How to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level with IoT

 

As connected as we all are these days, there is, amazingly, still a whole new dimension to achieve.

 

So far the internet has done a brilliant job of bringing people closer together – be it in a personal capacity, or allowing a brand to come to life and show its human side – but what about the inanimate objects around us?

We’re ready to open up communication with all the appliances and devices that make our lifestyles what they are.

Imagine a world where you can update the software on your washing machine to make it increasingly more eco-friendly? Or program it to buzz your cell phone when a cycle is finished?

 

It’s time to realize just how pivotal the Internet of Things (IoT) will be to marketing success in the near future.

 

 

Opening up new avenues of connection

 

As IoT breathes digital life to more and more devices, manual interactions will become increasingly outdated.

 

Take for example a simple vending machine. Right now you need to physically walk up to one and put in your choice and money to interact with it. What if it was online though?

There could be a myriad of interaction choices – you could send a message to the machine over social media that elicits a reaction; you could pay online; the vending machine could even have its own “online interface”.

 

What does something like this mean for a marketer? Suddenly interactions that they could only quantify in sales become a virtual goldmine.

You could use that vending machine in your experiential marketing to take a physical experience online, doing your amplification for you. You could use a QR code to activate the vending machine, and that same QR code could take the user to specific marketing material – the options are endless.

 

What it definitely means is that there’s no reason why an experience should stay analog. IoT is the final step in full circle dialogue between you, your consumers and your products.

 

 

IoT allows solutions over advertising

 

Consumers are over-saturated by advertising and traditional marketing techniques. Being constantly marketed at creates a jaded feeling. This is why content marketing has developed – to add more quality to a consumer’s life in exchange for them taking in your brand.

 

IoT offers marketers the ultimate opportunity to become a useful part of a consumer’s life. Most might not see this at the beginning, rather seeing 24 hour access to consumers as an opportunity for always on advertising.

But that approach is so misguided that these marketers will very quickly see their market share drop. IoT comes with such a responsibility that people will quickly shy away from the brands that take advantage.

 

Rather, the brands that take a fresh look at what it is to market will succeed through this avenue. You are no longer working hard to get your consumer’s attention. You are built into their lives, and the only “marketing” you need to do is communication that assists.

 

For example, a connected car could feed the driver adverts every time they turn on the engine, or it could allow them to order new parts directly. It could allow a manufacturer to reward drivers for certain actions. Marketing will be all about experience.

 

 

More connectivity means more data

 

Marketers eat, sleep and drink data. It’s what allows us to predict how someone will interact with and react to products, campaigns and experiences.

Bringing products to life opens up a whole new avenue of data to explore and understand.

 

Big data just got bigger.

 

Brands will be able to tell how and when their products are used, and be able to tweak them to suit needs better than ever before. Products can become more personalised to certain target markets, and more functionalities can be stored and unlocked online.

 

Is your brand ready to get more connected?

 

 

 

 

 

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The Danger in Stereotyping Your Target Market

 

In the marketing industry, we are constantly chasing the latest stats on consumer habits, interests and user behaviour. How else will we understand people enough to properly market to them?

The only problem with this is that it can turn into a bit of an echo chamber. The same people end up coming to conclusions about other segments of people whom they haven’t even spoken to.

 

 

Your target market is made up of people, not numbers

 

When you start thinking of a group as one whole, that thinks and acts the same way, you lose the valuable connection and insight into what really makes each person tick. You also miss out on subtle ways to let your consumer know that your brand just gets them.

 

This is especially true when you rely purely on data to tell you what they want. Data shows the end result of a person’s actions – which is very useful – but doesn’t often get to the all-important intention that motivated the action.

 

 

Focus Groups = a direct conversation

 

The best way to know what anyone wants is to ask them. Time and again we find that a well-timed focus group session will dictate a successful campaign.

 

A good example was recently when a client briefed us on a campaign they wanted to run targeting young African females. They wanted an experiential marketing idea from us that included fun activations at taxi ranks.

On the surface this could make sense. Their data had told them that most of the target market used taxis often and it could be a good way to engage.

 

But our focus groups of the target market told a completely different story. The young girls didn’t feel safe at taxi rank activations. They also didn’t want to stick around when they were on the move.

 

 

Trust your consumers to know themselves better than you do

 

Because of the information coming out of the aforementioned focus groups, we were able to come back to the client with a campaign that suited them and appealed to the target market.

We’ve found that focus groups give a smart brand the edge to not only understand and connect with their consumers, but also become a valuable part of their lives.

As smart as technology has become, there’s nothing quite as powerful as teaming the latest data with some good qualitative research.

After all, we’re creating all these experiences for specific people – and if they love them then everyone, including the brand, wins.

 

 

 

 

 

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Experiential Marketing Done Right: Retail Edition

 

So far in this series we’ve moved you with our Travel Edition and seen non-profits create magic for their causes in our NGO Edition. But now it’s time for experiential marketing’s biggest fan to take centre stage and strut their stuff – retail brands.

 

Experiential marketing is the perfect way for retail brands to cut through the noise and get a little alone time with consumers – away from the throngs of their competitors’ messages.

 

 

No Noise at Selfridges

 

An example of a retailer who literally cut out the noise was Selfridges, with the introduction of a calm and quiet shopping experience in 2013.

They proposed themselves as an oasis away from everything that usually defines the retail experience. Looking back now, one could say they embraced the health conscious trend in its infant stage. And by doing so, gave customers an experience they didn’t even fully realize they wanted yet.

 

 

 

Sephora’s ModiFace 3D Beauty Mirror

 

What’s one of the biggest hinders to purchase? Not being able to trial product before buying. Make up brands have been trying to get round this with testers, but with hygiene a concern, these testers can only go so far.

 

That’s why Sephora’s use of augmented reality in their customer’s favour was such a brilliant move. Customers get to see just which shades and styles suit them best, and will probably end up buying products they wouldn’t have even considered before. There’s nothing like a little affirmation to push someone towards purchase.

