How Brands Celebrated Pi Day

As today marks the Pi Day of the century (3.14.15), it’s not surprising that this would be one of the most trending topics on social media today. And of course brands are celebrating this big day on social as well. Here is how some of the big brands are showing their Pi Day spirit:

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It’s only natural that pizza brands would take advantage of the prominent Pi[e] Day, and Pizza Hut is no different. Using an image of a delicious-looking pizza with pepperonis forming the shape of π to send out its Pi Day message on Facebook, Pizza Hut also took this chance to appeal today’s gluten-conscious consumers. Since they now offer a gluten-free pizza in select stores around the U.S., it only made sense to ask those “gluten haters” to celebrate Pi Day with them.

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Barefoot took to Facebook to share its Pi Day spirit as well. Known for their wine-themed play on words, Barefoot asked fans if they were also celebrating the day with some “πnot Noir.”

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McDonald’s stayed true to it’s “lovin’” message and focused on its classic Baked Apple Pie.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 8.16.19 PMDunkin’ Donuts also kept it very product-focused, promoting its “Boston Kreme Pi” donut.

Many other brands of this variety took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to send out their “Pi Day” messages to consumers, but what about those non-food related brands who don’t have as strong of a link to the “pie” aspect of it all? Well, here’s an example of a brand outside of the food industry who joined in on the conversation:Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 9.09.25 PM

There is usually a way to join in on the conversation, sometimes you just have to get creative.

Anyways, Happy Pi Day everyone!

Incorporating Music on Pinterest Boards

I’ve been loading up on interesting Mashable articles this week, but another useful article I stumbled upon was How to Share Music On Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my favorite social media platforms to use. I love creating and organizing different boards to inspire me and give me ideas on a variety of topics whether it be fashion, kitchen design, event ideas, or even just to entertain me with adorable pictures of Golden Retrievers. I also want to be able to inspire others through my boards.

Obviously this platform is increasing in popularity, and new and innovative ways to use it are beginning to be introduced. For instance, this article from Mashable suggests a new way to enhance your boards by sharing music to them. While walking you through the steps to share music on Pinterest, it also gives you a few ideas on how to use music to give your boards that extra spark. These ideas include:

  • Being “a fanboy/fan girl” (i.e., creating a “shrine to your favorite group or artist”)
  • Adding “an extra element to browsing”
  • Creating a “travel soundtrack”
  • “Vintage boards and era exploration” (where you incorporate music from that era onto your boards)
  • Adding music to “enhance events”
  • “Playful playlists”

You can read more about these creative ways to incorporate music on your Pinterest boards at Mashable.com.

Creative Way to Promote via Twitter: #ListenWithKelly

After reading Mark W. Schaefer’s The Tao of Twitter, I’ve started to see the Twitter platform in a new light. I have begun to realize that there really are endless possibilities and benefits for using this platform. It’s cool to see the new and unique ways that people think of to use Twitter. For instance, a recent article in Mashable talks about Kelly Clarkson’s use of the platform for a “Twitter listening party” that promoted her new album.

According to tweets revealed in the article, Kelly invited her fans via Twitter “to #ListenWithKelly at 8 PM ET.” She encouraged her fans at this time to start playing their copy of her new album, titled Piece by Piece, and to tweet along with her. For each song (minus the extra ones on the deluxe version) she provided little pieces of commentary about such things as why that song was special to her or whether it was one of her favorites. Fans joined in on the conversation and it seemed to be a real hit. I think this is such a creative way to promote an album while really connecting with fans on a deeper level.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Introduces the “Queens of Darkness”

This week has been a busy one for me, but luckily I was finally able to squeeze in a little bit of prerecorded TV time to catch up on a couple of my favorite shows right now. The most exciting one for me this week was the return of ABC’s Once Upon a Time!

Once Upon a Time has been one of my favorite shows since its beginning. Although a few rocky seasons here and there, the second half of Season 4 looks to be a good one! I love the intertwining of characters and creative plot twists on the classic fairy tales and stories that this show creates. And, of course, I always love when new characters from the Disney Classics emerge. This season introduces two of Disney’s most iconic villains and resurrects one from a few seasons back. These three “Queens of Darkness” include:

1. Cruella de Vil 

Looking very Cruella like, Victoria Smurfit has joined the cast to take on the role of the evil Dalmatian kidnapper and fur fanatic that we all know so well. The only noticeable difference from the original Cruella seems to be her new power to possess animals into doing whatever she wants—which is fitting I suppose. I guess it wouldn’t make much sense to have a villain in Storybrooke that didn’t have some sort of magical power.

