Zach recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at TAG and has been creating inventive designs and eating oatmeal every morning but today, we ask him about his creative process and other thought-provoking questions.
If you had to describe yourself using a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?
I am a knife because of how sharp I am.
What helps you get into that creative space to design?
I am most creative when I am able to really focus on what I’m doing with a clear mind, so I will do things like go on a walk during my lunch break to help me get into that space. I also do a lot of sketching quickly, get a lot of ideas out before taking it to the computer.
You have a time machine. You can go back to any time period to have dinner and conversation with 3 people. Who are they and why?
First, I would pick Walt Disney to hear about the humble beginnings of what has become a massive company.
Second, I would pick one of my ancestors like my great great grandfather because I don’t know really anything about them and it would be interesting to learn more about where I come from.
Third, Steve Jobs, because I could hear about the early days of Apple, but more importantly, I hope he would be able to tell me about the early days of Pixar as well.
Tell me one thing about design that everyone outside of that world might not understand?
How valuable it is. A lot of work goes into making things look good and function well, and it can have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us.
You find yourself trapped in the board game Jumanji, do you think you survive or is it Game Over?
Am I allowed to watch the movie before entering the game, so I can remember how to get out? Regardless, I’ll make it out.
What are your 3 favorite projects you have worked on at TAG?
Three of my favorite projects I’ve worked on are: Logo and website design for Smokestack, packaging re-design for Hungry Hobo, and I still think it’s cool when I see Genesis buses driving around town with artwork I created on them.
When is your ideal bed time?
I used to be a pretty devoted 11:00 pm guy, but recently I have been getting up earlier and have transitioned to more of a 10:00 pm person (sometimes it’s more like 9:30. Teenage me would be shocked).
Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?
My favorite part about working at TAG is getting to be creative with a great team every day!
Knowing your target audience is important to effectively market your business. For example, audience members for an interior design business are typically going to look, and act, a lot differently than audience members for a company selling beef jerky. Defining your audience is key in getting your business’ message in front of people who are ready to engage and convert.
Just when you think you’ve mastered marketing to Millennials, a new generation comes running through the doors full speed ahead. Allow us to introduce you to Gen Z.
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is the generation born between 1996 and 2012. There are over 23 million people in the U.S. alone who identify as members of Gen Z and it is considered America’s most diverse, multicultural generation to date.
Unlike Millennials, Gen Z is characterized by their initiative and entrepreneurial skills. They grew up during tough times (post 9/11, the recession) and over half of the generation is already actively saving for retirement, in fear that they will never have social security to claim.
Celebrity endorsements really resonated with a Millennial audience and this remains true when talking to members of Gen Z as well. But, Gen Z puts importance on transparency so if celebrities are in the ads they’re seeing, they prefer the endorser discloses that they’re getting paid to talk about a brand or product. Authenticity is (major) key!
What social platforms do they prefer?
While Gen Z spends most of their time on YouTube, they do still utilize other social platforms – but for different reasons.
They’re most likely to keep in touch with friends on Snapchat, while Facebook is where they keep tabs on Grandma. YouTube comes out on top for where Gen Z is interested in getting shopping recommendations (product reviews) and how-to videos (tutorials).
Gen Z loves technology – and as they should. They grew up with accessibility to technology and don’t know a world without the internet, cell phones or Mark Zuckerberg. Gen Z’s dependency on tech has already impacted the way businesses are marketing their products and services. They consume information online – with YouTube leading the charge. YouTube is how members of Gen Z learn how to change a tire, bake a cake, learn an instrument, and more! In fact, 95% of Gen Z uses YouTube regularly and 50% believe they can’t live without it.
With so much focus on digital, traditional media (TV) has taken a back seat. But don’t get it confused, video consumption continues to grow – it’s just on more non-traditional platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and ConnectedTV. In fact, these platforms are instrumental in getting video messages across to members of Gen Z.
How do I reach Gen Z?