 

 

Coca-Cola Happiness Machine for Couples

 

Coca-Cola is one of those brands that know just how important it is to form an emotional connection with their consumers. They go out of their way to leverage quirky and delightful experiential marketing techniques to engage with their customers one on one.

 

This one is no exception.

 

 

We love when retail brands think of their customer first. Delighting and wooing your consumers with an out of the ordinary brand experience is sure to make their day and convert a number into loyal customers – the best kind.

 

 

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Is Your Newsfeed Making You Narrow Minded?

 

Who would have thought that social media algorithms designed to serve you content you like could be a bad thing?

 

We live in an age where personalisation is key and content marketing platforms are working furiously to tailor our experiences to our wants and needs. The consumer has never had so much control over what is shown to them. With just a simple like on one piece of content, you trigger a platform’s detailed algorithm to increase the appearance of similar content topics.

 

Making the whole experience as pleasant and addictive as possible – surely everyone is winning from this?

 

 

Empathy is cultivated through exposure to different viewpoints

 

If your favourite social media platforms are only showing you stories from people whom you tend to agree with, you can start to become very isolated.

 

No longer do you need to defend your viewpoint to opposers – meaning two very scary things:

  1. That you don’t need to analyse so much why you think the way you do.
  2. You can start to dehumanise opposing views, as you will never have to hear valid points from someone you disagree with.

 

 

This algorithm bias is shown fiercely when important issues come to a head, such as the recent American elections, or in our own country, the political turmoil.

For the American elections, those supporting Trump ended up liking any liberal views out of their timeline – only seeing content that suited them, and vice versa for the liberals.

 

 

Fake news

 

This would be bad enough as a starting point to isolate groups from each other, but then comes in the people with the understanding of the very formulas serving you content, and the power to start controlling and molding that content.

 

Fake news is such an uncontrollable force because it is spread with these algorithms in mind. They also take advantage of the fact that people are more likely to share more sensational news online than more metered content.

 

For many, social media is the place to show their opinions and take a stand for something. Fake news plays perfectly into this need – no matter which side of the fence you are on.

 

Echo chambers

 

A recent study into social media behaviour found that, much like in the real world, online we tend to interact in groups of similar interests and opinions.

 

Makes sense, but also means that anything we share will more likely be championed rather than critically appraised. And that quick agreement means that misinformation can spread through these echo chambers like a wildfire.

 

 

Put your thinking cap back on

 

If this is all making you feel a little powerless, you are far from it.

 

As much as a platform such as Facebook is controlled by its algorithm – you are still in the drivers seat. Every click you make, every piece of content you interact with, all these actions dictate what is shown to you.

 

We also need to start dialling back on the culture of everything being instant – from gratification to reactions. All news from unknown sources should be verified before sharing. In an age where Twitter is most people’s main news source, we are all our own investigators. The more we all look into reports for ourselves, the better we will all be for it.

 

Not only that, but Facebook especially has seen the massive flaw in its current algorithm. It is now starting to institute various measures to ensure that fake news can’t spread unchecked anymore. From now on, Facebook will put disclaimers on all articles containing disputed content, alerting users to possible false reports.

 

 

Are you ready to open up the communication age again?

 

 

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Experiential Marketing Done Right: Travel Edition

 

Welcome to the second edition of our Experiential Marketing Done Right Series. Want to start this trip from the beginning? Read our first in the series, the NGO Edition before taking another step into our Travel Edition.

As exciting as traveling is, it can seem a difficult subject to market accurately though an experience (without actually physically taking the person somewhere). In reality – there’s so much that you can do these days to transport someone out of their reality and into another space. Without moving a foot.

 

So let’s get exploring…

 

 

Experience Kissimmee’s “Escape the Cold” Chicago Event

 

Finding it difficult to get people to your magical destination? Why not bring it to them instead then. Give them a taste of the adventure that awaits and watch your destination suddenly not seem so far away for them.

 

That was the thinking behind Experience Kissimmee’s “Escape the Cold” activation in the heart of Chicago. They set up a 190 ft long zip line in Millennial Park, tempting thrill seekers to “Escape the cold. Warm your heart.” Not only did they get to increase their body temperature through a little unexpected fun (and just a taste of what they could get up to in Kissimmee), but the organisers added on the great CSI element of urging thrill seekers to donate coats to warm up others as well.

 

 

 

SNCF “Europe. It’s Just Next Door”

 

This is an amazing example of how you can use technology to bring a physical experience to life. Not only did this campaign serve to encourage people to explore neighbouring countries – showing just how close they are – it also helped connect different people. When the world is increasingly falling into an “us vs them” mindset, it’s lovely when you can give people the opportunity to connect effortlessly, while being instantly transported into the other person’s life.

 

Just watch and see how great this experience is….

 

 

British Airways & VisitBritain: You’re invited

 

Sometimes you have to go big to make sure you get everyone’s attention. And that’s exactly what British Airways achieved with this tantalizing look at just what’s waiting for you in Britain.

 

They managed to cover all their best attractions without saying a word – classy. This marketing campaign traveled to all the “fast-emerging” markets, including China, Japan, the UAE and Canada. Helps when you don’t need translation.

 

Feeling that travel bug bite yet?

There’s nothing like experiences to ignite an instant emotion in your target audience – seek out the wanderlust and bring it to your consumers with just a little bit of magic.

 

 

 

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Snapnation: It’s Time To Go Live

 

We live in a funny world right now. The one social media platform that anyone over the age of 24 felt happy to never understand now dominates innovation in every other social platform.

With its disappearing content and paint-esque “design” abilities, Snapchat seemed like a place for teenagers to send each other compromising pictures and funny snaps when bored. That is until Mark Zuckerberg decided to bring these functionalities to the mainstream social media users.

 

 

We need to blow off some social steam

 

Back at the birth of social media, the whole point was to be able to share your unedited life with loved ones. All the platforms are mobile-first and encourage quick and easy posting.

 

Despite this, people have naturally realized that they need to think before posting online, as everything on the Internet lives on. So updates are now thought through in detail, and images edited to the point of professionalism.

 

Your social media presence is now a well-crafted, prettier version of your real life – and that can be such a chore to keep up.

