Communica and The Pursuit Group Receive Multiple MarCom Awards
April 1, 2013
Communica, Inc. and partner The Pursuit Group, were honored with many MarCom Awards from the Association of Marketing & Communication Professionals.
Four Platinum awards, three Gold awards and three honorable mentions were received for work done on behalf of Severstal North America. Jeff Kimble, CEO/CCO of Communica and lead designer for the account, and Barry Rosen, principal of The Pursuit Group, worked very closely with the Severstal team led by Ray Culley General Manager Marketing and Commercial Services.
According to Culley, “These awards reflect the outstanding efforts of many people who organized facility openings, captured the stories of our employees in video and print, created web applications to showcase our products, and developed the fantastic messages and images of our campaigns. None of this could be accomplished without the outstanding efforts and unfettered imagination of our agencies — Communica, Inc. and The Pursuit Group. Thanks to Jeff Kimble, Barry Rosen and all the members of their teams who have helped Severstal achieve a new and progressive position in the industry.”
Communica was also recognized with a MarCom Award for the “Pure Innovation Dinner,” a special event for BASF Corporation that featured celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron.
The MarCom Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. The international organization consists of several thousand creative professionals. The Association oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and sets standard for excellence.
Severstal was so pleased with the work done on their behalf that they threw a wonderful after-hours party for the Pursuit Group and Communica teams.
The Art of Bringing People Face-to-Face
April 1, 2013
In a world of real time communication, email blasts and landing pages, one might think there would be no time for face-to-face communication. But placing people in a more relaxed, social setting helps in building deeper, more productive, long-term relationships. And it helps companies deliver consistent messages to customers and prospects in a creative, memorable way that will pay dividends down the road.
Communica is accomplished in creating customer events that introduce products, announce corporate news and celebrate customer relationships. “We are very skilled in managing all the details of these sometimes massive undertakings,” explained David Kanarowski of Communica. “We understand how critical it is for our clients to present the ideal overall impression to customers, while weaving their messages through every element of the event. We are always mindful of the need to bring an exclusive and memorable event to the guests, allowing our client to concentrate on camaraderie.”
Utilizing a prestigious global conference in San Antonio, Texas, as a backdrop, the Communica team recently choreographed an international client’s intimate corporate dinner for 100 of their current and prospective customers, featuring nationally known chef and HGTV host Alton Brown as special guest. “We provided turnkey development of this event, from securing a beautiful, gallery setting, to locating the evening’s entertainment and a renowned chef to create the dining experience,” Kanarowski said. “We also handled all of the associated details that completed the evening, threading our client’s messages throughout all the elements.” Communica designed, developed and produced invitations all facets of the event. This included all thematics and graphics utilized on invitations, an event web landing page, executive gifts (for delivery during and after the event), signage and way finding on site, printed background materials and on-site displays.
“Our client was extremely pleased – the evening strengthened customer loyalty and satisfaction,” Kanarowski said. “Our attention to detail, along with the level of sophistication that was evident throughout the event, has generated very positive feedback from our client and their guests.”
Broadening “Proof” for Communications Strategies
Traditional media are becoming more interesting thanks to real-time media. But does that – alone – make the prospect more valuable as a communications strategy?
A Communica client had the opportunity to participate in a high-profile television sponsorship, and was interested in knowing what type of return they could expect from an integrated communications approach to the sponsorship. “We were interested in learning the show’s ratings, demographics and network status,” said Communica’s Tricia Knight. “But we also wanted to explore the potential return of real-time media activity (content and participation) and how the brand perception would benefit from this exposure.”
In today’s television, active discussions take place during/after live broadcasts, with viewers sharing opinions at astounding rates and changing the way marketers approach advertising investments. But what’s most important is that brands can listen and respond to these conversations, learning more about what viewers want, how they communicate and to what they respond. And we can see our clients’ messages resonating across all communications channels.
“People want to participate while they are watching; they want to know what others think, and they expect programs to be listening,” explained Deanna Lawrence of Communica. “These programs are listening and responding. Many have created character Twitter accounts to extend the show experience and to interact in real-time with fans. Fans love the behind-the-scenes content and this, along with being heard, creates a lasting emotional connection. Responding is the important element.”
Communica looked for active and original content generated in connection to the program, along with good response levels and ongoing followers. A mix of content and interactions with other outlets can extend the brand experience within the program. “We looked first at Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, but we also needed to understand the program’s adoption of emerging platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Vine, each very important for consumer-focused brands,” Lawrence said.
Overall, Communica provided a comprehensive look at on and off-air information surrounding the program and its engagement with viewers. “We offered an overview of the competitive and network situations, which ultimately helped the client make an informed decision whether to participate or decline the opportunity,” Knight said. “They had a true understanding of the landscape before taking any action.
Consumers are not just watching television anymore – they’re participating. Behind-the-scenes programming, live discussions and other real-time interactions create lasting connections between viewers and the program. It also offers unique opportunities for advertisers.
Twitter: The Global Platform for Connecting
Global Web Index
Twitter continues to expand on a global scale. Currently most tweets are PC based, but we can expect an increase of mobile, particularly within emerging markets.
Active use of Twitter
Active use increased from 206m to 288m users (posting or contributing at least once a month) in 2012.