Gen Z is really in-tune with brands that are being genuine and authentic in their marketing, more so than any other generation. They identify and focus on meaningful brand interactions and are most likely to dismiss marketing efforts that come across as insincere. Because Gen Z prioritizes transparency, social channels, like Instagram, give consumers the opportunity to
learn and interact with businesses more organically. Gen Z prefers unobtrusive brand messaging, which is evident in the rise, and success, of influencer marketing.
Your business can also reach members of Gen Z by creating a YouTube channel and uploading engaging and informative content. Or, if you’re looking for paid advertising opportunities, YouTube TrueView and/or Bumper Ads will deliver your messages on platforms Gen Z is already using in a cost-effective manner.
The fall season is the perfect time to embrace your inner basic. “Do you want whip cream with that pumpkin spice latte?” You bet your sweet Aunt Sally I do! Even when it comes to your digital strategy, think basic.
At TAG, when we talk about a digital strategy, we’re not simply talking about your website. It’s all of your digital components and how those components work together to deliver results.
Those components include social media, websites, analytics, digital ads, AdWords, etc. - you get the picture. It’s a lot to think about and monitor, so start slow. Below is what the TAG team believes are the four basic elements your brand needs to master.
1 | Mobile Responsive Website
A mobile responsive website means that your website will be just as clear and easy to navigate on a computer, as it is on a smart phone or tablet. Mobile responsive sites aim to minimize resizing, panning and scrolling so that your consumer can have a seamless interaction with your site and its content.
Think of your own habits. We’re all busy and when you’re looking for information fast, you don’t want to find yourself accessing a website on your phone and constantly having to zoom in to look at the text. It’s a hassle, and consumers and clients alike will find themselves seeking a mobile experience elsewhere.
2 | Social Media
Curious as to another digital tactic where most traffic comes from mobile? Ding, ding, ding! Social media. If you’re a brand, it’s imperative for you to have a focused social strategy. This doesn’t just mean throwing up pictures to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day (although, we do have a tactic for using National Days…), it means being in touch with your audience and knowing what kind of content they’re looking for on your social media accounts.
Advertising on social media platforms has blown up over the past couple of years, and it will only continue to grow. Create a goal and then create a social media ad campaign that will deliver those results. For example: If you want people to visit your website, create a Facebook Ad campaign that will send traffic to your site. Or, if you’re wanting some exposure for your brand and your audience is relatively young, consider creating a Snapchat filter for a local event you’re sponsoring or that aligns with your brand.
3 | SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
When a potential customer is searching for your product or services online, what would they type into the search bar? Write them down, and then incorporate those words throughout your website because that’s how search engines pull results.
For example, when I type in “home improvement store davenport,” Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davenport is one of the first things to appear. Why? For one, they have home improvement in their name (genius) and it’s also sprinkled throughout their website. If you go to their Company Information page, their description says, “…Lowe’s has been Improving Home Improvement.”
So, if you’re currently dependent upon organic search traffic but aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to do a word overhaul on your website.
4 | Analytics
Once your website is mobile responsive, your social media tactics and campaigns are running and your search engine optimization is as optimized as it gets, the next step is reviewing the analytics.
If you have a website, make sure it’s set up with a basic Google Analytics tracking code. That way, you’ll be able to see who’s visiting your site, when they’re visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages are most viewed, etc. in order to see what’s working with your audience and what’s not.
Social Media sites also have analytics in order for you to see which posts or ads are performing the best. Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between will offer you metrics such as impressions, reach, engagements, click through rates, etc. so that you can see the results, analyze them and then put your money where it makes most sense.
Whether you need help with the basics or if you’re looking to take your digital strategy to new heights, contact the TAG team of social media, web and analytic experts to help you reach your goals.
59% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram (via SproutSocial) while Snapchat reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. every day (via Smart Insights). Needless to say, if you’re not on at least one of these platforms, you’re missing out on marketing to a large, and important, audience.
While Instagram and Snapchat are similar, the two cater to different audiences, with different content that can be interacted with in different ways, so we’re breaking it down to help you figure out which platform is best for your business.
Instagram was released in October 2010, just shy of a year before Snapchat’s launch in September 2011. Instagram and Snapchat allow their users to share their experiences through images, and both platforms eventually expanded to incorporate video.
