03
Sep
14

Social Media and Franchises

Social media use has exploded in the past 10 years. For business, it has especially changed how we reach consumers. As social media constantly evolves, the world of franchising is still grappling with how best to utilize “the new word of mouth.”

From the perspective of franchisees, there are several options for social media. Managing a “fan page” for their local business is a great way to connect with customers. This is ideal for local information and offers targeted directly to their business community. Several companies (such as Buffalo Wild Wings – http://on.mash.to/1Cngwx8) utilize the “local location” social media strategy, but one size does not fit all. Some questions to consider before adopting a social media strategy:

  • What is the nature of your business? – The nature of your business will go a long way towards determining the nature of your social media presence. A restaurant franchise’s social media platform will look much different than an urgent care franchise. Where a restaurant might be pushing a deal on a specific product, an urgent care might be posting when they will start offering flu shots, or current wait times for a doctor.
  • Will the franchisee be able to manage a page on their own? With all of the responsibilities of getting a franchise up and running and then operating, it’s possible that managing a social media page might be too much for the franchisee. There should be a plan in place to address whether or not a location page is a good fit.
  • If they can manage, how much control will franchisees have? – This is something the franchisor needs to have planned out early. The franchisor will have the best idea of the desired image for the franchise, but the franchisee may have the best idea about what reaches their local audience.

From the perspective of the franchisor there is much unknown about social media’s effectiveness for franchise sales. It is true more franchisors are using social media as a sales tool, but its primary function is still about engagement. As a result, it is difficult to say how many franchise sales can be directly attributed to social media. The question everybody is trying to figure out is “How can I make social media work for franchise sales?”

To answer this question, there are several other questions to consider as well.

  • Which social networks yield the best results? – Each social network has its own target audience, which means some won’t be your best bet for recruitment. Networks like Twitter or Pinterest use casual language, and are focused around interaction and sharing experiences or photos. LinkedIn, however, is formal and business oriented. Facebook’s sheer volume of active users (1.11 billion active users each month – http://yhoo.it/1i02tpS) is reason enough to utilize Facebook as a tool.
  • How do I connect with users? LinkedIn and Facebook both have solutions to connect with your target audience. LinkedIn has many different groups with people who share similar interest; a quick search for “groups about franchises” yields more than 200 results. Facebook not only allows you to start a page promoting your franchise, you can purchase Facebook ads to target a specific audience.
  • How do I stand out? One method to consider is the use of video. YouTube is already one of the largest search engines in the world, and video results can improve SEO. Plus, videos provide a much deeper sense of engagement than plain text. A video explaining your franchise and how to become a part of it can have powerful results. Facebook ads are also a good tool. They are inexpensive and allow you to target the type of person you want.

Social media and its use within franchises has a wealth of untapped potential. Tell us your thoughts on social media and its uses in franchising in the comments below, or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WeiseCommunications?ref=br_tf

21
Aug
14

Not staying up to date on your PPC can cost big bucks.

In June 2013, pop singer Lorde released her hit single “Royals”, becoming an overnight sensation. In her lyrics she mentions high lifestyle items—in particular car manufacturer Maybach. Almost overnight, searches from curious teens caused the cost of online marketing for Maybach to climb as climb as quickly.Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Season 5

More companies are using online advertising to reach consumers, but worries over wasted coverage are becoming more apparent. Pay per click advertising (PPC) works fairly simple: whenever a consumer clicks on your ad, you pay a certain amount of money to that search engine in advertising costs. These costs are determined by how much a particular word or phrase you are marketing towards is looked up. The more a word or phrase is searched, the more expensive it is to have your ad listed on that page because you are reaching a greater audience. Pay per click is useful to companies because it allows advertisers to target a very particular audience.

However, concern that much of a company’s cost using pay per click can be lost on reaching an inappropriate audience. Millennials were the group mainly responsible for the sharp increase in traffic for Maybach, and these certainly aren’t the individuals with the means to buy high lifestyle brands, such as Rolex or Mercedes. Pop culture and current events can greatly influence online marketing costs, and it’s up to marketers to stay vigilant with these trends.

imagesCompanies may also be associating themselves with the wrong target audience. Particularly in the case of Maybach and “Royals”, Rolex wasted a lot of money reaching a particular consumer base—which was greatly inflated due to the curiosity of millennials.

John Wanamaker, a very successful retailer from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, once stated: “half my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Thanks to digital analytic programs, there are many things marketers are doing to prevent waste and maximize efficiency in online platforms.

