Insights: The EGC Blog

Interestingly (and sadly) it was recently reported that Millenials find their mobile device more important to them than their toothbrush or deodorant.

LifeLine_Infograph

Our clients are seeing (on average) 30-50% of total traffic coming from mobile devices. There is no doubt that mobile is becoming more and more important with each passing day – to each of us, in every demographic. 

And there’s certainly no argument that every business should have had a mobile strategy in place by now, and should continue building their digital experience around mobile.

The question we are asked so often is: “Where should I be focusing my core mobile experience?”
To optimize the core of your mobile experience, you have some choices: 

ChoseASite

Responsive site:
A site built via “responsive design” consists of one website with one content platform that is coded to display content differently (depending on the device it’s being viewed on).

  • Pros: With “responsive design,” your website can be a mobile site on any type of device or platform, ultimately maximizing your development investment. One content management system can control all of your content, regardless of the device it appears on. Also, it’s easier to drive traffic through SEO and through paid advertising.
  • Cons: Mobile experiences tend to suffer, as responsive sites are not primarily built with the mobile experience in mind. 

Mobile site:
A site built exclusively for mobile, completely independent of desktop. 

  • Pros: This type of site is customized for the mobile experience and requires less maintenance and cost than a native app.
  • Cons: A “mobile site” has a separate content management system, which is harder for SEO efforts.

Native app:
An application program that has been developed for use on a particular platform or device.

  • Pros: Engagement on apps is almost always higher. Smartphone users spend more time using apps than the web. As of 2013, users spent an average of 30 hours per month with apps. “Native apps” are built to work well, no matter the speed of the device. 
  • Cons: “Native apps” are often costly to produce and must be built for different platforms. Additionally, it is hard to drive downloads/traffic via native apps. 

In choosing which type of mobile site (or the combination of options) to use, the first step is to start with your customer. (How do they engage with you now? How do they want to engage with you? How can you help make their life a little bit easier?) 

When you’re a multi-location retailer, you’ll likely want a mobile site that is equipped with a “Location Finder,” in addition to your desktop site. (Keep in mind that although your needs can be served by a “responsive site,” multi-location retail web traffic is always highly mobile, so you’ll want to optimize that experience.)

Multi-unit restaurants and hospitality companies, for instance, could indeed benefit from “native apps,” as these make it easy for users to find locations, review menus, place orders and make reservations.

Any business with “Account Management,” “Customer Log-ins” and customized CRM is always best served with an app. 

If you're a B2B company or professional service firm that primarily interacts through in-person meetings or phone calls, then you probably do not need a mobile app – unless you can offer some new features or functions that aren’t available on an app today. 

You will likely benefit from a “responsive design” website. If you have customer log-ins or a CRM program, however, you’ll want to supplement that responsive site with an app.  

Ultimately, you may find that a single solution (or a combination) will maximize your investment and resources for your mobile experience. 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR MOBILE STRATEGY?
If so, contact The EGC Group today and we will help you find the solution that’s best for you.

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Since the release of Google+ in 2011, many (most, let’s be honest) of us instantly saw it as a feeble attempt to jump into the social media game to compete with another well-known, highly established social network – Facebook. We shrugged, maybe commented on it (while Twitter users might have tweeted about it), but few of us actually considered even making a profile, chalking it up to a new war akin to the never ending “my Android is better than your iPhone” saga.

EGCG+

And questions have been raised recently with rumors the platform might spin off photos into a separate platform, as well as its notable absence from its July developers’ conference, Google I/O. But as it stands today, Google+ has more than 540 million monthly active users. Do they know something you don’t?

The truth is – other social networks don’t have the ability to tap into the incredible benefits that Google+ can offer. Since it’s owned by the search engine itself, favorable social activity on Google+ has shown a high correlation to increased rankings on search engine results.

While debate may continue, fueled by Google’s own Matt Cutts, head of the Webspam team, about the impact +1s might have on SEO, Cutts himself touts the positive impact of sharing quality content on the platform. So?

Assuming you’ve already set up your profile, let’s walk through five ways you can optimize your activity to get the most SEO benefit.

1.)  Complete your profile to the very best of your ability.

No slacking off allowed here. Think of it as if you were submitting a resume for your business directly to Google. Leaving your business hours blank or providing an incorrect location could mean the difference between whether you see customers in the door or not, so you’ll always want to be sure that your profile provides as much information as possible. After all, you never know what people are looking for…which brings us to our next point.

