Tag Archives: marketing

How to Get Consumers Addicted to Your Content

11 Apr


Tara-Nicholle Nelson, vice president of digital and content at SutherlandGold Group, presenting at SXSW 2012

This post originally appeared on NASDAQ’s blog, where I contributed articles about content strategy during SXSW 2012.

Addiction is not a subject usually pegged to positive meaning – we usually speak about addition in reference to physical or psychological dependencies on a substance, person or object.

But addiction can have a positive meaning, too. Some of us get our fix with coffee; we all know someone addicted to Angry Birds, FarmVille or Words with Friends; and there are already some Pinterest nuts popping up all over the web.

There’s a synonym for these types of addictions, says Tara-Nicholle Nelson, vice president of digital and content at SutherlandGold Group, and that word is “love.”

For content addicts, this love is usually expressed by frequenting a small group of sites on a regular basis. Just think – are there any sites that you visit on a daily basis? What exactly is it about those sites that keeps you coming back?

Nelson says that brand publishers must understand what motivates consumers to consistently return to content sites, and then take those learnings to heart. Only then, will brands learn how to create addictive content.

Every brand goes through a process to becoming a brand that is loved by its consumers. That process entails reach, trial and stick. Once a brand has reached out to a consumer, that consumer must then try it out. If these two stages go as planned and the consumer keeps coming back for more, the brand has achieved “stick.”

There are three steps to generating “stickiness,” says Nelson, and some brands are already doing a great job at it.

1. Don’t Publish Information. Fuel Aspirations.

Brands must understand what their customers want to keep them happy. People want change more than ever, says Nelson. We want to be smarter, live cleaner, be more passionate, eat better foods, be more frugal. And we are more committed than ever to achieving our goals and dreams, she says.

To achieve our goals, we want knowledge. Brands can help us make our goal achievement smoother to achieve our aspirations, she says.

There is an opportunity, then, for brands to help consumers visualize, track and reach their goals. This can be as simple as creating content – how-tos, for example – to help consumers get what they want.

Or it can be as complicated as creating new products that help users track progress towards their goals. Products like Mint (personal finance tracking), Chartbeat (real-time blogging analytics) and The Eatery (healthful eating visualization) all do this.

2. Market Your Manifesto.

Brands should create manifestos that transcend the utility that the brand provides – they should take on topics that are bigger than their brands or the verticals that they work in, says Nelson.

Lululemon’s manifesto, for example, is all about a way of life that that has very little to do with yoga and exercise, its core areas of business. Instead, it’s all about life, love, relationships, health. Here’s an excerpt:

“Do one thing a day that scares you… Stress is related to 99% of all illness… Dance, sing, floss and travel… Sweat once a day to regenerate your skin… The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.”

Your manifesto may even become an integral part of your company’s revenue. Sound silly? Think again. Design company Holstee began offering up prints of its company manifesto (as pictured above) last year. The message went viral, and so far, the manifesto has been viewed online more than 50 million times and print sales accounted for 50% of the business’s revenue.

3. Double-down on Content Experiences.

Keep in mind that a consumer’s experience with your brand doesn’t end with a tweet or a visit to your website. Whenever possible, couple content with real experiences.

Lululemon, for example, hosts free yoga events in its store and even puts on an annual worldwide Salutation Nation yoga gathering, where yogis from all around the world gather at 9 a.m. their time to practice yoga together. Not only is Lululemon helping yogis improve their practices during the event, but it posts videos and pictures online afterwards for attendees to enjoy.

Likewise, a number of subscription-based mail services are cropping up, including poster child, Birchbox, a beauty-samples-by-mail company. Birchbox creates a content experience around the arrival of its latest beauty sampling in the mail. The Birchbox team creates video tutorials and how-to posts on how to best use the samples. And users even post their own reviews and how-tos across the Internet.

Birchbox also maintains a lifestyle-oriented blog and social media presence that follow topics that appeal to its audience. For example, the team put together a SXSW packing list chronicling the must-have items that they’d be bringing to the conference – great packing tips for fellow attendees.

Nelson’s tips are a great start towards creating a brand and content that people love. What are your tips for creating addicting content?

How Should We Teach Tweens about Business & Finance?

5 Sep

For such a capitalist country, the United States does a horrible job of preparing its youth for the reality of life, where success is highly based on financial achievement.

My financial education was pretty much void until I hit college, and even then, it was my own decisions that made it possible, as I proactively chose to attend undergraduate business school at NYU Stern. I was raised in the deep South, where jobs were hard to come by and many struggled to provide the basics for their families.

The education systems in many of the Southern states — my home state of Arkansas included — are well below the national average, making matters worse. But even the best of the best in America can’t compete on a global scale. In a 2009 study, the U.S. ranked 25th out of 34 peer countries in math and science.

