All Articles Tagged "marketing"
Ever the entrepreneur, Russell Simmons is launching a digital marketing, entertainment, and tech company called Narrative. The company will add to his empire, which still includes Def Jam Records and Phat Farm.
Simmons is launching with his longtime business partner Tricia Clarke-Stone. Both are clear that this isn’t a marketing agency that will be creating ads. “We believe we have a level of expertise that’s really rooted in creating immersive brand experiences across platforms,” Clarke-Stone told Ad Age.
“We think our future is working for agencies, not working around them,” Simmons added. The magazine says the company is starting with nine employees but plans to have as many as 20 by year-end, most of them in New York.
The company already has two clients — Global Grind, which is run by the two, and Boost Mobile, which is running a program with Global Grind. That site has already created campaigns for companies like Tide and Toyota. Narrative will also have access to the All Def Digital YouTube channel that will be launching soon.
Are you just dying to get your hands on the BlackBerry 10? Well, you can do so virtually. According to TechCruch, just direct your mobile browser to blackberry.com/glimpse and you can be among the first to get a gander at the new BlackBerry 10.
Of course, the in-browser experience isn’t like having the real product in hand, but it is a demo of BB10′s user interactions and popular features. “It works well, guiding the user through all the swiping and sliding that is BlackBerry 10,” reviews the site. you’ll be able to try out some of the “features” in a heavily scripted preview of the operating system. According to the Wall Street Journal since it is formatted for your smartphone, you can check out the messaging hub, switching applications and time-shifting photos. You should be able to get a “real” feel for the phone.
The signs seem positive for the upcoming smartphone. TechCrunch calls the BlackBerry 10 “a fantastic take on a mobile OS.”
With BlackBerry needing to boost sales, this unique in-browser might be part of the ad campaign revealed by Forbes.
WSJ reports that Blackberry claims it has shipped about a million Z10 smartphones, which start at $199 (putting it in the same price range as the iPhone 5 and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4). And about three quarters of those units have sold through, with 55 percent coming from platforms other than BlackBerry.
In other BlackBerry news, the company is officially pulling canceling its BBM Music service on June 2, though the email admits the date is “subject to change, reports TechCrunch. The music service never really seemed to fly BBM Music was first launched in 2011 and for $4.99 a month users could download 50 tracks of their own, but in order to expand that library of tunes users had to invite their BBM contacts to join the service as well, explains the site.
Lastly some good news for the struggling smartphone company. According to the New York Post, BlackBerry has struck a two-season marketing deal with the NY Nets’ home the Barclays Center. “The deal is valued at $1 million to $5 million, according to an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” reports the newspaper. BlackBerry and its new Z10 phone will in turn get prominent ad placement throughout the arena — plus its own customer “experiential” area and a suite-level lounge, according to Mike Zavodsky, the Nets vice president of new corporate marketing.
Will this increased emphasis on marketing yield business results?
Social Media Advisor Cheryl Contee Shares Says African Americans Must See Themselves As Digital Creators
Cheryl Contee, a co-founder of Fission Strategy, works with nonprofit organizations and foundations to improve their digital outreach: blogging, tweeting, Facebook, and more. Contee describes the company as “specializing in social media for social good,” and was founded in 2008. She works with organizations like the One Campaign, Define American, Amnesty International, and Zynga.org.
In addition to her work as co-founder of the Jack and Jill Politics blog, she is active in the digital space, on Twitter, and moderated a recent Social Media Week Panel on multicultural mobile consumers.
MadameNoire spoke to Contee about her work with nonprofits, trends in social media, and how the black community is active on social media and mobile devices.
MadameNoire: Why did you decide to start Fission Strategy? Why is it important to get nonprofits to use technology to their full advantage?
Cheryl Contee: I co-founded Fission as a business, as a for-profit, which would keep us focused and structured on innovation, to provide specialized, tailored services for nonprofits and foundations. Nonprofits don’t always have the same budgets, but certainly they have an advantage in this new arena, where individuals are so empowered through social media and can use their voices, use their networks, and use their technological savvy to inspire others around a given cause. They aren’t selling laptops or soap or football tickets, but they are selling ideas and inspiration.
MN: What are some nonprofit organizations that you work with, and what are they doing in social?
