Internet of Things: Beacons Panel

On February 10th I was a part of a Media Post panel discussing the Internet of Things and how beacons can be leveraged by brands to create value.

The discussion focused on going beyond the beacon trigger and creating new models of in-store creative advertising that connect physical to digital. We touched on strategy, creative, technology and best practices.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Here is a quick breakdown of topics I address:

  • Introduction – The Marketing Arm – 1:22-1:53
  • Dealing with complexity of omnichannel – 2:36-3:58
  • Deeper dive into beacon deployment – 3:58-6:24
  • Creating something new – 11:07-13:00
  • Program Case Study – 14:47-17:43
  • Internal Agency Relationships – 25:38-27:12
  • Database of You – 32:32-33:25
  • Content – 36:24-38:22
  • Future State – 41:14-42:16
  • Leveraging Data – 49:02-49:41

Here is the formal description of the panel.

Advertising on the relatively small smartphone screen has hardly been a hit to date. Once initiated by a beacon signal, what creative will work best? What is the role of post-beaconing, such as sending ad messaging well after leaving a store? What about using past beaconing knowledge to drive foot traffic back to a store? What are consumer expectations from in-store engagements? What future creative options might be used to catch the shopper’s eye? Three creative minds discuss the best beacon-triggered creative approaches for in-store mobile marketing and mobile advertising.

The panel consisted of:

Ian Beacraft (Moderator), Manager, New and Emerging Technologies, Leo Burnett @ianbcraft

Ben Murphy, Director of Technology, FCB Chicago

Scott Varland, Creative Director, IPG Media Lab @scottiev

Tom Edwards, EVP Digital Strategy & Innovation, The Marketing Arm

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5 Reasons for Brands to Try Snapchat in 2015

This is a full repost of my recent iMedia Connection Cover Story.

Each year I like to dive into a specific platform that will make an impact for brands in the coming year. 2014 was the year of Tumblr. This prediction came true as TechCrunch recently released data that shows that Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social platform.

Tumblr growth

Heading into 2015, Snapchat is the fastest growing social app. I have received numerous client requests for POV’s on the platform and I was recently briefed by the Snapchat team. What they unveiled takes the platform to the next level for brands interested in reaching the 14-28 year old demo in 2015.

Snapchat is already the fastest growing social app heading into 2015

snapchat growth

According to Business Insider, Nearly Half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat

biisnapchatedisonresearch

OVERVIEW & STATS

Snapchat launched in 2011 with a heavy emphasis on teen and 20-something users and has quickly gained traction over the past few years. Snapchat’s sweet spot is between 14-28 with a slight female lean. The numbers are impressive, including the fact that almost 50% of US users aged 12-24 have tried Snapchat. They now sit at 100 million active users with 50 million in the US.

Snapchat-logo

When it comes to frequency of use, the platform is even more impressive as 60% of the active users are on the app daily with frequency numbers as high as 22x per day.

For those not familiar with Snapchat, one of the unique elements of the platform is that content “disappears” after a short period of time that is set by the content creator. Users also have the ability to “doodle” directly on the content to quickly personalize the content.

Users can set a timer for when their content will vanish

snapchat timer

Users can doodle, add filters and comment on top of content

dogsnapchat

Here is a Snapchat infographic that our team developed in 2013. You can see the explosive growth since then.

final_infographici

If that was not enough, there are over 700 million snaps sent everyday. One of the key behavioral factors is tied to the fact that there is a sense of urgency with the content as it will eventually disappear.

HOW CAN BRANDS USE SNAPCHAT?

When it comes to the various use cases of Snapchat, users can chat with one-to-one messaging and live video chat, they can consume a feed of directly sent snaps and messages from friends, capture photo and video (filter, doodle, caption) and they can interact with the story feed.

While some brands go the route of directly sending and feeding snaps and messages, one of the key areas of focus recently has been tied to the “story” feed.

Here is an example from Taco Bell showcasing new products directly to their followers.

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The My Stories feature was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most popular features within the app.  My Stories allows users to link multiple snaps together over a 24 hour period. This feature alone is driving over 1 billion views a day and has become the go to for brands emphasizing a 1 to many strategy on the platform vs. 1:1 messaging.

Here is an example of McDonald’s using multiple snaps to reveal a new product.