 

 

Live = Literally in the moment

 

Enter quick, unsophisticated disappearing content. It’s like putting on those comfy tracksuit pants after a long day of wearing respectable, slightly uncomfortable work clothes.

 

You can suddenly be yourself a little bit. You post that first silly video, cringe slightly at the bad lighting, and the fact that you forgot your words halfway through, and laugh – knowing it’s only going to be up for the next few hours.

 

The fact that it’s shared live means that your audience cut you a lot of slack. They are craving real moments just as much as you are – so who cares if it’s not a perfect take?

 

 

Snapnation: If you won’t go to Snapchat, it has come to you anyway

 

Blame Zuckerberg, but the future of social media is live. He first snuck the functionality onto Facebook itself, in the form of Live Videos.  Then came Instagram Stories and now most recently, added disappearing statuses to Whatsapp.

Bringing all his platforms into the present here and now, he’s revitalized them with the energy that will always accompany spontaneity.

 

It’s always been accepted that Twitter was the place for you to be if you wanted to “Live Tweet” something (there’s a reason that’s a phrase). But last year saw Facebook take over as the platform where all-important events had to be live streamed. No longer was Facebook merely a place to post pictures after the event, but integrated into the event itself.

 

Instagram Stories, on the other hand was the first time everyone went “wait a minute…” as it was an unapologetic copy of Snapchat stories. Did this matter though? The proof is in the stats. Instagram users have welcomed this new feature to cut through all the “professional” content vying for attention on their feeds.

 

 

Do we crave live content to get back to basics?

 

In a world filled with fake news, filters, photoshop and professional teams ready in the wings, we all need a little reality in our lives.

 

Live content means unedited. Live means no third party software making a brand or person seem more professional. Live means trust.

 

So, are we ready to go live?

 

 

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Experiential Marketing Done Right: NGO Edition

Great experiences deserve recognition. They also serve as inspiration for all those wanting to venture into a world of impactful activations. Thus our Experiential Marketing Done Right series is born – every month we will explore some of our favourite activations from around the world, what made them successful and how they affected consumer perception.

 

And where better a place to start than with experiences serving to highlight a good cause? One of our favourite uses of experiential marketing is to help voices ring out strong and make long lasting connections with potential donors and volunteers.

 

 

German relief NGO Misereor’s “Charity Donation Billboard”

 

What is the number one block for most people when it comes to donating to a good cause?

Effort.

What’s the second biggest reason we don’t donate?

If something’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

 

This brilliant campaign by Misereor obliterated both of those problems – and made people feel good about themselves in an instant, interactive experience.

 

 

 

World Wildlife Fund’s #LastSelfie Snapchat Campaign

 

Sometimes the best way to make an impact and stand out from all the noise is to use your medium to its best advantage.

 

WWF did just this when they took advantage of Snapchat’s disappearing content essence to give viewers an emotional “oh snap” moment. By releasing the #LastSelfies of various endangered wildlife, WWF was able to drive home the fact that these beautiful creatures where disappearing as quickly as the snapchats exchanged everyday. They made the connection, and then gave the audience ways to help make a difference – because no one wants to just sit and watch amazing animals disappear.

 

 

 

 

WaterAid’s Hope Locker

 

Context is king, and WaterAid hit this on the head when they installed their Hope Lockers in the changing rooms of UK public pools. Swimmers paid a deposit of £1 to store their personal items in the lockers while they swam. When they came back the locker gave them the chance to donate that pound to WaterAid so that more people could enjoy safe, clean water like they just had.

 

Admittedly, there’s a bit of guilt being taken advantage of here. But once again, by asking for such a small amount, no one is going to feel exhorted. They are also more likely to donate a few times as the commitment is low.

 

 

 

 

What we love about experiential marketing is that it endeavours to communicate and connect with people on a personal level. This is achieved by few other marketing mediums.

There are no limits when creating magical experiences, so join us as we uncover experiential inspiration in this new series.

 

 

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Measuring Experiential Marketing Success

 

There’s no one size fits all solution to experiential marketing – in fact the whole point is to surprise and delight your target market with an out of the ordinary experience.

 

That doesn’t mean that you have to throw out all structure though. You still need more than a gut feeling to tell you at the end of a campaign whether it did well or not.

 

You also can’t just rely on the numbers, as without context, data is purely a jumble of numbers before you.

 

So where do you get your context from?

 

 

Set and (at least) meet your objectives

 

The first step to measuring success: Knowing what you’re measuring.

 

Set out clear and agreed upon objectives that the campaign needs to achieve, and keep these in mind at every point during the campaign. If you are focused on the outcomes you need all along the way, then you are more likely to actively achieve them.

 

You will also be able to tweak the campaign in the right directions as you go. All marketing is an organic activity, as it involves the ever-complicated variable that is human beings. It’s because of this fact that you can’t just put your plan into motion and meet it at the finish line – especially when it comes to experiential marketing. Keep your objectives in mind at all times and you will be able to change elements on the go to meet them.

 

 

Turn your experiential objectives into analytics

 

Often campaign reports are great to look at – seeing all those numbers jump up and all these varying achievements highlighted can make you see success before you even know what you’re looking at.

 

But soon those figures can feel very isolated from your objectives, leaving you feeling like the campaign objectives and the measured data are living on different planets. That’s why it’s important to translate your objectives into measurable analytics before the campaign even starts.

 

This will give the analytics context and purpose, and also remind everyone that the measurables are happening in real time throughout the campaign – not just a bunch of numbers tacked on at the end to convince finance that the budget was worth it.

Objectives guide your actions, but metrics tell you what actions to take.

 

Metrics revolve around numbers, tangible actions that can be counted – thus giving you a practical battle plan for carrying out your campaign.

 

 

Measure only what you need

 

With the abundance of data available at our fingertips these days, it can become incredibly tempting to cover everything when reporting back on a campaign. But what’s the point of knowing how many guys were wearing pink jerseys at a campaign that’s objective was to convert sorbet lovers to a new diary free ice cream brand?

 

Stick to the metrics you need and the learnings from the report will be like gold to everyone involved.

