Snap, Nike’s Jordan brand, Darkstore and Shopify teamed up in a collaboration of epic proportions to pre-release the Air Jordan III “Tinker” on Snapchat with same-day delivery last night after the NBA All-Star game. This is the first time a brand other than Snap has sold a product via Snapchat.
The thousands who attended the Jumpman All-Star after-party in Los Angeles last night were able to scan exclusive Snap codes to receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night. Once they scanned the Snap code, they were brought into the Snapchat app, where they could then purchase the sneakers.
“This is the Holy Grail of the experience [Nike is] trying to intend, which is direct to consumer — to the actual consumer, versus a bot, — and same-day delivery,” Hnetinka said. “The Snap code introduces a new paradigm for commerce.”
Darkstore works by exploiting excess capacity in storage facilities, malls and bodegas, and enables them to be fulfillment centers with just a smartphone. The idea is that brands without local inventory can store products in a Darkstore and then ship them out the same day.
In addition to the exclusive Snap codes, Snapchat geofenced the area over the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles during the All-Star game. Within that geofence, fans had access to a special 3D augmented reality Michael Jordan lens.
The official release for the shoe isn’t until March 24, but Nike wanted to do something extra special in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s slam dunk in 1988. That dunk is often referred to as the moment when Jordan “took flight.”
This isn’t Nike’s first time selling shoes via app-based experiences. Last June, Nike’s release for the SB Dunk High “Momofuku” required people to go a Momofuku restaurant, or to the Momofuku website, and then point their camera at the menu in order to see a sneaker pop up in augmented reality. From there, sneakerheads could purchase the shoes. Similar to what Nike is doing with Snapchat, you have to physically, or virtually, be somewhere in order to buy a pair.
“Jordan Brand and the Jumpman represent greatness, so we hold ourselves and our partners to that standard to create distinct and meaningful experiences for our community,” Jordan Brand Senior Director of Global Digital Dan Harbison said in a statement to TechCrunch. “To execute on that, we worked with some of the industry leaders in this space. Snapchat had an existing partnership with Shopify to create the frictionless commerce experience, so we felt that would make sense. We had also talked to Darkstore and liked their same day delivery solution and learned they had partnered with Shopify in the past, so that became an easy decision.”
This collaboration also marks Snap’s moist aggressive move into the in-app e-commerce game. Snap launched the Snap Store within the Snapchat app’s Discover section earlier this month to sell the Dancing Hot Dog Plushie, Snapchat winkface sweatshirt and other Snap-related products. At the time, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine noted Snapchat could position itself as a way for top brands to reach their audiences in a medium that bridges both shopping and social experiences.
Disney World and Perdue Chicken are the “most loved brands,” offline and online respectively, based on positive conversations and referrals, according to Engagement Labs.
When consumers love a brand, they don’t just purchase its products and services, they are more likely to recommend that brand, talk about it with friends and engage with its marketing content. In a recent analysis of more than 500 consumer brands in a variety of categories, Engagement Labs ranked the most loved brands based on positive conversations happening online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial Brand Awards series.
Disney World, Wegmans and Febreze were the top finishers offline, and Perdue Chicken, CVS and Hampton Inn were the top finishers online.
The awards are based on the company’s proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the four most important drivers of brand performance. These are: sentiment (having more positive than negative conversations), brand sharing (the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising), volume (a measure of how many conversations mention a brand) and influence (the extent to which an influential audience is talking about a brand).
“While creating a beloved brand is, first and foremost, predicated on having a good product or service, it also requires the cultivation of a passionate fan base that is encouraged to evangelize for the brand,” said Ed Keller, chief executive officer of Engagement Labs, in a release. “The country’s most loved brands aren’t just big marketing spenders. In fact, Wegmans, which ranked second, made our list of most beloved brands without a large marketing budget. Wegmans chooses to invest in recruiting and training employees. The brand has been able to create a positive customer experience that consumers are eager to talk about with friends and family, both offline and online.”
