It's Official - Forbes Agency Council

I have officially accepted my invitation to join the Forbes Agency Council to share my marketing expertise and content with a larger audience.

I'll be writing primarily about entertainment marketing - celebrity activations, social media, event activations, and other entertainment related trends.  Each piece will provide some takeaways that can be applied to various brands and industries and shared via Forbes as a "Community Voice".

Forbes Councils' goal is for business professionals to "connect, collaborate, and grow" - and learn from each other.

So now I ask you to "Help Me Help You". (but seriously, help me out here)

What do YOU want me to write about? What do you want to learn from me?  

I'm in some pretty good company, so help me up my game and better serve my network!

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Not Your Average "Living Room Jam Session" - An AirBnb Highlight!

AirBnb is a platform that thrives off the user's unique experience.  In an effort to expand upon that, they need to align with other 'experiences' - And what better experience than MUSIC, which knows no bounds in terms of demographic (and creativity!).  

As AirBnb promotes its new "trips" initiative, which offers more than just a place to stay but also activities, they are giving "living room jam sessions" a major upgrade (and leveraging some strategic partnerships).

“Music is an incredible way to bring people together,” AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky said at the time. “We’re launching Music Experiences to give people access to exclusive and immersive music events — from intimate live performances, special pop-up gigs, underground music sessions, and meeting local artists and performers.”

If your brand relies heavily on creating a consumer experience, entertainment partnerships and activations may be the key to success!  

Contact STILETTO Mgmt for more information.

Check out the full article from Variety.

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Brand Spotlight: KFC on Twitter - "11 Herbs & Spices"

Know your brand. Win over the consumer.

For a little Friday fun, I checked, because I couldn't fathom a more perfect social play (ok, maybe I could--damn Oreo let me down with the Totality, but anyway...) and this post is 100% accurate. (Also checked, and it doesn't apply to their Instagram, only Twitter) KFC's account is following the 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb to live up to their tag line of "11 Herbs & Spices" for their famous secret fried chicken recipe. It also aligns perfectly with the brand's quirky personality.

This post is also up to 193k RTs and 409k Likes on Twitter and climbing (in less than 24 hours), with multiple users praising the social media manager and recommending they get a raise. It has also caught the attention of media outlets currently running the story. The guy behind the account (seemingly just a guy out of South Dakota with a few hundred followers) that 'cracked the code' that just blew our minds should get free KFC for life, and maybe KFC can setup a meet & greet for him to formally meet all 11 Herbs and Spices.

Bravo, KFC. BRAVO.

All Hail The Queen - Taylor Swift

Did you watch MTV's VMAs? Or were you too busy prepping finger-foods for your Game of Thrones viewing party?

If you tuned into GoT, you had a much more eventful evening than loyal VMA viewers, but regardless we should pay homage to the 'Queen' - Taylor Swift. T-Swift slayed the lackluster VMAs from her throne - AKA her couch. She didn't even have to attend the awards show to prove her dominance in the art of publicity. Instead, she debuted her "Look What You Made Me Do" music video, likely smirked with each tweet about the lackluster VMAs (hosted by rival Katy Perry), and likely made deviled dragon eggs prepping for 'winter'.

Brands take note - She always with the PR game. What brand will partner with Swift to create a mutually beneficial "Look What You Made Me Do" campaign? So many way this can be spun!

All Hail The Queen.

Brand Highlight: The Iconic OREO & their Marketing Mix

Oreo has been a brand on our radar since their "You can still dunk in the dark" social media win during Super Bowl XLVII. While we're not a fan of all the new flavors Oreo's Wonder Vault has released, from Oreo thins to candy bars, we love that Oreo is constantly reinventing their brand and trying new ways to spark conversation around their products.

Today, Oreo launched their #MyOreoCreation social media campaign with the help of celebrity endorser Ellie Kemper and a number of social media influencers. It's slightly reminiscent of the Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" campaign that is successful year over year. Social media contests are a great way to engage your current customer and keep your brand top of mind.

Oreo is more than a iconic cookie. Oreo has established itself as an industry leader and innovator, diversifying their marketing and advertising mix with social media contests and influencers, celebrity endorsements, product development, and more.

If you don't have an eye on Oreo already, start now. While entertainment marketing tactics are not "one size fits all", Oreo might inspire your next campaign.

And Oreo, one request...make this next flavor in MEGA STUF, please :)

http://bit.ly/2pYo5da

How The Zoe Report made Like2Buy a Social Media Solution for Original Content Sharing

The Like2Buy feature has been touted as the "missing link" finally making Instagram easily shoppable and a monetizing tool for brands. There is no doubt that this tool is helpful for brands and social media influencers alike, but there is one group I've noticed (not to say there aren't others) that is using this tool to drive traffic to their original content without constantly updating the clickable link in their bio. It's brilliant, clean, and well executed. Today on a call I referenced it as an example of a strategy that could work for another brand so I wanted to share it for those that haven't seen this workaround - This is a tactic other brands and publications could incorporate into their social media marketing strategies.

The Zoe Report is a lifestyle account curated by Rachel Zoe. They have utilized this tool not to shop (although I'm sure there are advertisements included and brand partners mentioned in their content), but to drive traffic to their original content on their website. It's not for every brand, but if your social media content is a tease to a larger story or educational content for your target consumer, this might be the social media solution for you.

Check it out - http://bit.ly/2qKwjEK

What Marketers Can Learn from SXSW 2017

Another SXSW has come and gone, but not without making a splash!  While there were reports of brands reducing their presence at SXSW this year, there were plenty of awesome activations of all sizes and scope.  Here are 3 takeaways that ALL brands can use moving forward with all brand activations:

·       Stick to what you’re good at

·       Focus on the goal, not being ‘the biggest’

·       Collaborate

1.       Stick to what you’re good at

If your brand is not an event-production company that offers PR/media outreach services, don’t take that piece on yourself unless you have an internal team solely dedicated to do just that.  A brand will spend more time, money, and resources taking that piece on than if they sponsored an existing event that is going to handle everything from securing the venue, to PR/media coverage, to VIP/influencer attendees. 

