Thursday, June 26, 2014

Social Media Report: 5 #Hashtags of World Cup 2014

Though radio and television will receive their usual revenue boost during this summer’s FIFA World Cup, with 74.2% of WC viewers watching the games while on Twitter and Facebook, the real winner of World Cup advertising is social media. Since the WC began new promotional hashtags have been used on Twitter, advertised in stadiums, and appear television commercials. Here is the story behind some of the most popular ones.

Seen since the opening game, this hashtag expands into new territory for Twitter. Along with Mc Donald’s, Twitter is attempting to trend their first globally promoted hashtag with #fryfutbol. This hashtag attracts viewers to download the app by McDonald’s for any smartphone. The app has several games WC viewers can play—one of which utilizes the boxes french fries come in when you by food at McD’s. Many Twitter users are raving about the trend and the mobile app. This collaborative work not only brings more Twitter traffic onto the website, but also makes WC fans buy McDonald’s food so they can play the games on the fun app—a great marketing tactic for both companies.

Want to see how the app works? Here’s the link to the video made by McDonald’s:

Twitter is bringing back “hashflags” for the duration of World Cup 2014. Everyone on Twitter loves the flags including celebrities like Shakira and Jimmy Fallon. Tweet “#USA” and in your post the USA flag will appear. For those with World Cup fever, fans are able to cheer on and support their favorite teams by tweeting the three letters representing their country and the corresponding flag will generate when you post the tweet. Along with supporting USA, I will be cheering for the motherland Mexico while my boss Lilly is tweeting for her beloved Iran.

One of the more clever hashtags this summer, Hyundai the car company created this trend and also promotes it with a website. “becausefútbol” is meant to be tweeted as an answer to a hypothetical question of Why? Why all this madness? Why do we all go crazy cheering for our countries? Hyundai’s answer is #becausefútbol. Using “fútbol” is a great way to reach WC fans on a global scale, especially since its location is in South America where more than half the countries are Spanish speaking countries. Hyundai went the extra mile by creating a website to see how Hyundai’s “drive for passion” drives World Cup fans around the world. The website displays different photos and videos where the answer to everything is “because fútbol”. This funny video is our favorite—here’s the link to see it yourself:

#allin (or nothing):
This hashtag sponsored by Adidas is the company’s biggest launch campaign ever spent on social media. The social media used for this campaign is Twitter where WC fans and Adidas users can choose to join Adidas and FIFA World Cup communications via Twitter and be connected with everything Adidas has to offer. They use a television ad on YouTube with soccer stars Messi (Argentina), Alves (Spain), Suárez (Uruguay), and Schweinsteiger (Germany). At the end of the video Adidas asks viewers to make a choice, all in or nothing? Clicking “all in” directly takes you to Adidas’ home page for the World Cup and asks if viewers would like to get connected with Adidas and FIFA via Twitter. Agreeing to join allows Twitter users to have access to everything World Cup related as well as receive exclusive tweets from Adidas. The same shows up at the end of another ad with David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane. With over 50% of WC viewers using Twitter to support brands they like and sharing ads, Adidas is sure to create a lot of buzz. Watch the videos below and make your choice, all in or nothing?

Listerine pulled out all the stops for their first World Cup sponsorship. Using Facebook and Twitter mostly, the trend “power to your mouth” is meant to idolize the amount of social talk that occurs during the soccer matches. Listerine created their first global Twitter account for this endeavor. The Twitter page is filled with tweets and photos of fans screaming for their teams. Though some critics say the hashtag is the worst the World Cup has ever seen, I applaud them for using clever phrases. For the U.S. vs. Ghana game, Listerine came out with a post with the phrase “Ghana get even” (read ‘gonna get even’) and when Messi made a goal in the additional minute against Iran on Saturday, Listerine posted “Buenos Awesome!” (a take on the city Buenos Aires). Their television advertisement also gets the message across of the “power” of using Listerine. Only the duration of WC will tell if Listerine’s sponsorship will pay off.