Snapchat originated the “stories” concept early into its existence. A “story” gives you the option to share one or more photos and/or videos for up to 24 hours with your friends. Instagram implemented its “stories” feature in August of 2016 and, for many, blurred the lines between the two platforms. As you’ll learn below, Snapchat and Instagram are still very different when it comes to audiences and content.
Instagram caters to an older audience when compared to Snapchat. 59% of its audience is made up of 18-29 year olds, with 30-49 year-olds making up 33% of its audience.
Instagram’s audience base is also more educated than audiences on other social platforms. 37% of adults with some college experience use Instagram and college graduates make up 33% of its users.
Instagram’s income demographic reinforces the fact that its users are college educated, as 37% of adults who make more than $75,000 are on the platform.
Snapchat is the most-used social platform for people aged 12-24. In fact, 13-24 year-olds account for 60% of Snapchat’s total audience. According to MediaKix, 60% of college students would purchase from a brand if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat and 77% of college students use the platform daily, averaging 25-30 minutes.
(Fun fact: Kylie Jenner revealed in her E! series Life of Kylie that she pays nothing for advertising. The 20-year-old CEO of Kylie Cosmetics says that the only advertising she does is on her personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts.)
Snapchat and Instagram both offer a platform for people to share photos and videos, but the content being shared differs.
Content on Instagram is often edited and refined. Brands are easily found on the platform, and the content shared is accessible by anyone, as long as your account is not set as “private.” Posts on Instagram also have a longer life-span, as once they are “posted,” they’re available for people to look at and interact with forever (or until the person who posted it, deletes it).
Unlike Instagram, most of the content that’s shared on Snapchat is typically between two “private” accounts and isn’t open to the public. However, there are public profiles (brands, celebrities, public figures, etc.) and the content that’s posted from those accounts is raw and unrefined. This kind of authentic content really resonates with Gen Z, as they feel that the brands that share raw and real content are more trustworthy.
A lot of brands find success using Snapchat geofilters, which can be designed on Snapchat’s website with their pre-made templates, or personally designed and uploaded (Geofilters are photo and video overlays that are accessed within a set location). For example, if your business is putting on an event where you know a lot of its audience members will be on Snapchat (concerts, fairs, etc.), then a geofilter would be an easy, effective and cost-efficient way for that audience to interact with your brand.
The content is different on each platform, so the way it’s interacted with is different, too.
Content on Instagram can feature custom hashtags, users may tag other businesses or people, and there’s the ability to “like,” “comment,” “share,” “save,” and “send” photos and videos. In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, according to SproutSocial. Much like posts on Facebook, when you’re posting to Instagram, you also have the ability to select a location to associate your post with, giving that piece of content yet another way to be found.
When Snapchats are played, users have the ability to privately respond either via text or by snapping back a photo or video. Recently, Snapchat gave its users the ability to attach a link to their posts when users swipe up, giving brands the ability to track traffic from Snapchat more easily. On Snapchat, users can also see who has viewed their posts, who has replayed a snap and which users have taken a screen shot of the post.
What’s best for your brand?
Now that you know the differences between Snapchat and Instagram you could go frolic in a field and throw paper hearts in the air in celebration (thanks for the transition, Chris Pratt), OR you could get serious about your social strategy and call TAG! Let’s talk about which platform is best for your brand.
“Do I need special glasses to watch the solar eclipse?”
Those are just a few of our team’s latest Google Searches. Did you know that there are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone?
Over the course of the last decade, technology has evolved and so have our search patterns. Google has introduced numerous algorithms, and continues to refine them in order to better assist you in your queries.
Take a moment to think of your own behavior and how, it too, has evolved over the last 10 years. The first iPhone wasn’t introduced until June 29, 2007, so until then, Google search was limited to desktop users. In 2011, Apple introduced Siri – it’s voice-activated search tool for Apple product-users. 2012 marked Google’s release of their search app for iOS that featured its voice search function, rivaling Siri.
