Archive for February, 2013

BRITE ’13 Will be Live Streamed!

February 27, 2013

WatchitooFor those of you who can’t be with us at the BRITE ’13 conference, we’re excited to announce that we will be live-streaming two of our event sessions this Monday, March 4.

Anyone around the globe can watch and engage with the conference via our live coverage powered by Watchitoo, an interactive streaming platform used for live events, webinars, and distance learning initiatives. Through Watchitoo you can chat with fellow viewers and pose questions which may be included in the speaker Q&A. Plus, while you’re watching online you can participate on Twitter via #BRITEconf.

Mark your calendar, tune in and spread the word!

March 4, 2013

8:45-10:35am and 2:05-3:35pm Eastern Standard Time




Gamification and the Future of Mobile Payments

February 26, 2013

Michael HaganGeo-gaming platform SCVNGR launched LevelUp in 2010 in response to a dual opportunity to change the payment landscape for retail brands. For retail customers, LevelUp means unlocking discounts or freebies at cafes, restaurants, workout studios around the country — similar to how Groupon, Lifebooker, Scoutmob and other online deals companies work. However, it is LevelUp’s value-add for the merchant – i.e., small business owners – that sets them apart from the pack.

Chief Operating Officer (or “Chief Rockstar” in the company’s terminology) Michael Hagan explains the concept of LevelUp as “the check-in, the challenge and the reward…in one bite” and underlines two major benefits of their app. One, LevelUp provides an option to avoid costly credit card processing fees that can end up taking a hefty percentage of small business owners’ profits daily. On top of that, LevelUp helps merchants build and strengthen their brand relationships by facilitating mini marketing campaigns which impact each patron individually. Driven by game features which customers play to unlock deals, these campaigns provide merchants a greater opportunity to capture new customers and actively change habit via incrementally better bargains upon each visit.

In a recent op-ed for Fast Company, LevelUp CEO (a.k.a. “Chief Ninja”) Seth Priebatsch attributes the growth of innovative mobile services not to forward-looking companies, but to tech-savvy consumers who place great value on efficiency – whether they realize it or not. These consumers, according to Priebatsch, are the ones dictating market disruption through casual demands, such as more convenient payment methods, security, accessibility to higher education and the ability to personalize online content. Given that viewpoint, it will be interesting to see how LevelUp and SCVNGR continue to respond to this “revolution of consumer choice.”

See Michael Hagan speak about gamification and its effects on the future of mobile payments at our BRITE ’13 Conference (March 4-5, NYC).


PepsiCo: Think Fast to Keep Up with the Digital Consumer

February 19, 2013

Shiv Singh PepsiCo Beverages’ global head of digital Shiv Singh has spent a good part of the last few years advising small businesses, start-ups and blue chip brand managers alike on how online and mobile innovations are impacting traditional marketing strategies. Along with penning the book Social Media Marketing For Dummies in 2012, the digital marketing guru has presented on the topic at high-profile venues from ad:tech in New Delhi to Austin’s SXSW, outlining what steps are needed to stay relevant and engaging in the increasingly social, fast-paced consumer environment.

To market effectively, Singh underlines the importance of real-time insights, saying, “It’s the only way to truly stay culturally relevant with consumers.” This is clearly a challenge given that marketing activities within large companies have traditionally required 9 to 12 months’ lead time before a campaign, or even a statement, goes public. This fundamental shift in process is a giant step, but if done right, jumping that hurdle can propel brands into the next level of social media savvy. Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet in response to the power outage this year – which was retweeted 10,000 times within one hour, according to Chicago Business – was a great example of how quick turnaround can have a big payoff.

Another more recent example comes straight out of Singh’s backyard. As Digiday reported, Pepsi was one of the first major brands to jump in on the newsfeed-clogging Harlem Shake craze that appeared online in late January. With more than 44 million views on 12,000+ meme-related videos uploaded by mid-February (according to the Mercury News), the cola brand released two commercials – one featuring Pepsi, another Pepsi Max – reflecting the importance it places on pop culture and real-time relevance to engage consumers.

See Mr. Singh speak about how PepsiCo is making its brands relevant for future generations at our BRITE ’13 Conference (March 4-5, NYC).


Hittin’ the Tracks, Converse-Style

February 12, 2013

Converse Rubber Tracks LogoWhat comes to mind when you hear the brand name “Converse?” You’re likely to think “sneakers,” “Chuck Taylors,” “basketball,” and even “Nike.” But for many, the word “music” isn’t necessarily top-of-mind. The company doesn’t incorporate music into its marketing, so it’s not surprising that it wouldn’t be associated with the brand.

