Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Existing Assets used for Brand Boosts

Everyone can agree that hard work goes a long way towards achieving success. Simply doing the right thing also does wonders for the public persona of individuals or companies – and doing the right thing often doesn’t require hard work. 

Nothing seems to topple perceptions of corporate greed than stories of companies using existing assets to help others. In this post, I want to share a few examples of companies putting aside their sales goals to do the right thing.

Anheuser-Busch | Water in Crisis 

The severe flooding in Houston brought about by Hurricane Harvey has created the ultimate irony: water all around but not one drop is potable. Anheuser-Busch paused their normal production at a facility in Georgia to create thousands of cans of water to distribute in Houston.

The media has (rightfully) praised the brewer for doing the right thing but this is actually a common practice for Anheuser-Busch. They provided similar assistance during the peak of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. 

Was it hard for Anheuser-Busch to do the right thing in these cases? Probably not – they already had the supply of water for their normal production and the specialized cans didn’t require a lot of graphic design or ink. At most, transporting the cans of water would be the pain point but in dire situations, I imagine there are groups or individuals willing to take on that burden.

Panera Bread | Day-End Dough-Nation 

Across the country, Panera Bread serves hundreds of thousands of customers each day. But, that’s often not enough as many of their locations have baked goods remaining unsold on a daily basis. These leftovers could be sold the following day but at the risk of violating health codes or serving food that is lower than Panera’s standards. Instead, Panera partners with area shelters and charities to provide this unsold food to those that need it most.

Is it hard for Panera Bread to do the right thing? Again, probably not. The alternative to this program is hauling all of this food to a dumpster. People from all walks of life can appreciate efforts to reduce waste and the above video shows that there are plenty of groups willing to take (and transport) this food. 

By the way, click here to register your group for a Day-End Dough-Nation. 

Sports Apparel of Losing Teams | Donations to 3rd World Countries 

These days, as soon as the final whistle blows on major sporting events, the victors are quickly clad in the official champion’s gear. From hats to t-shirts, this gear features the logos of the winning team. Details such as these can’t be simply whipped up in an instant, right? Well, apparel companies plan for both outcomes for the games. But the losing team’s versions never see the light of day – at least not in the USA. 

Here’s a video that explains what happens to the loser’s gear:

I don’t know how the destination of the loser’s gear is determined but, the apparel companies that follow the practice are definitely doing the right thing. Is this difficult to accomplish? I’d say “no” again. The items feature date and location-sensitive printing and, let’s face it, no fan of the losing team wants to wear a “false” shirt. The people that come into possession of these clothes probably have no tie-in to the teams and value them more for what they are – quality clothing. 

Here’s an article that details just how tricky the agreements between apparel companies and sports leagues can be. 

Doesn't it seem that when companies do the right thing, they also receive a favorable Brand boost? In today’s world, we can sure use more stories of companies putting financial gain aside in order to help others. Are you aware of similar examples? If so, let me know in the comments section or tell me on Twitter

Thanks for reading! 

{Top image: Courtesy}

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What New Skills Would I Apply at Past Jobs?

The years are starting to pass faster and faster but this old dog is still learning new tricks. I'm glad to have the opportunity to constantly add new skills (while gaining a better understanding of old skills).

It seems that each time I gain a new skill, I catch myself imagining how great it would have been to have that knowledge in the past. With that in mind, here are the 3 things I know now that would have gone a long way towards helping me perform better in past roles.


In the past, I conducted a lot of email campaigns and always used Google Analytics to gauge the traffic produced by the emails to my employer's website. But, that was done a very high level. I now have a better understanding of how tagged URLs (aka UTM parameters) can provide very granular details about the clicks from a button, link, image, etc.

Using a URL builder is pretty self-explanatory but there are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube that explain how these types of URLs work.


Because of technology limitations, the customer journey for many of my past digital campaigns did not extend beyond a visit to a website. The call-to-action in search ads or banner ads was most often something along the lines of "click for more info". I now know the value of having an online "finish line" that will enable shoppers to carry out their purchase online.  Not only does this provide a more satisfying, productive experience, it also makes it possible for marketers to report all the way to the end of the shopping journey and show the impact of the digital campaign. Which leads me to my last point...


