Concept is a collection of artists, geeks, perfectionists, and strategists working together to make some damn fine advertising.

ADVERTISING IS CREATIVITY.

Not just in the execution, but in the strategy. Compelling creative is that much stronger with an equally creative brand position.

ADVERTISING IS MARKETING.

Branding, SEO, online marketing, logo development, backend web development, positioning, and a whole lot more. But never more than you need.

ADVERTISING IS ALWAYS CHANGING.

New this, new that, and a whole lot of social networking—there sure are a lot of options these days. But what’s trendy isn’t always what’s most effective.

FEATURED WORK
LATEST BLOG POSTS

You Know What I Mean?

When communicating your vision or idea, sometimes formulating the right words can be difficult. The other stakeholders involved may not understand your vision. As marketing professionals, we have to describe not only what the client wants, but also in terms that a copywriter, graphic designer, and vendor will understand. Concept Marketing has created a process to help everyone understand and communicate the vision to create an excellent end product.
Do you really know what you want? Have you honestly thought through the scenario in your head or is your vision still liquid? What helps solidify a vision is pen to paper. Write down, sketch, or doodle what you truly have in mind. This will not only help you conceptualize the idea, but also communicate your goal and vision.
Does this match your brand? If you have a strong and recognizable brand, your vison should fall in line. If the new idea is off base from the brand identity then people may not understand where the vision is going.
Know your Audience. Do not use your lingo to describe the vision to others. It is like speaking Chinese to a Frenchman. Get to know your audience, once this is accomplished you will be on a common playing field.
Ask Questions. Check in with your audience a few days after the conversation. They might not have questions immediately, but after the meeting they could have ideas that will make the vision stronger.
With the tips above, your vision can be realized. If your business has an idea, Concept Marketing can help you solidify and develop the vision in to fruition. 

A Negative + A Positive = Facebook Psychology

Facebook analyzed almost 700,000 user’s newsfeeds to conduct a study on emotion. This study was intended to test the theory of emotional contagion — if a Facebook user saw a negative or positive status update, would they themselves contract that emotion? The study found that some emotions were paid more attention to than others. The analysis quantified this finding by studying the responses (post, likes, clicks, and shares) back to the original post. The perceived breach of Facebook privacy was not a breach at all. When an individual chooses to use Facebook, they sign an agreement confirming they are willing to participate in psychological studies — the beauty of fine print. Facebook further protected its ability to experiment by having a computer analyze the results. Interestingly, Facebook has seen little backlash. Facebook users haven’t threatened to disable their accounts and a simple “sorry” by Sheryl Shamburg is seemingly accepted by the public.
On the other hand, the findings of the study have interesting consequences for Facebook marketers. The main finding is that people have a higher response rate and pay more attention to positive messaging and replies. Many social marketers have specific plans to address negative comments on the page. This strategy is meant to swiftly suppress unsatisfied customers who “vent” on the page. This swiftness was meant to show others on the page that they are being looked after and try to stop others from chiming in. The study is important to this point, because it shows negativity does not get far on a page. People are more likely to pay attention and remember a positive post.
Facebook announced that targeting probably will not continue down a road of emotional manipulation. Facebook released a statement saying, “In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified the anxiety.” Users of social media should expect Facebook “big brother” to have access to their information and use it for targeting. This data is currently used to target advertisements and marketing products to specific Facebook users.

The Creative Process - Told in GIFs

The creative process is complicated, full of ups and downs. To simplify we have placed all the important steps into gifs. Enjoy!

YAY a new project! We are always excited to begin on a new project.

Emma Stone

Lets chat! This is when we nail down the specifics with the client's project.

Ryan from the office taking notes gif

Brainstorm. This is the step where we think of ideas... brilliant ideas.

great idea gif

Online vs Traditional

There are many directions a marketing strategy can take that will lead to success. One of the biggest choices in marketing is trying to decide whether to rely on traditional or online media. A good mix of the two is highly recommended. An example for a new campaign would be pay per click and a physical billboard. The list below highlights the benefits of both avenues in order for a business to decide where to place the budget and focus.
 
           Traditional
1.      The average business spends the majority of their marketing budget on traditional media. 
2.      Depending on the customer base, they may be more drawn to a printed piece then a digital pop up.
3.      TV and Radio are media king.  Be seen when the customer is paying attention.
 