Why, then, would the sneaker company invest in a 5,200 square foot state-of-the-art recording studio, with award-winning engineers, offering recording time to aspiring musicians… free of charge?

In PJA Radio’s recent episode of The Unconventionals, Converse CMO Geoff Cottrill explains, “Most brands borrow equity from a musician… to make their brand look a certain way to a certain demographic… to look cool.” Instead, Converse found greater value in celebrating its consumer rather than celebrating itself.

Converse built Rubber Tracks, the Brooklyn, NY-based studio, to give emerging musicians the opportunity to record their music, no strings attached. “For what it costs to run three to four weeks of heavy TV [advertising] in the U.S., a good heavy campaign one time for a month, we could… run a studio for a number of years.”

If you think the intent is to make bands famous and tying the Converse name to them, it’s not. Cottrill emphasizes that they’re not making empty promises. “We’ve been really focused on making sure we keep our feet on the ground and that we don’t get into the music business because that’s not our business.”

Converse Rubber Tracks Studio

Rubber Tracks Studio
Brooklyn, NY

The team at Converse wanted to become useful to its biggest proponents by helping those who might not otherwise have been able to afford studio time elsewhere. They channeled their focus from creating a marketing message to turning the experience itself into the message. Doing so enabled them to build more meaningful relationships, and life-long memories for its core consumers—creative individuals. Cottrill notes, “The interactions that they have with you are what they carry.”

The return? Brand advocates.

According to Cottrill, Converse’s Facebook page has grown tremendously over the past few years because they haven’t tried to hook and bait people. “Virtually everyone that’s come [into the studio]… is posting on Instagram, on Facebook, talking to their social media network, their fan base, about this great experience that they’ve had,” explains Cottrill. Now at over 34 million fans, Converse never asks anyone to “Like” a page. It simply adds content and value to the conversations. And Fans consistently respond favorably towards the brand. “We couldn’t be any more pleased with the results. Again I go back to the relationships that we’re creating there.”

Interested in hearing more? Listen to George Cottrill’s approach to strengthening relationships with consumers by checking out PJA’s The Unconventionals.

Subscribe on iTunes for more “unconventional” podcasts such as: Relay Rides, Big Ass Fans, IdeaPaint, & Dollar Shave Club.


What’s Next for Brands in Online Video

February 5, 2013

Kerry TrainorIn the last few years, marketers have increasingly turned to visual storytelling through online video platforms, like Vimeo and YouTube, to get their brand’s message across to consumers. As a result, the competitive landscape for online video went into overdrive in 2012.

With new kids on the block like VooPlayer, LeadPlayer and Wistia, established companies such as Vimeo and YouTube have had their work cut out to differentiate themselves and retain their lead in the marketplace. These players are offering features that marketers can tap into. According to Business2Community, these sites allow creators to brand their content, conduct data analysis, create call-to-action overlays and automatic video sitemaps, as well as offer a more intuitive interface. The options for uploading and sharing high quality video online are endless these days.

So, how is Vimeo, the IAC-owned video platform, handling this uptick in competition? CEO Kerry Trainor is more focused on generating revenue for the user than increasing functionality.

Trainor tells Fox Business, “It’s always been part of the vision to not just provide that great environment to showcase this content, but to start to empower these creators as they build businesses.” Last fall, Vimeo launched a new feature, a virtual “tip jar.” Take for example an amateur filmmaker who posts a timelapse video of the breathtaking Aurora Borealis in Alaska on Vimeo. Say a viewer is wowed by that video.  At the click of a button that person could tip the content creator anywhere between $0.99 and $500. When you consider the fact that Vimeo attracts about 41 million unique viewers each month, that’s a tremendous audience to potentially reach.

Vimeo does pocket 15% on every donation. And only creators who subscribe to Vimeo’s premium services can participate. Trainor, however, alludes to an option down the road where content developers and brands will be able to bypass cable companies and offer their unique video content directly to their audiences on their own terms and pricing.

Regardless of how the fast-moving video industry continues to evolve, Trainor is confident that bolstering Vimeo’s top-line is the best course of action in the short-term – perhaps to seed future innovations in features and usability.

See Mr. Trainor speak about the changing role of online video in brand strategies at the BRITE ’13 Conference (March 4-5).


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