'Tis the Season for the best campaign of the year: #2018GOALS via Spotify

I know what you're thinking. "That 'I Love Gingers' playlist from the Spotify 2018 #GOALS campaign...definitely Diana."

Well, I hate to disappoint, but it's not me. Do I have 48 Ed Sheeran songs on my Spotify - ABSOLUTELY - But no "I Love Gingers" playlist. That said, #GOALS.

Spotify revived last year's hit campaign with a #2018GOALS twist.  Same sort of fun facts, with "savage" and "winning" copy - And featuring some of the consumer's top-streamed talent.

Why this campaign works, and what you can steal for your brand:

- Fun stats that make people go "SAME" or "Also Me", just like our favorite social memes and gifs.

- Its core is the universal language - MUSIC. This campaign can be duplicated and tweaked to work in any state, country, continent, you get the picture...plus, our nosey human nature fix is met with consumer insights and habits exposed with each Spotify secret shared.

- Inclusion of current events, big headlines, and trends that you couldn't miss if you tried. From vegan diet fads to politics, Spotify is proving it knows what's up.

While this year's campaign is a win, last year's "Dear person who played 'Sorry' 42 times on Valentine's Day, what did you do?" still has me convinced that Ross & Rachel are still fighting over their "break".

Spotify_Holiday2017_London_EdSheeran.jpg

Bud Light Wins Lollapalooza, Along with Chicago's Heart!

Step by Step Creative:

1. Lollapalooza is an annual music festival, taking place in Grant Park, Chicago.

2. Bud Light is an official sponsor of Lollapalooza 2017.

3. Chance the Rapper is the headliner for Lollapalooza 2017.

4. Bud Light partners with Chicago artist, Brandon Breaux, who designed all of Chance the Rapper's album covers for a limited edition aluminum bottle featuring Chicago's iconic landmarks.

This is how you win music festival season.

This is a multi-pronged campaign that allows Bud Light to tap into the heart of the Chicago community through the love of art (music, design - all forms), summer, and beer - Whether you attend Lollapalooza or not. Anheuser-Busch is no stranger when it comes to the event sponsorship space, but they continue to innovate and create strategic partnerships to maximize exposure and engage their consumer through storytelling.

http://bit.ly/2s1S72q

"Recalculating" - More than just directions from your GPS.

All according to plan, I started my professional career in Los Angeles in the summer of 2006 after graduating from LMU.  In 2007, I entered the very professional corporate world to boost my resume.  Years later, I 'recalculated' and began my career in the entertainment industry in 2010.  Late in 2015, after working in entertainment on brand, agency, and talent sides, I 'recalculated' again and relocated to Seattle where I now work very closely with brands and media platforms within the cannabis industry.  

I never would have predicted when I first graduated from college that I would end up in Seattle - Not to mention working in the cannabis industry.  When the road gets tough or you're too focused on the next opportunity, you forget to cherish where you're from and what 'route' you took to get where you are today.

In many ways I'm still "recalculating", as are many others, and this Jeep Compass commercial reminded me of the journey in my rearview mirror while energizing me for the adventure ahead.  

Great ad, and of course the marketer in me thinks there's ‘leg room’ if they want to expand this campaign into tour sponsorships or celebrity diaries highlighting their "recalculating" moments (just saying!).  

All puns totally intended.  

http://bit.ly/2qu1bL7
 

The Not-So-Coachella Cannabis Demographic

Part of the "Coachella Hangover" is seeing what celebrities went to which parties, what they were wearing, and what they were up to!  There was plenty of buzz around the Weedmaps Oasis, and they had some A-listers in attendance at their off-campus Coachella escape.  It was obviously a huge success and a fun event, with many great cannabis brand sponsors, but a lot of the content shared and reported by many media outlets has focused on the traditional stereotype for the cannabis consumer.

One of the fastest growing demographics is actually seniors, and another is the 30/35+ year old female that may be re-introduced to cannabis or is trading in their glass of wine for their preferred CBD and/or THC product.  And yes, CBD is growing in popularity as consumers are educated on the effects and medical benefits.

Many brands are leaving that old stoner stigma behind and the article below highlights a genius product that is catering to that more sophisticated demo, but also speaks to how the cannabis industry and their target demographic surprised them!

http://lat.ms/2oGtC7z

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.

A $5 Million Super Bowl Ad or...so much more!

Super Bowl commercials get plenty of media attention and views even before the big game, but is that hefty $5M price tag for a :30 spot really worth it?  Now, if you’re a big brand with larger budgets it may be logical to leverage the Super Bowl to launch a product/service or draw further attention to an ongoing campaign, or perhaps it’s a tradition like with Budweiser or Coca-Cola…it’s their money after all!  Don’t get me wrong, I love checking out what brands come up with each year, but if it were coming out of my pocketbook (yup, I said pocketbook), I would spend it differently based on other affordable entertainment marketing tactics available.

