Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Presents: Video in the Brand Storytelling

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 9:14 AM

Last week, my colleague Maryellen and I attended the WOMMA Wine Wednesday event, which featured panelists from Bright Horizons, Weber Shandwick and Life is Good. The panel discussed how to use video in order to spread a brand’s mission and message and how brands need to stay authentic. Today, many brands create their own content and even adopt user-generated content to connect with customers and potential consumers. 

Bright Horizons, a national childcare provider, kicked the panel off by introducing the campaign they did during teacher appreciation month. During the month of May, they asked students and parents to write a few kind words about those educators that have impacted their children so much.  Everyone knows, no matter how many endearing sentiments you have to share about a subject; you can’t always find the words when asked right away. Bright Horizons created a video, using comments from the previous year’s campaign and also clips of the students saying how much they loved their teachers. Once parents received the video they were encouraged to thank their child’s/children’s teacher and Bright Horizons also shared it on their websites.  This video shows how user generated content can be repurposed into authentic advertising for a brand.   

Both Bright Horizon representatives commented about how they have had several people walk into a center because the video they saw resonated with them.  Bright Horizons strives to create videos that emotionally resonate with consumers instead of traditional advertising videos that talk at them.

The brand Life is Good communicates  “good vibes” and a stay positive attitude in all of their advertising. Whenever they create content they make sure to stay true to this brand message. Steven David who is the Director of Brand Marketing and PR at Life is Good could not stress enough the importance about brand authenticity and storytelling (something that here at Mom Central we care very much about).  He also pointed out, that brands need to know their target. I wanted to literally jump out of my chair when he said that. As someone who wanted to go into social media because I believe that brands need to know their consumers based on characteristics not demographics, I LOVED that Life is Good feels the same way.  Steven talked about how the content a brand creates or shares needs to be relevant to the target and also consistent with the brand’s messaging and mission. He used the words “consumers aren’t stupid”, referring to what happens when brands push out content that deteriorates from the original mission.  He also touched upon the fact that brands need to sell a mission and a message and with that sales will follow. In addition, David believes that paying for targeted posts prove beneficial. All members of the panel agreed, the focus needs to shift from how many people see a post to directing the post to the right people.  According to David, Life is Good is also working on changing the layout of their website so it is less ecommerce facing and highlights the “Good Vibes” portion, which is what the company is all about. 

Good vibes     LIG

Weber Shandwicka public relations firm, has done some pretty cool things in the viral video department. From Jimmy Fallon cranberry sauce food fights and a bringing back Barbie campaign, they definitely have figured out how to capture attention. I suggest you watch the Jimmy Fallon video because it’s hilarious. Ian Cohen the Executive Producer at Weber Shandwick focused on how engagement holds a higher power than likes. More often than not, brands become caught up in the numbers game. How many likes did we get, how many shares, what was the total reach? Looping back to what Steven David said from Life is Good; basically, who cares what the numbers show if the right people haven’t been engaged? Yes everyone in the panel agrees that sales matter, because obviously or no body in the entire world would have money.  Creating interesting content that gets people talking can ultimately lead to sales, instead of blatant advertising, which more often then not, nowadays bores the consumer. Weber did a fantastic job of capitalizing on a topic that received a lot of media attention and then created a campaign out if it. Jimmy Fallon had said on his show that he thought it would be a “million dollar idea” to have cranberry ”sauce singles” since everybody loves cranberry sauce on turkey sandwiches (a very Thanksgiving trend).  Seeing an opportunity that Ocean Spray (their client) could receive media attention, they jumped at this opportunity. Their team created a video about the process of making these sauce singles. It is absolutely HILARIOUS! The video got millions of people talking and Fallon actually mentioned it on his show. Millions of people saw the show which generated great awareness for Ocean Spray.  Just to give a quick overview of the Barbie campaign they took all of the characteristics that the public criticizes the iconic doll for and owned them and then also pointed out all of the reasons why Barbie is a great role model for girls. The name of this campaign was #Unapologetic and not only did the video have millions of social shares, it also increased sales! Places like Target and Walmart sold out of the product for the first time in several months. 

