But why male models?

Here at TAG, we’ve been inspired by the brilliant marketing campaigns we’ve seen over the past few days. These three stand-out strategies set fire to our creative fuel, so we’re giving them the attention they definitely earned.

A release on the runway

In case you missed it, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took to the Valentino runway during Paris Fashion Week in order to promote the Zoolander sequel. The stunt not only announced the motion picture in style, it also grabbed some major attention. Part of the success of this promotion hinges on the serious attitude surrounding Fashion Week and its designers, critics and brands. The surprise appearance was a comedic twist to Valentino’s catwalk, earning buzz not only for Zoolander 2 but also for the well-respected fashion brand.

 

NotThere Campaign

A campaign so subtle, you can’t ignore it

The #NotThere campaign was launched by No Ceilings for International Women’s Day, bringing attention to the state of gender equality worldwide. Implementing dramatic absences of women from billboards, magazine covers and commercials, this campaign not only drew attention through subtraction, it also achieved high success by supporting its messaging with an excellent landing page, well-organized and visually appealing data and clear calls to action.

 

VinceVaughn iStock

Bad stock photos make for great advertising

To promote their new movie Unfinished Business, actors Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco and others helped create a series of business-related iStock photos by Getty Images. Playing on the campy and cheesy aspect of stock photos, the cast managed to insert themselves into some laughably terrible stock images—that aren’t a far cry from the actual selection available to and oft-used by marketers. The blankness of stock photos is both the appeal and the detraction when crafting campaigns and promotions, making them the perfect stage for Vaughn and company to tout their new movie.

 

We’re excited to take these pieces of marketing inspiration and put our uncommon energy to work creating successful and meaningful campaigns that stick with our clients’ audiences long after they launch. From surprise appearances to disconcerting disappearances, these campaigns have heated up our creative atmosphere. TAG—we’re it so hot right now!

When-Some-Hot-New-Person-Scene

Put the heart back into your content

Putting Heart into Your Content Image

Content marketing budgets are predicted to continue increasing, and social media is becoming inextricably linked to a successful content marketing strategy. However, it isn’t always simple to write content that engages and, more importantly, converts. One of the best ways to get that attention you’re looking for is to write content with heart in it, and these are a few tips to help you create content that hits your audience right in the feels.

Do your research

Stay on top of the industry you’re writing for. Set up Google alerts, follow partners and competitors on social media and subscribe to the feeds that will make you a semi-expert in that field. Relevant content starts with relevant information. Ask yourself: “If I made my living in this industry, what would I care about right now?”

Breathe life into your content by using an original voice

After jumping on the bandwagon topic for the industry (you know, for relevance), be sure you stand out. Take the angle that will resonate most with the brand’s target audience. Instead of another voice in the crowd, be a trusted source of information by carefully tailoring your content.

Pick a topic and stick to it

Especially on social media platforms, each individual post should speak to one specific topic. Keep the message clear by efficiently stating the topic, what piece of it you’re addressing and why it matters. This way, content is distributed in easy-to-manage bits that won’t confuse, bore or annoy your audience.

Put your best foot words forward

You have milliseconds to make a good first impression. Put the brunt of your information right at the front of your content. Use relevant photos and impactful words to get your message across even before your audience fully reads your post.

Make the company’s heart beat

The easiest way to lose an audience is to focus on the subject of the company. Warm up your posts by directing attention toward human aspects of the business. Leave out jargon, tell stories, highlight individual people, have fun and reassure your audience that there are, in fact, humans behind that digital platform.

 

If your content doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark, contact TAG. Our team of experts is ready to help you put the heart back into your content. TAG, we’re it!

Do you remember these five social media phenomena from 2014?

As 2014 comes to a close, we might be surprised to remember everything that’s happened since January, especially when it comes to social media. In a digital space where the #trending board changes every day, it can be hard to recall those especially impactful events that gained momentum through social media platforms. To help jog your memory, here are five phenomena from 2014 that we shouldn’t forget.