 

When it comes to measuring the success of an experience, just remember that context is what gives the data power. Bring in the metrics from the start and the focus provided by chasing the right results will guarantee a success.

 

 

 

 

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The Future of Experiential Marketing is Digital

 

Experiential marketing is often the first physical interaction your audience will have with your brand. It introduces the brand’s personality, and sets up a level of loyalty for all those who come into contact with an activation.

 

Some would say it’s a marketing regime rooted in physical experience – implying that it can be more readily included in traditional advertising strategy than digital. But who says a physical interaction has to be analog…or even strictly real?

 

 

Using digital tactics to enhance experience

 

When you think of the digital realm, what do you tend to think of? Websites, social media and everything you can capture inside your computer or smartphone’s screen? The most exciting digital advances are actually the ones that are breaking down those barriers and stepping into the world all around us – manipulating and enriching it.

 

Advancements in virtual and augmented reality are exciting opportunities for digital experiential marketing. Both allow you to take your brand to your market in a highly personal and interactive way.

 

Using virtual reality allows you to create a brand experience that’s only limits are your creativity and budget. When a potential customer is able to experience your brand without any outside distractions, they will be able to reach a level of connection with it that would otherwise take years to build.

 

Augmented reality, as another option, allows you inject a little of your brand’s magic into the world around your audience. You can either use this technology to add another visual layer to real life, or use it to add an information layer to a physical object. Customers love this tactic for its charming way of creating a secret world that only a few can access. Associate your brand as the key to this world and you will be well on your way to increased customer loyalty.

 

 

Make the link with social media

 

No marketing channel should ever live in isolation of its friends. Thus, social media has an important role in any activation – no matter how analog the activation might be.

 

There are simple ways to integrate social media into an activation, for example:

  • Link a photo booth to social media
  • Live streaming through Facebook, Twitter, on Instagram Stories or Snapchat
  • Photo competition of User Generated Content
  • Sharing and documenting of the activation on a branded hashtag

 

Also, the last resting place of any experiential marketing campaign should be online. By documenting the success of the activation and amplify its affect online in video form, you will give the experience a longevity it never could have had if it had in the physical realm alone.

 

 

With marketing working towards personalised, unique and out of the box brand experiences, there’s no better time to add a little digital magic to the experience of your brand.

 

 

 

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2017: The Year of Experiences

 

In an increasingly saturated space, it’s never been more important to make sure that your marketing strategy is first impactful, and second personalised.

 

The truth is that it’s a buyer’s market. It doesn’t matter your product or service, your target market has the upper hand – and that’s kind of exciting. It’s time for brands to woo…to take risks for big rewards and to innovate with their target market’s enjoyment in mind. Brands need to be after that big “Yes” from their customers in 2017, and work hard to get it.

 

 

Analytics have never been more important

 

How are you going to understand and accurately appeal to your target audience if you don’t have enough data on them? Gone are the days where half your advertising budget was wasted (and you never knew which half) – now you should be keeping an eye on whose interest you’re piquing, when, how, and if you’re eliciting the right reaction from them.

 

All the data is automatically captured now, either through the platform you’re using, or through a third party tool. If you’re not taking advantage of this fact, then not only are you doing your brand a huge disservice, but also giving all your competitors a ridiculously good advantage.

 

Understand your target audience as far as you can so that you can deliver exactly what they are looking for, at just the moment when they are looking for it – you’ll soon get to the point in your relationship where they are so used to associating the right moments or needs with your brand that you won’t have to work as hard to stay top-of-mind.

 

 

2017, the year of experiences

 

All communication needs to be interactive and visual

 

So you’ve discovered where your target market is and want to serve them content that will grab their attention. This is becoming increasingly difficult, with each year seeing audiences leaning closer and closer to wanting to be part of the action.

 

About 4 years ago, simple text statuses had the furthest reach and greatest engagement (mainly because data was very expensive and people where scared to lose it all loading images), but for the past 2 years, photos have won out over all other forms of content – signalling the start of brands needing to use proper content marketing to draw their audience in and entertain them, rather than simply inform them.

 

And in 2017? Video content is already on the rise and will only become progressively the order of the day from here on out, as people expect experiences from their favourite brands. Want to be properly innovative though? Integrate augmented reality or virtual reality into your strategy for the coming year – our audiences are no longer sitting back in their chairs, they want to live the content.

 

 

Real life will blend with digital (IoT)

 

What is IRL and what is digital? The line is blurring and hopefully it becomes even further smudged out in 2017. We have wearable tech tracking our every movement, apps that allow us to catch Pokemon in the world around us and adverts served to us on Facebook based on conversations we’ve only had out loud (tell me you haven’t?). You can fight it, or embrace it, but the digital world has begun to stitch itself perfectly into the physical world and has opened it up wider than ever before.

 

Expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to come increasingly closer to home in 2017, as innovative brands take on the task of breathing digital life into their products and services.

 

 

Social Buying will become a thing

 

Much like how the boundaries between the digital and the physical are breaking down, so is the segmentation within the web itself. Why lead your customers from one platform to the next to purchase something you showed them on the first one, but could only sell them on the next? Allow them to complete their customer journey quickly and succinctly wherever they are.

 

Remember, it’s all about the customer’s convenience of experience. People don’t want to have to click away from where they are and what they’re doing, especially on mobile. If they can see an item they like and buy it right there and then, brands are going to see those profits rise.

 

Currently, an important part of analytics for e-commerce sites is figuring out where you’re losing your customers who aren’t making it completely through the checkout process. The fewer steps to purchase, and the more options of how to purchase, the higher the likelihood of completed orders.

 

We’ve already seen Pinterest and Facebook flirt with social buying options, with Instagram starting to join the fray as well – it won’t be long before we can’t remember when we couldn’t conduct e-commerce on our social platforms.

 

 

Get personal (It’s ALL about your target market)

 

A brand that seems to understand and care about their audience is one that garners loyalty – ignore this and you might soon start to notice your brand’s conversation becoming very one-sided.

 

Consumers have figured just how much information you have on them at your fingertips, and because of that they want something back. Most tech-savvy customers will be willing to part with information if it means an improved and more personalised experience from their favourite brands.

