Chasing Status: Keeping Up With The Changing Definition of ‘Premium’

Popping bottles, cruising in flash cars and toting expensive handbags (with six month-plus waiting lists)…no, it’s not an episode of beloved Noughties MTV show, Cribs. It’s how (until fairly recently) we’ve all thought about ‘premium’ products and experiences. But attitudes are changing – and so must brands change with them.

 

We’ve identified the two factors driving this change, and we’ve got four recommendations for staying front of mind in this new age of premium.

 

Like most good stories, ours starts with a digital disruption

 

You may not associate the rise and rise of Uber, AirBnB and Amazon with premium living (at first). But actually, getting exactly what you want – when you want it – at the tap of an app challenges an idea at the heart of traditional premium and luxury brands. By making consumer interactions instant, seamless and personalised, tech brands have turned ‘premium’ from exclusive to empowered. And without the same benefit to trade off, luxury brands have already begun collaborating and experimenting with tech in order to create new products and services – which don’t always come with the hefty price tag.

 

Attitudes change, values evolve

 

As consumers, we think differently now. And our expectations of brands are higher than ever. No longer satisfied with the latest and greatest material things, today ‘having’ has taken a backseat to ‘being’. Experiences beat products, and brands with a point of view win out against those peddling the shiniest goods (or the longest waiting lists).

 

And no generation has been as influential as Millennials. (That’s right, them again.) Accounting for almost 30% of the world’s population and a mighty $2.5 trillion in spending power, this social group gravitates towards brands that reflect their personal values. Usually expressed through art, culture, cause and social good. Millennials buy premium products for themselves, not to impress others – which has affected how we all think, act and shop.

 

Challenge accepted

 

In a world where everything’s in reach, premium brands must find a way to maintain appeal. Walking into this ever-changing landscape unafraid to experiment and challenge their own status quo. Let us walk it with you.

 

Key takeouts

 

Shake up the surface…

 

Where once premium brands were dictated, idolised and policed, today the most successful labels are unafraid to experiment with their brand, challenge the status quo of their aesthetic and collaborate with unlikely partners. Think Louis Vuitton x Supreme for a premium mash-up consumers can’t get enough of.

 

…but stay true to core values 

 

Ahem. There is a small catch. Experiment and tear up the brand toolkit, yes, but never lose sight of your unique brand story. Be meaningful. Offering experiences that chime with consumers as relevant, genuine and true to the spirit you started out with. Who were you before you hit the big time? Strip off the diamond and furs and be that guy or gal again.

 

Make it shareable

 

Social currency always stands. Give consumers something worth talking about and sharing with others. Remember: it’s less about them wanting to show off, and more about what experiences say about them as an individual.

 

Think about what’s scarce, not what’s exclusive

 

Owning an exclusive means enjoying something others can’t. But what’s really scarce for Millennial consumers? How about time, honesty and individuality? Create unique products and experiences that give today’s consumers more of what they feel is lacking in their lives.

The post Chasing Status: Keeping Up With The Changing Definition of ‘Premium’ appeared first on Live & Breathe.

Building brand loyalty through added value on-pack

As retailers continue to take more control of their store environments and in-store compliance continues to disappoint, the delivery of marketing messages for brands and opportunities to activate have become drastically reduced. Providing added value on-pack is one of the …
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New client: WB Power Services

WB Power Services (WBPS) have appointed us as their social media agency.

WBPS is one of the country’s leading suppliers of critical power solutions and maintenance. Providing solutions, maintenance, and hire 24 hours a day all year round, WBPS works with clients from hospitals to large-scale data centres to ensure they never lose power.

We’re supporting WBPS with their social media management and content, taking the lead on their LinkedIn and Twitter channels to reach and engage with new businesses. We’ll also be using these platforms for sharing what makes WBPS unique and promoting new products, services, and career openings.

Follow WBPS on Twitter or LinkedIn to see what we’re getting up to.

The post New client: WB Power Services appeared first on we think.

In conversation with… Robert Ball

Every month we feature a different artist in our 3×3 Instagallery. This month, our artist in residence is designer., illustrator, stuntman and liar, Robert Ball.

So Rob, we’re a storytelling agency, how important is storytelling in your work?

