Audience members at the Providence Performing Arts Center have a new choice: to tweet or not to tweet during the show. The theater is now setting aside a small number of seats in the back of the venue for individuals who promise to live-tweet from the performance using a special hashtag.
What was once considered taboo (using your Smartphone during a show) is now completely acceptable at a growing number of theaters, including some on Broadway. Advocates for this new option claim that communicating their experience via Twitter or other social-media outlets “makes it feel a lot more personal” and consider the new trend a valuable tool in today’s digital world.
National Public Radio’s PLANET MONEY’s podcast titled “Can a Poor Country Start Over?” showcases a true story about two very different individuals with the same dream, and how a communication breakdown destroyed their world-changing project and personal relationship.
The two men are Paul Romer, a world famous North American economist, and Octavio Sanchez, chief of staff to the president of Honduras. Independently, they believe to have found the answer to one of the oldest, most challenging problems in economics: How to help poor countries become richer. Paul and Octavio believe to have discovered the magic formula to raise the world out of poverty one “Charter City” at a time.
On the podcast, we find out what happens when the two men try to make their great idea a reality.
Earlier this year, I blogged about a model, Ryan Langstrom, a child with special needs, who was featured in ads for Target and Nordstrom. What I found to be remarkable was that, other than having the child in the fashion layout, they did nothing to further call attention to that inclusion, no additional retail or philanthropic call-to-action. Such subtlety speaks volumes about the strides the advertising world has taken to actually understand their audiences. Audiences are real people, and they want to see themselves represented. And it seems that message is coming through loud and clear.
These inclusive tendencies are carrying over to the world of children’s fashion. Valetina Guerrero, a girl with Down syndrome, made her debut as the face of Spanish swimwear, DC Kids, 2013 children’s swimwear collection.
Veering sharply from their long-held position that Spanish is the best way to reach Hispanics in the U.S., Univision has joined with ABC in creating an English-language TV network and digital platform for Hispanics in the United States.
This shift in programming, from Spanish-language to English-language, marks a major strategic change for Univision. For many years, the network (and countless other marketing groups) have held fast to the belief that the best way to reach the Hispanic market is by using the Spanish-language. And it has been, until now.
So what has changed Univision’s mindset? Why mess with a winning formula after so many years of success?
It is evident from this joint venture that Univision has studied all the recent reports and realizes that the Hispanic market is shifting. This cultural change within the Latino community is a result of the population shifting from being predominantly foreign-born, Spanish-language speaking to native-born, English-language speaking.
Over the last several years, Univision Consumer Insights Research has studied the influence that the Hispanic culture has had on consumers. These studies have helped to create a metric, the Cultural Connection Index, measuring the importance and influence that family, heritage and community have on U.S. Hispanics.
Based on the findings, it is evident that these cultural connections influence all aspects of life, from purchasing behaviors to technology usage to social interactions. It is obvious that Hispanics who have strong cultural and family bonds weave those bonds through all areas of their lives.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
● 63% of Hispanic Millennials ranked as “high” or “medium” in their cultural connectedness
● 42% use Facebook or Twitter to check out advertised brands
● 57% prefer to shop with family
● 73% browse at stores or malls for entertainment
● Millennial Hispanic women are more culturally connected than their male counterparts, average score of 72 v. 68
If your company is working to target mothers, then social media is a channel you shouldn’t underestimate. A recent study on social media usage and behavior from Performics found that not only are mothers significantly more active than other women on social networks, they are significantly more likely to trust information they receive from companies through social networking sites.
But it doesn’t stop there. The study found that trust leads to more sales since mothers are 45% more likely to make a purchase as a result of a recommendation on a social networking site than other women. The top industries include:
• Apparel: Mothers are 54% more likely to make an apparel purchase.
• Automobile: Mothers are 64% more likely to make an automobile purchase.
• Travel: Mothers are 46% more likely to make a travel purchase.
The study also indicates that mothers like to champion their favorite brands online and are more likely than other women to recommend, discuss, link to and share a company/brand.
But before your company runs out and joins every social network willy-nilly, here are some things you should consider:
• Doing your research. What are brands similar to yours doing? What content would moms find entertaining or useful?