2.)  Use keywords.

What are the terms associated with your business? Using keywords throughout your profile drives the point home to search engines that you “own” these terms. If your business is in higher education, consider developing a body of text that expands on the various subjects your programs offer. Including these alternate ways where people may refer to your services could make a serious impact on how visible you are in search. Remember – the way people use search engines is much more aligned to how they speak in everyday conversation.

3.)  Don’t let your presence be socially awkward.

It’s crucial to keep your page active, but we find that many brands are guilty of creating a fully optimized Google+ profile – only to then instantly revert back to the “set it and forget it” mentality. Optimize your social activity by creating sharable, original content that ties back to your brand (read: website) on a regular basis, so you’re not only building your voice and tone, but a platform for conversations to happen around your niche industry.

4.)  Become a part of the conversation.

Ever gone to a party and managed to find that one guy that only wants to talk about himself? Maybe one or two points are interesting, but it’s only a matter of time before we migrate over to a conversation that actually involves the ideas and opinions of others. You can’t expect everyone to visit your page and instantly open up – you have to be willing to expand your circles and search for conversations you can take part in for the purpose of becoming more visible. Search for conversations that are happening in real-time with hashtags, and start showcasing your expertise. Make a big enough splash in the pond and chances are you’ll likely gain the attention of high authority brands who can catapult your search ranking simply by sharing your content.

5.)  Leverage Google Authorship to showcase your expertise.

It’s the ultimate byline: link the content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile. You’ll gain access to analytics for your content’s performance in search, while also attracting more followers on Google+. When Googlers see your Google+ byline, it’s a subtle call-to-action that empowers users to not only become a part of the conversation, but to connect with the conversation-generator itself – that’s you!

Now it’s your turn. If you have a Google+ page and (more to the point) are sincerely eager to make your presence known on this platform but have not had the results you’d been hoping for…consider this blog as a checklist as to how to tend to it. As stated earlier, simply having a profile is not going to make things happen. Take the time and attention to cultivate your Google+ presence…you may find yourself standing out among those other 540 million active users.

 

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Is your home improvement/design business on Houzz yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

Fact: Houzz has over 16 million unique visitors a month who are interested in home improvement and design.

What is Houzz?

Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design. This is the site where consumers who are interested in taking on a home renovation/design project go to find inspiration, get reviews on different companies, and then connect with the company, contractor or designer of their choice. Relationships and trust between the consumer and contractor/designer are built on Houzz.

Cambridge

How do consumers use Houzz?

Once a consumer creates their “Houzz profile,” they start looking for pictures from contractors and designers – IN THEIR AREA – to post to their “ideabooks.” (What are “ideabooks”? These are places in the profile where consumers will store the different pictures they like for different projects). They store these pictures so that one day in the near future, they can employ (LOCAL) businesses for their projects.

What are the main benefits to creating a Houzz business profile?

1. Home improvement/design customers will make their decisions based on visuals. Houzz is a visual platform where consumers have the opportunity to see pictures of your jobs. This is how they know whether or not they like the work you do.
2. Clients are looking to remodel within a year.
Unlike any other form of media, people on Houzz are looking to do a home project! They are on Houzz to find that special business that does amazing work and which they can also trust.

Ken_Kelley_Kitchens

3. Connect with people in your area.
Because when people are actually in the planning phase of projects, they are looking for businesses that are nearby.

4. You can give advice/answer questions potential customers may have.
This helps to build trust and relationships with different people. By helping them, they may see you as an expert in your field.

5. It helps your SEO efforts.
Houzz often ranks high when it comes to searching for home improvement/design businesses.

 

Are you ready to create your Houzz business profile? Be sure to follow these tips to create the best profile you can!

1. Thoroughly fill out every section when creating your profile. 
Don’t leave any section blank; give potential customers as much information that you honestly can. This helps them to clearly understand your business – and even more importantly, know how they can contact you!

Houzz

2. Upload high quality pictures. 
Houzz is an extremely visual site, and uploading high resolution pictures is the best way to capture the eyes of your audiences.

3. Understand the difference between uploading "projects" and "ideabooks."
a. Projects are a group of pictures from one job. Be sure to take pictures of the entire job (and every detail) from a variety of angles. When titling these projects, keep them short and sweet, while being sure to mention where the project was completed (e.g., “Tropical Long Island Kitchen”).
b. The “ideabooks” are where you can post pictures that have a common theme (e.g., “Outdoor Kitchens”).