Think about it like you would a wedding.  People try to save money by using a venue they have access to (like their home) or not hiring a wedding planner.  You need to rent tables, chairs, shoot – what if it rains?  Anything require a permit?  Will the HOA freak out over the number of cars parked throughout the neighborhood?  Fast forward to the big day, the amount of time, money, resources, and gray hair…often not a huge savings when all is said and done! 

Sure, a bit different than what brands’ needs are whether producing or participating in an event, but the point is that the brand should focus what they know and leave event-related execution to the professionals.  You’ll be happy with the results and have just as much creative input as you would if you built it from scratch (but without the headache!).

2.       Focus on the goal, not being ‘the biggest’ 

Every activation wants to be the best, but that doesn’t mean the biggest.  Having the most bodies does not guarantee the best experience.  A well-executed event can be just as impactful as the largest event on the block.  Small and intimate can be just as effective, and can even exude a sort of “exclusivity” making it more desirable.

Compare it to your average Friday night.  You might go to the most popular club in town – line out the door, when you finally get in it takes 15+ minutes to get a drink, people everywhere, no available seating, your song never gets played on the jukebox, and someone’s flying elbow just spilled your drink.  As far you’re concerned, the most popular club in town is also THE WORST.  But that establishment down the street – you walk right in, same drink, song actually plays on the jukebox, and you can even snag a pool table or darts.  Same goes for industry events.  If the experience is lackluster or, on the flipside, overpowering, the vibe felt by the attendee is negative.

Focus on the goal – what is the experience you want the attendee to have and how can it be best executed?  And if you don’t know how it can be best executed, work with the event-production teams.  Together you can create the desired experience, keeping the brand’s goals as the main focal point.  The right PR and media plan can amplify the impact of any event and puts your brand in a larger conversation. 

3.       Collaborate

Have an idea, but need more support to make it come to fruition?  Whether it’s bringing on brand partners to take on some of the financial burden or a creative collaboration, strategic partnerships are a great way to focus on what you know best and leverage others’ resources, skill sets, and expertise to execute a top quality activation.                           

A great case study from this year’s SXSW was when Casper, Tesla, and The Standard Hotel teamed up for a unique hospitality activation that also capitalized on #NationalNapDay.  Festivals and conferences can be exhausting.  Whether you needed a place to stay that night or a quick cat nap to recharge for the rest of the day, Casper, Tesla, and The Standard Hotel through the One Night App had your back!  Casper promoted their mattresses, Tesla was the transportation provider in a city where Uber and other rideshare services are not available, and The Standard Hotel booked their newly renovated boutique hotel through the One Night App for last minute bookings (and at an incredible rate, especially when a big festival is taking place!).

If each brand tried to activate this on their own, it would require a large chunk of a marketing budget to execute, but by leveraging partnerships, collaborating, and sharing the load this was a cost-effective activation that required more planning than anything else!  The ROI was through the roof, as the hotel and other services were booked as soon as 3pm struck, but the additional buzz during the conference and with media coverage was the icing on the cake!

SXSW activations are always innovative, but the basics are the foundation that allow for those unique and creative activations to come to life.  Keep them in mind for your next event or marketing plan:

1.       Stick to what you’re good at

2.       Focus on the goal, not being ‘the biggest’

3.       Collaborate

STILETTO has worked with event-production teams for numerous lifestyle events, from New York Fashion Week to Music Festivals to Celebrity-Hosted VIP Events.  Let STILETTO guide you through your next activation.

Calling all Cannabis Brands – 5 FAQs about Entertainment Opportunities

I’ve spoken with a countless number of cannabis brands since I founded my agency and while it’s still unclear what government agencies will decide when it comes to future regulations (state and national), with recreational marijuana being legalized in key states, the prohibition is over and the stigma is slowly being lifted from the cannabis industry.  The cannabis industry is about to BOOM.

Up until now, social media and cannabis industry-specific media outlets have been the primary platforms for brands to promote their products and/or services (aside from working directly with dispensaries and budtenders). Many cannabis brands have successfully leveraged niche lifestyle influencers through successful affiliate marketing programs with proven ROI. Those tactics are a great way to build a business and those programs will continue to grow, but it’s time to go a step above and really differentiate yourself. 

With the “stoner stigma” being lifted and the fact that cannabis will be legal on a national level (if the projections are accurate), the opportunity for any cannabis brand is about to grow exponentially. It’s not just about sales anymore, the conversation will turn to brand awareness and perception with the goal of reaching new demographics and creating new potential customers across the US and internationally.

So, what’s next?

·      How do you become top of mind?

·      How do you make your product a national brand? 

·      How do you pull away from the rest of the pack, in an already saturated market that continues to grow rapidly? 

·      How do you get ahead of the curve? 

·      How do you maintain your brand image and amplify it to a larger audience?

ANSWER: Entertainment is KING. Whether it’s a beach bum vibe or sophisticated creative mindset you’re trying to recreate, it’s all about how the consumer “experiences” your brand and there are entertainment partnerships to help your brand achieve your goals through branded content.  

Hollywood events, celebrities and influencers are looking for strategic partnerships in the cannabis category NOW.

FAQs

1.      How much for a celebrity to post on social media about our brand? And are they open to an affiliate program?

A.     The cost will vary by celebrity, based on social media reach, current project, and many other factors. Social media influencers, even with a large following, are almost always cheaper, but that is because there is value associated with being attached to a celebrity that has another platform outside of their social media.

I don’t generally recommend “social media post ONLY” campaigns, as they are more successful when they are linked to a larger campaign or piece of content. That being said, in terms of budget, there are few celebrities that will be willing to post for less than $5k per post - And many celebrities only want long-term engagements, not one-offs. Some may be open to an affiliate/% of revenue program as part of the deal, but celebrities will always require an upfront cash fee in addition the % of revenue. 100% revenue based deals are not an option when dealing with this level of talent.

2.      Are music festivals open to cannabis-related sponsorships/integrations?

A.     Yes. Activation details and budgets vary per music festival and type of associated event. (Coachella and Stagecoach are both open!!)

3.      What other opportunities are available for cannabis brands?

A.     Approval for cannabis brands is still a case by case basis, but the following are all open for discussions:

· Celebrity Event Appearance

· Celebrity Licensed Product Line/Celebrity Endorsement

· Music Video Integration

· Music Tour Sponsorship

· Private Party Sponsor (Malibu Beach House, Celebrity-Hosted Music Festival Parties)

· Event Sponsorships (Customized per Event)

· Gift Lounges

· Branded Integration – Web Series or Horror Film

· And more…sky is the limit.