Disney World topped the list of most loved brands offline—or those which are spoken about positively during face-to-face conversations. Disney World and Febreze, which ranked first and third respectively on the offline list, are big spenders on advertising. In 2017, for example, Febreze launched its “OdorOdes” campaign and debuted its first Super Bowl commercial.
Perdue Chicken tops the list of most loved brands being talked about during online conversations. Perdue’s marketing campaign featuring its multi-generational family business resonated with consumers in 2017, according to the study. Similarly, when it comes to budget-friendly hotels, travelers have plenty of good things to say about Hampton Inn, which ranked third for its high sentiment in online conversations.
“Brands need to be aware that you don’t have to be an e-commerce or digital company to have consumers speak positively about your brand on social media,” Keller says. “You just have to inspire consumers enough that they want to engage in conversations about the brand, and that is exactly what the brands in our most loved online list did.”
When it launched in 2015, many of the bajillions of media impressions REI racked up with its #OptOutside campaign were a result of the sheer counter-intuitiveness of it all. A major retailer closing its doors on one of the biggest shopping days of the year is news worth talking about. For the co-op to make good on its commitment to the outdoors by closing down to give employees a paid day off that they could enjoy in the fresh air was cool in and of itself. But what took #OptOutside to a higher level was how the brand also created content and tools for people to use in their pursuit of fun outside: trail guides, expert advice, and more. What could have been an admirable stunt became an entire platform.
This year, REI is keeping #OptOutside going with what it calls an “experiential search engine,” essentially a hashtagged library of pictures, videos, and more from people all over the world who are offering up their favorite places and activities in the outdoors for others to discover. The images are pulled entirely from #OptOutside user-generated content on Instagram, augmented with real-time information about locations and experiences. For example, if you click on an image of a hiker, you’ll also see the name of the specific trail featured, the trail’s difficulty rating, directions to the trailhead, recent user reviews of the experience, and related expert advice from REI. Leading up to Black Friday, the brand is also releasing 20 films featuring this type of community-created content.
In its first year, #OptOutside got tons of attention and won almost every major advertising award. For REI’s chief creative officer Ben Steele, the strategy behind keeping its momentum going starts by focusing on its original purpose.
“Why did we make this decision? Why did we take this action? It is about closing our doors, paying our employees, and inviting the world to join us, but it’s really about enabling more people to get outdoors, in more ways, more often,” says Steele.
While the first year of the blockbuster campaign got most of its attention for closing the stores and giving employees a paid day off, last year the brand brought more partner companies into the fold, including Google and Subaru, and launched an outdoor activity finder on the campaign’s website, where people could find nearby trails and parks, upload photos, and find nonprofits that help protect the outdoors. This year the goal was to find a creative way to bring all of it even closer together.
“What started as a moment has kind of become a movement,” Steele says. “It’s about behavior change and giving people tools to do something different with their time. The experiential search engine idea is really about: if we’ve invested in helping people get out, enabling them to get out there, how can we connect those dots even more? Inspiring them with the stories of people living the life outdoors, enabling them with awesome trail content that gives them the functionality to get out there, augmenting that with classes and events and the best expert advice, and connecting the co-op into one place and one experience.”
Given the success it’s seen over the last two years, you’d think keeping #OptOutside going would be a cakewalk for REI marketers. But Steele says the challenge lies in making it even better and more useful without sacrificing simplicity.
“There are challenges in continuing this work on a couple of fronts, and the first is really being laser-focused on the purpose, the reason we’re doing it, ” he says. “We’re really lucky that we’ve got an 80-year-old co-op. It’s not like we have to invent what it stands for and what it’s all about. When we need to be reminded, we have generations of members and visionary leaders to look to. So the number one focus is to keep it simple. Why did we do what we did in 2015? Why are we adding to it? Does it help enable that? Does it make it brighter? Does it make it better? Or does it just make it more complicated?”