Paralleling these technological advances were also societal changes in the way we interact with our phones. 2007 was also the year when the state of Washington became the first state to ban texting and driving. Since then, many other states have followed suit and some have even banned calls from a hand-held cell phone device which, in turn, pushed for more voice activation options.
Earlier this year, The Webmaster released an article citing Hitwise’s study that found nearly 60% of all online searches are now happening from a mobile device, with the food and beverage industry reaching 72%.
What it means for Search
According to a recent HubSpot blog, 20% of queries in 2016 were mobile and android voice searches and a study by Ahrefs found that 64% of searches are at least four words or more.
This tells us that we’ve become much more conversational in the way we use search. So, instead of typing “Restaurants Quad Cities” like we did in 2007, we’re typing (or, dictating) “Where’s the best place to find tacos near me?”
What it means for Google AdWords
With many of our current clients reaping the benefits of Paid Search, the TAG team of Google certified experts decided that with this information, it was time to restructure our strategy.
Instead of the previously advised 10-20 keywords per topic in AdWords, because of the way consumers are searching we need to start thinking of them as “topics.”
The first step in this process is looking at your content from a low level. Segment the content you want your consumers to find into “topics.” For example, at TAG, one of our “topics” would be Social Media. We realize a strong social presence could be a potential client’s pain point and we’re here to help them succeed.
From there, we take our “topics” and segment them even further into “subtopics.” We think, ‘What are our potential clients searching for when they’re looking for help with their social strategy?” Then, “subtopics” for social media could be:
Social Media (topic)
Facebook marketing quad cities (subtopic)
More followers for my business Instagram (subtopic)
Is snapchat right for my business? (subtopic)
Email marketing tools (subtopic)
The subtopics help our team get into the mind of our clients and we’re able to then reformat our Google AdWords campaigns in order to deliver them the information they’re seeking and, ultimately, help their business succeed.
At TAG, it’s important to understand our clients, and their clients, so that we can create a comprehensive approach that fits everyone’s needs. Our TAG team of Google certified experts is excited to help your business grow, so let’s get started.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then that means one minute of video is worth 1.8 million – making it one of the best and fastest growing tools for digital marketing.
According to Cisco, by 2019, videos will account for more than 85% of online traffic in the U.S.. Which makes sense when you think about it. When was the last time you logged into Facebook and didn’t see a video in your news feed? Probably a pretty long time ago. In fact, 55% of people watch videos online every day.
If video marketing isn’t currently in your digital strategy, it should be! But with all of the video already out there, it can be difficult to cut through all of the clutter. Below are three types of video you can use in your marketing to help your brand stand out.
What is it? 360° video is shot with a special 360° camera that captures all directions, giving the viewer a 360° view of whatever it is that’s being filmed. This type of video allows the viewer to explore the video’s surroundings, giving them the option to tilt up or down and side-to-side. If you’re watching a 360° video on your computer, simply press “Play” and then once the video starts, click and drag your mouse anywhere on the screen to explore.
How can I use 360° videos for my marketing? 360° videos are a great tool for real estate agents, hotels, or other brands who are trying to sell, or showcase, a location of interest to its audience.
TAG’s favorite example: This example is from QANTAS, Austrailia’s largest domestic and international airline, which used 360° video to take its user on a virtual tourism experience to one of their most popular and scenic holiday destinations.
What is it? Interactive video is a different type of interactive experience. An interactive video will often include prompts asking for user action or input, which in turn, impacts the sequence or events in the video, making it a personalized experience for the viewer. This type of video also allows for user feedback, making it easier for you as a brand to tap into your audience’s needs.
How can I use interactive video for my marketing? Some brands have had a lot of success by incorporating interactive video for educational and promotional content, along with recruitment efforts. Essentially, interactive video is a great tool to use if you’re looking to test products, track your consumer behavior and even collect audience analytics right from the video platform.
TAG’s favorite example: Deloitte is a multinational professional services firm that provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services, employing more than 244,400 professionals globally. While taxes may not be your idea of a good time, their interactive recruitment campaign will have you looking into their current openings because it’s that good!