One method is cell tracking. This is implemented by using a dynamic phone number that changes for whichever ad the user has clicked. This way, marketers can see which ads are generating the most calls—which usually results in more qualified leads and sales.

Another method is utilizing online tools like customer relationship management. Connecting your Google PPC call tracking data to online resources like Salesforce.com, helps you track information regarding your PPC campaigns. These tools help you track sales and leads from beginning to end to find out how you are generating revenue and which ad placements are most effective.

Accounting for the vast majority of online searches, Google does an excellent job providing data to marketers—including A/B testing to compare different online ads. Many other search engines provide comparable information for marketers and these are a great way to get feedback regarding PPC campaigns.

Is this a problem you have run into while utilizing pay per click advertising? Or are you not sure if you might be losing your message in wasted coverage? Contact us on our facebook page to find out how Weise can help.

01
Apr
14

Instagram Launches X-Ray Vision Filter: The new way to creep

When a well-intentioned product falls into the wrong hands.

Instagram's new x-ray vision filterCoastal Securitas, the Hollywood-based, high-end security firm to the stars, commissioned Ideal Creations from Dallas to create an infrared filter that could be affixed over existing security camera systems to provide ‘night vision’.

While in beta-testing, the engineers from Ideal Creations discovered that not only could they see a pretend intruder, they were able to see if the intruder was carrying a concealed weapon under their clothes. It didn’t dawn on them until testing with female pretend intruders that they were actually able to see the bodies underneath the clothes.

The Ideal Creations engineers, harkening back to the ‘X-ray Specks’ of their youth, realized another use for the infrared filter. They manufactured the filter so that it can be placed over the camera on a smartphone and allow you to see through lightweight fabric. This may have just been another go-nowhere gadget until the online video/photo-sharing mobile app Instagram, decided to add the x-ray vision filter to its already impressive list of digital filters.

Instagram, owned by Facebook since 2012, is launching the x-ray vision filter so users will now be able to upload a photo of choice and ultimately, see what’s underneath the surface.

When Instagram senior product developer, Phillip McKrakken, saw the x-ray vision filter, he immediately bought one and went through his Facebook friends pics with renewed interest. McKrakken said, “I initially thought it would be awesome to see which of my friends had tattoos. Then, I saw some unexpected piercings. I knew immediately that Instagram needed this filter.”

McKrakken continued, “Having the filter on your phone is overtly, well, creepy. I get it. But, if you are taking pictures and then apply the x-ray vision filter later, it’s not much different than Photoshop.” McKrakken believes the new filter will revolutionize on-line dating. “It will be the must-have filter to see if that person is really who they say they are in their profile.” He is currently testing the x-ray vision filter on Match.com, eHarmony, Zoosk, PlentyOfFish, DateHookup, Christian Mingle, Chemistry, SpeedDate and (of course) Tinder. McKrakken continues, “The results have been amazing. I feel like I’ve gone on a lot of first dates without having to learn about people’s annoying habits or having them ask me what I do for a living.”

The filter is available for download today at instagram.com/x-rayfilter/download.

And if you really clicked on the filter, you have been had! April Fools from your friends at Weise Communications.

 

 

 

 

17
Mar
14

Friend or Foe? Techie Insights from IFA

Living up to host city New Orleans’s reputation for revelry and rapture, this year’s annual IFA Convention was nothing less than mardi gras worthy. Having spent the last couple weeks recovering and catching up after franchising’s annual hoorah, the Weise team has sorted through the swag to find our most memorable takeaways. Among these, franchisors’ lingering hesitation towards technology stands out. 

In February 2014, Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary, hardly qualifying it as groundbreaking. Social media’s rapid expansion and continuing evolution of the digital sector leaves few hard and firm rules. Although social media is the go-to reference for digital marketing, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Buzz words including SEO, PPC, and CRMs are all a part of the marketing and sales mix. With so much going on in today’s race to ‘be found,’ it’s little wonder the technological world is a maze of anxiety for many.

Yet, the key many franchisor’s have yet to discover is the positive impact adopting these trends can have from both a marketing and operational standpoint, ultimately increasing their bottom line. According to David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz, “Brands are how you sort out the cess pool of the Internet.”

With that in mind, here are some nuggets of know-how, common confusion and other common threads we gleaned from the conference:

Google + Still one of the lesser used and understood social media platforms, Google + directly impacts your brand’s SEO. Major areas to make sure are updated and complete include business info, link to your website and location information. This info will appear higher in search results because of the link to SEO, content should be largely business focused.