#SochiProblems and the 2014 Winter Olympics fiasco

What happens when a city can’t boast great living conditions for its own citizens, let alone build itself up enough to support the Winter Olympics? Worldwide ridicule, disgust and #SochiProblems happen. The 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia, a city that simply wasn’t prepared to handle the burden of hosting, housing and entertaining the hordes of athletes, correspondents and spectators that arrived to watch the games.

Within three days of its launch, the Twitter account @SochiProblems boasted more followers than the official @Sochi2014 account. From technical issues at the opening ceremony to bad bathroom planning, @SochiProblems poked rigorous fun at the humiliating mistakes in Sochi. While most #SochiProblems were due to unfinished construction, there were also issues like lost luggage, dangerous courses and unsanitary food and water. Athletes and journalists alike had a field day with #SochiProblems.

For a hot minute, it seemed that #SochiProblems would shine a light on the civil rights concerns in Sochi and other parts of Russia, but the Internet community was too focused on laughing at toilets to take a closer look at the underlying Russian culture.

The @SochiProblems account has since been modified, but #SochiProblems lingers, reappearing when preparation is horribly lacking and mass chaos ensues. We can only hope that a slew of #RioProblems don’t crop up in 2016!

Ellen’s Oscar selfie that broke Twitter – and the retweet record!

Kim Kardashian set out to “break the internet” in November, but way back in March it was Ellen DeGeneres that managed to shut down Twitter after posting a celebrity-filled selfie on her Twitter account during the Oscars ceremony. In the most retweeted tweet in the history of Twitter, DeGeneres poses with fellow stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt while Bradley Cooper takes the photo.

The crowded frame of actresses and actors gathered around DeGeneres quickly became an iconic and incredible piece of social media history, earning well over three million retweets since it was posted in March. The greatest part of the event was the world’s ability to watch the phenomenon happen in real time on the television and immediately experience the Twitter platform crash on their devices. All hail the Oscar selfie!

The FIFA World Cup 2014 and global conversation

In June and July, the 2014 FIFA World Cup overtook the globe in a dazzling display of digital marketing power. Through social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the tournament reached an incredible number of people, with billions of posts and millions of interactions, passing up the 2014 Super Bowl and Olympic Games on social media venues in the United States. Partly due to digital marketing tactics and features like Twitter’s “hash flags,” the World Cup exploded through viewer participation as they “joined in” the conversation, just as FIFA asked them to do. The social media sphere made the world a little smaller, connecting nations and fans through hashtags, pages and memes (like those about Luis Suarez’s biting problem or Tim Howard’s goalkeeping prowess).

TAG reinforced its social media strategies with some of the things learned from the engagement during the World Cup. Check out the investigation in a  previous blog!

#ALSIceBucketChallenge and viral charity

In a frenzied storm of charity, the ALS Ice bucket challenge took over social media in the summer of 2014. The “ice bucket challenge” itself was not originally linked with ALS, being a method of fundraising in which a few people were challenged to either pour a bucket of ice water over their head or donate money to a charity of their choice.

However, a non-profit baseball tournament raising money for ALS patient Anthony Senerchia Jr. reaped the benefits when #StrikeOutALS was used in conjunction with the challenge, and the challenge became fatefully linked with the fight against ALS. Through concentric social networks, the challenge reached former professional baseball player Pete Frates—and then it really took off!

Pete Frates

With incredible momentum, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge plastered itself across all social media channels, gaining celebrity and even political attention (before it was pointed out that politicians are forbidden from “endorsing” that kind of campaign), and the ALS Association saw a huge leap in donations. In the first month of the challenge, the ALS Association saw nearly ten times the amount of money donated during the same time frame in 2013!

The campaign might have continued if the weather hadn’t become too cold—or if there was anyone left to nominate!

Robin Williams and depression awareness

On August 11, 2014, actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his home at 63 years of age, and his death was ruled a suicide. The beloved comedian struggled with severe depression, a stigmatized illness that took center stage as the details of Williams’ death were released.