4.      What kind of budgets do we need?

A.     Budgets are flexible and negotiable. Generally we can find something for every budget, but please refer to the “New Year, NEW BUDGET” blog for more budget and asset details.

5.      We’ve been approached for gift bag sponsorship opportunities. Should we do it, is it a good idea?

A.     NO. NEVER. Save your product and marketing budget for something with a larger ROI.

Final Thought: There is no limit to creativity. Brands, celebrities, productions, and events are all open to suggestions and ideas to a degree. It will come down to the final details of the activation and budget to see if it can become a reality.

Event Sponsorships: For every event, there are 5 more. Get in on the action!

For every event, there are 5 more.

It’s that time of year…every weekend there is another “Hollywood” event – Super Bowl, Grammys, New York Fashion Week, NBA All-Star, The Oscars…the list goes on, and soon we’ll be in music festival season, too.  And here’s my PSA - Just because you’re not an official sponsor of a particular event, this does NOT mean your brand can’t participate and get in on the action!

For every event, there are at least 5 associated events – kick-off parties, gift lounges, pre-parties, after-parties, viewing parties and more!  This past Sunday, 1 full week before The Oscars, there was a media event and gift lounge for talent, VIPs, and influencers to enjoy.  There will be events throughout the week leading up to the big show.  This leaves plenty of opportunities for brands, catering to all budgets, to get their products into the hands of influencers while creating PR, media, and social media buzz. 

The Why:

·       TURN KEY ACTIVATION!

·       Differentiate yourselves from the competition

·       Interactive Experience with Top Talent and Influencers

·       Media & PR Buzz

·       Social Media Assets GALORE

·       Product Seeding

There are star-studded events throughout the year – Find one that’s right for your brand and get in on the action!

Contact STILETTO to learn about opportunities today!

 

Marketers: Don't rule out the Pro Bowl next year - Social Media WINS the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl!

“IT’S GOOD!”

This past weekend the NFL hosted their 2017 Pro Bowl and associated events, where the top NFL players compete in a friendly all-star game before the season has its grand finale the following weekend.  I personally don’t know anyone that has tuned into the Pro Bowl or paid particular attention to the surrounding events in the past.  The game itself has no impact on the season and the actual Pro Bowl game itself had lower ratings than previous years. So what was different this year that made the Pro Bowl activities buzzworthy and potentially a stronger strategic partner for brands in the future?

EVERYTHING.

Ok, maybe not everything, but last weekend the “No Fun League” was FUN.  In fact, it was all about fun and sharing that spirit with fans through social media.  Here are a few reasons why this year’s Pro Bowl was a win-win for participating brands and players alike:

1)    LOCATION: Initially you may think “what does that have to do with anything?”, but in a world that gets their news, current events, and celebrity content through social media – the timing of shared content is key. 

In past years, the Pro Bowl was held in Hawaii, and (for those teams recently eliminated) some players might have considered it their first vacation of the off-season.  I’m sure the players loved it, and who could blame them? But Hawaii is 2 hours behind the west coast and 5 hours behind the east coast.  “LIVE” content could easily be missed by a majority of NFL fans in the contiguous United States, not to mention our newly discovered international fans in Houston, Scotland which is 10 hours ahead of Hawaii (Thank you, Skittles and Beastmode!)!

The NFL, brand partners, players, and other media outlets were able to share content in real-time with their audience and engagement was HIGH!

2)    SOCIAL MEDIA: Speaking of social media – HOLY CONTENT!  As an avid NFL and football fan who admittedly, has never followed the Pro Bowl, I was astonished by the quantity and quality of original and engaging content shared on social media.

ESPN, @NFL, team accounts, and others, were constantly posting original content and reposting players’ content.  Considering the NFL was infamously dubbed “The No Fun League” (and arguably deserving of the nickname) by The Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman, events like the “Drone Drop” and NFC/AFC Dodgeball looked pretty damn fun and kept fans checking in to see what was going on.  There was so much content accessible via social media between the league, media and brand partners, and players, it was hard to miss the Pro Bowl coverage last week. 

The Pro Bowl got a social media face lift this year and effectively leveraged NFL, media, brand, and player accounts to evoke emotions and engage with their fans.

And PS. It looked like Richard Sherman had some fun with his teammates and family,too: http://bit.ly/2k5BuPu

3)    PLAYER PERSONALITIES: Every season there are players that make a name for themselves – good and bad.  Maybe they had a breakout season, maybe they had their worst yet.  Maybe they talked the talk more than they walked the walk.  Or maybe they got in a fight with sideline equipment that ultimately got the last laugh (**cough, OBJ, cough**)?  

The Pro Bowl is another opportunity for players to engage with their fans, show their personalities, and hopefully attract even more fans!  Players shared video and pictures of their experience, from New York Giants’ Wide Receiver OBJ nailing the “Drone Drop” skills event and dancing with the Colts mascot, Blue, to Cincinnati’s Quarterback Andy Dalton playing along the sidelines with his son, to Richard Sherman taking his kids to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. 

When players’ personalities are showcased they have the opportunity to earn fans, build a personal brand, and attract future brand partners.  It also encourages fans to follow their favorite players, team, and tune in for the following season.

What brands and marketers can learn from the Pro Bowl:

·       Use social media to evoke emotions and engage with your audience

·       Change can be good – New circumstances can mean new opportunities.

·       Be relevant – Try new technology or trends that appeal to your target demographic

·       Have some fun with it – Try things, experiment.  No one wants to be compared to the No Fun League.

 

What can players learn from the Pro Bowl:

·       Leverage additional exposure and platforms to create a brand for yourself – You won’t be able to “ball” forever

·       Be human – So you’re a machine on the field, but off the field be relatable.  It will go a long way with fans and potential brand partners.

 

What can the NFL learn from the Pro Bowl:

·       Let those touchdown celebrations go, let there be dance!

