Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Put your opinions about trashy reality television aside for a second and just hear me out. I think I have a valid argument.

That’s what I said Tuesday morning to our CCO, Rob Schapiro, when I told him I wanted to write this blog post. Because I have this mad-scientist type theory that there is a significant correlation between people who live-tweeted The Bachelorette finale with incredible sarcasm and wit and the kind of people who we need to be hiring for writing positions.

He laughed and said, give it a shot. So here it is. A shot in the dark - a dark partially caused by the wine my friends and I consumed Monday night while watching the overly dramatic debauchery.

If you didn’t watch this season’s of The Bachelorette, or any season, or even if you think that it is part of a sector of entertainment that represents the downfall of our society’s integrity - I still think you’ll find that this argument holds some clout.

Agencies need to start scanning live-event associated hashtags as a consistent means of finding writing talent. (more…)

Nic Wilson, Senior Social Media Strategist, contributed to this post.

Disclaimer: This is not a blog post about a small carnivore and vertical tube with mirrors.

Meerkat and Periscope, two new social media technologies that allow you to stream a live-broadcast captured on your phone over Twitter. Two new social media technologies overshadowing F8, Facebook’s annual conference. And to think that only a few weeks ago discussion among the masses about mobile live-broadcasting via a social media platform really did not exist for the most part. Another reminder of the rapid pace and evolution of the digital world in which we live.

Immediately at Brunner we wonder how brands may capitalize on this new social media specific live-streaming technology. Via Twitter, our clients could stream live events, new product introductions, product demonstrations, and exclusive news or business announcements. Live-streaming through Twitter provides many possibilities for brand marketers. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s give you some background and examine each of the applications.

Meerkat, launched by a start-up, made a big splash at this year’s SXSW Festival which wrapped this past Sunday. Since then, Meerkat users have been growing by 30% a day. Periscope, a Twitter-owned app in beta until yesterday, is making headlines as the direct competitor to Meerkat. And it seems likely that Twitter moved up the launch of Periscope due to the rapid rise of Meerkat.

Both broadcast real-time live video from a smartphone via Twitter. And each allow viewers to comment and chat about the content of the broadcast. While Meerkat and Periscope share similarities, there are differences. The chart below compares and contrasts the two live-streaming apps:



KitKat's #Bendgate tweet

KitKat's #Bendgate tweet

If you have any exposure to social media in 2015, “Real-Time Marketing” is undoubtedly one of the phrases you’ll hear (besides “bae” and “fleek” of course). Maybe you’ve even been asked what your real-time marketing plan is for your brand this year.

In a recent article on The Outreach Marketer, Nick Rojas defines real-time marketing as “a way to make the most of the continuous flow of information via the internet right now.”

Real-time marketing is about immediacy, flexibility, and creative responsiveness. And it happens on Twitter most naturally because of the platform’s instantaneous, rapid-fire format. You may recall KitKat’s tweet about #bendgate in 2014. Rojas’ presents this tweet as an example of real-time marketing done right. The brand saw an opportunity in the moment – and ran with it.

Might real-time marketing seem overwhelming though? Possibly. How can you make real-time marketing realistic for your brand? Here are three suggestions:



What do Chicken Little and Twitter have in common? They both have a knack for prematurely stating apocalyptic doom.

I say this with much love for Twitter, as I’m an avid user who devours the 140-character nuggets on my feed. And I’m still awed by the role Twitter played in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

So I guess what I’m irked with is not Twitter the medium; but rather, the over-reaction to how much negative impact will befall someone whose misstep lights up Twitter. Ugh, hearing “the Twitterverse is gonna explode” is nails on a chalkboard to me.

I was reminded of this by Bob Costas’ comments this week, calling Olympic snowboarding events “jackass stuff.” Well, that didn’t sit well with the rad, winter-sports crowd. Naturally, within an hour of his declaration, Bob Costas was trending on Twitter. And not in a good way. Irate fans of snowboarding pelted him with icy disses. (more…)

facebook-algorithm1One of the best articles I have read on Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change yesterday was published by Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. Facebook made the change to deemphasize memes and prioritize “high quality articles.” Too many Buzzfeed lists and too much Upworthy tearjerker content hitting feeds. Why? According to Klein:

But hitting “like” isn’t the same thing as actually enjoying the content. And collectively, everyone “liking” and sharing this stuff to show that they love babies and believe in gay marriage and oppose bullying and appreciate Will Ferrell and all the rest of it could mean news feeds fill with content that users don’t actually want to see so much of.

There is something critically important for clients and their agencies to consider when developing Facebook content-we are at the mercy of Facebook engineers. As Klein reminds us:

Facebook can tell the difference between content people automatically share and content that they actually watch, or comment on, or otherwise seem to engage with. So if and when Facebook begins to ratchet back on this new wave of viral content it can do so in ways that separate the really manipulative posts from the ones people actually enjoy.

