Facebook Live, Trend or Tremendous?

One of the biggest trends in content marketing in 2016 was video and this trend will continue to rise in 2017. If you think about it, video is absolutely everywhere online: from live streaming to social media, articles, ads and these modes will only continue to grow in the years to come. Global giant Facebook recognized this trend and staying ahead of the curve launched Facebook Live in 2015, which is now available on all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android, and the Facebook Mentions app.

So, what is so cool and beneficial about Facebook Live?
It gives anyone the chance to share live video stories, awareness campaigns, events, even products with your followers and friends in real time. One of the coolest elements of Facebook live is the interaction with real people in real-time. Facebook Live allows followers and friends to make comments while the presenter is speaking which helps to shape the discussion, flow, and overall feel of the live event. This type of personal interaction is unparalleled in any form of advertising. The other major benefit is that you don’t have to spend hours on editing and creating fancy videos, you only need a phone, a Facebook account and a good topic for your live story to reach your audience.

Here are some ideas for your first Facebook Live session:
– Hold a Q&A on issues or topics your followers are interested with or need help with.
– Explain, inspire and share with your audience a little bit of your mastery through live tutorials and workshops
– Give your followers an exclusive look into your brand by going behind the scenes
– Show a Demo
– Interview an interesting friend or colleague
– Livestream an event. Keep in mind that your live broadcast can last up to 4 hours.
– Launch a themed video series, like TV shows that would appear regularly on a set date and time.

Video is taking over the web, it is not a trend, so jump on the band wagon! Reach out to us at AFFIRM to plan your next Facebook Live event.

Source: https://flothemes.com/benefits-facebook-live/

Silly Season Sanity: Tips for Marketing During an Election Cycle

The silly season (i.e. political campaign and election cycle) has been upon us for a while, and it is only going to heat up over the next few months heading into what will be a historic presidential election no matter what happens. If you are a marketer in a contested state like Wisconsin, you may be wondering, “Is it even worth putting your message out there among the political ads and news coverage?” The answer is “yes.”

Here are a few tips for helping your brand not only survive, but thrive during silly season:

  1. Choose your media wisely: political campaigns spend most of their dollars on broadcast and cable TV.  That means that with increased demand and decreased availability, rates will go up. You may find yourself bumped for someone paying more money, or you might have to pay higher rates to keep your schedule intact. If you usually run a TV flight in the fall, you might want to consider radio, outdoor or online/mobile strategies instead. HOWEVER…if you do decide to use TV, your message will likely stand out as a refreshing change from a sea of politics, so it could be worth the extra budget.
  2. Piggyback off of preferences: candidates can be known for certain preferences, such as favorite foods or sports. Do you have a product or a service that might take advantage of that? If so, then use it. For example, Ronald Reagan was known to love jelly beans. The Jelly Belly factory (visitor’s center and warehouse are in Kenosha, WI) supplied Reagan with jelly beans all eight years of his presidency and sales grew exponentially. Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were peanut farmers – peanut and peanut-related product sales grew significantly as a result.
  3. Stay above the fray: watch what you post on social media about politics and political candidates, especially if it could be perceived as disrespectful. It can get back to clients and customers. Best to follow the rule, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”
  4. Timing is everything: while it’s probably not ideal to launch a new product on November 8, 2016, remember that November 9-11 might still be crowded with all the pent-up marketing that has been waiting until that day is done. November 14-23 is likely to be a grand time for advertising and PR for your product or service.
  5. Believe in your message: if you believe in your message and its value, then keep the word out there, no matter how silly this election season gets. Someone will be grateful you did and reward you with their customer loyalty.

A Once in a Lifetime Date- #61616

Earlier this year, one of our clients, METRO, decided to “reinvent” itself. While real-time update and trip planner apps and the introduction of new, more fuel efficient vehicles and mobile ticketing were garnering some interest from riders, the bus system was falling behind its goal of appealing to Millennials and other potential riders. So, when we found out National Dump the Pump Day falls on a once in a lifetime date this year, 6.16.16, it seemed like a no-brainer to kick of summer 2016 with a ridership event that will serve as a METRO brand relaunch. The event is largely social media driven, so we branded it #61616.

On #61616, four popular Cincinnati musical acts will play at four select METRO bus stops; two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Local radio stations will be at the four stops to excite people about the ridership event and promote riding METRO. In addition, there will be complimentary drinks and snacks at each stop for people to enjoy.

 Prior to the event, Cincinnati residents are being asked to take the pledge to ride METRO on #61616. Pledges can be made on the campaign’s microsite: www.METRO61616.com. By taking the pledge, people will receive a free METRO Day Pass and are automatically entered to win great raffle prizes, including concert tickets (Jimmy Buffett, anyone?) and restaurant gift cards.

Aside from branding the event and designing and maintaining the campaign microsite, we are incorporating both new and traditional media. Promotional tactics include print ads, radio commercials, online banner ads, promotional items (t-shirts and stickers!), and, of course, social media to attract Millennials.