 

5 Music Video Integration "Humps" To Get Over on Hump Day

5 “Humps” Brands Encounter when Considering Music Video Integration

There are hundreds of music videos produced each year so there is no lack of opportunity for brands to get on board and integrate their products.  If you miss one music video integration opportunity, there is likely to be another good fit right around the corner.  That being said, to get you over the hump, these are 5 “humps” brands encounter on a regular basis when it comes to securing their perfect music video integration opportunity.

#1 Timing

“Wait, the video shoots in 10 days?”- Yes, and this is typical.  Sometimes you get even less notice!  If music video integration is something your brand wants to activate, it is imperative to have branded items and product readily available to be used on set.

#2 Available Funds/Budget

When you get 10 days’ notice that there is a music video shoot and you want in, you don’t have a lot of time to examine your budget and create a slush fund.  We recommend a minimum budget of $10k set aside in advance if music video opportunities are something you are entertaining for the future. (Keep in mind, if you’re targeting an A-List artist we may have to add a 0 and then some to that figure)

#3 Usage/Branding

All music videos have treatments outlining the scenes and overall vibe/atmosphere for the shoot.  The ideal integrations weave the product in seamlessly, without it feeling forced.  You will not receive 10 continuous seconds of branded exposure (and you don’t want this because it would feel very awkward and your consumer will notice), but it is likely you’ll receive 5 seconds of branded exposure throughout the video including insert shots of the product and logo. 

PRO: The usage and duration of branded exposure onscreen is outlined and those details will be included in the contract.  You will receive the exposure desired, but expectations will be set accordingly.

NOTE: Specify if there are particular ways your product should or should NOT be used.  An obvious example of this would be alcohol brands being consumed in a moving vehicle.  You know your product better than anyone so sharing proper use is important and welcomed by production. 

#4 Additional Branded Items

Your product may be a mobile device or beverage, but depending on the treatment there may be opportunities for your brands to score exposure without it being the physical product.  We’ve had clients brand cars, t-shirts, billboards, even create fake magazine covers to stealthily work their way into the scene.  Promotional items can also be repurposed for these opportunities.  Get creative, but don’t forget about your deadline to have the final products to production!

Send extra branded items if you have the inventory and gift baskets for talent or key players never hurts!

#5 Onsite Representation

Some music videos are shot in New York, Los Angeles, etc., but some shoot in Ibiza or a desert that isn’t particularly conducive for your team to travel (especially on short notice – see a pattern here?).  It may not always be possible for you to have agency or brand representation onsite during the shoot.  Travel for any representation to attend will be at the brand’s expense. 

This is NOT a reason to back out of the integration.  You have a contract in place, the exposure and usage is outlined.  Rest easy, the production team can take it from there and they’ll do a great job!

NOTE: We do recommend having an agency or brand representative onsite, but not because we don’t trust the production team.  Sometimes during the shoot, creative changes or ideas are born.  Having someone onsite can expedite the approval process for any creative adjustments or offer suggestions/solutions that improve the integration can be ‘key’.  Working together with production, as well as establishing a relationship with the production team, is always a good thing!

CONCLUSION:

I’m a vocal advocate of music video integration since music knows no boundaries and reaches various demographics, but the music videos also offer a trackable ROI and fun assets that can be repurposed for additional value.  There is a little something for everyone based on your brand and ongoing campaigns. 

STILETTO is a resource and will answer questions you have about music video integration and other celebrity/influencer-driven campaigns.  

 

New Year, NEW BUDGET! Happy 2017!

Happy New Year, Everyone!  “New Year, New YOU!” doesn’t just apply to our personal lives and resolutions.  It’s a new year, and your brand can take on some new habits in 2017, as well.

So let’s kick off the year with some real talk.  Whether you have $5,000 or $5 million in your marketing budget, please reach out to STILETTO for a consultation.  Most brands assume “influencer and entertainment marketing” is too expensive for them and stick to traditional marketing and advertising methods – This is NOT always the case!  There is generally something for every brand, so at the very least know your entertainment marketing and influencer social media options as we kick off 2017.  STILETTO can explain and present tactics and craft campaigns that work within your budget and align with your 2017 marketing plan and associated initiatives.   

If you want Beyoncé or Taylor Swift to represent your brand, you’re going to pay big for it.  If you want a Super Bowl commercial, same thing.  But the majority of “entertainment” opportunities that yield valuable brand awareness, media coverage, and social media assets are affordable. 

Let’s focus on the activations that will get you the most “bang for your buck” if negotiated and executed correctly:

  • Celebrity Event Sponsorships
  • Gift Lounge Participation
  • Music Video Integration
  • Influencer Campaigns
  • Talk Show Integration & Giveaway

The "Why" & How Much:

Celebrity Event Sponsorship

You don’t need a full blown celebrity endorsement to participate in a star-studded event.  Nearly all celebrity events are sponsored in some capacity, whether it’s a celebrity baby shower, unofficial Super Bowl event, or an “After Party” - and the activation capabilities are endless.  You can’t deny it…consumers can’t resist seeing what their favorite celebrities are into!

What you get*:

  • Guaranteed Press & Media Coverage
  • Branded Interactive Onsite Experience
  • Celebrity and Influencer Interaction & Engagement
  • Pictures & Video assets for social media and internal marketing/sales use.
  • Potential Step & Repeat Logo Inclusion
  • Official Press Release Mention
  • Quick Turnaround – can be executed in as little as 2 weeks depending on execution details
  • Behind the Scenes Assets (depends on activation)

**Endless options based on available budget and brand details.

Recommended Starting Budget for Celebrity Event: $25k

*Varies by event and brand category

Gift Lounge Participation

With many celebrity events, there are associated gift lounges for gifting directly to celebrities and influencers.  Typically these are around award season, but can be a component of any event.  These gift lounges are great for quick assets for social media, but you may be limited in terms of the activation capabilities, press coverage, quality of celebrity talent attending, and overall “cool” factor since your brand will be featured with countless others.  Gift lounges are generally more affordable than a full blown event sponsorship for those reasons.

