Industries Set to Rule Social Media in 2018

Social media is an inevitable part of the future of marketing. Yet many brands still execute poorly when it comes to the multitude of platforms available, mostly due to a misunderstanding of its audience and purpose.

Like it has been said time and time again, social media is now an integral part of businesses among all sectors. 2.8 billion social media users were accounted for in 2017, of which roughly 95% were between the ages of 18 and 35; a statistic crucial to keep in mind for advertising companies.

However, a poorly executed or ill-conceived social media can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to understand where your audience consumes information, and be ready to do more than just sell your product. The following are just some of many industries that absolutely need to harness the powers of online networking, before they get left behind.

Hospitality

Chefs and restaurant owners alike are having to get more and more creative every day in order to better reach their target audiences. Like social media, hospitality businesses are complex and are often characterized by their constantly changing environments and need to adapt to the times. The increased use of technology has only made this more true.

It’s not uncommon to see diners taking photos of their meals before indulging; something chefs will most likely appreciate despite any judgemental looks they may receive from fellow patrons. Spreading awareness and influencing reviews is a great way to gain traction in the hospitality industry, and in no place can that be done better than a simple cell phone. Twitter followers, Instagram followers, Facebook likes and of course Yelp reviews, are sure to help these businesses promote themselves, as social media is the new word of mouth in this industry.

Big Pharma

Customer service in the pharmaceutical industry has always been cast in somewhat of a negative light. With that said, more pharmaceutical companies are beginning to utilize social media in order to reach and engage with their customers, other companies and healthcare professionals, and potential job candidates.

This opens the doors many opportunities to network and connect with others. Community pages that include blogs on specific drugs or treatments, and holding discussions is a great way to engage with customers more instead of simply providing them with the medication they require.

Finance

According to financial expert Amy McIlwain, a big reason why major financial companies have avoided using social media in the past was due to the fact that an enormous part of their clientele were baby boomers and senior citizens. But, with more elderly individuals joining Facebook today combined with the fact that younger individuals are beginning to understand the importance of personal finance, now is the time to harness the powers of the biggest social media platforms.

If you’re not connecting to your audience through social media, you are most likely losing opportunities you may not have had otherwise. But rather than thinking about using social media to promote your business, you should be thinking about the best channels to tell your story to your audience.

Originally posted on Leonard David Raymundo’s Medium

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Ready Player One demonstrates there’s such thing as too much Marketing

Ready Player One has not had a good marketing campaign thus far. To say it’s been rocky might be downplaying it a bit.

Based off the Ernest Cline novel of the same title, Ready Player One is a movie set in the not too distant, dystopian future about a teenage boy who becomes obsessed with solving an elaborate puzzle within the OASIS, a hyper-real virtual reality simulation, where the eventual winner wins a crapload of money.

It’s not a terrible premise, and considering that the book wasn’t exactly the Great Gatsby of its era, it really didn’t have a high benchmark for expectations. Helmed by Steven Spielberg, it could still very well become a great movie, it’s just…..well, the movie is already on the cusp of a box office implosion due to its shaky trailer, social media backlash, and poor marketing efforts.

Let’s examine, starting with the problematic trailer:

The trailer is chalk-full of what some people might consider “Easter Eggs”-an intentional message, joke, or nod to fans who may get a reference to earlier work.

Except, when executed poorly, Easter Eggs can creep into another territory altogether.

It’s a concept called “Intertextuality”, which was masterfully covered by the Nerdwriter over on YouTube.

He defines intertextuality as “something in a movie that is shaped by another text, usually another movie, or book, or play”. Basically, it’s a cultural reference to something outside of the movie. He goes on to argue that films are increasingly using intertextual references as a substitute for emotion or solid storytelling.

Because intertextuality isn’t a bad thing in itself, but when incorrectly used, or in the case of this trailer, overused, it can leave audiences feeling dull, flat, and worst of all….bored.

If at any point during this trailer you said to yourself, “Hey, I know that thing” then you just experienced weaponized intertextuality.

How Ready Player One abuses its intertextual ancestry

Yes, I’ve read the book, and I realize that the book is also structured around its sentimentality ridden narrative, possibly subverting the hero’s expectations as it relates to his obsession with video game culture and nostalgia.

But that doesn’t excuse the marketing teams behind Ready Player One for absolutely going HAM on their audiences expectations of intertextuality. Instead of going for something more subtle, they simply photoshopped old, classic movie posters and substituted the stars of Ready Player One on top of it like it was some sort of crying Jordan meme.

The problem when you try to reposition beloved pieces of art from people’s childhoods, is that the payoff rarely matches the original. I mean, if I wrote a book about a wandering traveler through the desert of the Middle East and I mirrored the cover of the Alchemist, I’m sort of setting myself up for disappointment aren’t I?

How to conjure up nostalgia the right way

I can think of two specific examples of intertextuality working the way it should be. The first most obvious choice, is Stranger Things. The genius about Stranger Things is that while it relies pretty heavily on 80’s references, it doesn’t use it as a substitute for story. At it’s heart, Stranger Things is really about a group of kids trying to find their way through adolescence, against the backdrop of an interdimensional threat that threatens their way of life. That story isn’t about the 80’s. The 80’s are merely the supporting character.

Another great example is one of my favorite comic book movies of all time, Logan.

In Logan, there are definitely references to the comic books, and previous X-men movies. But the story isn’t bogged down by these references, and most importantly, the director James Mangold intentionally didn’t want to go down the path of creating just another superhero movie.