4. Houzz Badge. 
Insert a “Houzz Badge” on your company’s website. This will guide people who are on your website, encouraging them to visit your Houzz profile, where they can see pictures of your work and read reviews of your company.

5. Get Reviewed. 
After completing a job, ask the client if they can log onto Houzz and write a review for you. The more positive reviews that are linked to your company, the easier it will be for future potential customers to see what a great business you have!

6. Community Interaction.
There are forums on Houzz where people pose questions, looking for answers from different businesses. The more questions you answer, the more you are seen as an expert, and the stronger relationships you start to build.

So again…is your home improvement/design business on Houzz?

 

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Welcome to Weekend Reading

This week we introduce and discus three terms and phrases you may not be familiar with: “holacracy,” “geomarketing,” and “marketing automation.”

Have you ever imagined what it would be like working in a “management-free” company? Our first article examines a new business practice that is going through a trial run in several companies, and it is called “holacracy.” Is this the future or a fad? Read and make your own conclusion.

If you walk into a favorite store and check your smartphone, you may suddenly see a pop-up offer on an item in the very location that you are in. Coincidence? No…it means you’ve been “geomarketed.” The second article goes into the details of this very precise marketing science.

The shift to online media has opened the door for automation to trickle into the world of marketing, hence the phrase “marketing automation." In the digital realm, marketers can see not only what messaging works but who responds and how those people have interacted with the brand in the past. Read how by bringing data together and mapping the various consumer paths, you can automatically personalize content to prospects and customers.

It’s a fascinating new world, and we at EGC are here to help you navigate it. 

Have a great weekend.

Ernie Canadeo
President/Founder
The EGC Group


Zappos Just Abolished Bosses. Inside Tech's Latest Management Craze.

Vox
by Gregory Ferenstein

The latest management trend to sweep Silicon Valley requires CEOs to formally relinquish their authority and grants special protection for every employee to experiment with ideas. It's called holacracy and big name tech leaders have jumped on the bandwagon. (Read more...)

Comments:
Ernest G. Canadeo
Founder & President

Mr. Ferenstein proclaims that “holacracy is the future of management,” but later balances this by writing that it’s too soon to tell if it will be successful. Part innovation, part delegation, there has been a trend toward “team management” for some time, and while I don’t see CEOs ever completely relinquishing authority, I believe the current trend will continue, albeit with some form of structured hierarchy. Without structure and some form of authority, you create anarchy.


Geomarketing: It's Where It's At Today

CMO.com by Adobe
by Samuel Greengard

Digital marketing has made clear that getting the right message to the right person at the right time is paramount. Yet somewhere at the intersection of technology and opportunity lies the very real world of putting an effective plan into place. (Read more...)

Comments:
Jared Del Prete
Director, Digital Strategy and Search
Twitter: @jdelprete

According to the dictionary, the word “beacon” is defined as: “a light that is set up in a prominent position as a warning signal or celebration.” The term is now used as a tool for marketers in the always going, always on task of geomarketing. And whether or not they can make a sale or a conversion when the prospective customer is at the right place at the right time indeed spells out “warning” (if the plan doesn’t work), or “celebration” (if the plan succeeds).


The CMO's Guide to Marketing Automation

Advertising Age
by Alex Kantrowitz

You'd be forgiven for thinking "marketing automation" is an odd if not contradictory term. Until recently, those two words were rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same breath. The goal of marketing is to increase awareness for products and services, a mission often carried out via labor-intensive creative work. (Read more...)

Comments:
Nicole Larrauri
Managing Partner
Twitter: @Nicole_Larrauri

Thanks, Mr. Kantrowitz, for this informative but understandable essay on marketing automation. While there are no guarantees for success, learning and knowing how and when to apply content personalization, smart engagement, and other topics listed here can help strengthen a brand’s online marketing presence. (If nothing else, finding out what works – and what doesn’t – can be accomplished faster and easier.).


"An Army of lions commanded by a deer will never be an army of lions."
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

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5Keys-3

Every year, we at The EGC Group gather for our Summer Meeting & Party – a “state-of-the-union” summit and day of team building, which culminates with our staff and families enjoying dinner and friendship on beautiful Oyster Bay Harbor. This year, as the industry rapidly changes and we’re positioned at the forefront of that change, it was a great opportunity to connect, discuss where we’re heading and take a look at what sets EGC apart.