 
Online
1.      Online Media allows small businesses to advertise economically.
2.      Businesses can target to specific audience. Online can help identify where the consumer is seeing the product. 
3.      Everything placed online can be measured. This ability of measurement means instant results if a campaign in working.
4.      When a company invests in SEO this results in long term marketing. This SEO investment benefits a business for months after the initial creation.
                                                          
Concept Marketing will find the perfect mix of traditional and online media advertising for your business. You will have an effective strategy that best combines the two media. Call us for your media consultation. 
 

Creativity=Currency

Have you ever had a brilliant idea pop into your head and think “why has no one thought of this”? These original ideas are what makes today’s world go-round, especially in advertising. Agencies can conduct similar research and contact the same vendors for pricing, but what makes an agency worthwhile are the employee’s ideas. These ideas are the design, social media, and content that become the brand and marketing identity of the business.
The people within the agency are what businesses are buying.  It’s the people that are pushing trends and looking for innovation. Companies purchase ideas that will suit them and the brand when developing a marketing campaign.  This creativity, consisting of ideas, innovation, and abilities, is the currency that agencies deal in.
How can businesses measure an agency’s creativity? First, look at the track record of the agency. If the agency is heavily and exclusively involved in the same industry, innovation and creativity may be stagnant. If you take a look at Concept Marketing’s portfolio, you will find that there is a diverse variety of services and products in the agency portfolio. Concept Marketing is able to shift gears quickly. This swiftness and ability to create dynamic campaigns in a short timeframe is because of the diversity of current clients working with the agency and the employee’s background catering to varied  advertising accounts.
Agencies who can hold their own in a creative smack down are also able to brainstorm diverse ideas for clients. Like the old saying goes, “time is money,” creative currency falls in the same vein. Ideas should be strategized and executed in a timely manner in order for them to work. One idea or campaign will work in the month of May, but not in the month of June. Agencies with far reaching timelines are not using creative currency correctly and their client’s branding stock will plummet as a result.
Creativity is the most valuable currency in today’s advertising marketplace. Concept Marketing is diversified and reacts quickly to new market trends, furthering the value of creativity in marketing and advertising.

Jump!

Businesses have traditionally had to decide if campaigns will be strategized by an advertising agency or their internal marketing department.  The new luxury trend in big business is not making the decision. Instead, these larger companies are deciding to “ball jump” the campaign. The business will pit the in-house group against the agency and see who comes up with the best campaign and budget.
”Ball Jumping” can be found playing out in the Apple Corporation. Many industry insiders have seen a creative decline in advertising and marketing with Apple. To fix this, the mega business has brought on new internal faces while still utilizing their agency of record.  The thought process is that two competing groups will only present the best of their collective ideas.
If a group or firm does not have a competitor, there is no threat and can become complacent. Agencies have been competitive with each other for years. Agencies’ competitive nature is finely tuned and they know how to find and poke holes in campaigns. This strategy will be played out with an in-house department who does not necessarily have direct competitors. They are in a shark tank and used to fighting it out for dominance.
An in-house group may not have the same fighting instinct. Internal marketing is steeped in the product, causing an innovation struggle. The internal team has to continue to work with one another on different projects. The group adapts to each other and the product’s creative past, creating a homogenous culture of ideas. Agency employees strategize and formulate in different groups. This mix up among teams encourages a cycle of innovation from the different ideas and group culture.
This trend in advertising “ball jumping” has caught on with other businesses as well. Smaller businesses are exploring marketing options and tapping agencies for strategy and campaign rollouts. Concept Marketing will work with your in-house team and present new ideas for a variety of campaigns. Innovation and strategy is what we do best for businesses, large and small.

