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Oct. 21, 2015: Brands That Leveraged #BacktotheFutureDay

BttF Day Blog

Last Wednesday marked the day Marty McFly went to the future in the 1980’s movie, “Back to the Future,” and brands didn’t skip a beat aligning themselves with the cult classic. Fortune took an in-depth look at how brands like Nike, Toyota and Pepsi  leveraged the day with ads connecting them to the film, while Ford and Universal created mock ads for a Flux Capacitor and Hoverboard. Lyft even added an element to their ride-sharing app called “McFly Mode.” Great Scott!

Here’s how each of these companies used Back to the Future Day to promote their brand:

  • Nike: When Marty McFly arrives in 2015 in the film, he puts on a pair if Nike sneakers that can lace themselves. Starting in January 2015 Tinker Hatfield, the original creator of the concept, said the Nike team was planning to release self-lacing shoes at some point in the year. The concept was again teased to the world this past Tuesday via a tweet. As of now, we still wait for the futuristic sneaker to become a reality.
  • Toyota: Not only does the car in the film travel through time, it is also fueled by garbage. The car company used the date to promote its new hydrogen fuel car, the Mirai, by including actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the debut commercial.
  • Pepsi: The drink of choice for Michael J. Fox’s character in the film, Pepsi released limited edition bottles of the soda that were sold on Amazon. However, they may have been a little too limited. Many fans hoping to get a bottle of the Back to the Future Pepsi took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
  • Ford: In honor of Back to the Future Day, Ford created a dummy version of a flux capacitor – the essential part for time travelling in the film. The Y-shaped generator powered by a getting struck by a bolt of lightning bolt or nuclear fuel was released in a mock ad and advertised to sell at a fictional $1.21 million.
  • Universal: Unfortunately not a real product, but Universal released a mock ad for a hoverboard like the sweet ride available in Back to the Future’s version of 2015. Check out the ad here to see how Universal envisions hoverboards in 2015.
  • Lyft: The on-demand ride sharing company offered free rides for up to 15 minutes around New York City in a DeLorean, the type of car used in the film. Users simply had to press the “McFly Mode” button in the Lyft app and the DeLorean ride would arrive minutes later.

Whether a devoted fan who has waited decades for this day or just someone who wanted to take part in the Back to the Future Day festivities, brands successfully engaged audiences through strategically impactful advertising.

For more on how brands utilized the date for product placement read the full Fortune article here: http://fortune.com/2015/10/21/back-future-day-brands-twitter/

 

Extra Gum Pulls At Audience’s Heartstrings

Extra Gum Blog

After what may have seemed like a very long two years since the success of Extra’s first gum wrapper centered video, “Origami,” the company released a second advertisement featuring the brand’s foil wrappers. Quickly capturing a favorable public opinion, the new ad, “The Story of Sarah and Juan,” gained 74 million views within a week of its release.

Audiences have eagerly waited for the Wrigley Company to produce another video for the campaign. With the tag line “Give Extra à Get Extra,” the ads tell stories about how it’s the little things that add up.

Marketing Magazine talks about the “Minty Love” vibe of the ad and the love it or hate it mentality viewers will have. The video starts on the steps going into a high school where students Juan and Sarah first catch each other’s eyes and one offers the other a stick of Extra Gum. As the ad continues, the relationship of the two characters has its ups and downs. However, there is always one constant – Extra Gum.

Whether it’s the love story or the catchy Haley Reinhart cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the video has captivated the minds of its audiences. In two minutes of video, an emotion can be conveyed that will resonate with audiences, potentially creating  a very positive brand association for Extra.

The ad comes at a time when viral videos are what create an engaging, lasting memory with a brand’s audience. Audiences have taken social media by storm, sharing the ad on their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. Twitter users took to the social media platform to express the emotions watching the video evoked in them. Many also noted that they were initially exposed to the ad through it playing before the YouTube video they were attempting to watch. These various channels are key for reaching the maximum possible audience.

For more on The Story of Sarah and Juan check out the Marketing Magazine article here: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1368588/love-hate-it-extra-gums-the-story-sarah-juan-definitely-having-moment

Amazon Launches “Handmade At Amazon”

amazonetsy

With handmade items trending in today’s society, it seems like everyone has had their fair share of DIY disasters. Sites like Pinterest have a variety of jewelry, style and decorating ideas that can be hard to resist, but when projects turn out looking nothing like the original, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros. For the past 10 years, Etsy has been the go-to site for these unique items, where creatives can open their own shop to take orders and sell products. Last week, online shopping mogul Amazon launched a new element to their online platform, Handmade At Amazon, which is in direct competition with Etsy.

