|Original articles from Marion Guthrie.|
|Viral Bait: Infographics|
Infographics are everywhere. You find them on blogs, websites, press releases, social networks, even the weather report. These colorfully illustrated charts break down data into simple pictures and turn complex information into easy-to-understand symbols. By making the difficult digestible (and sometimes fun), infographics catch the attention of your audience. Just as importantly, Google loves them and will reward their delivery with top search rankings.
|'Warm Bodies' and the Rise of Zombie Marketing|
The recently released film Warm Bodies is a paranormal romantic comedy told from the point of view of a zombie. It's a story of a unique friendship between Julie, a young woman, and "R," a zombie, and we should add it to a growing list of TV shows like The Walking Dead and celebrated movies like Dawn of the Dead and the cult classic Shaun of the Dead that filmmakers have used to encourage our curiosity with zombies. Whatever is at the root of our infatuation, by tapping into it, companies are using the undead to breathe life into their brands.
|Zombie Teddy Bear, Be Mine!|
As Valentine's Day approaches, an English artist, Phillip Blackman, can't make his zombie teddy bears fast enough. On a whim or perhaps after a disappointing day, he got the urge to tear out the guts of an old teddy bear and transform it into a zombie. It took him two days employing his special-effects talents...
|Updating Your Website? Think Mobile|
Why? Because for most of us earthlings, there's just no other way to get to the Internet except via our mobile phones. In fact, "more than a third of the people in the US don't have Internet access at home, but nine out of ten have a mobile phone," Olof Schybergson writes in a recent Fortune article. And of those mobile owners, he estimates that about a third use their phones to access the Internet. If you need more proof, Hubspot sponsored (in September 2011, but hey, the numbers are just bigger now)...
|Americans to Spend $8 Billion on Halloween!|
That's right; Halloween retail shopping is expected to reach $8 billion this year. This discovery was a result of the annual survey from the National Retail Federation conducted by BIGinsight. A record 170 million people plan to celebrate, the most in NRF's 10-year survey history.
That 170 million translates into seven in ten Americans who, on average, will spend $79.82 on the holiday with about a third of that money ($24.25 to be exact) being used to buy candy.
|The Marketing Organization|
Most people believe that marketing is advertising. You take what the factory creates and sell it by screaming about it on TV or by emailing everyone. Frankly, many companies do just that. That's where they start, and that's unfortunately where they stay, right in the outer circle of this organizational chart.
|So You’re Looking for Investors: The Why and How of AngelList |
According to credible sources like Forbes, Mashable and TechCrunch, if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re an angel investor and you haven’t heard of AngelList, it’s time to get a clue. It seems that AngelList has single handedly dragged the back-room world of venture capital screaming into the light since its 2010 launch. At first, people wanted to dismiss the potential, saying that only loser companies would want to share data and broadcast fundraising plans so publicly.
|10 Questions to Ask as You Build Your Marketing Plan|
If you’ve got these covered you’re in good shape to put together a viable and productive plan. In getting the best answers, don’t work in a silo. Make sure to involve your company’s key players. The benefits will be not only in a great plan, you’ll gain consensus, and enhance your own business credibility as well. Bet you’ve thought of other concerns. What are they?
|Build Your Digital Brand on LinkedIn|
Remember Adrian Monk in his detective series? He was a tidy freak, but it was his obsessing over details that helped him solve those murder cases. Like Mr. Monk, I’m feeling persnickety, and just as Monk wisely points out that the dead guy in the dark room couldn’t have turned off the lights, it bugs me that people using LinkedIn don’t take advantage of the ability to have a personalized URL for their profile. To me it seems obvious and it’s so easy to get one!
|Is Your Brand Like Procter & Gamble or Rubbermaid?|
Before you start building your marketing plan for 2013, be sure you know whether your company's identity is more like Procter & Gamble or if it's more like Rubbermaid. You might have mentioned P&G and how their products have developed unique brand identities, but your current approach could be more Rubbermaid — sturdy, durable, and the right solution for my storage problem.
|'True Blood' on Your Phone|
Lost on a back road one evening in my 1997 Subaru, I turn on my smartphone’s navigation system to find my way home and realize that the lady in my phone, who politely tells me to turn left in 1000 feet, may (at that moment) be my best friend and that my phone is rapidly becoming my universal remote control to the world. When did this happen?
|Mr. Rogers Goes Viral|
In the week since it was released, “The Garden of Your Mind” has clocked approximately four million views on PBS Digital Studios' YouTube channel. This instant viral video phenomenon features PBS’s own beloved Mr. Rogers in a skillfully edited collection of scenes from more than three decades of his popular children’s show, "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood." While accurately capturing his kid-friendly focus, the remix advances viewers into the twenty-first century with an auto-tuned mash-up of the late Fred Rogers speak-singing about the power of curiosity, imagination, and discovery.
|How to Get Second Sight|
For some time, television researchers have been evangelizing that having a mobile device available enhances rather than detracts from the TV viewer’s, experience and a recent Nielsen report, State of the Media: Advertising & Audiences, agrees. In fact, almost 50 percent of TV viewers are using tablets and smartphones as a “second screen” while watching their TVs.
|6 Reasons to Use Graffiti to Write Your Brand Plan|
Whether I'm working with an individual client or a business team, I've always found that having an annual game plan — in my case, a marketing plan — is essential. Memorial Day is almost here, which means that in the corporate environment you have about three months before your 2013 brand plan is due (prior to fourth-quarter number crunching, you know).
