LSB Marketing Toddcast: Ideas on Technology and Marketing

Episode 4 of the LSB Marketing Toddcast takes a slightly different direction than the previous episodes. Instead of our usual “how-to” discussion, Todd LaBeau sits down with Boone Sesvold, head of LSB’s technology interactive division, and does what they do best—create cool ideas for using technology and marketing to help brands engage with their customers.

The axis of offline and online user engagement is undeniably the sweet-spot for all marketers. This unfiltered discussion is how LSB approaches these marketing challenges to provide user value through technology.

What you’ll find in the episode…

Join the discussion. How do they get those ideas?

Todd had the recorder running long before Boone was told they were live. Eavesdrop on them as they forecast trends and think about brand innovation. It’s a rapid-fire chat in which both riff off of each other and take ideas to unexpected places.

In the first eight minutes alone, they cover ideas including:

  • The latest on RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)
  • Inventory tracking leading to a payment app
  • Playing basketball like you’re Michael Jordan
  • Watching a classic game like you’re in the front row
  • Racing the pros
  • Brand integration with Fitbit or Apple Health
  • Instant coupons outside your competitor’s door

Banners, websites and online radio are now the norm

It’s no longer a question of whether or not your brand gives banners a try or develops a solid website with a good user experience. Today, these are the “table stakes” for doing business.

Now, the question is how do you take the latest technological advances and use them in a way that provides value and makes your brand matter to consumers?

Should you jump on the latest technology and marketing bandwagon?

Not every new technology is appropriate for your brand. Marketers should first ask if their target consumer is already in the space or soon to adopt. Then it’s a matter of whether or not the experience will actually benefit them. Will it be fun or informative? Will it make life easier? Will it make the brand matter?

No matter your business challenge, the key is to meet the consumer in both their head-space and their physical location. Let connected devices, big data and existing brand affinity work to your advantage.

Remember, RFID/NFC, beacons, and lasers are not just for Daft Punk concerts.

LSB Marketing Toddcast: VR for Marketing Nerds

On this episode we’re exploring virtual reality, also known as VR, with our agency marketing manager, Sherry Shaffer.

Sherry works with a startup VR content company in her spare time. Today, she  chats with Todd LaBeau about VR and VR for marketing, what it’s about and how brands can meaningfully integrate the technology into their campaigns.

What you’ll find in the episode…

What is VR?

As opposed to augmented reality—think Pokémon Go—where you can see and hear your surroundings, VR is a deprivation and replacement of senses.

VR tricks your brain into believing that you’re in the midst of whatever the creators constructed for you, whether that be under the sea or up in space.

So is this the thing with the goggles?

Yes. To experience VR, users wear a headset and headphones to eliminate peripheral vision and outside sound. The headset and headphones replace the removed senses with a virtual experience.

Who is VR meant for?

VR is for everyone, even those of us who aren’t gamers. VR controls are simple and there’s no need for fine motor skills or serious hand eye coordination.

Entertainment, Exploration, Education

VR promotes entertainment, exploration and education by allowing users to embody what they could not otherwise. Whether it be dancing at a concert or observing the surface of Mars, VR creates opportunities for users to relax, increase global awareness and learn.

How does VR matter for a brand?

It’s difficult to prove the value of VR for marketing without demonstration, but luckily rapid innovation allows VR to be more accessible than ever before.

VR enables users to participate and create instant emotional connections, which are powerful persuasive tools.

3 things to know about VR

  1. Get ready. You’re going to want more and it’s an expense that you hope pays off – it does.
  2. Upgrade. There are always better systems out there so you will want to upgrade.
  3. It’s personal. Not every experience is going to be for you. Understand and know what you can handle so you don’t push yourself too far (i.e. If you’re prone to motion sickness, you may not enjoy the giant rollercoaster).

What’s next?

It’s difficult to predict exactly where VR and VR for marketing is headed because the technology is evolving so quickly. The challenge for brands will be deciding how they will use this dynamic tool to create memorable content in the marketplace.

 

LSB Marketing Toddcast: Influencer Marketing

Buckle up and get ready for the latest episode of the LSB Marketing Toddcast hosted by Todd LaBeau!

Our guest this time is Amy Rohn, SVP and Director of Public Relations here at LSB. She and Todd will dig into the best—and worst—of influencer marketing.

What you’ll find in the episode

Influencer Marketing—The Basics

The first thing we should debunk is this notion that influencer marketing is new. People who work in PR have been borrowing equity from influencers and celebrities since the dawn of PR. Editors, celebrities, reporters, bloggers, YouTubers … it’s the same thing. All you’re doing is borrowing the equity, popularity and influence of someone to get your message out.

They key is finding people who have influence over an audience that fits the target audience your brand is trying to reach.

Why Does Influencer Marketing Matter?

When you’re trying to influence a certain target audience, it’s not always best for that message to come from a marketer. Maybe your audience is cynical and doesn’t believe messaging from marketers, but they will consider a product endorsed by their favorite athlete.

They key is to remember that influencer marketing is part of a modern campaign, but it doesn’t stand alone.

The Range of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can run the gamut from huge, expensive campaigns, to smaller, more affordable activities. At the top are celebrity influencer campaigns. These are big names—the type of people who will send out a tweet for $40,000 endorsing your product. Not everyone has the need or budget for that.

On a smaller scale, an influencer campaign could be a collaboration with a blogger who has the right audience for your brand. The audience might be small, but perfectly targeted. The fact is, the topic and audience matters a great deal. If you’re talking about healthcare, it’s very different than if you’re a shoe marketer trying to reach kids in a skate park.