The agency is growing, taking on ambitious projects for global brands, and pushing its creative and digital thinking to new and exciting heights. Emerging from the day’s analysis of current success and future goals (along with fun trips down memory lane to the company’s beginnings, as well as attempts at building spaghetti, tape and marshmallow skyscrapers) was a commitment to each other and EGC’s success.

Is it possible to future-proof a business, especially in the advertising industry? EGC has identified ingredients that every agency should keep top-of-mind in charting a course for the future.

  1. Find Your “Why”

With an ever-expanding roster of companies looking to enter the digital and full-service advertising space, it’s not enough to have a clear sense of your “what” in defining your agency. What’s your “why”?

Why should clients turn to you? Why do you get up each morning and choose to do this work? 

Finding your “why” is about feeding your passion (individually for the work you do and collectively as a team). Bring it to the table daily as you help clients realize their passion.

Our “why” is to help people.

From a global to a local scale, we’re building connections for our clients. Whether we’re working with franchisees that are engaging in their local neighborhoods, or global brands communicating across social media with customers around the world (while supporting the small family businesses in their dealer networks), we’re here to help. We’re mindful, too, that we’re helping customers discover the tools they need for success in their educational pursuits, businesses and family lives.

That passion, our “why,” sets The EGC Group apart from other agencies, and it makes us want to get up each day and work with each other and for our clients.

5Keys-4

  1. Foster  “Responsivity”

Responsiveness and flexibility are essential ingredients for any endeavor’s success. These components of “responsivity” are the building blocks of client services.

It’s more than answering an email in a timely fashion. That’s important, for sure, but it’s about looking beyond “impossible” and building a team with innovation in its DNA.

How are you responding to your clients’ changing markets? As EGC’s MP Nicole Larrauri

noted in her recent blog post, The Emperor Has No Shoes: A Marketing Lesson from Nine West, the world has changed for agencies and for brands.

“Only a few short years ago, brands could use advertising to broadcast messaging or publicize an offer. Simple, right? No one cried foul if the message was amiss… And here we are today in a new transparent economy,” Nicole observes.

For us, fostering “responsivity” is about tapping into our “why.” Our passion drives us to be nimble enough to change course when needed, and flexible when tackling new challenges.

5Keys-2
  1. Remember Your ABCs 

Glengarry Glen Ross’s Blake advised, “Always be closing!” But how can agencies ensure clients will continue to choose them?  Always be current!

Staying current means remembering our learning days didn’t end with the ABCs of our industry. We should always be learning about new tools, trends, developments and opportunities for our clients.

From the use of Twitter Cards to marketing trends such as building an influencer strategy, or tracking new Google developments from algorithm changes (like the “Pigeon” Update), to questions about the future of the tech giant’s social platform, Google+, we’re always listening, learning and sharing. It’s our mission to help brands stay current so they can continue to build conversations with customers – where the conversations are happening…now.

5Keys-1

  1. Curate Culture

We hear a lot about curating today. “Curate” content. “Curate” images. “Curate” ideas. Once a term that was most associated with cultural institutions and the artistic pieces they selected to collect and exhibit, the time has come to apply it to agency culture.

One theme we heard a lot at our Summer Meeting & Party was the idea of The EGC Group as a family. A lot of businesses talk about being a family. Watch a few episodes of reality TV, and it’s clear that not all families work well together. So what does it mean for colleagues to be a family?

A critical concept in branding is “internal brand engagement.” The world’s most successful brands don’t only look to external influencers. They understand that it’s critical to engage their employees to be brand ambassadors, embracing and communicating a passion for the brand and its values.

The same should be true for us as an agency. If we work together, enjoying not only the work, but the people we work with (brainstorming, innovating, executing and delivering daily as a team), that comradery based on shared passions and values will translate to the customer experience.

5Keys-5

  1. Everybody’s Got to Care

What does EGC stand for? While there’s a strong possibility the initials have a connection to our founder, president and EGC family leader, Ernie G. Canadeo, as our great account supervisor Tony Pasquariello reminded us, they stand for: “Everybody’s Got to Care!”

With the right team of responsive, passionate experts on the cutting-edge of their fields who are working toward a common “why,” the foundation is there for success. But what holds all of these elements together? Accountability.

Every member of the agency is accountable for ensuring the quality of the work, creating solutions and delivering a great client experience. As Tony added, “Every client you serve, in whatever department you’re in or specific piece of the whole project you touch, this is your client.”

