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How to Create Brand Activation that Fosters Engagement

Five Steps to Design Brand Activation Programs That Inspire Consumers to Act

The debut of interactive soda machines that enable you to create virtually any flavor of drink you desire by pushing different buttons represents innovation — and a physical manifestation of brand activation.

You might not invent the next interactive soda machine but you, too, can execute effective brand activation. How so? By creating an ardent connection between your brand and customers that motivates them to take desired actions.

Brand activation comes in many forms and is delivered through multiple channels. Brand activation that resonates with customers and achieves results calls for strategic planning that starts with “why.” Why will your target audiences care? Why would they engage? Then focus on the “how.”

Whether the objective is to move products off the shelf, sign up new customers, increase subscriptions to an email newsletter or raise support for a cause through donations or fundraising, brand activation is not just about gaining affinity — it’s about inspiring consumers to act. Do you want your consumers to watch a video and then click on an offer, share a selfie with your mascot and hashtag on Instagram, or motivate them to enter a contest that asks them to provide their email address and opt in to brand updates?


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What We Can Learn From ‘Like a Girl’

Always Campaign Wins GoodWorks Effie

When I first became publisher of Ad Age, I worked with Marylee Keane and her team at the Effie Awards to create the GoodWorks Effie, to recognize marketers effectively using their platform for good. With great power comes great responsibility, and we, as marketers with powerful platforms, have the ability to use that power to further good in the world and help solve the multitude of challenges that face our nation and the world at large. The award was intended to highlight excellent examples of purpose-driven campaigns, so we collectively could have a greater impact.

This year, P&G’s “Like a Girl,” campaign for Always, was the sole winner in the GoodWorks Brand category, where it took home the silver Effie. (The campaign also won gold in other categories.) “Like a Girl” has received close to 58 million views on YouTube since it debuted last summer and has been lauded by many for its insight and impact.

The fact that this campaign is the only winner in the GoodWorks Brand category is noteworthy given how many brands are pursuing purpose-based initiatives. Perhaps it means these efforts will face greater scrutiny as more programs enter the market. This is a good thing, however, and even under this filter “Like a Girl” clearly stood out.

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Study Re-Affirms Long-Term Sales Impact of TV Ads, But Suggests Small Players May Do Better

Nielsen Catalina Solutions Tweaks Model And Finds Old Assumption Mainly Still Holds

Less than a year after seeming to prove the long-term sales effect of TV ad spending is as strong or stronger than ever, Nielsen Catalina Solutions has found some possible caveats to that — which could have implications for both big and small advertisers.

A new study encompassing a group of 31 packaged-goods brands (far larger than the five in the study released last June) reconfirms the old assumption that long-term sales effects from TV ads are double the immediate short-term sales effects. The long-term multiple in the new study, however, averages 2.04 times the short-term effect, somewhat lower and with a narrower range than in the June study.
Nielsen Catalina mashes up data from Nielsen audience-measurement panels and tools with shopper-card purchases to find the sales impact of advertising for packaged-goods brands.Results of the study were presented to the Advertising Research Foundation Re:Think 2015 conference on Tuesday in New York.

The new study still finds a fairly wide range – from close to one to around three times short-term sales – for the overall effect of TV ads, including one outlier brand getting a 3.5 times multiple. The new study tweaked methodology to exclude long-term sales from people not affected by the ads in the first place, and narrowed the “short-term” time window to the scheduled flight, rather than including the long tail of airings caused by make goods.

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How to rebrand without sinking the ship

This article is part of DBA, a new series on Mashable about running a business that features insights from leaders in entrepreneurship, venture capital and management.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1998, when I bootstrapped my first company and ran it out of my own home. Seventeen years later, that company is still alive and thriving, with hundreds of employees on multiple continents.

In fact, we just went through a rebrand. It’s an exciting time over here, and it’s been a wild ride to get to this point. When we released our first custom-built technology solution in 2012, we realized that the services company we had built over the previous decade-plus would need a new identity that better captured our vision for the future of both our company and our industry.

SEE ALSO: The exponential business benefits of putting people first

While going through the process, it occurred to me that plenty of companies have to rebrand at some point or another, for reasons that vary from accidental copyright infringement to major shifts in the market or their business model.

It’s important to understand that a rebrand can have a major positive impact, so it’s worth taking the process seriously and getting as much out of it as you can. Here’s what I’ve learned during this process about how to rebrand your company without sinking the ship.

1. Do it for the right reasons
A rebrand is not something to be taken lightly. A rebrand is not something to be taken lightly.You should only do it if you have a very good reason. So what constitutes a good reason to change your name or your brand’s aesthetic?

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10 Things I Learned Reading 70 Digital Marketing Trends Articles for 2015 (So You Don’t Have To)


In the last month, every digital marketing agency and social media strategy blog published countless articles, with occasionally baseless and sometimes arbitrary predictions, on the next year in digital marketing. As someone in the digital marketing business for a decade, I’ve read social media trend pieces like these since before they called it social media. This year, I read countless (okay, 70 because I counted) and I’m more confused than before.