CC: Moms Rising is doing an incredible job. They do tweet chats with the White House, and they have an incredible passionate and engaged membership. During the election, we worked with OurTime, which works with young people, and we were able to get voter registration widgets on the Facebook pages of folks like Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Will.i.am, Jess Alba, Eva Longoria, and Trey Songz. We also worked with Tumblr to have the same online voter registration widget. Overall, that ended up driving more than 300,000 registrations, which is the kind of difference-maker that we try to achieve.
MN: I saw you moderated a panel during Social Media Week about multicultural mobile consumers. How do you see the African-American community using mobile more or differently than the general market or other demographics?
CC: Certainly, there are lots of different stats on this, but social media use is really heavy for African Americans. Pew Internet had a study out last year that said that something like 25 percent of online African Americans use Twitter and 10 percent use it every day. That’s a real dominance when you think about the millions [of Twitter users]. And that’s at least twice the rate of whites. A lot of people are using Twitter on their mobile device, either through apps or text messaging.
MN: And is it only about using social media on mobile devices, or are text messaging campaigns and mobile advertising still intriguing for nonprofits and corporations as they try to reach multicultural consumers?
CC: Any technology that is accessible via mobile is something that is important.
When you look at mobile advertising, there are some great numbers that came out Nielsen that show that, when you look at mobile ads, minorities are more likely to see them and click on them and to actually consider those. It’s a really useful way to stretch your ad dollars and make the most of your ad dollars.
[Editor's Note: During the Social Media Week Panel, Monica Bannan, VP of product leadership at Nielsen showed stats about mobile advertising. After seeing a social media ad, 18 percent of African-Americans shared that ad, 29 percent "liked" it, and 18 percent went on to purchase the product. This is compared to 13 percent of whites who shared the ad, 24 percent who liked it, and 12 percent who purchased a product.]
MN: Beyond the mobile trend, what else are you seeing with regards to the black community when it comes to social media, and what technologies are you focusing on for the next year or so?
CC: Certainly, we’re working to understand the power of Tumblr and Instagram, which is more integrated into Facebook, and having the notion of photo filters and hashtags attached to photos. We’re paying attention to that trend and the shift in the market. And again, a lot of these trends and innovations are actually driven by a change in consumer behavior around mobile devices. We are really trying to pay attention to that.
What is key for African Americans going forward is to see themselves not just as powerful consumers—African Americans are more likely than some other groups to own smartphones, to use social media, to use advanced internet—but to see themselves going beyond consumers to become creators. That’s the future of careers, the future of our economy and the future of prosperity for our community. We need to take our demonstrated tech savvy to the next level, launch our own companies, and create products that other people find useful.
Want to break into the music industry? Open a new tab in your browser and find your way to your favorite video-sharing site. Millions of people browse YouTube every day, discovering new acts through music videos and live performances. The site’s related videos section makes it the perfect tool for musicians to get their music in front of a receptive audience.
For hip hop artists, YouTube videos have become the new mixtape. The perfect fix for audiences with shrinking attention spans and an industry that favors a hot single to a good album. Savvy musicians are converting video views into new followers, ticket purchasers, and song downloaders.
If there was any doubt about video’s place in the future of the music industry, media research firm Nielsen recently reported YouTube as the number one place teens go to listen to music (64 percent). YouTube isn’t just making performers stars. The digital landscape is ripe with opportunities behind the scenes, for those strategic enough to spot them. Case in point, Simon Cowell just this week launched a YouTube audition channel, The You Generation.
Artists Catch Up With the Times
Established brands have already seen the light, and accept short-form video as the future of marketing. However, independent artists often miss out on basic parts of these marketing initiatives like brand partnerships, advertising dollars, and technical tools that boost their visibility due to a lack of knowledge.
Enter Volume Visual, the recently launched multi-channel network brainchild of digital
entrepreneurs Jabari Johnson and Benoni Tagoe. Both are YouTube veterans: Jabari for his documentary series chronicling music’s hottest rising stars and Benoni as a producer of the hit online series, Awkward Black Girl.
“One of our main goals is helping artists’ channels develop their audience,” Jabari said. “We come from YouTube backgrounds and have a lot of knowledge about the space. At the same time we have a space in L.A. that artists can come and shoot videos for free. We empower the artists with the tools to help them create the visuals on a more frequent basis and help to cut costs.”