What is it? Virtual reality, or VR, is a fully immersive experience for your user. The 3D environment, that’s often computer-generated, transfers your user into a virtual landscape, where they’re allowed to explore the virtual environment and interact with objects within that virtual sphere. Virtual reality is experienced through a headset and as the user moves, the goggles track those movements and updates the display.
How can I use virtual reality for my marketing? Virtual reality allows for your clients or consumers to not only hear things from you, but to see and feel. If your marketing objective is to provide your audience with an experience, allow them to explore, educate or to entertain them, VR might be the best option for you!
TAG’s favorite example: The American footwear company Merrel used virtual reality to engage with its audience members over the release of their new hiking boot, the Capra. The company known for its high-performance boots took participants along a dangerous mountain hike to showcase the durability of their new release.
Want to take your video marketing to the next level and stand-out from the competition? TAG has the capability to produce 360°, interactive and virtual reality video! Contact us today to give your campaign the creativity it needs!
Every day it seems like someone is celebrating something on social media. From National Lumpy Rug Day (May 3) to National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day (November 12), you can find just about anything that relates to your brand. And while those days may seem totally ridiculous, for some brands, it’s a creative way to interact with its audience members.
For instance, a carpet or rug company may want to run a promotion for National Lumpy Rug Day on May 3, promoting a discount to replace your lumpy rug with a new one.
But with so many national days to choose from, we realize it can be overwhelming. So, below are TAG’s tips on how to utilize national holidays to promote your brand and connect with your audience.
Before you begin implementing, we think it’s beneficial to know the advantages of utilizing national days in your social strategy.
According to Crowd Spring, 78% of consumers believe that companies that are focused on custom content are more trustworthy than companies that post generic content.
I’ll use TAG as an example. Donuts are part of our culture here (hence, Donuts & Digital), so instead of posting some generic picture we found on Google, we actually bought donuts for the office and created our own content. Creating your own content will make your brand seem more authentic, and thus, more trustworthy.
While it’s always good to wish your audience a Happy Halloween or a Happy Valentine’s Day, choose holidays that relate to your brand and company culture.
Oreo actually does a really great job of leveraging national days to create custom content, while still promoting their product.
Do’s & Dont’s
National days are a great way to showcase your brand’s personality on social media, but don’t use it as a crutch for your strategy! If you decide to celebrate a national day every day, your audience members will begin to see through it and tune out your messaging.
A good rule of thumb would be to choose one or two national days per month that:
Directly relate to your business
Showcase your brand’s personality
Provides your audience with an interesting takeaway
Creates an opportunity for dialogue between you and your target audience
If you are celebrating a more-common national day (i.e. National Pizza Day), be sure to use the #NationalPizzaDay hashtag to reach the maximum amount of people.
Utilizing national days in your social strategy has never been easier. At TAG, we really enjoy NationalDayCalendar.com which allows you to see what people are celebrating today, tomorrow, this week, or even two months from now if you’re feeling really ambitious!
Another great tool we would recommend is Sprout Social’s Complete Calendar of Hashtag Holidays for 2017. It’s definitely a more narrowed look at national days throughout the year, but it tells you which is the correct hashtag to include in your post.
Want more? Contact us today so that TAG’s team of social media experts can develop a social calendar that’s custom for your brand!
Nielsen, get out of the way. What television producers care about now is online engagement through social media. People love to engage with each other while watching their favorite shows or sporting events.
Brands are taking notice, too. They’ve realized a captive audience exists online during peak viewing spots and they want to talk with them!
Live tweeting and interacting with online viewers is a way to show your brand’s personality, throw in some advertising, and grow your online audience. Twitter’s own research suggests that brands that live tweet see greater follower growth and retweets, so it really is a no brainer!
But if you’re going to do it. Do it right.
Use hashtags. The RIGHT hashtags. Each show or event has specific hashtags the masses will use! Make sure you’re using them.
Have some personality. Use social media as a platform to show an audience that humans really are behind your brand! Interact with your follows, too. Ask them questions or set up a poll on Facebook or Twitter with a relevant question throughout the show or event.
Give in! Use the live tweeting session and interactions to give away something to your followers! Whether it’s a coupon, merchandise, or a special offer, it’s a great way to interact with your online audience.
