Category Archives: Marketing

The New Era of Creative Storytelling (Part 2 of 2)

{Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part post focusing on what we’ve learned as social media marketers over the years and what our industry looks like moving forward}

Live journalAs you (hopefully) read in the first part of this post, social media marketing and user behavior have covered a LOT of ground in 15-ish years. First, being able to share written word on the Internet, then the ability to start your own personal web page with photos and music, on to easily being able to create and post content of all kinds online, interacting directly with brands and organizations, and eventually live streaming content that “disappears” after a few seconds. Creative storytelling has never been more complicated. Which brings us to today…

2018: The Modern Age

What is Happening?

Blog period3There’s a TON of noise. And individuals are (successfully) trying to find better ways to receive and organize the information they want. The social media algorithm pendulum has swung from content we wanted/selected, to what the platforms assume we want to see (the echo chamber effect), back toward the content we interact with most often (but definitely NOT chronological, because there’s no money in that). The interesting outcome of the “Hooli Effect” (mentioned in Part 1 of this post), is that individuals are using social platforms the way they want to use them, not necessarily how each platform would want you to use them.

Read more after the jump…

The New Era of Creative Storytelling (Part 1 of 2)

{Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part post focusing on the history and set up of how social media has been used by marketers. Part Two will explore what we’ve learned and what social media marketing looks like moving forward} 

It’s helpful to look back at history and understand how and why things happened before talking about how we can improve our digital storytelling.  This is a social media history tour through the eyes of a guy who has been involved in the industry since the pre-MySpace Days. (Some obvious, but not-as-relevant-to-social-media details have been omitted so this post doesn’t turn into more of a novel than it already is):

Read more after the jump…

Libraries That Check Out People and Other Non-Obvious Brand Trends

At South by Southwest this year Rohit Bhargava spoke about some of the non-obvious trends for 2018 that his company identified. You can see the full list of 2018 and past trends on the company’s website. Two that caught my eye were Human Mode and Lovable Unperfection.

Human Mode

Human mode is the pendulum swinging away from pure digital automation. Sure sometimes you just want to order a pizza online or skip chit-chat with a cashier and check yourself out at a kiosk, but there are other times when you need a quick question answered by a real human.

Trend spotted – Human Mode

Read more after the jump…

Five Ways to Resonate With Generation Z

As a digital marketer, my daily mission is to understand where people are spending their time and how to connect with them. Generational differences fascinate me, as this is one of the first things I consider when I craft a marketing message.  Now that we’ve spent the last 10 years talking about Millennials, let’s take a deep-dive into the next generation on the rise – Generation Z.

Generation Z: Who They Are

Born between the mid-1990’s and mid-2000’s, members of Generation Z have grown up in the Millennials’ shadow. Comprising 26% of the U.S. population, they’re now the largest generation.

Generation Z: How to Speak Their Language

Based on their unique characteristics, here are five things to keep in mind when marketing to Generation Z.

  • Generation Z taking a selfie | Photo Credit Elijah O'DonellThink Tech Savvy: This generation is fondly termed “digital natives,” because they don’t remember a world without the internet or cell phones – let that sink in. Why would they spend any time on your website if they can’t easily navigate it on their cell phone? Why would they trust your brand if you don’t have a digital presence? When marketing to them, it’s important to have a digital-first and mobile-first strategy.
  • You Don’t Have Their Full Attention: Gen Z are the ultimate multi-taskers who consistently use multiple devices at one time. With an attention span of 8 seconds, it’s important to make your content easily consumable. Stats and other impactful information should not be hidden in a wall of words.
  • Be Authentic: This generation evaluates your brand based on your digital and offline actions. For example, claiming that you care about your customers in a press conference, but ignoring complaints on social media will send up major red flags. It’s vital that your brand lives up to its promises at all times and on all mediums.  
  • Celebrities Are Their BFFs: Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Gen Z has an intimate view into the everyday life of their favorite celebrity. Unlike their parent’s generation, they don’t have to wait for the paparazzi to capture a photo, their favorite celebrities are sharing updates (and influencing purchasing decisions) in real time, multiple times a day. Incorporating pop culture or industry influencers into your marketing strategy can make your brand or product more relatable and relevant to Gen Z.
  • Tap Into Their Entrepreneurial Spirit: According to a 2014 study, 72% of Gen Z high schoolers and 64% of college students said they want to start a business someday. Incorporating inspirational messages and business tactics into your marketing is a great way to provide relevant content to this generation. Remember: Ideas are their currency.

What unique characteristics have you discovered from Generation Z? Want to learn more about targeting your messaging to the right audience? Contact us! We love to chat about audiences, tactics, and all things Colorado.

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.

Laurel vs. Yanny: Brands React

An audio clip took the internet by storm this week, described by many as the second coming of the white and gold or black and blue dress phenomenon.

Some listeners hear the word “laurel” and others are hearing “yanny.” The audio hotly divided the GroundFloor Media and CenterTable offices as we declared our undying loyalties to #TeamLaurel or #TeamYanny. Yesterday, the New York Times even developed a tool to change the frequency of the audio clip so readers can hear both “yanny” and “laurel.”

We thoroughly enjoyed watching different brands and celebrities seize the viral moment to weigh in on the debate throughout the week. Read more after the jump…

The Digital Sales Funnel and Saying “Thank You” – Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2018

Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Marketing World in San Diego – a two-and-a-half day session-packed conference focused on the most relevant trends and information in the world of social media.

