5 Ways Brands Can Tap Into the Super Bowl Without Spending $5Million in :30

social mediaThe 2016 Super Bowl has kicked off! While the football won’t soar thru the air for a few more days, marketers are already vying for consumers’ dollars. The Super Bowl is the last source for mass media reach. Last year, 114.4 million people tuned into the game, and advertisers paid $4.5 million for :30 in front of this audience. Adweek recently reported that ad prices in 2016 were up about 11%, putting a $5 million price tag for a spot in next Sunday’s game.

Only a few brands can afford to spend at that level. However, there are other ways to tap into the Super Bowl audience without dropping $5 million in just thirty seconds.

 

  1. Buy Local: buy spots in major markets on local CBS O&O stations. Asking price on a spot in top three markets is still high at an estimated $2 million. But other markets are asking less than $250k, which opens up the opportunity to run ads in the game at a much lesser cost.

 

  1. Partner with a relevant sports site, blogger/commentator or sports radio station to create “brought to you” highlights to air during the game. These highlights should be shared on publisher and brand websites and social media during the game. This doesn’t have to just be greatest football plays but celebrity sightings, best fashion, crazy fan moments, etc. Depending on size, a sponsorship of a national website would cost between $50,000 and $200,000.

 

  1. The game might be on the biggest screen in the room, but don’t forget the smaller screens. Social media and messenger apps see a higher volume of traffic during the game, most of which occurs on mobile. Build a campaign around key hashtags that correlate with both your brand and the game. Plan content, promotion, or other offerings to encourage consumer engagement.
  • Salesforce estimates $5 million on Facebook can buy 250 million video views. A view is only three seconds, but this approach offers high level of frequency. If the spot is entertaining and short, chances are high that over 71 million people will watch at least 75% of the spot. And social media engagement is high during live sports.
  • Instagram Marquees are estimated at $500,000 per day. This approach provides high share of voice and requires multiple creative executions, but also offers a way for a brand to tell a story.

 

  1. Many networks offer counter programming alternatives that draw considerable fan bases. Consider Animal Planet; their Puppy Bowl audience in 2015 averaged 3.3 million viewers with a :30 running around $100,000. Hallmark Channel got in the game by launching Kitten Bowl. In addition to a spot in the cuteness, HC also organized watch parties in 20 cities in 2015.

 

  1. Go long: drink a beer, enjoy the game, and catch the audience in post-game coverage. This game generates a lot of content in addition to sports. Plan takeover units, or high SOV placements, in sports, news, entertainment, pop culture outlets for the Monday following the game. Opportunities exist in TV, print, online so use multiple platforms to achieve scale, just be sure to allocate budget to match target audience usage habits.

 

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Twitter promoted tweets $200k per day (regular pricing – Twitter only allowing major advertisers (big spenders) to purchase Super Bowl – but doing some cool custom emoji.

 

1 day Masthead on You Tube = $650k (also regular pricing)

 

5 Branding Lessons from Taylor Swift

We can’t all be 5′ 10″ strikingly beautiful, blond pop singers, but we can all succeed like one. Taylor Swift, one of the biggest names in the world, is not only gorgeous, talented, and charming, she is a PR genius. Listen up Brands.

Here are 5 Critical Brand Lessons from Taylor Swift:

1. Make Your Customers Feel Special

Taylor hosted what she calls “Secret Sessions” in her various homes across America. A secret session consists of a small number of lucky fans  invited (by Taylor’s people) to a surprise at a mystery location. Once they arrive, the curious fans are seated in a living room. After a little anticipation and excitement, Taylor appears and plays them her new album, 1989. This was  before it was released. She engages with each fan at the secret session, and most called this “the best day of their lives.”

Brand Lesson: bringing your fans along as insiders and part of the experience creates a deep loyalty and they want to share it with their friends. They become instant influencers. With Taylor, this went viral very quickly and it became an aspirational event for thousands of her fans. Give your fans an inside look at your company.