Most of my work has to imply some kind of story, whether it’s a book cover that has to sell the inside pages, or an illustration to accompany an editorial piece it’s vital to try and get a sense of tone that’s in line with whatever my illustration accompanies.

Hall_01

What gets you inspired and in the mood to create something?

Deadlines, fear and black coffee!

On a more practical level, how do you produce your illustrations, and has this changed at all since when you first started?

It changes all the flipping time, because I don’t have the discipline to stick to a process, and because I’m always curious to try new things out. I used to work solely on the computer, no sketches, no nothing – straight in. As time has gone on I’m getting less and less digital. At the moment I’m doing a lot of upfront pencil sketches, and working through problems at an earlier stage, which means a lot of work at the start of the process that helps later on. At least in theory…

hall_02

What would you love to see more of in the creative industries during the next five years?

Like everyone I want to see originality and risk taking, and as a member of the creative industries that has to start at home. I would like to be more original and take more risks!

Got any winning tips for upcoming creatives you wish someone had told you?

I started illustrating full time around my fortieth birthday, after working in branding for umpteen years. It can sometimes feel like your career is a self driving car the destination of which you’re unsure. You can change, explore other areas, take risks. You will be a more rounded and better creative because of it. Sabotage your career!

Hall_03

And last of all, what’s next? Any big plans for the near future?

I’m hoping to build a studio this year, fingers crossed. Ideally, I would like to pay someone to build it for me, of course. I’m a designer, I have no practical skills whatsoever!

 

Thank you Robert, good luck with the studio!

See more of Robert’s work at instagram.com/robertmball

 

How Experiential Marketing Could Benefit your Company

Marketing comes in many different shapes and sizes. Since the dawn of the online world, we’ve seen people interact with business marketing initiatives through everything from YouTube videos, to social media campaigns. However, digital marketing isn’t the only way to connect with your audience. In fact, one of the best ways to boost brand loyalty for an organization, is to take the marketing conversation offline with experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing campaigns are live events designed to educate, entertain, and inform customers. They create experiences where users are able to interact with the brand in person and discover what they’re all about. Used correctly, an experiential campaign gives companies a tangible way to connect with people and convince them to share their experiences with their friends and family.

As the digital world continues to evolve, experiential marketing transforms with it, introducing new concepts all the way from AI, to virtual reality. Of course, before any company jumps head-first into their new experiential campaign, it’s important to think about the benefits that these tactics can bring to a brand.

1.     It Generates Unique Content

Content is an important component of any marketing strategy. Unfortunately, as the online world becomes more saturated, it’s growing increasingly difficult for today’s organizations to create brand experiences that resonate with their customers online. Fortunately, an experiential campaign gives firms countless ways to generate interesting and unique content to share on all their channels.

For instance, companies can launch live videos of their events on social media channels like Facebook live, or post podcasts on Apple’s iTunes. Attendees and PR teams can even write up interesting press releases about what happens during the campaign, leading the way for additional marketing materials. The more content a company can create as a result of their experiential marketing events, the easier it will be for that brand to supplement their existing SEO and digital advertising campaigns.

2.     It Creates Authentic Interactions with Customers

Another great thing about experiential marketing, is that it leads to a stronger consumer experience for a brand’s target audience. Putting a product into a customer’s hands is always going to be one of the best ways to demonstrate the credibility and performance of an item. Experiential campaigns often include opportunities for clients to try products before they buy them – reducing the risk involved with investing in a new company.

When used correctly, an experiential campaign can also help to build an emotional connection between a brand and their target audience before the company launches a new product – improving the chances that the business will get customers the moment they go to market.

3.     It Gets People Talking

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of experiential marketing, is that it helps to get people talking about a company. For instance, if a company was to create a unique experiential marketing event, then tie that campaign to a branded hashtag or social media sharing strategy, they could even create viral content that takes their brand reach to the next level. While social media can be a powerful tool on its own, it becomes particularly valuable when combined with experiential marketing.

