2019 Marketing Trends

While most companies are focused on offering the best products and services, it’s becoming continually important to be more vocal about its core values and how those are put into action with strategic cause marketing. Here at GreenRoom, we have always felt that commitment to a cause should be celebrated and be part of an overall brand story. The true skill of a brand’s communications team lies in one word: genuine. For instance, a thinly veiled purchase of a carbon offset does not reveal a true passion for sustainability, but a commitment to biodegradable packaging does. It’s critical to know the difference and put a responsible plan into action.

To better illustrate the point, the following are a few examples of our team putting effective plans into motion:
 

Airthings

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and former Team USA hockey star Rachael Malmberg is living proof. As 31-year old former athlete, Rachel never smoked but was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, likely from high exposure to radon in her childhood and current home. Thankfully, she’s responding well to treatment and we’ve been able to give her a platform to educate consumers about the hidden dangers and the importance of ongoing indoor air quality measurement from Airthings.

 

American Licorice
The 100-year-old confection brand and makers of Red Vines and Sour Punch Straws have had strong ties to the Boys and Girls Club and felt their mission of mentorship and support of the kids who need it most has never been more pertinent than in the tumultuous times we’re currently living in. Being moved by the story of an Olympic hopeful’s long journey from childhood bully to self-acceptance may be seen as a unique move since it didn’t have strong ties to them selling candy. However, the brand feels it’s much larger than that, and wants kids all over the world to embrace what may make them different. NPR affiliates agreed and we were able to harness the power of radio for the messages from this elite athlete to local groups of children.

 

Del Monte Fresh

 

As one of the leading producers and distributors of fresh fruit, vegetables and prepared foods, Del Monte Fresh understands the importance of putting the needs of the environment and people first. Not satisfied with simply adopting a high-level “green” approach to overall operations, the brand took a bold stance and implemented several initiatives supporting the protection of biodiversity around the world. From wildlife and habitat protection to environmental restoration efforts, we strategically integrated these initiatives as part of Del Monte Fresh’s social content strategy to help educate followers on the importance of minimizing the overall environmental impact. In addition to highlighting the many ways this brand is committed to doing what is best for our world, we sparked positive community engagement across their social channels, expanding the awareness of these environmental campaigns beyond our current follower base.

 

Sawyer Products
While the company tasked us with raising the profile of its premium water filters, as well as tick and insect repellent, a central value of the company is providing clean water to the regions of the world that need it most. Working closely with the team to give that commitment a greater voice gives us the ability to showcase a brand beyond its products, and one that truly believes it can save lives through access to clean water! A very visible demonstration of how serious the brand is gave us the ammunition needed to saturate an entire media market in Texas.

Using Instagram Themes to Enhance Your Feed

With over 1 billion active users per month, it’s no surprise your clients may find it increasingly difficult to gain followers and grow engagement on Instagram. It’s a challenge for content to be noticed in a busy feed and because of it, agencies are now tasked with finding fresh and creative ways to help draw in their audience.

Creating a first impression is not just for an interview or client meeting. The first impression users have when browsing your client’s digital presence is a critical part of their brand sentiment and reputation. Currently, over 30% of Instagram users purchase a product they first discovered on the platform, making it imperative for companies to establish and maintain a visually engaging platform that will be inviting, gain attention, and ultimately drive sales.

You may be asking yourself, “What is an Instagram theme and how do I go about creating one?” Simple actions like using the Preview app can help you edit photos, find hashtags, and schedule content in advance of posting.

Del Monte Fresh's Instagram has a cohesive layout

As it is oftentimes easier to learn by example, GreenRoom’s digital team has pulled together a few examples of how we have incorporated themes on our client’s platforms; effectively creating beautiful pages that gain traction.

One of the most common and easy-to-create is the “Line Down the Middle” theme. You may have seen this theme on Instagram which is often made up of quotes or mantras on a flat or solid background. The appearance of this visual line breaks up the content and has a strong vertical orientation which helps guide your viewers as they scroll down your page.

At GreenRoom, we have subtly incorporated this theme for Del Monte Fresh Produce on their Instagram page by using quotes on a flat background surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables to break up giveaway, recipe, and user generated content.