Location Pages Another tidbit we kept hearing repeated was the importance of location pages. This is the easiest way for search engines to validate a company’s authenticity so make sure your info is on several different ones (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp). Also, make sure it’s accurate! This is an easy first step for promoting online presence.

Facebook- Franchise sales vs. Consumer Sales Whether Facebook should be used for both consumer and franchise sales—and whether these should be separate pages—was a hotly debated topic. Although a “one size fits all” answer may never exist, it is important to remember any potential franchisee will interact with your brand several times before revealing themselves as a prospect, making high quality content more important than ever.

Content Development Discussions revealed many brands are struggling with content development. Whether intended for social media, blogs, newsletters or websites, this directly impacts SEO. In today’s world of content overload, quality and variety is key to moving up in search results. Another important nugget to mull over: hiring an outside agency to manage content development is often more effective than relying solely on in house talent. This is, after all, what these agencies do best.

A fitting sequel to IFA, FranTech—a conference exclusively devoted to the technological sector of franchising—is coming to Denver next month. These two days offer another chance for marketing managers to learn best practices, confer with other franchisors and find vendors. I guess we’ll see many of you in Denver.

 

28
Feb
14

Under Armour Handled Olympic Crisis With Speed

When Under Armour produced what was proclaimed to be the fastest speedskating suit in the world, they must not have meant if U.S. Speedskating wore them.

The highly favored U.S. Speedskating team finished with shockingly disappointing results in the Sochi Olympics, failing to finish higher than seventh in any race, other than claiming a silver medal in the men’s 5,000-meter short-track.  Several explanations for the lackluster performance have been suggested, but the explanation that has caught the most fire centered around the high-tech “Mach-39” speedskating suits engineered by Under Armour and Lockheed Martin (http://usat.ly/1jMViOT).

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As a result of U.S. Speedskating’s performance, the suits were dumped midway through the Olympics and the team returned to the Under Armour skin suits used in previous competitions (http://wapo.st/1c5a6DF). Major complaints about the suits’ vents in the back, claimed they were letting air in and decreasing aerodynamics.

In response to the athletes and media’s outburst, Under Armour took action to protect its products, sales and brand image (http://usat.ly/1e23e9Q). While the crisis gained exposure across digital and print media, Under Armour implemented key tactics imperative in crisis communication management. Among these, timely responses and well-planned messages were key.

In response to the allegations, Under Armour stayed consistent with the brand’s image; stating it strives to produce the highest quality sportswear to its consumers and professional athletes.The brand was also strategic in its defense by offering help to the team, showing the brand acknowledges it may have been to blame for U.S. Speedskating’s poor performance. By focusing on continuing a relationship and providing them with support, Under Armour appeared genuine and human.

Another key tactic when implementing crisis communication is recognizing a spokesman for the brand and providing media strategy. Under Armour did this exceptionally well through CEO Kevin Plank. Under Armour set up a phone interview with Plank that can be seen in the video below (http://dailym.ai/1jOhoDv).

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 3.53.55 PM

Plank’s obvious media training showed well during the interview and paid off to reinforce Under Armour’s brand identity. He did an impressive job of keeping the interview centered on the brand’s mission and efforts to maintain its relationship with U.S. Speedskating.  In a crisis, media training should entail defining key messaging, pre-media interviews and carefully crafted responses to anticipated questions.

Moving forward, it’s imperative for Under Armour to sustain credibility of its products. There is no evidence supporting the skaters’ speculations, and their performance even after they returned to the old suits does not support their claims. With lack of evidence, Under Armour should perform multiple tests on the suit, specifically with the back vent and athletic stability of the materials used. By providing credibility, Under Armor will protect its product value and sponsorship of future Olympic teams.

Crisis can happen at any time – being prepared for when a crisis hits is essential to protect your brand. Do you need a crisis plan for your company? Let Weise help – visit www.weiseideas.com or email tracy@weiseideas.com.

Do you think the Under Armour suits were to blame for U.S. Speedskatings’ results? Tell us below and on our Facebook page.

30
Jan
14

Ad Preview: A Peak into the Playbooks for Super Bowl XLVIII

For some, the Super Bowl is the highest display of athletic prowess, eagerly anticipated all year. For advertising freaks like us, we wait for the ads.

We have a feeling the Broncos will not be the only stars this Sunday – This year, brands are going the extra yard to change up their strategies. Last year, brands such as Budweiser and Taco Bell won the laughs and recognition of viewers nationwide – but who is getting a slice of the Super Bowl advertisement pie this year? According to Forbes, brands from H&M, GoDaddy, Pepsi and Ford are taking a slice, and paying the whopping $134,000 per second to do so (http://onforb.es/1b4MuhQ).

