Wag the Dog

Just a few days ago, Saatchi & Saatchi Madrid unveiled its latest creative invention for their client, Pedigree, called “The Posting Tail”. When a dog wags its tail in a way that indicates it likes something, the camera is activated and the subject of the canine’s happiness is captured in a photo and uploaded to their own Facebook feed.

Just like our social media accounts generate data for marketers, The dog’s tail becomes the indicator for data generation on what they like most. In addition to photos, GPS data is captured to show what locations make your dog happy.

Silly? Perhaps. But we all know what kind of gold can be mined from data.

The American Pet Products Association shows that over $60 billion was spent on pets in 2015. Pets are considered members of the family; 77.8 million dogs are owned in the US, and 54.4 million US households own a dog. That equals a large amount of additional social media data that can be mined for insights into families with dogs, should Pedigree.es decide to make this fun tool available to the public.

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Have It Your Way

This year, National American Sign Language Day brought a surpriseBK_Logo for all of us. After years of wondering if the mascot’s silence was just a matter of being creepy (let’s be honest, we all thought it was pretty creepy), it turns out, he can only speak using ASL. For the event, Burger King pulled out all the stops and changed all of their store signage down to their logo in honor of the day.

This came as a shock to some, but considering that there are over 360 million people across the world, and 48 million Americans, suffering from some degree of hearing loss, it’s rather shocking that more businesses don’t think about connecting with this audience.

Video marketing, for example, is one area where many business could include the deaf population, but don’t.

“Trying to watch caption-less video is extremely frustrating for deaf people,”  Julian Moiwai, a deaf social media marketer who specializes in video communication solutions for DHH (deaf and hard of hearing) customers. It’s not easy to attempt to read lips or watch in hopes of finding a visual to understand the message, so DHH viewers move on to another company and another video.

Adding video captioning  can expand a company’s reach as captioned videos make 8.3% more conversions than non-captioned videos.

The internet, email, and texting are text-heavy communication mediums that are helping DHH customers interact, but what happens when they enter your store?

“The major barrier [for deaf people] is trying to communicate like everyone else does, especially when dealing with strangers, or people who don’t know how to deal with individuals with hearing loss.” – Thomas Fiddian

Starbucks has attempted using what is being called the “evolution screen” to take video orders in their drive-thru, but there are only rumors as to how wide-spread this will become.

What is clear, though, is that empathy for others can go a long way toward building goodwill for your business. The response to Burger King’s #WhopperSign campaign has been very positive. Their silent video asks for ASL users to help create an ASL sign for the Whopper.

My personal favorite?

“The Burger King brand is built not only on including everyone, but celebrating everyone,” Fernando Machado, the fast-food chain’s svp of global brand management, said in a statement. Allowing Burger King to both include and celebrate everyone truly lets everyone have it their way.

Hashtags Strike Back

 

You would think after the hashtag debacles #CosbyMeme and #McDStories, people would be more careful about what hashtags they’re putting out. I mean, yeah, it might have sounded good in your head in that moment, but realistically people are unpredictable. No, I take that back – people are very predictable in doing things you wouldn’t expect.

Hijacking a hashtag is the art of using a defined Twitter hashtag for the opposite purpose to that which was intended, usually with disastrous results for the creator.

Our current presidential primary candidates are no strangers to hashtags, either. We’ve got Bernie #FeeltheBern Sanders and Donald #MakeAmericaGreatAgain Trump. But then we’ve got #HillarySoQualified Clinton and you have to stop and wonder who on her marketing staff thought that was a great idea.

You don’t see what I mean about #HillarySoQualified? I’ll let Redditor Hufnagel0 explain the problem:

If your hashtag sounds like the start of a yo momma joke, come up with a different hashtag. You’re literally just setting up punchlines.

Sure, she got some appropriate uses of her hashtag, but Hillary is getting some not-so-appropriate responses as well.

So, what do you do if you find yourself the subject of a hashtag hijacking?

The good people over at Chute advise to first, ask yourself if you’re being trolled or if these complaints are founded in real issues that your brand should address. Then, address those complaints without being defensive. Keep it simple and avoid invalidating your fans’ feelings.

Chute also offers great advice on creating a hashtag: The more open-ended or vague a hashtag is, the easier it is to be hijacked. Give that a thought before creating a new hashtag for your brand, and then follow that up with my own advice: What’s the worst that could happen?

Twitch: King of Live Streaming Platforms?

When I wrote about Periscope a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’d quite realized just how many live streaming platforms there are. YouTube has live-streaming. Livestream has live-streaming (duh). There’s a live-streaming platform for DJs called Chew.tv; there’s a live-streaming platform for chefs (that should have been called Chew.tv, right? ) called TalktoChef.com. My favorite, though is Twitch – and that’s not just because I’ve actually been live-streamed ON Twitch.

Twitch is a raw, unfiltered streaming platform – unlike the polished platform that YouTube is becoming – that is host to mainly video gamers. I say mainly, but we’ll get to that later. The way the platform started out is how I found out about it. Video gamers play live while viewers watch. Sometimes they’re showing viewers how to do something complex. Sometimes they’re competing against other players. Twitch is turning video gaming into a spectator sport.