From favorite Robin Williams quotes, to well wishes for Williams’ family, to support for those struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, social media buzzed with the shock of loss. In the midst of the grief, hope shone in the form of depression awareness. Many spoke out against the stigmatization of depression and suicide, calling out media personalities who deemed Williams a coward for his actions, sharing support for people struggling with their own or a loved one’s illness and posting advice for suicide prevention.

 

It can be difficult to predict what the social media community will latch on to next, but one thing is for certain—events and ideas can spread like wildfire through these channels. What trends are you expecting to see on social media in 2015?

Here’s how social media affects the customer service experience

What holiday shopping feels like
What holiday shopping feels like. Via weloveit20.tumblr.com.

As the holidays approach, customers demand more and more of businesses, often becoming aggressive when products and services are not to their liking. If approached correctly, social media can be a blessing when it comes to soothing stressed consumers, providing an outlet for customer frustration as well as offering solutions to problems on both the customer and company end. This is a great chance to shine when it comes to customer service!

There are pros and cons to almost any tool these days, and social media is no different. Companies, businesses and organizations can leverage social media to their advantage when it comes to customer service but only if they are willing to take the risks and approach situations quickly, appropriately and accountably. Keep the season merry and bright with these considerations about social media.

 

It’s fast

The up side: Problems can be addressed more quickly, making customers feel valued and heard.

Organizations can immediately respond to notifications on social media channels, and it is in an organization’s best interest to do so. Especially when customer service phone lines are tied up or when offices are closed, social media is something that more and more customers are turning to in the event of an issue or emergency. Those quick responses garner customer respect and can smooth a few ruffled feathers before the conversation about their problem even begins.

The down side: The problems might not be able to be fixed as quickly as they are addressed.

Even when an organization representative can get back to a customer in record time, the customer’s issue itself may not be so easily resolved. Because their social media message received immediate attention, customers may then expect their problem will be fixed just as quickly, leaving them frustrated if that is not the case.

The take away: Extra lines of communication are always a good thing, enabling better feedback, understanding and a quick method of responding. Authentic replies build better good-will toward the organization which has the potential to offset frustrations that may arise. And, there’s a good chance the organization’s response can clear up the problem without further action, anyway!

 

It’s removed

The up side: It’s easier to be polite and organize your thoughts through text.

Written notes allow both the customer and the organization representative to plan out what they want to say, and frustrated tones are easier to leave out of text than speech. This means that the customer and the organization can have more productive conversations with less defensiveness.

The down side: Anonymity provides protection for bad manners, and some mediums (like Twitter) may be too limiting for thorough explanations.

Often, commenters will hide behind their keyboards as they sling insults and slanders at organizations or its members. There are some people that are more interested in tarnishing a reputation for past hurts than actually seeking a change in their service or product. In those cases, communication through social media offers few solutions beyond giving the customer the most positive impression possible.

Channels like Twitter that limit characters can also lead to misunderstandings as both parties try to appropriately abbreviate what they’re trying to say. It isn’t long before communicating through those social media channels feels more burdensome for both the customer and the organization than other methods of communicating, like a phone call or an email.

The take away: Always, always, always put your best foot forward in social media conversations. Manners, empathy and authenticity should shine through digital interaction—not irritation, condescension and apathy. If the organization reaches out with positivity, the customer will be more likely to respond in kind.

Use social media as a tool for starting a conversation—if the problem is too complex for the medium, offer other methods of communication such as a phone call, email or— depending on the organization—a face-to-face meeting. Organizations should use language that is accurate and precise but not confusing to the customer to ensure that the situation is handled appropriately and to both parties’ satisfaction.

 

It’s a public forum

The up side: Customers have the security of accountability on your part, and well-handled situations make the organization look good.

The promise of publicity helps to keep both customer and company honest in social media interactions, which means the customer may already be more relaxed than if he or she were to approach you over the phone or through contact forms. Organizations can take that natural security and turn it to their advantage by responding professionally, setting a precedent for the general audience about how they handle ALL forms of communication.

The down side: Bad reviews or organization mistakes can be broadcast to a wide audience and gain momentum.