I am so happy attended this event and I learned a tremendous amount! The panelists got me thinking, and I thought about what they had talked about my entire way home. Brands need to take on identities and stay true to their mission and message.  I also believe that in today’s world we get slammed with traditional advertisements all the time, and for me in my day to day I don’t notice them as much, but when I see a T wrapped blue for the Blue Man Group or a park bench with a unique ad; I remember those…I talk about those. Word of mouth marketing, “wins” over traditional billboards and commercials. My roommate studied advertising, and we constantly talk about what we like about an ad, our favorite ad; those videos that make us laugh and those that just get us talking. In my mind the goal of anybody’s content should get people talking. Give us a reason to tell our friends. Whether the campaign makes us laugh or has us saying “Oh My!” please engage me and give me a reason to talk. 

Alexis Dredden is a Project Coordinator for Mom Central Consulting. 


What's Happening in Social Media This Week

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 11:27 AM


Category: Social Media

How To Use Social Media To Gather Valuable Marketing Data from Social Media Today

Leveraging different social media platforms for various types of content is important to any business, but you don’t need an expensive analytics package to get started. By looking for patterns and trends in the real-time statistics of social media platforms, you can make your marketing efforts more direct and effective.

For instance, notice the difference in the majority audience on these two platforms. On Facebook, the biggest audience is 18-24 men followed closely by 18-24 women. On Twitter, the largest audience is 25-34 men.  Because this brand has college-age students as a large part of their target market, these numbers are significant. And, in the spring and summer, these numbers change. 


Category: Pinterest

Pinterest Etiquette: 8 Rules To Follow When Pinning from Social Media Today

Many companies have come to realize the benefits in creating an engaging Pinterest account, but just because you have one doesn’t mean you are an expert on this newer social media platform. This eight tactics described in the article will not only keep you focused while maintaining your company’s account, but it will also likely result in more repins and follows.

Pinterest is not known as a chatty platform, obviously it is all about the images, so do you respond when someone re-pins your images? It could also get very time consuming to thank everyone, if you have a lot of activity on your page. But, there is no harm in being polite, and thanking people, it could also result in more re-pins. So, yes, say thanks, but be selective.


Category: Images On Social Media

The Importance Of Images In Social Media from Social Media Today

With the content overflow that everyone is presented with these days, it is even more difficult to grab, and maintain, a reader’s attention. Text alone will likely bore your audience into choosing another article, so learn why images are so pivotal in the success of an article or a social media post.

The first [reason] is as old as humankind: images have a strong emotional factor, and emotions have a powerful pull on us. The right picture can bring out strong emotions in us of compassion, joy, disgust, or even hate, a fact long known by sociologists, psychiatrists, marketers and politicians alike. An image can convey a wide range of information or it can focus in on a single thought or emotion.


Category: Facebook

What Kind of Privacy Pipe is Facebook Smoking? Consumers Don't Want Targeted Ads  from Huffington Post

Facebook has announced that it will soon track where you “go” online in order to drop “personalized” ads for each user. While Facebook argues that consumers don’t mind these “interest-based” ads, a recently released survey found that consumers don’t like such ads and do not want Facebook to track their personal data. The real question is whether these new ads will deter users from Facebook, consequently making it become a less effective social media platform.

Adding to its long history of whittling away its users' privacy, the social network had said it will soon adopt the practice that many web sites already use -- and which consumers overwhelmingly reject -- of tracking your surfing habits across the web in order to display targeted ads to you. Make no mistake. Under this new system, Facebook will not only drop ads for products into your news feed just because you "Liked" related products on Facebook. The social giant also plans to show you ads based on your "activities" on sites outside of Facebook.


Category: Content Marketing

Spend Only 10% of Your Content Budget on Actually Producing Content from Social Media Today

According to Richard Stacy, producing content and shipping it out on various social media platforms isn’t good marketing. Why? It’s often missing socialization: finding out what content consumers want and inserting content into the relevant conversations. In essence, we don’t want content to be disposable, that’s why marketers should spend 90% of their budget “socializing” the content. Marketers need to create relationships with consumers in order to meet their needs and create and place content in relevant places. It’s not enough to just have a campaign—rather brands need to follow up and be available to answer consumers’ questions in real time.