It’s about engagement, Stupid. We should focus more on content users will truly engage with (read, watch or comment on) rather than content designed simply with a sharing objective. We must remember that if the content is crafted with engagement in mind then it will ultimately be shared. In fact, this is how we should be thinking about brand content for Facebook in the first place.


It’s not easy being a creative in an ad agency today. Ick, that sentence I just typed makes me sound cranky; like I’m one of those “nobody understands my genius” creatives. Not to worry; this isn’t one of those rants. Just a little helpful advice I’ve recently put together after 21 years in the business. (Yes, my career is now old enough to have a drink.)

Advertising agencies have become more integrated, with members of every discipline working side-by-side on campaigns. Which means more and more people have ideas for executions of the brands you work on. Making it open season on what we as creatives bring to the table. Namely, ideas. Writers and art directors once exclusively owned all the thinking when a campaign consisted of TV, radio, point-of-sale and outdoor. Standard practice was for creative to go away for a couple of weeks and come back with ads and soak up the praise from everybody else who was in awe of us heroic storytellers. All hail the great and powerful creatives. (more…)

There will come a day when we don’t think of mobile first or mobile strategy. I equate it to the place where “digital strategy” and just “strategy” are headed today. Mobile will become part of the overall fabric with which you think and act every day as a marketer. We (the collective we) might not be there yet, but are we getting there fast enough and with a plan? Better stated, it’s coming, so what is your short and longer term plans?

Currently, mobile strategy is very much a separate silo, an add-on to overarching digital plans. Part of that is based on brand marketers’ comfort and familiarity with what “mobile” means or should mean to their brand. If you are not, or have not, begun to embrace what mobile means to your marketing, you will miss the learning and experience of it and in time you will be even further behind. You should be building on your experiences of today so that as the technology and use changes you are able to react accordingly based on YOUR experience. My colleague Rick Gardinier spoke to this in a post four years ago. So what have you done in the past four years to ready yourself and your brand for the next four? (more…)

Social commerce is the hotness for 2012, but in fact, it’s nothing new. Word of mouth has always informed purchase decisions, but never has social influence been so ubiquitous as now, the era of social media. Facebook and Twitter (and more recently, Pinterest) have turned shopping into a beyond-family-and-friends affair, igniting instant feedback and opening up a global consumer panel.

Through our social networks, we learn about products or brands we never knew existed; we share praise and censure for the brands we interact with daily; and we advocate on behalf of our passions. The volume of social brand chatter torpedoes the value of traditional paid “talking at you” brand advertising, while the value of “earned” endorsements and word of mouth skyrockets. Brands no longer control the message. Products and services - and consumers’ experiences with them – shape the brand story in social commerce. Reputation is indeed earned, not paid for.

The essential social commerce toolkit is pretty basic:

  • E-commerce enabled: is it easy to purchase your product online?
  • Ratings and reviews: do you provide a forum for consumer feedback?
  • Social plugins: can consumers easily Like, Share, Tweet, and Pin your product?

In addition to the platforms above, the most essential element is the quality of your product. Does it deliver on its promises? Are you offering products and services that are talkable and sharable?

A wonderful illustration of the power of social commerce is named NoseFrida. NoseFrida the Snotsucker is a product of Swedish ingenuity. Essentially, it’s a plastic tube connected to a longish straw-like hose with a jaunty red mouthpiece attached. Mom or dad holds the end of the tube to baby’s nostril to create a seal, then vigorously inhales on the mouthpiece. With a wet, horrifying-yet-oddly-satisfying sucking sound, baby’s nose is miraculously booger-free. It sounds gross, but a flimsy yet serviceable hygienic filter keeps the icky stuff in the tube.



Any parent of an infant knows that traditional bulb aspirators just don’t work. (To say they suck would be untrue.) When your kiddo is congested and miserable, you’ll do anything to make them breathe easier. One sleepless night, I rocked my stuffed-up newborn with smartphone in hand, lamenting my plight to my social media mothers-in-arms. A few folks sang NoseFrida’s praises. I’d never heard of it (and was in fact repulsed by the notion), but visited Amazon to learn more. There I found 717 glowing reviews that essentially said the same thing: “It’s kind of gross, but it works amazingly well.” After reading page after page of glowing (and often hilarious) reviews, I was convinced. $15 seemed a small price to pay for sweet relief; salvation was literally a click away. It’s that link that makes social commerce so powerful – the immediacy of the being able to make the purchase the second you’ve been convinced.

Two days later, Nosefrida arrived and I became a believer. Yes, it was gross. But yes, it worked. Wonderfully so. I proceeded to evangelize Nosefrida to all of my mom friends, who tried it and told their friends. It’s one of the most repinned items on Pinterest. It’s my go-to present for baby showers. I would never have believed I could get so excited about booger extraction. But here we are.

Have you ever seen a TV spot for NoseFrida? Me neither. But it’s the #2 selling baby product on Amazon.com. (The top spot belongs to Vulli’s Sophie the Giraffe teether, another word-of-mouth sensation.) #2 among thousands of products from powerhouse brands that spend millions of dollars on advertising. And that, my friends, is the power of social commerce.