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Snapchat and Advertising

When it comes to an approach to advertising, Snapchat is more like buzzfeed than Facebook. They focus on contextual relevance of the content to drive impressions vs. a highly targeted approach. Both have their pros and cons, but Snapchat recommends relevance and authenticity are the keys to success when it comes to advertising within their platform. They have recently introduced the ability to position sponsored content in the friend feed. From a viewability standpoint, they count a view as 2 seconds of consumption.

Here is an example of sponsored content from the recent Ouija movie.

Snapchat_FirstAdLong

WHAT’S NEW HEADING INTO 2015?

Our Story | One of the latest additions and one of the bigger brand opportunities is tied to the new Our Story offering. Our Story is a location based collaborative story that leverages content from the event and allows others not attending to directly experience the event. A user attending the event has ability to upload a photo or video snap and Snapchat drops a wi-fi geofence around the event. Content is then aggregated and The Our Story content prompt is located in the story feed and is next to friend content.

There is also an opportunity for brands to “sponsor” Our Story events. This comes to life in the form of interstitial content that wraps the user generated content and clearly identifies the sponsor. One key point to consider with this type of offering is to leverage authentic event content vs. pre-produced content. This better aligns the message and makes it more contextually relevant.

Here is an example from Samsung tied to the recent American Music Awards Show

ama-our-story

What’s New?

Peer-to-Peer Payments | Recently, Snapchat partnered with Square to release a prototype that allowed users to store their debit card via square and the users could quickly process a payment and send cash to a friend’s bank account simply through the chat feature. Users could type the dollar sign, an amount and hit the green button. It is available in the US to those with a debit care and are 18 or older.

Screenshot 2014-12-02 14.21.01

Snapchat Discover | It was recently reported by multiple media outlets that Snapchat is in negotiations with Comedy Central, Spotify, Vice and other media publishers for the upcoming launch of Discover. Discover will most likely serve users articles, music and videos produced by media companies. This will create an additional avenue to drive contextually relevant native advertising to further monetize the platform.

Snapchat discover

With it’s diversity of use cases, easy of use, sense of urgency and focus on enabling brands and partnerships, Snapchat is primed to have a very big 2015.

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ESPN Sportscenter App Rebrand Strategy Analysis

I was recently asked by Mobile Marketer to provide commentary and analysis about the recently announced efforts by ESPN to rebrand the SportsCenter app and the potential implications and benefits that this type of rebranding may provide.

(Mobile Marketer) Why is ESPN: SportsCenter app to be renamed “ESPN”?

ESPN is looking to unify all of their digital properties into a single brand. They are looking to unify the website, mobile experience and mobile app and allowing for greater personalization by the consumer.

(MM) To what extent is the rebranding across all these properties an effort to reach consumers across the full range of mobile platforms?

ESPN is taking the next step to provide a unified experience that is designed to be frictionless across devices and ultimately allow the consumer the ability to personalize the experience based on interests and affinity to their favorite sports and teams. This approach can be compelling for fans and consumers as the experience is the same across devices and the more contextually relevant the experience, the greater potential to maintain the interest of the consumer.

(MM) What is the implication for mobile marketing?

By providing a more contextually relevant experience that is unified across platforms, ESPN is setting the stage to maximize their reach with consumers and provide an always on solution that is consistent and personalized.

From a mobile marketing perspective, by offering personalization in exchange for a profile of the individual, they can begin to map multi-channel usage behaviors which can provide insights into how to further connect with their consumers and apply greater relevance to their ad products and partnerships.

(MM) Why is it so important to allow users to select the sports content they want?

Self-selected and curated content is the new normal when it comes to consumer behavior and entertainment. Combine that with a fans affinity for content about their favorite teams and it is important for content providers to allow users to control the experience. This freedom and access can lead to increased frequency and retention if the content is compelling and relevant.

ESPN SportsCenter app rebranding boosts mobile consumers’ power to choose content - Mobile Marketer - Media

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Do Snack Brands Need Content?

I was recently asked by Mobile Commerce Daily to provide commentary if Snack brands need meaningful content to drive in-store purchases via social. Below are my full responses to the various topics discussed.

(Mobile Commerce Daily) To what extent are food and snacks CPG brands starting to understand and activate social media within the purchase funnel?