Pushing the Envelope

Advertising has been known to push the envelope in order to gain attention. Advertising must engage the customer in order for the marketing process to work. However, attracting and grabbing attention comes at the cost of good taste. How do companies know if a new market will find their brand or style offensive? How do companies know what could be seen as poor taste and offensive? 
With uncertainty, advertisers choose to stay well within the lines. This over-cautiousness can potentially kill a company’s marketing growth.  In order to grow and attract customers, it is highly recommended to utilize well-managed and strategic campaigns that are innovative and strategic. It is best practice to work with an advertising company that is cutting edge and keeps a brand’s image from being tarnished while also creating innovation. Below are our three best tips at stepping right to the line of good taste.
Know your specific audience: Understanding your audience is key. Your messaging should specifically target a select demographic and encourage them to purchase the product. If this is successful, it will educate the company on how to reach their target audience and build their brand reputation. Once this group is evangelized, they would be considered brand advocates and speak positively about the product and company.
Know the culture:  A brand selling hamburgers in India is not going to have much luck. Is there a specific audience that would love your burger? Yes. Is the audience large enough to support backlash and costs? Probably not. Having a full campaign selling hamburgers in India may not be wise. Instead, the focus should be on inexpensive and targeted marketing.
What are your internal employees comfortable with:  Brainstorm with your employees and marketing agency. If an eyebrow is raised with an internal brand advocate and the idea is publicly introduced anyways — brows could explode.
Concept Marketing can help you and your business team find the correct branding and voice. This voice should connect with the audience, engage the culture, and grow the business. Concept Marketing will keep your business and brand in good taste while attracting the attention of your targeted demographic.

How to Get a Job in Advertising

So you have big dreams of being a Mad Man do ya? If you are a recent college graduate with a degree in marketing, communication, or design you may be asking where to start. Well we are here to give you the best secrets and chance to getting hired by an advertising agency.

Great start getting a degree! Concept Marketing values education and other agencies do as well. The skills learned over the last few years were worth it and now you are valuable in the workforce. Now it’s the day after graduation or few months after. You are wondering what to do. Well log on to the computer and polish your resume.

When searching for candidates, agencies like to see work experience and a portfolio. When creating your resume, be sure to include active language that displays you have done something pertaining to the job. An example would be an entry level marketing strategist. You will want to call out project management, ROI, and specifics/successes of the project you had hands on. If you are an up and coming designer, work on your hard copy portfolio, digital portfolio, and online portfolio.

Once your resume is polished, look on job boards for advertising and marketing positions. Be proactive and call agencies in your area or in the area you want to work.  Being proactive shows that you have initiative, which is essential in the industry. 

Hooray! Your portfolio, resume, and interview skills were amazing and you got the job! This is where the nitty gritty insider advice comes in.

The Basics- Do a great job, be on time, and know when it’s time to clock out. It can be enticing and addictive to always be at the office or on your phone checking in. You can still maintain a professional relationship, do a great job and not be on call 24/7. Unless of course your job description details that requirement.

Read your Non-Compete- When the agency extends the offer, they will also send a contract. This contract is a non-compete and dictates what you can do and say should you ever leave the agency. Your understanding of this document is vital.

Continue Learning- An agencies’ success is based on developing trends and creative thought. Keep your creative juices flowing by investigating upcoming trends. Sign up for webinars and newsletters to stay on top of your game and in the know.

Well there you have it. All of our secrets to get and keep a job in advertising.  Good luck graduate and new peer!

WHOOPS!

Whoops! That didn’t work.
This is a phrase many of say in our lives, but we prefer not to say it in our business ventures. Many business owners and staff begin a campaign with good intentions when creating a marketing campaign. Sometimes these campaigns fail even with good intentions. Can companies recover from this failure? Maybe.
First- The business must take a step back and decide what parts of the campaign were a bust.
Second- If the entire campaign was a bust, determine what went wrong. If only certain parts were an issue, re-craft the campaign to connect with people.
Third- Businesses need to take time for discovery. Why was this decisions made, who made the decision, what caused things to go haywire? If it is methodology issue, the business can look at structure and the team members who lead the campaign. Was the mistake was outside the business’s control, like a delivery or posting issue? This may simply be handled with by questioning the vendor.
Fourth- If the campaign triggered public outrage, a carefully crafted message with the help from a public relations agency may need to be deployed. It is crucial to have a strong partnership with an agency. The PR agency is not directly tied to the issue and can objectively hear both sides of the story from the business and the public.
Fifth- Take a deep breath. Reassess and move forward. 
Concept Marketing professionals are well equipped with project management skills that partner well with diverse businesses.  So, can a business recover from a marketing failure with Concept Marketing on their side? Yes! Can a business avoid a marketing failure by creating strategy with Concept Marketing? Definitely! 