What you get:

  • Limited Press & Media Coverage
  • Branded Interactive Onsite Experience
  • Celebrity and Influencer Interaction & Engagement (Quality of talent not as high as Event Sponsorship)
  • Gifting to attending talent
  • Pictures & Video assets for social media and internal marketing/sales use
  • Official Press Release Mention
  • Quick Turnaround - can be executed in as little as 2 weeks depending on execution details

Recommended Starting Budget for Gift Lounge Participation: $10k

Music Video Integration

If you read my earlier post about Morton Salt’s collaboration with OK Go to launch their “Walk Her Walk” campaign, you know I’m a huge advocate for music video integration – especially if you are targeting the millennial demographic.  But it’s not just because they allow for more creativity and have a “cool” factor about them – music videos provide unique assets that other marketing tactics can’t offer.  Music and artists are a part of everyone’s lives – there is no demographic a music partnership can’t reach!  And remember, Entertainment is King when it comes to reaching consumers.

What you get:

  • Implied Endorsement – Association and interaction with top talent without huge endorsement fees
  • Can lead to a future long-term partnership with the talent if both parties are satisfied with the results of the initial activation
  • Contracted and guaranteed brand exposure (duration onscreen) and product usage
  • Pictures & Video assets for social media and internal marketing/sales use
  • Trackable Viewership/ROI via YouTube & Vimeo
  • Additional Add-on Assets (including, but not limited to)
  • Social Media posts from the talent
  • Behind-The-Scenes Content
  • Quick Turnaround – Production to release of video generally around one month

Recommended Starting Budget for Music Video integration: $15k*

*Flexible, varies by talent and brand category

Influencer Campaign

The hot tactic that is expected to double in 2017 is influencer campaigns, leveraging social media primarily.  This method is excellent for reaching target consumers based on the platforms they are active on and using select influencers to share branded and entertaining content to reach a particular demographic.  And perhaps the best thing about it, there is no one “right way” to go about it (but you can certainly do it wrong if you aren’t careful!).  Depending on the marketing initiatives, a campaign could leverage micro, social media/lifestyle, or celebrity in their influencer campaigns so the budgets will vary depending on the campaign goals.  The relationship with the influencer can be short or long-term, but that decision should be based on the campaign goals and KPIs.

What you get:

  • Entertaining content created by a select influencer
  • Contract & mutually agreed upon usage and content
  • Leverage of the influencer’s fan base
  • Shareable content for social media
  • Assets for internal marketing/sales usage
  • Flexible terms
  • Quick turnaround
  • Trackable viewership and engagement

Recommended Starting Budget for Influencer Campaigns: $30k*

*This includes multiple posts and pieces of content, and potentially multiple influencers.  This is NOT for a single post on one channel.  In addition, a micro-influencer campaign can be activated for less, but results may vary.

Talk Show Integration & Giveaway

An oldie, but a goodie.  Nothing beats an implied endorsement from a top talent, national exposure, and your brand messaging delivered straight from the host’s mouth!  You can reach millions of viewers with a 30 second brand integration and giveaway that is baked into the content of the episode.  The segment and giveaway may also featured on the TV production’s website and their social media platforms, as well. 

What you get:

  • Implied endorsement from a top talent
  • Guaranteed brand exposure and brand messaging
  • Product Sampling
  • Picture and video assets for internal marketing and sales use
  • Additional Add-ons
  • Social Media promotion
  • Website Inclusion
  • Additional “Home Viewer” Giveaway

Recommended Starting Budget for Talk Show Integration: $15k*

NOTE: Talk show integrations and giveaways require product for all audience members, sometimes an online giveaway, and may require an integration fee which varies by production and segment (reflected in recommended minimum budget below).

*Does not include value of product for gifting.  Many shows require a retail value of $50 or $100 gift value per audience member.  Audience size varies from approximately 50 – 450. 

*Integration fee varies by TV production

FINAL THOUGHTS:  

All of these tactics work individually for a “firework” marketing effect, but are best utilized when they are baked into existing campaigns.  A successful entertainment marketing plan should support all other marketing/advertising efforts in some capacity, which will also add longevity to the assets obtained with each activation.

STILETTO will educate and guide you through the details to create engaging and successful marketing campaigns.  No matter the budget, there is something for everyone.  And if you take one thing with you from this, let it be this point: DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN GIFT BAG ONLY OPPORTUNITIES!  I can promise you with nearly 100% certainty that the samples sent for the gift bag never reach the talent, but their assistants and publicists will love the free goodies.  The assets you receive in return for your contribution (usually a cash fee and product) will yield little to no result.

Contact STILETTO for your free 2017 consultation.

Influencer Marketing - You're Doing It Wrong

Calling all marketers that say “influencer marketing doesn’t work” --- You’re doing it wrong!

Someone extremely intelligent that I respect recently told me that they felt influencer marketing was on the way out because “it doesn’t work” and proceeded to tell me the details of this campaign which had my insides screaming “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” 

With 85% of marketing and communications professionals expecting to execute at least 1 influencer campaign in 2017*, the data is in my corner when I say it isn’t going anywhere.  If anything, influencer marketing is on the rise, but the underlying execution and strategy is changing.

Let’s talk about what’s “not working”:

·       TV Advertising – Aside from live events, what consumer hasn’t found an easy solution to avoid commercials (that cost millions in ad buys, by the way)?

·       Digital Ads – Ad blockers, ad blockers, ad blockers everywhere.

·       Print Ads – Are these extinct yet?  I kid, I subscribe to a number of magazines and newspapers, but most of my time is now spent online and on social media like most consumers these days.  Can anyone recall the last print ad that caught their eye?  Was it because a celebrity was in it?

The above would be considered “traditional marketing”, which is hanging on by a thread, yet it’s still considered a “safe” investment by most brands when it comes to budgets.  But even with the above tactics, how do you prove the ROI?  Number of Impressions?  If your product can be purchased online and your goal is to drive sales, you can track the click-thru and your sales funnel, but that isn’t always the goal of a marketing campaign and certainly doesn’t cover every brand marketing and advertising to the consumer. 

Proving ROI has ALWAYS been the #1 struggle for marketing and advertising professionals, so why do we expect influencer marketing to suddenly solve this puzzle?

So, let me ask you this: what didn’t work with your last influencer campaign?  Low engagement? No measurable ROI?  It’s possible that the reason it “didn’t work” is because of poor execution or unrealistic expectations set.

Influencer Marketing is more than paying for a tweet or a single Instagram post (and if that’s how you define “influencer marketing”, you’re absolutely doing it wrong!).  If you’ve read any of my past entries, you know what I’m going to say: ENTERTAINMENT IS KING!