Social media has been an integral part of the marketing mix for CPG brands for some time now. CPG social strategy has evolved with the evolution of social platforms and shifting consumer behaviors. Many platforms such as Facebook are shifting away from engagement as a primary metric and focused on reach, resonance and reaction, which aligns social media activation further down the purchase funnel.

(MCD) What are the challenges CPG companies face in leveraging social media to drive purchases?

The snack category is highly dependent on context and timing. With the convergence of social, mobile and digital and the focus shifting to targeted cross screen engagement, there is a renewed interest in aligning digital, physical and data to impact purchase decisions.

(MCD) Besides motivating purchases, what additional benefits/negatives in terms of consumer engagement does a social campaign bring the CPG company?

Social centric campaigns allow brands to deepen their connection with their consumers, empower them to help drive the brand forward (Doritos Legion of the Bold and Do Us A Flavor), impact brand perception and for a number of brands provide impactful reach through social engagement.

(MCD) What are some examples of top food and snacks CPG companies that have effectively leveraged social to drive consumers deeper into the purchase funnel?

Frito-Lay is a company that is continually looking to leverage social as a means to drive consumers further into the purchase funnel. Whether it is a brand campaign that empowers consumers such as Lay’s Do Us a Flavor, or it is creating a community of brand advocates like Doritos Legion of the bold, or connecting in-store elements seamlessly into socially centric campaigns, Frito-Lay is approaching social in a smart and relevant way that connects with consumers and ultimately impacts purchase.

(MCD) What’s your favorite example of a food and snacks CPG social campaign that drove purchases?

My favorite examples are Lay’s Do Us a Flavor and Doritos Crash the Superbowl programs.

Snacks brands need meaningful content to drive in-store purchases via social - Mobile Marketer - Advertising 2014-11-09 21-34-09

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Wearables & The Quantified Self Movement

I was recently asked by ADWEEK about opportunities for brands and fitness wearables. The discussion focused on utility and the future of the quantified self movement and whether hardware or software is the way to go. The final portion of the conversation was focused on fashion vs. function and the importance of aesthetics for mass adoption. Below is my full commentary.

Brands and Utility

For the right brand there is a significant opportunity to capitalize on the quantified self movement and create new streams of revenue. Market analysts project significant upside for wearable tech over the next few years.

biiwearablesmktsz
SOURCE Business Insider

The value for brands comes in the form of ongoing engagement and value to the consumer. By providing active utility the brand is taking something that used to provide a passive function and unlocks behavioral patterns of the consumer, activity and in some cases emotional data and any positive results can be equated with the brand.

que-son-wearables-android-wear-esta-aqui-L-sDN62C

The other point to consider is the quantified self data and utility will ultimately be a part of a larger connected ecosystem. In the near future data from a fitness tracker can coincide with smart grid technology to predict your needs. An example would be you just returned from a long run, your tracker communicates with your smart fridge and it prepares to dispense your favorite after work out beverage while ordering more via a real time delivery service such as Amazon Fresh.

Predictive

Hardware vs. Software

Brands like Nike were at the forefront of the quantified self movement. The Fuel band resonated with innovators and early consumer adopters. With success came competition from device manufacturers that had a longer heritage and provided additional utility. They expanded beyond fitness to include emotional measurement, sleep sensors, etc… which began to move away from the Nike value proposition. The learning from this was the real value was less in the hardware and more in the data collected and the visualization of results.

Nike_Fuel_Band

The industry shift that brands like Nike see on the horizon is the shift from hardware and more around software and data. What this means is that brands like Nike see the day coming soon where it is less about the hardware and more about sharing and visualizing the data that is collected through whatever the device, be it smart clothing, watches, glasses, etc… and making thier API’s available.

Photo Jul 17, 12 05 49 PM

Fashion vs. Function

One of the primary barriers associated with wearables has been tied closely to aesthetics. A rubber bracelet that glows is not always the ideal choice for the fashion conscious. And for the early & late majority of consumer adopters, going beyond simple utility will be important for mass adoption.

wearables

Recent studies have shown that women outnumber men among prospective buyers of wearable technology devices. What I see happening in the short term are a number of partnerships such as the announced Tory Burch and Fitbit partnership or cross-industry hiring, similar to Apple hiring Burberry’s former CEO to bridge the gap between aesthetic form and function.