The “Puzzle” theme is another creative and visually interesting theme. While this layout may be a bit more challenging to design, the result is an intriguing and dynamic photo collage. This starts with linking all the photos on your feed together to form a larger picture. Aside from the more design-intensive aspect, it’s key to make sure each individual image is strong enough to stand alone as its own post. This means carefully thinking through how each visual will connect and what they will represent individually and collectively.

For Cleer, GreenRoom utilizes the puzzle tactic on InstagramGreenRoom recently utilized this theme when creating Instagram content for a product launch at CES for our client, CLEER. Because this theme had never been used before, it strategically disrupted the our client’s content and established a clear break (pun intended) while generating excitement for something new on the horizon!

Keep in mind, the “Line Down the Middle” and “Puzzle” themes are just some of the various ways you can incorporate a new aesthetic into your Instagram feed. A variety of themes including black and white, bright colors, checkerboard, consistent filter, white or black borders, are potential avenues for you to change up your brand’s look and feel.

It’s important to research and explore other accounts on Instagram for inspiration to help you find the best theme for you or your client’s business and put it into practice. With so many ideas, it may be challenging to choose just one theme but it’s time to get those creative juices flowing!

4 Social Media Trends to Look Out For in 2019

As we start the year, we have our eye on a few trends that we think will engage audiences and make a name for themselves throughout 2019. These trends are technologically advanced, solidifying their place at the top of trends at the turn of the decade.

Shoppable Posts

The popularity of Shoppable posts continued to expand with the increase in availability in Instagram stories, ads and in-feed posts. Along with global support and accessibility on mobile, the audience’s path to purchase has become further streamlined. Instagrammers are 60% more likely to buy a product that is available on a social network than any other platform. In addition, 78% of American consumers have discovered retail products to buy on Facebook which is why Facebook ads are a strategic part of our marketing strategy for our retail clients. As we gear up for 2019, we have already begun to discuss how we can leverage these new features to enhance the customer buying experience for our clients while adding our own innovative and creative GreenRoom twist.

Instagram Story Features

Over the past year, we saw Instagram’s software further propel Instagram stories’ popularity by allowing users to expand their social narrative through Story Ads, Story Re-shares and Story Polls. With a heavy focus on the value of video content on Instagram, a format that delivers 1,200% more shares than images and text combined, updated features to Instagram Stories were well received by the industry as a whole. These new features allowed businesses to foster better relationships with their audience and gather deeper insights on their desired target audience’s behaviors and interests. In addition, these new features allowed individual users the opportunity to express their creativity in an exciting and interactive new way.

User-Generated Content

People ages 21-38 champion authenticity above all other attributes on social, which has led to the rise of brand-supported crowd-sourced content. This is brand related content that is voluntarily produced by its customers. With an average of 60 million images uploaded to Instagram daily, UGC is among the trendiest and most scalable way for markets to showcase products, celebrate fans and drive revenue to their page. GoPro leverages UGC by sharing customer content to show just how you can put their cameras to good use- from skydiving and surfing to deep-sea fishing and car racing. This trend has become especially popular on Instagram because major brands are reposting user-generated content as part of their content strategy. This relationship builds brand credibility and urges customers to become brand advocates. 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing a positive customer-generated post about it.

Dual Tone Creative

As 2018 ends we saw duo tone designs integrate into facets of many industry. Companies ranging from Hulu, to Beats by Dre have been leveraging the trend, combining two contrasting colors to convey a mood, message or story. As seen below the Hulu show Future Man uses a duo tone creative in their ads contrasting red and blue to divide the banner in half. This strategy was created to visualize the contrast to the show’s plot with past and present day. The goal of duo tone is to create a visual that demands attention using colorful contrasts. In a space where brands are constantly competing, this edgy style of creative is allowing brands to stand out, refresh current content and provide more diversity within their color scheme.

Keeping an eye on varying trends is a necessity because it important to know not only know what is trending creatively but the best way to leverage that trend on different social platforms. We specialize in tracking trends through social listening strategies in order to activate on a trend in real time. It remains critical that we’re always true to a brand’s ethos but would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the trends and leverage them where appropriate. It is important be vigilant and have a strong understanding of the merits of our clients and their overall goals that will generate success in the social space.