While big events may be overwhelming for some, they are a great way to bring attention to a brand and introduce a new product, service, or feature. So, whether you’re planning a product launch or wanting to reintroduce your brand in a seemingly stagnant market, don’t be afraid to make the most of it! After all, it’s always best to “go big or go home,” right?




The Power of Dates


Photo Source: Vice.com

I recently had a conversation with a client about a potential anniversary campaign, and it got me thinking about the importance of utilizing special and unusual dates.  Big anniversaries, the return of Halley’s Comet, and January 23rd, 2045 (01/23/45) aren’t events you can celebrate just anytime, so you have to plan accordingly.  A special date is a perfect opportunity to do something unique, but when the date passes, the opportunity is gone.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 is a red letter date in the history of science fiction. It’s the day that 1985-based Marty McFly, Jennifer Parker, and Dr. Emmett Brown arrived in the Hill Valley, California of the future, in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future, Part II.

Their voyage gave 1989 audiences a theoretical glimpse at what 2015 would be like:

Flying cars (not yet)
TVs you control with your voice (yup!)
Fax machines all over the house (yeah, but why would you want that?)
Take-and-hydrate pizza chains (close, but no)
Hoverboards (coming soon!)

Lexus recently released a cryptic but exciting promotional video for the SLIDE, a hoverboard product they are developing. You can find a little more information about the device if you dig online, but Lexus has promised to release more official information about their magnetic levitation machine on, you guessed it… Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.

Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity! Like the 2011/2015 Nike MAG campaign, Lexus is jumping all over 30ish years’ worth of expectations and delivering one of the cooler theoretical products from the fictional 2015. It would’ve been cooler still to see a flying car, but hey, you’ve got to hoverboard before you hoverdrive.

Campaigns like this show a great situational awareness. People who saw BTTF2 when it came out are in prime car-buying years now AND they’ve been waiting 26 years to see if the movie’s predictions will come true. Even if Lexus never sells an actual hoverboard, this branded product launch process will capture the attention of millions of 35- to 65-year-olds.

I can’t wait to see the SLIDE in action, but it doesn’t take a new technology to celebrate your special occasion.  Some new messaging, good press relations, and perhaps an anniversary logo and collateral can really go a long way to letting everyone know about your big date.  That said, the company that comes out with Star Trek-style “beaming” or Blade Runner “spinners” will have my undivided attention!

Staples Marketing will change its name to AFFIRM as of July 1, 2015!


We’ve been talking a little about the process we’ve undertaken in the past year or so to better define who we are at our agency; our purpose, mission, core values and the kind of work that inspires us and our clients. The end result of interviews, surveys, feedback and input from our staff, our clients, our vendor partners, colleagues, friends and family is a new name: AFFIRM.

We will be the same company with the same staff at the same location, but our new name better reflects the positively engaging marketing we do. We’ll write more about it in the coming weeks leading up to July 1, but in the meantime, see our news release about the name change.

The Earworm


Photo source: Etsy.com

I first heard the term “earworm” a few years ago, but the phenomenon goes back much further than that.  The works of Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain and Seinfeld are some prominent places where you can find discussion of a song that you just can’t get out of your head.

I had an earworm recently that was a little unusual.  I don’t think I’m alone in that my earworms are generally songs with lyrics, as opposed to pieces of music that don’t feature singing.  This one had no lyrics but it really stuck.

The interesting thing about this earworm was the source – it’s a music bed from a Snapple commercial (linked below).  It caught my ear because the first time I heard it, I thought the saxophone-sounding part was a keymonica (pictured above).

What device actually made the music isn’t important.  What is important is that I’ve thought about this Snapple ad for a whole lot longer than I’ve thought about anything Snapple-related in quite some time.  Why?  Because the music that’s playing sounds like it might have come from a plastic musical instrument I used to bug my parents with as a kid.

I’m not saying that everybody should load up their commercials with keymonica music or similar-to-keymonica music, but this demonstrates how little details can go a long way towards winning your audience’s attention.  It’s not enough to just deliver a message.  There should always be a little pizazz (a song, a slogan, a spokesperson, etc.) to attract the eyes and ears and the brain!

If you’re having trouble reaching your audience or holding their attention, don’t underestimate the power of adding a little extra something(s) catchy to your message.  Don’t overpower your message, but don’t be afraid to add a couple of different hooks to catch more of your audience.

You know your message is right for your audience, so do whatever you can to keep them thinking about it!

The Best Card Trick I’ve Ever Seen


Photo Source: howcast.com

About 10 years ago, I took a trip to Miami to visit some friends. While out for dinner one night, a gentleman that spoke very little English walked up to our streetside table and asked if I would like to see a card trick.