5Keys-6

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Welcome to Weekend Reading

This week, we look at the reluctance of C-Suite leaders who are opposed (or reluctant) to explore social media, the revolutionary changes that apps will have on our purchase power, and how and where television stands alongside mobile streaming in the advertising world.

When we think of C-Suite level management, the image is of people who are strong, confident, and can take on the world. In regards to social media marketing, however, a surprising percentage of these top-tier executives have reservations of one kind or another, as our first article explains.

Shopping is different today than it was only several years ago. Between online purchasing and scanning bar codes to comparison shop, consumers literally have the world of retail at their fingertips. Guess what? Shopping apps to handle everything, from choice to transaction, are on the way.

Today, mobile is the “first screen” we all look to for information and entertainment, followed by the tablet, leaving television in third place. This week’s third article examines the future of television in the high tech, forever streaming world of content. Is TV down for the count? Think again…

We close with a blog by EGC Managing Partner Nicole Larrauri about a campaign for a well-known women’s shoe brand that, however well-intentioned, went very wrong. The problem was that they assumed what their client-based wanted, but did not listen to who they were and how they felt.

Ernie Canadeo
President/Founder
The EGC Group


Why the C-Suite Don't 'Get' Social Media Marketing – and How to Change That

The Guardian
by Sharon Flaherty

In a recent talk at Hay Festival, Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, advised the audience to keep their phones out of their bedroom when sleeping. Why? Because, most of us wake up, reach for our phones and before even getting out of bed in the morning, have a quick check of our social accounts, messages and emails. (Read more...)

Comments:
Stephanie Weingart
Director of Social Media
Twitter: @Frozen2late

Advice to the majority of C-Suite executives mentioned in this article: learn about and get involved with social media! Whether the reluctance is based on being satisfied with the way things are in your business, inability to calculate ROI, or (let’s be honest), fear of the unknown, you are doing a disservice to your company by not exploring the benefits that social media can bring to your brand. (And there are benefits…truly.)


The Future of Shopping: When Apps Shop With – or For – You

ReadWrite.com
by Stephanie Chan

E-commerce is already pretty much woven into our daily lives, but only in a limited, one-way sort of interaction between user and website. Which has some future-of-shopping types wondering: What happens when your shopping apps stop waiting for you and instead come to you with offers? (Read more...)

Comments:
Jared Del Prete
Director, Digital Strategy and Search
Twitter: @jdelprete

Ms. Chan concluded that having a shopping screen practically everywhere you turn in the near future “may seem a little too invasive,” but concludes that the future of easier shopping may be “a welcome change.” Let’s hope that the extent to which a consumer wants to rely on “app shopping,” will be a personal preference, and that it is not going to be an enforced practice. Some shoppers actually like putting the effort into researching, browsing, and selecting what to buy – on their own!


Mobile Streaming Boosts TV Business (For Now)

MediaPost
by Mark Walsh

A new report from Needham & Co. argues that digital video, driven by viewing on mobile devices, has so far helped the traditional TV business rather than hurt it.
Specifically, it points to the consumer shift toward watching video on smartphones. (Read more...)

Comments:
Angela Mertz
Media Director
Twitter: @AngelaAtEGC

So...is this a sign of things to come? Early on, the article claims that the days of “traditional television” viewing are more or less numbered. Mobile streaming is, ironically, a benefit to the business of television, but this statistic will dwindle in time. Or will it? Prime content that is valued for sporting events and favorite shows will always have an audience, and we can only get this from a reliable television set and programming. This – coupled with need to constantly recharge the smartphone to watch streaming videos that can have erratic reception – will mean that television (as traditionalist know it), is not, and will not, be out of the game.


The Emperor Has No Shoes: A Lesson in Transparency and Marketing from Nine West

Insights: The EGC Group Blog
by Nicole Larrauri 

Oh, the good old days of marketing. Only a few short years ago, brands could use advertising to broadcast messaging or publicize an offer. Simple, right? No one cried foul if the message was amiss. Everyone was – well at least advertising agencies were – happy. (Read more...)


"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
-- Mark Twain

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Oh, the good old days of marketing. Only a few short years ago, brands could use advertising to broadcast messaging or publicize an offer. Simple, right? No one cried foul if the message was amiss. Everyone was – well at least advertising agencies were – happy.

