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Original articles from Ted Curtin.
 
Tools to Help Your Brand Bridge the Mobile-Local Divide
If you think mobile is changing everything, mobile and location will REALLY change everything! Location-based marketing enables brands to customize marketing messages based on a prospect’s location and preferences. By linking data about your customer’s preferences with the location, it makes the data richer.

Taking Back the YouTube Brand
Created only seven years ago by three former PayPal employees, YouTube quickly became the next great online destination. Drawn by the organic brilliance of anybody and everybody being able to create and openly share video content, users flocked to this new site that embodied the ultimate democratization of the Web. These were the fertile grounds from which “Viral Content” first blossomed.

The Rise Of Brick And Mobile
The growing number of shoppers using mobile devices to help navigate the retail shopping experience is not a just a trend, it’s a market evolution. Even though mobile adoption hasn’t fully reached a critical mass in the U.S., the retail brands that are getting ahead of this phenomenon are the ones that will thrive.

Super Bowl Spoilers
This year’s Super Bowl battle has already started. Before the teams even hit the gridiron, advertisers have jumped onto the field with the hopes of taking an early lead and running up the score. Well before Manning or Brady completes their first pass, marketers are avoiding the coin toss and going head-to-head to compete, not for the Lombardi Trophy, but for the ultimate Super Bowl prize…you! The Super Bowl is a huge event for sports and marketers alike.

The ABCs of Mobile App Measurement
Understanding the metrics behind this growing channel is fundamental to understanding the value of your mobile app as well as the ROI of your mobile investment. According to e-Marketer magazine, an astonishing 63% of marketers don’t measure beyond the initial downloads. You need to understand how customers are interacting with your content and with what degree of frequency.

Top Mobile Marketing Success Secrets
From brand engagement to consumer functionality, few areas of the current marketing landscape offer as much promise and potential as mobile marketing. Whether you’re in a B2B vertical or a direct consumer market, your customers are mobile.

A $41 Billion Second Christmas
Beyond Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the days just before and after Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to cash in — even in a sluggish economy. With consumer confidence on the rise and deals just about everywhere you look, more people increased their holiday spending, but the biggest gift yet may be the second Christmas retail brands enjoy.

The Lies of Viral Marketing
How many times have you heard someone express their desire to create a viral video? Between clients who ask for them, or agencies that promise, neither should be trusted. Marketing involves planned initiatives, coordinated campaigns, and targeted messaging. Viral marketing is anything but. How those two words even came together is only a result of brands trying to capitalize on the enormous popularity of widely shared online content. Who can blame them?

Why AMEX Isn't Feeling Much ‘Like’ for Facebook
One of the key pillars of mobile marketing’s promise is the ability to finally make good on the long coveted potential of being able to deliver the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. Location-based features built into smartphones use GPS signals that can be used to match users with local businesses and relevant deals and incentives. Whether you like the gaming aspect, the social element, or the commercial potential, nothing has captured the attention of marketers like Foursquare.

Don’t Let Your Brand be a Turkey
We all have so much to be thankful for, and while the Thanksgiving holiday may be an opportunity for us to pause and reflect upon the many blessings we share, it’s not intended to be the only day we show our appreciation and give thanks. Imagine how callous and disconnected we would feel if we only expressed our gratitude once a year. You wouldn’t do that — and neither should your brand. In the past, thanking customers was typically reserved for high-end (or at least high-dollar) businesses.

The Power of Anticipation
Some people call it “Holiday Creep.” No, we’re not talking about a Grinch-like creature stealing Christmas or some other nefarious person spoiling the Holidays, but it is wicked, just the same. Once again, brands and retailers alike, in their misguided attempt at one-upmanship, feel they have to get their stores decorated first, their message out fast, and their precipitous discounts out earlier.

Social Media — Not Just for Dummies
It’s one of the greatest organizational challenges of the day. Across a variety of channels, businesses are scrambling to understand and harness the power, speed, and reach of social media. The proliferation of mobile devices from smartphones to tablets only serves to increase the level of urgency as businesses try to remain relevant and connected to their customers.

Apple Dethroned?
With no shortage of news coverage, along with a steady stream of system and software upgrades, Apple’s iPhone line has received top billing and remains king of the smartphone hill since first defining the market. Challenges from RIM’s Blackberry and the long-promised Windows phone were easily laughed off due to less than ideal functionality and frequent technical glitches. But steadily rising to the top of the hill — first overseas and now domestically as the quiet new king of smartphone operating systems — is Android.