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Think of multi-channel networks (MCNs) as the digital era’s answer to Viacom, affiliating with multiple YouTube channels and undertaking business areas like promotion, funding, and partnerships so creatives can focus on what they do best. Rather than having a few dozen-cable networks under their umbrella, MCNs have thousands of YouTube channels.
The top MCNs rack up views that rival some cable networks, with the most successful companies targeting mainstream music, gaming, and pop culture. Hip hop culture, Volume Visual’s target, is noticeable absent from the mix. The venture highlights a clever strategy for staying ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing business of entertainment: pay attention to what’s shaping the landscape and figure out how to make what works for similar markets work for you.
The key to cementing a place in the future of entertainment industry may lie in creating your dream job, rather than applying for it. Technology is changing the landscape of countless industries. Odds are embracing those changes will help you anticipate trends before the old guard catches on.
“I always say that it’s never smart to bet against technology,” says Jabari. “Technology is not only at the forefront of this industry, but our culture. Finding ways to have technology interact with the normal human experience – that’s always going to win.”
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Trojan has a come up with a unique promotion this Valentine’s Day, a day when, according to Nielsen, prophylactics sell best.
Part of Trojan’s National C*ndom Month promotion, the brand will put special Trojan cabs on New York City streets on Valentine’s Day and the following day, February 15, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. During the cab ride, a Trojan representative will administer sex quizzes, kind of like Cash Cab meets Glamour magazine. The ride will be free, as long as the passenger travels within a designated area.
The company is hoping this year’s campaign goes better than last year’s, when in August, Trojan gave out adult toys from hot-dog-style carts. The program was temporarily suspended by the city for lack of necessary permits, prompting a front-page New York Post story with the classic headline “Buzz Kill,” reports Ad Age. This year, they’ve taken all the appropriate precautions. Appropriately.
Do you think this is a good idea?
Maybe People Need to Lighten Up? Experts Talk About Offensive Advertising, and How Companies Can Avoid It
Volkswagen was the latest company to step into a pile of controversy over an ad that some considered racist. In the ad, which ran during last night’s Super Bowl though some suspected it wouldn’t, a white man walks around his office speaking in a Jamaican accent, encouraging people to “get happy,” as the ad campaign’s motto says.
Many people, including many Jamaicans and other minorities, didn’t actually find the ad offensive.
“Personally, I was not offended. As half Guyanese, I thought it was funny,” Monique Nelson, CEO and chairm
Respect for the audience — the whole audience — is the first necessity for any marketing campaign. But there has to be more as well.
“Whenever companies are working with a concept that is foreign to their core competency, my recommendation is to work with a subject or cultural expert,” Nelson continues. “More research and more diversity on the team may not alleviate all of the issues, but some of them.”
That issue of diversity in the advertising industry is one that continues to impact the finished marketing product, particularly at a time when the consumer is increasingly diverse. Before the Volkswagen issue even reared its head, Ad Age published an op-ed by Lincoln Stephens, the founder and executive director of the Marcus Graham Project. In the article, Stephens gives tips for both aspiring marketers and the marketing industry to increase diversity in the industry. He says it’s something that both sides should work on together, with future staffers being persistent and constantly improving their skills while the execs look beyond family, friends, and assorted acquaintances for new talent.
Claudine Moore, founder of C Moore Media, an international public relations firm, agrees that there needs to be more diversity in the industry. “I have been in the business in America for the last 13 years, and the persistent lack of diversity continues to astound me, especially at senior levels. America is not changING, it has changED, and the industry needs to change too…and quickly,” she told us via email.
At the same time, Moore, a British woman of Jamaican descent who didn’t find the Volkswagen ad offensive, says we ought to be careful about labeling everything “offensive” or “racist.”
“I thought it was light-hearted and humorous, plus the actors accent was really very good,” she wrote. “I think we have to be very careful about what we deem offensive. If everything that pokes a bit of fun is taken as seriously offensive, then humor and creativity will be zapped out of the industry.”
True enough. Many of the ads that ran last night relied heavily on humor, a clever turn of phrase, or an old-fashioned sight gag. But, as Tony Balasandiran, an account supervisor at Flowers Communications Group tells us, it’s most important to understand where an attempt at humor is going to upset an audience you’re trying to reach with your message.
“The key to pushing the envelope with your marketing, without crossing the line, is actually knowing your target audience,” he wrote to us. “Effective marketing relies on the message – verbal or visual – resonating with your intended audience. Knowing means understanding – as in, understanding the cultural nuances of your audience. Without this understanding, brands will continue to find themselves on, hovering over, and inevitably crossing, the line.”
