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Snapchat and Instagram Continue with the “Story” War

Social media sites are in a constant battle for users by creating new features and nothing is different when it comes to Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat is known for its 10 second pictures or videos that users are able to send to other app users or post on their “My Story.” My Story is a temporary photo/video album that is available for only 24 hours after posting an image that your list of friends can see. Instagram, on the other hand, is a more permanent photo sharing social media site. Users can post photos or videos that go onto their followers’ news feeds as well as their personal Instagram page, which is like a digital photo album.

Throughout the past few months Instagram and Snapchat have been in a battle over the “story” feature. Snapchat has had their “My Story” feature since fall of 2013, but Instagram announced its new “Instagram Story” addition in an update in early August 2016. This sparked controversy and competition between the two social media apps.

snapchat

According to an article by The Verge, Snapchat has now copied a feature of “Instagram Story;” the ability to rewind a story. Users of Snapchat will no longer need to exit the story and scroll to their friend’s name to re-watch a story they may have skimmed over.

Instagram allows the viewers of the Instagram Stories to tap on the left side of the screen in order to rewind and replay the story. Snapchat has now adopted this feature and allows its users who update the app to do the same thing.

Along with the ability to go back to the previous snap in a story, Snapchat included a few other new features to its latest update. The Snapchat filters that users know and love are now available on the rear camera, which Snapchat calls “world lenses.” Another feature in the update is the ability to send a snap of a friend’s story to another friend on the app.

With all of the newly updated snapchat features, it leaves us wondering what Instagram will retaliate with next.

To read more visit: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/8/13565030/snapchat-stories-rewind

 

Google Tops List of Best Companies to Work For

GooglePR

Google continues to dominate the list of Best 100 Companies to Work For as it was again ranked number one on the 2016 list put out by Fortune. Since being founded in 1998, Google has made the list for ten consecutive years, seven of which they have ranked in the top spot.

According to Tech Times, “Fortune identifies and ranks the companies on the list through a partnership with the Great Places to Work Institute, which conducts the most extensive survey among employees in the United States.” The survey is sent to a random sampling of employees from each company and asks a variety of questions ranging from management and job satisfaction to benefits and internal communication.

Google’s staggering numbers are impressive year after year and have proved to be hard to beat. Sparking the imagination of talented and highly compensated workers and adding an endless number of employee perks to an already astonishing array of freebies is exactly what puts Google at the top of the list each year. Some of the perks offered to employees include enhanced health care coverage, three organic meals a day with unlimited coffee and tea, free personal fitness classes, college tuition reimbursement up to $12,000, unlimited paid sick days as well as close to 30 paid off days for vacation and holidays.

With perks like this it’s no wonder Google employees praise the company. According to an employee survey 97% say there is a great working atmosphere, 95% say management is honest and ethical in business practices and 98% say they take pride in working for the company.

Google assures that each employee feels valued and enjoys coming into work every day which is a key factor in keeping a smooth running business that is loved by both the workers and the public. Word of perks and treatment of employees at Google is widely known by the public and is a main reason why so many people idolize the company. The way a business treats their employees directly influences how the public perceives them and Google is acing the test with their stellar work atmosphere and employee perks. Companies looking to increase brand awareness and generate a loyal customer following should take note, Google is doing everything right and is one of the top players in the game!

For more info check out Tech Times full article here: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/138568/20160304/google-alphabet-tops-fortunes-list-of-100-best-companies-to-work-for-in-the-us.htm

Chipotle Wins Back Customers with Safety Regulations and Free Burritos

ChipotlePR

Chipotle Mexican Grill has proven to be one of the hottest fast food chains in the country thanks to their fresh ingredients and reasonable prices. However, the popular food chain has had a rough time this past year, and is officially on the road to winning back customers nationwide. After several reported outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus at locations across the country, the negative press started scaring customers away and the company experienced a drop in sales and stocks.

Instead of attempting to cover up the mistakes made, Chipotle publicized the issues and informed the public on how they are going about fixing them. Chipotle temporarily closed over 2,000 locations for a day while they dedicated time to informing employees on the new food safety regulations put in place to ensure no future outbreaks occur.