Influencer Marketing is most effective when it’s part of a larger multifaceted strategy, it focuses on entertaining rather than selling, and can leverage micro-influencers, social media & digital influencers, and/or celebrities.  These campaigns vary in scale and cost – Opportunities exist for budgets and brands or all sizes!  (Have you seen American Express’ #ShopSmall #AmexAmbassador campaign leveraging influencers of ALL LEVELS – you literally cannot miss it!)

Here are some questions/steps to think about before activating your next influencer campaign.  With solid execution and planning, you’ll put this “influencer marketing doesn’t work” to bed – for good:

Marketing Basics:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What social platforms do they spend the most time on?
  • What type of content do they respond to?
  • Where else do they spend time online?
  • Identify KPIs to measure success
  • Set a goal based on established KPIs (be as specific as possible – brand awareness, website traffic, sales, etc.)
  • Can these assets (images, video, blog entries, statements, etc.) be repurposed?**

Influencer Marketing Basics:

  • Research, identify, & secure appropriate influencers - Should align with the answers to the “Marketing Basics” outlined above
  • Learn the Influencers’ tone, voice, and review their existing content & style
  • Allow the Influencer(s) to use their creative genius when developing the campaign assets
  • Outline complete ask upfront – total posts, type of content, important brand messaging, etc. (Budget and negotiation tactics will be adjusted accordingly)

 

**Contact STILETTO for your next successful influencer campaign.  We are full service and handle it all, to identifying the influencers, negotiating the terms and/or fees, and final execution. 

 

 

*Statistics from eMarketer survey for 2017

 

3 Influencer Marketing Statistics You Need to Know for 2017

With 2016 winding down, here are some statistics about a marketing tactic that’s expected to nearly double in 2017 and should be incorporated into every brand’s marketing mix:

Influencer Marketing.

The Why:

Entertainment is King!  Branded content held the throne for long enough, but if the content isn’t entertaining it will be dismissed by the viewer.  Consumers, especially millennials, hate being marketed to so baking your brand messaging into a piece of entertaining content has become imperative for future successful campaigns.  Influencers create unique and authentic content that increases reach, recognition amongst consumers, and most importantly – It entertains their fan base while sharing your brand messaging, driving engagement, and increasing traffic to the brand’s social media pages, website and/or landing pages.  The most successful influencer campaigns allow for the talent to put their personality into the content, which allows for an organic and authentic campaign that engages your target demographic. 

3 Influencer Marketing Statistics You Need to Know for 2017*:

1.       94% of marketers find influencer marketing to be an effective strategy

2.       78% of marketers say proving ROI will be their #1 hurdle in 2017 (so nothing’s changed here!)

3.       2016 Average Budget per Influencer Campaign: $25k - $50k**

**Influencer marketing budgets are set to DOUBLE in 2017.

STILETTO specializes in entertainment and influencer partnerships.  Contact STILETTO to build your next successful marketing campaign.

 

 

*Data sourced by Linqia, via Adweek.

Day 1 @ Weed Week PDX 2016 - Make Your Brand Top-Of-Mind

It's fair to say I never thought that my professional career would bring me here: Weed Week PDX 2016. That's right, there are cannabis conferences and they are awesome.  And no, they aren't super laid back and no, the attendees and presenters are not high.  Recreational marijuana is a business, and a very lucrative one that is growing rapidly.  While the attire of attendees and presenters may range from grunge to business professional, everyone is on a mission to grow their business. Very much a "work hard, play harder (or higher)" atmosphere, there will be some product sampling as part of the conference experience.

While there are sessions focused on product trends, legal guidance, industry best practices, etc., for all parts of the cannabis trade, there is one question that has been brought up in nearly every session: "What about that marketing plan?"  As more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, how will that change how these products are marketed, sold and distributed?  How is the industry changing and what does the future look like?

Truth is, it's somewhat the "Wild West" right now since individual states have their own restrictions and regulations.  However, there will be a shift with many brands marketing directly to consumers versus the retail locations themselves.  

Yesterday, Cy Scott, Co-Founder of Headset, a real-time data platform specifically for the cannabis industry, shared that the 80:20 principle also applies to marijuana sales.  If you're not familiar, this means 80% of the purchases are from 20% of the available products on the market today.  If you've been to Uncle Ike's or any other retail location, you know there's an overwhelming selection of products in all categories (flower, vape, topical, edible, beverage, etc.).  

With that in mind, a number of growers, consumer brands, and retail locations have asked how to differentiate themselves before the cannabis bubble bursts.  How do they stand out and continue to grow their business as more and more products and locations hit the scene?

As with many industries, relationships are key and the recreational marijuana market heavily relies on the "Budtenders" to educate the customer and make appropriate product recommendations based on the desired effect.  Budtenders are incredibly knowledgeable about the products, what's new and worth a try, and often times are responsible for establishing brand loyalty with the consumer.  But as more and more products hit the market, will the cannabis industry follow in the footsteps of the pharmaceutical industry which transitioned from physician recommendation to the advertising tagline: "Ask your doctor about (insert brand here)..."? 

My Prediction: The next wave of recreational marijuana consumers will ask for products by name.  (NOTE: The Budtenders' opinions and recommendations will still be valuable, but the "guinea pig" new consumer will be curious to try products based on how they are marketed.)

How do you make your brand top-of-mind?