And here we are today in a new transparent economy. Leading us to Nine West. Nine West, admittedly, had a problem. Marginalized. Lost in a sea of competitors. Losing relevance with Millennials.

So the brand embarked on a new advertising campaign. I am pretty sure that the creative brief on this campaign said in bold letters, "BE EDGY. Girls today are edgy!"

So creatives gathered around a table and said “Walk of shame  that’s super edgy and current, right!?”

“Ladies buy shoes to impress men  of course!” "How about 'Husband Hunting'?” "That’s SO LOL!”

And so this campaign was born...

Screen_shot_2014-08-13_at_7.44.37_PM

The problem is, the Nine West brand isn’t necessarily edgy. The campaign infuriated women. And upon launch, this happened:

Screen_shot_2014-08-13_at_8.22.24_PM
Many critics and consumers alike found the ads patronizing and offensive, taking issue with the campaign showing women either taking care of husbands, or taking care of children, and leaving out, well, everything else a woman could possibly do in shoes. And they took to social media to publicly broadcast their frustration with the campaign.

One could argue that Nine West received more media coverage than it likely ever has in its lifetime. Whether this media coverage will sell shoes is debatable. The backlash has been so significant that they’ve likely turned off more customers more than they would have turned on.

However, this post isn’t meant to critique the campaign. Regardless of whether or not we personally found it all that offensive  let's look at how this influences how we approach brand strategy.
Listening and Transparency.
Look, Nine West shoes are the grilled chicken salad of footwear. Practical. Does what it’s supposed to. OK fare for your average in-office Tuesday.
And that’s OK. That’s who they are. They sell attainable, sometimes very nice looking, footwear for a variety of life occasions. Your first job. Your fifth job. Your aunt’s wedding.
Screen_shot_2014-08-13_at_3.18.18_PM
The problem is the “life moments” reflected in the campaign aren’t from any real conversations happening about the brand. Ever. They aren’t things that anyone has ever said or felt about Nine West.

We don’t need a focus group to tell us that. All of the conversations happening about the brand are there.
Screen_shot_2014-08-13_at_3.22.09_PM
Here is a good example of a brand insight pre-campaign. One look at the current ad campaign  and then one visit to a store  would cause a pretty significant disconnect. The post above was from a real customer, why not focus tone and messaging around her?
So, rather than try to dictate a message to say something different about your brand, cultivate the conversations that are already happening about what people are saying about you. Build new brand loyalists and new customers by pulling the insights that are so readily available to us today.

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Welcome to Weekend Reading

How we sleep, listen, and think each affects our business and personal lives, and are our main topics this week.

We all strive to perform at our best, and realize the importance of a good night’s sleep. Our first article offers new research into how much sleep is optimal. You may be surprised by the results.

Listening has become an underrated skill, but excelling at it can improve your relationships and your career. A recent Wall Street Journal story offered some advice on how to improve as a listener. It’s a terrific and worthy read.

This week’s edition continues with suggestions of how to brainstorm, with 33 samples to choose from. (Don’t worry…each one is 140 characters or less). Here is proof that great ideas can be expressed as briefly as possible.

We conclude with an article that emphasizes the importance of making a good first impression with email subscribers, and features insight from EGC’s Managing Partner, Nicole Larrauri, and an EGC blog about “brand influencers.”

Have a great weekend.

Ernie Canadeo
President/Founder
The EGC Group


Why Seven Hours of Sleep Might Be Better Than Eight

The Wall Street Journal
by Sumathi Reddy 

How much sleep do you really need?
Experts generally recommend seven to nine hours a night for healthy adults. Sleep scientists say new guidelines are needed to take into account an abundance of recent research in the field and to reflect that Americans are on average sleeping less than they did in the past. (Read more...)

Comments:

Ernest G. Canadeo
Founder & President

This report states that seven hours of sleep is optimal (while eight may be too many). Not to doubt scientific findings, but it will be curious to see how (or if), this number might change the next time such a study is undertaken (be it 10, 20, or 25 years from now). But if a person has been doing well be by sleeping eight hours a night, and they try for seven but find no noticeable improvement, could that extra hour of sleep (or maybe use it for meditation) be so bad?


How to Be a Better Listener

The Wall Street Journal
by Rubina Madan Fillion

Listening has become an underrated skill, but excelling at it can improve your relationships and your career. A recent Wall Street Journal story offered some advice on how to improve as a listener. Some of the most useful tips: (Read more...)