 

Also, personalising a customer’s experience over simply targeting them with creepy accuracy will elicit a far more positive reaction and ultimately higher profits. Your target market are no longer nameless faceless LSMs, but individuals with interests and habits that should be informing your marketing strategy from its foundations.

 

 

TL:DR: 2017 is all about using the technology at your disposal to create personalised experiences to draw your audience in and increase profits.

 

 

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Knit Some Knockers for a Good Cause

 

You can imagine that a company called MATRIARCH would take an important month like Breast Cancer Awareness Month seriously – and we did. With the help of some very special knockers.

 

Our CSI Director, Mags Shapiro, came into contact with Knitted Knockers for the first time when she chatted to a lady sitting in our reception area, waiting for her granddaughter to finish a promotion. The woman was knitting a very interesting shape and Mags couldn’t help but ask what she was knitting.

 

The woman gleefully told her she was knitting a knocker… Mags questioned her a bit more (read about it here in Mags’ blog post) and brought the information about this great cause back to the team.

 

That was that, we were learning how to knit some knockers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

 

The Knitted Knockers Initiative

 

 

Started in America, knitted knockers are a knitted cotton prosthetic option for breast cancer survivors.

They are comfortable, washable and breathable, and best of all, are given freely to those needing them.

 

You can find out more about how to get involved in the South African branch of the initiative by visiting the Knitted Knockers website.

 

They make it as easy as possible to get knitting – you can buy Knitted Knocker kits for R50 that have everything you need, bar needles, and each kit makes at least one pair of beautiful knockers (depending on how ambitious you want to get with cup size).

 

 

So we knitted…and filmed it

 

Knitting may not really be our forte. So while we powered through a total of 16 knockers, we thought we’d help the cause in our own unique way as well. We went to work making a video tutorial version of the South African pattern, for Knitted Knockers SA to use to encourage as many knitters as possible (because we know how visual people are these days).

 

Matriarch Knitted Knockers

Knitted Knockers in Progress

 

 

We applaud all those involved in this great initiative. Just by getting our office involved in the knitting process, many opened up and discussed how they had been affected by breast cancer.

 

Never knitted before? We think there’s no better reason to try your hand at it…

 

 

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Why You Need to Invest in Your Employees

 

If you were given the choice between a trained surgeon and an untrained surgeon, who would you choose? What if I told you the cost of the untrained surgeon would be only 40% of that of the trained surgeon; would you still make the same choice?

 

Many companies and employees do not recognise the importance of employee training and often do not send their employees for the following reasons:

 

  • Cost
  • Employees claim to be too busy
  • Time spent out of the office causes delays in completing projects
  • The employee was trained when they first started, so why do they need more?

 

The truth is though, that with today’s ever changing world, if you do not keep up with current trends and technology then you will be out of the game.

 

 

Strengthen your workforce

Many employees have weaknesses in their workplace skills. By identifying these weaknesses and sending the employee for training, you will help to strengthen those skills, making the employee more knowledgeable and of greater value to the company.

 

Training is vital for a company’s development and success. Employees also stand to gain the following from further training:

 

  • Employees gain new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their confidence.
  • They’re upskilled to do new and different tasks, which keeps them motivated and fresh.
  • The training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay.
  • The team all has the same understanding of what is expected of them allowing them to meet the company’s expectations.
  • Because they’re being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them.

 

Sending your employees on regular training makes business sense. It may take some time before you see a return on your investment, but long-term gains make a difference. The short-term expense of training ensures you keep productive, well trained and motivated employees – and that is priceless!

 

So make sure you are the well-trained surgeon in your industry – the company with whom people want to do business, as well as the one to work for.

 

 

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Let’s Destroy The Communication Void

 

Ever sent off an email with a very clear question and the only feedback you received was the sound of crickets?

How about dropping everything to give someone information they urgently requested, or used your skills to help them out, only to never hear what the outcome was?

This is what I have come to start calling The Void. Anyone who’s worked near me over the years would have heard me “happily” “sending that off into the void!

 

Unfortunately it seems to be a hazard of the job for most people – we tend to compartmentalise and only communicate properly with someone while what we need to achieve involves them. It doesn’t tend to occur to most of us that people who were involved along the way would actually be interested in knowing how it turned out – or it just seems like way too much of a mission to go back and fill them in.

 

Information Ignites Passion and Investment

I’m going to speak from the experience of someone involved in content creation, but I’m pretty sure this is universal – the more someone explains a project or concept, the more likely I’m going to first understand exactly what’s needed, and then through that understanding, become invested in producing the best result I can.

On the other hand, if the extent of your explanation is one short, badly written email – let’s just say you will either get what that deserves, or a million questions emailed back at you in my own effort to try and get invested.

Let’s all acknowledge now that as much of a mission as it seems to communicate well the first time, back and forth is so much worse.

 

Not Communicating?

I’m coming to realise that a lack of good communication is more likely than not one of three things:

  • Laziness
  • Insecurity (in your grasp of the information, or of the person’s interest)
    Or
  • Arrogance (in believing your time is too valuable to spend on explaining)

 

We can all be guilty of one or more of the above reasons for bad communication from time to time, and the first step is to realise each time which one is motivating your tight lips.

It becomes weirdly simple from there to stop and change – because the reality is that bad communication is never a problem of a lack of a skill or talent. That’s why the first step in any habit-changing program is to “Acknowledge”…once you consciously realise you do something, or behave in a certain way, then you will start to notice every time you do it from then on, and be able to stop yourself.

Everyone can communicate well – it’s just our laziness, insecurity or arrogance that gets in our way.

Give yourself a challenge – spend one day properly explaining yourself and see just how effective your day will be. Enough to form a habit, maybe?

I can’t wait for that void to start shrinking…

 

 

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5 Tips to Become a Great Promoter

 

When it comes to activations, promoters should and can be a brand’s greatest asset. Sadly though, that means they also have the opportunity to be their greatest liability. A Brand Ambassador is often the only human link between a well-loved brand and a consumer. A great experience could win a consumer’s loyalty for life, while a bad experience could leave a terrible taste in a consumer’s mouth and turn them off the brand for good.