More than that, Twitch is providing levels of interactivity that you can’t find with other spectator sports. Viewers can show their enthusiasm through the real-time chat feature and encourage those playing. Live streams can be recorded and saved for future viewing. Occasionally, (as was my experience with Twitch) viewers can be invited by the streamer to join in and play with them. The platform can also be monetized so that viewers can pay for subscription perks, or donate directly to the streamers so that they make some revenue doing something they love. The community members on Twitch can also contribute prize money.

When it comes to being a viable marketing platform, Twitch looks like a new direction to consider. Consider the viewership for a show like “Game of Thrones.” Beeby Clark + Meyler compared typical viewership for this popular show, which might hit 8 million viewers, to Twitch’s coverage of the E3 gaming convention at 21 million viewers. That’s something worth considering. Here are some more statistics worth considering as well:

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Those are a lot of eyes on this platform, so it would make sense to decide if marketing on Twitch is right for you. You could do something similar to what Totino’s did for Super Bowl Sunday and host a three-and-a-half hour gaming competition. If it makes sense for your brand, that’s definitely something to consider. However,  Old Spice went a different direction and created a live adventure game where Twitch viewers could control a man in the woods by typing actionable suggestions into the chat panel. The adventure logged over 2 million viewers.

Other potential uses of the platform include Adage’s idea for allowing a home improvement streamer to live-stream “how-to” videos, take suggestions for future projects, raise funds for purchasing new tools and materials, while a relevant brand sponsors the channel.

One of my favorite uses for marketing is watching Diana Rodriguez of the Letter Shoppe as she live-streams the creation of her hand-lettered works.

As for me and my time on Twitch? I got a moose!

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Print is Dead. Long Live Print

Remember when vinyl died out to 8-tracks and then cassettes… and then CDs and MP3s? Aaaaaannndd then it came back? “Print is like what vinyl is to music. It’s nostalgic and it’s coming back,” according to Discovery Channel Magazine editor Luke Clark.

Much like those vinyl records, Josh Kinney of the Philadelphia Evening Post says of print: “Old people like it because they’re nostalgic… [and hipsters] swarm all over it like they just found this new, trendy, nostalgic thing.”

However, the resurgence in print magazines is not going to be the same beast that we saw in the past. These magazines are going to be richer, deeper, and artful. The circulation numbers will be smaller and the prices will be at a premium.

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The financial models will rely less on advertisers and more on subscription revenues. Samir Husni, a University of Mississippi professor known online as Mr. Magazine, tells Columbia Journalism Review that subscribing to a magazine is like joining a tribe. “It’s like a membership card you receive once a week, or month.” Only these membership cards are collectible and you can curl up with them like an old friend.

These new magazines will be a welcome oasis in an increasingly saturated digital landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

Periscope: Another New Platform

The trouble with emerging media is that there’s always something new. Try as I might, I feel like I’m just behind the curve when it comes to new platforms – but I haven’t heard too many people (in my circle, anyhow) talking about Twitter owned platform, Periscope.

As they self-describe, Periscope is a way to explore the world through someone else’s eyes. More specifically, the platform is like your very own live-streaming television station. Another way of looking at the platform is as a real-time, chat-based, video-conference with the masses.

The reason Periscope is taking off is that customers don’t want to be sold to. Traditional marketing is too fake. The live aspect of this platform means that there is no Photoshop to touch up the presenters. There is no gloss, no fakery. Just authentic connections. Its interactive nature with the ability to contribute to the conversation and provide hearts in approval of what they’re seeing allow a marketer to know in real-time whether or not their message is resonating.

Please, though, let’s not turn this into a platform filled with late-night infomercials. Those are so last millennia. Old school selling is dead – make information your new pitch. Provide your viewers with something they can’t get from anyone with you – whether it’s a Live Q&A or a Behind the Scenes type video, help your viewers connect with your brand in a way that no one else can.

One especially nice feature about Periscope is that your broadcast can be saved for replay for up to 24 hours (as opposed to the similar Meerkat app where the broadcast disappears directly after it finishes). As an added bonus, you can download your video and put it to use as content on other platforms.

So, what do you think? Do you see the value in adding this to your social media roundup, or is this just another passing phase? Let me know in the comments below.

Reactionary

For years we’ve been petitioning Facebook for a simple dislike button. Could they give us that one little thing? No. They gave us reactions instead.

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So I understand the like button, it’s fairly self explanatory. Love is just a more fanatical version of the like button. Then you have HAHA, WOW, Sad, and Angry. You use HAHA when you think something’s funny. Got it. But the WOW, Sad, and Angry give me a bit of pause – especially sad and angry. Am I sad about what’s being posted or sad for the poster? Am I angry about what’s being posted or angry at the poster?

Let’s get into some examples.

It’s political season, so it’s not unheard of to see crazy political messages floating around that I don’t agree with. Do I use the angry face because I’m angry at the post or am I angry that the poster is posting nonsense? Am I sad because of their lack of understanding of the issues? Maybe I’d prefer an eyeroll reaction.

Or what about when your friend posts news that makes you sad. Do you post a sad face to commiserate with them? Or do you love the status because they’re FINALLY breaking up with a really crappy guy? How about Wow when she says he was cheating on her (and you told her but she didn’t want to listen). Maybe you’re angry at the situation, that she’s let herself be drug down by him too many times. Or you’re laughing because of the way she finally dumped all of his crap on the curb?

Which reaction do I use?!?!

What are your thoughts on the reaction buttons?