Trail guides and expert advice are great, but perhaps#OptOutside’s biggest draw, even among people who measure hikes in city blocks, is how it represented a brand putting its people and overall mission above short-term sales. Make no mistake, shutting down all retail and online sales on Black Friday is no small sacrifice. In the past, it was a Top 5 sales day for REI. But the payoff in putting action behind words has been invaluable.
“We talk a lot about the power of authenticity and the power of truth, and it’s got to be there in your stories, but it’s got to be there in your actions, too,” says Steele.
And that philosophy resonates just as strongly within the co-op itself.
“When we first announced this at the co-op internally, there were people who worked retail, with us and elsewhere, who had never had that day off,” says Steele. “The emotional power it had for them to know that on Thanksgiving they’re focused on their family and doing something awesome with the people [they] love the next day, versus having to go into work? That power hasn’t faded.”
Among beauty brands, Maybelline is the master of driving social media engagement.
The L’Oréal-owned brand has beat out its parent company, as well as competitors including Estée Lauder and Revlon, in cross-platform engagement since the start of the year, according to recent analysis from ShareIQ, a social analytics company. On Instagram, for example, Maybelline saw a total of over 59 million likes between the start of the year and October 20, compared to L’Oréal’s 27 million likes and Estée Lauder’s 5 million likes during the same period.
At the same time, Maybelline far outdid the competition on Pinterest, garnering 730,000 repins, compared to L’Oréal’s 167,000 and Estée Lauder’s 28,000. (Most beauty brands find the volume of visual content that’s shared on Instagram and Pinterest, and the accompanying signals, to be more valuable than Twitter data, according to Jonathan Gardner, ShareIQ’s director of marketing who conducted the research.)
These results are all thanks to a combination of frequent, educational posts, savvy influencer relationships and a collaboration with Gigi Hadid.
“Maybelline has been keeping a baseline of fans engaged and are building spikes of excitement with new and influencer content, earning engagement with new audiences,” said Gardner.
Indeed, throughout the year, at least every other post on Maybelline’s Instagram account has either featured or mentioned an influencer, ranging from the beauty vlogger Melissa Flores(37,000 followers) to the fashion blogger Nicole Alyse (over 89,000 followers). Most of this content — which includes both pictures and short “get the look”-style videos — is generated by the influencers themselves and tagged with #mnyitlook, as encouraged by the brand in their Instagram tagline. The best responses have the chance of getting reposted.
“Swatch” imagery is popular on Maybelline’s social accounts
“We know that our customer is looking to beauty influencers to provide beauty trends and education, so it’s important for us to incorporate their amazing content on our channels and partner with them to communicate to their audiences, as well,” said Marnie Levan, Maybelline’s vice president of integrated consumer communications.
But with so many beauty influencers out there today, Maybelline has a few criteria: “We try to find those who authentically talk about and use the brand’s products regularly,” said Levan, “as well as those whose content is not just engaging but also educational for the consumer.”
This past August, the brand took that relationship one step further, launching its first influencer-driven product line with popular beauty blogger Shayla Mitchell, who boasts 2.5 million followers on Instagram. Curated by Mitchell, the “Maybelline x Shayla” collection included a shade extension of the brand’s Colossal Big Shot Mascara and a new rendition of its City Mini Palette. Mitchell’s goal, according to an interview with Refinery29, was to create products that worked for all skin tones.
The surrounding social media campaign — which saw posts shared across all of Mitchell’s social accounts, as well as Maybelline’s — was the brand’s most successful to date, said Levan. The collection sold out on Ulta.com within a few days of the launch and is continuing to sell impressively in stores, she said.
Outside of this influencer-centric content, the brand’s Instagram account features a stream of swatch posts — in which different shades and textures of a certain product are shown on a model’s wrists — as well as staged, artful product shots.