The question that should remain at the center of your plans is this: Are you reaching the right people?

Paid Influencers vs. Non-Paid Influencers

While paid is increasingly the name of the game, even for bloggers, not every single influencer expects a check in order to work with your brand.

Some work in exchange for product or promotion from your brand—they may simply want to be associated with your brand. Sometimes, influencers just want to host a giveaway for their readers, to provide that value directly to their audience.

Amplification is Key

The amplification component of a campaign is critical to success, and that’s why marketers must include amplification into budgets.

What does that amplification look like?

The influencer will first create the content that advocates for the product, then they should amplify that content on their own social channels. But there’s also a critical next step that marketers sometimes miss: The brand (or the agency, on behalf of the brand) must also support that content through their own social and paid channels. And when they take control of that amplification, they can assure the message gets to exactly the right audience.

Beyond that, the brand can then use the content itself in different formats to gain further traction. For instance, a food-based influencer program might generate photography and recipes that can now be used in earned and paid campaigns as well as future earned outreach to editorial media.

What are the Ways to do Influencer Campaigns Wrong?

The number one way to do influencer campaigns wrong is gratuitous use of celebrities. If they don’t fit your brand, it’s clear, and they won’t care.

Just think about what happened with Scott Disick of Kardashian fame. That’s someone you maybe don’t want working for your brand.

So, what about measurement?

Like any marketing initiative, you have to start with setting strong objectives and goals, and understanding where the influencer campaign fits in with your big picture marketing plan.

But because influencer marketing is digital, there’s opportunity for real-time correction. Constant measurement means you can push the pedal a little more or course correct and go a different direction. Sophisticated influencers will share even the less visible metrics and then you can be sure to maximize the campaign as you go forward.

On Not Controlling the Message

Traditionally, marketers want to control the whole message. That doesn’t work with influencer marketing.

You want an influencer who will work with you and understand your goals, but put their own spin on the content. If they just parrot what you say, their following may not be as authentically engaged.

Think of it as content generation from an outside voice. You can’t dictate everything, but that’s exactly why it works.

When you’re doing outreach, one of the things you look at is historical information from the influencer. If this is a blogger, they should have a media kit, and they’ll likely be able to tell you the type of content they produce, what kind engagement metrics they get, how they amplify on social.

Be Prepared for Anything

It’s also a good idea to prepare for a variety of outcomes. Think through what could happen, and be sure you’re ready for the most likely—or even less likely—ways your campaign could pan out.

What if it goes big like the ice bucket challenge? Are we prepared to parlay big success into even more?

At LSB, we did a beautiful video about a young man in Alabama who runs a nonprofit mowing the lawns of single mothers, disabled people and elderly folks. He had his own social presence, he started promoting the video, then earned media picked it up, free media picked it up … and 83 million impressions later, it was more than clear we had a hit on our hands.

It was phenomenal, and fortunately we were prepared to push it even more once we saw how much traction it was getting. We were able to identify those opportunities very quickly and put paid support against the earned media coverage.

We were ready to capitalize, but that’s not always the case. Many companies don’t plan well, then a campaign catches them flat-footed, with everything from a lack of resources to support a campaign’s success to supply issues.

 

Introducing the LSB Marketing Toddcast

Grab your headphones—and maybe a beer. Prefer wine? We can do that, too.

We’re happy to introduce the first episode of a new podcast, which we’re calling the LSB Marketing Toddcast, hosted by our very own Todd LaBeau.

For the first Toddcast, The Anatomy of a Modern Campaign, Todd’s guest is Lindsay Ferris, SVP and Chief Marketing Strategist here at LSB.

What you’ll find in the episode

The notion of ad formats is dying.

Sure, you may see some :30 TV commercials, print ads or banner ads. But they’re not driving what we do anymore. In the past, a client would come to an agency with a specific need: We need a TV spot. It will have a beginning, middle and end and a clear call-to-action.

Now? There’s an explosion of channels. Apps, branded content, social media content… there are so many ways to consume media and content, those old formats are hardly relevant.

What will happen if the advertising industry doesn’t change? Well, just look at the music industry for a tip.

So what are some of the ways things are different?

Co-creation of content

Start by thinking about what American Express did with Seth Meyers. Consider Stephen Colbert’s brand integrations. Because while traditional formats may be disappearing, brands still need to market themselves. But they need to find new ways of doing so.

Paid, earned and owned media

Traditional campaigns relied heavily on paid media—they were often almost 100 percent reliant on paid media. Your classic paid advertising placements.

Modern campaigns, however, use earned and owned media aggressively, as well. What’s earned media? It includes traditional PR, as well as more organic impressions that appear on channels you don’t control, including social media. Owned media are the channels a brand controls—websites, apps or blogs.

The critical mass comes when brands use these three media types symbiotically.

The idea. AKA story-doing, not story-telling.

What really drives a modern campaign is an idea. Not a tagline.

An idea like: What if you could stay the night inside a Van Gogh painting? That’s an idea. It’s not just a story you tell, it’s a story you do.

Modern campaigns essentially should be story-boarded.

  • What’s your social object?
  • What kind of media coverage (earned media) can you garner about said object? Don’t forget trade media.
  • How can you use paid support to drive more traffic to your earned media hits?
  • What’s next—can you leverage your owned channels to support the campaign?

Yes, this can be scary.

There’s freedom in modern campaigns. But freedom can also be terrifying. The important thing to remember is that these ideas don’t need to cost millions of dollars.