’s 13-year history. Often times, school uniforms can be purchased at more affordable prices…