Another factor in Maybelline’s success is how often it’s posting: On Instagram, it shares an average of five posts per day, compared to L’Oréal’s average of four and Estée Lauder’s average of two, according to ShareIQ.
And then, of course, there’s Gigi Hadid. Although she’s been spokesperson of Maybelline for a few years now, Hadid launched her first collection with the bran in early October, soon after her makeup artist, Erin Parsons, became the company’s global makeup artist.
While relying on a celebrity for influence is by no means a novel idea, Maybelline has been particularly smart about leveraging the opportunity, said Garner. It ensures that Hadid posts frequent Maybelline-centric content to her own Instagram account, where she has over 36 million followers. In the 48 hour period surrounding the lines UK launch on October 12th, she shared 7 related posts.
What’s more, Hadid always mentions Maybelline in the tags and comments, a strategy that helps push her many owned followers to the Maybelline account, said Gardner. After the model announced the first online sale of the line on the Boots UK website, the product sold out in 90 minutes.
“Paying a spokesperson is one thing,” he said, “but effectively using the channel is another.”
When is the last time that you read something from beginning to end?
Be honest with yourself.
Marketers are notorious for skimming or – even worse – blindly sharing things that we haven’t read.
I remember Rand Fishkin talking about this phenomenon once during a keynote. He shared Moz’s killer Twitter stats along with his disappointment that they didn’t directly correlate to their blog traffic.
The reason? People were sharing Moz’s posts without ever reading them.
This isn’t the fate that good-intentioned marketers want for our work.
Is Your Content Turning off Your Audience?
We spend a lot of time creating good content in the hopes that someone (or ideally lots of someones) will find value and take action. For the record, I feel the same way so please feel free to tweet at me if you’ve made it this far.
There are a lot of tips out there for what makes good content. But what types of content turn people off? What’s causing them to skim, ignore, click away, or even bounce?
Truthfully, there are a ton of ways that you can turn off your audience with your content, and many of them are easy mistakes to make.
Here are some of the glaring culprits that you should work to avoid in your content.
1. Your Content Is Boring
You don’t have to write an Oscar-worthy saga every time you take to the keyboard. But you do need to think about your reader and whether they are going to be interested in what you have to say.
If you dump some text into a document with no point, or angle, or hook — you’re going to lose them.
If creativity doesn’t come naturally to you, but you have a lot of subject-matter expertise to provide, jot your thoughts down and go back over what you wrote at the end.
The headline and introduction are critical to pulling in the reader. Ask yourself:
Did you really sell your point?
Will your audience be excited to read what’s next?
If your content needs some work, try spicing up your introduction and key points with some of these writing best practices:
Data and visualizations: Humans like to use all of their senses. Data will help your readers follow along.
Quotes: Be careful with these. They tend to get overused and can be a bit cheesy, but there are times when quotes are really useful to selling a point.
2. Your Content Is Insulting
Being insulting is worse than being boring.
Lately, it seems that every couple of weeks, some company is making headlines for making a blatantly insulting remark on email, a blog post, and especially social media.
One of the most well-known examples is DiGiorno’s Twitter incident. They misused the hashtag #whyistayed, which was an open forum for Tweeters to chat about domestic violence, to make a joke about pizza.
Do your research.
Don’t be impulsive.
Follow your gut.
If it feels icky to promote during a sensitive time or issue, it probably is.
3. Your Content Is All About You
Another fast track way to get a bounce or have your readers turn up their noses is to make all of your content about yourself.
No one enjoys listening to someone else talk about him or herself for 15 minutes. The same goes for brand content.
Build content that focuses on the benefits for your customers as opposed to the features of your product or service.
By focusing on “the why” and the value of your business, you can help customers more easily visualize their positive outcomes and experiences.
4. Your Content Is All About the Wrong Person
This is an addendum to number three. While one of the “wrong persons” is definitely the result of focusing too much on yourself, you could also easily make the mistake of writing content that’s specific to an individual who is nothing like your target market.