Entering week three of the World Cup, it should be full of surprises and upsets surely to make for an opportunity to read some entertaining tweets. With big names like Spain, England, and Italy out of the picture and heavy favorites Germany and Brasil still showing promise to making it all the way—and best not forget the surprising performances by Chile and México stirring the pot—Twitter will be the social hub to receive live updates. Hashtag away!
                                                                                                                                          -Alaciel Torres

Alaciel Torres is Lucky 13’s summer intern 2014. She is a rising Junior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Marketing in the Mendoza College of Business. Other than enjoying watching the World Cup with her boss, she loves to play tennis, sing, and relax on the beach. Mexican food is her go-to favorite food. She is looking forward to working with Lucky 13 this summer to gain some marketing experience she can take back to Notre Dame when she returns in the fall.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How Do You Choose The Right New Business Logo?

One of the biggest things challenges for many businesses I work with is honing in on the right logo. Particularly if it's a new business, they often feel pressure to get it absolutely right on the first try. That's an interesting challenge to undertake, seeing as some of the world's biggest brands have evolved their logos over time.

The best logo work is not done by a designer alone. I cannot emphasize this enough. A designer's specialty is in conceptualizing how to convey your brand. If you do not know what your brand is, they can only do so much for you. The selection of font, color choice, and any iconography (just to name a few) are heavily influenced by the message you are trying to send to the world about what you do. If you are unable to convey this to your designer, it's quite difficult for them to create the logo that will appeal to you on sight. (Unless your designer is psychic; always a possibility.)

To create your best business logo, tell your branding/design team:

1) Logos that appeal to you. Have at least 4-5 logos that appeal to you and be able to explain what it is that specifically impresses you. Beware the common trap of selecting logos of multigazillion dollar companies like Nike, which have also had the benefit of billions of dollars to nudge that logo into our minds. Be able to separate the logo as a logo from the logo as a symbol of that company's success. Now tell the designer why it works for you.

2) The feeling you're trying to inspire. How do you want your customers or clients to feel about your business? Is this a relationship about excitement? Is it about comfort? Is it about security? This will help you choose your color palette, or at least eliminate colors that work against your goals.

3) How complex or simple you want your logo to be. Some businesses know off the bat that they want a text-only logo but forget to mention that to the designer. Don't be some businesses.

4) How creative you are willing to get. Logo design is an art, and the talented people creating logos all day every day have ideas that you may or may not be open to hearing. Have a sense of how openminded you are willing to be with what they can present to you.

5) How you will be using your logo. Is it just going on business cards and a website? Will it be a decal on company vans? Will it be on employee apparel? On conference banners? By telling your designer how the logo may be used, they can create a logo that will apply in that range of situations.

These are just a few starting questions that an experienced designer is likely to ask you. Remember, the goal isn't to have a logo that represents your company - it's to have a logo that represents your brand. Get comfortable with the fact that your logo will likely evolve over time. In fact, some of the world's biggest brands have gone through various versions of their instantly recognized logos. Enjoy this article for some inspiration to see how even the biggest stay open to change. By knowing where your brand is today, you will be able to get the right business logo for your current needs, and you'll be off and running.

Would you like some guidance or do you need assistance to create the right branding or logo for your company? Contact us and let's talk about it! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Make Your Next Pitch Your Best: Here's How

Last week I pitched a startup concept I have created in an event held by at Draper University in San Mateo.  I was honored to be included in the final round of three presenters who were given 10 minutes to pitch directly to none other than Tim Draper in front of a studio audience at Draper University of Heroes.

Sales presentations, marketing pitches, and VC pitches all have this in common: you have a limited amount of time to get your point across. Your presentation has everything to do with your brand and how you want others to experience.

You have one shot with a presentation. How can you use it most effectively?


1)  Own your brand through visuals.
Your brand is your brand.  When I present something as Lucky 13, I’d be missing the point if I put it on a standard blue and white corporate powerpoint deck. That’s not what the company is, and that’s not how I should visually present it.   Everything from the Powerpoint designs I choose to the clothes I wear directly reflect the brand I want to embody. Let’s just say there’s a lot of red, and not a lot of boring suits.
Powered by caffeine in the final round of pitches for Dice TV's contest
In another example, the other night I had the pleasure of hearing expert crisis manager Judy Smith, the real life Olivia Pope (“Scandal”), speak.  She mentioned that while clothes aren’t her main concern, she does have a noted tendency to wear white.  When her brand is about fixing and clearing people’s names, I’m sure you see why white is the perfect choice.

