On this episode, I break down the marketing genius of IHOB from IHOP. In case you missed it, the company announced it would be changing its name by replacing the P for pancakes, with B for burgers and the internet freaked out. There was so much hype in June around the name and this for a brand that I (and many) haven’t thought about in quite some time.
The move, it turns out was a publicity stunt to announce the addition of burgers to the menu to help capture off-peak hour business and help turn the tide on declining numbers, experienced by most brands in their category. IHOP and their creative agency decided to temporarily change its name (with no intent on keeping it that way) to earn massive exposure and accelerate WOM around their message. While most of the chatter was negative, mainly from IHOP loyalists, the masses did their heavy lifting for them and got the word out that burgers are now ready for consumption at an IHOP near you.
Competitor brands with smart social media teams, jumped in right away to get into the dialogue. Hats off to Burger King, for quickly making this new mock logo and pushing it out via Twitter. This was a very easy way for them to use the draft wind of IHOPs move, to accelerate their own brand message. #wellplayed
While this article in Adweek claims that foot traffic did not increase following the stunt, it does concur that the buzz/awareness was valuable in its own right and IHOP claims that the data used by Foursquare does not accurately capture the true metrics. It appears that the brand is pleased with the play and I think Droga5 deserves some brops (see what I did there?) for the work!
On this episode, we break down the brand GREATS, another brand doing everything right from a digital POV. These days there are so many websites and countless brands, trying to sell to you online. It is hard to differentiate, but some dare to be great (sorry, had to) and stick the landing with next level E-commerce skills. GREATS is one of those brands.
From the first time seeing their content, all the way thru to the first time you slip their products on your feet, it is an epic experience. These guys really understand how to balance branding and sales. They create great content, are great at community management and engagement and are great at getting a user down their sales funnel and converting them from prospect to customer. Their name is super fitting.
On this episode, I throw some props to Outerknown, a brand that I think is doing everything right when it comes to digital. From prospecting thru Instagram (which offers amazing targeting at very low CPMs) to retargeting me with Facebook Ads, they effectively got me into their funnel. They then had a social following (based on brand and awareness) that gave me a social queue that they might be a brand worth exploring further, based on social interest within the Facebook Graph.
On their website, they offered a first-time buyer discount to incentivize me to purchase and I pulled the trigger and purchased shorts from them that came in record speed mind you. I wanted to return two pairs for credit and their outsourced Zendesk customer service solution was excellent and resolved it for me right away.
When I went back to buy some new pairs, I didn’t want to pay full retail so I put some items in my cart and bet that this smart brand would have an abandoned cart campaign in motion in short order. Of course, they did and when they teed up a 20% cart completion offer I pounced!
On top of all of this their branding and messaging from the packaging, to their emails is sharp and memorable. A cherry on top is that they have a sustainable mission and are the type of brand I want to invest my money and attention with. #wellplayed
On this episode, we talk about the importance of supporting your retail relationships with smart paid social media tactics. Landing a big order with a retailer is awesome, but once there you need to spring into action to make sure you stay there. We have talked about different ways to influence velocity reports before and it is a major factor in a brand’s success.
You cant just post an announcement and then hope and pray. You need to create compelling assets highlighting the partnership, push that content out via paid social and influencer support and create awareness that drives foot traffic into your partner’s store(s). Plan ahead and have a campaign ready to launch as early as possible to have an immediate impact. Remember it is not about just getting on shelves, it is about staying there!
On this episode, I talk about how clients and agencies should treat the courting process more like interviews to really get a better sense of what it will be like working together. Of course, the skills and knowledge should be assessed, but the attitude, tone, and communication approach are of equal importance.
Clients should really try to smoke out how agencies roll in those areas and conversely, I think it is so important for the agency to get a sense of what the client is like and how they want to be communicated with. I try to do a real level setting up front, as well as ongoing temperature check-ins to see how we are faring throughout the relationship. I can say very confidently that the clients who openly communicate and are transparent with their thoughts and feelings about our approach and service all outperform those who do not.
We are experts in navigating social platforms, managing paid social ads, working with influencers and effectively running social media for brands, but we are not expert mind readers. Just as open and honest communication internally between employers and employees is the key to success, so too is the need to follow suit with your agency relationships.
1- Be straightforward and never passive aggressive.
2- Be brutally honest and always fair.
3- Don’t allow frustration to mount and allow a molehill to become a mountain.
4- Don’t assume the agency knows exactly what makes you tick, guide them.
5- Allow the relationship to evolve and do level setting reviews from time to time to point the compass for all parties involved.
Invest the time and improve your client-agency relationships, because if you do that you put your brand in a better position to win.