Building the Best Marketing Team

When building a business empire, proper marketing needs to be a strong cornerstone. Successful businesses realize the importance of marketing and advertising. Businesses generally seek out professionals to better strategize the future. Should the business hire an internal marketing and communications team, or hire an agency that suits their needs? 
Keeping Marketing in-House
Pros-
Control- You know their working schedule. This is great for the business owner who can monitor and wants to be in the day to day workings of marketing.
Cons-
Salary Nightmare- The average social media manager makes $60,000 a year, a copy writer $50,000, and SEO manager upwards of $90,000. These three careers only address some of online marketing, the business still need design and production.   For a business to be successful, each facet of marketing must be addressed. Hiring professionals is the best course of action when planning a marketing strategy. Hiring them out right is expensive.
Dead Creativity- Group think causes a creative status quo in corporations. Agencies are constantly shifting gears with new clients and tends. These quick shifts help agencies to think nibble and imaginatively. 
Hiring an Agency
Pros-
Fresh Attitude- Agencies breed creativity. If the agency creates an idea for a client and it doesn’t quite fit the brand, this great idea is delivered to you at a comparatively low cost.
Deadlines- Agencies operate on tight deadlines. You will be able to see turnaround at a reasonable time and lower price tag.
Cutting Edge- Agencies develop creativity. Their value and currency rely on the continual creation of new ideas. Agencies are constantly in development to improve their work and push brands forward.  Agencies are performance driven, they watch trends and predict upcoming needs for the client.
Focus- Business should be focused on business, not when to post on Facebook or creating direct mail. Hiring an agency allows a business to truly focus on sales and the bottom line.
Cons-
Bottom Line- For small startups, having a devoted agency handling all marketing can be expensive. These startups want to prioritize with an agency where they will get the most bang for their buck.
Concept Marketing has the experience and knowledge in leading large marketing campaigns for corporations or consult start-up business.  Our marketing professionals will work with you and your company to help further your business strategy.
 
 

How Very Worldly - Advertising Around The World

American culture continues to spread around the world. Many International communities religiously watch American television shows and movies, just as Americans do. The American culture has had a large influence, but can American advertising agencies take a page from the foreign book of business? Would it work the same on us? Marketing practices differ around the world, because the populations being targeted are attracted to different tactics. In this article we will explore the marketing and advertising practices in Japan, India, and Brazil.  
 
Japan is the world’s third largest economy. Japan’s position on the international stage brings the worlds business to attention. Many marketing giants like McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Williams and Sonoma have worked hard to break in to the market. The businesses above saw success in Japan, only because they changed their American and European techniques and made them undeniably Japanese. The Japanese culture responded to their slang, dialects, and recognizable messaging placed on typically American brands. The mix of west meeting east was a delicate line that the successful companies walked.
 
India is an economical sleeping giant. The country is currently investing in industry and the people are increasingly becoming educated, taking their western education back to India. This has made India a particularly interesting culture for marketing. Not only is the culture open to western entertainment and ideas, India also has Bollywood. Bollywood is quintessential Indian and brings the ability to market effectively, because the Indian culture already responds and is partial to the Bollywood culture.
 
The Indian culture can delight in western influence, but wants to see their homegrown stars promoting the product. This was seen when McDonalds rolled out new restaurants in India. The Indian restaurants featured Bollywood stars, but also had specialized menu’s that did not include cow meat.  McDonalds completely assimilated to the Indian culture, and the culture responded positively. If the fast food giant tried to serve up an American patty with an American sweetheart on the side, the company would not have survived in the market. The company would not have survived because the Indian culture reveres the cow and as stated above identifies with homegrown celebrities. 
 
Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world and growing. From a marketing strategy this means more influx of money and the ability to market to a large population with upward mobility. This upward mobility is important, but the strongest marketing tool in Brazil is the push from the government for free Wi-Fi. With free Wi-Fi, a business will be able to connect with 192 million people instantly. A mobile strategy is key when trying to crack into this Brazil nut.
 
Besides mobile and Wi-Fi, Brazil is a culture of first adopters. This culture is happy to embrace the newest trends and products. Brazilians are comparable to a nation of hipsters — they want you to know they knew about it first and by the time you know, they are over it. Adding this exclusivity with Brazilian flavor is the best bet for business trying to effectively advertise in the market.
 
United States marketing and advertising agencies can use the information gathered in foreign markets not only to help them break in to international waters, but also reevaluate their effectiveness. Agencies’ effectiveness is the ability to produce new ideas and be innovative in emerging markets. American culture is not the quid pro quo anymore. American agencies will have to look beyond boarders to keep up with the times.
 