Consumers love to be part of the next big thing – whether it’s taking part in a competition or taking a picture of themselves with a celebrity or trending product. For instance, a great example of event marketing with an experiential twist can be seen in the Stratos campaign by red bull. This social-media aired event followed Felix Baumgartner jumping through the stratosphere. Red Bull made it particularly easy for press companies to get involved with its branded experience, by hyping up the event before it happened.

4.     It Develops a Stronger Relationship with an Audience

These days, consumers often interact with companies through digital media like social channels, websites, or email. While digital connections are often more convenient, they take something away from the customer experience, leaving customers craving a more personal connection.

With experiential marketing, brands have the opportunity to tap into face-to-face experiences with their target audience, giving them experiences that they’re not likely to forget. These experiential events ensure that customers have the chance to interact with their favorite brands directly and get to know what those businesses are all about.

In fact, if companies use their experiential campaigns to convey their mission and values to their customers, they can even transform standard customers into brand ambassadors. Research frequently shows that customers are more likely to feel loyal to a brand that shares their value. A company that shows they also care about the planet, or value equality through their experiential campaigns, can connect with their clients on a deeper level.

5.     It Attracts Earned Media

When you look at an example of experiential marketing like the Red Bull campaign above, it’s easy clear to see that the right marketing effort can easily earn the attention of press companies, influencers, and more. When an experiential marketing campaign is interesting enough, it automatically grabs the attention of people who want to be a part of the buzz.

The more creative a company is with their experiential strategies – like Red Bull was when they sent a man hurtling through space, the more likely they are to get the attention of earned media groups. In fact, companies might even attract the attention of organisations that would have ignored them had they tried to launch a press conference or simple product demonstration.

6.     It Can Lead to Useful Analytics

Because experiential marketing allows companies to interact with their consumers during live events – it’s fairly easy for them to track a number of important analytics. For instance, a business could look at things like attendance and participation to find out how engaged their customers are. On the other hand, they could look at the results of their campaigns in the form of new social media followers, sales leads, or conversions.

Data not only keeps company leaders happy – it also provides brands with the raw information they need to make their future marketing campaigns and experiential events more compelling. Over time, the information companies get from their experiential marketing campaigns can improve everything from their digital marketing strategy, to their social media efforts.

Is Your Company Ready for Experiential Marketing?

Though experiential marketing requires more focus and planning than some simpler digital campaigns, it can be a powerful way to grow brand presence and reputation.

With experiential marketing, businesses can tap into a captive audience waiting to absorb a brand message and share it through their own word of mouth experiences. In a world searching for experiences, experiential marketing is the key to making any business stand out among the crowd.

The key is to create a campaign that speaks to your audience, by learning which experiences are most likely to appeal to your brand ambassadors. Competitive analysis can help with this, as can conversations with previous clients.

The post How Experiential Marketing Could Benefit your Company appeared first on 5W PR News and Updates, NY Public Relations Agency Blog.

Danny Robinson Named Chief Client Officer

DANNY ROBINSON MOVES UP IN NEWLY CREATED EXECUTIVE ROLE AT THE MARTIN AGENCY

In a move that is being deemed unusual, The Martin Agency has created an executive committee-level position of chief client officer, which Danny Robinson, one of its top senior creatives will occupy.

He will be responsible for working with account management to promote creative ideas, collaborate with creative teams to determine what drives clients’ businesses, and partner with clients to sell breakthrough work throughout their organizations—all in the interest of fighting against “brand invisibility.”

“The brands we represent need to be talked about within culture at large,” The Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo told Adweek. “Because of that, we needed to increase the linkage between culture and business, and we created the role of chief client officer with the ambition of doing just that.”

Before joining The Martin Agency in 2004, Robinson co-founded Vigilante, his own creative shop and served as its chief creative officer where he helped develop the Pontiac giveaway integration with the Oprah Winfrey Show (276 audience members on the program were given Pontiac G6s), according to the Media Post. During his time there, Vigilante was awarded the AAAA Multicultural Agency of the Year Award two years in a row, runner-up in its third year and was nominated the subsequent two years. His work for General Motors’ Pontiac brand and Snapple’s Mistic earned several London International and Mobius Awards. His work for Heineken won an ANA Multicultural Excellence Award and was also featured in Communication Arts.