‘Tis The Season…For Affiliate Partners and Marketing

Q4 is officially upon is, and that can mean many things to many people – to the average person, it means firming up their family time plans for the upcoming holidays, enjoying seasonal activities, and to many, the joys of shopping (and shopping, and more shopping) aided by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday gifting season.

But to brands and their respective agencies, this time of year has a much different meaning. Q4 can be a make-or-break time fraught with stress for growing brands who are under pressure from stakeholders, investors and leadership to deliver on their lofty sales aspirations. When a company’s bread-and-butter is a product that has seasonal or gifting appeal, meaning a heavy percentage of their e-commerce and retail revenue is made during this 2-to-3-month period, the critical need to hit the mark becomes even greater.

All of this is widely understood, but in a saturated marketplace, it’s easier said than done. What can be done to deliver the type of media attention and coverage needed to truly move the needle and correlate with tangible growth in brand awareness and sales?

Navigating the Ever-Changing Media Landscape

It’s no secret that the overall media landscape has undergone a dramatic shift in structure over the last handful of years. As media houses and publications attempt to navigate this and stay afloat, newspapers have shuttered print editions completely or moved to a full online subscription platform, industry-leading publications have consolidated (think Men’s Journal absorbing Men’s Fitness), and journalists have begun seeing their work syndicate across several different media outlets owned by one conglomerate as a way to occupy space, capping the amount of “new” content published.

One major introduction to the media world that has quickly evolved into a core factor in alleviating media attrition is affiliate marketing. For those new to the term, affiliate marketing is a tactic where two or more entities partner to benefit from the web traffic or sale of an item. The brand or partner in turn reaps the reward of a sale via incentivized exposure of the sales channel, such as Amazon, and the sales channel earns a commission by promoting and selling those products – a profit sharing model that has become essential to the sustainability of several media corporations.

As a result of this, we’ve seen a seismic shift in editorial content and focus because the affiliate partnership is a constant priority. Taking things even further, some media outlets have moved to a partially or even fully “paid” model – meaning a large percentage, or all, of the content on their website is rooted in keeping the affiliate partnership front and center. If this makes you feel like your reading time is blurring lines with your online shopping time, you’re not alone.

Cracking the Code

All that said, it’s as important as ever for a brand to have a presence in top-tier media outlets, especially with the online sales process becoming accelerated on the consumer’s end. But what’s a brand to do?

Here at GreenRoom, we’re fortunate to staff a team of media mavens with a keenly sophisticated understanding of the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing and its overlap with traditional public relations. As we approach the holiday season, our team is deploying several creative tactics to garner essential Holiday Gift Guide coverage for our clients the “2018 Way.”

Several publications are employing media professionals who are tasked with the sole responsibility of overseeing and managing affiliate partner content. We’ve fostered tight-knit relationships with those contacts. We’re already constantly in conversation with e-commerce teams about Holiday 2018 and have been for months, educating them about our client’s products and the retail channels at which they can be purchased. Lastly, in tandem with our incredible digital and social teams, we’re working with influencers and popular YouTube personalities to generate original brand content as part of our core programming for clients, staying ahead of the evolving media curve while still helping our brands achieve their goals for consumer awareness and traffic.

We’re able to turn what for some agencies would be a dead-end (“no luck this year, their gift guide is all affiliate content!”) into new opportunities for our client. Whether it’s a giveaway, paid partnership, or simply finding the right contact, we pride ourselves on being more in-the-know than any agency and capable of trendspotting what’s next in the marketplace before it even happens. Paired with an aggressive approach to making inroads with publications and understanding the innerworkings of how they are handling their upcoming content, we find it to be a recipe for success.

The next several weeks are a critical time for brands with any hope of securing the holiday media coverage they dream of. Why not find out what it’s like to have an agency that can take that stress off of your hands?

From Intern to Colleague: Tips for Landing a Full-Time Job

An internship is a must when transitioning from the classroom to the workforce, as it helps you gain practical experience, expand your network, and, most importantly, learn about what you want (and don’t want) in a job.

I was able to turn my GreenRoom internship into a full-time job as an Account Coordinator. If you’re like I was and have “Internships can turn into full-time jobs” at the center of your vision board, I have a few tips for you for your next internship.