In a recent SF Gate article, the challenges that will face Etsy because of Handmade At Amazon are contemplated.

Handmade At Amazon currently consists of 80,000 products from 5,000 artisans. In order to sell on the site, artisans, which are determined by having 20 or fewer people working for the shop, have to fill out a questionnaire and be approved by Amazon. Etsy currently has 22 million active users and 1.5 million active sellers and allows for specific products to be made with the help of approved manufacturers.

Amazon also announced that users who have Amazon Prime can utilize the free shipping on the site’s new element as well. This gives Amazon an edge over Etsy. When an Etsy shop owner sells one of their products, they either need to then charge their customer for shipping or pay for it out of their own pocket.

Though Amazon does not allow for outsourced manufacturing for Handmade At Amazon products, Etsy feels that this allows for their marketplace to grow. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says that they only allow these manufacturers to be those who align with their values. The site has grown so much, that in order for more growth at Etsy to happen, these outside sources may be necessary to continue at their current rapid rate of growth.

So how can Etsy hold its own against an e-commerce giant? If Etsy sticks to their values and continues to sell unique, well-made products, the company can keep their customer’s allegiance. Individuals who shop on the site value the customer service experience and relationship between buyers and sellers.

Competition is always a great way to see how a company can do under pressure. Since its launch 10 years ago, Etsy has been the leader when it comes to purchasing and selling handmade goods online. It will be interesting to see how and if they change their marketing tactics or business strategy to compete with Handmade At Amazon.

For more on Etsy or Handmade At Amazon, visit their sites, or read this article from SF Gate here: http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Amazon-challenges-Etsy-with-Amazon-Handmade-6557787.php

PR – Not Just For the Workweek

blog networking infographic 100215

It’s so easy to become completely consumed in the exciting and fast-paced world of public relations. However, after an eventful week, it’s finally Friday! Utilize these next two days to refresh and regroup from the everyday hustle and bustle by taking some time to get involved in PR activities outside of the office.

While you may be tempted to leave work at the office, incorporating PR inspired activities during your personal time will help you remember why you first decided to break into the industry. Whether you are a working professional or even a student, there are plenty of ways to become more involved in the PR community this weekend.

Here are three suggestions from PR Daily to get involved in PR activities this weekend:

1. Join a PR-Industry Organization

Being a PR professional is exciting because there are so many organizations you can join to help you relate with your peers.

A few favorites are the Public Relations Society of America, PR Council and Publicity Club of New England (locally the Publicity Club of Chicago).

Being part of these organizations—and working alongside those who run them—give PR pros opportunities to meet many local communications pros along the way. You can also learn new tips and tricks, which you can then share with colleagues.

2. Focus on Trade Shows

Spring and fall are typically the biggest trade-show seasons for PR executives.

In the trade show off-season, research events that would be useful from a knowledge-share perspective that your client isn’t attending. This will give you the opportunity to attend workshops and network without client demands.

3. Attend Networking Events

Major cities like Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco often host mixers and socials that bring together PR pros with common interest, such as technology or consumer products. These types of events are great for recruitment and new business prospecting.

Client responsibilities are the number one priority, but by making time for industry activities, you create opportunities to bring even more creative ideas to your client campaigns. Even for students, there is the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has chapters at campus’ across the country.

Hopefully these idea have inspired you to try something new you can start next week fresh, rested and ready to take on new challenges!

Read PR Daily’s full article here: http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/19460.aspx

Public Relations Tips From The Pope, @Pontifex

Pope Francis

If you’ve turned on a television or gone online in the past week, you know that Pope Francis is in the United States. As this is his first trip to the U.S., the media and country alike are overjoyed to host the Pope during his visit. Since arriving, Pope Francis has met with President Obama, spoken before Congress and will meet with the United Nations today.

Through his philanthropy, inter-faith outreach and even social media, the “People’s Pope” has already made a huge impact on the world. His connection with the people has only been strengthened by this trip.

With over 23 million Twitter followers, he is currently the most retweeted leader in the world. Known to be straightforward with the general public on Twitter, Pope Francis has helped shape a humble, more accessible and service-oriented image for the Catholic Church. His ability to connect and understand creates a mixture of leadership, engagement and strategy, all important factors for engaging with an audience.