I learned early on about the default targeting options associated with most digital tactics - such as geographic location, gender or age. I've since learned that online targeting capabilities can go much deeper...to scary levels, actually! In more recent roles, I've benefited from more precise targeting as well as tagging digital campaigns that help monitor ad performance from the beginning to the end of campaigns. To me, targeting and tagging go hand-in-hand.

I didn't write this post to knock my former employers or harp about how limited my knowledge used to be. The fact is that I continue to learn each day and I'm thankful to all of the people that have helped me along the way.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

One Unique Vlogger

In the world of content, bloggers are still important providers of information (hi!) but the rise of vloggers cannot be discounted. It makes sense to see more vloggers coming onto the scene given our shorter attention spans and preferences to watching over reading. What intrigues me is the way toy manufacturers have pounced on this medium – and smartly so.

There are vloggers for just about every subject matter: food, video games, lumberjacks and more. In addition to being a great creative outlet, #YouTubeMoney is also a big influence behind the increase of vloggers. The following video does a great job of explaining the confusion about the amount of money YouTubers can make. You can watch the full video here but I really want you to drink in these stats about a particular vlogger that’s popular in my home:

There are a lot of highly-viewed YouTubers with which I am totally unfamiliar but thanks to my son, I’ve been aware of the Ryan ToysReview channel since his channel was created in March of 2015. As a matter of fact, I believe my son is responsible for 25% of those views mentioned in the video above!

Here’s the gist: Ryan’s videos aren’t really product reviews. They’re really just videos of him playing with all kinds of great toys. The footage is presented along with cheerful music and respectable (but not flashy) video effects that appeal to children. I’ve always gotten the sense that this channel grew from videos of Ryan enjoying his toys, recorded by his mom as all moms do. Once the number of views started piling up, Ryan’s mom upped her editing skills.

How Toy Manufacturers Come Into Play

If you haven’t taken a trip to Toys”R”Us lately, let me tell you that the toys featured in Ryan’s videos are EXPENSIVE. It’s not likely or feasible that all of these toys are purchased. I imagine that toy manufacturers are taking note of Ryan’s high number of video views and identifying his YouTube channel as an additional marketing avenue. With this in mind, they supply complimentary toys to be featured in his videos. Ryan probably gets to keep the toys, his mom gets #YouTubeMoney and the manufacturer’s products are seen by children from around the world.

In order to continue receiving free toys to review, it would make sense for Ryan’s mom to boost the number of channel views as much as possible, right? That’s why I think it’s even more interesting to take a look at how Ryan’s channel is promoted. Look in the description of Ryan’s latest video and you’ll find a long list of links to his other videos. Not his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Branding be damned, that’s a smart way to add quick views.

More evidence that Ryan’s video views take precedence over branding:
  • The weird phrasing of his YouTube channel’s name. Be sure to note that it is Ryan ToysReview and not Ryan’s Toy Reviews. When researching Ryan’s channel for this post, my instincts steered me to input the latter into my search query. Ryan’s website URL (which features the same weird phrasing) isn’t the first listing on results page - - his videos receive top ranking. That’s either a convenient coincidence or a very cunning approach to the Google search algorithm. (Also, at the time of this post, the website URL redirects to the YouTube channel's URL.)
  • His Twitter Feed. Each tweet is just a link to the latest video on the YouTube channel. The Twitter account seems to serve no other purpose. 
  • His Instagram Feed. Only one photo that’s almost a year old. 
  • His Facebook Feed. Very sporadic links to videos with little-to-no responses to the numerous comments each post garners. 
Ryan is unique vlogger in that his video views soar to new heights without much promotion from other social media channels. Such support may not be needed since his primary audience does not use social media. 

Ryan’s videos inform viewers like my son about the latest toy trends. Because of Ryan and his “reviews”, my son has knowledge of toys without ever seeing said toys in a store or TV commercial. Toy manufacturers know this all too well - - and so do vloggers. I am impressed with the way the two sides work hand-in-hand, knowing their success depends on each other.

As impressed as I am with the manufacturer/vlogger relationship, I’m equally disappointed for Ryan on special days. Can you imagine how much of a letdown his birthday and Christmas must be if he gets to play with new toys almost every other day of the year?

Thank you for reading!