ONE $5M :30 SUPER BOWL AD or....

  • 500 Celebrity Gift Lounges

OR

  • 200 Celebrity Events at Premiere or Title Sponsorship Level

OR

  • 200 Talk Show Integrations

OR

  • 165 Influencer Campaigns (this does not leverage “celebrities”, but includes multiple social media influencers with a minimum of 100k followers across multiple platforms for each)

OR

  • 100 Music Videos with A/B-List Talent

*Figures are estimates based on average costs per activation, as all opportunities in each category can vary in rate and deliverables.  Categories taken from STILETTO’s “New Year, NEW BUDGET” Blog. 

Don’t just compete, DIFFERENTIATE. 

You don't need a $5 million budget to make a splash.  Stand out from the rest and entertain your consumer so your brand is top of mind with entertainment marketing tactics like those listed above.  An effective and balanced entertainment marketing program should be multifaceted and incorporate various tactics (plus, 100 music videos is a bit excessive) based on your target demographic, concurrent campaigns, timing, and goals. 

Contact STILETTO to customize an Entertainment Marketing Program 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!

 

Brand Spotlight – What we can learn from Protein World’s campaign with Khloe Kardashian

Let’s get something out of the way upfront - Protein World is arguably my favorite brand based on their marketing campaigns and fresh tone shared through their social media accounts.  I also use their products – they are effective and yummy!  I have recommended this brand to many of my friends and family, and while I normally shy away from highlighting brands I have a personal connection to, they are a great example of a brand that is executing successful marketing and advertising campaign.  We can all benefit from that. 

I’ve been following this UK-based health & wellness brand for a couple years now and they’ve just hit a homerun with a “Go Big or Go Home” campaign that not only puts them on the map in a saturated industry, but is in line with the same fierce brand personality their existing fan base has grown to love.

#TBT to Protein World’s bold 2015 “Are You Beach Body Ready?” advertising campaign.  The brand received international attention (mostly a lot of heat) for using a sexy model in a bright yellow bikini in their ads promoting their weight loss program.  Body shaming and how women are objectified by society is a hot button – now more than ever.  Every brand is wary of the trolls just waiting for a misstep, so they are extremely careful when it comes to any mention (or criticism) of the female shape.  And when critics ripped into Protein World, instead of cowering down, apologizing, and having their ads pulled, Protein World stood tall and strong behind their brand messaging.  In some cases, their responses flat out mocked their “haters” and celebrated the record-breaking sales brought on by all the publicity! 

Protein World promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, nutrition supplements that support that goal, and leverages influencers to share their message through social media.  They have loyal fans and haters alike.  Protein World is also a fierce and fearless brand that can talk-the-talk AND walk-the-walk.  So when it came to their “New Year, New You” campaign promoting their 30 Day Challenge, who better to represent their brand and voice than a public figure that faces that same type of love/hate on a daily basis – Khloe Kardashian.

Whether you love or hate the Kardashians, you cannot deny their success.  Through family scandals, breakups, and media frenzies, Khloe has reinvented her mind, body, and soul since she first entered the Hollywood spotlight.  I could give you a slew of reasons about why Khloe Kardashian and Protein World are a perfect pairing and why this campaign will be a success (the website basically crashed during the campaign launch!), but let’s highlight one overarching theme demonstrated by this successful campaign and many others: 

COMMITMENT. 

In order to have a successful campaign, a brand must COMMIT

to their Voice, Influencers, & Messaging.

Brand Voice & Tone – Protein World has demonstrated strong conviction through their engagement on social media and public statements for C-level executives.  They are confident and consistent with their voice and tone, which indirectly instills confidence within their core consumer about the quality of their product. 

Lesson: Find your voice and stick with it.  If you vary in tone and messaging, your content will not resonate with your consumer – in fact, it will turn them off entirely.  Commit and stick to the script.

Influencer Partnership(s) – Protein World works with numerous influencers and now, most notably, Khloe Kardashian.  They will now reach a wider demographic than with previous partnerships due to her overall reach, international appeal, and younger following.  Her fearless and witty personality, and occasional “clap-back” retorts to heat from the press or fans, aligns with Protein World’s “not backing down” stance and tone.  They have secured Kardashian for 6 months for this particular campaign, which will include countless social media posts from Kardashian, media coverage, and additional assets that will be hard to miss within that timeframe. 

Lesson: Identify influencers that reach your target consumer and match the brand’s lifestyle and tone.  Consumers will not only sense a disingenuous relationship with influencers, they will also notice if the influencers’ tones change within the branded content.  Don’t fall for the “firework effect” and expect an overnight ROI.  These campaigns take multiple posts and time to see the full impact.  Commit to your influencers for a longer engagement to maximize the impact with their fan base.

