Amanda Eggert

Social Media | Governor’s Small Business Summit

I was recently asked by long-time client, Travel Wisconsin to put together a breakout session on social media for the 2014 Governor’s Small Business Summit. A social media breakout session is always a tall order because inevitably you have an audience that spans novice to expert. Unknowingly, I found myself approaching the deck through Aristotle’s three methods of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. (Tangential history lesson: Some 2,400 years after Aristotle’s death, these principles are still the backbone of oral and written communication.) Plainly defined:

  • Ethos: An appeal to the authority or credibility of the presenter
  • Pathos: An appeal to the audience’s emotions
  • Logos: An appeal to the audience’s logic

Every summer from age 16 into my college years I worked at my father’s lawn and landscape company answering phones and processing. I was able to see the inner workings of a small business and relied on this anecdote to establish credibility alongside my 6+ years of experience working in social media for Laughlin Constable.

I kicked things off with a simple premise: Customers are far from rational. Most people lack the motivation, time, or information to make a purchase decision based on function alone, so they rely on other factors, factors they might not even be consciously aware of: emotions. For example someone might feel safe in a Volvo, energetic while drinking a Coke or excited in a BMW. At the end of the day people are emotional creatures and therein lies the benefit of social media: a relationship building tool.

Let me tell you, humans as irrational creatures wasn’t a tough sell on a crowd of small business owners, but to appeal to logic I shared a few compelling stats laddering into the question of “Why Social Media?”

  • 53% of consumers report that they will purchase a brand’s product or services after following them on Facebook
  • 47% of consumers are more likely to visit a brand’s website and 35% are more likely to buy from a brand after following them on Twitter
  • 21% of Pinterest users have purchased something they found on the site

With the stage set I took the audience though Laughlin’s 3-step approach to social media strategy: plan, build and engage. We talked content creation, channel management, reporting, social advertising and beyond. At the end of the day I was reminded of the need for agencies to ruthlessly simplify. Put it into laymen’s terms. Provide a visual. Read the room and rely on your principles of persuasion.

LC_SocialMediaProcess_Overview

Sources: Twitter, The Next Web, Gallup

Ilana R. Borzak

Riding the slipstream

It’s Monday morning after the Super Bowl. Your feet drag as you walk into the office. You stop by your desk to put your bag down and then charge towards the coffee machine. You pour your first cup of the day. The guy who is always wearing a short sleeve button-down shirt regardless of the weather approaches you and starts chatting about his favorite ad from the game. You take your first sip and before you go for a second, you look up and spot a small group of people heading towards the coffee machine that is not even two feet behind you. They pour their coffee and join the conversation.  Two minutes of commercial-mentioning pass:

GUY WITH BUTTON DOWN (GWBD): How much did that spot cost to air again?

WOMAN FROM CUBICLE NEXT TO YOU: The average price for thirty seconds of Super Bowl air time is 3.8 million.*

GWBD: That’s just for the airtime. Don’t forget about the added costs of actually creating the commercial.

Conversation ensues for another minute until GWBD mentions his workload and everyone returns to his or her desk.

 

The nearly four million-dollar price tag is the highest amount the networks have ever set. Many marketers, such as the creators of Go Daddy’s commercial, point to the volume of conversation their ads created on social media to justify the multi-million dollar price tag. But does a brand need upwards of $3.8 million to take advantage of Super Bowl hype?  Not necessarily. This year, two brands got people talking without a huge price tag:

Oreo Takes the Cake 

Oreo cookie has been declared the winner of the Super Bowl’s blackout, beating other brands that used the power outage as a marketing opportunity. Within minutes of the power failure, @Oreo tweeted a photo of an Oreo cookie in a lit corner against a black background. White text under the cookie read: “You can still dunk in the dark.” The satirical, simple, and relevant message resonated with frustrated viewers, most of whom used the interruption to check their Twitter feed and revisit the snack menu. At the time of writing, the Tweet had more than 16,000 retweets and more than 13,000 related news articles. The photo’s production cost was minimal and the media buy was nothing.

Even with the considerable cost associated with setting up a war room for senior management and the client, this social media execution still cost significantly less than a Super Bowl commercial would. And it got people talking.

The Commercial You Didn’t See

Old Milwaukee Beer’s Super Bowl antics are not novel to 2013. For the past couple of years, Will Ferrel has been writing and starring in “crazy fun commercials” for the beer. He spends very little on production and shoots all of the commercials in small towns like Terre Haute, Indiana. The beer company airs the commercial during the Super Bowl in small markets like North Platte, Nebraska, spending very little on media. They then post the video online and allow the powers of the internet to take over.  The beer company’s adept manipulation of the Super Bowl hype brings awareness to the brand at a low cost. And, despite its affiliation with the hyper-commercialized Super Bowl, they successfully maintain their branding as an underground beer. At time of writing, the 2013 Super Bowl ad had more than 3 million YouTube views and nearly 7,000 related new articles.

 

A huge budget is not a requisite for owning a piece of the Super Bowl conversation. True, some of the bigger spenders own a larger chunk of the conversation, but that’s okay. Perhaps ideal. For a brand like Old Milwaukee, a multi-million dollar commercial isn’t appropriate for the image they are working towards. Their method fits with the brand and thus provides a high value at a low cost. Plus, we benefit from brands like Old Milwaukee Beer and Oreo by seeing how creativity, ingenuity, and wit can take a brand places that no money could ever buy.

 

*Note: While quotes are direct, characters are fictionalized

 

 

Casey Flanagan

Steps Two and Three: Identify and Remove Barriers

Next Tuesday offers our yearly opportunity for a collective fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. I trust you may have a few resolutions already in mind. But even if you know where you want to go, getting starting can be hard. Which is why we recommend a very simple first step: just start. But where to from there?

Last September’s Harvard Business Review offers clear-headed, straightforward advice. The issue was organized around the concept of “The (Surprisingly) Simple Rules Of Strategy.” Two different articles shared an important theme. Here are excerpts from the executive summaries of each:

Bringing Science To The Art of Strategy
…The authors outline a strategy-making process that combines rigor and creativity. A team begins by formulating options, or possibilities, and asks what must be true for each to succeed. Once it has listed all the conditions, it assesses their likelihood and thereby identifies the barriers to each choice. The team then tests the key barrier conditions to see which hold true. From here, choosing a strategy is simple: The group need only review the test results and choose the possibility with the fewest serious barriers…

Simple Rules For A Complex World
…This article describes the authors’ subsequent research into why simple rules work and how firms develop them. Typically, after setting its priorities, a company will identify a bottleneck preventing it from making progress toward them and then create rules for managing that bottleneck…

If you want to reach your goal, identify the issues that may keep you from success. Then manage against them. New year? Clear paths. It’s a (surprisingly) simple – and often overlooked – approach that can greatly improve your chances of turning your resolutions into your case studies.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

Casey Flanagan

The Origin Of Creative Executions

 

The creative execution is an evolution of a concept.
The concept is an evolution of an idea.
The idea is an evolution of the brief.
The brief is an evolution of the strategy.

A single brief can give birth to a number of interesting ideas. Ultimately, the fittest concepts survive. Some characteristics of the original strategy carry through. Others morph. Many disappear.

And it’s why strategy matters. That kind of growth – those myriad of possibilities – must be built on a strong foundation. With the proper conditions, truly incredible things can come to be.

Those incredible things are why I don’t mind being the ape.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.