Well this wasn't originally my topic for the week BUT, sometimes things don't go exactly to plan. So I'm putting work on hold and looking after my son this morning but thought why not get a car wash! I mean it's spring and we have had a brutal winter so I am in desperate need of a good wash to keep the BFresh Mobile looking well... Fresh.
Considering that last week I talked about the cardinal rule of driving a branded vehicle, I thought I would address the obvious second which is to keep it clean. Now some might think that is the first rule but to me it's a lot less important than driving carefully and respectfully on the road. I believe that our actions speak louder and yes it's important to maintain a good appearance but if you act like a jerk, then you're still a jerk, no matter how you look.
Not to mention that it's really hard to keep your car clean in winter. It's like bathing a pig, what's the point? Now that it's spring however, I am hopeful that we are done with all the snow and salt and we can all look forward to beautiful weather and nice, clean shiny cars.
Branded Vehicles are amazing. It's like driving a billboard, everywhere you go, promoting your business. I own one, and I recommend this type of brand advertising to almost everyone.
If you own your own business, you just can't beat the level of professionalism and exposure that a branded vehicle offers. Even an actual billboard will cost far more for just a single year of media but the great thing about wrapping your vehicle is that it's one cost to do it and it's there as long as you own your car. Even if you re-wrapped your car every 5 years, nothing will come close to how efficient and inexpensive this can be. I honestly cannot stress how amazing a branded car can be.
However, there is one rule that you should always remember. It is the single most important rule to owning a branded vehicle that should always always be in the back of your mind, no matter how rushed or stressed you may be...
Well to be polite, the number one cardinal rule to driving a branded vehicle is to drive safe. Be careful and courteous on the road because your actions represent your brand that is plastered in big letters on the side of your car or truck.
I drive a branded car myself and sometimes it can be challenging when you're stressed or in a hurry to remember this rule. If you're aggressive or dangerous on the road, it can undo all those benefits I mentioned and really work against you.
So be careful out there and be respectful because you never know when your next customer might be right behind you.
Welcome to episode 52 of Happy Freakin’ Monday which means that I’ve been creating and posting a video per week for one full year. Ok, so not every video was specifically about marketing and there were 2, or 3 at most, that were just to say “hey not doing a real video this week...” but it was either because I was on vacation or that time I just got out of the hospital. However, no matter what was going on in my life I have made it a priority to post a video with the end goal of helping you be a better marketer. New content, every Monday for the last year and here are 5 things I’ve learned from this experience:
#1: It can always be better
This is something that I had to come to terms with early on in order to just get the videos out. In the beginning, I hardly had a plan, I just started with a basic concept of sharing marketing insights and knowledge as an Entrepreneur and Dad working from home. If I had aimed for perfection with those first videos it surely would have worn me out and I don’t know that I would have made it a full year. Instead I’ve looked at each video after the fact with a critical eye to find ways I can improve and over time I think the content has definitely improved. Little by little I’ve developed and fine tuned the look and feel from the camera and lighting to the background and wardrobe. By the end of year 2 I’m certain it will again look very different but hopefully even that much better than today.
#2: A Script Always Makes Things Better
I’m definitely not one of those people who can hit that record button and spit out a video that is concise, informative, and entertaining in a single shot. I am still working on my ability to be all of those things within a reasonable amount of time. Until that day however, I need to prepare ahead of time what I want to say for my sake and for your sake as well.
#3: Keep it consistent but mix things up
This seems contradictory but what I mean is there should be consistency in terms of your branding, your personality, your topics (which I developed over a long period) but also don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, I’ve done almost all of my videos from my office except a few where I’ve done something different like my recipe for marketing success shot in my kitchen, or my holiday sing along in my living room, or just two weeks ago I did a vlog of my Family Day that was nothing like any of my previous videos. To me, the consistency is important for long term growth and development but mixing things up every now and again is a way to keep things fun and engaging for everyone.