My friends and I had ordered dinner but our food was yet to arrive, so we all agreed that a card trick (good or bad) would be a fun way to pass some time. People at neighboring tables had already declined his offer.

He proceeded to perform a version of the trick shown in the video below and it completely blew our minds – still does. We’ve all seen our share of mediocre card tricks, so this trick was a very nice prelude to our fish tacos, and we tipped the fellow accordingly.

I think this card trick scenario offers a good lesson to everyone that works in sales and marketing. The Miami magician was very polite, yet most people didn’t want to talk to him. The others weren’t being rude; they were just busy. He was persistent, though, and he eventually found an audience that was willing to give him some time (us).

Then, when he had the floor, he did not disappoint. He was ready to put on a brief presentation that was interesting, fun, and that kept us engaged. He earned the meeting and earned our business. I’d hire him again in a second!

Regardless of your industry, remember that getting in the door is only the first step. Be different, be exciting, and be prepared! Know the subject matter you’ll be discussing and have materials in-hand that nicely illustrate it.

Timing is Everything


Source: https://houseplansllcblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/vitra-nelson-wall-clock.jpg

You’ve heard the saying, “Timing is everything” plenty of times before. This is relevant in a lot of scenarios – from driving home the selling point in a pitch, to launching that innovative product into the market. But another aspect of timing is one of Staples Marketing’s core values: Always Responsive.

We’ve all experienced the importance of responsiveness firsthand. No one likes waiting on an empty glass to be refilled at a restaurant while the meal comes and goes. No one enjoys standing in mechanic’s lobby with the minutes ticking by without being acknowledged. And who looks forward to waiting for the cable company in that designated timeframe, only for them to not show up.

On the flip side, when we experience the opposite, we remember it. Having recently gotten married, I can tell you that the options for vendors are endless and people who replied promptly were put at the top of the list. People feel respected and valued when they know they’ve been heard and their request is being taken care of.

This is why “Always Responsive” is one of Staples Marketing’s core values – because timing is everything.

Getting to Know Staples Marketing – Part Five


For this edition of “Getting to Know Staples Marketing”, I asked a question about my favorite topic – travel. In my opinion, nothing beats exploring somewhere you’ve never been. I make it a point to travel somewhere new every year. In fact, I’ve booked plane tickets at the drop of a hat with the last dollar in my bank account just to go somewhere new. (Okay – maybe not the smartest decision, but looking back I‘d still say it was worth it.) I was excited to find out which places everyone else has explored, and which destinations were their favorites. Who knows, maybe one of these answers will spark an adventure for someone reading. Today’s question:

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Traci: That’s easy, where Tim and I went on our honeymoon – Ireland!

Katie: In the United States, definitely San Francisco. Internationally, it’s a toss-up between Lisbon, Portugal and Santorini, Greece. Too hard to choose!

Amy: London if I am up for sightseeing and exploring or if I am looking to relax then Atlantis in the Bahamas.

Josh: Portland, Oregon

Danny: Bermuda

Jenny: Naples, Florida

Ingrid: Austria

Roe: Fort Meyers Beach, FL

Laura: Ogunquit, Maine and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Steve: Kauai, Hawaii

Ryan: My girlfriend’s family cabin in Presque Isle, Wisconsin. A nature retreat from the hustle and bustle of the world.

Erik: A bit fancy to make a regular thing, but our honeymoon was on Isla Mujeres in Mexico, and that was a great place to be.

Cathy: New Orleans

Rick: Paradise Island, Bahamas

State Fair State Of Mind


The Wisconsin State Fair new food list is always a ton of fun. It reads like a science fiction novel about food. I’ve yet to make the rounds at this year’s Fair, but some of my favorites from years past have been the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger topped with Chocolate Covered Bacon, the Deep-Fried Stuffing Balls with Gravy, and the Deep-Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly on a stick – maybe the greatest food item of all time.

What’s interesting to me, though, is that the more deep-fried and bacon-wrapped the new items get, the more my eyes and taste buds start seeking out the simpler items. While an order of Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough and a Mac & Cheese Bacon Burger Quesadilla both sound amazing, I’ll probably start with a corn-on-the-cob. I’m not alone on this one.

The same principle applies to marketing in general. If you don’t feel right promoting your business as the deep-fried, full-throttle, YOLO sort of company, that’s perfectly okay. There are plenty of prospective clients out there who actually prefer a nice corn-on-the-cob (or whatever simple item or service it is that you sell).

You don’t have to shock people into trying your goods and services. In fact, going the simple honesty route can help to establish your company as one that clients can rely on for the long-term. One can’t live on bacon-wrapped and chocolate-covered forever.

The key is to present your honest message in an honest way, but in a way that gets attention. What you’re selling may not have the attention-getting flash of some of your competitors, but there’s reliability and staying power in what you offer, and your prospective customers will see that. Be yourself, get some new business, and then go celebrate with a Peanut Butter Bacon Bison Burger!