2. Engage Your Customers In a Personalized Way

Taylor has thousands of excited fans file into packed stadiums every night she’s on tour. It seems like it would be impossible for Taylor to connect with such big arenas. Taylor works magically to make you feel like you’re the VIP of the show, and the night will be the best of your life. In the 1989 World Tour, every audience member received a bracelet that interactively lit up different colors and patterns to each song she played that night. Therefore, the crowd became a part of the show.  The brand is further amplified by the engaging theatrical performance filled with glittery costumes, talented dancers, phenomenal props, and sometimes guest stars like Nick Jonas, the USA Woman’s Soccer Team, or Lorde. As just a very tiny portion of the crowd, you still feel big and important. Taylor makes everyone feel special.

Brand Lesson: Any brand, no matter how big or small, should personalize experiences.  Coke has done this well with their fun name cans.

3. Set your Brand Values and Stay True to Them

Taylor stands up for what she believes. She has real integrity.

In recent news, this pop star changed the music industry, or rather stopped the change in the music industry, by standing up for herself and other artists. She pulled her music off Spotify entirely and then threatened Apple Music immediately after its launch, which caused an uproar, Apple changed the rules for Swift. Taylor is just one girl, but  she forced one of the biggest companies in the world to adjust to her liking. After this, Taylor was all over the news; people were wowed and praised her for standing up. In the end she got what she wanted and a whole new addition for her fan base.

Brand Lesson: Stay true to your values. People value brands that have integrity.

4.Collaborate to Amplify Your Brand

Taylor has always been known to shock her fans during concerts with surprise guests, whom she often sings duets. Outside of her concerts, Taylor chooses wisely on who she collaborates with. For instance, she sang a hit single with then up and coming heart break Ed Sheeran, she had fun doing a mock mix with T-Pain in one of her first albums, and even landed a track with John Mayer. Taylor is exciting in the eyes of her fans, and trust me, they love her on her own, but they’re always pleasantly surprised and excited when someone else comes into the mix. And Taylor always makes sure whoever she’s incorporating into her career is hot on the market, and a good person. She has her fans finding themselves getting two for the price of one in multiple situations, and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

Brand Lesson:  yes, you’re awesome, but you can be even better when you work together. Make alliances and work together to create a power team that everyone’s watching. If you have Taylor Swift fans, and you have T-Pain fans, and the two make a song together, you might create some overlap. The same goes for brands.

5. Be Authentic 

Being a celebrity, especially a young pop star, is a tough course to navigate. But Taylor has never apologized for being herself, for being genuine, and people respond to that. Even tougher is staying out of the media for mistakes you’ve made. Taylor, on the other hand, has a clean reputation. This is not because her PR people are really good, although I’m sure they are, but because there is no act behind the kindness. She’s just a nice person. She’s constantly takes time out of her busy day to reach out to fans, donate to people in need, or make her followers laugh. Taylor comes off as relatable to her fans with funny posts on Instagram and messages she sends through email blasts. Because of this reliability and caring personality, fans feel like they’re friends with Taylor, and they could be besties instantly if they met her. With her fans as her friends, she’s got a huge army that will stand by her through her career.

Brand lesson: be nice and provide outstanding customer service. Give back. Help your communities. These are all likeable and genuine values.

So yes, Taylor’s a great singer who writes catchy choruses and wears pretty sparkly clothes. But she’s also a leader among Millennials and GenZ.  I’m seeing “Sparks Fly” from Swift’s superstar career.

Every brand can learn from this trailblazer.

BrandCottage adds Ushma Patel to Oversee Digital Strategy.

umaBrandCottage is excited to announce the addition of Ushma Patel to our team of media experts. Ushma has over 10 years of media planning/buying experience and spent much of that time in the digital arena. Ushma was most recently digital marketing manager at Carter’s Inc. Previously she held digital media planning roles at agencies including Nurun, Breathe, OMD, and JWT.

As we continue to grow, our clients demand more digital expertise. BrandCottage is fortunate to have someone of Ushma’s experience and skill set to help elevate all of our clients’ media plans to deliver audiences cross-platform. In addition, Ushma will further advance our media analytics offerings to the brands we serve.

Ushma can be reached at ushma@brandcottage.com

Welcome to the team Ushma!