A positive connection between a brand and the consumer is something we at Matriarch take to heart, and so that’s why we asked some of our top Brand Ambassadors for their tips for anyone wanting to enter the exciting world of promoting.

 

Be Punctual

This really sounds like a no-brainer, but promoters who think it is ok to arrive 10, 20 even 30 minutes late for an established call time – whether it be for training, a briefing or the activation itself – don’t get called back for the good jobs. If you are taking public transport, rather aim to arrive an hour early and make yourself useful during set-up. Your Ops Manager will appreciate it and this will secure you a lot more work in the future.

 

Be Reliable

If you are unsure of whether or not you can actually work on a specified day, rather be honest with your Ops Manager or AE. They will appreciate the honesty and most of the time they will try to accommodate you anyway – there is a reason they selected you in the first place. Do not over-commit to working on too many projects and end up dropping the ball on your activation. This just results in your Ops Manager having to replace you last minute which is not good for the activation. This is a sure-fire way to lose out on any potential work down the line.

 

Be Prepared

If your Ops Manager has taken the time to prepare a brief, training document or product information then your job starts by being familiar with the material before you show up to work. This will show your Ops Manager that you are committed to the brand and activation, leading to them trusting you with more work going forward.

 

Return Your Elements (in good condition)

Often for the interest of time and convenience, promoters’ uniforms and activation elements are issued before the activation. It is then the promoter’s responsibility to return these elements in a timeous manner. All items should be returned as they were issued – washed, ironed, neat and clean. When an Account Executive has to follow up repeatedly about the return of these items – and worse, ends up having to replace the elements out of the project’s budget – then you won’t be the first choice for the next activation.

 

Be Present & Professional

Remember while working an activation that you are officially the brand for that allotted amount of time. It’s important to become the best version of the brand while facing the public – chewing gum, leaving your station unmanned, disrespecting consumers and chatting on your cell rather than being actively involved in the promotion are all big no-nos.

Word of mouth is your best ally – do well at one activation and the Ops Manager will take note and spread the word to the rest of their colleagues to use you again.

 

With that I wish you good luck on your journey to becoming a Matriarch Brand Ambassador! If you follow these steps your journey will be a fun, prosperous and lucrative one!

 

 

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A Call To Arms…

 

The world is in a mess. We are bombarded with bad news all day, every day. Poverty, prejudice, terrorism, crime. And that is not even taking into consideration the everyday little accidents that befall us all. WTF. Where did we go so horribly wrong?

We are living (supposedly) in the most progressive, forward-thinking, technologically advanced times in history. Yet we continually revert back to archaic behaviour. Pillage, plunder and destroy. Honestly, I ask you, have we lost our damn minds?

Now this isn’t a story about climate change, though we all know the sinking boat we’ve put ourselves in there, nor is it a story about just how awful human beings can be as a species.

 

No, this is a call to arms.

 

A challenge to all creatives to rise up and change the visual landscape that surrounds us. Destruction breeds more destruction. Just as misery loves company, so too does negativity. And negativity brings along with it, its ugly step-cousins hate, depression, insecurity and greed. The only elixir we have to undo all this bad, the magic Gummy-Berri juice of our times, is creativity.

 

Creativity allows us to believe in magic.

 

To believe in unicorns and rainbows and in a world where raindrops truly can turn into jelly tots. Creativity releases our true selves. The inner child who only wants to love and be loved in return. Creativity is kindness made visual and we all know this world could do with a lot more kindness. So pick up your brushes, your paints and your pens. Cover the world in colour and let us unite in a shared vision of regeneration. A regeneration of a world that believes in peace, in unity and in creation, not destruction.

 

Be bold.

 

Let us create the future as we wish to see it. Let us write fairy tales of hope. Not stories of once upon a time long long ago back in the good ol’ days, but stories of the future to aspire to. As creatives we have a responsibility to inspire beauty. We have the power to fuel a revolution of social change. So let’s start the fire and watch it burn bright and beautiful.

 

 

 

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Animator? Call me Victor Frankenstein

 

“Armed with the knowledge he has long been seeking, Victor spends months feverishly fashioning a creature out of old body parts.

One climactic night, in the secrecy of his apartment, he brings his creation to life…” – Sparknotes Editors, 2007.

 

All of us are familiar with the old tale of Victor Frankenstein bringing life to an inanimate object through the use of strong electric currents. Even though the vision of his monster frightened him, there was a sense of pride and accomplishment.

 

It is this same feeling that animators live for.

 

Though some may take offence at being called a mentally disturbed scientist, so for the more glitter and fluff loving animators, I will rephrase to rather envision us as magical visionaries in the art of movement, who are limited only by the boundaries of our own imagination.

We observe the world with whimsical wonder; absorbing all the movements, energy and emotions from our surroundings that most people take for granted. We are great observers of the finest details. One can even refer to us as detail addicts. I know I am.

 

The fun part is that we never grow up.

 

We forever harbour the child in us. The child that loved to play pretend and immerse themselves in different characters. Walt Disney once spoke the truest words – “Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature.”

When we are presented with the task of animating a character, we experience that thrill of a challenge to breathe life into the body parts on our “table”. We gain such excitement in the journey of becoming the character we want to create.

Think about it, our job is to go on imaginary adventures into a fantasy world where we lose ourselves in who our characters are to become. What its personality is like, what its emotions are, the energy it exudes, the food it likes, the way it walks, blinks, breathes – and even how it would groan if it should ever stump its little toe on that vindictive piece of furniture.

 

We have the joyful power of creating a life force for our characters.

 

Sure, we don’t electrocute them into living, breathing beings, but we do rely on electricity to make our creations. Having said that, John Lasseter’s words should always remind us that, “Computers don’t create computer animation any more than a pencil creates pencil animation. What creates computer animation is the artist.”

We are crazy experimental artists at heart. Most of us choose this career out of passion more than the pursuit of wealth. We just forever work towards that moment where hours of hard work finally lead to that favorite moment when we can jump up from our chair, throw our hands in the air and shout with pride:

 

“IT’S ALIVE!”