What’s the takeaway? In today’s world of social commerce, efficacy trumps TRPs. Reputation is earned, not paid for. Make it easy for people to learn about, buy, and share your product.   Listen to what your consumers are saying, and treat your advocates well. And when your product truly does what it promises, it speaks for itself.

gorillaRecently, someone at our agency did a Google search for “atlanta ad agencies”, and in his words:

“..right there amongst all us creative wizards, a prominent listing for an ad agency offering the latest breakthrough in marketing today.  Taa daa…sign spinners.  Just contact them and they’ll send out a guy in a gorilla suit to stand in front of your store and spin your message on a propeller-esque sign while occasionally lunging at passing cars.”

That raises the question, how is most advertising different than a guy in a gorilla suit holding a spinning sign that says “Buy Stuff at Main Street Mattress Warehouse?”

It isn’t.

Well, superficially it is. Yes, the gorilla might actually be Danica Patrick and the spinning sign may be the $100k 3D graphic of your logo that dances on the screen 25 seconds into your 30-second TV spot. But it is still lunging at passing traffic, trying to attract attention, just like the guy in the gorilla suit. Which is not very encouraging, when you think about it.

So I say, let’s stop spending so much effort lunging at passing traffic.

Let’s stop jumping up and down on the sidelines, waving our arms, trying to be noticed. Let’s stop spending so much time trying to interrupt people with things that, with very few exceptions, they really don’t care about.

Instead, let’s, as an industry of both brands and their agencies, be more like Bob, the helpful guy who works in Main Street Mattress Warehouse. The one who walks up and politely introduces himself when he sees a chance, not when you are talking to your husband. The guy who takes the time to explain the REAL differences between your product and the others. The one who tells you a bit about himself and the asks you about your needs, what would work best for you. The one who will listen to your complaints when there is a problem, and then work hard to fix them. And the one who gives you some valuable extra advice about getting a good night sleep, along with a free mattress-fluffer.

Will you know about Bob, the helpful, likable salesman in the Main Street Mattress Warehouse when you are driving down the road, chatting with friends in the car on your way to Starbucks? No. But you won’t care then anyway - you’re doing something else and thinking about something else.

Instead, you’ll hear about Main Street Mattress Warehouse when your friends who have been there and met Bob, or who have friends who have met Bob, tweet about the experience and talk about their great new mattress on Facebook, as well as in person. You’ll know that people who you know will be shopping there when you see it on Foursquare. Google searches will not only tell you where the store is, but, more importantly will show you all the people like you who have reviewed their great experience there talking to Bob and how much they love their new mattress, which they bought because Bob was such a genuine, helpful guy. And of course, they’ll tell you about the great, free mattress fluffer that they got just for stopping by, no sale required.

Yes, Main Street Mattress Warehouse still needs a sign out front, ads to tell people where they are, etc. But, given the choice, would you rather be the guy in the gorilla suit lunging at traffic as it tries to avoid him, or do you want to be Bob, who forms even a brief relationship with the people who visit the store?

The world needs both, I guess. But what type of brand do you want to be? What type of agency do you want to be?

pinterest-logoThere has been a lot of talk about upstart social network Pinterest in the past weeks and months, with plenty of discussion around how fast it is growing, who uses it and how marketers can establish a presence there. And while there are a number of guides for how the site can be used, the question still remains: should your brand be on Pinterest?

That’s a question that a lot of marketers - and their agencies - will need to answer for themselves in the coming months. And the key to the answer lies within the very name of the social network.

Interest. Think about that and ask yourself, does your brand have anything of interest to say?

Success on Pinterest depends completely on content that people really WANT. Period. Now, you may be asking yourself, doesn’t everything on the web depend on delivering content? Well, yes, but there is a hierarchy to content and the way that people interact with it.

The Content Interaction Hierarchy:

Level 1: Content people want to SEE

This is the content that you need to include on your site, or any other digital property, in order to get people to show up and spend some time with your brand. Consider it the cost of entry.

Level 2: Content people want to SHARE

This is the content that people will spread around the web, and which works quite well for brands in most social media channels. But like Level 1, it is generally a “engage once then forget it” category of content - after it’s been shared, it’s out of their hands and out of mind.

Level 3: Content people want to SAVE

This is the content that will do well on Pinterest - content that is so interesting to people that they not only want to see it, not only want to share it, but want to save it for themselves in their own digital scrapbook.

If your brand can either deliver - or meaningfully connect itself - to content at level 3, then you may just have what it takes to make it on Pinterest.

Yes, there has been a lot of talk about Pinterest lately, and yes, the network has been growing at an astounding rate. And there are brands that have begun to establish a nice place for themselves there. There could be a lot of potential to establishing your brand on this hot new network with 11 million users and growing. But to find success there, your brand needs the type of content that people really want to hold on to and share with the world.

In the meantime, learn a bit more about how you can use Pinterest from Brunner’s Diane Walter.