That’s because most superhero movies are guilty of weaponized intertextuality. How many times has a friend leaned over to you in the theater and said “Ooh, a character I know from the comic books!” or “ooh, I bet that’s an easter egg for the next movie!”

Constant character references from obscure comic book issues and movies that serve as an appetizer for bigger, better movies, don’t really make a good movie in itself, do they?

All this is to say that in the modern age of filmmaking and marketing, we need to be smarter about how to connect with and resonate with audiences. People love being reminded about their past, but in a way that’s not shoved in their face, and right on the nose. Because just like advertising, people do not fall in love with products, references, or easter eggs, they fall in love with a feeling.

Originally posted on Leonard David Raymundo’s Medium

Overcoming Language Barriers When Traveling

As exciting as traveling to a new country can be, the inability to speak the native tongue can be daunting. However, it should never be a reason not to travel. There are many ways visitors can get by in a country without so much as speaking a single word (though that certainly helps). I’ve brainstormed a few tips to overcome that language barrier and effectively find your way in a foreign land.

Download a Translation App

Perhaps the most obvious way to communicate with someone who speaks another language is to download one of the many language translation apps that exist today. While choosing one is based entirely on preference, many tend to work very well. Depending on the complexity of the language you are trying to speak, some apps may work better than others. These are great for deciphering menus or written text, and can even be used in conversation.

Utilize Body Language

If verbal communication is not an option, speaking with your hands and face is the next best thing. Be expressive with your body movements. Pointing, nodding, or shaking your head can accurately convey what you are trying to say to a local in that country, but be wary of socially acceptable and unacceptable gestures.

For example, signaling “thumbs up” may be seen as positive here in the United States, but in the Middle East, it is an extremely offensive gesture. In the United Kingdom, what we Americans call the “peace sign” is actually a very rude gesture when given with the back of the hand facing out. Do some research on the cultural norms of the country you are visiting beforehand to avoid any faux pas. It’s safe to say the middle finger is probably disrespectful anywhere.

Study the Basics

Even though learning an entirely new language can be time consuming and downright inconvenient just before a trip, it’s often seen as rude to not learn at least a few basic words of the native tongue you are about to be surrounded by. Simply being able to say things like “thank you,” “excuse me,” “sorry,” or “I only speak English” can effectively tell locals that you need their help in terms of navigation or translation. It’s also very respectful to show that you’ve taken the time to learn some of their language, which often translates to appreciation. In my experience, even saying “hello” in their native tongue can elicit a smile back.

Hire Assistance

If you’re visiting a country with an extremely difficult language to learn and are not comfortable getting around yourself, you have the option of working with a local travel agent for assistance. These professional guides know their way around the country and can step in to help translate certain situations. This is especially useful when you are trying to book a flight or lodging.

Local tour guides can be just as helpful, and are often much more in touch with their respective communities. Aside from being taken on breathtaking sightseeing tours, these guides can help you practice the local language and learn more about the layouts of the country. If you are staying at a hotel, oftentimes their concierge department can provide you with a trusty guide to join you on your ventures.

Get to know a local

Saving the best for last, by far my favorite method of overcoming language barriers is simply through meeting a local, or traveling with someone that speaks the local language. Having a friend who can interpret those tricky conversations can reduce a lot of confusion and frustration on your part, as well as the locals trying to help you. Plus, they can help you find your confidence with pronunciations, common usages, and cultural subtleties, which is difficult to learn through books alone.

Originally posted on LeonardRaymundo.org

New Zealand’s Greatest Attractions

Commonly referred to as the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand is full of exciting activities and stunning sights that locals take pride in and tourists can enjoy on a daily basis. With a landscape beautiful enough to garner the attention of numerous film crews (see The Lord of the Rings trilogy), New Zealand has just about everything. From adventurists to food connoisseurs, nearly everyone who visits this country is sure to find something for them.

Hang Gliding

Being the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand’s enormous mountain ranges make for some of the most opportune hang gliding experiences. Beginning at Coronet Peak, the highest takeoff point in Queenstown, visitors are paired with an experienced instructor before flying over some of the most scenic landscapes you will ever see.

The Tamaki Maori Village

For one of the coolest history lessons you’ll ever receive, check out the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua to learn about Polynesian culture and their practices. Guests can stay overnight, taste traditional food, and see traditional rituals and ceremonies dating back to the 13th century. These ancient warriors are of the most proud cultures in the world, and express their deep roots through some truly awesome dances and songs.

Zorbing

As weird as this activity may sound, it can be incredibly fun. Starting right here in New Zealand, Zorbing involves tumbling down a hill in a giant protective orb typically made of inflatable transparent plastic. They aren’t as dangerous as they sound. Their protective makeup is also buoyant, so they can remain floating in a body of water. Those inside are strapped safely with harnesses before they are sent rolling down various courses.

Rotorua, being the birthplace of this activity, has numerous courses visitors can check out, as well as plenty of hot springs to help you relax following the plenty of adventures you’re bound to have.

Whale Watching

Being a coastal country, New Zealand is home to many of the world’s sea creatures. In Kaikoura specifically, both humpback whales and orcas are spotted so frequently, that if whale watching groups don’t see any during their time at see, all guests are refunding 80% of their ticket money; a pretty confident, yet admirable gesture.

Originally posted on LeonardRaymundo.org