Patricia Wilson
President BrandCottage

Inconsistent Brand Strategy on Facebook Leaves Marketers Frustrated

What’s up with Facebook?

Those in branding and marketing are probably counting the days when yet another change to the social network will leave us puzzled…and frustrated.

When Facebook recently moved away from its fan-based organic approach and into promoted posts, there was pushback from users who are annoyed with the ads.

Marketers and business owners who had been gathering steam over the years by growing a solid fan base on Facebook’s business pages were also irritated.

Branding pros understand that paid ads are exasperating for Facebook users, and don’t want to be part of the mix. Who would? Any brand that cares about its reputation and how the company is perceived would head for the hills.

Being perceived as an interruption is not good for business. Brands work towards relevance, and this latest Facebook change moves in a very different marketing direction. I’m sticking with relevance.

Facebook’s new model, sans click-bait, oversteps the lines of consumer privacy. Facebook’s latest catch is that a new algorithm shifts from clicks to how time someone actually spends on a particular ad or site. That’s when the dreaded flood of spam and pop-ups begin.

A few years ago, I went online to get a coupon for an oil change for my car. Within a split second, I was receiving competitor discounts for oil changes, ads for new tires, a mechanic training program, and a car dealership right near my house. Oh, what a simpler time in social media….

Many industry leaders maintain Facebook is chipping away at the precious content that brands often struggle to create. If our content is bumped to Facebook’s back burner, and our fans are seeing promoted posts valued by the social channel instead, why should we continue with the platform?

I have to wonder how important Facebook actually is to my business, and my clients’ businesses.

There’s an interesting post from The Wall Street Journal about this very topic. East24, an online food ordering service, dumped its entire Facebook presence, “claiming the social network was deliberately limiting the exposure of its posts in order to force it to pay for ads.” The post, written by Jack Marshall further explains:

“Many marketers paid significant sums to accumulate audiences or ‘fans’ on the social network, only to find it’s getting harder to actually put content in front of them without paying. Interestingly, Facebook’s response seems to be that fans help boost the effectiveness of its ad products. In other words, marketers must pay for ads to extract value from the fans they may already have paid to acquire. The changes aren’t designed to help Facebook sell more ads, but they might.”

I’m not willing to dig into my client’s budget to pay to engage with relationships that were already established.

And did heaven and earth fall apart when Eat24 shuttered its Facebook page? This was the company’s parting post with Facebook.

“We closed our Facebook page, and absolutely nothing happened. The sky didn’t cave in. Hell didn’t freeze over. Tuesdays are still exclusively for Tacos. Everything is pretty much exactly the same as it was when we had a page. The only difference is now we don’t have to think about things like optimal headline length, preview image resolution, and the proper ratio of cats to cheeseburgers to maximize virality.”

Haven’t consumers already proven that they don’t want to suffer through irrelevant ads and commercials on TV? Can you say DVR?

 

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Visual Content Widens the Branding and PR Gap

The line between advertising, branding, marketing and PR may appear blurry to some, but I believe clarity has arrived.

Interestingly enough, it is the disruptive visual platforms Instagram and Pinterest that are bringing clarity to the overall communications industry.

In a traditional sense, Public Relations practitioners have been wordsmiths; conveying written and (limited) visual messages to the public. PR pros have mainly used words and text to increase awareness and educate people about products, services, controversies, and causes.

But, 2014 has been a tsunami of visuals and images in communication. This has widened the skills gap between branding and PR. For example, research proves that press releases and blog posts containing visuals have significantly higher open and read rates than content with straight text.

Many PR executives and organizations are inserting video snippets or infographics into their press releases. Their goal is to improve engagement and news pitches to reporters. Visual tours are becoming more commonplace with PR, too. Show, don’t tell.

This is a far cry from branding and the visual web that’s unfolding in our industry today.

Who ‘owns’ a company’s brand positioning?

Not the PR department, the mavens of linguistics.

According to a post on TheNextWeb, photo and video posts on Pinterest refer more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Google+ combined.

Storytelling with visuals is driving branding as well. Forty-two percent of all Tumblr posts are photos.

The first commercial camera was introduced in 1873. Today, there are more than 1 billion photos on Instagram.