Given that South by Southwest Interactive kicks off later this week (stay tuned for daily updates from our two-person team of Jon and Adrienne), we’re going to combine a longer form discussion from what we learned at Social Media Marketing World with our annual SXSW Denver Download in early April – let us know if you’re interested in attending!

In the meantime, here are my three main takeaways from #SMMW18 – with a quick video from the conference to explain some of the concepts as well.

1) The Algorithms Continue to Change Our Focus

Facebook’s shift away from brand and publisher posts in our news feeds toward one-on-one peer interaction has left a lot of brand managers scratching their heads about staying relevant on the platform. The key – according to Social Media Insider Founder Michael Stelzner – will be unique and tailored content with the goal of prompting individuals to share with their peers. In other words, “being human at scale.” Some additional insights on this topic include:

  • Longer form content will be critical – videos, in particular
  • Facebook’s focus on “Facebook Watch” will also mean a shift toward more episodic content. Think about producing various video series that take viewers on a storytelling journey, and make it as shareable as possible
  • The algorithm change combined with Snapchat competition will likely lead to more Facebook Stories from individuals – so much so that we’ll likely see fewer wall posts and more Stories in the near future (the future is 15 second Story videos)

2) Focus on Being More Strategic with Paid Efforts

Moving forward we’re also going to have to be more strategic with our promoted content and paid campaigns on every platform. Some specific examples from the conference include:

  • Be more selective with where you’re spending your money. Promoting content that is already successful will always be more beneficial than forcing a promotion on content that that isn’t resonating with your audience. Think of it as pushing a ball downhill vs. trying to fit a square peg into a round hole
  • Utilize Facebook Custom Audiences and retargeting features more frequently. We spend a lot of time and resources creating content, and we shouldn’t have a “one and done” mindset with our paid campaigns. If a group of people watched your first video in a series, consider retargeting those same people with a paid campaign for the second video in your series. “Custom Audiences are your bank account,” as one presenter commented
  • Make sure you have a hook, ignite emotion, describe your solution and finish with a specific call-to-action with every piece of promoted content you produce. At the same time keep your content as concise as possible – skip the bumpers/intros/bios in your video content to grab attention as quickly as possible

3) Don’t Stop When the Campaign Ends

We often miss the opportunity to follow up or even say “thank you” with our campaigns. Use those custom and engaged audiences to keep the conversation going after your campaign ends (maybe with your next campaign or content effort). And if you have an audience that made a purchase or took some form of action, don’t forget to say thank you in a creative way, and follow up with specific next steps. Spell it out simply so your customers have a seamless, positive experience and understand clearly what happens next.

The Importance of Active Voice for Brands

When you reflect on the highway billboards of yesteryear and brand slogans that have made an impression on you, they were probably succinct, clever and written in the active voice. Clear, concise writing is absolutely crucial in a brand’s marketing efforts. When a message or campaign gets muddled with lengthy explanations and awkward sentence constructions, the small window of opportunity to quickly convey both meaning and value is lost. One of the simplest issues to address during content revisions is passive voice construction.

Woman Typing on a Laptop Using an Acive Voice For Brand Messaging

Read more after the jump…

Netflix’s ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Announcement Changed the Promotion Process

Sunday night, before the kickoff to Super Bowl LII, movie director Ava DuVernay posted the following tweet:

Ava DuVernay tweet about Netflix Cloverfield Paradox

That surprise turned out to be Netflix’s release of the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, the latest installment in the Cloverfield series. The trailer came out of nowhere and with the subsequent announcement that the full movie would be on the streaming service immediately after the game. For years, studios have used the Super Bowl as a jumping off point to sell their summer blockbusters to the masses. Now, a sci-fi movie franchise famous for its mysterious films made the biggest splash on the biggest advertising stage there is. Netflix has created a reputation of making itself into entertainment’s biggest showman and on Super Bowl Sunday, they did it again.

Read more after the jump…

Digital Marketing Lessons from Award-Winning Smart Ashes

Facebook logo

We were humbled to learn earlier this year that our Be A Smart Ash campaign for the Denver City Forester received the annual Kudos Marketing Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). And we were perhaps even more excited to be invited on NRPA’s monthly webinar to detail some learnings about the campaign.

So what exactly is Be A Smart Ash? We’ll let the campaign tagline do the talking:

1 in 6 trees in Denver are ash trees. And if we do nothing, it’s just a matter of time before they’ll ALL be devoured by the emerald ash borer, the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history. But who wants to be a Debbie Downer when you can Be A Smart Ash? Spend some time on our site and learn how you can help protect your ash and our urban canopy by identifying, treating and replacing Denver’s ash trees.

The Denver City Forester, a division of Denver Parks and Recreation, enlisted our help with a five-year integrated marketing campaign that has included naming, branding, messaging, content creation, internal and external communications, media relations, website development, SEO, digital advertising, video production and social media management.

The goal? Raising awareness about a tiny pest called the emerald ash borer (EAB), which has decimated ash tree populations in more than 25 states and parts of Canada.
Read more after the jump…

Denver Startup Week: Life Lessons from Serial Entrepreneurs

Cuban Laughing at Denver Startup Week Session: Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention - A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad FeldI had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.

One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.

While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”

Read more after the jump…