Rebranding with a Side of Burgers

Ever heard of IHOb?

If not, you will soon. Last Monday, social media went crazy when IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, announced IHOb as its new name on Twitter.

And what does the “b” stand for?

Burgers.

This sudden identity-swap for one of the most popular chain restaurants in the United States took Twitter by a storm. Seeing an opportunity, other food chains latched onto the trend by coming up with their own ideas to get in on the publicity stunt. Burger King temporarily became “Pancake King,” Netflix hinted at becoming “Netflib,” and Wendy’s took a crack at IHOb for trying out burgers because pancakes were “too hard” to make.

 

And yet, IHOb’s name change has sparked renewed interest across the general public, with the limelight placed on their recently-released Ultimate Steakburger menu. Their seven basic burgers have already been reviewed positively by several food critics and customers.

But why the need for a rebrand?

IHOP was known for doing well in the early morning and late night hours, a time when pancakes and other breakfast foods are most attractive. This did not apply to their midday sales, which had been dwindling over the past 10 quarters. A revamping of the lunch menu to attract customers into their stores for good, quality burgers seemed like the logical solution.

The results of this gimmicky rebrand appear to be positive. Since IHOb’s social media debut on June 5th, Dine Brands Global (DIN) stock rose by +5%. DIN owns IHOP and Applebee’s.

The question remains, however, if IHOb will see an increase in actual sales.

That’s up to the customers.

 

Expenditure on Father’s Day expected to reach £799m

Father’s Day marks the end of a solid performance for the events calendar during the first half of 2018, which has provided some positivity in an otherwise challenging retail market. Following on from the feel-good warm weather of May and …
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You Earned that Media — Now what?

For far too many brands, getting the headline is the goal. They may not “say” that, but the way they operate their communications efforts proves that’s their end game. Why? Because so many brands fumble the ball just before they reach the goal line. Either their plan just stops, or they cede control of the narrative to the media outlet that gave them the coverage.

The truth is, getting the article or other content published is great, but it’s the middle of the program, not the culmination. Sure, it takes a tremendous amount of effort and market understanding to create actionable earned media. But that’s just the first step. You need to be in control of what happens. If you are, you could turn one shared media opportunity into an avalanche of “free” publicity.

Deploy Your Fans

As soon as the earned media is published, and sooner if you can, let your core audience know. Encourage them to read, comment, and share. Incentivize their involvement with connection and other reasons to propagate engagement. Draw them in and make them a part of your efforts. They love what you’re doing, so sharing it with enthusiasm is natural… but many still won’t unless you ask. The main purpose here is to create momentum to build on. Once you have that snowball rolling downhill, getting bigger and bigger, you can move on to step two.

Widen the Ripples

Once your core audience is engaged with the earned media, recruit casual “fans” and interested parties through other connection opportunities. Share it with colleagues, put it out on social media, connect with the fans of the publication or media outlet by thanking them on their social media feed. Be gracious and connective. Stick around and engage. Don’t post and vanish. Just be cautious here. The idea is not really to send people to the article itself. The end goal for this step is to connect people with YOU not the version of you in the article. Give them a reason to want to know more and a place to go to do that.

Connect with Fresh Leads

Once you have fans sharing and customers engaged, that’s the time to engage your newest leads. This is a key reason why you should always maintain multiple mailing lists, based on the level of fan engagement. You should always have a list collecting new and less-engaged customers to help boost your messaging that your inner circle is already actively promoting.

A final note here… While these steps are broken down into distinct segments, that doesn’t imply the speed of the plan. This process may go very quickly, especially on social media. In fact, your window could be less than a day, or only a few hours. In addition, these steps may not be completely distinct. You may want to work in some overlap in the program, letting each step naturally feed into the next one to continue building momentum without allowing a lull.

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy

There are very few businesses that don’t have a sales function. The generation of leads is an absolute must for a healthy sales pipeline, in sufficient quality and quantity to meet the financial goals of the business plan and to deliver projected sales forecasts.

Thinking about it in these terms makes it easy to see the relationship between sales and marketing function; the purpose of marketing is to create sales opportunities for a company’s products and services. One way to acquire leads is through a search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy. Many people are suspicious of SEO and this is most probably because it began as a bit of a dark art about a decade ago. These days, nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of search engine optimisation is to wave a flag of welcome to Google’s army of digital robots, which ceaselessly crawl every page of every website around the world, in order to feed information into their data repository. This is then used to solve a hugely complicated algorithm, the essence of which is simply to deliver the best possible results for their customers.