“You don’t meet many creative directors who have an M.B.A., have worked in brand management and have founded their own ad agency known for leveraging pop culture,” said Chris Mumford, president of The Martin Agency. “But then again, there’s only one Danny Robinson. Danny was even a part-time stand-up comic for ten years. He’s a unicorn, which makes him uniquely qualified for this role.”

In addition to bridging the gap between the creative and account departments, Robinson will also work with clients to identify the types of problems the agency can help them solve that “don’t typically show up in creative briefs.” During his time at The Martin Agency, Robinson has worked with Alliance for Climate Protection, Pizza Hut, Hanes, Tic Tac, Chevrolet, Oreo and the AMC Network.

“My entire career has been in the creative department,” Robinson said. “I’ve always approached my job with the understanding that I’m in a business and working for businesses.”

According to Adweek, Robinson’s promotion makes him the first African American to join the upper echelons of the agency’s C-suite. Cavallo told the advertising trade publication that the agency has made a significant investment in promoting diverse talent to leadership positions over the past five months, including doubling female representation in the C-suite.

“Often we at agencies try to hire people that fit a culture,” pushing out “disruptive ideas that don’t fit in the process,” Cavallo said. The leadership team that the agency wants moving forward is one that employs “diverse perspectives on the way to solving business problems,” she added, calling this “the kind of culture that has always been Martin at its best.”

Robinson began his career in marketing as a product manager after earning his M.B.A. in 1984 from Clark Atlanta University.

Read full article here.

Weber Shandwick Named PRWeek Global Agency of the Year for Fourth Consecutive Year at 2018 Awards

Weber Shandwick was this week named Global Agency of the Year for the fourth consecutive year at the 2018 PRWeek Global Awards ceremony in London. This follows PRWeek U.S. naming the firm Agency of the Year for the fourth year running, marking a first in the history of both awards. The firm also celebrated recognition across four campaign categories in partnership with its clients. Additionally, Gail Heimann, president, Weber Shandwick, received a high commendation distinction in the Global Agency Professional category for her longstanding commitment to innovation and creativity in communications.

“Every day, across every region, our teams work closely together to deliver work that makes an impact for organisations and on communities,” said Andy Polansky, chief executive officer, Weber Shandwick. “Consistently earning this kind of recognition on an international scale reflects the strength of Weber Shandwick’s collaborative global network and our client partnerships.”

The PRWeek Global Awards celebrate the best campaigns, people and organisations involved in cross-region communications. In collaboration with its clients, Weber Shandwick was recognized for campaigns across several categories:

  • “Honeywell Goes Live to Drive Demand Worldwide” with Honeywell Safety & Productivity Solutions won in the Global Integration category
  • “Manyata: #DONTFORGETMOMS” with MSD India won in the Public Sector category
  • “Facing Up to Schizophrenia: The Fight for Better Treatment, Support and Acceptance” with Hong Kong Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation received high commendation in the Public Sector category
  • “#TOOCOOLFORPLASTICS” with Iceland Foods received high commendation in Issues & Crisis
  • “Youth AG-Summit: Inspiring the Next Generation of Agriculture Leaders” with Bayer Crop Science received high commendation in the Global Impact category

Heimann’s distinction in the Global Agency Professional category marks the latest recognition in a celebrated career for Weber Shandwick’s president, who is well known for driving the industry forward into new territory. In 2017, Heimann was presented with The Holmes Report’s Individual Achievement Award and was named to Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching List – both of which recognised her for pushing the boundaries in the industry for more than two decades. In 2016, Heimann was inducted into PRWeek’s inaugural Hall of Femme, recognising trailblazers in communications In 2015, she was named to The Holmes Report’s Innovator 25 list. Previously, she was designated an Advertising Age Woman to Watch.

“Gail is Weber Shandwick’s North Star when it comes to embedding creativity into everything we do and staying ahead of what’s next,” Polansky said. “It’s easy to see how Gail’s passion for innovation and her strong belief in the power of communications to make a difference permeates our work and our business.”

The 2018 PRWeek Agency of the Year honours are among several recognitions earned by the agency in the past year, including being designated an Ad Age Agency A-List Standout in 2017 and 2018 and The Holmes Report’s Global Agency of the Year in 2017.