Last night I watched a few episodes of the new AMC show, The Pitch, which I had DVR’d merely out of curiousity to see how cable programming would choose to represent the advertising industry. Not surprisingly it did what all reality television does best, caricaturize and summarize an industry (people, place, what have you) down to a Cliff’s Notes companion. A diet-friendly version for the voracious masses. In watching The Pitch, I was quickly reminded just how little reality goes into reality programming and the few episodes I watched were, for lack of a better descriptor, dull.
Why so dull? What was missing?
Everything! The episodes were consistent with their lack of anything interesting, including, but certainly not limited to, diversity, creativity and substance. The show portrays a business model with those at the top of the creative food chain asking the junior members to do the majority of the “hunting and gathering”…and then they quickly dismiss their ideas while supplying none of their own. While this is commonplace and not exclusive to the ad industry, is this something that really needs to be shown to potential clients? And where are the rest of the people? Media Buyers, Account Executives, Graphic Designers…sorry, apparently your jobs are not part of The Pitch, though all of your work goes into selling it.
How many times can the same thing be written? It seems that the topic of conversation in every publication or blog over the last few months has been about how to reach the youth market. This marketing attempt at a “youth invasion” is nearly always focused on the integration of social media into existing campaigns.
So with all that said, how refreshing is it to see Fast Company’s article, Millennials Don’t Think Like Their Parents. How Do You Design For Them?
The magazine hits this over-hit topic from a new angle by specifically focusing on Chevy’s efforts to reach this demographic through its automotive design aesthetic. Chevy has spent significant dollars and time studying Millennials and has run numerous small and creative campaigns to learn more about them.
So what did they learn?
To sum up Chevy’s “youth guru”, John McFarland, Millennials are more interested in the sum of the whole than their Gen X predecessors. So what does this mean? It means that Millennials aren’t the rebels that Gen Xers were, that the current youth market is content to integrate their own identities with those that came before.
Marketing to Hispanics is an extremely lucrative proposition. Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the past ten years, and are projected to control $1.5 trillion dollars in spending power by 2015. It should be no secret that the Hispanic marketing has the opportunity of a huge payoff for U.S. businesses.
At the same time, advertisers have to better know exactly who in the Hispanic market they are aiming for because a recent report from the Pew Research Center shows Hispanics have very different views of their identity based not only upon country of origin, but also upon acculturation levels.
In fact, even the labels of “Hispanic” and “Latino” that were thrust upon those of Spanish-speaking countries by the U.S. government haven’t been fully embraced. Rather than Hispanic or Latino, 51% say they most often use their family’s country of origin to describe their identity. That includes terms such as “Cuban” and “Mexican.”
Acculturation levels accounted for differences in how Hispanics saw themselves:
• Only 34% of foreign-born Hispanics saw themselves as similiar to other typical Americans, while 66% of U.S. born Hispanics said they were a typical American.
Using a pointed and, frankly. brilliant social experiment/recruiting gimmick, the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) rolled out a campaign addressing the lack of value that is inherent with social media armchair activism. While clicking the like button or sharing the issue does increase awareness of the issue and give the sharer the warm fuzzies, it does not actually do anything to solve the issue.
The very core of the SAF campaign addresses this passive activism and asks the audience to give up something real, to not just pass the word along. Why is this important? At the very heart of what the SAF is looking for in a recruit is someone who is willing to take real action, not just remain idle from a safe distance. A soldier is someone who is willing to sacrifice their comfort and convenience for the sake of another.
A small room was built in central Stockholm and a man was seated inside, waiting. The rule was that he could not leave until there was someone there to replace him. Print and digital ads accompanied the campaign, explaining that the liberation of one means the sacrifice of another. A live stream was set up of the one-chair room with nothing for viewers to do but monitor the single volunteer. For a campaign that intentionally left out any social media prompts, it reached 100,000 visitors in only 4 days and sparked a tremendous amount of online conversation.
About the Book
If you could grow your business simply by marketing to your existing customers, making money would be a cakewalk. But to generate new revenue, you have to win over the customers you’re not getting. Who are these mystery customers? How are they different from your current clientele? Most importantly, how do you forge a bond with them across these differences?
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