We have forgotten that while it is easy enough to produce content and put it ‘in’ a social media channel, this doesn’t mean that the content is actually going anywhere or doing anything valuable for the brand. In fact the vast majority of brand content just sits in these channels like so much undigested brandfill. What brands find when they listen to their consumers is that what they really want is answers to questions, either in the form of direct responses to real-time issues or through the ability to access relevant information, preferably where some form of peer endorsement process has been put in place. The place many turn to, of course, is Google and it never ceases to amaze me just how few brands have based their content strategies on an assessment of what questions their actual or potential customers are asking Google,  for which they as a brand can (should) provide an answer. What needs to happen is that the content needs to be inserted into relevant conversations, matched to the spaces where the questions for which it is the answer are being asked.  This, of course, involves listening and responding to these conversations in the first place (step one again).


Category: Online Video

Online Video's Role in Optimizing the Mobile Marketing Experience from Social Media Today

Research has shown that consumers are moving away from laptops and computers and are almost exclusively using smart phones. In addition, data also points to the rising influence of the video platform and the effectiveness of visual aids in engaging an audience. Consequently, companies should be utilizing video platforms as much as possible in order to reach audiences in a faster, more personal manner.

This data shows that more and more consumers are only utilizing their smart phones to access the web, foregoing the “dated” use of laptops and personal computers. With these astounding figures, it is difficult to ignore the power of video content as it relates specifically to mobile users. Because more and more users are utilizing their smart phones as the only vehicle by which they access the Internet, it is incredibly important for businesses to adopt video content in order to effectively reach and engage consumers quickly. Marketing with video production allows for the relay of information in a quick and engaging way, and, if done well, can create more effective and lasting relationships with the consumer the company is attempting to reach.


Transcending Traditional Market Research & Uncovering the Truth About Your Consumers

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 3:24 PM

We often hear from clients that they conduct market research work in-house, or are already using a research firm and therefore are not in need of our research services; it can be challenging to convince them otherwise.  To most folks, brands and agencies alike, research is research. 

But we prove time and again our research is not the same. We don’t conduct standard research and we certainly don’t present our data in standard ways. Our research uncovers distinct findings, extremely relevant and directly related to our influencer work. We are not trying to boil the ocean with our findings; we ask specific, nuanced questions to a hand picked subset of a demographic that directly connect our findings with real-world tactics.

Case in point: A recent mobile client.

Tween cellphoneAfter conducting specific campaign research and providing our client with our findings, our contact mentioned that our data differed from the data provided by their other research vendor. It’s always intimidating to be told this; knowing internal stakeholders have bought into the other vendor and their findings could set us up for some heated discussions.

But in this case, though our research differed, we nailed the findings. We presented the data in a real-world, collegial way. “Market Research” doesn’t have to be boring. “Research” doesn’t have to be all about the numbers. It can be flashy and interesting and fun. Our research spoke to real-world, real-life customers who have relationships with the brand. It’s authentic and more importantly, it provides insight into customer’s lives that the client only knew anecdotally.

We approached this round of research with the goal of answering a few key questions. Most importantly, what do your customers say about you to their friends when you’re not around? This is key: most brands must undergo rounds and rounds of expensive qualitative research (focus groups) to compile this sort of information. Within a week we had had conversations with 700 of our client’s customers (with a % of those both current and former customers). Think about the enormity of that – by mixing the types of questions we asked, and including a wide range of open-ended questions, we were able to better understand the nuances of the complexity of the relationship customers have with the brand. And based on the solid number of respondents, we were able to quantify those responses, allowing us to support the insight into private conversations with statistical data.

Knowing how former and current customers talk about the brand then allows us to a) confirm our hypothesis about what we think is happening in the market and b) more accurately hone marketing messages to connect at a deeper level with its customers.

We offered our client something the other research company never could: we uncovered the truth, made recommendations for the brand at an enterprise level, and moving forward will help to roll-out the recommendations by activating our community against those tactics that will best align with our client’s goals.

Tracey Hope-Ross is SVP, Insights & Strategy at Mom Central Consulting.