The post Weber Shandwick Named PRWeek Global Agency of the Year for Fourth Consecutive Year at 2018 Awards appeared first on Weber Shandwick UK.

Are single page apps killing your SEO?

A JavaScript-based website means that you need JavaScript code rendered/processed before serving thecontent to the web user and any User-Agent.

Traditionally, Google was only looking at the raw text-based content that we’d get in the HTTP response body and was unable to interpret what a typical browser running JavaScript would see. When websites started becoming more reliant on the use of JavaScript, Google initially was unable to read them and therefore unable to give them the benefit of their content in regards to search engine result page rankings.

In order to solve this problem, Google started developing the functionality to understand JS pages. Despite this advancement, even when a page is crawled and indexed properly, there is proof that sites that use large amounts of JavaScript can affect your rankings.

(Will Critchlow saw a significant traffic improvement after shifting from JavaScript-driven pages to non-JavaScript reliant.)

The outlook for JavaScript Based Websites

Angular is the most popular JS framework for Single Page Applications (SPAs). Google support and maintain AngularJS with a community of individual developers, whilst funnily enough, not being able to render large numbers of AngularJS pages.

In the following study, we’ll review Single Page Applications and similar technology rather than AngularJS to understand what you can do to make your angular site more visible in the SERPs.

List of popular JavaScript Frameworks

AngularJS is a very popular framework for Single Page Applications. Angular has been on the market for quite a few years and offers an impressive list of features that will benefit developers such as; two-way binding; templating; currency formatting; pluralization; reusable controls; RESTful API handling; AJAX handling, etc.

a chart showing which spa frameworks are supported by different seo functions

a chart showing that of all the search engine bots only google and ask can successfully crawl the single page app frameworks

Technically, SPAs don’t need to use any fancy framework like MVC, Ember.js, Node.js or AngularJS. It is, in fact, possible to build an SPA using only jQuery and HTML for the front-end display, but it’s not recommended for large websites where data is best managed by a powerful back-end CMS.

So what is the impact for SEO?

Today, Google is able to render a substantial number of web pages more like an average user’s browser with JavaScript turned on. But sometimes things don’t go perfectly during rendering, which may negatively impact search results of a site.

In fact, there is no search engine that can understand and process JavaScript at the level our modern browsers can. Even so, JavaScript isn’t inherently bad for SEO, it’s just that due care and attention needs to be taken to ensure that search engine crawlers get the full context of the pages easily.

John Mueller recently explained how Google indexes JavaScript sites in his newsletter.

“Google supports JavaScript to some extent. Google supports the use of JavaScript to provide titles, description & robots meta tags, structured data, and other meta-data. When using AMP, the AMP HTML page must be static as required by the spec, but the associated web page can be built using JS/PWA techniques. Remember to use a sitemap file with correct “lastmod” dates for signalling changes on your website.”

 

What is a Single Page App? 

A Single Page Application is a web application or website that loads all of the resources required to navigate throughout the site on the first page load. The idea behind SPAs is to create a smooth browsing experience like the one found in native desktop apps. All the necessary code for the page is loaded only once and its content gets changed dynamically through JavaScript.

A single page application is suitable for a simple site that doesn’t have too much data to load, because the data is loaded once, and all the actions are performed client-side. For example, a single luxurious villa holiday website would do the job.

Known tracking issues:

This type of application will often update the URL in the address bar to emulate traditional page navigation, but another full page request is never made. So, for a single page application where the site loads new page content dynamically rather than as full page loads, the analytics.js snippet code only runs once.

Some SPAs only update the hash portion of the URL when loading content dynamically. This practice can lead to situations where many different page paths point to the same resource. In this case, a website owner would require their analytics specialist to configure the tracking code to record virtual pageviews.

Known indexability issues:

The site’s content is not indexed by Google – as explained above, Google’s indexing system does process JavaScript but some issues may need to be fixed to make content accessible.

For example, if you are using new browser features like the Fetch API, ensure that they are polyfilled in browsers without support. “Polyfill” is actually a browser fallback, just like a JavaScript library that brings a new API to an older environment, using only the “means of that environment.”