Welcome to the visual web.

Branding, marketing, advertising, and sales are based on the psychology of influencing human behavior and emotional touch points that convert into revenue.

I don’t believe that students of PR are the most trained, skilled, or experienced  in these areas. This is a far cry from matters such as Crisis Communications, an area of expertise that rightfully belongs within the scope of PR. Public Relations is aligned more closely with media relations than it is with branding. PR has largely owned social media because it’s closely aligned with reputation management.  But the visual web changes all that. Storytelling has long been the role of the Advertising or Brand Agency.

A post on Content Marketing Institute addresses the transformation of brand experience:

Just as Copernicus revolutionized our understanding of cosmology by proving that the sun is the center of our solar system (not the Earth), marketing has gone through a transformation of focus. Historically, we placed our brand at the center of our marketing decisions, which resulted in a lot of wasted effort. Cristina Heise gyro’s Director of Brand Experience points out that we’ve now put the customer in her rightful place — at the center of the marketing universe. “Think about the human at the center and how to make it easier on them. Think about what’s concerning her, what’s troubling her, what excites her, what motivates her, what she wants to accomplish and how you and your brand can help,” she recommends.

The hub of today’s hybrid messaging and modern marketing is the visual web. Analyst Shar VanBoskirk of Forrester says a marketing strategy based around value-driven interactions is vital in meeting customer expectations.

Linguistics and text are a shrinking part of the overall picture.

As the demand for consumer engagement skyrockets, it’s the visuals that show–and tell–our brand stories.

 

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Staving Off the Drama of Net Neutrality

Network neutrality may bring the fast lane to some but it can also lead to a slow and painful existence to advertisers who provide content.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a first-step towards net neutrality, which would offer a two-tiered ‘fast lane, slow lane’ approach to streaming video online.

Currently, the giant providers such as Netflix, Google, and Comcast are on a level playing field with the rest of us. The Internet is free and available to virtually anyone to stream large amounts of video, ads, and content.

The FCC wants the behemoths to pay for access to the ‘fast lane’ technology which allows content to be available at warp speed without interruption and snags.

If the slow lane is reserved for the rest of us, advertisers, and brands could experience significant changes in how we reach consumers on the web.

Online advertisers and small agencies could be hurt by barely moving in second gear while the big boys are running circles around us on the NASCAR track.

A recent post on DexMedia.com explains it this way:

“This might mean, for instance, that it might take a lot longer to load a video ad than the page content around it, depending on who is paying for the better service. In addition, a tiered system could effectively redistribute audiences, making it more difficult to target them whether via online or digital TV platforms.”

For now, we still have a level playing field and net neutrality remains in place, as it should.

If the FCC is looking to discriminate, I would respectfully suggest Commissioners re-read the U.S Constitution. If the FCC wants to create needless drama, Commissioners should tune into an afternoon soap opera or reality show.

A final thought: I don’t want to be in the slowpoke lane. Do you?

 

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Kicking Around Digital Ads at the World Cup

The 2014 World Cup is just around the corner, and there are some creative digital forums that sponsors and advertisers are beginning to launch.

The world’s largest sporting event kicks off in Brazil’s capital city of Sao Paulo on June 12, and runs through July 13.

One sponsor, Budweiser, has created a microsite to serve as a hub for a weeklong series of events and content. The ‘Rise as One’ platform assures that digital media takes center stage over traditional advertising.

“On top of TV and the more traditional [parts], digital is the lead component of this campaign,” Ricardo Marques, Budweiser’s global advertising director, told Adweek. “One of the things that we wanted to ensure was that we understood the specifics of each platform and made sure that we have content tailored to each platform.”

Adweek’s Lauren Johnson writes that during the games, Budweiser will use Twitter Cards to let fans vote for their favorite players, called the FIFA Man of the Match.

“The beer brand will then award a player after every match and will buy Promoted Tweets to drive traffic to the content. Promoted Posts will also be used on Facebook that direct consumers to the campaign’s microsite to vote,” explains Johnson. “As far as video, the campaign includes two Web series that Budweiser has created with Fox Sports and Vice. The Fox Sports content spans 80 countries for a global push, and the Vice video includes a six-part documentary series.”

