What Marketers Can Learn from Stranger Things Lauren Nelson | August 31st, 2016
If you’ve been living under a rock this summer, you might have missed the phenomenon that is Stranger Things. If you haven’t watched it, I highly suggest you stop reading this right now and go watch it immediately. Like, now.
But if you’re, say, working at your desk and likely to piss off your boss by pulling up Netflix, here’s the low down: Stranger Things is a horror series dealing with the disappearance of a young boy, the appearance of a strange and powerful young girl, terrifying things that go bump in the night, and the struggles of those around town in dealing with all the craziness.
It’s wonderful storytelling sure to give you more than a couple nightmares, but it wasn’t just a compelling tale that propelled it into the stratosphere of fandom. It was the setting and subject matter. The show is a throwback to the 80’s in the most beautiful way, and I’m not just talking about the now infamous synth-riddled soundtrack. The adults in the room bring to mind memories of The Big Chill, while you can’t help but think of the famed Brat Pack while watching the hormonal and fumbling teens. And the kids — the undeniable superstars of the show — will have you thinking back fondly on movies like Stand By Me and Goonies.
Its own distinctive narrative appeal aside, this is just one of the latest in a recent string of highly successful nostalgia porn. From Mad Men to Downton Abbey, audiences continue to clamor for shows depicting times gone by. They’re not all successful — Pan Am is a good example of a flop — but by and large, folks like taking a fictional stroll down memory lane.
I know, I know. I can hear your thoughts from here.
What on earth does this have to do with my marketing!?!
9 Entrepreneurs Who Are Killing It With Their Twitter Profiles Jason Byer | August 31st, 2016
Twitter background image real estate is too precious to waste if you want to portray your brand quickly. Need some ideas to stand out? Take a look at what these 9 entrepreneurs and innovators are doing.
Click any image below to see the Twitter profile.
1. Show your product
Gabriala’s product photographs very nicely and shows she is concerned about her brand image. Seeing all the product instantly boosts her credibility that she offers a real product.
2. Establish authority
Fabienne’s quote both establishes authority and quickly summarizes what I should expect by engaging with her. The live photo showing the mic establishes her as a speaker with experience.
3. Make it emotional
Steve’s company, Classroom Champs, connects students with professional athletes. This simple photo conveys their mission and the excitement of the kid’s faces instantly makes you want to learn how you can get involved.
4. You in action
If a picture are worth a thousand words, Holly’s Twitter image is worth a few thousand. This collage shows she is connected, professional, athletic, esteemed and fun; all aspects an entrepreneur attempts to promote.
5. Keep it simple
As a fashionista, Beth keeps her brand on point by offering a sleek photo highlighting her name. The white on black conveys a sophisticated and elegant approach.
6. Highlight your creativity
With the competition in the food blogging niche, Rachel can’t serve up a bland Twitter image. This custom image combines action shots with her creations laid out in a way that speaks creatively.
7. Promote your platforms
While the guys from Escape with Wolves are active on Twitter the real magic happens on their photo and video sharing platforms which they promote from the background image.
8. Highlight your name
Instead of just throwing your logo on a plain background make it look professional with a creative touch. Peter’s choice makes it clear from his creative image choice that he wants to offer more than just standard service.
9. Keep it Timely
Matt, CEO of beBee.com, uses the Twitter real estate to promote the recent move into New York. His direct to camera pose is inviting and feels like a personal message to check out what is going on with the company.
Want a creative image designed for your Twitter? Check out starting a graphic design project on crowdSPRING and choose from the ideas of hundreds of designers vying for your business.
A Marketer’s Ode to Gawker Lauren Nelson | August 29th, 2016
After losing a lawsuit against Hulk Hogan over the publication of a sex tape in which he featured, Gawker Media was bought up by Univision. Though many of the sites under their umbrella, like Jezebel and Deadspin, will live on, the always controversial Gawker.com is being shuttered.
There’s good reason for this. The Hogan lawsuit is just one of many being litigated at this moment, and after a number of posts that drew public ire, the prevailing sentiment was that the name had become toxic.
I admit I’ve had conflicting feelings on this. I wouldn’t count myself among Gawker’s fans. The outing of unknown mid-level execs doesn’t seem to serve the public interest in the way we hope the Fourth Estate would. But I’m also disturbed by the idea that a man with a vendetta and deep pockets could shut down an entire media organization. Like I said, conflicting feelings.
Many more have written many, many think pieces on the death of Gawker, and the role that Gawker played in the evolution of digital media. As Farhad Manjoo put it in the New York Times:
Created in 2002 after the dot-com bubble, Gawker was far from the first online news site; it wasn’t the first blog or the first network of blogs, either. But in many ways, Gawker Media — which included Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker and several other sites in addition to Gawker.com — was the first real digital media company. It was the first publisher that understood the pace, culture and possibilities of online news. And it used that understanding to unleash a set of technical, business and journalistic innovations on the news industry that have altered the way we produce, consume and react to media today.
The most important innovation Gawker brought to news was its sense that the internet allowed it to do anything. It was one of the first web publications to understand that the message was the medium — that the internet wasn’t just a new way to distribute words, but that it also offered the potential to create a completely new kind of publication, one that had no analogue in the legacy era of print.