Comments:
Nicole Larrauri
Managing Partner
Twitter: @Nicole_Larrauri

With the combination of current technology (interesting how “put away the cell phone” number one on the list), and shorter attention spans, being able to truly listen to another person is not so much an underrated skill as it is a forgotten skill. Yes, “listening workshops” should be conducted far and wide…in schools and corporations. Many of us would be surprised at how (literally) out of tune we might be. And as far as speaking goes, kudos to the comment made by Janet Catland: “If every sentence out of your mouth begins 'I' then you are not having a conversation, you are having a monologue and they are interrupting you.” How’s that for a bumper sticker?


33 Brainstorming Tips, in 140 Characters or Less

SlideShare
by Ethos3 | Presentation Design and Training

First, brainstorm alone. People generate 2x more ideas when working along than in groups.
To brainstorm alone: take a walk. Studies prove walking increases creativity.
Unplug. Connect to nature to boost creativity up to 50% (Read more...)

Comments:
Rich DeSimone
Creative Director
Twitter: @RichAtEGC

Here are quick, to-the-point ideas, beliefs and theories on what makes for effective brainstorming. Different people will like and follow different ones, and disagree with others, That’s O.K. What each one has in common is that they make their impression like that (imagine the sound of fingers snapping). Who knows? Maybe some of these blurbs will inspire different “best ways to brainstorm” in anyone who reads them.


Small Business: Making a Good First Impression with Email Subscribers

Newsday
by Jamie Herzlich 

First impressions can mean everything in email marketing.
But many brands seem to be falling short, with 77 percent of them failing to make a good impression with new email subscribers, according to a study by Minneapolis-based digital marketing firm Ciceron. (Read more...)

Why Are Brand Influencers Such a Big Deal?

Insights: The EGC Group Blog
by Kyle Berube

In early June, the fashion industry was shocked to learn that some of the world’s most famous fashion bloggers were earning six-figure salaries. Women’s Wear Daily published an article revealing the salaries of these bloggers. (Read more...)


"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier."
-- Mother Teresa, Albanian-Indian nun and missionary

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In early June, the fashion industry was shocked to learn that some of the world’s most famous fashion bloggers were earning six-figure salaries. Women’s Wear Daily published an article revealing the salaries of these bloggers. Digital influencers of the highest caliber, like menswear blogger Bryan Boyor lifestyle writer Leandra Medine, can command around $50,000 for a single event appearance and $5,000 for just one sponsored Instagram posting.

So why is it that they can expect to be paid such high amounts of money? What in fact is a “digital influencer”? Why should we pay attention to them? And, most importantly, how does one capitalize on this trend?

Bryanboy

A brand advocate or influencer is someone who is a credible authority on subjects related to a specific type of product or service. In 2013, Technorati rankedbloggers as among the most powerful forms of online influence – right after retail sites and brand sites. These people are the aforementioned advocates and influencers.

A brand advocate is identified as a highly successful customer who is defined by how likely they are to recommend a product to friends and relatives, providing advice on a long-term scale. (For example, it would be that relative who can’t stop talking about their favorite restaurant.)

A brand influencer is someone who is a blogger, expert, or celebrity, who is defined by the size of his or her audience (while seeking to grow his or her personal audience on a short-term basis). Influencers typically require compensation, while advocates are genuinely interested in spreading the word of the product at hand (via Zuberance).

In the simplest of terms, they are the happiest of customers or professionals who earn a living by talking about your product.

Leandra

The reason these influencers are so important is because when asked what source of information people trusted most, 94% of them said they believed word-of-mouth over anything else. Zuberance breaks this down to two factors: trust and reach.

The average customer is less likely to trust what a brand says about a product, because they know that the company is just trying to sell them the product. They instead turn to family members, friends, or coworkers in their search for input. Also, they will turn to social media in search of answers. When they see a former classmate or a blogger raving about a product, they will be influenced to make a purchase in that direction. This is: “word of mouth.”

According to a Nielsen study, 92% of people in 2012 trusted recommendations from people they know, followed by 70% of people saying that they trusted consumer opinions posted online. All forms of direct advertisement, significantly, were trusted less than 50% of the time.

