Vitaminwater Challenge: Ditch Smartphone For A Year, Win $100K

Social Media
Image Source: MediaPost

by   @KLmarketdaily

Vitaminwater is generating lots of social action with a novel contest that will give one individual the chance to win $100,000… if he or she can refrain from using a smartphone for 365 days.

Those who believe they can endure such a test can enter by posting their description of what a year without a smartphone would look like, using #NoPhoneForAYear and #contest, on Twitter or Instagram between now and Jan. 8, 2019.

Judges will pick the winning contestant based on originality/creativity, brand relevance, humor and submission quality.

But that’s just the first hurdle. To get the $100K, the contestant will have to promise to forego smartphone use for a year — and pass a lie detector test to verify that adherence at the end of the 12 months.

If the contestant fails to reach a year, but manages the feat for at least six months, he or she will still get $10,000. But cracking before six months will mean zero prize money.

Vitaminwater isn’t outlawing all phone usage during the challenge.

To enable calls and texting, it’s supplying the contestant with a throwback, non-smart Nokia 3310: “the most popular phone in 2000, when Vitaminwater launched.” That model was chosen “as a subtle nod to simpler days when the term ‘scrolling’ had not yet entered our lexicon,” explained the brand.

The entry posts (an individual may enter up to four times) are multiplying on the contest’s #NoPhoneForAYear Twitter page.

Intriguing promotion concept — but what’s the connection with the brand’s marketing mission?

The Coca-Cola Company brand “shook up” the water market when it launched by introducing “flavor, color, vitamins and fun,” and it’s still looking to “challenge the monotony,” said Vitaminwater Associate Brand Manager Natalia Suarez.

“There are a lot of people that are guilty of mindlessly scrolling because it’s the norm,” she added. “We see this as an opportunity to take a stance against routine, in a way that reflects Vitaminwater’s ‘personality with a purpose’” brand message.

Here’s a promotional video being used to convey the message and drive entries:

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Creating an Emotional Connection with Customers

Social Media, Management
Image Source: Convenience Store Decisions

It’s no secret that we are experiencing unprecedented times across retail.

Customers now have access to anything and everything they want in seconds right from their smartphones. Delivery is available on demand for everything from a new car to breakfast sandwiches.

Frictionless retail, where customers can walk into a store, pick up what they want and walk right out—completely bypassing the checkout counter and those important impulse sales—is not only here, it’s expanding to markets around the country.

Amazon and Google have developed devices that allow customers to reorder products and have them delivered right to their front doors in a matter of hours with the simple push of a button. Scared yet? You should be. When you combine these growing trends with other concerning issues, such as the FDA’s assault on tobacco and the growth of electric cars and alternative fuels, which are curbing visits to the convenience store, concerns abound.

All hope is not lost, according to Justin Champion, author of “Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Content Marketing.” That’s because customers respond to emotional connections. That’s why convenience stores must work harder at creating a story for your brand that resonates with your customers.

“Stories create emotion and emotion is what people remember,” Champion said. “They help you engage and, more importantly, remind customers who you are, what your values are and why you’re a good business for your community.”

People are bombarded with messages these days. Google processes over 3.8 million searches per minute. That’s a lot of people looking for information. This is happening because the way people buy has changed.

For retailers, the message is clear: You must provide…Continue reading

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Coffee, Coffee Cups
Starbucks 2018 holiday cups Credit: Starbucks

By  | AdAge

With October over, Starbucks has decreed it’s almost time to put down that Pumpkin Spice Latte and pick up a holiday drink in an appropriately seasonal cup. This year the chain is playing it safe with designs that are unlikely to spur the kind of backlash elicited by some of its previous more polarizing packaging plays.

Four disposable cups have a somewhat retro flair the chain says are inspired by the company’s coffee heritage and the season. There’s also an environmental push. People who order one six holiday beverages on Nov. 2 get a free reusable red holiday cup.

Each year, Starbucks and other chains come out with festive winter designs for their packaging and introduce holiday products, like Starbucks’ Christmas Blend coffee. Given its dominance, the cups from Starbucks get the most attention, including some complaints.