Campaign Themes & Messaging – Protein World is known for their sass, crisp branding & marketing, and influencer marketing tactics.  This has been consistent throughout their campaigns and has grown over time as the brand matures and continues to expand.

Lesson: A brand’s overall voice and tone shouldn’t vary too much from campaign to campaign, but strengthen and evolve with the brand.  That being said, the individual campaign themes and messaging may diverge - sometimes you have to shake things up!  Regardless of the campaign theme, commit to the associated messaging, tactics, and platforms to maximize the impact.  Campaigns can be short term, but invest and commit to each and every campaign to maximize the reach, impact, and overall ROI.

 

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.  

 

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.

Week Weed PDX 2016 - 8 Hot Topics

In my professional career, I’ve attended conferences and trade shows across all sorts of brand categories: fitness & health/nutrition, tech, outdoor recreation, consumer food & beverage - you name it, I’ve probably been there!  This past week I attended Weed Week PDX 2016, which is a cannabis industry event where professionals specializing in each aspect of the business get together to share best practices & innovations, industry trends, and network.  While in many ways, the programming was very much like your traditional industry conference, the discussions I participated in allowed me to take a step back to more fully understand how the industry currently functions and see where the industry is headed.

The cannabis industry is in a state of transition and innovation, and on the verge of a big boom with recreational marijuana being legalized in a number of big markets this past election.  In sessions, I spent most of the time listening – listening to the questions of consumer brands, growers, retail owners/operators, etc.  I glanced at the notes of those sitting around me to see what their big takeaways were.  From very green to branding experts, it was clear that with the cannabis industry is still finding its legs to some degree.  Trial and error will be the game for a bit, but the good news is that at this stage there is room for experimentation. 

Here are the top 8 topics of discussion that were of most interest to the contacts I met at Weed Week PDX 2016:  (Please note: Budgets outlined are not quoted by STILETTO, but by other cannabis industry leaders)

·       80:20 Rule (Sales): Highly saturated market with more and more products entering the market, while 80% of the sales are from 20% of the available product.

·       Relationship-Oriented Business: Sales are heavily reliant on the relationships with Budtenders, and the Budtenders’ recommendations to consumers.  Will this shift as the industry grows and brands begin marketing directly to the consumer and if so, how do brand effectively market?  Answer - Yes, but the importance of Budtenders will still be a top priority.  Social Media and PR will play a large role in reaching existing and new consumers.

·       Social Media: Social media is a huge opportunity as it is less regulated and accessible to everyone, but has also created some hurdles since cannabis has been a controversial product in the past (and sometimes, still is). 

o   Brands also have difficulty allocating time to a process that doesn’t have a “proven” ROI in terms of sales or driving foot traffic.

·       Influencers (Digital, Social Media, & Celebrity): Playing a larger part in marketing cannabis than ever, and expected to increase along with the expansion of the industry

·       Consumer & Industry Data: There are services that can provide real-time analytics, such as Headset, there is very little consumer data available since transactions are conducted in cash and few consumers sign up for a “subscription” or “frequent shopper” program. 

o   Current Stats Include*:

- Average $ per Transaction: $33

- Male/Female Purchaser – 2:1 Ratio

- Average Consumer Spend per Year: $1k - $2.5k

- Average Age of Consumer: 37

*Data provided by Headset

·       Cannabis Media/News Outlets & PR: Top Content that is Featured

o   Promoting an industry event

o   Content Marketing - Focus on educating the reader versus selling the product – If the product is innovative, especially in the medical arena or reaching a new demographic, focus on that aspect.  If it feels like an ad, it won’t be included in their content

o   LOVE research/data-driven content – There is a lack of data in the industry, so independent studies that carry weight are likely to be shared.

·       Branding: How important is branding? Answer: VERY. 

o   Investing early in branding materials that align with your brand and price point will help your products stand out in a saturated market, increase Budtender recommendation, and save you from a re-brand after your product is already established and recognized by your consumer.

o   Branding Budget: OMD Agency recommended a minimum budget of $25k for comprehensive branding.

·       Marketing Budget: Recommended Marketing Budget - $3k/mo Minimum*

*May vary by product category and medium/platform.  Also, dependent on tactics utilized (influencers, etc.).

In addition to the above information, in the Day 1 recap, we touched on many marketing tactics that will be leveraged as brands further develop their marketing campaigns and expand their consumer base.

STILETTO will develop and execute marketing strategies that maximize the impact of your budget, as well as secure strategic brand partnerships and PR.

Please contact STILETTO directly for a free consultation to discuss marketing strategies to differentiate your brand.

"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!