Here are some suggestions highlighted during Day 1 at Weed Week PDX 2016, with STILETTO's recommendations baked in, on how to achieve your marketing and branding goals so your product is top-of-mind for consumers (which can also be applied to nearly every other business):

  • Brand Creative Brief
    • Define your brand's core competencies and identify your target consumer
    • This will determine the direction for branding and all facets of your marketing/advertising campaigns
  • Branding 
    • Invest in high quality branding and packaging
      • This will not only appeal to your consumer, but the Budtenders and retail locations are more likely to promote a polished brand
      • Use a creative agency that is familiar with the industry to make packaging and design recommendations, which may also expedite the production process
  • Social Media Marketing
    • Social media platforms are currently the most flexible and least restricted marketing mediums
    • Develop a social media plan with multiple content buckets
    • Identify where your target consumers are spending time and reviewing content (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), then prioritize accordingly.
    • Leverage your branding and creative brief to determine the tone of your social media content
  • Digital, Social Media, and Celebrity Influencers
    • Mix it up: Industry-specific influencers to maintain your current customer base and target consumers most likely to be in a "buying stage", but also broaden your reach by working with similar lifestyle influencers that can attract NEW consumers
    • Identify appropriate influencers and analyze their audience demographic and engagement 
  • Content Marketing
    • "Content is King" - It's not just content, it must also entertain.  Whether it's on social media or another medium, consumers know when they are being marketed to so be sure entertain them to earn their business and remain top-of-mind.
    • Make sure the content is in-line with your brand and current strategy
  • Entertainment-based Content Marketing* (which will become more widespread once recreational marijuana is legal nationwide)
    • Event Sponsorships - Similar to alcohol, event sponsorships offer excellent PR & media coverage, social media assets, interaction with talent and influencers, and provide the unique opportunity to reach consumers and influencers through experiential onsite activation and sampling.   
    • Music Video Integration - Again, similar to alcohol and e-cigs, this is a less expensive method to reach millions of potential customers and receive an "implied endorsement" from top celebrity talent.  Exposure and usage is agreed upon prior to production to make sure your brand messaging is shared with the viewer.

*Depending on other brands participating, this could also increase your brand's reach and value in terms of association with other recognizable brands.

STILETTO can assist with each of these components to ensure your brand receives maximum exposure with each activation.

Stay tuned for a recap of Day 2 and feel free to reach out to STILETTO directly with questions.

"Will you go out with me?" #OptOutside

That’s one of the slogans from this year’s edition of REI’s absolutely BRILLIANT #OptOutside marketing campaign that is returning for its 2nd year and is on course to become its own Thanksgiving holiday tradition … right up there with turkey, pumpkin pie, and a good ol’ fashioned turkey bowl.

If you somehow missed all the buzz around this award-winning campaign (literally, won nearly every marketing award this year), here are the details of the original 2015 REI #OptOutside campaign that shocked the marketing and retail world:

  • REI closed all off their retail locations on Black Friday, the unofficial national holiday for retail stores (approximately 143 locations)
  • Gives a paid day off to all of their employees (approximately 12,000 employees)
  • The REI.com site featured a takeover screen encouraging visitors to #OptOutside, rather than big online sales
  • Goal: Instead of waiting in line and fighting with other shoppers over the last sleeping bag, #OptOutside – camp, hike, whatever it is you want to do … do it in the great outdoors.

This year, it’s bigger and better.  Approximately 275 local and national partners are participating this year.  Partners range from nonprofits and national parks to big corporations.  For example, Subaru will be donating a fleet of cars for New Yorkers to take their dogs and/or shelter dogs out into nature, Google is working with REI to support outdoor activity-focused nonprofits in Seattle and Austin, and numerous outdoor apparel and equipment brands will also promote the #OptOutside mission to reclaim Black Friday.  In addition, REI launched an outdoor activity finder to find nearby hiking trails, share pictures with fellow “outsiders”, and connect with nonprofits for continued interest in supporting the outdoors and outdoor recreation. 

The campaign is beautiful and genius for so many reasons, but as marketers there are a few takeaways we all can be reminded of from time to time.

1.       Know thy consumer – And empathize.

REI CEO, Jerry Stritzke, was quoted, "As a nation we're still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it's a trend we need to tackle.”

OMG.  90% can’t be right (as I sit here realizing I was outside for a grand total of 1 hour today for a run)?!?  Just another reason we should all #OptOutside.

But it isn’t just about dropping mind-boggling stats like the above, it’s about understanding your consumer and their behavior.  REI is not known for huge discounts or blowout sales, but they have a very niche consumer that spends big dollars on apparel and equipment to enjoy the great outdoors.  While a sale here and there is appreciated by any customer, theirs isn’t planning on using that tent to camp outside waiting for their doors to open at 12am after a Thanksgiving feast.  They would much rather spend their Black Friday camping, hiking, rock climbing, or whatever it may be to explore while also working off that 2nd slice of pie.  It’s a passion, but also an activity that requires time to enjoy … and perhaps some high-quality gear from a retailer who shares your passion.

At the end of the day, consumers are people – and so are marketers!  Act like it.  Think, feel, and be human.  This campaign focuses on the values of their customer and employees, proves that REI “gets it” and is willing to sacrifice sales for the betterment of their community (albeit they are receiving positive and free press, but still!).  Brands that demonstrate that they share the same values and feelings as their customers will also have the most loyal customers.

Want to know what REI customers and employees are thankful for this Thanksgiving? Another day they can spend outdoors.

2.       Remember, and stay true to, the brand’s mission.

Fun Fact: REI was founded by a group of mountaineers.  REI’s overview is essentially a mission statement and commitment to their consumer, as well as the great outdoors.  “REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship…We are passionate about the outdoors and committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.”

It’s one thing to provide a service, it’s another to declare a passion.  All mission statements include a core purpose.  REI’s mission is to live and breathe the outdoors through their actions and service, and while they are a business that has a “bottom line” like any other, this campaign shows they understand their consumer and share the same passions. 

Because this campaign is so “on brand” for REI, it doesn’t feel like a PR stunt.  While they are getting a ton of free press, it’s been received as genuine and inspirational.  Customers know when they are being marketed to so it’s imperative brands understand how their voice comes across to the consumer so their campaigns are heard as friendly invitations to indulge in a passion.

3.       Communicate

Marketing is really a conversation between the brand and the consumer.  You have to listen to the audience to know what they like, feel, want, need, etc.  REI’s campaign includes a social component and allows participants to share their #OptOutside plans and pictures with others.  Not only are they servicing their customers’ needs, but they are also collecting data and consumer insights through this engagement.

The more you communicate, share, and have an open dialogue with your audience, the more you will learn about their needs so you can better service them now and in the future. 

4.       Timing

Black Friday is a great opportunity for REI to set itself apart from major retail chains and make an impact with their customers, but that campaign wouldn’t make sense for all brands.  Black Friday may not be a day your customers purchase your product or visit your store and you don’t need to close your doors to appeal to your consumers’ inner desires. 