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2. Ursula

Although not the large purple octopus woman we all remember from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I do like that they have brought in Merrin Dungey to portray Ursula. I always love when OUAT brings in characters from J.J. Abrams’ past series like Lost and now Alias. If you didn’t know, Dungey played Sydney Bristow’s (aka Jennifer Garner’s) best friend then evil clone in Abrams’ popular drama series, Alias.

B9mZujeIcAEGQIu [www.imagesplitter.net]Ursula

3. Maleficent

Finally, as Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the iconic Sleeping Beauty villain in her recent movie Maleficent has increased publicity and sparked interests toward this classic villain, it only seems fitting that Once Upon a Time would choose to resurrect the suddenly much more popular character (portrayed by Kristin Baeur van Straten). Although OUAT‘s Maleficent hasn’t come back quite yet, previews suggest there are some dark hidden secrets between she and Snow that will soon be revealed and stir trouble in Storybrooke.

maleforiginal malef

Overall, I’m excited for this half of the season. It’s always interesting to see how the writers use creative back-stories to help develop the current stories and bring new twists to the traditional fairy tales we all know and love. I guess we will see tomorrow how these stories begin to unfold!

The Voice and Social Media

Whether you like The Voice or not (but let’s be honest, who doesn’t like The Voice?), there is no denying the show’s expertise in building engagement with fans through social media—particularly Twitter. The show is not afraid to get creative with social media to engage its audiences. For example, last year they came up with a way for fans to “Instantly Save” their favorite singer from going home just by simply Tweeting their name and hashtag #VoiceSave. Another Twitter method they use during the prerecorded episodes is displaying on the screen live commentary via Tweets by the judges on the various happenings of the night. These Tweets—mostly Blake’s—never fail to entertain us.

As Season 8 has just begun, Mashable revealed a new social media marketing move they have pulled out to build even more engagement around the popular singing competition show. An article from Mashable reveals that for Season 8 The Voice is “teaming up with GIF Keyboard to offer GIFs of the show’s standout moments in real-time.” Now fans will easily be able to share favorite moments during the show. This will definitely be a fun way for fans to engage and be entertained this season.

And of course there has been a Voice GIF created for #TheDress…

chairtumblr_nkevhfK6Rw1r5lqijo1_1280{GIF posted on The Voice tumblr with caption: “We only see the voice.”}

A Reflection on The Tao of Twitter

For those who are looking for some really valuable and useful information on how to use Twitter to promote your business, blog or own personal brand, I would highly suggest reading The Tao of Twitter by social media marketing expert, Mark W. Schaefer. I just finished reading it and feel like I’ve learned a ton of useful information about how Twitter can be used to create so many benefits that I had never even considered before.

In The Tao of Twitter, Schaefer demonstrates the impact that Twitter can have on your life and business and offers an abundance of techniques and recommendations on how to use the platform to generate important business and personal benefits. He suggests a specific “path” (or “Tao”) must be followed to truly reap the benefits of this platform. There are three essentials to this “Tao of Twitter”: Targeted Connections, Meaningful Content, and Authentic Helpfulness.

Through real-world examples and experience, Schaefer illustrates the importance of these elements and offers various practical techniques and tips for establishing them. For instance, in his chapter regarding the first component of the Tao—”Targeted Connections”—he offers “25 Ways to Attract Targeted Followers” and a variety of other techniques to help you build your “tribe” on Twitter. Likewise, in a chapter on the second element—”Meaningful Content”—he offers numerous techniques and recommendations such as a tweeting regimen for beginners who aren’t really sure how to decide how much they should be tweeting a day and how many tweets should be personal vs. professional.