Here are three ways to improve your communication tactics based on Pope Francis’s social strategy via Crenshaw Communications:

  • Show, Don’t Just Tell. Our political and business leaders have mastered the art of speaking a lot while saying very little. They avoid tough questions by “bridging” to robotic message points and are quick to offer a hollow apology when things go bad. But behavior speaks louder than even the most polished tweet or speech. Much of Francis’ reputation is built on true stories about his experience in South America or his small but symbolic rejection of traditional papal luxuries.
  • Speak Plainly. When Francis does speak or write, he uses plain language. To sound the alarm about environmental peril, the Vatican’s statement was larded with bureaucratic terms. But @pontifex’s tweet was more direct. Plain speaking is powerful.

PR Twitter

  • Be Inclusive. Public Relations professionals see clients that fall into the trap of addressing only their own customers, employees and even competitors. Similarly, previous pontiffs have been preaching to the choir – literally – in reaching out to devout Catholics. This Pope includes non-Catholics and lapsed churchgoers in his communications.

Whether your beliefs align with his or not, there are many communication tips to be learned from Pope Francis. He is changing the way world leaders communicate with their audience – the world.

For more information take a look at Crenshaw Communications’ full article here: http://crenshawcomm.com/3-simple-pr-lessons-from-pope-francis/

 

Contemplating Content Marketing

Content Marketing

In order to ensure content and messages are reaching the right audiences, one crucial element comes into play – content marketing. This is the concept of directing a message to attract a specific, strategic audience.

We live in a world a where the Internet and social media sites are continuously growing. However, this also means that the volume of information online is expansive. For businesses, making sure their content does not get lost in the noise is crucial.

For content marketing to be successful, each message must contain contextual, connected and interactive points that resonate with the audience. These three elements tie the audience and the content together, bonding the trust between a brand and its consumer.

PR Daily explains the importance for PR professionals to utilize content marketing for their clients. Here are our top three tips to staying ahead of the game:

  1. Become the Media

The digital age allows for a brand to be represented across numerous platforms at the same time. By being the direct source of a headline, the brand’s voice can be heard exactly as they desire and there’s no need to have their pitch picked up by a journalist.

  1. Growth of Social Media

The creation of unique, original content is no longer restricted to written content. With the ever-growing popularity of picture and video sharing, social media platforms have become a crucial tool in communicating information. Have a picture or video that will captivate the attention of your audience? Post it to social media and all of your brand’s Facebook fans, Twitter followers and Instagram savvy users will be more likely to see the content you want them to.

  1. Adapt to Conquer

Since the beginning of time, the human species has been rapidly adapting and evolving to our planet. The same goes for our technology and how we get information. If we want to continue to grow, we need to adapt and develop content that fits with the technology available to us.

Adapting to the ever-changing media standards will make for more strategic and beneficial content marketing. For more tips, check out this article on PR Daily: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/19350.aspx

Twitter Chat: A Different Avenue to Engage Your Audience

Twitter Chat

Twitter is famous – or infamous—for only allowing its users 140 characters to relay their message. So, why is it that this social media outlet is generally considered the best platform to capture brands’ audiences? The answer lies in Twitter chats, a discussion about an arranged topic. The short messages make it easy for participants to stay involved and interested. The chats create a comfortable atmosphere to connect with a brand, event or product. It can also build advocacy, loyalty and community with participants. Once a topic is chosen that will appeal to followers and future followers, what’s next? Twitter chats can work, but it takes a lot of effort beforehand.

Here are our favorite tips from PR Daily on how to host a successful Twitter chat:

  1. Invite Influential Users

If this is your first time throwing a digital party, it’s best to engage a few well-known tweeters who are experts on your topic. Find and invite some users with big followings who will bring their audience along to your chat and add a respected voice to your topic. Imagine the amount of knowledge available during an effective chat with a number of tweeters who can access real-time, expert advice with the click of a few keys.

  1. Hashtag it

So you have your topic and your special guests.  Now you need a hashtag so your audience can follow along and respond. The hashtag is important so your audience can find the conversation and use it to chime in when they have something of value to add. We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s quite a bit of activity on Twitter; let’s call it noise. Using a consistent and easy hashtag mean people will notice there’s an organized discussion happening that’s also easy to track.

  1. Go With the Flow, But Have a Plan

Twitter chats are fun, but ensure that you:

  • Promote it.
  • Keep the conversation going
  • Give guests equal time.
  • Don’t ignore your followers
  • Document it

To check out the rest of PR Daily’s tips visit: http://prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/19311.aspx.

PR Tips Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Netflix

Netflix

Netflix, an online video streaming service, is one of the largest and most successful corporations of its kind. It allows customers to stream or rent television shows and movies, and provides recommendations based on what each subscriber has previously watched. Netflix has become a very popular site, and is now a regular part of many people’s daily routine. Along with all of their success, Netflix has also gone through some of their own crises. Public relations professionals and business owners can learn from some of the difficulties that Netflix has had, and use that information to help make the best responses for their own companies.