Some of the predictions this year were ridiculous on their face. No, we won’t all wear Oculus Rifts around the office at any point in 2015. No, Facebook won’t buy Twitter. No, Vine isn’t the secret to saving legacy news organizations.

Some ideas surfaced in multiple articles, however, and this consensus seemed like the real predictions for 2015. Below I’ve extrapolated from endless blog copy the actual 10 things digital marketers should know in 2015. (You’ll get the best experience if you read this on your hoverboard, with an Oculus Rift. Just kidding, that’s 2016.)

Everyone agrees: Content remains king in 2015.

If one of your complaints about life is that brands don’t create enough content, you’re in luck. There is almost total agreement amongst digital brand strategists that consumers can’t wait to devour and share your brand’s content.

Video will somehow manage to be more ubiquitous in 2015 and will live in more places than YouTube. We’re entering a world where brand video content will probably autoplay on every single social media platform. Look at the insanely fast rise of Facebook video, it’s rapidly become a serious challenger to YouTube. Twitter, which already owns Vine, has announced legit video hosting integration.

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Brands’ Future Is Creating Shared Value, Not Just Social Responsibility Campaigns

It’s Not About Brands Reinventing Themselves, But Going Back to Their Beginnings

In a seminal article that appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 2011, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer defined a new paradigm for business with the words “shared value.” The idea is that the future of today’s brands will lie in aligning business success with positive social impact for people and the planet. This is a new way of looking at corporate citizenship, from occasional philanthropic and cause-oriented actions that lie outside of their core business, to the core business itself and its potential to make the world a better place.

Both of these represent a transient, perhaps insincere, and unsustainable role for brands in making the world better, whereas aligning how the actual products and services can make a positive impact makes them enduring and sustainable.

The truth is, today’s greatest and most enduring brands came into the world through a shared-value idea. The world’s most-loved brands started with a single person who saw a societal need and looked to create something that could address that need and make the world a better place.

Thomas Edison saw an opportunity to bring light to the world.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting Campaigns


We’d all like to think that every single person that comes in contact with our business follows a very straight and orderly path to purchase. Someone visits our site for the first time, then fills out a form to download an ebook, then becomes interested in talking with a sales rep, all in one session on your website. Minutes later, the sales rep reaching out to this lead, and before you know it, the lead is becoming a customer, handing over their credit card to purchase something from your company.

But in reality, the buyer’s journey is probably not so linear. People pop over to your website then leave. Two months later, they discover your latest blog article, and then decide to download that ebook. A few days after that, they decide to check out another blog post. Maybe a week later they decide to get in touch with Sales, and it takes several more weeks of meetings and discussions to come to a decision to buy. Same end result, but the process is a little more convoluted.

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Sorry, Facebook: Snapchat Still More Popular Among Undergrads


Ever wondered why Facebook continues to try to make its own version of Snapchat?

A new study suggests college students— traditionally one of Facebook’s biggest demographics— are more engaged with Snapchat than Facebook.

The study found that while 70% of college students report posting on Snapchat at least once a day, only 11% report posting on Facebook with the same frequency.

Sumpto, a New York-based marketing company that helps brands connect with college students, conducted the study. It polled nearly 2,000 undergraduate students from hundreds of campuses in the U.S.

Result: as in another study reported earlier this year, Snapchat rules on college campuses.

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How Buyers Buy… and Four Ways You Can Help Them Choose You

With the Internet, the Great Recession, and intensification of competition in many industries, the way buyers buy has changed. Buyers are busier, they have more choices, and they are better informed than ever.

So what are the companies that are bringing in new customers and growing their accounts doing that’s different?

To find out, we went to the source: buyers themselves. We surveyed over 700 B2B buyers responsible for $3.1 billion in annual purchases. We wanted to know what the winners of actual sales opportunities are doing that’s different from what others are doing.

Seven factors rose to the top as those that most separate winners from second-place finishers. These are what tipped the scales in favor of the selected provider:

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Millennials Aren’t Afraid of the Phone, or Human Connection

Prized Demographic Wants to Talk to a Person When Deciding on a Purchase

Have you heard how millennials have forsaken all manner of verbal communication in favor of texts and tweets? And that the best way to market to them is through cat pictures and ironic memes? So have I. And I don’t buy it.

The stereotype is that this generation is lazy and entitled. They’ve lost the art of eye contact and a firm handshake. But I say it is marketers who are lazy, for this prized demographic of 25-to-34-year-olds doesn’t respond just to digital campaigns or social-media exchanges: they also care deeply about authentic human connection.

Studies show that millennials are the most likely of any age group to make a research-and-purchase decision the old-fashioned way — by talking to someone. They are most likely to call a business from a digital advertisement.

Readers older than millennials may remember AT&T‘s famous “Reach Out and Touch Someone” campaign, which promoted talking as the primary means through which humans form and build relationships. Today, marketers too often associate a personal touch with, say, emoticons and shy away from offline conversations, believing they are passé with 20-somethings.

But Google recently studied consumer response to mobile search, and found that a phone call is the most common response to a local search. But Google’s research doesn’t address demographics.

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