“In an always-on, real-time, global world of business communications, the priority is on human interaction that leads to connections. Connection leads to awareness. Awareness leads to trust. Trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits, as it always has been.” -Mark W. Schaefer

An insightful chapter and what I felt was one of the most important themes throughout the book was about the last component of the Tao—“Authentic Helpfulness.” Nobody wants to just be sold to these days. If you can create meaningful connections with people and help them without asking for or expecting anything in return, people will trust you and naturally want to help you too. It’s this importance of a “human touch” that companies and people using Twitter and other social media platforms for business-related purposes need to remember. His points and tips on how people and companies can and should always practice being authentically helpful on Twitter are definitely vital pieces of wisdom to keep in mind when using this platform.

He covers so many more topics surrounding Twitter to get your head wrapped around basically all aspects of this crazy platform. One section I found to be extremely useful was his chapter titled “Lists—the Key to Twitter Sanity.” It’s easy for you to get lost in the chaos and “noise” of Twitter, but with his tips and ideas for using Twitter lists, I now understand that life could be so much easier for me on Twitter. By deciding what kind of information your looking for, you can create lists to reflect the information your seeking or simply just categorize your followers into groups to make life less complicated. This chapter will definitely be useful when organizing and grouping the people that I follow and for future business endeavors.

Other (but definitely not all) sections from this book that I found to be really useful were:

  • Chapter 11: “Twitter Time-Savers”
  • “An Indespensible Guide to Effective Search”
  • Chapter 13: titled “Next Steps,” particularly the “Analytics” and “Listening Platforms” sections
  • Chapter 14: “Becoming a Top Cat on Twitter Chats”

Regardless of whether you are just starting out on Twitter or are an expert looking for new ways to enhance your business on the platform, The Tao of Twitter will be an extremely useful resource and is a great read.

Brands and #TheDress

Obviously the big topic on digital this week was #TheDress. Apparently a recent bride posted a picture of her mom’s dress to her wedding on Tumblr asking followers what their opinion was of the color, and the debate ignited. After it caught on to Buzzfeed the rest was history. The argument quickly went viral and it seemed everyone was arguing about whether the dress was #whiteandgold or #blueandblack. In fact, #TheDress is still (two days later) one of the top trending topics on Twitter and Facebook. Although I still cannot understand how people see that picture as anything but #whiteandgold (or similar), it apparently has been settled that it is indeed a blue and black dress…whatever, that picture is obviously white and gold.

Anyways, regardless of which side of the dispute you were on, this was one of those fun ways for brands to get in quick on the action and join the conversation. Here are just a few of the brands that cleverly weighed in on the debate via Twitter

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Ice Storm 2015

Well this week has been a pleasantly unpleasant week of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Pleasant because I only ended up having to go to class one day; unpleasant because well… ice and cold? There’s just not much pleasant about that.

Knoxville got its first wave of snow and sleet on Monday, decided to stay until Tuesday, and Wednesday a full blown snowstorm. Thankfully the snow/ice stopped coming Thursday but instead decided to make Knoxville the coldest day in many years (well below freezing). And there was no heat in my first class, so it’s safe to say we were chilly.

I drove to Nashville for a wedding this weekend and it’s actually much worse here! The wedding’s theme “winter wonderland” couldn’t be more applicable. There is snow everywhere and many layers of ice all over the place. My parents’ driveway and every driveway/neighborhood in Brentwood is completely covered in ice and the snow is not the light fluffy snow we all love, it’s hard.

Although I hear the Ice Storm of 1994 was worse, I was only two at the time so I’m going to go ahead and say this is the worst ice storm I’ve ever seen. Trees are falling, power lines are down and you can literally ice skate on the driveways. If you’re not having to face ice on the roads, you’re having to dodge blocks of ice flying at you from the cars in front of you. Luckily rain is coming to melt away all our woes, so hopefully we will get some relief for a couple of days.

At least, somebody enjoyed the snow this week…

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{The only way to get his face out of the snow was to convince him there was a squirrel.}

Anyways, I hope everyone stays safe and warm!

A Life Without Bros? Scary Thought.

Organic Valley attempts to go beyond the conventional to market their organic product, and they seem to have hit the nail on the head. It’s all part of a clever digital marketing campaign that satirically makes a Public Service Announcement to “Save the Bros.” You know those guys who drink a million shady protein shakes every day to beef up or as Organic Valley perfectly articulated it, “to get jacked, yoked, or totally swole.”