Over at Coca-Cola, the company’s largest advertising campaign in its history comes to fruition at the 2014 games. A special logo for the World Cup has been designed by James Sommerville,  VP-global design. He first sketched out the ‘World’s Cup’ logo on a napkin in a restaurant. The logo will be the cornerstone of the campaign, which runs in 175 markets.  “We give the markets creative freedom, but actually they’re all working off the same ingredients,” says Sommerville.

While Budweiser and Coca-Cola are official World Cup sponsors, this tidbit just caught my eye. MarketingLand.com reports that Nike, Samsung, and Castrol are dominating the social video playing field. “That’s according to a report by video metrics firm Unruly, which ranked brands by the total number of shares their World Cup-targeted videos have received on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.”

Nike and Samsung are not sponsors, so it will be interesting to watch how their respective campaigns evolve.

Martin Beck explains on MarketingLand.com: “As of May 22 when the snapshot was taken, Nike led with 1.28 million, and Samsung (971,504) and Castrol (962,206) had just shy of a million. Fourth-place Coca-Cola was way back with 353,067.”

In addition to videos and promoted Tweets, other brands are including Google+ Hangouts and gaming in their media and marketing efforts.   We must not forget mobile.

Let the games begin!

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Tide’s Colorful Twitter Celebration of the NFL Draft Shines

Clean, crisp, and colorful.

That’s how I like to describe the creative and collaborative approach that Tide has taken in its sponsorship of the National Football League draft.

The recent draft in New York featured a beautifully orchestrated marketing campaign on Twitter that was fan and customer-centric.   

Pulling together all of the elements to make the campaign pop, Tide focused its theme on colors, and what they represent to fans, communities, teams, and players alike.

The detergent company, owned by Procter & Gamble, got buy-in from one player on each of the league’s 32 teams. According to a press release from Tide, designated players—dubbed ‘Tide Color Captains’—served as real-time photojournalists during the draft.

“I know from personal experience that our fans make our team better, get us pumped and give us that extra edge out on the football field,” said Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. “There’s nothing better than pulling up to our stadium or running out of the tunnel and seeing that sea of black and gold. It’s something that every player loves. That’s why I’ve partnered with Tide, to show fans how much we appreciate their support and dedication.”

As fans and supporters proudly displayed their team colors, Tide brings us back to the clarity, vibrancy, and richness of celebrating (clean) colors and the big moments that make up big events.

Those following the draft and picks—and the Tide campaign—spent a good part of the evening on Twitter, engaging with @TideNFL and #ourcolors.

The multi-year sponsorship that Tide secured with the NFL in 2012 proves that when brands pluck themselves out of the marketing mix and allow the public to be front and center, there’s nothing better than building momentum organically.

A press release on NFLCommunications.com states: “Tide’s NFL sponsorship allows us to tap into the huge passion America has for the NFL and the emotion that more than 180 million fans have for their favorite teams,” says Sundar Raman, North America Fabric Care Marketing Director at P&G. “The NFL is the ultimate test for a laundry detergent and we’re proud that our brand is one the equipment managers trust to keep uniforms clean.”

Finally, I couldn’t resist ending this post with this observation: Looks like this marketing and advertising campaign has passed with flying colors.

 

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3 Ways to Keep the Real Score in Social Branding

Too many marketing, branding, and advertising pros are going into social campaigns with a lot of information, but are confused when asked the following fundamental questions:

  • Why are you conducting this social media campaign?
  • How will you know if it’s a success?

Yes, these may seem like rudimentary questions, but the answers must be extremely clear to every single member of your team…before the social campaign gets underway. As business leader Napoleon Hill said in the 1940s, it’s all about definition of purpose.

This takes us beyond just watching the number of followers or likes that have accumulated on Facebook or Pinterest. These tallies are good for our egos but they fail to bring the conversions that are at the heart of marketing campaigns, the conversions that drive revenue and business.

It’s time to look deeper into three aspects of the data that is available to us:

Know the value of a visitor. How long does a visitor stay on your website or blog? What was their point of entry and where did you lose them? A person who is on and off the page in 12 seconds cannot be quantified the same as a return visitor who spends 1.5 minutes on your site and registered for a free catalog or white paper.