 

 

 

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A Dummies Guide to Dealing with Creatives

 

Today’s marketing world is a tough place for creatives.

 

Exceptional is expected on a daily basis. Brands are becoming braver and bolder in their approach to marketing. The creative department is under constant pressure to stay relevant and keep their clients ahead of the pack. Hamstrung by tight deadlines, brand specifications, lastminute.com requests, cryptic briefing etc. the list of challenges faced by a creative probably warrants its own step by step infographic, but my point in all this is that today’s creative is not given time to actually be creative.

Originality is a rare commodity but the rarest commodity of all is time. In order to be the “creative being of awesomeness” that they are required to be, they will need time to develop a winning campaign or concept, all while having a thorough understanding of how to roll it out in visual form.

 

The emails they receive at 6:15PM, because they are already working late finishing all the urgent jobs that have been piling up, containing the line: “I have an URGENT job that needs to be done by tomorrow first thing. It shouldn’t take you long cause you are so talented and quick and I know that you will make it look amazing!” do not inspire.

Especially when they worked all night to get it done and the next morning it comes out that it was only for 2PM that afternoon.

 

 

Nurture your creative team

 

Work to their strengths and know their weaknesses. Know where their passion lies and use it to your advantage. They need to feel as if their opinion and expertise are valued. Creatives are actually fragile creatures – basically they are the Worker Bees of the colony. If you leave them to fly in the sunshine and visit the flowerbeds, they will produce tasty honey.

 

Creatives invest themselves in their work and ultimately leave a little bit of who they are in every creation. So it is understandable that they are very passionate about the creative process and about doing the best work they possibly can.

 

 

Some insider information…

 

Having said all this, here are a few things to keep in mind for those who are working with or alongside the “Big dreaming, head in the clouds creatives”:

  1. They really do want to do awesome work for you; it’s all in the approach.
  2. Listen to their professional opinion before you force them to do it your way. They may have an idea you never even considered and they are, after all, getting paid for what they do because they know what they are doing.
  3. Value their “head in the clouds ideas” when they bring them up. These are not always available on command.
  4. Try to give them as much time as you can to deliver their best work within realistic deadlines. Teamwork on meeting a deadline will always get a better result.
    The more you push, the less they are likely to shoosh.
  5. Again, they really do want to do exceptional work, them giving you alternatives is not them just being difficult.
  6. Take their strengths and weaknesses into account before expecting something from them that might not be their strong point.
  7. A clear and comprehensive brief will always get you brownie points.
  8. Being a creative IS a REAL JOB. It is not just a talent they tap into, they have worked hard to get where they are. They are constantly learning and upskilling themselves to be better and stay current. They might be unique weirdos who don’t fit the “norm” but they do take what they do seriously and definitely do not ever want to be considered mediocre.

 

And with that, the ball is in your court keemosabis.

 

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Does the Face of Your Brand Speak its Language?

A mind-blowing campaign concept with flawless planning can fall flat if the face of the brand – the brand ambassador – is ineffective. Not only does a poorly trained brand ambassador yield little in terms of the much talked about Return on Investment, they can also have a hugely negative effect on a brand’s image, leaving behind more detrimental than good results.

We all know that consumers are quick to complain about bad experiences, which often results in brands losing even the most forgiving consumer, and can cost them an untold number of potential customers yet to even purchase a product. Now add the power of social media, and one bad experience can be shared hundreds of thousands of times, potentially causing massive damage.

Whether doing your grocery shopping, walking through a shopping mall, visiting an exhibition, playing a round of golf, or stopped at an intersection, consumers constantly cross paths with brand ambassadors. But how many of these interactions are meaningful, and actually achieve their objectives?

If, like me, you more often than not avoid these one-on-one interactions at all costs, then you are not alone. However, this is not due to the ineffectiveness of this form of marketing, but rather due to poor execution. We cannot underestimate the value of these face-to-face interactions, it allows brands to connect with their target market using all five senses, creating memorable experiences and forming emotional links, and it also enables more complex brand information to be communicated with ease. If activated correctly, experiential marketing is arguably the most powerful form of marketing.

 

Pennywise, Pound Foolish

Clients and agencies put enormous trust in brand ambassadors, and they can make or break a campaign. In today’s competitive environment and price wars, all too often the saying “you get what you pay for” rings true. I consistently come across brand ambassadors that are uninterested, not proactive, with little to no product knowledge. In more concerning instances, while acting as a mystery shopper auditing another company’s promoters for a client, I have been given completely incorrect information that could have had serious legal implications for a brand. In these instances, budget spent on these activations has been completely wasted and has put the brand at immense risk.

 

Don’t Compare Apples with Oranges

When comparing agency quotes, it is imperative that brand managers be more concerned with quality than price. As an agency we understand that it is our responsibility to give our brand ambassadors the tools required to perform exceptionally. The most important tool we can provide them with is training. Not only does this reinforce the fact that they are a valued member of our team, it empowers them and encourages them to be loyal and always give their best.

With this in mind our Training Manager, a SETA certified facilitator, developed a unique and intensive BA training academy module which equips our brand ambassadors with the knowledge to read their consumer, helping them to understand their wants and needs. This enables them to effectively upsell, provide awesome customer service, and ultimately afford the consumer an all-round positive brand experience. Our customised campaign specific training also drills down into product specific upselling skills, in-depth product training and thorough understanding of campaign objectives and mechanics.

Clients and agencies put enormous trust in brand ambassadors. The question brand custodians need to ask is: am I comfortable with entrusting my brand image to an individual that may or may not be effectively trained?

At Matriarch we fully understand that all the creative ideas and best laid plans can fall flat if not executed correctly.

Our clients can rest easy, knowing that if we have chosen a promoter to represent their brand, we have also entrusted our own name in that promoters hands – a brand we love, which we have taken almost 20 years to build.

 

 

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Pokemon Go: Sugar-Coated Reality

 

It came into the world so calmly, expecting to release slowly across the world and starting with only 3 countries.

