2604, 2010

It’s Alive! A new image for Doner

By |April 26th, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

How often do we see advertising companies “rebrand” themselves to be more hip, edgy and ahead of the trend curve? If you say a lot, you’re wrong, because they usually just go and buy a start-up that already holds those traits or create their own subsidiary with a name that sounds like an indie rock band, something like “Feet Full of Soda Pop”. But in the case of Doner it was like a digital team of Extreme Home Makeover came in, tore it down, and rebuilt it to be 500x better than the original (although I highly doubt it was originally littered with black mold, dilapidated windows and some ill-fated resident).

With a new site that displays it’s creative work like a red-light district worker in her window. You know from the beginning the goods you will get by going with this hook..err company. Make no mistake this is an advertising company so they should know how to at least advertise themselves, and if this is any indication (including the work provided) new business and retention shouldn’t be hard to come by. What is even more remarkable is that this is all being done in the state with one of (if not the) worst economic conditions (the lovely Murder Mitten, as known by the citizens of Flint and Detroit).

The site accomplishes two things a advertising companies needs, display it’s creative work for clients and look for new employees (still waiting on my interview). Four simple navigation links help guide the user to the companies work, top brass, info about the company and finally industry news (mostly about them, but they’re allowed to give themselves an “atta boy”). Filled with Flash-based guidance you can create a symphony of noises when hovering your mouse over topics such as; socializing your brand, strategic planning and creative approach.

You know you’re in good hands when the company has two CEO’s. One the strategic minded prophet and the other an award winning creative, two always important pieces for a successful campaign.

Check it out for yourself at Doner.com

2204, 2010

SunChips goes green on Earth Day

By |April 22nd, 2010|By Ryan Battishill, Industry News|

This year SunChips will celebrate Earth Day with the launch of the world’s first 100% compostable chip bag.

The new bags are made with plant-based polylactic acid (PLA), a renewable material that also allows the bags to fully compost in approximately 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin. Today, the bags are in full distribution in North America, a great way to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

As a part of the launch, SunChips is launching a national composting education initiative via strategic alliances with the U.S. Composting Council and Earth 911 to promote composting through educational materials, consumer outreach and other awareness-building activities. The goal is to reach more than one million American households directly through this effort.

While the green revolution has exploded over the past few years, and garnered much attention, the implementation of businesses or individuals adopting green practices has been a bit slow. To get inspired, below are some links to Earth Day initiatives that features ideas you can incorporate today in your business and in your life. The practices ultimately help to protect the environment we live in, but also can help save organizations some green. Even though Earth Day only comes once a year, we – as business owners and humans – should focus on supporting the environment every day.

Today, make an effort to take a step in the green direction like SunChips. I’m going to work on driving less and invest in a new bike. This might be hard to accomplish in a tie, but I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to make it work. What steps are you or your organization taking to stay green?

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green
A great actionable list of simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life.

Create The Good – Go Green
Create The Good is a movement started by the AARP to connect people with positive opportunities, in whatever way works for them. Their “Go Green” campaign provides a list of ideas for you to support the environment at work, in your community, and with friends, including ideas for those of us who are over-scheduled and pressed for time.

Earth Day on Business.gov
This is a collection of green resources and guides just for businesses. The site includes a Small Business Guide to Energy Efficiency with tips, advice, and resources to help businesses save on energy costs: from energy saving tips to information on grants, loans and incentives available for making energy efficient upgrades to your facilities.

Earth911.com Business Solutions

Earth911 is an environmental services company that provides tools to engage consumers, track recycling and proper disposal programs and demonstrate compliance. The web site provides information about reducing your impact, reusing what you’ve got and recycling your trash.

Pick 5 for the Environment

Pick 5 is an international environmental effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of State. From the website, you choose 5 actions you will take to support the environment, then sign up and make a pledge. You can print out your list so everyone in your household or office can follow along.

1404, 2010

It’s not the size of your BLOG. It’s how you use it.

By |April 14th, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

When you hear the expression “all the cool kids are doing it”, do you think of snap bracelets and Vanilla Ice? Maybe even Thundercats and Punky Brewster? (If so, you’ve just been dated, as well as me). But for companies all the “cool” ones have blogs. If this was a party, it would be Apple, GoDaddy, Southwest, and many more, we can even make an exception for Ford Motor Company (think Wooderson from Dazed and Confused). It’s one of the simplest tools each company can use is the blog. This handy little piece of communication allows companies the opportunity to reach customers, industry leaders, employees and the almighty media. It allows sharing your vision of the company, looking for potential feedback, best practices and even can help battle negative perception.