Pinned

Let’s play a game of “Would You Rather.” Would you rather buy a product based on A or B?
A)
Bun, meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion
 
B)
http://www.foodbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/shutterstock_63969367-300x300.jpg
We would pick B.  MMMMMM B…..urger.
This game shows the importance of visual communication. Consumers are drawn to what they see, not read. The need to present products visually created the increasingly popular Pinterest. Pinterest is a social media platform that encourages people to display their wish lists online and share them with friends and other like-minded individuals.
25.5 million unique users frequent the site each month spending 1 hour and 38 minutes browsing products. This hour and half is more than Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn receive combined.  Pinterest is working with the consumer to find what is popular enhancing the community’s efforts. This is seen when a pin is posted once and has an 80% chance of being posted again, and then 10 more times. Each of those 10 pins will produce 10 more, the cycle is fast and spreads like wildfire. If one person likes the product, more will follow. From this duplication each of the pins will produce 6 website visits, and then the cycle repeats itself.  
Pinterest’s power also bolsters SEO. A business is discovered by the SEO bread crumbs on the internet. Pinterest allows not just crumbs, but a loaf to be placed in front of the customer to find and share. Pinterest is a search engine, the site is looking for popular words and images to promote to members. When that pin is linked back to the site, the originals site’s SEO is improved. These crumbs/loaves have a ripple effect not only within the Pinterest search engine, but other search engines will pick up on the popularity of the site.  
From increased Pinterest SEO, a business can expect sales to be generated. The average Pinterest user will spend between $140- $180 when purchasing from Pinterest. This is relatively easy money; a business cannot pay to advertise or optimize with Pinterest. The consumer comes to you through the popularity of the site and your pins.
A businesses ability to properly pin and be pinned is based on an overarching marketing strategy. Concept Marketing will create this a marketing strategy for your business that utilizes all appropriate and savvy Pineterest marketing strategies.  
 
 

A Little Blue Birdie Told Me...

When analyzing the importance of Twitter, it is easy to reduce this fast moving social marketing medium to shallow amusing news updates and a never ending flow of hashtags. The updates are called “tweets” and are intended to be short and to the point.  This direct communication has attracted a generation who appreciates breaking news and have become accustomed to the 24-hour news cycle.  The importance of Twitter is not only the rapid fire updates received but is an important world tool for causes that need quick attention.
 
When a revolution erupted in Egypt in 2011, protesters used tweeted directives to overthrow a military and the current government rule. These tweets were used to organize protesters and broadcast untainted messages and personal accounts from the protesters on the ground. These tweets were not only valuable to Egyptians, but were used by the international media as firsthand accounts. These first hand accounts solidified the pro-democracy Egyptians while international support poured in with the use of #Jan25 and #Egypt. Did Twitter cause the Egyptian revolution?  No. But it was the catalyst instrument. Twitter was a largely contributing strategic, non-violent weapon in the success of the Egyptian revolution, not a powerful, well-armed military.
 
Recently, Ukraine led their own revolution and took cues from the Egyptians. Ukraine protesters/ revolutionaries used Twitter to organize and mobilize a large populous that would otherwise have been unheard.  The hashtag of choice was #weareukraine. This hashtag cited Ukraine’s main issue and the reason for the protest —Ukraine should remain independent from Russia. The power of quick communication thru Twitter mobilized populations and attracted the world’s attention.
 
In peaceful Twitter times, tweets are seen in celebrity Twitter wars and highlighting our favorite brands.  The power of Twitter is extended into marketing as a tool of suggestion and continual, positive reinforcement. When a product wants to be highlighted by a celebrity, companies no longer solely seek endorsements for television. Twitter is used by these celebrity endorsers to directly contact a loyal base and evangelize the product to an eager audience. News sources have reported that Kim Kardashian charges $10,000 per tweet. A look at Kim’s Twitter feed shows that a majority of her thoughts are consumed with certain pre-determined products she endorses.  To her 20 million followers this is a legitimate product that Kim actually uses.  Her Twitter followers are more likely to “trust” her opinion on a product than any other marketing or advertising they have seen.  Twitter’s marketing power is rooted in quick almost flippant thoughts that are not directly tied to a cause, allowing the ultimate goal to sell the cause and allow the marketing to be disguised. 
 
