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

Stop Advertising and Start Captivating: How to Better Target Your Audience

Now that 2018 is right around the corner, we are in a new age of digital advertising. Even the word ‘advertising’ sends a cringe-worthy chill up most people’s spines. A good example that comes to mind is that 30 second, unskippable video popping up telling you to buy car insurance when all you are trying to do is watch that new Kendrick Lamar video that’s setting Twitter ablaze. It seems like more and more websites contain pop-up ads that dominate an entire screen, which is even worse on mobile devices. This is what advertising looks like in modern times, especially for those in the millennial generation.

Is it just me, or do these new ads scream desperation? The unskippable ads and and online pop-ups only cause frustration for those of us trying to consume content faster and easier than ever before. One could argue that failed attempts at creating effective online ads are actually hurting a company’s brand.

So the questions remains- how do advertisers survive now that old age tactics are dying?

Engage.

No one likes the car salesmen “in your face” approach, and advertisers that do so are likely to be met with less website traffic and fewer sales. Creating engaging content is what advertisers and businesses need to do in order to stay afloat in the world of digital communications.

Take one of my favorites, The Most Interesting Man in the World for example. The beer company Dos Equis developed a clever commercial that took the advertising world by storm with a rugged older gentleman simply known as ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World.’ He was said to have achieved incredible things in his lifetime (if you’re familiar with the Chuck Norris jokes that preceded him, you’ll know where the inspiration came from) , with some hilarious one-liners being created in every commercial such as, “mosquitos refuse to bit him purely out of respect,” “his two cents is worth $37 in change,” and “if he were to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume.” He would then end each commercial endorsing Dos Equis beer, which is a genius and highly effective marketing tactic, because it held people’s attention.

The internet immediately fell in love with this advertising campaign. He quickly became a meme, which is the holy grail for advertisers, and the company saw an increase in sales soon after the commercials were first aired. The key to this campaign’s success was its engagement to its audience. Customers enjoyed the commercial’s quirkiness. It was entertaining. Its humor related to a younger crowd, and many people within that demographic shared it across social media, increasing its reach even more. Perhaps the most impressive thing for me, was how it connected the humorous juxtaposition with the brand itself, without coming across as too sales focused.
Now that Generation Z is beginning to make a larger online presence, advertisers must take into consideration that this means more people who simply despise ads. Though it will always change throughout time, effective advertising campaigns must look at the bigger picture and try and get their audience to want to buy their products rather than just hit the skip button as soon as it comes up. Stay on top of the demographic shifts your target audience is into, and think about making something you would engage with yourself, if you came across it. A great ad is one that sticks with the customer, making them not only a viewer, but a fan.

3 of the Most Unique yet Successful Marketing Tactics

Cards Against Humanity

By now, most people have experienced the vulgarity and outrageously humorous card game Cards Against Humanity. The premise is to match one of your white cards with the given black card to create the funniest possible phrase or sentence. The ensuing results are a mix of hilarity and awkwardness. This game alone is enough to attract quite a wide audience, but the marketing team at Cards Against Humanity didn’t want to stop there. One of their more unique tactics employed involved actually increasing their prices on Black Friday. CAH went against the traditional decrease in price like every other business, and managed to earn just as much, if not more sales than the Black Friday prior to that year’s. The company has sort of prided itself on going against the norm in terms of advertising, and it seems to pay off nearly every time.

Volkswagen

Car companies in the early 20th century advertised their automobiles with a typical standard that can be seen all over the world: better performing than the rest. However, Volkswagen took a different approach in 1960. The “Think Small” campaign was arguably one of the most successful and controversial car advertisements during that time, and is still seen as a standard in the history of marketing. During this time, many Americans avoided the small, German-made cars following the United States’ issues with the country, so Volkswagen played off of just that. This was a perfect example of selling your product for exactly what it is, and not pretending to be anything else.

Snickers

One of the most satisfying candy bars out there, Snickers targeted their slogan after exactly that. “Snickers Satisfies” was the company’s slogan up until 2010, when they launched one of the most successful rebranding campaigns in candy bar history. As the first commercial aired during the first break of Super Bowl XLV, Snickers took advantage of this spotlight to launch their new slogan “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” The commercial featured senior stars Betty White and Abe Vigoda as two representations of fatigued football players, taking hard tackles throughout the game. Upon eating Snickers bars, they effectively become “themselves” again. The humor incorporated greatly benefitted the company, as global sales following the ad campaign increased by 15.9%.