Listening to Your Customers - Good Brand Management
Good brand management can be measured in preparedness and response, as well as in handling crisis situations. A well-supported brand can withstand the occasional ill-advised decision or other issue, and listening to your customers is key. Consider the last week in the life of Maker’s Mark:
On Feb. 9, fans were informed by email that the brand was diluting its alcohol content by 3% alcohol by volume (ABV) – from 45% to 42% - to meet an accelerated product demand. A week later, the company rescinded its decision, citing the overwhelming opposition of fans to the idea. Fans took to Facebook, Twitter and blogs to voice their opposition, including some who suggested it was a plan to test the waters for higher prices.
The company was surprised by the response, and moved quickly to respond. Under the banner (and Twitter hashtag) of #YouSpokeWeListened, a letter from Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels, Jr., COO and Chairman (respectively) of Maker’s Mark, was posted on Facebook and earned 26,792 likes, 4,136 comments and 8,477 shares. The same letter was posted on the brand’s website, and linked from Twitter. The story is also being covered extensively by print, online and specialty media.
How did they handle this crisis?
- Transparency equals Trust: The brand has been transparent throughout the process – from explaining why they were lowering the ABV to why they were rescinding their decision
- They took responsibility for both decisions, and were upfront in explaining in detail how they came to these decisions
- Staying Connected: They listened to their customers and responded quickly
- They used the top company leadership as spokespersons
- Listening and Responding: The brand engaged its online audience throughout the process
While it’s too early to see how customers respond (especially if the inventory problem does result in a price increase), the about-face by Maker’s Mark has been received very favorably by customers.
Consumers are communicating with brands via social media. Are you prepared to respond?
Oreo Delivers Case Study in Connection during Super Bowl
Great Real-Time moments are born from great Real-Time opportunities!
An estimated 108.4 million people watched the Baltimore Ravens’ defeat the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII. Source: The Nielsen Co. Fans watched 55 valuable commercial spots, worth investments of almost $4 million, per 30-second slot. But, this year, marketer’s ROI included new opportunities to connect, and real-time lessons in response.
Following the #SocialOlympics there was little doubt that fans would be active within social media during the game. Trendrr.com tracked 47.7 million social media posts, with total social activity at 52,556,473 during the Super Bowl, more than 3 times higher than last year’s game. Branded content was integrated across platforms optimizing the ability to capture fan attention and support social engagement. This year brands were able to seize our attention, respond to 30 minutes of disruption (e.g. #poweroutage) and encourage us to search for more information.
Real-time media offered advantages. Brands were engaging fans, and starting conversations, but this level of connectedness required marketers to pay attention and respond with real-time relevance. In one, now famous example, a fantastic collaborative strategy put real-time response into play for Oreo and 360i during the power outage. Oreo took advantage of the Super Bowl’s third-quarter blackout, sharing the now legendary, “You can still dunk in the dark” caption, and simple image on Twitter and Facebook. The results, the post has more than 21,000 likes, 800 comments and 6,000 shares. The tweet has been favorited by thousands and re-tweeted more than 15,000 times.
Key plays in Twitter’s game
Critical moments measured in Tweets per minute (TPM) Source: Twitter
· Power outage: 231,500 TPM
· 108-yard kickoff return for Ravens TD by Jones: 185,000 TPM
· Jones catches 56 yard pass for Ravens TD (end of 2nd quarter): 168,000 TPM
Real-time media created the competitive difference. Oreo had the right content, and delivered it at the right time. Their response also supported lasting connections and learning. Imagine thousands of comments and shared connections that can be mined to assist new product development and innovation.
We also wanted to see what brands were actually responding, directly to fans. Moving beyond engagement, interacting with fans and fan content in real-time. Twitter was certainly the priority platform for marketers. Hashtag strategies were incorporated into ads for most brands. Brand standard #hashtags performed best.
· #Doritos was able to garner more than 33,000 mentions via Twitter and with 50% positive sentiment from Facebook and Twitter.
· #Calvin Klein reached more than 29,000 tweets and received a 31% positive sentiment rating within Facebook and Twitter. Source: Bluefin Labs
Surprisingly, we found limited examples of brands directly responding. A few RTs were noted, but even less comments within Facebook posts. And, very little effort to share real-time consumer generated content. An excellent example of co-creating content,
Oreo shared fan-inspired masterpieces across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as part of their Cookies or Cream challenge, but content was created specifically for this contest and not in real-time. Fans tag Instagram photos #cookiethis or #cremethis, and Oreo re-creates a portion of the image.
Acknowledge people who create unimaginable brilliance
Fan-generated content can be very powerful simply because it is authentic. Consider sharing content that is naturally emotional, not too perfect and from the imagination of real-people. A key element of our response strategy enables people to feel a part of the experience. When their personal masterpieces are shared a very strong connection is formed.
Brands need to support occasions to celebrate original ideas and respond by sharing fan-generated content. The emotional connection of sharing fan-generated content should be orchestrated to motivate sharing. By celebrating authenticity, brands develop emotional connections and let fans know they are experiencing the games, in real-time, along with them.
Preparation for next year
Create content and plan messages that not only engage fans, but also enables “encounters” that let people feel they are personally a part of the branded message…the experience…The Super Bowl. Fans become the reporters, storytellers, and their heart-felt excitement will be celebrated and shared.
Moving from a “The-Super Bowl” to a “Our-Super Bowl” mindset…