To test how Google renders your SPA page, simply use the Fetch as Google tool, found within Search Console, to get a preview of what Google will see.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

A Progressive Web App (PWA) offers the benefits of a natively installed app, minus the app store.

The terms progressive in this context means it works for every user, regardless of browser choice because it’s built with progressive enhancement as a core functionality. A PWA has to have a responsive UI which means it fits any form factor; desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next. A PWA doesn’t necessarily need to be SPA, but can be multi-pages if developers put additional efforts to create custom URLs.

This technology shows two specifications that are particularly interesting for the future of SEO & UX:

  • PWAs run faster and perform smoother than mobile websites, which gives them an edge with impatient mobile users.
  • Users can access PWAs more reliably than traditional mobile websites. In an offline environment, PWAs employ service workers to act as a proxy server, allowing you to pre-cache all the resources you’ll need. This means your app continues to work in an offline environment that is exactly when people needs it the most (planes, undergrounds, etc.)

PWAs are SEO friendly as long as they follow a checklist of best practice and don’t take the form of a SPA. For best SEO practice, PWAs should use the History API to reproduce a sort of URL trail instead of page fragments that use Hashbang (#!). For example everything after the #! in https://example.com/#!user/26601.

Available Solutions

Because all the code is loaded only once in a Single Page Apps (SPA), search engines cannot assess page content quality, neither assign properly any page quality score to that webpage (or ‘PageRank’). In other words, Google know the existence of the page since they have the ability to discover it through links, but can’t really say if the copy on that page is able to respond to accordingly to the search intent.

At Harvest, we have investigated different workarounds below to run SEO-Friendly Single Page Apps (SPA). Some options may involve Dev resources and/or additional third-party tool costs.

Host a Sitemap

Overall, sitemaps are particularly helpful if a website site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process — for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images. Even though this is only a partial solution it worth deploying an XML sitemap (if not done yet) on your website. With this sitemap, search engines will be able to follow links and then discover pages. However, a sitemap won’t solve difficulties regarding page content crawl & indexing. In other terms, webpages will appear in Google (essentially) but may appear not to have content in the SERPs if using heavy JavaScript frameworks.

E.g. – Checking Google’s cache for an SPA that only deployed an XML sitemap (but no other solution) tell us that their indexed pages are content empty:

a screenshot of the google search listings showing that cafe rouge has been cached by google

a screenshot from google search console showing that cafe rouge cannot be displayed and the site is not crawlable

Build Custom URLs (Dev Resources)

Depending on the JavaScript Framework, SPAs like Ember.js can be tweaked/optimised to serve custom URLs through dynamic segments. In the case of Angular.js, it will require attention from the developer to configure the location mode to HTML5.

BromBone

BromBone automatically downloads all of the pages from the sitemap.xml then uses a proxy to send HTML pages to search engine bots. No need to install any software.

  • Type: HTML pre-render
  • Dynamic/Static update: Dynamic
  • Deployment easiness: Easy
  • Cost: $129/month
  • Resource: http://www.brombone.com/

Prerender.io 

Prerender.io requires a manual upload of the sitemap.xml and will do the rest. Smaller sites (up to 250 pages) can use Pre-render for free, while larger sites (or sites that update constantly) may need to pay as much as $200+/month. However, having an indexable version of your site that enables you to attract customers through organic search is invaluable.

  • Type: HTML pre-render
  • Dynamic/Static update: Static
  • Deployment easiness: Very easy
  • Cost: $200+/month
  • Resource: https://prerender.io/

 

Conclusion

Will we be seeing more Dynamic JavaScript sites in the future? It is certainly possible. Even with traditional, multi-page sites, having solutions that make development and testing of those sites quicker and easier is always going to be welcome and appealing.

With more and more web designers and developers turning to these JavaScript-powered solutions, we can also expect them to become even easier to use as a whole – which is ultimately great news for everyone looking to design and develop rich web experiences.

Related posts:

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The nonprofit sector is the third largest employer in America

After retail and manufacturing, nonprofits employ more people than any other sector–most of them in health.

Nonprofits talk a lot about their missions to do good and change the world, but the collective might of these groups has strengthened quality of life within the U.S. another way: As a sector, the nonprofit world represents the country’s third largest employer.

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