Look at where your paths cross. By fully understanding consumer behavior, you will be able to pinpoint where your brand intersects with consumers. How did the consumer find you? Was it a search engine, link from another site, or a referral from a trusted friend? Marketing and branding professionals must have access to data (and understand it) as it relates to consumer habits across content, social, mobile, and search.

Disseminate information quickly. Real-time analytics will prove vital to your campaign as data enables you to listen, react, and respond in just moments. Certainly this is important in customer service as consumers take to social channels to air their delight or disgust with a brand, product, or service. But, companies that use free tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and BrightEdge, can monitor keywords and multiple social channels to engage with the public as conversations unfold. Consider it a softer side of customer service.

We are living in the age of the connected consumer.

We must be able to dissect the information that’s going on inside the data.

According to best-selling business author Seth Godin: “The essence of marketing today is to tell a story to people who want to hear it, in a way that resonates with them so they are likely to either respond or connect to you, or tell their friends.”

 

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5 Tips for Media Sellers

(Editor’s Note: The original version of this article was published on MediaLifeMagazine.com on February 1, 2013)

I would wager most media buyers and sellers would agree that the ad buying process has become more diffucult in the past five years with the proliferation of media choices, the lack of reliable research, the decrease in media buyer training programs, the integration of social and mobile media buying into the media planning equation, and the simple lack of time needed to get all the necessary work done in a single day.

Here are five tips for media sellers:

1.Do Your Homework Before Calling on a Media Buyer: As a buyer, we work closely with our advertising clients to understand their business goals, their objectives in executing an ad campaign, their customer insights, and the competitive playing field. If a media sales professional hasn’t done any homework on the client, the competitive landscape or the challenges we face, then how can they possible help “solve the problem”?

2. Spend as much time listening as you do selling. Even if you’ve done your homework, it’s likely you will learn something valuable at a meeting with the buyer or even on a phone call. If you spend the entire time explaining your technology or media, you’ve missed the opportunity to understand how to offer up the solution. Solve, don’t just sell.

3. Try to determine who the decision makers are on a media buy: on the client side, the agency side, etc. I realize this can sometimes be difficult and with limited sales force, there is an instinct to go to just one person who is “making the buy”. In reality, media plans go up the chain in an agency and then up the chain at a client and many people weigh in on its merits, its efficiencies, its content, its value. If you are only calling on a media buyer, you may or may not be at risk up the chain. If you have not worked hard to understand the relationship dynamics throughout an organization, you will be at risk of losing a buy. This is especially true for large budget scenarios. On the other hand, if you are only calling on the CMO and not the media buyer, you will almost certainly risk inclusion in the plan. This is not a power struggle but a realization that the client has hired the media team to do the analysis and crafting of the plan.

4. Ask questions of the RFP and try to understand the top selection criteria for the media buy. We are always pushing our clients and our buyers to clearly state the selection criteria so everyone understands how the media proposals will be evaluated. With so many factors determining a “good” RFP, it’s critical to determine what variables are weighted the highest. CPMs and efficiencies are always a critical factor but as noise increases with media and engagement becomes more valuable, efficiencies alone are not the single highest value. Push the media planner/buyer to help you understand how your RFP will be evaluated.

5. Make it easy for mediaplanners/buyers to find you and your sales team. I cannot tell you how many times the past 5 years we tried to find a key sales rep at a digital company with extreme frustration. Find a way to make easier to get your phone number and contact information.

The marketplace demands are more robust than ever, for both media buyers and sellers. The pure number of available media impressions for purchase has increased at an alarming rate. The sophisticated measurement tools are not keeping pace with the marketplace. The good news is that brands are still spending record amounts of money on paid media. The bad news is that every digital company now has paid advertising as its cornerstone for revenue and that means more sales reps in the marketplace.

At the end of the day, most media buyers are looking for solutions to help solve a client’s marketing problem. The media sales professional who can offer that up in a compelling and clear way and understand what the issues are will be successful. It’s not just selling it’s solving.