Be Organized
Most of us apply for internships while balancing class, school organizations, a social life, and sometimes a second job. However, while you’re in the office, you need to treat your internship like it’s your only priority. Work hard to surpass expectations and show you’re reliable in order to earn the respect of your boss and co-workers, proving you have what it takes to be a full-time employee.

Heidy’s Tip: 

• Pay close attention to details and deadlines. I can’t stress enough how important time management is, especially in a PR/Social Media job. Keep track of all the projects you’re working on, be prepared for meetings, and take notes about everything that’s happening in the office, even if it doesn’t pertain to your role. It’ll help you get more involved in projects and show your coworkers that you’re eager to learn.

Be Hungry for Any Task
Whether you’re assigned a quotidian task or something you’ve never seen before, make sure you take ownership of every assignment. Remember that your potential isn’t only seen when working on high-profile assignments. Show off your skills by doing everything you’re asked to do well (no matter the task!), ask questions when you need help, and through it all show your excitement to keep learning and doing more for the agency. Those who can do small tasks well are more likely to be trusted with bigger projects.

Heidy’s Tips: 

• Show an eagerness to learn. Show you’re serious about a future in PR or Social Media and at GreenRoom by asking questions, offering to sit in on meetings with different clients, and showing interest in different job paths.

•  Push yourself to tackle new things. When you’ve wrapped up a task, ask for the chance to complete the next step of the project or even see it through to the end. This will prove you’re more than capable of taking on challenging (and exciting!) assignments.

Become Indispensable
Taking ownership of a project puts you in a good place to continue managing that project. Even in small things, look for opportunities in ongoing tasks that you can take on as yours. For instance, I started putting together monthly reports, relieving the PR team of something that could pull them away from pitching. After showing I could do it well with little guidance, it turned from a one-time project to something I always worked did. When it came time to assess if I would get a job, it was clear that I’d already have work on my plate in the future. After all, I had created a style, organization, and comfort within the company around this ongoing task.

In short: beyond being reliable and showing your potential, make it so that there’s no one else who could quite fill your role.

Heidy’s Tips:

• Become independent. Create a place for yourself in the office by taking on independent projects or focusing on a specific area of your expertise that you can own.

• Offer new ideas. Showcase your creativity and offer ideas during brainstorms or client meetings. Your contribution is always helpful to the team!

Making a great impression, building strong relationships with your colleagues, and making yourself an integral part of the team will get one foot in the door when a full-time position opens. Whether you’re in a PR or Social Media internship, these tips are fundamental in helping you land a full-time position once your internship is over!

An Unlikely Match: PR Parallels from the Ashley Madison Hack

 

Ahley Madison

Throughout the week, we’ve watched the result of the Ashley Madison hack unravel, publicly shaming well-known celebrities, government officials, and affecting the relationships of numerous couples. The hack further drives home the point that any information published on the web is there to stay. A company’s reputation largely depends on the articles published about their products or company, as well as the discussions in the world of social media. One unfavorable review or company profile on the front page of a Google search could be detrimental to their business. Here are a few tips to search your name with confidence and excitement:

 

1. Continuous Check-Ins: Regularly check in with the media and offer them support whenever possible. Becoming a go-to source will give a company a better idea as to the outcome of their article and will provide them with a wealth of feedback to improve their product or service.

 

 

 

2. Customer Service Involvement: Giving the media a chance to speak to a company’s customer service representative can improve a review and uncover added features they may have not come across on their own. It will also reassure them if their readers encounter a problem, a helpful customer support team is only a phone call away.

 

 

 

3. Fact Checking: It is important to double check the spelling of a CEO’s name or that the web link directs readers to a company’s site. Being proactive in this area always pays off many times over.

 

 

 

How Social Media Can Impact Fan Sentiment

Hayley's Blog Graphic

One of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of being a community manager is the ability to engage with a brand’s core fan base each day. Community management offers brands the opportunity to speak with fans in real-time – one of the things that make social media so unique and valuable, and most importantly, integral to a business’s growth.

Fans want to feel like they are valued by the brand and are a part of the team.  While customer service is an integral part of a social media campaign, when a brand can elicit positive emotions on social media from a follower, chances are, you’ve done your job correctly. How you choose to interact with your followers is extremely important in the realm of sentiment. Positive word-of-mouth and sales leads are the goal, and keeping tabs on fan sentiment about your brand can offer key insights that can affect your businesses bottom line.