Try to identify opportunities where you can make the most impact and create a campaign that resonates with your target audience, tap into what they really want when they purchase your product, and evoke emotion.  These can be small or large campaigns targeting niche or broad groups, but if they are speaking to the heart of the consumer they will prove effective and impactful.

Many brands carry the same messaging throughout the year with few seasonal themes and sales spikes.  Brands that are present, aware, and listening to what’s currently on the customers’ minds can mobilize and leverage social media for quick activations. 

There are a few brands doing this really well in the Seattle area, but one that comes to mind is Cupcake Royale – If you follow them on Instagram (which I highly recommend), whether it’s Pride, football season, or #NationalIceCreamDay, they are constantly monitoring their consumers conversation to see “what’s hot” or “trending” and deliver seemingly-impromptu social media specials that lead to long lines of eager costumers.  While cupcakes, ice cream, and donuts aren’t always the answer, Cupcake Royale is developing a relationship with their consumers by showing their understanding and support whether celebrating or mourning.  They also share images of their fans living the experience of their campaigns – from waiting in line, to when they finally get that luscious cupcake in their hands, to that first heavenly bite.  They have tapped into the emotions of their consumer and it pays off “Royaley” (Sorry, I had to.).

Using the above as an example, there is likely an untapped special time or event for every brand’s audience.  How does the brand build and demonstrate empathy while fueling the passion during those special times?  Dive in, engage and communicate with consumers.  Once you identify the opportunity, the next steps of planning and activation will become more clear.

#OptOutside is reminding us of the basics.  It doesn’t have to be a big nation-wide campaign to strike a chord and have a positive impact with a consumer base.  “The basics” can be implemented on all social media platforms for quick and cost-effective activations.  Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or another social media platform, your brand can leverage those platforms to demonstrate and build empathy by being present and listening to the consumer voice.

Back to the basics.

Happy Thanksgiving, be thankful.  And #OptOutside this Black Friday - Cyber Monday is way better anyway :)

 

 

5 Mistakes Brands Must Avoid with Influencer Campaigns

As with any project, things are overlooked and fall through the cracks during the implementation process, but below are 5 easily avoidable mistakes that are all-too-common. Also, here are a few tips to ensure your influencer campaigns will stay on track and achieve (and exceed!) the desired result.  Influencer campaigns not only yield great results, but they're also fun and often provide great content that can be picked up for additional press and PR.

1.      Not Defining the Goals & Relevant KPIs in Advance

Too often brands don’t determine the campaign goals and KPIs before an influencer activation. They get excited about the activation and work on the other details, but don’t outline where the bar is set for success. There are 2 problems with not documenting these specifics in advance. 

a.      How do you determine if the campaign was a success if you don’t know what to measure? You can read analytics reports, track sales and website hits all day, but without a set target it becomes more difficult to determine which campaigns are more successful and what components of each were most effective and should be utilized for future programs.  

Side Note: This also allows you to fairly compare campaigns against each other when establishing and allocating budgets. If the metrics are available you can more easily evaluate where you can get the most bang for your buck.   

b.      By setting the goals and KPIs in advance, the campaign scope and direction will remain intact. Is the campaign’s focus to increase overall brand awareness or are you targeting a niche consumer base within your industry? Is the goal to drive consumers to your website or to build a social following? There are many questions to be answered when building a campaign, but when all the components are outlined in advance the brand messaging will be concise and consistent, the influencers will be identified and secured with those goals in mind, and the campaign will be more successful as a result.

TIP: Be specific with your goals and be sure to put measurement mechanisms in place so you can track each component and course correct mid-campaign if necessary.

2.      Not Identifying the Correct Platforms

Where is your target audience?Who is your target demographic?  Old, young?  Male, Female? Is your product more of an impulse purchase or does it require a bit more education before a consumer buys in? The answers to questions like these may uncover that specific platforms are better for reaching and engaging your consumer. And remember, you don’t have focus on all platforms.  Snapchat and Instagram Stories, while newer and more “hip”, but is your audience engaging on those platforms and will those platforms help you hit your goals?

This will also dictate the influencer chosen to drive the campaign. Before selecting an influencer, you need to identify where your audience is finding information about your product and where they engage with their friends, family, and other brands. Choose an influencer that aligns in those areas. An influencer’s voice and audience can vary based on the platform.  The type of content (video, boomerang, static image, etc.) created may also vary based on the preferred platforms.

TIP: Ask for detailed information about the influencer’s audience and engagement rate on each platform before including them in the campaign. Available details will vary by platform.

3.      Handcuffing the Talent

The influencers have proven themselves capable of creating unique content that the consumer genuinely enjoys and actively engages with on a regular basis. It is fair to request certain brand message points to be included or share inside knowledge of what has been “successful” in the past, but DO NOT handcuff the talent by taking away their creative control and voice. Share what has worked in the past and what has not, but no one has a better sense for the community than the person who built it and engages with it on a daily basis.

While the brand should always have final approval on content and copy to go live, the branded content should still entertain and feel authentic to the influencer's audience.  If not, the engagement and overall success will be compromised. 

TIP:  It’s ok to take a risk and let the influencer put their spin on the brand messaging and content. While the brand is an expert in their field, the influencer is the expert when it comes to their audience.  

4.      Limiting your Impact with Short Term Engagements

Unless there is a particular event or a firm expiration date for a campaign, most are successful if there are repeated engagements so the audience can build a relationship with the brand.  It also reinforces the authenticity and organic relationship between the brand and the influencer.

On the flip side, don’t overdo it.  The consumer can sense when a product is being forced on them. Too many posts or really heavy content will lead to decreased engagement and potentially negative feedback.

TIP:  Add in the option to renew or extend an engagement based on the success of the initial campaign.

5.      Focusing on Impressions versus Engagement. 

Don’t be lured in by a large following. Weigh your options.

Sometimes the influencer with the smaller follower has a more niche audience and perhaps a stronger influence over their following. Impressions matter, but engagement is key and much more valuable. 

TIP:  Consider the influencer with smaller followings and niche focus areas. Engagement on smaller accounts is often higher due to the follower feeling they have more of a “voice” within the community.

Now you're ready!

There are many ways you can work with an influencer and when executed correctly can yield big results. Get creative, take a risk or two. Start small or big, there is no reason to not dabble in the influencer-driven campaign space!

Feel free to reach out to me directly for questions and assistance!