2)  Prioritize interaction, i.e. Don’t read from your slides.
Sure, it's more comfortable to walk in the door with heavily loaded slides in case you panic and want to read. Don’t do it. Your pitch is a rare opportunity to have in-person interaction with your target, whether it’s a market, a partner, or another key audience.  Use the time to make eye contact, and keep your eye on THEM, not your Powerpoint. (Make eye contact, but not toooooo much eye contact. Draw the line at creepy.)

Presenting to none other than Tim Draper at the Dice TV pitch event.
Draper University, San Mateo 2014
3) Relate.
If you’re introducing a new product or concept, which is exactly the point of many pitches, then how are you presenting your concept?  Hit the ground running by positioning your new offering in terms of something the listener is likely to have experienced, recognize, or – ideally – identify with. My pitch had to do with a shortcoming in the existing legal system. I wanted people to immediately relate and feel the frustration – so you can bet my first slide was of a jury summons!

It’s worth noting that many presentations aren’t delivered in person anymore.  These three tips will immediately improve your online presentations and screenshares as well.

As a final note, while people have agreed to hear your presentation, the fact is we all value your time. Be considerate of others’ time – even if they’re being generous with it – so they know you don’t take it for granted. And while you have them, try to make your presentation not only informative but engaging.  Work is work, but it’s not against the rules to have a little fun.  Short of being in a court of law [don’t get me started], presentations have an aim, but they’re also about building relationships and connecting with people.

Good luck with your next presentation – let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Listen to the Questions You Hate the Most

Consulting is a fun but challenging business. Why? Because clients come for marketing advice to build a strong strategy and it becomes my job to tell people things they might not actually want to hear.  The most annoying questions you get about your business are the ones I encourage you to think about.  They indicate where there's a disconnect between what you do and how you understand it and how other people hear what you do and how they understand it!  Have you heard any of these questions from well-meaning people around you?

Examples of questions you don't like to hear - and what to do about them:

"I don't understand your business name"
People have all sorts of business names for all sorts of reasons. In a world where people are looking for a reason not to give you their precious time, you need a business name that works for you.  It becomes the beginning of your story. Why is my business Lucky 13? Because I don't believe luck is so random - it's tongue in cheek.

(See also: "I don't get your logo!")

How to get it right: Take a step back; remove ego from the conversation.  Oftentimes we name our business because it means something personal or we thought it was cute, or it's our own name.  But be willing to leave the breathing room for your business name to do some of the work for you. Be willing to rebrand it if it isn't working for you and doesn't seem likely to.  Remember, the biggest brands in the world have changed names, logos, or packaging to create stronger marketing foundations.  If they did it, so can you.

"So...I don't really get it. What do you do?" 
This one hurts, particularly since, whatever you do, you probably do it well.  Unfortunately communicating that to others is part of helping them identify their need for what you do. Simply put: If people don't actually understand what you do, they can't support it. Worse: they can't spread the word about it for you. And this is the foundation of the best marketing; creating an impression so clear that others carry the torch or spread the news for you.

How to get it right: Get your Elevator Pitch down pat.

"Your website is difficult to navigate"
Your website is your 24/7 storefront.  If it doesn't make information easy to access and then easy to act upon, you have failed. I don't care how beautiful it is, how much you paid for it, or how much your friends and family ooh and ahh when they see it.  We're not focused on the people who are personally invested in enjoying it. I want you to think about the people who came to your website and left ("bounced").  If your website hides key information, it is a #fail.

How to get it right:  Consult with a web strategist before building your site.  If you go straight to a designer, their focus is on aesthetics; their job is not to know what will work best for your business.  If you talk to someone who understands your goals both short-term and long-term, they can help you figure out how to organize information for a great user experience. The benefit of a great user experience? Users STAY and they DO. That's what you want - an audience who is finding what they need on your site and acting on it.  It's worth laying the groundwork and, as a bonus it will make the entire web development process go faster.