For example, if Search Engine Journal only targeted its content toward new marketers, their audience would quickly be overwhelmed if there was too much jargon and any advanced content. On the flip side, if SEJ’s target audience was only very experienced readers, too much SEO 101 and basic marketing content would quickly lose them.
Avoid both of these scenarios by doing some customer research and building out detailed buyer personas. Hubspot found that personas make websites 2-5 times more effective — because the content is more relevant and interesting to your reader.
It can also be helpful to map out the buyer’s journey for each of your personas, so you understand the important goals, questions, and concerns your potential buyers have along the way. That way, you can address all of this information with your content.
5. Your Content Is Written for Robots
I get it. As a marketer, you’re pulled in a lot of directions. One piece of content has to accomplish a lot:
Appear in prominent positions on search engines.
Entice people to share on social media.
Get people interested in purchasing from you.
There are also a lot of requirements to technical SEO and, in the past, some of them seemed at odds with writing for humans.
SEO 101: A Beginner’s Guide
Read Search Engine Journal’s guide, SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization.
False, incorrect, or unsubstantiated information is going to quickly frustrate your readers.
Be sure to back your claims up by citing an authoritative source.
A few quick statistics and facts from a trusted resource can go a long way in helping to illustrate your point and convince your reader.
Bonus points for making this information more visually appealing with charts, graphs, or other visual aids (like the one above). These will help break up big blocks of text and keep your reader interested in what you have to say (more on this in number eight).
7. Your Content Is Salesy
We all want more leads and revenue. And anyone who has been trained in inbound marketing knows that you should have a relevant call to action at the end of your content that helps move your audience to the next step.
That does not mean, however, that your entire blog needs to be pushy and salesy. In fact, if you do that, you will annoy your readers and they’ll see right through you.
Instead, make helping your readers your number one focus.
It’s best to format website content with short, digestible pieces of information with headlines and bullet points whenever possible.
This is partly because it makes it easier for the reader to skim the content and follow along.
In fact, one study found that users only read about 20 percent of the text on your page.
But digestible formatting is also helpful because a wall of text can be overwhelming. Your readers don’t want to have flashbacks to thesis statements and 1,000-page history books.
Don’t make your audience work for information.
Provide value in a way that easy to absorb. Your audience will be much more likely to stick around and keep reading.
9. Your Content Is Saying Too Much (or Too Little)
Writing in an easy-to-follow format doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall amount of content needs to be a specific length.
In the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about how longer content was better for search engines. However, it’s a big mistake to make long content for long content’s sake. Your audience will see right through it and their eyes will gloss over.
At the same time, if you cut your content off and don’t actually answer the question, you will frustrate your readers and they will seek a solution elsewhere.
The secret is to let the needs of the audience dictate the length of your content.
This goes back to the same point that has been made several times here:
Know your audience.
Develop content that helps them make their decisions.
Utility is the magic recipe for preventing your audience from turning up their collective noses.
The Solution: Make Useful & Interesting Content
Sometimes, the idea of being useful is easier said than done.
Start by ensuring you have a deep understanding of your audience. Do your persona research and map out the question and answer process that they are likely to follow along their journey.
If you skip steps, or try to take shortcuts, you’re way more likely to lose or even offend your audience. From long-form website content, to tweets and social posts, putting in the work at the beginning is sure to help you have a quality product in the end.
How do you define, and cultivate the behavior of your customer without overwhelming them? Organizations tend to obsess over ways to innovate and remain competitive as a leader in their respective industry. All too often, this obsession puts more emphasis on the operational and revenue strategy versus the welfare of their end-user, the customer. Customers are savvier, more creative and have consistently proven how the old marketing focus and platform is now obsolete.