Coke Goes White…to Be Green
For the first time ever, the iconic Coca-Cola can will shed its red for a frosty white new look. But this holiday campaign is more than just a “season's greeting” from the world’s largest soft drink maker. The temporary re-branding effort is in support of the “Arctic Home” campaign.

You’ve Still Got Mail
Marketers can be a lot like guppies: always swarming like a school of simple-minded fish, chasing that next shiny new object. It’s not an easy way to stand out from the crowd. If you’re interested in differentiating your product or service while effectively delivering a message, you’d be wise to not just aimlessly follow the masses. There’s a lot to be said about new technologies.

Social Media Changes — Can You Keep Up?
Social media is changing as fast as it is growing. People are embracing this unprecedented ability to connect and share with each other. The challenges marketers face -- trying to reach and engage customers more meaningfully -- are compounded by the increasing number of channels and devices to choose from. As marketers, it can be daunting to ensure you have the most meaningful message presented on the most contextually relevant channels, and to generate adequate reach, actionable insights, and the highest possible ROI for your brand.

K.I.S.S: 'Keep It Social, Stupid'
It’s one of the greatest organizational challenges of the day. From Twitter to Facebook, YouTube to Google +, businesses large and small are scrambling to understand and harness the power, speed, and reach of social media. The proliferation of mobile devices from smartphones to tablets only serves to increase the level of urgency as businesses try to remain relevant and connected to their customers. But to effectively harness the full potential of social media marketing they must first understand the underlying premise.

When Life Gives You Lemons…Break out the Credit Card!
Your smartphone has already taken the place of so many devices. It’s a camera, a web browser, a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, an address book, a photo album, an MP3 player, it sends and receives email and yes, it still can be used as a phone. But now a little device, appropriately called “Square,” is starting to have a very big impact on the way we spend and accept money.

News Flash: Brand Loyalty Is Not Dead!
There’s a growing sentiment in certain business sectors that brand loyalty is dead. These people believe even the slightest pricing advantage or disparity can sway customers. They suggest that service or quality enhancements, loyalty programs and even membership benefits only serve to slow down the inevitable commoditization of an industry; where price is king and profit margins disintegrate. But you need to ask, what have they done to earn that loyalty?

Google Doesn’t Love You!
Google doesn't love you! Bing and Yahoo don’t necessarily care about you either, but that doesn’t stop them all from striving to deliver the most relevant search results to users in the shortest amount of time. In fact, that’s probably their most important focus, but sooner or later you need to realize it’s not for you.

Does Your Brand Register on the Richter Scale?
Just about everyone on the east coast north of Atlanta felt yesterday’s moderate 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Depending on what floor of a building you were on, that could have been anywhere from very scary to deeply unsettling. If you were outdoors, maybe it was just incredibly disorienting. Either way, there was little doubt — things were shaking! But more powerful than the tremor was the incredible force that followed.

Where’s Your Brand When the S#!% Hits the Fan?
It’s easy to be good when everything is going right. You’re providing a service or selling a product that your customers value. If you treat clients well, they’ll come back. Exceed their expectations and they’ll likely share with their friends and connections. But if you really want to be valuable and stand out from the competition, you’ll be someone they turn to in a time of need.

Has Your Brand Reached Its Debt Ceiling?
Is your marketing department writing checks your brand can’t cash? Marketing creates expectations. Your brand story should convey a clear and meaningful value proposition that your customers can connect with and relate to. Your advertising should convey that promise across all channels to successfully differentiate your offering from your competitors’. When a customer first steps foot into your store, your branch, or your hotel lobby, is there a sense of validation or disconnect?

Your Phone May Be the Safest Wallet You've Ever Owned!
Mobile gives marketers an unprecedented ability to connect with consumers in meaningful ways with personalized relevance and valuable information. Consumers are never more than an arm’s length away and intimately connected to their phones as communication devices, social media tools, and even publishing platforms. It’s up to marketers to translate this opportunity into contextual relevance.

The Top 3 Multicultural Mobile Marketing Mistakes
There’s tremendous opportunity for companies targeting multicultural markets. Between the growth potential of emerging regions and already-high adaptation rates among existing markets, mobile is already the primary Internet access point among many populations. But there is also enormous danger for marketers hoping to cash in by simply translating an ad campaign from English to Spanish and watching the money roll in.