An integrated approach

Of course, all companies are different and each will therefore have its own specific marketing strategy, based on a clear understanding of the target market they are selling to and the features and benefits of their business that make them stand out from the crowd. The marketing plan will ultimately depend on a wide range of factors and will also be informed by what competitors are doing. A customer acquisition strategy will almost always take the form of an integrated approach.

Digital marketing is not rocket scienc

Digital marketing includes search engine optimisation (SEO), advertising on search engines and social media (such as PPC and remarketing), social media marketing, content generation, and email marketing campaigns. Which of these are most appropriate to an organisation will depend upon the business plan, its goals, the marketplace it operates in, its customer base, and so on.

Digital-marketing-is-not-rocket-science-1024x683 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy

Cold calling is not effective. Ringing hundreds of companies every day in the hope that one might get through to the right person at the right time is a real ‘finding the needle in a haystack” approach – plus most people dislike receiving sales calls. It’s a much better strategy to make sure you are easy to find when people need your services, which it is why it important to have a digital marketing strategy in place that may include SEO. This article explains how to create a successful SEO strategy for your business.

SEO may not be the best strategy for your business

SEO might not be the best) strategy for your business. For example, an SEO strategy is not for those wanting instant results – it can take months if not years to see the fruits of your labour. And, dependent upon the industry sector you are working in, it might take a significant amount of activity each month before your business hits the first page of Google.

Use PPC advertising to test your SEO strategy

Because of the time lag before SEO delivers results, we recommend as part of the planning process that a company invests in a short-term PPC (pay per click) advertising campaign on Google AdWords to identify which keywords deliver the best results in terms of quality and quantity before proceeding with your SEO activities.

Don’t forget about content marketing

An SEO marketing strategy requires an investment in content marketing, such as blogs which support your keyword strategy and talk about subject matter likely to be of interest to prospect customers. Content also includes videos hosted on YouTube (which is owned by Google), presentations hosted on SlideShare (which is owned by LinkedIn, which in turn is owned by Microsoft) and other content hosted both on your website and on third party repositories (such as Pinterest and Vimeo). Always make sure that you write first and foremost for your customers rather than for search engines.

Don’t-forget-about-content-marketing-1024x608 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy

Social media marketing is key

Another key element is social media marketing. This means creating social media sites that are relevant to your business – these typically include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on. They to be active, which means an investment in regular and consistent posting. You also need plenty of followers and you will benefit from engagement too, so make sure that your strategy is as interactive as possible.

“On the page” and “off the page”

SEO activity broadly splits into two areas – “on the page” and “off the page”. “On the page” refers to factors relating to your website. “Off the page” relates to factors relating to third party websites where links to your website are hosted. The best summary we have found for all the factors involved in these two areas has been put together by Search Engine Land and is called the Periodic Table of SEO.

Navigation, mapping and journey planning

SEO requires that your website is well-thought in terms of user experience. As well as having engaging and relevant content, it needs to make sense to a customer so that they can click from page to page in a logical way. Navigation, mapping and journey planning are, therefore, three important elements to bear in mind. The success of your SEO strategy is affected by every page of your website. Two of the most important factors to consider are page titles and meta descriptions, used by Google to showcase results when someone types in a specific keyword or phrase.

Navigation-mapping-and-journey-planning-1024x456 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy

Technical SEO factors

You also need to think of other technical aspects of how your site’s pages are set up. One example is the use of headers on each page on. Another factor is responsiveness; how well your website displays on a mobile or tablet device. Speed of loading is also key, so you need to make sure that you have a decent cloud hosting package in place.

Building trust and authority

All off-page factors have one thing in common – the aim is to demonstrate that your website is trustworthy in the eyes of Google for the keywords you wish to be ranked well for. Trust has to be earned. We all know this to be true at a personal level. We build up trust in someone or something over time when our expectations are constantly met or surpassed. The same is true for Google and this is why SEO takes time to work well. This is especially true when you have set up a new website and don’t have an online history, so it will take more time and effort to gain good rankings from search engines than with an existing URL.

Both quality and quantity are important

Off-the-page SEO is all about building links on third party websites. All websites are given a series of ranking factors by Google that reflect their authority. The higher this figure, the more authoritative a website is perceived to be. In an ideal world, your website will have backlinks on top authority websites. Of course, this is not easy to achieve, so it is a good idea to target lower authority links too – it is all about getting a decent balance of quality and quantity.