If we can’t even get the basics right, how are we going to teach our children how to properly manage their finances, create sustainable businesses and stay out of debt?

One of my former NYU professors, Orly Sade, recently teamed up with award-winning writer and former BusinessWeek editor Ellen Neuborne, to co-author a book for tweens (ages 9-12) about finance and entrepreneurship.

Entitled, “How Ella Grew an Electric Guitar: A Girl’s First Adventure in Business,” the book is written from the voice of Ella, a sixth grader on a mission to buy a new guitar, in hopes of upgrading her band’s status and becoming a rock star.

Along the way, Ella learns about key business concepts, such as market research, competitive analysis, word-of-mouth marketing, guerilla marketing, costs, revenue, profits, loss, leadership, partnerships… and the list goes on. She also learns about the many types of financial products, including stocks, bonds and loans.

The authors manage to explain difficult financial and business concepts in a way that makes them easy to understand. Many of the lessons originate from wisdom imparted by Ella’s parents, who work in business and law. Ella adds her own creativity to the lessons, and with the help of her friends and family, she’s on her way to owning a brand new electric guitar.

Reading the story, I couldn’t help but wonder how my life might have turned out differently if I had been aware of these business and financial concepts earlier on.

Yes, I was taught to budget and save, but that took the form of me putting money in a bank account and spending it when I had saved enough for the product I was saving for. I wasn’t aware of the other financial products I could have employed, and I certainly didn’t understand what a stock was, even in high school.

Our nation has racked up $15 trillion in debt — obviously our leadership isn’t doing much better than we are as individuals.

And so, community, it is up to us to arm the next generation with a financial education. Sharing books like “How Ella Grew an Electric Guitar” with tweens is a good start.

What ideas do you have for increasing our children’s financial proficiency level? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Foursquare Specials: How to Get a Vegetarian to Eat at Your Burger Joint

25 Nov

How do you get a lifelong vegetarian to eat at your burger joint? You offer a Foursquare special.

As a vegetarian, I generally wouldn’t seek out meat-centric restaurants, including burger spots or steakhouses. But occasionally I find a reason to stop by one. Sometimes that’s because I’ve heard they serve awesome veggie burgers; sometimes it’s because my carnivore friends drag me along; and sometimes it’s because I’ve found a deal for a particular restaurant.

While attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit last week to speak on a panel, I was greeted with a “Special Here” note for the hotel I was staying at, the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The special was a coupon for $5 off a meal at Le Burger Brasserie, one of the many in-casino restaurants.

My first reaction was to roll my eyes and ask “whhhhhyyyy meeeeee?” But I promptly recovered from my vegetarian angst and headed straight for the Total Rewards desk where the Foursquare app said I could pick up my coupon. Surely enough, the Total Rewards attendants knew what was up and handed over one lovely coupon, which I used within an hour.

See, that’s me below, happily (and blurrily, thanks to my iPhone’s dodgy camera) smiling next to one of the most scrumptious veggie burgers I’ve ever tasted. Added bonus: it’s about the size of a human head, so you definitely won’t go hungry.

I shared the meal with my colleague, Brian Dresher, who took that photo above for me.

Bottom Line: A simple Foursquare special lead a vegetarian into a burger joint. Not only did she bring herself, she drug her colleague along as well. And both had a great time. Kudos to the Paris Las Vegas social media team for staying ahead of the curve.

Brands on Gowalla

13 Jul

A while back, I wrote a post called Brands on Foursquare. It seems to have served the community well, so I decided to cover one of Foursquare’s top competitors, as well, Gowalla.

While at SxSWi 2010, there was an all-out battle between Foursquare and Gowalla. I’ll tell you straight out that I’m a huge Foursquare fan. I’m such a fan that despite all of the promotions that Gowalla ran at SxSW, I vowed to only check in via Foursquare the entire time. As of writing this post, I have 57 badges and over 1,200 checkins logged on Foursquare.

As a professional in the social media space, though, I have to draw the line. I finally downloaded the Gowalla iPhone app today and logged my first check in. There’s no return from here. Once I join a social platform, I’m in testing mode. So, folks, here it goes.

For my first research endeavor, I will curate a list of brands with brand pages on Gowalla. Enjoy and let me know if there are any missing in the list below. Thanks!

Austin 360

Austin American-Statesman

Chalkbot

CNN Money

Fort Worth, Texas

Livestrong

Longboards Ice Cream

National Geographic

Nets Basketball

NYC Media

Scottsdale, Arizona

Sierra Club

Snow.com (Vail Resorts)

University of Oklahoma

USA Today

Washington Post

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