Bringing humor into the typically traditional and informative based advertising of organic products is gaining the company some praise and social buzz. Although seemingly making fun of its major target market, it seems be getting quite a bit of positive feedback.

In its humorous “cause marketing” video, Organic Valley reminds people of how incomplete life would be without a bro giving you that wildly inappropriate “but still appreciated” compliment about your physique or the motivational “Go Big or Go Home.” It brings up a slew of other funny stereotypes about the typical “bro” and the need to save them from all of those chemically infused protein shakes they down every day which, according to Organic Valley, will cause them to disappear completely.

Offering their organic protein shake alternative “Organic Fuel” is how Organic Valley plans to save the world from the extinction of bros altogether. If you care at all about these swole gym junkies who “consume two thirds of our nations light beer and 100% of our axe body spray,” spread the word and #savethebros.

The Power of Great Visual Merchandising

Have you ever found yourself out shopping at a huge store cluttered with all sorts of options, but you can’t seem to find one thing that you want? Then you go to some unique little boutique around the corner with not near as much merchandise but you can’t seem to narrow down what to buy (because you want it all)?

Well this happens to me all the time, but why is this happening? Obviously, a variety of factors could contribute to this. For instance, maybe the small boutique is more of niche store that caters directly to your individual needs or simply has better options. But I also believe it has a lot to do with visual merchandising. Great displays and space design can be a powerful way for retailers to market their products and generate sales.

Here’s an example: A little while ago I was shopping at a little boutique in my hometown. This boutique sells jewelry, home decor, and clothing which all has a kind of rustic chic feel to it. Its displays are sometimes unique and sometimes simple but they are always nicely done and always seem to reflect this rustic chic feel. It’s one of my favorite boutiques and I always love pretty much everything in there, but it’s a little pricey so I usually can only limit myself to a few things (if any). Well, I saw this scarf that I absolutely loved. It was actually a pretty ordinary infinity scarf, but for some reason it was perfect to me! It was $40, and for a pretty plain scarf, that is pretty pricey (a rational person would think). But of course its perfection completely outweighed every rational thought in my head. They had it displayed with this cute and casual little outfit which was much more expensive (and that I definitely could not afford to buy at the time), so I decided to settle for just the adorable scarf.

After I buy the scarf, I’m in the shopping kind of mood so I head over to another boutique down the street (literally two minutes away) that I had never been to. I go in, its not near as appealing—kind of cramped and boring— and I’m not really seeing anything I like. But then all of the sudden I see this pile of scarves in the corner with a sign saying that they are $20 each. And, what do you know, the exact scarf I had just bought was laying right there… Just to make sure that they were truly the same, I compared them side-by-side—yep, they were literally identical. Of course some of my rational thought comes back to me and I buy the scarf that was half the price of the one I had just bought. Then I go back to the first boutique and return the $40 scarf. (I could only get store credit so that was kind of frustrating too but not the point.)

At first I was kind of angry at the first boutique… I mean it was my favorite, but this was making me question the real worth of everything in the store. However, after calming down and addressing my naivety, I had to think: this store is actually just doing some really great in-store marketing. Kudos to them for being able to display things in an inspiring enough way to convince me that this scarf was worth more than twice the amount that another store was pricing it. My initial negative feelings towards the boutique have subsided, though not enough to be convinced that all their stuff is worth the price (especially since I’ve caught these price discrepancies more than once). Now every time I’m in there I still think everything is perfect but also can’t help but think: “I could probably find that for cheaper somewhere else.” But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

The point is that by displaying things in such a unique and attractive way, this boutique was able to increase the value of it’s merchandise in its consumer’s mind and was able to instigate a point of purchase sale that another store (which made no effort to organize and display its merchandise in an inspiring way) probably wouldn’t have gotten. If I had never gone to that first boutique, I am convinced that I would not have looked twice at that same scarf in the second one…

Although visual merchandising is obviously not the only thing to consider when marketing in the retail world (e.g., nowadays good digital marketing is ABSOLUTELY vital for retailers), it is definitely something to keep in mind. The more attractive, unique, and inspiring your displays and overall space design is, the more appealing your product will be.

This blog post by Humayan Khan at shopify.com had some good visual merchandising tips to think about if you’re interested!