Of course, some companies, like Go Daddy, purposely court controversy as a way to stand out. “Understanding that the media landscape is cluttered and very hard to break through, marketers are taking chances with advertising that many may see as controversial, but that marketers may simply see as disruptive,” UniWorld Group’s Nelson added.
But there is a point where you can push the levels of taste, propriety, or straight up decency so far that you can alienate people. Based on the feedback we’ve been hearing about that lip-smacking Go Daddy ad, they could have done just that last night.
The Super Bowl is more than a football game. During commercial breaks and on YouTube, companies are playing a Super Bowl of their own, competing to capture the world’s attention without embarrassing themselves. Any Real Housewives Of Atlanta fan can tell you how difficult that game is to master.
First possession of 2013 goes to Volkswagen. If you haven’t seen their ad featuring a proud Minnesotan talking like he works weekend shifts at the Jerk Pit, you clearly don’t work in a cubicle. Catch up, so you can engage in one of America’s favorite pastimes, a round of “Is That Racist?”
Does it matter that 100 Jamaicans are okay with the ad? Would it make it better if White Jamaicans existed? Do they exist? (FYI, they’re 3.2 percent of the country’s population. Yes, I Google’d and YouTube’d it. I was intrigued.) None of this really means anything. Some people find the commercial offensive. They may or may not be Jamaican.
Volkswagen knows their happy little commercial has a little edge to it. Edgy enough to talk to 100 Jamaicans. And make a back up ad. But standing out this time of year sometimes requires taking a little more risk. Success is determined by a simple premise: If the controversy outshines the product, you lose.
When the controversy puts an ad at the top of the news hour across the country, and the world collectively says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” Companies like Volkswagen win. Bonus points if a few people say, “I love this ad” or “That’s a nice car he was driving.”
Here are a few attempts from Super Bowls past where companies have pushed the envelope to varying degrees, with varying levels of success. Is it a touchdown, or did they fumble the advertising budget?
Lauren Maillian Bias of Gen Y Capital Partners, Brings Together Technology, Marketing, and Investing
Lauren Maillian Bias started a vineyard and winery when she was 19 years old, launching her into a world of start-ups, investing, and technology. After starting her second company, Luxury Market Branding, and becoming active in the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC), she was a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early-stage venture firm supporting tech start-ups from Gen Y entrepreneurs, where she now serves as managing director.
In addition to her work in the venture and start-up world, Maillian Bias is also active in philanthropic endeavors, particularly in New York City, where she sits on the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the board of the New York Urban League. She is also a lifetime member of the Children’s Aid Society, works on education initiatives with the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, and serves as a judge to Start-up Chile.
Maillian Bias spoke to Madame Noire about how her past shaped her investing future, diversity among investors and entrepreneurs, and how to improve that ratio.
Madame Noire: Tell me about your background and how it led you to co-found Gen Y Capital Partners.
Lauren Maillian Bias: I have been a life-long entrepreneur. My first company was successful, but creating a vineyard and winery from the ground up was an extremely labor-intensive undertaking. Through my membership with YEC, I was exposed to this whole other perspective on entrepreneurship, which is primarily technology driven.
Most of the young entrepreneurs around the country are starting tech companies. They are easy to start and easy to scale and you can start with minimal resources, which was the opposite of everything I found my entrepreneurial journey to be up until that point. I got excited to watch people who I met through YEC launch their companies and grow their companies, so I learned a lot about technology companies, specifically around operations, strategy, marketing, and branding.
I have a bachelor’s of science in international trade and marketing and I found myself in this niche of advising a lot of start-ups around marketing, branding, how to run your company, and media buying for your company. I then started to invest in them as well, became an angel investor, and really liked it.
As for Gen Y Capital Partners, a friend from the YEC came to me and my partner Jeremy Johnson and asked if we would be willing to start this fund with him. We looked at what makes early-stage investing really successful and it was having an additional value add. Things such as networking and advising helped companies excel and see success in some form or fashion. We knew there was something we could do with the network that we could collectively create, and out of that Gen Y Capital was formed.
MN: What do you do at the company? What is its strategy?