Tory Burch & Fitbit Partnership
Fitbit & Tory Burch

Here is a link to the ADWEEK commentary

Adweek.jpg

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World Cup Real Time Marketing Win = Snickers

Over the past few years the brands that can seamlessly inject themselves into real-time events in a relevant and often funny way are normally the winners of the never ending PR game. The World Cup is no exception. During yesterday’s Uruguay v Italy match, Uruguay’s star Luis Suarez is believed to have bitten an Italian player and this served as the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with a global moment by injecting a bit of the Snickers brand into the conversation.

Snickers Italian

I am very proud of my TMA/Fanscape social team in NYC. They worked closely with the BBDO & Mars team to inject a little Snickers branded fun into the #LUISSUAREZ conversation. Snickers is all about the fact that you are not you when you are hungry.

This led to pickups in both Mashable & AdWeek (See below). A lot of work goes into the creation of a single real-time message and I am proud of the structure that we have put in place between the TMA/Fanscape team, BBDO and the Mars client.

Mashable

mashable.jpg

Adweek

Big Brands React to Luis Suarez’s World Cup Biting Incident | Adweek 2014-06-24 22-40-09

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What the #SelfieRevolution Means for Brands

Recently, I contributed commentary (pages 8 & 9) to a whitepaper published by The Marketing Arm/Fanscape team. The white paper dives into the psychology of what the #SelfieRevolution means for Brands.

Here is a #Selfie approving the #SelfieRevolution content

Photo Jun 06, 2 19 53 PM (1)

Other topics covered are the nuances that make up a Selfie, exploring the psychology, why brands should care and examples of brands that are capitalizing on the Selfie phenomenon.

Here is the #SelfieRevolution whitepaper via Slideshare.

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Risks and Rewards of User Generated Content Sound Bite

Recently, I participated in a webinar discussing the risks and rewards of user generated content. Below are a few of the sound bites covering topics such as:

1) What role does user generated content (UGC) play in your client’s content strategy?
2) What advice would you give a marketer starting out with UGC?
3) How do you get audiences to submit quality UGC?
4) How has UGC been more successful than brand content?

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Apple + Beats = Smart Headphones?

I was recently asked by Mobile Marketer to provide commentary on the acquisition of Beats Electronics by Apple. The discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges that Apple may face as well as addressing if the Beats acquisition is the next step to bring Apple’s recent Smart Headphone patent to life through an existing and established brand. One other point of discussion is tied to Apple potentially integrating the Beats curated playlist model to further build out their streaming capabilities.

Apple & Beats

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Rewards and Risks of UGC Webinar Video

On April 30th I participated in a webinar with the head of global social for Levi’s as well as the legal counsel for Thismoment. We discussed the rewards and risks of UGC and our view on best practices for getting started with UGC. My commentary starts around the 14:29 and continues throughout the remainder of the webinar.

UGC Webinar 2014-05-01 21-12-04

Here is the Full Rewards and Risks of User Generated Content Webinar

 

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SXSW 2014: Grumpy Cat & Thismoment

Yet another SXSW has come and gone. From meeting Grumpy Cat to key meetings with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc… The days in Austin are fast paced and full of inspiration, innovation and solidifying partnerships.

Grumpy Cat #HolyShrimp

Reviewing pre-release technology is another benefit of SXSW and I had the opportunity to review key updates to the Mass Relevance platform as well as a preview of Thismoment’s Content Cloud solution.

As part of the process I was also interviewed by the Thismoment team discussing content distribution and my initial reactions to their Content Cloud solution.

Here is the video:

Screenshot 2014-03-19 16.13.57

Definitely looking forward to another return to Austin in 2015.

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6 Latest Trends In Marketing Technology

This morning my new article the 6 latest trends in marketing technology is the cover story for iMedia Connection.

The article reviews 6 key industry trends such as collaborative commerce, curation, second screen & social TV, rich social media, crowdsourcing & social + CRM as well as partners and products that bring it all together.

Tom Edwards

A quick follow-up… I wanted to thank everyone for the great support of this article as it just hit #1.

Screenshot 2013-10-31 14.50.33
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