In 2015, for example, critics suggested red ombre cups were not Christmas-y enough. The 2017 effort stirred up minor controversy as well. Some groups applauded what appeared to be a cartoon lesbian couple leaning in for a kiss in a commercial and a couple holding hands on the cup itself. Others said they were turned off by what they perceived to be pro-gay rights imagery.

With this year’s plan, Starbucks is playing it safe. The four disposable cups include one that’s largely red with stripes, one with a green and white “Stargyle” design, one with a red and white houndstooth look and one with holly and berries. Continue reading…

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Let’s Get Visual: Five Tips to Visually Market Your Restaurant

Restaurants, Marketing, Management
Image source: Modern Restaurant Management
In today’s world, it’s all about the visuals.

In restaurants especially, visual marketing is crucial in growing and maintaining a customer base, and keeping them hungry for more. How can you make the most of your restaurant’s visual presence?

Create #Food

As of the time of this writing, there are well over 170 million posts on Instagram under #food, and over 75 million posts to #foodporn. And that number will only continue to grow. People are increasingly choosing restaurants to visit based on their social media presence, and just as many are taking pics of the food they order and posting it online. The way your food looks online is incredibly important.


Choose a selection of your top dishes, and hire a professional food photographer to take the shots, and share them on your website and social media platforms. Sharing photos on social media can be a great way to advertise new dishes, drink or food specials, upcoming events and more.

Maximize Your Space

If your walls could talk, what would they say? The interior and exterior of your restaurant space is filled with opportunities for further cementing your brand and engaging customers. Get creative with your space: hire an artist to paint a visually stunning mural, hang chalkboards on the walls or use erasable decals to list daily specials or list your social media hashtags on the front of your menus. Try floor decals pointing customers towards the restrooms, artistic window signage that advertises happy hour specials or badges and customized t-shirts for staff to wear that support your brand.

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How David’s Bridal is revamping the online experience to drive people into stores

Digital, Wedding Dresses, Social Media, David’s Bridal
Image Source: Digiday
Fast fashion has lit a fire under David’s Bridal, incentivizing the 60-year-old retailer to modernize its approach to customer acquisition.At the center of its new digital strategy: The company’s 330-strong store network. To compete with digitally native companies newer to bridal, like Asos, Reformation and Topshop, David’s Bridal is improving its online messaging to drive customers to make appointments for an in-store visit, where the conversion rate is 50 percent higher.

To do so, the company worked with the agency January Digital to restructure its customer data system into a single-view platform, building an online marketing strategy geared around driving customers into stores. According to Diana Takach, head of digital at David’s Bridal, the new approach had three goals: to get more customers to make appointments online, to increase revenue and to get more customers to sign up for email newsletters.

“We’re a traditional retailer — we’re talking about customer information being collected on paper, in binders,” said Diana Takach, David’s Bridal’s head of digital. “But fast fashion is happening now in bridal, and it’s throwing people for a loop. It sounds like we’re late to the game, but it’s the industry. It’s been flipped on its head.”

David’s Bridal gathers a lot of customer information throughout the purchase journey, including wedding date, number of bridesmaids, dress style preference, communication preference and information on the mother of the bride. Before revamping its strategy, David’s Bridal’s customer data was scattered across store locations and online. By shifting the data in one place, it fleshed out a sequential marketing strategy, through paid posts on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.

According to Takach, this increase in paid social was possible thanks to a reallocation of the performance marketing budget, by moving around underperforming spend. It also rearranged its annual media spend. The company used to heavily promote itself on radio and TV between January and April, piling 90 percent of its media budget into those four months, when the most brides we’re in planning mode. Now, the company has shifted its budget away from TV and radio, and distributed its reach evenly throughout the year.

With the goal of getting customers to make in-store appointments, David’s Bridal saw a 76 percent increase in appointments made this year over last, and a 20 percent increase in revenue driven by its e-commerce site. It also reported that 93 percent of customers who made appointments in-store made a purchase. (The company did not share specific figures).

The retailer considers the new strategy to be a better long-term investment than one-off customer acquisition with prompts like promotions.

“Digital is really crowded, so the question was: how do we drive results, especially when retail is so challenged offline?” said Takach.