LMB: My role at Gen Y Capital Partners is managing director, so I manage the fund. When we came together to create Gen Y Capital, the sole purpose was to identify and successfully invest in early-stage tech companies, hence our tag line “By Gen Y, For Gen Y.” My partners and I are all Gen Y and we invest in companies that have at least one Gen Y founder.
We also use YEC to virtually accelerate the companies we invest in. They have access to peer-to-peer advising and they have all the benefits of being a member of YEC, which is an invite-only organization. All the companies we invest in through the fund are automatically invited, and we’re able to pull together an incredible, dynamic group of limited partners to invest in the fund. Our limited partners are people who are just like us: they had a successful company and are really passionate about technology companies and supporting the future of what they believe innovation should look like. All of this enables us to provide targeted assistance and support and expertise to companies that we fund.
MN: What other companies have you started?
LMB: I am personally very motivated by the opportunity to be one of the early movers or early adopters within the various industries I have a passion for. My first business was a vineyard and winery and out of that, I started a marketing company called Luxury Market Branding, where we do strategic marketing, branding and media buying and planning for luxury goods. We started out doing wine and spirits, and we have since moved into hair care and skin care.
Out of that, we started working with a lot of brands that, while they were not all tech start-ups, they used technology in some light, whether it was for marketing, branding or ecommerce. Out of that, I became more passionate about marrying tech with marketing and branding. I’m most motivated by being able to see what could be potentially major opportunities leveraging technology.
Advertising and marketing trade publication Advertising Age announced its 2013 Agency A-List honors this week, highlighting a black advertising CEO as its Executive of the Year. Steve Stoute, CEO of Translation, is a partner with Jay-Z for the agency, which launched first as a multicultural firm but now serves as a general market agency.
Stoute came from the entertainment world, if you couldn’t tell based on his ad agency partner, working with Sony Music Entertainment and Interscope Geffen A&M Records. His connections in the entertainment industry are appealing to his clients, which include State Farm, A-B InBev, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. Transitions was also behind the marketing campaign to introduce the Brooklyn Nets basketball team.
Entertainment is a hot industry, but Stoute told Ad Age that there’s more to it than that. “…I think our strategy department is the best in the industry,” he said. “The thinking in our agency never gets the credit it deserves because we have a celebrity. We are first and foremost a strategic and creative shop. And second, we have a Rolodex in entertainment and sports that’s unique in the industry.”
Elsewhere on AdAge’s list, LatinWorks, a Hispanic-focused shop, was honored as multicultural agency of the year, and the number three advertising agency, Grey, has Michael Houston serving as managing director and CMO.
Once upon a time (today included), there was a Queen Bey who reigned unchallenged over every facet of the pop star kingdom. Her unparalleled commitment to outperforming the lesser royals allowed her to outshine them all. Except in one dark area. Being larger than life alienated her from the masses.
Always looking to improve, Queen Bey set her sights on the Web. Other starlets had used social media to their advantage. Surely the Queen could as well. She launched a website! And a Tumblr! Sprinkling out glimpses of her life for the masses to consume, artistic candid photos and handwritten open letters to those that inspired her. Everyone ate it up… for the most part. Some complained. The Queen was showing more of herself, but she wasn’t really telling us anything about who she was.
Bolstered by the delight of fans or the criticism of detractors, Queen Bey decided to take her online presence a step further. She launched The Beyhive blog on Tuesday. She billed it as “my way of showing all the inspiring things I come across every single day… through my eyes.”
Here’s Where the Fairy Tale Gets Real…
Beyoncé’s latest endeavor satisfies the minimum qualifications to be called a blog. The Beyhive is “a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links” (Marketing Terms). The blog features: photo links to the star’s latest cultural and artistic finds, a collection of the notes she writes to newsmakers (previously found in the News section), street style photographed by her stylist, and an archive of fan art. All listed in chronological order.
It’s cute. But she could have just made a Pinterest board.
Let’s look at what other celebrities are doing with lifestyle blogs:
- Goop, launched by Knowles-Carter clique member Gwyneth Paltrow, features interviews as well as editorial heavy features on products, destinations, recipes, and more.
- Little Monsters, the brainchild of the only other performer allowed to make eye contact with the Queen, Lady Gaga, is a full-fledged social network for fans of the provocateur.
- Life & Times, spearheaded by husband to Beyoncé’, Jay-Z, is a full-scale online publication that runs branded video, op-eds, and accompanies all its images with at least a paragraph of text.