If you need help, we’re it. We’ve done It before! Check out our live-tweeting session during the Super Bowl.
When it comes to marketing, brands can learn a lesson or two from political campaigns.
Be human, trustworthy and transparent
Don’t forget to show some personality! It’s important and necessary to get your message across, but it should be done in a way that makes the audience feel at ease and comfortable with your brand. Just like no one wants to vote for someone that they cannot trust, people don’t want to do business with brands that they deem untrustworthy.
From the start of both a marketing and a political campaign, the goal and messaging needs to be defined. If messaging isn’t defined from the beginning, it leaves your intent and meaning up to interpretation. Identify what you’re trying to communicate and be active in advertising that message.
Video is still effective
Video is an extremely effective tool, especially for search engine optimization. It’s much more likely for your audience to remember a video than it is for them to remember a simple text message. Video, especially online, has seen a growth in spending over the last few years. In fact, it’s estimated that candidates will allocate 30 percent of their advertising budget to online media sources this year!
Promote your message on multiple channels
Political messages have been invading your television, radio, mail and social media feed for the last few months. Promoting messages across multiple platforms and channels is something that politicians have become very good at. From mail pieces to radio and television commercials, and now social media, politicians are everywhere.
In order to win a political campaign, a politician’s goal is to get their message in front of as many people as they possibly can. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are growing in popularity among political candidates. These aren’t the only social options though. Candidates can consider more ways to increase their content by using sites like Slideshare, YouTube, or Google+, too.
While promoting your message across multiple platforms is important, social media can be a double-edged sword. Social media is a great tool because such a large population is on these platforms. It extends your reach and your ability to have a conversation with your target audience. Those factors are great for any candidate and brand!
But the bad news is that things on social media can change in a second. Social media is a two-way conversation, and followers are bound to post, share and comment on the content you publish—both positively and negatively.
Politics may not be your favorite topic, but political ads and campaigns can teach us some great tactics about marketing. What have been your key takeaways from a marketing standpoint this election year? Join the conversation on our Facebook page! And if your business could use some help with your marketing efforts, visit our website!
We tend to trust our friends more than a business or a brand. So when your friend tells you something about a brand, you’re more likely to believe what they’re telling you rather than when a brand makes a claim. So how do you make your brand more trustworthy? How do we humanize our digital strategies?
Talk like a Person! Shift your thinking and adjust your messaging to be more relationship focused rather than “salesy”. Talking to your followers in a way that is not a sales pitch or corporate jargon is much more interesting to them, and they’re more likely to engage with you.
Usabilla reports that 79 percent of digital marketers will increase their content marketing budget in 2016, and 60 percent of marketers see the biggest challenge as producing engaging content. If you’re simply a mobile sales pitch, you’re going to annoy your followers and end up losing customers in the long run. Advertising a sale or a special offer gets some engagement at first, but too much sales talk will annoy your audience.
Interact with People Respond to questions and comments from your followers. Better yet, ask them to engage with you by posing a question or asking for their input! According to Usabilla, 56 percent of customers are more likely to buy when given a personalized experience. And when someone responds to you, be sure you let them know that you’re reading their input by commenting on it, liking it or favoriting their response. This is a great way to start a real conversation that feels human-to-human rather than human-to-brand.
Show off your Team and Workspace Your audience wants to be able to put a face to the words they read on your social platforms or your website. Take pictures or produce videos and webinars where your employees can show off their personalities. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to Kissmetrics. Give your followers a glimpse into your working world and let them feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes tour. Doing this makes your followers feel closer to you, and will make them want to get to know your brand more.
Be Authentic and Transparent Be mindful that all of your messaging should reflect your brand values to create authenticity. And if you make a mistake, whether it’s something little or something big, just come clean about it. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Humanize your brand by not covering these things up, but by owning your mistakes.
Your followers want to have a conversation with a person, not necessarily a business or a brand. You can improve your digital strategy by making engagement with your followers feel like they’re talking with a friend, rather than a business. For more information on how to humanize your digital strategy, give the experts at TAG a call or visit us online!