Have no fear. Small businesses also successfully use Twitter to further their brand without hiring an expensive, power-house celebrity endorser. Businesses use Twitter to engage and evangelize their current customers while attracting new ones. Current customers are encouraged to follow a products social media by first liking the product. Since this is a main business goal for any company, the first major hurdle for social media is covered. Customers follow and keep tabs by engagement and content. If a business invests in operating a Twitter feed with regular postings and original content, communities will grow. Another option is to utilize Twitter as a sales tool by offering followers a special coupon or price. Twitter, like any social media, can be time consuming. Between the engagement and original content, a business owner may feel overwhelmed. Concept Marketing can take the pressure off of a business by creating and maintaining a thriving online community. #bestblogpostever.
 

Facebook Marketing for your Business

Think back to the last time you logged on to Facebook. On your news feed you saw the people and products you have connected with in the past and you may also have seen advertisements for a variety products and websites you have visited in the past. This is the power of online advertising and remarketing, having the ability to place your brand and product in a private world.
 
Many people of all ages use Facebook to connect with friends from around the world. It’s easy today to connect with the person you met at the park or look up your best friend from Junior High. Facebook is the platform for online human interaction. Remember this scenario? You were scrolling through your newsfeed, you might clicked “like” on your friends post, and then you see an advertisement made by your favorite coffee shop offering a coupon to Facebook followers.  This is the power of Facebook, products continuously intermix in a virtual universe.
The numbers associated with Facebook are amazing. An attentive and engaged audience of 1.3 billion users log on each month.  This can help a business’s online reach rapidly grow while tracking emerging trends because they are directly connecting with their target demographic. A business can also reach their consumers while they are on the run with a rapidly growing seven hundred thousand users searching Facebook using their mobile devices.
 
A global reach is now possible for a small business with Facebook. A company in Albany can sell their product to a person in Portland with minimal work. This is how it works:  The Albany Jam Company posts on their Facebook page about new seasonal jams with a link to the website. The Albany Jam Company has 1000 followers and the post is seen by 300 of those followers. Some of these followers like, comment, and share the link. Their friends then see the post originally provided by the Albany Jam Company. Every 20 minutes, one million links are shared via Facebook.  With the average user having 130 friends, the Albany Jam Company now has quite the reach via this inexpensive and popular social media outlet. The post catches the attention of a person who is based in Portland, but is friends with someone who liked the Albany Jam Facebook page. Soon the link is clicked, jam is purchased, and the Albany Jam Company Facebook page has one more follower. This follower will in turn increase the Facebook pages reach and ability to communicate with a broad audience. 
 
Social media is a commitment, but this commitment has the high potential to be rewarding with profits. By posting regularly and interacting with the community not only will a business owner have a new platform for marketing, followers will be loyal to the brand. The Social Marketing team at Concept Marketing can strategize with you on how to best capture and maintain your Facebook audience among other services like managing the page, branding it and helping to build communication outlets.
 

The YouTube Storm Part 2

YouTube videos are not for everyone and a company should not attempt to please everyone. Shotgun marketing has never been a sustainable plan and should not be executed in social media. To better utilize YouTube, it is good practice to simply focus on their respective target market. The site is a powerful tool to deliver a personal message to customers. The customer chose to watch the video. They made a choice that is not available on regular cable or television programming. When someone clicks to watch, they have a high interest in the message and product.

YouTube can be a powerful tool in a company’s marketing plan. Aim it at the target group and produce content to tantalize and sell. Searching the web is a personal experience. Every click is a choice by someone, and searching is not surfing. Surfing is best explained as someone looking for a location to settle on that requires little effort — you may find they just may want the entertainment. Searching the web is a different experience full of rich choices. Searching is for explorers and action takers, surfing is for the passive internet browser.
It is recommended to have a YouTube goal that satisfies that search. Give your web presence the personal touch that your offline presence has. For a company this presence should be in a setting the customer would be comfortable visiting. If a home service is being extended film in a home. If advice extended or a tutorial is being demonstrated a comfortable office with the focus on the person would be appropriate.

Similar to a storm that pushes a front of cold or warm air in, YouTube pushes waves of innovation. People by nature want to create, and YouTube is an accessible platform to create. A company’s video should encourage creation on the part of the customer, either by reacting to the video’s message or offer, or becoming part of the community in the comment section.