Millennials & the Rise of a New Consumer Power

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 9:29 AM

Millennial girls in the city

Millennials – the generation of Americans in their post-college 20s and early 30s – have been widely recognized for their fluency in all things tech and digital, as well as their close ties to their parents. Yet what’s gone largely unnoticed proves to be this generation’s rising consumer strength – combined with their growing power and influence.

Mom Central Consulting recently conducted a research study of 1,100 American Millennial women consumers and identified four key ways Millennials are changing the face of modern consumerism:

  1. Products Become Experiences: For Millennials, purchases mean more than just “stuff.” These consumers give each purchase a weight and a story, and nearly 60% of Millennials make product recommendations to share highly positive or highly negative experiences.
  2. Peers Take Center Stage: Friends, peers, and co-workers act as Millennials’ key influencers, with 66% relying most on friends’ advice when making a tech purchase. Nearly 90% trust products after doing their own research – which includes heavy peer crowdsourcing.
  3. Swimming in Transparency – with Some Caution: Social media makes everything in this generation’s life transparent, and Millennials embrace this – yet they do demonstrate some caution in online sharing. More than 65% place no limits on photos, and 55% have no privacy limits on profile visibility. Yet, 50% now think twice before posting a status update or tweet.
  4. In-Person Conversations Still Matter: Even though Millennials live and breath online, they also rely on in-person conversations to sway purchases. Nearly 70% seek in-person word-of-mouth recommendations for food/beverage spends and more than 65% for vacations.

Download Intrepid Millennial Explorers - Changing the Face of Modern Consumerism 2014

To learn more about reaching the Millennial consumer, please email skaufman@momcentral.com


Written Karaoke: Taking on a Voice

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 9:47 AM

Business woman making notes coffee reading writing

Whether you’re sending an email to a client, crafting a product review, creating a report on new data, or writing a toast to give at your sister’s wedding, the voice of your writing jumps to the forefront. Imagine you stand up to give the toast, champagne in hand, and as relatives and friends beam up at you, you begin with, “I was hoping to touch base with the group about the wedding we have in process.” Probably wouldn’t lead to knowing smiles and tears of joy.  Whereas with spoken communication, we can quite easily spot when the voice sounds off, we find this more difficult to identify when it comes to the written word. Even more challenging, and what I’ve been looking at this week, is adopting a particular voice, a new voice to you, to match an existing body of written work.

Recently, I jumped right into working on the write-up of our recent influencer data.  Research-speak has a specific identity—in the past, I have learned that the scientific research community loves the passive voice, jargon, and often overly technical details.  As you’d likely guess, at MCC, we describe research in a very different manner. Reading the current draft of the write-up, the voice and style stood out immediately, and I knew I would have to figure out how to recreate the sound.

So how do you speak in a new voice? What do you look for to discover the matching style and tone? Below I have listed a few tips that I found helpful in my project this week.

  1. Read, read, read. The first step to adopting a new voice, is hearing the new voice. Look at what has already been written in this area, and try to get the phrasing and rhythm in your head. Sometimes this can come more through osmosis, but other times, it just gives you an initial feel for of the style.
  2. Collect choice words. One of the defining aspects of voice consists of the actual words being used. At MCC, you’ll often spot phrases like “top-down,” “consumer influence,” “social platforms,” and “consumer relationships.” Collecting common phrases to have in your arsenal proves extremely helpful, especially when getting a sentence started or bringing the line to the level of the target style. Going through the existing work, writing down any phrases or adjectives that seem powerful or common, can give you a big leg up.
  3. Pay attention to sentence structure. Think of the length of sentences and use of commas in the following sentence: “She raced into the kitchen. Stopped. Turned. The disposal! She could hear it churning away, crunching and growling, and she knew. The disposal was devouring her lost earring.”  Cuts in the action riddle those sentences by way of short, jarring lines and a few commas, making the reader feel jerked around and anxious, just like the character. A short or long sentence, generous use of phrases set off by commas, exclamation points, dashes, and sentence fragments go a long way to create a particular voice. Mimicking these choices can quickly help you in adopting the voice.
  4. Discover tone. Are you simply stating facts? Having a conversation with an old friend? Trying to get someone’s attention? Tone marks the difference between colloquial speak and dry technical description, headlining articles and office update messages. Try to think of who sits on the other side of the computer—who reads your blog post, who cares about your review, and whom you want to reel in by your language. Then bring it into your written work, by including contractions, jargon, idioms, or jokes as applicable.
  5. Find another set of eyes. Given that writing fundamentally differs from speaking, we often forget that writing remains a conversation between the writer and the reader. Even if the writing is not conversational in tone, almost all writing aims to be read and understood by others.  If you want to check your voice, ask someone else to read over your work. Have them look for phrases that sound off and sentences that feel unnatural. Even further, ask them to reiterate your main message, a great indicator of whether your ideas have come through clearly.

