Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Useless promotional items, or are they?

Emblazoning brand logos on various pens, jump drives, stress balls, etc. has long been a staple of the marketer’s handbook. I’m sure if you look around your desk right now, you’ll see a cup of pens with various logos, a couple of stress balls you picked up at a trade show, maybe a coffee cup with a vendor’s logo and various other tchotchkes that you’ve accumulated from vendors, clients and even your own company. These do serve as brand reminders, but, honestly, how often do you even take a second look at one of these items on your desk?

Smart marketers are now taking promo products to the next level by incorporating social media elements. Two examples on my desk right now are a stress ball in the shape of the duck and an inflatable dinosaur. I’m sure you guessed that the duck is from Aflac, after all, the Aflac duck is enshrined on the Advertising Walk of Fame, has its own Facebook page with more than 110,000 fans and has an online store for merchandise featuring the duck. But, even if you don’t have a highly recognizable brand, you can use creativity to develop something memorable.

The dinosaurs on my desk came from Bronto Software, the engine behind Direct Dialogue, c21’s award-winning e-mail marketing service. Bronto incorporates interactive media, including Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, with its promo products. The company invites anyone with one of its inflatable brontos to snap a pic and send it to them so they can add it to the “Traveling Bronto” feature on their Flickr page, and then link it to Facebook and Twitter. And yes, this tactic even works on other marketers – click here to see the c21 brontos on the Flickr page.

Successful marketing tactics require a combination of audience targeting and creativity to break through the clutter. Since everyone loves tchotchkes (whether they admit it or not), they are a great way to give current and potential clients a way to remember your brand. Taking the next step and using them as a conduit to encourage people to interact with your brand can be very effective in building brand evangelists.

If you think your company has an interesting tchotchke or you just want to share one of your personal favorites, just e-mail me and I’ll post it here and on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still want Moore?

There’s still time to enter our “Give You Moore” contest! Post a comment on our Facebook wall by June 30 telling us why you want to see the Moore in America exhibit, what you’re planning for your summer vacation, or what you love about c21, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to use between now and October to see the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s blockbuster Moore in America exhibit. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Facebook Announces Vanity URLs

Ready, set, go! On Saturday, June 13, Facebook pages with more than 1,000 fans as of May 31, 2009, will be able to create a vanity URL. What's this mean? You can protect your brand and better identify your business page, making it easier for fans to find you. Instead of a long string of letters and numbers, your URL can reflect your company (www.facebook.com/name). Check out this Ad Age article for details, or read Facebook's note.

This brings up the point that if you have a well known brand or your company has a common name, it's a good idea to reserve a spot now on social networking channels like Twitter and YouTube, even if you don't currently have a presence. You want to keep your options open for future outreach - and claim your brand name before others do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Facebook Promotion Creates Buzz for Student Housing Developer

c21 just completed a really fun project – a Facebook contest for a national student housing developer, University House (UH). Many of the communities have established their own Facebook pages and profiles, but UH needed a page that provided information to both current residents and non-residents about the company as a whole without duplicating the efforts of the individual properties. c21i, our dedicated interactive practice area, had just the solution.

We developed the UH Facebook page and launched it in conjunction with a contest to generate fans. Playing off the popular talent contests that air each season on TV, including America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance, we created the UH Best in Show contest. College students were encouraged to become fans of the new UH page and upload videos of their best talent, or vote for their favorite by posting to the wall. The grand prize winner received a $500 VISA gift card, and a randomly selected winner from those who voted received a $250 VISA gift card.

To generate activity and spread the word about the contest, we worked with the UH community managers, called “mavericks.” They were eligible to enter the contest, and used their already established social networks to encourage both residents and non-residents to do the same. Those who submitted videos spread the word virally to generate votes. The result? The contest, which only lasted a little more than two weeks, resulted in growing the fans from 0 to over 800, with almost 600 votes for the various video entries. There were some pretty hilarious stunts – check them out on the page – but kids, don’t try some of these at home.