Comments are an integral part of a videos. People who leave comments on company’s pages want to be heard. Know this: feedback is a gift. Accepting feedback will help improve the business and content of videos. With the internet information overload, take it with a grain of salt and be able to sift through the commentary and determine what constructive criticism is and what is simply a personal rant.

How would you envision utilizing a unique tool like YouTube?

The YouTube Storm Part 1

Why a storm?

Have you ever watched or been in a storm? Your senses become heightened as the thunder claps, rain pelts, and lightning strikes. The power of a storm is pervasive and tremendous. Storms start small but gain momentum from the elements and grow until they are an unstoppable force.

That's YouTube.

If you are technologically savvy and business-minded you already know how influential YouTube has become. When YouTube started it was viewed as a virtual playground for amateurs and hobbyists. Smart marketers have come to realize it's potential.

YouTube functions completely off the premise of “social currency.” Social currency is the fastest moving form of currency on the planet. It's based off the “cool factor” or “I know something that no one else does” elements. People want to share social currency. It comes in the form of pictures, videos, music, games, apps, etc.

YouTube is unique. It's a trusted name. It's free. It's powerful.

Millions of companies utilize YouTube yet they don’t use it to its fullest capacity. They produce content aimed at the front page and hope for the best. High views should be the goal of every company produced video. There are two ways to get to the top. First, a company can use customers and their social networks to make the video go viral and appear on top pages. If you have a large social media following, this could be an excellent route. The second option is paid placement and is also what many companies tend to lean toward using.  Product placement is an important part of YouTube business. Products can appear as part of the paid search or a company can hire a YouTube cyberstar to recommend the product.

How does a company best utilize YouTube? First, the company must plan best practices for YouTube. Best practices include consistent, current branding and messaging. It is also very important that the voice of the company be in the same tone on YouTube as heard in the real world.  Below is an example of a customer interaction for an emerging tech company utilizing YouTube tutorials as a source for education and the promotion of their products. 

Matt is a father of two who loves to photograph his children’s soccer games. Matt had noticed that the coloring of his photos is a little off and with a little effort his pictures could be a family masterpiece. He ventured on YouTube to learn more about the Photoshop software. As he scrolled the videos, one caught his attention. The video was placed by bluefish.com, Matt liked the length of the video and clicked to start. A pleasant voice greeted Matt and guided him though the steps to create a better photo. As the video ended with the company’s logo and links to more content and the company’s website. Matt went on to look at the company’s products and services on the official company website.

Matt’s stumble is not dumb luck, and the business that is generated by YouTube success is nothing to laugh at. Companies can make a small fortune not only from leads generated from the site, but ad sense from the video can also contribute to the company’s bottom line.

Photoshop Knows No Boundaries

Late 2011. GlobalDemocracy.com launches a YouTube video urging advertisers to run truth-in-advertising notifications along with Photoshopped glamour and fashion images. The original video receives over five million hits and the re-posts get millions more. Among the more interesting re-posts are those that use the original video as evidence of the positive effects of cosmetology and photo retouching—something along the lines of, “Even you can look like a supermodel!”
It’s safe to say that admiring beauty is even older than the world’s oldest profession. As long as there have been two or more women in the world at least one has been singled out for her beauty, leading to several outcomes.
 
First, realism of expectation may suffer. While cosmetology and glamour retouching have been called “unrealistic,” people have a tendency to ignore truly unrealistic images and admire those that are “realistic enough” to maintain the belief that there are real women who resemble the image. Still, the manipulated image is unrealistic for the woman it portrays and for a large sector of the population, leading to extremes in self-alteration in order to resemble the artificial.
Second, a significant number of those who are unable to come close to the ideal in beauty—and even a significant number of those already at the top of the class in looks—are likely to be afflicted with a distorted image of themselves, seeing a reflection in the mirror that is far uglier than objective reality would portray. This distortion can have truly harmful results not only on the psyche of a person, but also through incorrect advertising – making promises that can’t be delivered. 
Third, there may be impacts to human connections, an issue our culture has virtually ignored. Over-idealization of a particular female aesthetic can cripple a man’s ability to engage in healthy long-term relationships. And a woman’s relationships can similarly be hampered by her belief that she will never measure up to the ideal woman in a man’s imagination.
 