"You will have to put some effort into marketing"
For many people, this is shocking.  Years ago, you were good at what you did, whether it was running a nice restaurant or medical practice, providing a service or selling a good, and word of mouth did the work for you. Now, as communities are more dispersed and people are presented with numerous options, we have to be craftier and contribute to getting the word out.  Here you spent your time getting to the top of your game in what you do, and now you have to learn the marketing game?  It's unfair and it's frustrating, but it can be done with minimal stress.

How to get it right: Build a custom marketing strategy that plays up your strengths, that hits the outreach most likely to give you big payback (read: use your time wisely) and include elements you enjoy doing. There are a number of different ways to market, but if you go with the items/medium that interest you, you're more likely to stick to it. And, as we all know, sticking to it is most of what makes for success.

Have you heard one of these questions or do you think you'd like to "get it right"?  Contact us to request a complimentary marketing and communications consultation and we'll see how Lucky 13 Strategies can help take something off your plate! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Get Your #GivingTuesday On

Your company shows who it is in various ways.  You have products and services, the clients or customers you connect with - these are the tangibles.  The intangibles are what can really round out your brand.

Today, better known as #GivingTuesday, consider how you've positioned yourself in the community.  What organizations do you align with? Which causes does your business stand for and why?

Today Lucky 13 Strategies is reminded of our alliance with our friends and colleagues at:

 Real Medicine Foundation, an international humanitarian aid and relief organization that takes a "whole person" approach to healing and rebuilding communities. I have worked with this organization in various capacities for years and have seen firsthand the work they do to respond quickly and thoroughly to address longstanding problems at their roots.  RMF is currently in the Philippines to begin rebuilding capacity following Typhoon Haiyan.

MVS Dragonheart Foundation
 The mission of the Michael Vincent Sage Dragonheart Foundation is to raise awareness and support research into the early diagnosis and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest, including bystander awareness education, CPR training, and availability of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, athletic facilities, and other public forums.  I was honored to know Michael Sage, and the Foundation that has been built out of love has had considerable impact providing resources and defibrillators where they are needed.

mAssKickers FoundationAs the power of the Internet provides more information about one’s new diagnosis, the need for a website geared towards the newly diagnosed patient and his loved ones has emerged.  Founded by brain tumor survivor (and pal to yours truly) Eric Galvez, MKF meets that need with resources, community, and inspiration to keep up a fighting attitude and empower survivors.

If you support a cause, use #GivingTuesday to support them in new ways beyond just donating (do that, too!)  Spread the word about them through your social media accounts, look for new ways to donate to them (for example, make them your beneficiary, so every time you shop for your business, they get a %!), and make a renewed commitment to further their cause and keep community involvement part of your larger business mission.

Happy #GivingTuesday, everyone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Before You Send Out That Press Release...

Nothing is more exciting than preparing a large announcement in a press release. Hooray, a press release! News! Developments!

How can you make the most of your press release?  
Let’s think one step further: what happens after the press release?  Are you prepared for the attention on your company that will follow? 

1.   Use Your Words!

     Have you been investing in adwords?  Are you trying to incorporate certain keywords into your content?  Don’t leave them out of your press release. Particularly if your press release will be on your website (as it should! See below!), consider implementing keywords you want to grab.

2.   How Important Is Your News?

There are a number of excellent wire services. That said, not all news needs to be paid for and put on the wire. Smaller news updates are worthy of being included on your website but do not need to be widely distributed.  If you put out a Businesswire or Marketwire release every time someone in your office sneezes, it can create the impression that you don’t know what big news is.  But you do! So show them. Put out major news releases only when you really have something to say.

In general, the wider distribution (wire) releases will tend to be items that create industry buzz, that highlight a major step for the company, or that are timed as the company is trying to obtain investor interest or media interest. Other items can go directly to your website.

3.   Action Items
Great! You have news. Now what?  Consider if there is an action item that can be included in the press release.  What can someone who is interested in your press release do now?  Contact you?  Meet you at an upcoming event or conference? Go to a specific page on your website to learn more about that product or development?  You've got their attention, now you have to figure out what to do with it.