According to Fortune, by closing its locations in the name of food safety, Chipotle is proving to the public exactly how seriously it is taking the recent outbreaks. Suddenly the buzz around Chipotle shifted from E. coli and salmonella to food safety and ethically grown food, not a coincidence, but a well thought out PR plan. The company even live tweeted its meeting to keep the public updated on all the issues being discussed.

New regulations include a $10 million program that will help local food suppliers adhere to its new safety guidelines as well as DNA testing before ingredients are shipped to restaurants. The company is even offering fully paid sick days to employees in order to ensure further contamination doesn’t occur.

If that’s not enough to win back customers, during its temporary closure, Chipotle offered a free burrito to any patron who texted “rain check,” to Chipotle.

According to Public Relations Specialist, Tyler Barnett, “by combining damage control tactics, positive press, and driving traffic to its locations, Chipotle is well on its way to resurrecting the customer loyalty and trust that was lost, while also attracting some new business in the process.”

To learn more read the full Fortune article here:http://fortune.com/2016/02/10/chipotle-temporarily-closing-pr/

Zuckerburg to Donate 99% of Facebook Stock

Zuckerburg Blog

For Silicon Valley’s newest generation of billionaires, the biggest trend in innovation is actually something old – giving back. As someone who is no stranger to innovation, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg is at the forefront of the movement. The 31 year old with a net worth of $37.5 billion announced on Tuesday that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, will donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock shares throughout the course of their lives. The stocks are currently worth more than $45 billion and will be donated to charitable causes still to be announced, or even still to be created.

According to a recent New York Times article, Zuckerberg’s charitable plans are the latest indication of a growing interest in philanthropy among Silicon Valley’s young billionaires, who unlike previous generations of business tycoons, appear eager to spread their wealth while they are still young.

Zuckerburg and Chan have a new baby girl, Max, who was born just last week. The couple says the pledge to donate the stocks is all about making the world a better place for her generation and those to follow. Publishing an open letter to her, they explain the better life they wish for her to have. The letter explains that they are making the donation because they wish to help advance human potential, promote equality and help create technology to foster change for the future.

“Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges,” writes Zuckerburg. “I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”

Many industry leaders are showing support for the donation and aim for change including one of Zuckerburg’s childhood heroes and the wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates. Mr. Gates and his wife congratulated his efforts releasing a statement.

“The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world,” they said. “We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, ‘Seeds planted now will grow.’ Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.”

Zuckerburg believes that by creating and building new, innovative technology will help drive changes to improve education worldwide. The improved technology would then increase literacy rates and decrease poverty levels in these areas.

To learn more read the full New York Times story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/technology/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-charity.html?_r=0

REI Would Rather #OptOutside On Black Friday

REI Blog Picture

The national outdoor and sporting goods retailer REI has decided to close all 143 stores on Black Friday this year in a push to encourage customers to #OptOutside and enjoy the outdoors. In recent years the trend has been for stores to open earlier and earlier on Black Friday leading some stores like RadioShack to open as early as 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This year, REI is taking a stand against the craziness that ensues when customers flock into stores for some of the lowest prices of the year.

An article by USA Today describes how REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke came to the decision to take a step back from Black Friday:

“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea,” says REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke, who admits he was apprehensive about closing at first. “As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”

Other stores like Costco and Nordstrom have taken a stand against opening early on Thanksgiving Day, but no other store has sat on the sideline during Black Friday until now. This is a momentous decision by Stritzke because Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and, as USA Today points out, Black Friday has consistently been a top 10 sales day for REI.

With its #OptOutside campaign, REI hopes to completely turn the tide of the Black Friday shopping tradition and give its employees two paid days off to enjoy the outdoors.

The Bloomington, MN REI store manager Brian Harrower has already planned an ice hockey tournament for his first Black Friday off in 25 years, USA Today reported.

“Somebody has to be the one to kind of put their flag in the sand and say enough is enough,” he says. “That’s what #OptOutside is for us, is saying we’re going to be the first, we think this doesn’t make sense anymore, it’s not healthy. And an outdoor life is a healthy life.”

Well put, Brian!