Tierney Wilson, January Digital’s managing director, said that getting a clearer picture of customer data across channels led to David’s Bridal finding new ways to…Continue Reading


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5 Instagram Marketing Trends We Will See in 2019

Artificial Intelligence, Social Media
Instagram has been growing since it was first launched eight years ago undefined – undefined/iStock


Instagram is one of the most important and most powerful marketing channels of our time. It is great for content marketing and paid advertising and, at the same time, for communication and customer service. It has the capacity to drive great engagement and better-than-average return on investment for a marketer, brand or agency.

Instagram has been growing since it was first launched eight years ago. As we can see from the following graph shared with us by Statista , the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network reached a milestone of 1 billion monthly users in June.

This is an impressive number and, when it comes to marketing, impressive numbers are great. It means that you have access to a huge audience worldwide and, at the same time, due to this channel’s nature, you have access to a dedicated and engaged audience.

Moreover, there are more than 4 billion  likes per day on Instagram, and each image posted on this platform gets an average of 23 percent more engagementthan its Facebook counterpart.

As a consequence, we need to constantly stay updated with all of Instagram’s latest developments and, of course, the trends that govern it. This is why, with this article, I am going to shed some light upon the most popular trends that are expected to rule Instagram marketing in 2019.

Also, I questioned some of my peers regarding this issue and, fortunately, I received a series of answers from marketers and professionals regarding their expectations for 2019.

IGTV will be a big player

Announced and launched in June, IGTV is the new video platform dedicated exclusively to mobile users. Unlike YouTube and other videostreaming platforms, IGTV is dedicated to vertical video playback and, therefore, suitable for marketers and content producers that are addressing a mobile only audience.

Why vertical? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile. We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.

Are brands using IGTV already? Chipotle was one of the first companies to create and distribute a video on Instagram.

“If you’re still not on IGTV, it’s time to hop on the train,” said Plannable’s Vlad Callus. “When thinking about the upcoming trends in Instagram marketing I believe IGTV and Instagram Stories are on the top of the list. IGTV will become the new YouTube in three to five years, and if you’re joining now, you will catch the big wave.”

Other big brands are on IGTV, as well. SocialChain is producing and distributing a regular podcast. All of its episodes are also being…Continue Reading


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Two Hotel Brands That Have Mastered Influencer Marketing

Social Media, Marketing

by Kristin Burnham

In the era of celebrity endorsements and the Insta-famous, influencer marketing is having a moment.

According to one report, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, while half reported it outperformed brand-created content. For the travel and hospitality industry, influencer marketing has become a key tactic for tapping into communities of engaged followers to grow and build lasting relationships with customers.

Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott are two well-known brands that have used influencers as part of their marketing strategies.

How Hilton Garden Inn Taps Celebrity Influencers
The guest experience at Hilton Garden Inn isn’t just about the accommodations; it’s about fine dining, too.

When customer research revealed that the upscale hotel’s food and beverage offering was “a really unexpected and powerful way to raise the perception of the brand as a whole,” said Amy Martin-Ziegenfuss, VP of marketing for Hilton’s focused service brands, the company launched a campaign to revamp its menu through a public voting process in late May.

The brand tapped Dan Churchill, a Food Network television host, to kick off the campaign with a Food Network Facebook Live event, during which he revealed some of the offerings in contention for a spot on the menu. That event received more than 5.6 million views, Martin-Ziegenfuss said.

After the launch, the brand leveraged the Scripps Lifestyle network of influencers to create buzz around voting through Facebook and Twitter posts. The winning menu items were announced toward the end of August by actor Judy Greer, who was signed on in 2017 for a series of ads promoting its accommodations and food.

Collaborating with influencers can be hit or miss unless you have the proper pieces in place, Martin-Ziegenfuss said.

“It’s really important that you find the right partnership—and I say ‘partnership’ because it shouldn’t be transactional in nature,” she said. “Like any good relationship, if you put a lot of work into it from both sides, you yield greater results. If the influencers feel passionate and invested in the cause, they become advocates for the brand.”

Hilton Garden landed on Churchill and Greer because they embody the brand and have a following that reflects its consumer target, she said. It also considered how they paired with brands in the past, their points of view, and the types of content they create.

Also key was the freedom the brand gave Churchill and Greer to tell the story in a way that’s authentic to them, Martin-Ziegenfuss said. While it’s natural for marketers to want to…Continue Reading


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