The customer experience goes beyond the simplicity of good service. It involves engagement, trust, education, solutions, how well you treat your workforce, social responsibility, and customer evangelism. It’s about connecting to the emotion of the customer and treating them as a human and not a chatbot. How do you identify opportunities that focus on your customer, build core business data from them and better understand their behavior without disrupting their experience? The core of today’s business ecosystem puts the customer first. By initially engaging with the customer, you can get a better handle on identifying their problem through researching opportunities for finding solutions to satisfy their needs.
Here are 3 primary and important reasons why it is imperative to rethink the digital shift and plan of action in this new era of the customer experience.
1. Technology is driving change. Business is social and digitized. The language customers speak is different and faster.
2. Current customer journeys no longer comply with traditional marketing funnels. Traditional customer journey stages have become obsolete. Customers do not flow in a linear fashion with new journey models, nor do they experience each stage of the process in the same fashion.
3. Build relationships, trust and earn loyalty. Focusing on building relationships and earning loyalty through delivering exceptional experiences throughout the customer journey is key for marketers. Marketing and sales teams can effectively grow tribes of customers who will advocate on their behalf and help organically grow their business to strengthen their brand.
Over 3 decades ago we strongly connected to customers through a brick and mortar location. We were in the driver’s seat guiding them on decisions based on our suggestions of what we felt they needed. They trusted our expertise whether they needed what they purchased or not. Such transactions oftentimes resulted in buyer’s remorse, which worked against repeat business.
In our customer-led market, we appeal to a larger base of consumers. You must build your business around your customers instead of the other way around. Building relationships, harnessing your resources to create a consumer-friendly culture, earning customer trust and loyalty by taking touch points and interactions seriously, will not pigeonhole ideas but will encourage the customer to feel comfortable getting on board your current digital marketing vehicle.
Recently we had discussions with some brand marketing and social media specialists who shared a common concern about the etiquette and ethics of social media followers and following. While social media is a goldmine for marketing opportunities, more often than not, followers look for specifics when they choose to follow someone or an organization. We asked them to honestly consider the following questions to see if the problem they shared fell under the following individual analyzations:
(A) Is your content relevant to your brand? (B) Do you offer something fresh, informative, consistent and useful? (C) Are you doing too much self-promoting? (D) Too much message automation? Automated messages can be a major turnoff, especially when message inboxes are flooded with these bots. Who has time to read all of that stuff? Most of the time such automated messages are ignored or deleted. (E) Do you personally engage with your followers?
Let us also point out that you will probably see many affiliate accounts following you on your social media site, advertising how to increase your social media followers by purchasing a package for a certain amount of followers. While many people desperately think this is the way to go to quickly improve their followability, we don’t advocate it and besides, it is not a guarantee. We believe in authentic organic traffic. Besides, what type of database guarantees you will get these followers and what is the quality of those followers should they follow you? It may take time, but depending on your industry or the content of your personal page, everyone’s pace and consistency in posting will deliver different results. There is no “One Size Fits All” cookie cutter formula for everyone.
Our discussion touched on another disturbing trend that all of us face. You will get someone to follow you and after you follow them, they will unfollow you whether it takes a day, week or month later. You watch your following numbers go up as your followers decline. Now, while the above 5 questions are legitimate, this deceptive social media tactic “I follow you, you follow me, I unfollow you and you still follow me” has many screaming foul.
While you may often wonder, as we do, why people who have 125K plus Followers initiate to follow you, when you only have 500 Followers, although they could genuinely want to follow your brand, more often than not we find there are ulterior motives. Should you choose to reciprocate and follow them, sadly you wind up discovering when you check your analytics you notice they quickly unfollowed you just so their metrics will look good. Unless you are interested in their brand offering, we suggest unfollowing them in return. As you can tell, we are not a fan of this type of deceptive cat and mouse social tactics.
Look folks, in business, we will always find those who are respectfully ethical and unfortunately, there are some who use slick maneuvers for personal gain. Don’t be socially illiterate to their tactics if this is the case. Be prudent.