#4: Audiences don’t build themselves
There is always more I could be doing to grow my audience, to get more people watching, I know that. I really need to work on YouTube the most and there are things that I know I should be doing to help that but it all comes down to a matter of time; how much i have to dedicate to this project. But again, if I aim to improve, little by little and do things like be more involved in the YouTube community or advertise my channel, I can continue to grow. I know I won’t have a million subscribers anytime soon but all I can do is work on producing better content and work on the little things that will help that growth.
#5: It takes a lot of time. More time than you think.
When I talk about finding ways to improve I’m not only talking about the content and look of the videos but also my own workflow to get them out. To give you an idea, on average I spend about 5-8 hrs on each video from start to finish. That includes scripting and writing the blog post, shooting, and editing(which I often try to keep to a minimum). Then I create 2 video thumbnails, one for YouTube and one for IGTV. Posting the video actually takes quite a lot of time as well. I post to YouTube, share that on twitter and LinkedIn, then Facebook and I’ve started using the auto generated captions which always require editing. Then I share that to my personal profile. Then comes Instagram which I’ve been working on a lot with a post in my feed plus a customized, vertical version of the same episode posted to IGTV. then I do a story to promote the topic as well. If I can finish all of that by 2 pm on Monday I’m happy but sometimes, as you may have noticed, I have posted as late as Tuesday once or twice or just around midnight was when I posted the Family day Vlog.
If you’re thinking about doing your own content marketing or video series, the best thing I can tell you is to just start. Don’t worry about making it absolutely perfect because perfection is often not sustainable. Start with one and try to make the next one better and go from there. The benefits have been great for my social media channels and brand awareness. Consistent content marketing is about building an audience through shared value and keeping your brand top of mind. So I will continue to try adding value to my content and making them fun and entertaining as long as I possibly can.
Speaking of fun videos, I have to say that looking back, my favourite one I think so far was my montage video. That one was a lot of fun to make and the end result was pretty ridiculous. What was your favourite episode or moment? What about that time my son puked on me? Wasn’t that awesome? Let me know in the comments below.
Today I was just going to talk about Tim Horton’s recent “Legends of Roll Up” series as part of the “Roll Up The Rim To Win” Campaign but Nike dropped another new “Dream Crazy” ad, last night during the 2019 Oscars, and damn, it’s another one worth talking about. I mean, I don’t know that anyone will be burning their shoes over this one but It’s a good one for sure that you need to watch.
The Tim Hortons spot is far less serious but it caught me off guard. For a brand that typically puts out sappy, emotional ads, (don’t get me wrong, I often do like sappy and emotional) this one was different and that’s why I think it’s great.
The “Legends of Roll Up” is done in a mockumentary style that follows 4 “Legends” of the, quite obviously fake, sport of roll up the rim to win. In case you’re not from Canada, this is a campaign that goes on for the whole month where hidden under the rim of every cup is a chance to win a prize. If you are Canadian, you know that we take Roll Up The Rim very seriously and that’s what Tim Hortons is playing on here. They are poking fun at those people that we all know who might take it a bit too far. There are 4 videos, profiling 4 different people from the office rivals, to the grandmother, and a few more.
Here are all 4 spots in the Tim Hortons series:
Nike's New "Just Do It" Ad
As for Nike, what can I say? They’ve done it again. It’s another amazing example of a powerful script, combined with equally powerful imagery that just goes a little bit against the grain. What I really like about what Nike has been doing in their last two ads, is that instead of featuring obvious stars, they’re championing the underdog. Ok, Serena Williams is certainly no underdog, but what I mean is that they are telling a greater story of not just physical hurdles but social and economic hurdles that can make it more difficult for some athletes, and in this case, women in sport. If it doesn’t give you goosebumps, then I don’t know what will. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:
Let’s talk about Community Involvement, which is not to be confused with community engagement. Engagement more often refers to social media engagement. NO, today I’m talking about getting off the computer, out into the real world and doing something good for your community.
Community Involvement is about giving back and getting involved in community events and the benefits to your brand can be really positive. Those events are most often of a charitable nature and they include things like sponsoring events, fundraisers, or sports teams. It could be volunteering at a fundraising event or a soup kitchen, or it could be doing some fundraising yourself for a worthy cause.
