Mobile Pay on the Move

When we first heard that Apple was going to jump into mobile payments, we knew that big things were about to happen. Even though mobile payments have been around for a while now, Apple seems to have a way with driving adoption of new technologies in pretty big ways. For this reason, the team at Lab42 wanted to capture consumer insights before Apple Pay officially launched to the public and people started adopting mobile payments at higher volumes. Check out the infographic below.

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5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Celebrity Endorser

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Whenever we turn on the TV, listen to the radio or even check our social media feeds, we see celebrities endorsing products. Setting your brand apart from competitors is consistently a challenge as companies and brands try to gain exposure within the marketplace. One option is to collaborate with a celebrity endorser. Below are some tips to help pick the right celebrity:

1. Know Your Brand’s Identity

Always concentrate on what your brand stands for when thinking of potential endorsers. It will not generate sales and revenue to have a celebrity conflicting with your identity just to capitalize on a current “it” person. If you are unsure of your brand’s identity with consumers, conduct initial research to see what consumers associate with your brand. In this age of social media, having a celebrity endorser who is ‘off brand’ could potentially hurt your company’s identity.

2. Focus on Your Consumer

Concentrate not only on your target market but also other markets you are hoping to reach. Find a single celebrity who is not only well known but also viewed highly favorably by the vast majority of each of these groups. Also remember, when focusing on consumers, you are trying to reach not only those who want your brand or product but also those who are likely to buy your brand or product, which can be two different segments.

3. Differ from Competitors

As with other marketing tactics, you want to stand apart from competitors. If your major competitor is using a reality star, avoid that route while still choosing a celebrity representing the characteristics you need. Narrow your search by finding the top 5-8 celebrities you think would be a good fit for the brand and conduct research to see who your market would most identify with.

4. Analyze Potential Risk

Calculate costs and decide if the investment is worth the potential sales in the long run. If there is any doubt, choose an alternative marketing campaign. Consider the celebrity’s personal life or decisions because any press could affect the success of your endorsement. Include a morality clause to remove yourself from the partnership should his/her image change. Lastly, think of the celebrity’s longevity to avoid having to keep finding new endorsers, which will become confusing for your audience.

5. Conduct Research

Before, during and after the campaign, conduct research with your target market and potential markets to see progress and changes that need to be made. By doing so, you can determine the associations of your brand, recognition of the celebrity and campaign, and likelihood to use and recommend your product.

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to determining if a celebrity endorser is right for your brand or campaign.

A Look at Consumer Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility

According to our recent study on consumer perception of corporate social responsibility, 80 percent of Americans think companies should strive to be more socially responsible. However, many respondents in the study feel that companies are showing signs of improvement, with 57 percent saying that companies are more socially responsible today than they were three years ago.

Further demonstrating the importance of social responsibility, 84 percent of respondents in the study said they are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that demonstrate social responsibility. Check out our infographic below, and download the topline report from our website.

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Reaching Navel Gazers Through User Generated Content

Many of us have heard the expression “working in silos”. In fact, most of us have personally experienced the decline in productivity that comes with the resulting breakdown in cross-functional collaboration. Siloed departments suffer from decreased diversity of ideas and lack of teamwork, and imperceptibly, the company’s relevance takes a hit.

There is something very similar happening in media nowadays. Due to factors like overwhelming amounts of information and increasing amounts of media/information vehicles, consumers are becoming more and more media-siloed “navel gazers*”, increasingly getting most of their content from the same few sources that they know, relate to and trust (i.e. are relevant to them), while effectively creating “relevance filters” or barriers for other content providers. The marketing implications of this phenomenon are huge as brands have to work even harder to create the most relevant and engaging content that will interrupt navel gazers, cut through the media clutter and attract their attention.

One way to get attention is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging UGC is very important for reaching navel-gazers, but especially Millennials, who may not be effectively reached with traditional media – or may even reject traditional media – but are more likely to notice a brand’s content if it’s within a relevant realm, such as a friend’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. The more marketing savvy companies have already figured out how to leverage UGC to impact sales. User-generated content will occur no matter what. What companies should do is try to control it by trying to proactively initiate these conversations with consumers, better select what those conversations will be and choose which UGC to include on their sites and other communication vehicles.

For example, a company creating a contest and inviting consumers to participate by submitting content should first ensure that the contest is fun, engaging and will make the brand relevant to target consumers. Or, if a company is collecting-user generated content to post on their site, they should also ensure that that content is engaging and will ultimately have a positive impact on the brand.

So, what can your company do to best ensure relevance among consumers through UGC? At Lab42 we can help you understand what UGC could be more effective before you post it on your website. Not only can we run quick tests on user-generated pictures to select the most appealing, funny, buzz-worthy and relevant ones, but also we can test potential contest concepts to determine which one would be the most motivating to your target audience to participate and also share. This approach will help you break media silos and convey relevance to your target consumers, thus growing your company’s marketing effectiveness.

*Reference- Why retailers are struggling to reach online audiences  – Jacqueline Lisk

Learning from 2014 Small Agency Award Winners

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Ad Age recently announced the winners of their Small Agency awards, and we thought it would be a great time to take a look at the winners to see what they are doing right in the advertising industry. Here at Lab42, we always try to stay in the know, and while we like to be trendsetters ourselves, it never hurts to follow suit when good ideas and practices are presented. There were 2 companies – Muhtayzik Hoffer and Proof Advertising – that won the gold and silver awards, respectively. Let’s take a look at a few of the learnings from these agencies.

Agencies are no longer simply production shops – they need to also be brand ambassadors and offer insights to the clients.
As we all know, agency work is significantly based on relationships between the agency and the brand. If the brand trusts the agency to understand their consumers, and the agency can execute on these insights, not only will the campaigns be more successful, but the agency/brand relationship will flourish as well.

Work with your clients to test out and execute new advertising and marketing practices.
Muhtayzik Hoffer was able to use having Netflix as a client to practice and execute rapid content creation that could be used across social media channels. Keeping your options open to new strategies might allow you to strike it big with your next client.

Allow your relationship with the brand to evolve.
Similarly to testing out new marketing and advertising practices, you should also not be constrained by the products that your client is currently offering. By collaborating closely with your client on their advertising campaigns, your agency might locate a niche that your client is not serving that will allow you to uncover a blind spot where a new product extension could be highly successful.

One of my favorite, most striking quotes from President of Proof Advertising, Bryan Christian, is that “instead of just an ad agency, we’d rather be seen as creative business people who solve business challenges.” This quote, and by winning the Silver Award, goes to show you that agencies need to evolve their business practices to really understand the client and offer up business solutions instead of just great creative.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of the agency/brand relationship? What is your agency currently doing to help support your clients outside of simply producing and executing campaigns?