|What’s in Your Mobile Wallet?|
I’ll admit it. I’m fascinated but anxious about using my smartphone as a wallet. Of course that hasn’t stopped me from checking my bank balance or looking for an ATM. I love the portability and the convenience, but to go cashless, well — I’d need to be threatened with something like having my hair set on fire. Evidently I’m not alone. This month MasterCard WorldWide released a study that shows that the world’s consumers aren’t quite ready for mobile payments to become mainstream.
|LinkedIn Saddles a Dark Horse|
A “dark horse” refers to a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition. This year’s Kentucky Derby winner, I’ll Have Another, is a perfect example. Sold for a paltry $11,000, ridden by a rookie jockey hardly anyone knew and stuck in an outside post, this chestnut colt blazed past the favorite.
|Is that Dick Tracy’s Watch You Have On?|
In a world where smartphones and even feature phones do everything from tell the time to the weather and your location, fewer and fewer people see the need for a watch. No surprise, then, that the global sale of watches has been steadily declining since 2005. But Eric Migicovsky and his team at Allerta may recently have changed all that. They’ve developed a watch reminiscent of Dick Tracy’s infamous two-way wrist radio that’s designed to be the best companion to your smartphone. It’s called the Pebble.
|4 Ways DRTV Gets Social|
I’m sitting in my favorite chair in front of the best screen in my house watching a show. A commercial comes on. It's a preview for the movie “Chimpanzee.” I want to know more, so I grab my smartphone and I’m typing in the search, when, all of a sudden, it occurs to me that all TV ads now can be DRTV ads.
If you aren’t familiar, DRTV stands for direct response television.
|5 Ways the New Facebook Builds Brands|
On March 30 brand pages on Facebook that have not made the change to the new Timeline format will automatically be converted. This means that if you haven’t updated your company’s page by Friday, Facebook will do it for you. Facebook wants businesses to act and interact like people.
|The Brand Train is Leaving Normal|
I got my master's degree in a town called Normal and inevitably my school buddies and I joked about the name. Our journey away from Normal was sometimes just taking advantage of school breaks, but occasionally, “leaving Normal” was a code word for Timothy Leary-like modeling behavior. Well, I published my thesis and got my degree to embrace job, home, and family. But recently I've had the feeling that I'm leaving Normal again and it's not just me. You're leaving too. This feeling is rooted in the technology advancements that I see emerging and exploiting. Like my increasing dependence on my mobile phone, my use of Facebook to keep up with my family and friends, and my entertainment choices incorporating online games, like Scrabble.
|Build Brand Loyalty with Good Manners|
My Mom and Dad liked to entertain. Mom was a great cook and Dad was her right-hand lieutenant in the kitchen. When I was little, I used to hate their dinner parties because I was very shy — so shy, in fact, that when their company arrived, I would hide under my Mom's skirt. This was the fifties, so there was plenty of skirt to provide camouflage. To her credit Mom didn't shoo me away but gracefully maneuvered with that "extra pair of legs" peeking out from under her shirtwaist dress
|Scanning While Drinking or Dancing with Codes|
You’ve seen them, these intricately marked Rorschach-like squares, next to merchandise in stores and on business cards, posters, or brochures. They’re called QR codes. The QR stands for "quick response." More powerful than traditional bar codes, these mobile tagging devices, when scanned with a smartphone, provide you with links, geo-coordinates, text; they're like a magic doorway to more information in a digital world. QR codes initially gained rapid popularity in Europe and the U.S.
|Is Your Phone Dumb?|
There’s certainly a lot of hype surrounding the growth of smartphones and especially Apple iPhones, but before you are charmed into spending precious marketing dollars on either, here’s a reality check. Of mobile phones sold worldwide in 2011 as reported by mobiThinking, 94% were not made by Apple, and as reported by comScore, 56% were not smartphones. They were “dumb” phones. Dumb phones are feature phones, a generic term, according to Wikipedia, that’s applied to all mobile handsets that aren’t smartphones. Feature phones address the market for customers who don’t want or can’t afford a smartphone. Also, what might have been considered a smartphone a few years ago could be a feature phone today. Obviously because of the rapidly evolving technology, phone features are changing fast. A feature phone might have a personal digital assistant (PDA).
|Willy Wonka’s Corporate Responsibility Program|
In Ronald Dahl’s adventure, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas, escape from their natural predators in Loompaland, by accepting Willy Wonka’s invitation to work at his factory. There, they sing songs, make chocolate and get paid in their favorite food, cacao beans. I like to pretend that my smart phone is made by Oompa-Loompas in that socially responsible factory. But that’s not the case as we discovered in a recent New York Times article when Apple received a large black eye.
|It Isn’t Over Until Tuesday|
The Super Bowl Score isn’t in yet. Yes, we all know the outcome of the New York Giants' battle with the New England Patriots, but the score I’m talking about is the other one; the one that gives us the ranking for the top 10 commercials. This year for the first time involves USA Today’s Ad Meter and the forces of Facebook, and those results won’t be in until Tuesday evening. We all know that Super Bowl commercials are as entertaining as the game itself.
Did you see Larry a.k.a. “The Target”? His photograph was taken with his mobster sidekicks, Johnny “The Face” and Freddy “The Fish." The photos were part of a branding campaign I worked on (yes, it was a while ago, so don’t rub it in) for the DayGlo Color Corporation. The issue was that their brand was being hijacked.