But why is community involvement beneficial? Because for one, you’ll feel better about yourself but there are branding benefits as well that you should consider and here are 3.
#1 Brand Awareness
As long as your brand is visible and recognizable at the event then you’ve done your job. Think about branded apparel, or banners to help promote your involvement. Sponsorships often involve your brand printed on promotional materials so make sure that you provide a good quality and up to date logo so that you get the most from your sponsorship. I have done a past episode on the importance of brand consistency here in case you need a refresher on the importance of that.
#2 Establish Trust, Credibility, Integrity, etc.
Showing that you care and give back to your community is a perfect way to establish trust and credibility among potential new clients or customers. Not to mention that existing customers like to know and support companies that are doing good things. It just makes everyone feel good.
#3 Networking Opportunities
Getting involved in different charity events is a great way to meet new people. It’s a way to engage with like-minded individuals which could lead to other things. I never pass up a good opportunity for face-to-face networking in the real world.
So consider getting out and supporting a cause that you feel passionate about and help others with your business. It’s a win win, that will have a lasting impact.
With that being said, I too am doing some community involvement, volunteering to shoot photos and videos for The Coldest Night of the Year in Owen Sound on Feb 23rd. This is a fundraiser to help Safe N’ Sound, a community hub, working to end poverty and homelessness. It is a great organization and I have pledged to raise $150 and I need your help. If you would like to support me with a donation, I would be ever so grateful and you can do so by clicking the link here http://walk.w-ith.me/bfresh
With Super Bowl LIII wrapped up, the discussion begins... Who had the best commercial?
I have gone through all of the ads and here are my top pics and why.
#1 Bud Light x Game Of Thrones - Joust
Well that was unexpected is all I can say. I love a story with a good twist and this is one I can honestly say I’ve never seen before. One brand teaming up with another for a commercial you think you’re watching but turns out that commercial is for something else.
#2 Pepsi - More than OK
This one has everything you want in a super bowl commercial, celebrities, comedy, and their message is simple. In true Pepsi fashion, they know they are number #2 in the cola game but that never stops them from using that to their advantage.
I also love this teaser ad that they put out. I mean Steve Carell... you just can’t go wrong.
#3 Google - 100 billion words
Great storytelling, that’s what is beautiful about this ad. It’s such a simple feel good message that gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.
#4 Verizon - All our Thanks
Get your tissues ready... Verizon honors first responders in their campaign “All our Thanks”. This one is emotionally powerful and they shot 12 of them which you can watch at AllOurThanks.com.
#5 Colgate Close Talker
It’s simple, kinda funny, and memorable... that’s all you need. Kudos Colgate!
#6 Amazon Alexa - Not Everything Makes The Cut
This one is good but if you happen to miss the opening line the first time (which I did) you need to watch it again for it to make sense. Wait, I wonder if they did that on purpose? Probably not because that would be a terrible strategy.
#7 Washington Post - Democracy Dies in Darkness
The Washington post makes a clear statement, fighting back against rhetoric and honoring journalists killed in action. It’s a dark spot that feels necessary and the point is strong and hurts to think about. It certainly helps that it’s narrated by Tom Hanks.
#8 Mint Mobile - Chunky Style Milk
Someone on this list had to go for shock value and Mint Mobile takes the cake for that one. I have to say that it’s not a great ad, the premise is a real stretch but I can’t fault them for making it memorable and buzz worthy. Also it’s really gross so heads up on that.
#9 Google - Jobs for Veterans
Good storytelling. Google gets it.
#10 NFL - 100 year game
I don’t know who any of these players are but for their target audience I’m sure it’s a who’s who of NFL All-stars... I think. It also did win first place in USA Today’s AD Meter which is a consumer rating of all Super Bowl Ads. So that does say a lot about not only who's watching but also who cares about Super Bowl Ads. Still a lot of fans I guess.
Here is my pick for Worst Ads
These just missed the mark on creativity and impact and make me wonder who thought this was a good idea.