Both-quality-and-quantity-are-important-1024x683 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy

Local SEO is simple

Another factor to consider – and something that is big for Google these days – is local marketing. For example, we predominantly work with companies located within the M25, so our focus is very much on being visible to organisations based somewhere in and around London. Google searches are smart enough to serve up results that are geographically resonant to the person making a search. To achieve this goal, you need to sort out out your NAP (Name Address Phone) profile.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is another factor coming in to play. This basically means that Google not only searches for specific keywords you have targeted through your SEO, but also on others that it believes are related to these keywords. This increases your chances of being found in searches for relevant terms, but only if you are doing all the right things in terms of both on-the-page and off-the-page SEO.

Keep up to date

The world of SEO changes all the time. To keep up to date with all the latest news is almost impossible, but you can keep on top of things by following us on social media – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you would like to have a conversation with us about SEO, please contact Stephen Brown on 020 7795 8175 or email to stephen.brown@abacusmarketing.co.uk – you can also visit our website at www.abacusmarketing.co.uk to find out more. We are more than happy to meet up for a two-hour chemistry meeting at a venue of your choice without cost or obligation to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Using Facebook Messenger chatbots for research

Research is a powerful tool. It’s often at the centre of any strategic marketing planning (or it should be!) and forms the backbone of many marketing campaigns.

For example, when designing our hero content for clients, we look at the data. What does the data tell us to do? We have plenty of content marketing tools that we can use to help us. But often, there’s one data set that we are crucially missing – first party.

Research from our client’s audience. What do they like? What do they think? What interests them?

Getting the answers to these questions can often be either quite costly or quite time-consuming (or both!) But luckily, using Facebook Messenger can cut down on both of these costs.

By using a chatbot, you largely automate the process and – depending on how you incentivise participation – it can be mostly cost-free.

Additionally, chatbots allow you to collate data on the fly, and not have to wait months for your research to be analysed and fed back to you.

Setting up your Messenger chatbots

Hopefully conducting research isn’t new to you – but if it is, make sure you read up on the basics of how to conduct good, reliable qualitative research first.

Once you’ve done that, you should be ready to start making your chatbot. But there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before you start.

You’ll need to drive participation

Let’s be honest, most people will only engage with your research if you offer them something. You can either go down the free stuff route, or you can give away coupons. Coupons tend to work better, as you are still driving sales and you also only appeal to people who would buy something from your site – i.e. actual customers.

However, the problem with this is that if you give away something too good, everyone will sign up to answer your questions and then your data becomes skewed. It’s a fine line to walk.

The easiest way to drive participation is through Facebook ads – shockingly. But these can really help you reach a lot of people quickly.

Make it chatty

It’s a chatbot, after all, so make your questions seem conversational! Make sure you say hello, and structure all of your questions to be chatty.

There is a danger, however, of overusing emojis and GIFs. These can skew your data, so try and make sure that your questions do not favour one response over the other.

Don’t forget to go granular

Bot analytics platforms like Chatbase and Botanalytics both allow you to go pretty granular with the responses you can get from your bots, and they integrate with Facebook Messenger very easily.

These tools allow you to simply see where people are confused or don’t understand the question, as well as where people are dropping off.

Fight fatigue at every step

If you do find that a lot of people are dropping off, you can easily restructure the question. Don’t forget to remind people how far in they are. Using a conversational tone – something like “You’re halfway now!” – can help combat fatigue in your participants.

Get GDPR compliant

GDPR is now upon us, so don’t forget to have people opt-in to having their data used. It is also a wise idea to have your bot present the privacy policy upfront, before the first question. That way, users know exactly what they’re getting into and you won’t get slapped with a huge fine.

Make it mobile friendly!

Most people will be accessing Facebook Messenger on their phones, so make sure your chatbot is mobile friendly. For multiple choice questions, buttons really are your friend and can help stop the fatigue of writing the same thing over and over.

Marketers are always going to have to find new ways to grab the attention of their audiences, and I think chatbots are a great way to drive interaction with the brand and conduct market research quickly and for minimal cost.

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Five Ways PR can Help your Cryptocurrency Shoot to the Moon

It’s safe to say that the cryptocurrency market is growing bigger every day. Blockchain-based startups and cryptocurrency creators are appearing all over the world, offering solutions to the world’s financial problems in the form of code and unique mining strategies. In fact, ICOs, or initial coin offerings funding for start-ups has officially exceeded traditional venture funding.

