Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Watch Out for the QR Invasion!

If you are curious about the rise in QR codes and their use in marketing efforts, check out this infographic from JumpScan. In order to get the most benefit from QR codes, it is essential for marketers to understand exactly who is scanning them and what tools they are using. 

P.S. Every QR code in this infographic can be scanned for more information! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

QR Code Appears in Colbert's "Friday" Performance

On April Fools' Day, Stephen Colbert teamed up with Jimmy Fallon  to perform  a rendition of Rebecca Black's song "Friday" on Fallon's late night show. Taylor Hicks, past American Idol winner, also joined Colbert and Fallon for the over-the-top performance. The whole shenanigan originated from a friendly fundraising feud between Colbert and Fallon. The performance was a reward to Fallon's viewers for donating money to  Viewers of the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show surpassed expectations by donating more than $86,000 to the charity which assists classrooms in need. So, as promised, Colbert delivered a live performance of "Friday".

Did you notice the guy in the back holding up a big Quick Response (QR) code? QR codes have become more and more prevalent in print advertising and in-store displays, but their use on live television broadcasts is relatively new. The QR code during this performance on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show led viewers to a video of Fallon thanking people for donating. In that video, Fallon held up another QR code which led to a separate video where Fallon displays the contents of his desk drawers. That video featured yet another QR code guiding viewers to a third video where Fallon discusses upcoming content for the show. 

While this may seem like a waste of energy to some, I think that it is a creative use of the QR code. Each time someone scans one of the codes, they arrive on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" website which is embedded in the NBC Universal website. Once on the site, it's likely that viewers will explore the site content beyond the short QR code videos, a feat which marketers are constantly trying new ways to accomplish. However, Fallon could have maximized the benefit from these QR codes by providing more valuable content in the bonus videos. Rather than fluff, Fallon could have offered up behind-the-scenes clips of that night's show or a bonus skit with Colbert. Viewers who were unimpressed by the special QR code video are unlikely to scan future QR codes used on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". On the flip side, viewers who found value in the QR code content are more likely to share the link with their social networks and scan future codes. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

OK Go: Masters of Viral Videos

As Internet marketing becomes more widespread, marketing professionals obsess over creating Web content that goes 'viral'. Unfortunately, marketers have little control over whether or not their content spreads like wildfire throughout the Internet, thus earning the honor of being referred to as viral. Consumers yield the power to turn content that is tucked away in a little corner of the Internet into the 'next big thing.' The two simplest ways to make sure content is pre-disposed to going viral is to create content that is entertaining or valuable to consumers. The band OK Go has mastered the art of creating entertaining music videos that quickly reach the viral status. 

OK Go, a funky power pop quartet formed in 1998, remained relatively unknown until 2005. During that year, the band created a low-budget music video for their song "A Million Ways." They filmed themselves in the backyard of a band member performing a choreographed dance to the song and sent the video out to some friends. Within a few months, both the video and OK Go became Internet sensations. 

In 2006, the band released yet another creative low-budget music video featuring the song "Here It Goes Again."  For this video, the band performs a complex dance on treadmills. With more than 5 million views, the music video for "Here It Goes Again" help catapult OK Go into the national spotlight. The viral video even earned the band a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video in 2007.

OK Go continues to generate viral music videos. I've included the videos for both "A Million Ways"  and "Here It Goes Again" , but you can see all of the band's music videos on their website. By creating entertaining and unique content, OK Go created a name for themselves on a tight budget via the Internet and viral videos. Their success with viral videos should be provide a clue to marketers in every industry that great content can go a long way. To paraphrase a famous quote from"The Field of Dreams", "If you create interesting and entertaining content, Internet users will spread it." 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Corporate Social Media Strategy -- Not One Size Fits All

As social media platforms gain popularity, more and more companies are emerging with a social media presence. However, some companies fail to identify a social media strategy that can assist them in reaching their goals. The article entitled “Social media strategies evolve” by Mashable and Warc presents three distinctly different corporate approaches to social media that are operating successfully in the social media atmosphere.

General Mills
General Mills maintains a separate social media presence for each of its brands, which allows for a more targeted approach. By giving each of the brands a unique online voice and social media presence, General Mills becomes more approachable to its customers. Additionally, this separation allows for more interaction between General Mills and the public because the social media maintenance responsibilities are divided among many representatives of General Mills’ top brands. The downside of this approach is that the overarching corporate branding efforts can get watered down and replaced by fragmented messages from multiple brands. 

Samsung presents a unified front on social media platforms by consistently including the iconic name and Samsung logo on its brand pages. According to the article, Samsung reads all tweets about the company and responds accordingly. One of the benefits of have a centralized approach to social media is that all responses have a similar voice and tone. Additionally, Samsung can easily monitor its brand in the social media atmosphere and be more conscientious of changing trends among consumers and in the industry. Further, Samsung wanted the ability to reach consumers who might be interested in Samsung’s products but do not mention the company by name in social media. A centralized approach lends itself to the depth of monitoring social media that is required to accomplish that task.

Intel operates a hub and spoke approach to social media by educating all interested employees on the corporate guidelines and policies regarding social media. This strategy allows Intel to leverage the power of its employees by encouraging and giving them an outlet to spread positive word of mouth about the company. Intel trusts its employees enough to allow them to speak on the company’s behalf. In addition, Intel’s customers are most interested in hearing real perspectives rather than a poised corporate response. However, there is risk involved with allowing all employees to represent the company publicly. All employees are not experts in communication and public relations, which may lead them to respond inappropriately in some instances, which has the potential to lead to big problems for Intel. 

The social media strategies presented in this article prove that social media is more of an art than a science. General Mills, Samsung and Intel operate drastically different strategies when it comes to social media, yet each strategy is successful. The key to developing a social media strategy for a large corporation that is effective is to begin by evaluating the needs of consumers and the abilities of employees. Many articles and websites publish basic guidelines for corporate social media. But, as this article illustrates, social media strategy is not one-size-fits-all and should be adapted to meet the needs of the both the company and its customers. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Social Media. Viral. Interactive. Digital. Those are all current buzzwords for marketers who are realizing that continued marketing success hinges on incorporating these new ideas and trends with traditional marketing practices. Integrated marketing communication is the term used in reference to the blending of conventional and new marketing channels and techniques.In this blog, I will analyze and provide insight on real-world examples of  integrated marketing communications.

In the same way that companies strive to establish identities and create awareness through a strong presence on both digital and traditional media outlets, individuals can form their own personal brand. Using social media, I have begun to cultivate my digital identity, but have room for improvement with 53 Twitter followers and a Klout score of 13. As I  learn more about the techniques that companies are using to improve their online presence and analyze their effectiveness, I can apply them to my personal brand to enhance the strength of my brand and gain experience in the application of integrated marketing communications.