4.   A Chapter In Your Story
If you anticipate another news development coming soon, consider setting the stage.  Think of your press releases as an ongoing storyline that should have some sort of continuity. They should relate to the "chapter" before (read: your last press release) and they should set groundwork for anything that may be coming.  Remind your readers what has happened recently at the company and prepare them for what the company hopes for next.  Support the impression that your company is a growing, thriving entity on a journey they want to be part of.

5.   Polish Your Website
Your PR is a satellite of a much bigger communications package. Take a quick review of your website.  Is the current site messaging consistent with how you’re presenting your company in the press release?

Now look at individual pieces. Does your press release quote executives? If so, take a look at their profiles. Does your PR talk about a new product? If so, make sure there’s a page of information about it dedicated on your site.  And so on.

6.   Shine Up Your LinkedIn Profile
That too! These days, that's one of the first places people go for business information. 

7.   Improve Site Lead Capture
Great, someone loved your press release and went to your site to learn more! Now what?   Make sure your website captures contact information from interested parties, even beginning with a basic mailing list signup. Giving others your contact information isn’t enough- you need theirs in order to do effective marketing down the line. Oh yeah, and make sure these lead captures, general email addresses, etc. work. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ll find out that someone’s info@ address was a dead end. Oops!

8.   Have a Newsroom
As you put out press releases, make sure they’re easily accessible from your website in an easily accessed, distinct area.  Consider using a blog mechanism to make them easily searchable.

By thinking of your press release as one piece of the bigger communications strategy for your business, you can make them work much harder for you. Good luck and happy writing.

If you have a question about your press strategy, how to write a press release, or how to improve your corporate communications, contact Lucky 13 Strategies for a complimentary consultation. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do Better Business Marketing: The Difference Between Features and Benefits

Your bread is your ante. Now what?
When I ask people what their company does or sells, they quickly start to describe the features of their product and service. It's a reflex, this rattling off of details and descriptors of what they are able to do, like a charming talking catalog.  And that is great- I mean, if your company doesn't have anything to offer, you'd be up a creek. 

But are the details of what you do the real selling point?  Arguably, no.  The basics of what you do is your ante to be in the game, your entry fee to even play.  The finer points that distinguish you, set you apart, and make you better are the "benefits" that your future customers are looking for.  If you're rattling off your features you are telling your market what you want them to hear, and not focusing enough on what they want to hear. 

To improve your marketing communications, take a moment and put yourself in the mind of your consumer. And not just any consumer- your ideal best customer. What do they care about? Begin thinking about your distinction points from there.  Why? Because if you focus from the wrong angle, you will be able to describe differentiating points about what you do, but it won't be the points that actually matter.  

example:  A gym in downtown San Diego might focus on how many classes they offer.  Great! You have a gym, you have classes! Congratulations, you now have enough ante to even be considered among the other 3-5 San Diego gym and fitness fliers sitting in my mailbox on any given day. 

You're in an urban area, suffice to say your local demographic is largely young professionals.  Consider it this way: your target market young professional generally will care about three things: getting a solid workout that makes good use of the free time they don't have, being in a cool environment worthy of their attendance, and being able to shower and get off to work or wherever they're off to next. And yet most of the fliers I see focus on a weak shot of an empty room of equipment -and pricing!  

As I read in a great article today, "If the best thing you can say about your product or service is that it's on sale, you haven't said a lot." (source: Beth Smith, CEO of Smith Browning Direct, Inc., as quoted in "All Systems Grow: Power Promotion")  Sit with that.

The need to bring your benefits (not just your features!) into sharp focus in your marketing communications applies to both businesses and individual professional resumes.  Often I see resumes that list a skill set - a good communicator, responsible for a big department, expertise in such-and-such software, you name it.  These are lines on a resume; they don't paint a picture of a professional individual and how they uniquely fit into my organization.  What is missing is the brand - what is setting this candidate apart from the other 200 resumes responding to the ad?  Having a skill set in a resume is the ante to play. Now you have to double down on your brand.

Lilly Ghahremani offers small business marketing and communications coaching. For a complimentary consultation about your San Diego business marketing (or anywhere else in the country!), please contact us anytime.