If you build it, they will come. Once it’s clear that social media is an effective way to reach the organization, customers will jump on board, for better or for worse. Especially in the case of actual wrong-doing or fault on the part of a company or company representative, being called out on social media can snowball into a barrage of bad reviews and disparaging comments.

The take away: Organizations should respond publically to any queries on social media but promote a private method of communicating, like messaging, in order to have a more authentic conversation with the customer that is also less harmful to the organization brand. NEVER reveal a customer’s private information on a public medium or act rudely toward the customer. Your audience doesn’t know what may have happened in the past—make a good impression in the present.

 

Customers should not be punished for reaching out to an organization, no matter what attitude that customer adopts. Make social media work for your customer service strategy by responding quickly and politely to questions, issues or complaints, and don’t forget to reward positive feedback with a “like” or a retweet! The audience will be taking note of how the organization reacts to these situations, so always stay professional in public and private interactions!

For more on TAG’s social strategy and best practices, visit our website!

Five ways to [really] be more content in your professional and personal lives

Be realistic about your habits

The first step to successfully balancing your work and home life is to be honest with yourself. Will you really have the energy to get in an after-work workout? Do you really think you can stop yourself from blowing your weekly calorie count on beer at that work function this weekend? Will you actually ignore your email once you settle into the couch to watch Netflix with your family/roommate/significant other?

disapproving Jake Gyll

That’s not to imply you can’t stick to your guns. However, it’s highly likely you won’t. And that’s okay. Just keep that in mind when you’re telling your wife that you totally have the time mow the lawn tomorrow—right between your P90X workout and picking up your daughter from soccer practice. If you can be straight up with her about what you can actually accomplish in one night, she might be straight up with you about how long it will actually take her to get ready for the company holiday party.

Likewise, if that report can’t be on your boss’s desk first thing in the morning, it’s time to own up and say so before he schedules a 7:30 a.m. meeting with the client.

Foist responsibility—have someone else keep you accountable

Our collective lack of self-control is what leads to the second piece of advice—ask for help. Or, when you’re too proud to admit you might be in danger of eating an entire package of Oreos after lunch or binge-watching House of Cards instead of cleaning the bathroom, trick yourself—and others—into keeping you on track with just the power of your voice.

“Does anyone want some Oreos?” or “I think the mold in our shower has a life of its own,” are examples of phrases that will somehow, magically, recruit others to hold you accountable.

time to clean the bathroom

Bringing people on the bandwagon, like convincing a coworker to join you in doing exercises over lunch, is another way to help keep the promises you made to yourself. And it makes you feel less silly for doing squats in the empty conference room.

Whenever possible, kill two birds with one stone

You don’t need to waste another hour of your down time yammering on about your insecurities and criticisms. Tell your coworkers a story about that time your six-year-old walked to the grocery store alone without telling anyone where he went. When your coworkers chime in with their own crazy stories, you can all judge each other together.

bambi telling stories

In their effort to one-up you with awful parenting stories, you’ll not only feel more secure in your parenting tactics, you’ll also have gained valuable advice, entertained your office and successfully mingled your home life with work in one fell swoop. This also works with complaints about in-laws, harping about your boyfriend leaving the toilet seat up and proclaiming your love of food.

Doesn’t it feel good to get that off your chest? Don’t take that kind of thing home with you. Besides, your hands will already be full carrying that pile of work crap you didn’t do at work.

Work hard, play hard

As good as a beer tastes after a long day at work, it will taste even better after a long, hard day at work. A reward always feels better than a consolation prize. Turn your after-work activities into first place ribbons instead of honorable mentions by putting some pride into what you do from 9 to 5.

Work isn’t the only place you can use this strategy. If you know you can’t keep yourself from eating a piece of cake at your best friend’s wedding—and your other friend’s wedding, and your boyfriend’s sister’s wedding—then tack on an extra couple miles of jogging to your summer workouts and forget about that body-con dress from college you thought you might reuse for all these damn weddings.

healthy Mindy Kaling

Accepting that it takes a level of responsibility to enjoy any level of luxury will lead to a happier, healthier balance of your professional and personal lives.  All of the indulgence, none of the guilt.