Relevancy Isn't Optional Anymore
Marketers used to talk about relevancy as some nebulous concept — an ideal state they would strive for in their overall efforts, or a brainstorming topic from the last creative strategy session. Now, the proliferation of mobile changes everything. As a brand, you no longer own the media or the channel and you barely control the message. Relevancy is no longer optional. The fact that mobile devices are so personal makes relevancy even more critical. The potential to be perceived as intrusive is a very real threat that can only be balanced by complete channel integrity...

Can Mobile Save Print?
As recently as this past May, and as long ago as the days of the TV boom in the early 1950s, we’ve heard predictions of print’s demise. Even the Washington Post’s own Howard Kurtz wrote about “The Death of Print” as a “result of history and public indifference.” Sure, there are major changes underway in the world of print, covering everything from content sourcing to subscription models — all hastened by drastic declines in advertising revenue. At the same time, we see similar shifts hitting the broadcast mediums.

Is That a Brand in Your Pocket?
Not since the proliferation of the PC has a single technological advancement come along with more potential to change not just the competitive marketplace, but the entire nature of the consumer landscape. Always connected and always within arms’ reach, mobile is uniquely positioned to deliver a direct marketing trifecta.

The Quickest Way to Get Ahead? Give Your Customers a Promotion!
Congratulations! Your company is providing clear value and delivering great service. You can confidently say that your brand is connected. You regularly engage your customers in meaningful ways and you’re rightfully proud to be able to say that you have advocates, but are you missing an opportunity?

Did Google’s “+1” Miss the Mark?
By now you’ve heard of it. You may have seen it appear in Google’s organic search results for something you looked for just this past week. There’s even a chance you’ve already incorporated the functionality into your own website. It’s Google’s new “+1” feature.

Is Your Brand Flabby? 4 Secrets To Get It Back In Shape!
For people, it’s easy. With the nice weather, you might go for an early morning bike ride, a trip to the gym, an evening run, or even a nice long swim to stay in shape and feel great. But what are you doing about your brand? Chances are your brand needs some exercise as well. Your brand could use a fitness routine.

Happy 100th to America's Fastest Brand
It’s a Super Bowl Sunday of sorts — a culmination of years of building, planning, trying new things, and most importantly, learning from mistakes. It’s the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race — one of the world’s most famous auto races, and a chance for us to learn about building a brand to last. The “Indy 500,” is the world's biggest single-day spectator sporting event.

Can the New PlayBook Save the BlackBerry Brand?
The relatively new tablet market is one of the fastest growing technology sectors. The promise of full-featured mobility transcends personal and entertainment applications, offering tremendous potential for all aspects of business productivity. Tablets, with their multi-function capabilities, have already begun to cut into e-book and PC sales. Apple, with over 20 million units in market, is unquestionably the front leader in the Tablet game, but now it might finally have some well-positioned competition.

3 Key Steps to a Successful Slogan
Let’s face it: slogans are a marketer’s secret weapon, a second chance to get it right, to make an ad campaign stronger, or simply reinforce your brand’s value proposition. Slogans aren’t just for big brands anymore, and if yours isn’t pulling double duty, it’s time you rework it. But what makes a slogan great? Here are a just few timeless favorites.

Wanna Buy a Verb?
It’s now the ultimate status symbol in the world of online brands. Revenues that exceed the GDP of many nations are a nice start. Global influence measured in millions of users is certainly impressive. Cross-platform adaptation that transcends various operating systems is valuable. But the ultimate sign that an online brand has arrived is when your brand becomes, not just a household name, but a Verb!

Your New PR Department Might Be Out of Your Control
Your PR staff is connected. They number in the millions. Oh, and they’re WAY underpaid (good for your bottom line too)! That’s right; meet your new PR department – a la Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Before comments start pouring in, let me say that I have quite a few friends both in established media roles as well as on the PR agency side. They are incredibly professional, dedicated, and extremely talented. This in no way suggests that social media can or should replace your established PR departments and strategies.

Your Customers Are Mobile. Why Isn’t Your Brand?
Remember when the concept of calling an individual person, rather than a telephone at a specific location, was revolutionary? Now cell phones have given us new-found connectivity and smartphones will soon outpace computer access to the Internet. If you're not developing a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, you risk missing a huge opportunity to connect with customers where they are and when it matters most.

Does Your Brand Have Purpose, Or Is It Just Another Pretty Logo?
Don't get me wrong! Clever, catchy, and colorful logos that easily convey a sense of purpose and identity are important. Some would argue that in today's graphically-oriented digital world, they're imperative, but the logo itself doesn't make your brand. Brands are about the overall experience, and in order for your brand to thrive, first it must be meaningful and have purpose. In my consulting role, I’m often asked by companies to help them “build their brand.”

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