#1 Burgerking - #eatlikeandy
This spot just makes me want to ask a lot of questions... starting with WTF? Why Andy Warhol? How long have they been sitting on this footage? And why did they think now is the time? Is the artist even that relevant today that he deserves a hashtag about eating a hamburger? Seriously, what were you thinking??
#2 Wix - Big Game Ad with Karlie Kloss
If you’ve ever used YouTube you’ve already seen this or something exactly like it. There is no creativity and no originality. Just the same boring spot from wix that we’ve all seen 10,000 times before.
#3 Bud Light - Beer ingredients
So the joust was good but that seems to have been the extent of their creativity. The beer brand also put out a series of medieval ads that list off their ingredients and dwell on the fact that their competitors use corn syrup. Does anyone care? Probably not.
If you’re a small business advertising in print then there is a good chance that your ad is not very effective. I can say this, with confidence because I see this problem in a large majority of print ads in all of the local publications around me. I will also add that it’s not the fault of the publication either. Print is still a viable medium and in my area there are several magazines that are worth advertising in. For a lot of small businesses, it can be a very effective way to connect with a local audience.
The problem however, is what I like to call “Information Overload”. It’s trying to fit too many messages, either in copy or in photos, into one print ad. The next time you open a local magazine just have a look at any ad and you will see bullet points and paragraphs and what do you do? You look away, you move on, because your eye doesn’t know where to go and it’s simply confusing.
But I get it too, I know why you want to include a lot of text in your print ad, because no matter what size your ad is, it’s an investment and you want to feel like you’re getting all of the right information across. But there should be a limit to one message only. Yes one, and here’s why.
Here is what you need to know about print advertising:
Print works best as a support medium. By that I mean it should support other marketing material that will help convey more information. It should not be the piece with all of the information. Why? Because no one wants to look at it. Again, when you try to fill an ad with all the information it gets confusing and messy. It should assist in the repetition and recognition of all your advertising.
Media that is best to deliver information includes:
Your support media should act as a reminder to seek out more information at any of the above channels or by contacting you directly.
Media that is best to avoid information (All forms of support media) include:
Why is it best to avoid too much information? Well think of a billboard for example. If you fly by a billboard on the side of the highway, you can’t possibly read a paragraph of text, a bunch of bullet points and even remember a phone number. These are all forms of support media because people are going to look at them quickly and they should be designed to be eye catching and simple. It’s the repetition and recognition of your brand and your message that will drive an audience to learn more about your products or services. Simplicity is the key to being noticed. In case you missed it, I do have a previous episode on the RnR of advertising that you should watch too.
Let’s look at some print ad examples:
I want to start by saying that I’m not trying to point the finger at anyone or make anyone look bad. But I did want to show exactly what I mean by information overload. And hey, anyone on these pages is getting free advertising so there you go. That being said, here are 2 different pages from Georgian life magazine which is a great local publication by the way.
Now looking at the example below, you can see that too much information becomes very busy and actually forces us to just avert our eyes. Even if they were on their own, almost every ad has just too much information. The only exception here, I would say is the Molly Maid ad at the top left. Have a look at that one. They have one message, dependable cleaning along with their brand and their contact. That’s all you need and you see that because they have included only one message, they have allowed enough space to make that headline really huge, relative to the other ads. It’s really the only thing that gets through on this page in my opinion so thumbs up to them.
Let me just show you what it looks like if you really took a chance and went with pure brand advertising. Now this is a bold move and not for everyone of course but look at what happens when we add this BFresh.Media ad right in the middle. Anyone flipping through Georgian Life would immediately be drawn to this brand ad because it’s clean, simple and there is a lot of white space.
So that was a drastic example, what if we included a message and contact, here’s how I might approach that. Again, it’s a really clean and simple design with lots of white space but we have one message, Graphic Design and our contact information which also doubles as the website url. But that’s it, and again, your eye is drawn to that because it is such a contrast to everything else.