In fact, shouldn’t REI fanatics be thanking Stritzke? Because after all, by forgoing shopping altogether, shoppers will score the best savings of the year.

Coca-Cola Creates Magic and Smiles Once More

 

Coke Blog

Coca-Cola is at it again. The company that continuously puts forth feel-good videos just released a new campaign titled “Wish in a Bottle.” This time around the video features teenagers at a summer festival event in Israel unleashing the magic of Coca-Cola, literally. With every twist of a cap, each specially designed Coke bottle triggered a shooting star up in the sky. With a little help from transmitters, drones, Wi-Fi and fireworks, Coca-Cola was able to give the party-goers an experience they will most likely never forget.

Creativity Online highlights how Coca-Cola sustains its company’s emphasis on innovation and happiness in its videos, and included a quote from Coca-Cola Israel’s Vice President of Marketing.

“As always, in every event we hold, the emphasis was all about innovation,” said Coca-Cola Israel VP-Marketing Alon Zamir in a statement. “The bottles series was created under the notion of ‘Internet of Things’ and by making a star fall using a Coca-Cola bottle, we could intensify the teenagers’ experience when interacting with the Coca-Cola brand.”

This is not the first time that Coca-Cola has released a video that makes viewers feel fuzzy inside. Coke has a knack for producing videos that create one of a kind interactions between viewers and the brand, making its campaigns hard to forget.

There are a number of things that likely come to mind when thinking of the company’s well known advertisements, and odds are it’s because it restored faith in humanity. Take the “#WishUponACoke” campaign for example, where Coke granted wishes to a handful of workers. It’s difficult to watch this advertisement and not be impressed.

Creativity and heartwarming deeds aside, Coca-Cola does not disappoint when combining music and camera angles to tell a story that generates smiles and goosebumps. That is magical in itself.

Barbie Embraces #GirlPower in New Campaign Video

Barbie Blog

Mattel’s Barbie has always aimed to help young girls use their imagination, empowering them to become whatever they want to be. Though the brand’s image has had its ups and downs in the public’s eye, it has never stopped inspiring young minds to achieve their dreams. The brand’s new ad campaign aims to strengthen these messages with the video, “Imagine the Possibilities.”

Forbes took a look at the positive ways the new campaign could influence consumers’ opinions in the article, “Mattel Reframes the Barbie Brand in New Campaign Targeting Adults.” Barbie’s new campaign was strategically designed to cast the Barbie Brand in a new, positive light. Intended to demonstrate that Barbie inspires children to become whatever they can imagine, the campaign reconnects the original vision for the toy with today’s public.

“Barbie was originally created to show girls they have choices, a fact that most people have forgotten,” said Matt Miller, executive creative director, BBDO San Francisco. “So we set out to show everyone how girls really play and demonstrate that, when girls play with Barbie, they actually play out the possibilities their futures hold.”

The article expands on three key elements in the video that will change the public’s image of Barbie:

  • From Body Image to Self-Image: In the video, the girls have chosen careers for their dolls such as a professor, a veterinarian and a business woman – likely fitting representations of what the girls aspire to become. To the children that play with them, the dolls can be whatever they dream. Many are eager to criticize the exterior image of a Barbie doll, but in this new campaign video that previous idea is eliminated. Demonstrating that the dolls are not about what they look like, but what they are like
  • The Problems Surrounding Barbie Were Adult Problems: Many of the problems society had with the Barbie brand were problems initially facilitated by adults. That’s why the way the video unfolds is crucial to the campaign. It is designed to make adults experience a moment where they think, “Oh that’s how my child plays with the doll.”
  • Real Reactions From Adults Cemented the Message: The adults seen in the video reacting to the girls acting like working professionals weren’t actors, but real adults having real reactions to what the girls were doing and saying. These reactions are organic and demonstrate how seeing the children act like this makes understanding the child’s image of themselves and the dolls simpler.

In a society where allowing children to believe any dream is achievable, Barbie is taking a step in the right direction to empowering future generations of young girls.

For more on the new Barbie campaign read the full Forbes article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/willburns/2015/10/29/mattel-reframes-the-barbie-brand-in-new-campaign-targeting-adults/

 

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