Remember why you do what you do

Besides absolutely loving what you do every second of the day, as we all do, remember those special moments that make work worthwhile. That time the CEO remembered your name. That time your content went up on a high-traffic billboard. That time the client finally admitted you have better ideas than they do. That time your raise allowed you to escape to the beach with your family for a week.

As well as keeping you from giving up and getting fired, remembering your reasons for working in the first place can restore your zest for what you do. In the same way, remembering why you fell in love with Mr. Never-Does-Dishes in the first place can convince you to get off your email and indulge his Walking Dead obsession for a night.

child and dog are friends

The truth is, both your professional and personal lives should make you feel proud, valued and successful. They both allow you to achieve your goals, and you should respect that. Balance should not be about putting them in their separate corners and building a wall between them—instead, try to tactfully integrate them. Combine them when possible, enjoy them and always give it your best.

The 2014 World Cup: A Social Media Phenomenon

About half the population of the world tuned in to the 2014 World Cup football tournament. An event that big was bound to create a buzz on social media, but the numbers are staggering—record-shattering, in fact.

The #GERvARG final boasts the highest number of tweets per minute ever.

Examining Twitter alone, staggering numbers of tweets were sent from all over the planet. Tweets about the World Cup peaked at 618,725 tweets per minute (during the final match between Germany and Argentina), breaking the tweets per minute (TPM) record. The Brazil versus Germany semi-final broke the record for most-tweeted event ever at 35.6 million tweets, and by the end of the final game the World Cup saw 672 million total tweets.

On Facebook, the final stats boast 350 million users interacting with over three billion posts about the World Cup between June 12 and July 13.

In one of the first astounding social phenomena of the World Cup, over 10 million Facebook fans compiled 20 million interactions during the United States versus Portugal match on June 22, and the game boasted a larger television viewership than the average for the 2013 World Series—by 10 million viewers.

The 2014 World Cup not only outstripped the 2013 World Series on television, it was also bigger on social media venues in the United States than the Super Bowl or even the Olympic Games. These are impressive statistics for a country in which soccer is generally treated like the red-headed stepchild.

Twitter page

Part of this is due to the accessibility of World Cup content on social media. Facebook users could follow the official FIFA World Cup page and follow or join real-time conversation on the Trending World Cup page. Twitter jumped head-long into the World Cup spirit, adding a sidebar with the World Cup schedule and hosting a World Cup page with schedules, scoreboards and trending posts.

Consistent branding also allowed FIFA and social media platforms to aid recognition and interaction with World Cup content. One means of doing this was through creating and collecting identifiable hashtags and handles, from teams and players to individual matches to multilingual incarnations.

Individual matches could be followed in real-time on pages that collected tweets specifically pertaining to that match. Hashflags were born, miniature national flags appearing next to the names of hashtagged countries like #USA (United States), #ESP (Spain) or #MEX (Mexico) and adding a little something extra to World Cup mentions.

FIFA

Finally, users posted about the World Cup because they were asked to. Both Facebook and Twitter prompted users to engage with special entry bars on official pages. Twitter even set up a “World Cup of Tweets” bracket, showing which teams would advance purely based on the number of hashflag mentions each country received. The FIFA website kept a feed of trending teams, players and tweets, inviting visitors to “#joinin the conversation” with a tweet or Facebook post.

Geotag

Whether due to the overall accessibility, recognizability or direct invitation to engage, users have indeed engaged globally in this event. In social media venues, at least, the 2014 World Cup shows a world that is truly #allin.

To harness some of that power and reach when promoting your own social media campaign, keep those three characteristics in mind. Content should be accessible, branded and inviting. These are strengths found in TAG’s successful social media strategies, as well. Learn more about our strategic planning process here.

The TAG team studies events and campaigns like the World Cup to stay on the cutting edge of innovative and successful digital marketing. For creative solutions to your social media needs, TAG… we’re it!