Companies in this field need even more help getting their voices heard. The good news is that effective public relations companies can help any  crypto companies make the most out of their marketing strategy.

They Develop a Reputation of Transparency

No matter what industry a company is in, credibility is a critical component in earning sales and customer loyalty. Today’s consumers want to know that they can trust the organization they’re working with – and this is particularly important for those located in the financial sector. The good news? Public Relations helps to create this appearance of transparency. They show consumers what makes a specific currency so valuable to their needs before asking for investment.

Create a Marketing Strategy

Don’t just announce the presence of a cryptocurrency on social media and hope for the best. Create a custom strategy based on that organization’s expectations and needs. In a world where cryptocurrencies keep growing, the businesses that want attention need to be willing to work for it.  The right campaigns mix influencer marketing, position papers – and of course, a great product.

Expert Insights

Start with extensive research into that company’s market – including the competitors that they’re working against. This expert research helps

establish a presence where their audience is – whether that’s YouTube, Twitter, or another location entirely.  Dont be behind the trends.

Establish Authority in the Field

In a world where almost, anyone can become a cryptocurrency entrepreneur, the organizations that get ahead will be the ones that show themselves as experts in their field. Today’s investors are looking to work with brands who understand the possibilities of the blockchain and the opportunities presented by crypto. Establish a thought leadership strategy that highlights their authority and turns them into a powerful resource online.

Maintain Constant Communication

Finally, in a space as fast-paced as the cryptocurrency market, consumers want to feel as though they’re always ahead of the curve. Public Relations programs agencies can implement a communication strategy to ensure that the community is always informed of what their client is doing next. This helps to create an air of transparency and reliability that investors appreciate.

5WPR is a leading cryptocurrency public relations firm.

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Porsche—time to get in.

Communication Arts  – June 7, 2018

Responses by Won You, vice president/experience design director, Cramer-Krasselt and Pavel Zagoskin, technical director, Wildlife.la

Background: The Porsche microsite seeks to inspire potential owners to purchase these cars by providing both practical and emotional “reasons to believe.” To do so, we ensured that shopping actions were displayed in a highly visual and engaging manner; each model in the lineup was featured on its own dedicated page. Video content of real people who had just taken ownership of their first Porsche sports cars was also showcased, further enticing users to take the next step.

Highlights: The site was created with a mobile-first strategy, so the team decided to craft a story that’s told through a clean, minimal design, while still featuring numerous 911 and 718 models. When developing the microsite, we used Porsche’s iconic design language. From header to footer, every model is introduced in silhouette form. And in model specific sections, environmental backgrounds are used to create a unique mood based on the driving dynamics of each car.

Challenges: Figuring out how to create a fast loading and sleek mobile-first experience across devices while still serving some heavy media content. Our development partner, Wildlife, addressed this challenge by utilizing a combination of intelligent route-based asset loading, CDN caching and compression. We also had a tight design timeframe. We had to complete our initial user experience and design exploration within three days.

Navigational structure: The website is principally organized by the 718 and 911 models. However, to encourage users to discover more content, we created multiple call-out modules that allow users to explore other model variants and first-time Porsche owner stories. On the desktop, we created a unique submenu that shows the lineup of the model variants. On mobile, we created an expanded menu in the footer to allow users to navigate without clicking on the hamburger menu.

Technical features: Subtle movement and ambient animations created life and a sense of depth, and the smooth transitions between each different model consist of one module that utilizes cleverly animated masks. In addition, we used HTML5, CSS3, JS, React.js, TweenMax and jQuery for the site; there is no backend other than the CloudFront CDN servers hosting the site. To encourage users to build their own Porsche, we also created a carousel that is consistently docked on the bottom of each of the model pages.

timetogetin.com 

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4A’s Conference – “Why Diversity & Inclusion can’t just be a talking point”

I’ve been in this industry for almost three years, and my ethnicity comes into play more often than I thought. In experiential marketing, having exposure to many cultures makes me reflect on how my ethnicity is perceived by an audience. More often than not, I’m explaining. Explaining what it is like to be ethnic and the cultural cues that come into play when creating an experience.

However, 2018 represents a very exciting time for the advertising industry. This year, 180 female agency leaders pledged to the #TimesUpAdvertising initiative, which will “drive new policies, practices, decisions, and tangible actions that result in more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership; and create equitable cultures within our agencies.”