As the only retailer to buy air time this year, H&M is making its second Super Bowl appearance, with an ad similar to its 2012 spot by again featuring soccer star David Beckham and the brand’s Bodywear line (http://nyti.ms/1bvEJBp).

Although the new ad will feature the same celebrity, it has a distinct difference from Beckham’s first appearance – interaction. Viewers are invited to vote for one of two endings to the 30-second Super Bowl commercial, allowing viewers to create what they want to see. Consumer interaction is vital in today’s marketing– now more than ever, consumers are talking amongst themselves about brands, so as a company, it is important to not only hear what consumers are saying, but listen.

Vote for your favorite ending here: http://bit.ly/1jyhEVt

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GoDaddy, a brand known for its provocative and gutsy Super Bowl ads, will launch a new image this year, and is using its Super Bowl ad to kick it off. The ad features NASCAR star Danica Patrick and a group of body builders running until they end up at Selena’s Spray Tan. The ad is part of a corporate makeover, and reflects a major shift in GoDaddy’s messaging (http://usat.ly/1ff6dOI).

Watch the new GoDaddy ad here: http://bit.ly/1aXIT8n

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Pepsi, who in the past has purchased multiple Super Bowl ad spots, is ditching the multiple 30-second strategy, and trading it for a single 30-second ad. The brand is putting their hail mary behind its sponsorship of the halftime show, starring Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Rather than focusing on the product, Pepsi is focusing on the brand as a whole. The altered strategy allows Pepsi to take the “Masterbrand” marketing approach that will translate into fewer stand-alone ads for sub-brands like Diet Pepsi (http://bit.ly/KPA2eL).

Another brand using a different strategy this year is Ford. The Super Bowl ad regular will run a pregame ad, featuring actor James Franco, after the coin toss but before the kickoff. A pregame ad will cost Ford 2.5 million, compared to an in-game spot costing 4 million (http://bit.ly/1cpuEKG). The new strategy was put in place because it gives Ford the chance to buy into the game without paying full price.

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 2.36.02 PM
As expected, other automotive industry regulars will appear; Toyota’s spot will feature the Muppets in with its new Highlander.

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 2.21.38 PM

Which brands are you most excited about seeing during the Super Bowl? Tell us below or on our Facebook page.

If you need a new and awesome commercial for your brand, visit www.weiseideas.com or email tracy@weiseideas.com. Go Broncos!

23
Jan
14

Dove proves you are more beautiful than you think

If someone asked me if I thought I was beautiful, I would say no. After Adweek released the “10 Best Ads of 2013,” (http://bit.ly/1ebFAYG) featuring Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” as their number one ad, I learned I am not alone in my answer.

According to Dove, only 4 percent of women worldwide think they are beautiful – a mere 4 percent (http://bit.ly/1c3lO3j). The viral ad, done by Ogilvy Brazil, created an astonishing perspective on beauty that is hard to ignore, with results even harder to believe.

The ad shows an FBI forensic artist sketching women (sight unseen) as they described themselves, and then as others described them. The differences in the final sketches are heart wrenching, and give “real” women, a reality check about self-perception – how we currently see ourselves, and how we should strive to see ourselves. Watch full ad here or below: (http://bit.ly/1aoEqho)

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With the overwhelming results of this social experiment, it is hard not to wonder who is to blame for the low self-esteem of women worldwide? Is it the advertising industry itself, or possibly the media, who constantly shoves photo-shopped, perfect-skinned, bronzed beauties down consumers’ throats? Whoever is to blame for the lack of self-esteem in today’s women, ads like Dove Real Beauty Sketches are impossible to ignore – and it has the “viralability” to prove it.

According to businessinsider.com (http://read.bi/1fXInvA) the ad garnered more than 114 million views total and more than 3 million shares, making it the most viral ad of all time. Dove was able to create content that viewers wanted to see, but more importantly, they wanted to share.

Dove’s “Campaign For Real Beauty” first launched 10 years ago, and has been helping women realize the real meaning behind beauty ever since (http://bit.ly/1bkFcXb). Ads like “Real Curves,” “Evolution,” “Pro Age” and most recently “Selfie,” have brought to light the qualities that make women beautiful other than looks such as confidence, intelligence and happiness. Dove has increased sales by 1.5 billion since Real Beauty’s launch, proving the campaign is aging well.

What do you think about the most watched viral ad of all time? Tell us here and on our Facebook page – and, remember ladies – you are more beautiful than you think.




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