Here are our three favorite PR tips from the Huffington Post that entrepreneurs can learn from Netflix:

  1. Always Be Transparent With The Public

When Netflix split their service into two different sites, streaming and renting, consumers who enjoyed both of the Netflix services were upset by the change. The second site, Qwikster, caused Netflix to lose the trust and business of the public, so Quickster was eventually shut down. Companies can learn from this Netflix experience that it is always better to gauge potential consumer responses to a change before making it.

  1. If You Want to Stay Relevant, Change With the Times

A big part of public relations is staying relevant in your current market. Netflix had to make changes when physical DVD rental became a thing of the past. The company saw the opportunity to add the streaming service and now it is the main aspect of the Netflix brand. Yet another way that Netflix has changed with the times is when they began creating original content. Their series Orange is the New Black, Peaky Blinders and House of Cards have grown into some of today’s biggest shows in entertainment.

  1. Damage Control Will Always Be Important

Keeping current customers happy with your product or service is important for every company. Netflix came under fire when they raised their monthly prices. The stocks plummeted and the public started firing back against the company, making damage control essential. Netflix focused on current customers in order to maintain their business and continue making money. In the end, smoothing the tension with current costumers lead to overall success.

Learning by example and taking a moment to find the important PR lessons from any situation can help companies and entrepreneurs succeed in today’s market.

To learn more visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-lorenzen/pr-tips-entrepreneurs-can_b_7840628.html.

Taking Control of Your Personal Brand

personal-branding
Building a personal brand, or the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers, has become an important tool in becoming more successful in the age of technology. Due to the quick spread of social media, online profiles have become some of the most effective resources to enhance your career and personal brand, as well as build boundaries between your professional and private life.

Here are our four favorite tips from Forbes on how to control your personal brand on social media in an authentic way:

  1. Embrace your story: Get used to sharing how you landed your dream job, the mistakes you made or where you went to college with others because it will ultimately help you make relationships and market yourself to influencers. Make sure you’re the primary force in telling your story to the rest of the world.
  2. Reach out: Some people go too far in trying to keep their privacy and reputation from being damaged on social media by shrinking their digital presence. When doing this, a digital search of their name means nothing. Be your own advocate and don’t be afraid to market yourself based on who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
  3. Make an impression: Your picture and profile content heavily influence a first impression. Make your profile true to you but remember to always stay professional. Sharing and publishing ideas that can help other people get a better understanding of who you are and what you’re passionate about can also help make lasting impressions on future employers or clients.
  4. Know your limits: When it comes to building a personal brand, the challenge is to portray yourself in the best light as well as being authentic to who you are. Know when posting pictures from last night is a good or bad decision. Understand the boundaries of your personal and professional life by thinking “would I want to explain this to my boss?” before you post it. Everything on social media can be seen by employers so if you are questioning whether or not you should post the picture – don’t do it!

Snapchat: Sharing Stories Between Strangers Around the World

SnapchatStories_Skift

Snapchat, an app that hosts 10 second long user pictures/videos and aggregates content into live stories with a 24-hour shelf life, has grown into a mobile-first visual-based company with 100 million daily active users, 65% of them uploading at least one snap a day.

Over the past few months, Snapchat has increased its viewer base by targeting users based on their location. Users get a look into other people’s daily lives ─ music festivals, sporting events and reactions to breaking news. Snapchat recently made it easier to view content when they launched a Tap to View feature where users only tap their screens to view snaps rather than holding down their screen to view.

As a way to diversify content and broaden their reach, Snapchat launched City Life in April 2015 as a feature that collects moments from various cities. In the span of 24-hours, moments are picked and strung together to show what everyday life is like in that city. Users that select their photos or videos to be included in their city’s story become part of geo-tagged content that Snapchat’s team chooses to display.

The City Life feature can inspire people to consider those cities as future travel destinations by promoting the city and various attractions in the area. To date, Snapchat has featured users’ snaps from over fifty cities in thirty countries including Brazil, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.

Snapchat’s travel features help the world see how users’ are communicating and living their lives. The 10 second moments connect users by allowing them to look into other’s lives and share in their unique experiences, if only briefly. As an outlet for displaying global experiences, Snapchat can be a tool for travel brands to effectively convey travelers to visit their cities, musical festivals and restaurants by wanting to share in locals’ experiences. Using Snapchat’s excessive outreach, users can easily connect to others and see how people like them around the world are living.