 

Or so Niantic, the makers of Pokemon Go, expected. The Internet is a global community though, where country boundaries are more imaginary than ever. As streaming services like Netflix have discovered with proxies popping up all over the place, if the Internet wants something, just try and stop it happening.

 

 

Pokemon Go’s popularity is due to 3 key factors

 

Sometimes no one can guess what will be a success and what will flop before it even starts, but this game ticked off some very important boxes before venturing into the world:

 

  1. It dipped into a strongly nostalgic community.

 

  1. While appearing to mainly appeal to Pokemon fans, the game’s mechanics are general enough to be enjoyed by anyone.

 

  1. It surprises and delights players – taking their normal world and adding a little magic.

 

 

 

More social than you’d think

 

Since the first video game came onto the market, parents have complained about children becoming so absorbed in the game on their screen that they forget about the real world around them.

 

While, yes, there is a screen involved still, the very concept of this game requires that you get out and about. You also can’t easily cheat by driving, as a lot of the game’s mechanics require that you are moving at a speed less than 18kmph to function.

 

Hello fresh air.

 

On top of the exercise element, the Pokestops – where you replenish supplies in game – are all public landmarks. This means that groups start to gather and once everyone starts noticing that they’re all there for the same reason, conversations start to happen.

 

Augmented reality in more ways than one, don’t you think? The fact that the game actually requires YOU to interact with the world in order for it to also interact with it, is something magical that most games can’t achieve.

 

 

It’s all about the gateway to entry

 

No one can accurately predict viral phenomenon, but make something exclusive, or have people jump through too many hoops to enjoy your product and you can pretty accurately predict the lack of virility there.

 

The more general the game, the wider your audience. This is an interesting thought for the marketing profession, because it goes against the traditional thinking of target markets. Marketers are told to have a picture in their head of their ideal customer, and market to them to reach their target audience.

 

But the true successes are inclusive. Think Angry Birds, think any collectables from grocery stores, and now add Pokemon Go to the list. The runaway trends are the ones that almost anyone can partake in.

 

It just makes sense really – it doesn’t even come down to the normal qualifiers of interests or lifestyle. The real name of the game is accessibility. Make it convenient to join in, and eventually most people will “try it out” to “see what all the fuss is about” and your success is made.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Day in the Life of an Activations Manager

No one could ever accuse life in activations of being boring. In fact, that is one of the things I love most about my job – every day is different, even activations we have done many times have enough variables for things to be completely different each time. There is something very special about taking the smallest nugget of an idea or brief from client, and managing its development through to the big day – ACTIVATION DAY!

There is always so much excitement the day before an activation. We hope that all the months of planning result in something truly wonderful for our clients and that they get the return on investment that they hope for.

 

So as we settle in for a (restless) night’s sleep, we await the morning…

 

04:00 – Alarm goes off.

 

04:10 – Snooze alarm goes off, get out of bed.

 

05:00 – Leave home.

 

05:15 – Fetch promoters at the office.

 

05:30 – Fetch last 2 promoters at another general point, as they couldn’t get to the office in time due to no public transport at this hour.

 

05:40 – We are on our way!

 

06:30 – Arrive at destination XYZ.

 

06:35 – Find site manager, introduce myself, and find out where to set up.

 

06:45 – Manage our amazing Ops Team in setting up an assortment of Bedouin tents, gazebos, giant inflatables, table, branding, banners, etc.

 

07:00 – While this is going on, I need to round up my promoters. I will assign them to their posts, ensure that they are in optimal condition to offer their very best service to us and the client!

 

08:00 – By now the set-up is pretty much complete, bar a few changes that might need to be made, or crises to be averted – generator won’t start, weather issues, a vital piece of equipment in the wrong vehicle, etc.

 

08:30 – It is go time – the activation is about to start. Why does it feel like I have had a full day already?

 

09:00 – Time for me to grab a cup of coffee. First time I’ve had a minute to myself all day! This is when I usually work out a break schedule for my hard-working promoters. To ensure that they remain energetic and enthusiastic all day, we need to ensure that they are drinking enough water and that they have at least 1 break to eat a hearty meal.

 

09:00 – 15:00 – The activation is in full swing. The promoters are on top of their game, running the activation exactly how they were trained. This is why we insist on using promoters that have not only been through our training academy, but also attended an activation specific briefing the week before the activation. This eliminates any confusion on the day.

A prepared team is a well-oiled team.

The less margin for error we have, the more successful the activation on the day. As the Activations Manager, my job is to manage any consumer queries that are out of the ordinary, settle any issues that may arise and ensure that the activation area is spotless and professional all day. I am also there to interact with the client should they wish to visit the activation on the day. The Ops Team is at the ready all day – they are there to replenish stock, supply giveaways, maintain the cleanliness of the area and assist with any heavy lifting. They are usually available on a 2 way radio, which is most effective for a busy activation where cell phone network connectivity could be compromised.

 

15:00 – This is when the Ops Team start to evaluate how much stock and giveaways they are bringing out. With just a few hours of the day left they need to make sure we have enough supplies at the ready, but not too many to make packing up a big deal.

 

16:00 – This is when we the team gets a powerful surge of energy before the completion of the activation. This is the time to really push the activation objectives, and ensure that we have reached EVERYBODY that we possibly could have. This is the make-or-break time of the activation!

 

17:00 – Time to pack up. By now, the whole team has really bonded over the course of the day. Everyone gets stuck in to ensure a quick, efficient set down. Once all the small elements are packed away, promoters go to change out of their uniforms, with the Ops Team tackling the big elements.

 

18:00 – The site is empty, the sun has gone down, and it is time for me to find the event organizer, offer my thanks for a great day, and get out of there.

 

19:30 – Drop promoters off at home/at the office for their transport.

 

20:00 – Arrive home exhausted, wind-swept, possibly sunburnt, but with a feeling of great accomplishment. Once I have soaked my weary bones and had a bite to eat, I fall into bed with a happy heart and enjoy a well-earned rest.

 

Depending on the duration of the activation, that alarm may be set for 04:00 for tomorrow again!

 

 

 

 

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