I wrote a blog post last year about sometimes feeling like a personal trainer when doing my job as the owner of a Social Media Strategy. The post actually received some positive feedback and I wanted to get into the topic again. On this episode, I took it a bit deeper and added my thoughts via voice which is a more popular format it seems these days. However you choose to consume it, I think it is a simple yet important one to hear.
If you are hiring a trainer for something as serious as your health OR an expert for something as serious as your business’ marketing success, it is imperative to choose a good one and then let them do what they do. Dont second guess or undermine along the way, especially in areas you might not be super well versed in. Remove the hedge, follow blindly and see what comes from it.
I know for certain it will lead to better results with Sircle Media…
On this episode, I talk about how contradictions will kill your social media efforts. It is mission critical to figure out what you want to have happen and then hire someone (internal employee or agency partner) that you feel knows what they are doing to implement. Then it is wise to get out of their way and let them do what they do. Stating KPIs or needs and then putting roadblocks or hurdles in place that make those harder to hit is just not good business.
We encourage brands to really think about the creative direction they want to go in, the engagement style they feel good about and the growth KPIs and metrics for success they feel are right and then clearly articulate them up front. Then they should turn the wheel over to their trusted partner and let them do what they do.
On this episode, I talk about the current state of affairs on Instagram. Organic reach in the feed is way down and brands need to be smarter about how they are adjusting to that fact. Some quick takes:
1- Posting more, is not the answer. In fact, it seems to accelerate the fall off in organic reach and impressions.
2- Stories are the jam. If you want to post more, just post there instead and watch the numbers.
3- Video View campaigns are cheap and effective.
Instagram is the place to be for brands, but the game has changed a bit for sure. Don’t be romantic about what got you here (i.e. Instagram Follower count, measuring likes and comments per post) and instead, go to where things are moving.
On this episode, I talk about the compelling stats behind Instagram Stories. Some compelling stats:
- 300 million active daily users
- Over 1/3 of Instagram users are viewing Stories daily
- Snapchat Story views have declined 15-40% since Instagram launched their Stories product
- Major Snapchat influencers are now posting 2x more on Instagram Stories than on Snapchat
- 1 in every 5 organic Stories earns a direct message (proving consumption is happening)
- Daily consumption of Instagram has skyrocketed since the launch of Stories (raising the tide for the whole platform)
If you aren’t taking Stories seriously, you need to recalibrate. This is a real platform in and of itself and should probably be the first focus when using Instagram and not in the second position. Experimenting with organic and paid Stories efforts will prove out the be far more beneficial than sweating the organic reach and like count on each Instagram post. That serves a purpose too, of course, but is less of a driver than before.
Invest in Stories more now and take advantage of the good times, before that starts to change for the worse and they less value. Don’t sit on the sidelines reading yesterday’s news. Grab your phone and start telling your brand’s story…
On this episode, we talk about social media and the KPI conversation. Our argument is that a brand or business needs to first determine what their goals are and then articulate that to their employees and/or vendor partners. They shouldn’t get lost in the weeds on terms like CPM’s and Ad Recall Uplift, they should just define what they want/need to happen and then allow their team to create a gameplan against that.
Let me explain this a bit further. “I want to grow my Instagram followers by 5K” sounds like a KPI but I would push back on that and ask – why, what does that give them specifically? This is a tactic and not a goal. Worth noting: Goals are at the top and are the macro drivers:
i.e. Reach 1 million vegan moms Strategies are one step down and are different tributaries to that goal:
i.e. Facebook Ads, influencer partnerships etc. Tactics are the small ball, micro executions within strategies:
i.e. Dark posts, influencer giveaways etc.
So growing your IG follower count is a tactic, under the strategy of leveraging the IG Platform and that strategy should feed into a bigger goal. So if that goal is to reach 1 million vegan moms, then we would argue that in today’s IG landscape, harvesting your own follower count is not the best tactic to accomplish that. You are better served by leveraging more paid Instagram work, more integrated collaborations with influencers and even brand collaborations that put you front and center with an audience already established by another like-minded brand.
We are all about KPI’s and ROI, as a way to measure success via social media, but I flip the script and put it on the client to think it thru first. Define the goals, discuss and debate strategies and then let your team execute on different tactics. Tactics will vary and come and go, and strategies will change and modify along the way too, though less frequently. Goals should remain pretty consistent and be revisited every 6 months.
Don’t make your social media vendor (or any vendor for that matter) or your internal social media team report back on random statistics that add no value. Tell them where your destination is and let them lead the way to get there. The trip won’t always be straight or perfect, but if all turns are made with the destination always in mind, then you are more likely to get where you were going at the outset.