Before you rush into setting up your company blog (slow down there Ricky Bobby), it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research on your competitors blogs (if they are smart enough to have one), maybe pick up a book about blogging from Amazon (or Borders-they need the sales) and even looking at Technorati to see who has the best blogs out there to give yourself something to aim for (besides Sarah Palin). Your blog is only as good as writer(s) though (I grant myself an exception), so you will want to make sure the person (or people) contributing are knowledgeable about your company and the industry. Your CEO is probably the best primary voice of your blog. Take into consideration Southwest Airlines, their CEO Gary Kelly, posted a question on the Southwest Blog about possibly changing the seating arrangements which “die-hard” Southwest customers came to love. This possible change erupted into hundreds of comments ultimately resulting in the company keeping their current seating policy. This was smart, take the idea to the people, the ones who in the end are putting dinner on your employees table and paying for that Ice Rink of a engagement ring (did you go to Jared?) you just bought your future ex-wife.

It’s a medium that allows you to be yourself and candid, share your thoughts and expect feedback. You may not like all of it but if you can’t learn from your customers you’re doomed to fail (I’m looking at you NBC-your time is a ticking). Speaking of NBC, blogs and their viral appeal helped bring back Chuck (I was one of the many –according to the ratings- who never seen it). It was a grassroots movement started by those who embraced the show and fought for it. We live in a time where this is going to happen every day and products that were once gone are back because of the revolution of the devoted followers that took to their blogs and bitched long enough and loud enough for the change to work. So…what do you want to blog about in hopes of bringing back? (And do not say George W. Bush or New Coke).

904, 2010

A sandwich with a special ingredient: buzz.

By |April 9th, 2010|By Ryan Battishill, Industry News|

It’s not surprising to see yet another specialty sandwich or bucket of chicken out for a limited time only from KFC. However, this time its different. This one comes with no bun and a little buzz! On April 12, KFC is introducing its first-ever bunless chicken sandwich: the KFC Double Down. This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets, two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce.

During the product’s test market phase last year, high consumer interest and demand drove people to travel for miles to sample the Colonel’s tasty new creation. From online chatter speculation to late night talk show mentions, the Double Down generated more buzz than any test market item in KFC history.

So, what about the buns!

In addition to the already heightened buzz around the product, KFC is mixing in a little PR for what seems a feeble attempt to avoid the negative focus on the sandwich’s nutrition. To celebrate the launch of the new product, the brand will donate both buns and funds to food banks across the country, starting with the Dare to Care Food Bank in KFC’s hometown of Louisville, Ky.

It is truly astonishing the amount of attention centered around this new sandwich. I’ve come across prank videos to KFC’s customer service to cold hearted protest for the sandwich’s release. All in all, the new innovation has garnered new conversation and growth opportunities for the organization that could pay huge dividends in the future.

Businesses, while you may not be able to create buzz, you can influence it. Search for that special ingredient, observe your consumers reactions, respond and watch the magic happen!

3103, 2010

To FaceBook or not to FaceBook? That is a marketer’s question.

By |March 31st, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

Since the emergence of Facebook as the Social Media titan, it seems that everyone is eager and ready to offer insight and ideas on how their brands can use the medium as a launching point for increased brand awareness and potential sales. The article titled Why Your Brand Needs to Be on Facebook Now is intelligent, thought out and also misses the mark, not completely though. The author Dallas Lawrence (found on Twitter: @dallaslawrence) displays what seems like a call to action for all of those who are on the sidelines waiting to hop aboard the social media train. Like a group of investors waiting to see what happens after a short sell for stock. His three ways to get you’re your brand started on Facebook is on mark. It certainly makes sense to see who in your company is affluent to the medium and “savvy” enough to offer genuine insight and ideas to help the company create a positive image. This could be why we are seeing a younger group of executives that “excel” in the field of social marketing. Because they are the ones who grew up with it, helped define it and ultimately made it what it is today.

So, does every brand need to be on Facebook (I’m sure Facebook says yes because Mr. Zuckerburg wants a jet)? Facebook offers the opportunity for people to “talk” about your brand both directly and indirectly. You can create corporate pages and fan sites, but do they have inherent value? Can you sell the idea to your board that the awareness of your company is up because your solar panel fan page has 760 fans (and you have over 1500 employees)? Case in point, a pickle, that’s right, a pickle has more fans than Nickleback.

Facebook should be held for brands that look to speak directly to its core customers. It should be used by companies to look for insights into product development and marketing. Facebook is an excellent tool for data mining with a plethora of information that people share with one another. There is more value if you have REAL people backing your company and making the connection with customers, not just a company page or fan page.

We have to remember that what made Facebook so popular in the beginning compared to MySpace was that it wasn’t riddled with ad banners, home page takeovers and superstitial. The irrelevant ads that sit idle on the right hand side hold little to no value. But if you can actually create a connection with your page, allow interaction with customers and deliver the goods…Then you do belong on Facebook.