Most recently I became a co-lead for the #TimesUpAdvertising Task force 2, which aims to identify and mentor people representing diversity across the board and who are ready to become agency leaders. Part of my efforts on this initiative afforded me the opportunity to attend the recent 4A’s Accelerate Conference where many of the top female executives from advertising agencies met-up to network and exchange best practices surrounding D&I.

At the conference, the prominent topic was diversity and inclusion and the notable initiatives implemented by other top advertising agencies. The conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion sparked a reflection on its definition. I realized that the traditional definition of D&I doesn’t always fit.

Reflecting back to my first interviews out of college – in almost every interview or screening, I would hear, “What are you?” and I immediately knew where the conversation was headed and after I explained my ethnicity, I felt categorized. After multiple experiences like this I created two resumes, one with my Middle Eastern last name, and one with the “American” version. This is sadly is common with minority resumes. I would tip-toe around the fact that despite an agency saying it was “inclusive and loving diversity”, I never saw diversity within its leadership teams or in their work. This made it very hard for me to relate to the agency.

However, four years later, with #TimesUpAdvertising in motion, I am proud to say that Jack Morton is making significant strides within the D&I realm. Our #Jackwestside D&I team has grown and has worked to implement D&I initiatives every quarter aiming to bring our local community together and raise awareness for issues such as IWD, LGBTQ and more. With our D&I team efforts, we’re making diversity and inclusion more human and relatable.

Which brings me to an overarching theme that was brought up at the 4 A’s Accelerate Conference. What are we, as an industry, doing to humanize and bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of our business conversations?

Below are two thought starters on how to begin to think about action and implementation with diversity and inclusion.

  1. Projects. More and more clients are looking to involve diversity and inclusion in their work. More often than not, this notion can be challenging if it’s not a part of the creative or execution process. In order to be a better partner to our clients, we need to involve diversity and inclusion in the ideation stage. Most recently, the WPP “Progress Brief” was released. This brief is a special nod to creative work, ensuring that “diversity and fairness is at the beginning of an idea, which will help the work better reflect the world and its consumers.”

From an experiential perspective, D&I isn’t in every brief, but we should always have it at the forefront of the experiences we build, not just when clients ask for it. The brands we work with are global, and if we fail to recognize the diversity and differences of those who will engage with us, we’ll miss massive opportunities. At Jack we have been involved in numerous D&I initiatives with our clients. Some work to mention are: HP, eBay and Google. In partnership with our clients we were able to create extraordinary experiences, by ensuring all audiences felt included and understood.

2. Agency Growth and Retention of Talent. In the context of #TimesUpAdvertising, diverse leadership matters because it holds an opportunity for younger employees to see a “future version of themselves”. We need to humanize the conversation. It takes time and commitment from the agency to come to a unified belief system for D&I in the workplace. It can no longer be a talking point. A few things to consider:

  • Give minorities’ access/ opportunities to meet with executive leadership and discuss D&I. Ensure that they are being heard and add value to the company culture.
  • Bring in experts from diverse communities to provide a unique perspective that your agency may be overlooking. The importance of understanding different cultural points of view and values cannot be overstated. For example, at Jack we have initiated and planned events around under represented communities. Earlier in the year we partnered with an elementary school to gain insight about assimilating to American Culture, and how inclusive partnership matters. With extending partnership within our local community we were able to present opportunity to those who may not have known marketing/advertising was an option for them.
  • From a mentorship perspective, transfer knowledge about difficult situations in relation to unconscious bias. The more you mentor and talk openly, the more you make everyone aware of bad habits and instill change. Currently in our Task Force 2, under #TimesUpAdvertising we are reevaluating our mentorship process across all offices to see how we can better support and understand needs of all levels within Jack Morton.

Working now for three years in the industry, I can truly say there have been significant strides to implement these tactics. At Jack Morton we have implemented D&I teams across our offices, that help drive and implement initiatives within each office to ensure that all minorities feel heard, supported and valued. We have also taken a leadership role with #TimesUpAdvertising implementing community events, speaking on a panel to discuss how D&I can be implemented not just at Jack but within all agencies, and building task forces specifically for women’s issues.

All these initiatives are a great start, but a lot more has to be done. Most importantly, when looking at our experiential space, I hope we have more new conversations as to what D&I means to an activation, campaign or live event and that we integrate the thought process beyond our local initiatives.

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