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New Day, Old Spice

One of the best ways to market a business is to be memorable. And one of the best ways to be memorable is to create bold ads. That’s just what Old Spice did when it started its comedic commercials a few years ago. It seems like the deodorant industry is full of companies seeking to create a “wow” factor with their ads. For instance, Axe has always sort of been known as the scent of choice for teenagers looking to attract the ladies because their ads are full of innuendo and undertones. However, that has always sort of been the image of Axe. For Old Spice, it was a little bit of a risk, taking a company that was fairly boring  and going for a comedic route. But apparently, funny sells because Old Spice has built an empire, and people actually wait in anticipation of the next video featuring Terry Crews. Getting videos to go viral is difficult, but attempting to bring excitement and entertainment to the mundane is a good start. For the web startup, this has been seen numerous times, like Dollar Shave Club. So for the web startup, it may be worth it to take a risk, be bold, and attempt the next viral sensation.

For the latest from Old Spice…

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Starbucks Enhances In-Store Mobile Experience

With smartphones accounting for over fifty percent of mobile phones now in the U.S, the focus on the mobile platform is critical for large competitive businesses. Starbucks is one company that has targeted mobile phone users in order to build their customer experience. They’ve long had an app through which people could pay, check their account balance, and build rewards.  They’ve built a following that uses the app on a frequent basis. They’ve also recognized that though features are nice, the ease-of-use of these apps may take precedent. On March 19, they will add new features to their app that seek to enhance the user experience. They’ve created a more seamless mobile tipping feature, which is important because the easier it is to tip, the more likely someone will actually do it. The second feature is a unique shake-to-pay function. When the user shakes the app, the bar code function will automatically display so that users won’t have to press any buttons to get to the checkout. The tip feature will be integrated into the checkout payment.

Starbucks is a big player. They dominate the coffee scene across the country, and are now looking to extend that dominance into the mobile platform. With their new app features, they are no longer just offering mobile payment options as a function, but encouraging it by making it a fluid and easy-to-use option for customers. With eleven percent of their transactions taking place through the mobile app, the importance of providing a positive experience is very high.

The attention that retailers, like Starbucks, are paying to the mobile platform is evidence of the trend in mobile devices to enhance the in-store experience. I think that these mobile services will become even more common as the younger smartphone-using demographic grows. Innovation like this is key to success, especially in businesses where the clientele may be well versed in technological advances.  Being able to provide a unique service that is both easy to use and helpful will likely become an expectation out of users, who are becoming more impatient. I think that companies, like Starbucks, that continue to build the mobile experience and innovate will have some success and benefit from improving the user experience.

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Using Apps to Revive Old Trends

Over the past century people have changed… a lot. One of the areas where this is most evident is in the daily habits of how we choose to intake information. Information gateways are rapidly changing, and the differences are even radical in my lifetime (22 years). Therefore, it is crucial for a business in any industry really, to understand the trends of how people are breaking down their daily habits.

Jennifer Lee, and her team of founders, noticed the specific trend of how people generally like to serialize their leisure activities. For example, way more people are willing to sit down and watch an episode of a tv show, as an installment of a series, rather than sit down for two hours to watch a movie. Simply put, people today prefer information in “bytes”. What Lee, and the co-founders of the app Rooster, noticed is that this trend is deterring people from reading books. So what they decided to do was to start putting reading into a form of “episodes”. This isn’t a new idea though. The concept dates back to Victorian England, where many popular works were delivered in installments, when books were considered a luxury. The Rooster app will deliver fictional works in fifteen minute “episodes” that are formatted to enable the reader to enjoy each section and easily understand the story as a whole, like a tv show. The app costs $4.99/month.

Using her app, Lee hopes to bring back reading a mainstream leisure activity again. In her market research she noted that less than half of American adults had read at least one work of literature in 2012. This is a trend that she hopes to reverse by appealing to the societal trends of information intake. I think her app is a nice idea, and is looking to modernize an antiquated activity – reading books – by appealing to the cultural shifts. Using the iPhone as her medium, she is targeting the 25% of Americans who are moving their daily habits to Apple’s digital/mobile platform. Perhaps this will change the way people read, and help to bring daily reading back to the masses.

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Big Demands for Brands

Well into the age of the internet, the demands that people place on brands are now more apparent than ever. People have instant access to information all over the world, all the time, and now in their pocket. For the entrepreneur, this creates a huge obstacle, but also creates an opportunity. On one hand, web presence is something that must be constantly attended to. Companies have to stay up-to-date and connect with their customers and be consistent through multiple mediums over the web. If a company fails to do this, the results could be incredibly destructive, especially for young companies. Here are a few stats to back this up:

–          46% of people say that a website’s design is the number one criterion discerning the credibility of a company

–          More than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by visual factors

–          B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms

These stats are just a few from an info graphic posted on mashable.com. The constant access to your brand may seem like a lot of pressure, and it is. But, it creates an opportunity to show customers more about your company and why they should choose you over the sea of competitors. In fact, the emotional gratification that customers feel when choosing certain brands is among the top reasons for brand loyalty. Social media paired with a friendly and helpful customer experience can help a brand to connect with the customers quickly and easily.

To boil it down, I think you have to simply ask yourself, “How does this brand’s internet presence improve my life?” Does it provide an aesthetic, easy-to-understand layout? Is there content that I find relevant and interesting? Is there some way where I can give my feedback and feel like I’ve been heard? These are critical questions that any internet entrepreneur should be asking themselves, because the brands that will be gaining loyalty and advocacy are the ones that are serving their customer’s constant needs and beyond.

Don’t believe me? Check out some of the info graphic for yourself here.

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Super Bowl Commercial Buzz

The Super Bowl is the probably the most anticipated event of the year in terms of advertisements, and companies like Jaguar are sparing no expense to use the fertile ground provided through modern technology to reap a long-lasting “buzz”. For this year’s ad campaign, the car company Jaguar is using the notoriety of some of Britain’s bad boy actors to stir up hype through social media for their Super Bowl commercial. In order to gain some user engagement, they also started using the hashtag “#goodtobebad” in order to get people to post their own observations and share with the online community. In addition, Jaguar has made a key content partner, Gawker, to create a “Good to Be Bad” blog.

The strategies that Jaguar is employing are ones that have become essential to generating viewership and engagement. Blogging is one of the most essential methods for companies to become visible on the web if they are providing good content that people want. It also improves the SEO for companies if it has more content in its related field. Through Facebook, I noticed many videos being advertised and shared prior to the Super Bowl to build hype for the commercials with highly anticipated celebrities. And by using the power of hashtags, companies can stir user engagement by allowing them to submit their own material. These methods, which were cutting edge just a short while ago, are now noticeably necessary for large companies. Nearly every commercial I saw during the big game engaged its viewers with at least one of these tactics, and I’m sure many of them will reap the rewards.

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