There’s a lot of truth in those words, but as I read them, it struck me that Gawker didn’t just change the way we produce and consume news. It also paved the way for bolder, more dynamic marketing.
Five Ways Students Going Back to School Can Leverage Crowdsourcing Lauren Nelson | August 27th, 2016
It’s the end of August, which means fresh faced students from around the country are heading back to their dorms and lockers for another year of learning. Part of that learning process takes place outside of the classroom, though, in the context of extracurricular activities. And within those activities students will encounter a myriad of unique challenges.
Challenges that crowdsourcing can help them tackle.
Fresh from the SPRING: RoyalSmart Audree | August 25th, 2016
Struggling to Generate Good Content? Go Full On Club Kid Lauren Nelson | August 23rd, 2016
Ah, college. Those were the days, weren’t they? Our first real taste of freedom. New friends. New Experiences. More down time than we could appreciate in the moment. And oh, the parties. The glorious, glorious parties.
I’m not talking about the keggers at the local frat house or the regularly scheduled Friday night beer pong. I’m talking about the themed parties. Those were always the best. They had all the ingredients of a regular party, but they boasted something extra: creativity.
Anyone can run to the mall and pick out a killer outfit. But assembling the perfect Club Kid ensemble? That took skill. A selfie is a selfie is a selfie, but add in glitter, wings, and theatrical makeup and you’ve got the makings of a masterpiece. And while it’s definitely easier to pick up a bag of ice, stack up red solo cups, put out some cheap bottles of booze, and throw on some music, it doesn’t guarantee your event will be memorable. No, themed bashes ruled supreme.
Maybe our bodies aren’t ready to relive the all night blowouts of our youth, but this walk down memory lane serves a purpose. Because much like a theme could turn your party from run of the mill to talk of the town, incorporating themes into your marketing plans can help revitalize a stagnant brand experience.
Let’s be real for a second: marketing is impossibly difficult in the age of the internet. It’s no longer just about having the right TV spot or ad campaign in a magazine. You’ve got to churn out quality content that satisfies the gods of SEO, relevance, and fickle interests to make things work, and you’ve got to do it consistently. That’s no easy feat.
So it’s understandable if you find yourself blanking on what to do next every now and then. But if you find yourself struggling and your audience yawning, make like a sorority with dwindling social status and throw yourself a themed marketing bash.
What do we mean? Let’s say we’re talking about September. What happens in September? Well, for starters, everyone is back in school. What if you themed your marketing efforts around education in some way, shape, or form?
You could be an investment firm and launch a month-long crash course on asset allocation — leveraging email, content, social, and web design in the campaign. You could be an independent book publisher and offer an alternative fiction syllabus consisting of some of your latest and greatest novels — making lists on Amazon, blasting your prior customers, and running an ad campaign on Facebook. You could be a life coach and provide a month-long seminar package that focus on learning and growth — using a trial of sorts to hook potential customers moving forward.
In other words, pick a theme and host a month-long marketing party around that concept. The possibilities here are endless, and the strategy yields two unique benefits.
For starters, it’s a great way to give your marketing the kick in the pants it needs. Pulling great ideas for content out of thin air without any sense of direction can be a challenge, but if your brainstorming revolves around a specific theme, you’re more likely to come up with really creative and out of the box concepts. If this strategy is executed on a semi-regular basis, you put yourself in a great position to deliver a consistently surprising and exemplary brand experience.
But beyond that, it’s also way more engaging in terms of audience interaction. If your brand is constantly building excitement — inviting people to participate in the latest party — you’re more likely to see the sorts of engagement you strive for on a day to day basis.
So go for it! Have your brand plan a party! All the cool kids are doing it.
Wind Up Your Productivity and Creativity by Winding Down Lauren Nelson | August 19th, 2016
In today’s world, a huge premium is put on staying busy. How many hours are you working? How much are you getting done during those hours? What are you doing that’s productive when you’re not working?
These questions aren’t necessarily bad. You want to make sure you’re making progress towards goals. But that mad sprint is a double edged sword. If you pack your day full of nothing but work, you might be doing a lot more harm than good in your pursuit of excellence.
The issue is compounded when stress enters the equation. Things like writers block, for instance, can be even worse for someone facing hectic deadlines or internal pressure because it creates a potent sense of urgency. That just makes the problem worse.
Launch Your Startup with an Infographic Nick Bowersox | August 18th, 2016
Image credit: Everlane
In 2011, it was relatively unknown that most designer tees are marked up as much as 10 times. In the traditional retail model, manufacturers normally double their cost before selling clothing to a retailer, who then doubles or triples the cost they paid. Ultimately, a $6 tee shirt can be sold to the consumer for $50 or more.
This simple fact led Michael Preysman to create Everlane, an online retail startup that intended to sell “Barney’s quality at one-third the price.”
His startup’s formula was relatively straight-forward: Focus on making one thing really well (in this case, a tee shirt) and disrupt the traditional retail model by selling high-quality products for only two times the cost. Though the formula was simple, Preysman knew that a bit of industry knowledge is required for a customer to truly understand the value of Everlane. Most customers happily pay retail prices and are unaware just how little the actual cost of an item is. If Everlane simply competed on price, the brand could be considered “cheap” instead of “disruptive.”
So, Preysman set out to educate his potential customers prior to launching. Read the rest of this post »