Here is one of our clients who inspired this topic because we were looking at ways to make his half page ad (for Georgian Life) more effective and this was the result. We cut the messaging down to one message which is meant to be slightly vague. That’s because the mortgage business can be complicated and intimidating so we wanted to really make his personal brand and web page a key focus without overloading it with too much information. We wanted to convey professionalism and integrity in a simple and appealing design. The great thing about what Gerard is doing is that he is also writing articles in Georgian life that help fill in that information piece. So if someone happens to read is piece on reverse mortgages then this ad will support that through repetition and recognition and help drive sales.
When we spread out our marketing material into a good mix of those support media and information media, we can allow ourselves the ability to simplify our message and the result is advertising that people want to look at.
Finally, here is another example of a client ad that BFresh.Media not only designed but shot the photos as well. It is a good example of not adding too many photos either because the photos do add to the information component. But the purpose here is to inspire the viewer with beautiful photos and drive them to the website or to contact for more information.
When it comes to photos, advertisers often want to show as many as possible because the thought is how will people know what we do unless we show them? Well my answer is if you really want people to know then you’re going to have to run more ads. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It will certainly help with the repetition, and recognition.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has launched a campaign to apply for endangered species status with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). I didn’t intend on talking about buzzworthy advertising again this week but I really want to talk about this controversial move from a charity that knows how to get people’s attention.
In full disclosure, I happen to know the Executive Chair of the society. I am in a networking group with her and so I’ve had the chance to get a little bit of insight and hear what it’s like to live through that tornado of a media frenzy which is fascinating to me. That being said, these are 100% my own thoughts and feelings on this campaign.
*CORRECTION THE AGENCY IS FCB CANADA... NOT WHATEVER I SAID.
In my previous videos about generating buzz, I mentioned that doing something controversial is one way to get people talking but that I don’t recommend it because it can be a fine line to walk. Plus if you’re not prepared to deal with the fallout, it can be devastating to your brand. The Down Syndrome Society's new campaign falls into the category of controversial but it is generating conversation, has been viewed over hundreds of thousands of times (and counting) and has been covered by most of the major Canadian Media outlets so in a lot of ways, it’s working.
Before we talk about why the new campaign is controversial, here is a little background. The new campaign, launched at the beginning of this month to kick off Canadian Down Syndrome week. The video features Men and Women with Down Syndrome dressed as endangered species to announce their very real application to be the first humans to apply to be on the endangered species list.
The entire campaign was produced by their agency FCB Canada and it was done pro bono. That’s right, the agency has done multiple campaigns for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society completely free of charge which is really amazing to me.
You may remember their very popular “anything but sorry” campaign from last year that featured a similar cast providing suggestions for what to say to a someone giving birth to a new baby with the syndrome. The point was that you should be happy for them, and say anything except “sorry”. It went viral because it made an excellent point and the suggestions included a lot of swearing which made it funny but I think really challenged a general perception as well. That is that people with intellectual disabilities are seen as sweet and innocent and not capable of such language, which is obviously wrong. Here is that spot for your viewing pleasure:
Here is the Endangered Syndrome Video:
With the new campaign, the controversy is obviously around this perceived comparison of people with Down Syndrome to animals. This is what the media has latched onto, and what some people feel when they watch the video. I say “perceived comparison” because there is a lot of context around the campaign that I think most are missing. Here is what I think that the Society and their agency did right to get ahead of that negative controversy for a successful campaign.
They launched a website www.EndangeredSyndrome.com that provides more context and rationale for this campaign. They share a variety of facts to support their position that their population is shrinking and therefore so is their support. You can sign the petition and read their full application to the IUCN.
They have taken the media head on doing a variety of interviews since the launch. I was told that they also intend to respond to CBC for what the Society felt was “unfair coverage” of the story. So instead of staying out of the spotlight they are using this opportunity to have that discussion and try to educate people about their cause.
So if you intend on going the controversial route with your marketing campaign, you better be prepared. 2 weeks ago I shared the example of the video game company who offered to buy ad space on peoples tombstones. That failed miserably because there was no rationale other than a cheap ploy to get attention. However, In the case of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society they actually have a point to make and they have done their homework. While it may be a controversial point, they are willing to fight for it and I for one think they will come out on top.