Can this problem be solved? In a way, it is already solving itself. Once you start watching time lapse photo retouching videos, you can’t watch just one. You may lose an entire work day to YouTube. And eventually, you’ll find a cache of Photoshop fail reels, highlighting the tragic comedy of poor quality retouching. Once you’re sensitized to these techno disasters, you’ll see them everywhere—billboards, magazine covers, catalogs. At the same time, efforts such as those by GlobalDemocracy.com, Dove soap’s Campaign for Real Beauty and the “stars without makeup” meme are strong but natural information-age reactions to beauty idealism.
 
With all that said, Photoshop can be used for good! Perhaps a shirt color needs to be changed for an ad. Or you need to take a photo shoot at the beach, but live in the mountains. Photoshop can be so much more. The opportunities for positive imagery are endless and fun!
 

Simplicity: The KISS Rule of Branding

Simplicity has value. Yes, it’s a little counterintuitive. We all think we want the car with all the bells and whistles, not the stripped-down model with a no-nonsense engine and some wheels. However, recent surveys are telling us that simple messages, simple products and simple services give consumers a few ideas that surpass the bells and whistles.
 
One idea is that, when a brand’s meaning is easily understood, the public perceives that interacting with that brand will be uncomplicated. Let’s take Amazon, for example, currently the number one simple brand in the U.S.: Everyone knows that Amazon means “hassle-free online marketplace”. Knowing that, the public expects to be able to open Amazon easily, shop for what they want easily, buy an item quickly, and then receive fast shipment without any difficulty. We seem naturally attracted to a respite from ubiquitous information overload and the stress of complicated transactions.
 
Studies show that consumers will spend more on simpler experiences than on the complicated ones. Contrary to the “bells & whistles” idea, consumers seem to understand that the less complicated something is, the less there is that can go wrong. Starbucks is a good example (this year’s number ten simple U.S. brand): You a pay a premium, but you get exactly what you want and you get it right now. Easy. Yes, you can get more than coffee, but the emphasis is on what Starbucks does best and what the public wants the most.
 
Perhaps the more powerful idea is that an easily-understood brand is more trustworthy. Example: McDonald’s (currently America’s number three simple brand). To understand the meaning of the McDonald’s brand is to know exactly what you’re going to get at McDonald’s. Even if you think McDonald’s food is consistently bad, its consistency is comforting. With that kind of identity, consumers are comfortable not only interacting with the brand, but recommending it to friends as well.
 

Today’s latest marketing trends:

Social media has hit the big-time. #duh. Here’s what’s new: From the standpoint of technology and marketing sophistication, social media is maturing, despite its juvenile content on some networks. Social media is quickly becoming a tool for retaining preferred customers in addition to finding new customers. Social media marketing strategies are a necessity for business survival, not a luxury. And to top things off, SEO and social media are becoming progressively more integrated, with highly-shared links translating to highly-ranked searches. Individual networks are still jockeying for position (Foursquare is down, MySpace is back up, LinkedIn is still up, Facebook is down among youth, Twitter is up among youth), but the overall trend continues upward. What you can take from this is recognizing which social media works best with your target demographic.
 
Mobile computing has heated up quickly. Websites that are not currently optimized for mobile use are losing. Businesses that are launching their own mobile apps and services are winning. And, consumers are not just swapping PC’s for iPhones—they continue to use mobile devices for tasks they never asked their PC’s to do, paving the way for new marketing opportunities. These include the digital wallet (with new mobile loyalty programs), location-based point-of-decision communications (such as just-in-time delivery of incentives and coupons) and QR codes—a technology that has matured and raised expectations of creativity.
Content rules; visual content rules even more. The pressures to develop content better and faster have never been greater. And there’s a twist: visual content is killing text-based content. The hottest social media networks are those that focus on images and video, not just words; infographics are killing pure data. On websites, the need for creative, relevant content continues to grow with each Google Search Engine algorithm update.
 
Simpler is better. Overwhelmed by sensory input, consumers are opting for brands with easily-understood, simple messages. Trust, referral of friends and eagerness to engage a brand all increase dramatically as complexity declines.
Reputation Management is becoming a critical factor for businesses of every size. Even the tiniest, most obscure restaurant has numerous online reviews to support it or dump on it. Disgruntled customers’ formerly empty threats to discredit a business are now a serious issue with the strength of the online commentary phenomena. Managing those comments aggressively but diplomatically is today’s marketing first aid kit. In addition, Reputation Management is cross-branding its importance into all facets of online marketing, to include: website optimization, mapping and social networking.