Still not sure of the impact of brand advocates? Look at some of these statistics:

  • In 2011, 46% of U.S. executives said that an increase in brand advocates was one of the most important benefits of social media. (Source: Jive, 2011)
  • 70% of global consumers trust online reviews, which is an increase of 15% in four years. (Source: Nielsen)
  • Seven in ten people who read reviews share them with friends, family and colleagues – thus amplifying their impact. (Source: Deloitte & Touche)
  • Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. (Source:Deloitte)
  • Brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase. (Source: Marketing Charts)

Craftsy

So now the question becomes: “How to begin working with brand influencers (on a paid scale), and how to connect with brand advocates?” The first step would be to look at success stories and learn how other brands accomplished this. Brands such as Craftsy, Ford, Wendy’s, and St. Ives have all partnered with digital influencers in the past to increase their awareness.

Consider some of the following tools when starting an influencer or advocate campaigns:

As you can see, word of mouth has potential to be the most profitable form of marketing for your brand. Engaging with and creating brand zealots can boost the success of even the most viral marketing campaign. It can be costly, but rewards from these are infinitely valuable to a business.


 

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Welcome to Weekend Reading

What happens when new branding goes bad? Is success dependent on IQ, or something else? Can bots take over the world, or at least advertising? Will Google's new algorithm help or hurt small businesses? These are some of the questions we pose in this week’s edition.

We begin with an EGC blog about Google's new algorithm. Read how the changes may benefit your business.

A brand’s logo has a power that many take for granted. It is a simple, inventive image that serves to immediately connect the customer’s recognition to the brand. And it can be very risky when it is changed. Our first article covers how “new” does not always mean “improved”.
 
The time-honored belief has been that people who are super-intelligent, with high IQs, are bound to succeed. Or are they? This week’s second article examines a number of factors that can truly define and propel certain people to success. And it’s not only a high IQ, which proves that there is hope for most of us.
 
Get used to chatting with a bot. The latest innovation in advertising is what the author of our last article terms “chatvertising”, also known as talking to the bot. Read how very soon you will be chatting with your favorite bot, er, brand. 
 
Pinch yourself, and have a great weekend.

Ernie Canadeo
President/Founder
The EGC Group


Pigeon Feed

The EGC Group
by Vincent Totino 

Google released a new algorithm that is designed to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results which are tied more closely with traditional web ranking signals. “Search Engine Land” has named this the “Pigeon Update.” (Read more...)

Branding Gone Wrong: When Bad Logos Strike Back

Fortune
by Benjamin Snyder 

Vacation rental service Airbnb unveiled a new logo last week that generated a wave of criticism for its design. Some likened it to a triangular paperclip or, even more crudely, to certain female anatomy. But the company still stands by the logo, which it calls Bélo and says represents belonging. (Read more...)

Comments:
Rich DeSimone
Creative Director
Twitter: @RichAtEGC

Like the words of wisdom say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The lesson that Tropicana, The Gap, and the other brands should learn from this is NOT to be too eager to change what’s already working. There’s no need to redesign a logo in an effort to appeal to a younger, hipper audience – if what they’re already used to appeals to them. (Chalk one up for staying old-school and classic.) This article proves the power of the logo. The products were more or less the same. Change the logo (alone), and oh, the outcry…followed by the drop in sales.


What Predicts Success? It's Not Your IQ

LinkedIn
by Daniel Goleman

The CEO of one of the world’s largest money management firms was puzzled. He wanted to know why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees, with a few outstanding, most in the middle, and a few poor. (Read more...)

Comments:
Nicole Larrauri
Managing Partner
Twitter: @Nicole_Larrauri

Here’s another example of ‘survival of the fittest.’ The article mentions how ‘grit’ is an important trait in those who are successful. (Ever notice how ‘grit’ is part of ‘integrity’?) With that in mind, Mr. Goleman is correct to suggest that the life skills that make up emotional intelligence be taught right along with the courses that strengthen students’ IQ. 


Advertising's New Frontier: Talk to the Bot

The Wall Street Journal
by Christopher Mims

This month, with little fanfare, the most popular chat app among teens in the U.S. launched a feature that could be the future of advertising. Or, at the least, it marks the dawn of a new age in how brands engage. (Read more...)

Comments:
Evan Calafates
Search Marketing Manager
Twitter: @EvanatEGC

The more fascinating technology becomes, the scarier its potential is. Will talking to chat apps replace person-to-person communication? You can’t help but wonder; after all, when a new technology is unleashed on the world, it becomes all the rage and people get consumed by it. With chat apps, the risk is really great of getting consumed past the point of no return. Brands represent products and services to be used; they’re not something to converse with.


"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present."
-- Bill Keane

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