 

Here are four ways your brand can engage its fan base and increase positive sentiment:

 

  1. Utilize Hashtags:By creating a unique hashtag for your brand, you can easily listen to and join conversations your fans are engaging in. Pro tip: Hashtags for entering a contest or creating evergreen hashtags can help you track and monitor communications about your brand.
  2. Build Relationships: Start conversations with fans who interact with your brand and engage with them on other relevant topics aside from your brand. Liking their photos or commenting about a topic can often transform a fan into a brand advocate.
  3. Cultivate Advocates: These are the fans who consistently talk about your brand and jump into conversations with you daily. Advocates are essential to community growth. Plus, their word-of-mouth praise can drive new business for the brand.
  4. Take Advantage of Giveaways: Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than rewards. When a brand reaches out to its loyal followers and rewards them with product, the fan is typically overwhelmed with joy. Even if the fan was originally impartial to the brand, a giveaway or a prize can be the point at which they become true brand advocates.
  5. User Generated Content: Sharing fans’ content on your brand’s channels can bolster engagement and brand affinity not only from the fan but also new potential customers. Seeing that real people use your product in their everyday life can be more of a motivation to purchase than any other methods of promotion.

Demos Do It – Keeping it Fresh on the Floor

CES Trade Show Demo

This isn’t your grandma’s “wear comfortable shoes and bring business cards” post about a tradeshow floor! We’ve been logging some miles around the country recently, and have watched two very distinct scenarios unfold. One is an engaging booth that always seems to be full, and the other is the group that puts forth an effort, but can’t hold an audience.

The cause of the breakdown seems simple, but so many often miss it due to siloed thinking, or an inability to listen to their audience. What separates an average booth from a great experience at a tradeshow is the how the demo is done. The exhibitor that has a great booth understands the product just as well as he or she understands the audience and accommodates them accordingly. By asking questions of the attendees and then showing how the product seamlessly fits into their lifestyle or activity will make a fan (and a new customer!) faster than any slick video reel or tradeshow giveaway. Even better, converting a naysayer into a fan by proving how the product can fit into their life is one of the strongest testimonials a brand can get from a show floor.

So, while you’re prepping for your next show, make sure you understand your audience as well as you understand your product and be ready to modify your demo accordingly. And, of course, wear comfortable shoes and bring business cards…

Public Relations & ROI

While some public relations agencies shy away from correlating PR with return on investment, it’s a topic we relish in. Let’s not beat around the bush, virtually every brand hires a PR agency to help reach customers with the ultimate goal of having them purchase services or goods. So how can an agency attach a measurable, financial result to their work?

The most obvious way is to report the comparative advertising value for press coverage that has been generated. Essentially, how much would it cost a brand to advertise during a TV show or appear in a magazine, website or newspaper. The majority of PR agencies provide an inflated “PR value” which is generally three times the ad value. But let’s face it, that’s a fairly subjective measurement – what if the article was negative or if the incorrect URL was published? There is no doubt that PR coverage is typically more valuable than advertising, but we feel its best to provide clients with solid data rather than a debatable, inflated value for press coverage.

The question remains,  “what did a piece of coverage really mean to a client’s bottom line?”

Analyzing web analytics is an extremely useful way to directly correlate the ROI of media coverage. With analytic tools, not only are we able to measure the number of visitors that visited our client’s website but we also see how many of those visitors made a purchase decision. For example, we recently secured a placement on The Today Show and were able to view in real-time the number of visitors and purchases made throughout the morning as the segment aired in all time zones. Watching Google Analytics Real-Time Traffic Data is a guilty pleasure of ours – few things are as gratifying as watching thousands of new customers flood a client’s website!

By the end of the day the client sold thousands of units and was able to attribute all of those sales to our efforts (and to our good friends at The Today Show). Not to mention, all of those customers are now in the client’s database for direct marketing purposes and many have subscribed to their social channels, providing an opportunity to make them customers for life and transform them into brand advocates.

There are a number of ways to connect PR efforts with ROI, but it starts with the mindset of being accountable for sales and marketing goals. Generating mass media exposure is great, but producing tangible dollars from that exposure is ultimately what most brands are looking for.