Last week I dressed up as a really lame bee for halloween to talk about generating buzz with your marketing. I shared 2 ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking about your brand and you can find that post here: How To Generate Buzz Pt 1. This week I am sharing 2 more ways to generate buzz.
The first one I shared was do something controversial, one that I don’t always recommend because it can be effective if it is strategically aligned to your brand and your audience. The second was do something extraordinary. This is one that can be more costly or difficult to pull off but with some creativity, anything is possible.
The point of buzz marketing is to do something that not only gets people talking about your brand but that is newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media. The key to buzz marketing is that people love telling good stories so you need to create a story worth telling.
Here are two more ways to do that and generate a whole lot of buzz:
Do Something Secret or Exclusive
When most social media platforms first launch, they try to get people talking by making it exclusive. People want what they can’t have. By only allowing subscription by invite only, it makes people want it more and talk about it, especially when they do get in and others have not. Being in the know is social currency and that is what makes great buzz.
A great example is a speakeasy in New York called Please don’t tell. It’s actually a hidden bar that you find through a phone booth that you step into and dial 1 to reach the operator who lets you in. Even though it’s out of plain sight, it’s not really hidden. By creating such a fun secret experience, it’s bound to get people talking. Also bonus points if your business concept itself is buzzworthy like Please Don’t Tell.
Do Something Absurd
Absurd, hilarious, completely off the wall and unexpected. That’s what gets people talking. It’s also at the core of many viral videos. When doing something absurd and unexpected, guerrilla tactics are often best. Take for example this campaign from Goldtoe breiefs who dressed the charging bull statue in New York in a giant pair of boxer briefs. As you can imagine it was quite a spectacle and definitely buzz worthy.
The best thing about doing something public like this is that it gives people who witness it the opportunity to be a social media star. Again it comes down to social currency and allowing your audience to capture something no one has seen before. When people want to take photos and videos and share your campaign with their networks, that is the sign of a buzz campaign done well.
Generating Buzz is essentially word of mouth marketing but with a loud speaker. When we talk about generating buzz, we’re not only referring to getting people talking about your brand but doing something that is even newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media.
This approach is obviously appealing because the media and word of mouth exposure is free. That doesn’t mean that generating buzz itself is a cheap form of advertising. It can be quite expensive but here are some ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking because people love telling stories. So create stories for people to tell by doing one of 4 things (that I will share over 2 episodes). Here's are the first 2 ways to generate Buzz:
If you’re really brave, do something controversial. Not always a great tactic but if calculated well it could work in your favour. One of my favourite stories of a controversial buzz campaign was from a video game company called Acclaim Entertainment. They created a series of games around a character named Turok who was a Dinosaur Hunter. But they launched a campaign in the UK around the a new Turok game and they announced that they would pay any new Parents £10,000 to name their newborn “Turok”.
As you might guess this caused quite a buzz. It was kinda funny, kinda stupid, and only really harmful if anyone took them up on it. As far as I know, noone did. The thing about this story however is that Acclaim pushed the envelope with another campaign and not only found the line of controversial buzz marketing, but they crossed it. They took the same approach with another video game launch and they offered to buy ad space on people’s tombstones. The public had a hay day with this and they were forced to quickly revoke the offer and I’m sure it was a pr nightmare. So bottom line is that I don’t recommend this tactic often.
Something I do recommend is doing something Extraordinary - Something your audience has never seen before.
Ok this one can be difficult and costly. Like one of my favourite examples that fits this category is Red Bull’s Stratos stunt. Remember when that guy jumped out of a weather balloon from the stratosphere, over 36,000 meters above the earth and broke the sound barrier as he fell to the ground? Ya you can’t afford that but what an awesome way to generate buzz. Here is the highlight video from that event, in case you missed it.
Something more budget friendly and realistic might be a flash mob. All you need are a couple of actors/singers/dancers and someone to film it. A flash mob can be a great way to give people an immersive and unforgettable experience that they are sure to talk about. Here is a flash mob campaign from T-Mobile:
And here is a pretty buzz worthy campaign from ING Netherlands, promoting an art exhibit where a famous painting comes to life:
Next 2 ways to generate buzz coming next week. See you then!