 After all of this work on your voice, you might need to put a little honey in your tea.

Stacy Yanofsky is a Project Coordinator at Mom Central Consulting.


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Ads Coming Soon To A Fridge Or Thermostat Near You?

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 10:33 AM

Recently, I’ve regaled my team with stories of my animosity towards the Nest thermostat, which my husband Ron completely adores. So much so that he’s installed one on both floors of our house and can’t wait to get his hands on the Nest’s latest product innovation of smoke detectors. The nifty part for Ron: you can control all of them from an app from your Smartphone: so if you’re coming home from vacation you can start heating up or cooling down your home before you even get there. Or if you’re watching TV on the couch, a quick launch of the app and you’ve changed up the temperature without having to get up and make your way over to the thermostat.

So what’s been my main hang up with the Nest? Overall, I love new technology and especially when smart technology enters our homes. But with the Nest, my animosity stems from the difference in ideal temperature between Ron and myself. Ron always prefers the temperature at least five degrees cooler in the winter and five degrees hotter in the summer than I do.

It seems like such a minor difference, but while Ron’s happy at 65 degrees in the winter, I’m bundled up in fleece vests, socks, and slippers shivering under a couple of afghans on the couch, while tossing more logs onto the fire. So I turn up the temperature … and with the Nest, Ron subtly turns it back down again. Thanks to the Nest and the ability to set timers on it via his app, he gets super-sneaky about this. In cool months, for instance, he leaves the temperature up until about 11:30 p.m. – by which time at night I’m asleep, and then promptly plummets it down into my freezing zone. Which works fine, unless I wake up in the middle of the night, or stay up later, and find myself shivering and resentful.

When Google purchased the Nest this January, it just added fuel to my resentment, as now Google would know the temperature in our house. Bitingly sarcastic cartoons and postings populated the social web, such as one featuring a guy at work who owns a Nest and one day starts seeing Google ads pop up on his computer advertising fire extinguishers and nearby hotels. He turns to a colleague and muses “I think Google knows that my house is on fire before I do!”

This tapped into contemplation about a brand-new way to apply Google’s massive ad-serving capacity: tap into personal home data collection and serve up highly customized ads. Plus, given Google’s penchant for massive data collection, the Nest’s smart home technology tells Google not only a tremendous amount about our arrivals and departures at home, our energy consumption habits, and our sleeping patterns – but who knows what else?

Up until now, Google seems to have left the Nest to operate fairly independently, but clearly the company had huge plans in mind when they acquired this start-up for a whopping $3.2 billion. It’s a safe bet that ultimately Google wants to see this same technology moved onto many of our home appliances, smart watches, connected home devices, and cars. And just this week we’re getting a glimpse of the future of this investment. Google’s biggest money-making strategy has always centered around ad-serving, and it appears that Google contemplates creating a new distribution channel for their ads: right in your own home. 

The Wall Street Journal just recently shared a letter they uncovered filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last December with notice that Google intends to serve ads along with other content on “refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.” The founder of the Nest scrambled to distance the Nest products from this revelation, asserting that for now, the Nest still operates independently from Google, with the operative words being for now. When it comes to Google using the underlying Nest technology to widen its application to the entire category of home and personal devices, you can count upon this as being a given — only a matter of when, not if. Just this January, Google entered into partnerships with Audi, Honda, Hyundai, and General Motors to move its Android system into their cars.  Directions with an ad for a great restaurant en route, anyone?

Looks like Google’s planning to “nest” in much of our homes over the next decade – which only reinforces my suspicious resentment as I pass the Nest in our hallways.