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April 2015 - Posts

  • Evolving Storytelling Through New Media

    Apr 28 2015

    At its core, storytelling has always had three purposes: to teach, entertain and unite. For brands, content must be shaped by the overall brand strategy, to which we must adhere in order to speak with one voice.

    Why has marketing evolved from selling to storytelling?
    Media consumption has radically shifted to a customized experience — many consumers get news through the influencers they choose to include in their circles. By creating content that matches the interests of the target audience, instead of blatant selling, you’re more likely to catch eyeballs to tell your brand’s story.

    Authenticity trumps product
    Make the customer the focus of brand storytelling, and the product benefits become implicit. Content needs to connect with people at a human level — whether entertaining or educating — so they can put their trust into what the brand stands for, instead of only the benefits of a product or service.

    Social media allows brands to engage in two-way conversations with its advocates. And, just like in any relationship, authenticity and transparency are just as important as basic product differentiation.

    Content strategy should inform channel purposes
    Marketers often misuse the term “social media strategy,” but what they really need is a solid content strategy to execute across different content channels, social or otherwise. Brands should create channel-agnostic content, which marketers can repackage and custom-tailor for the appropriate networks for maximum ROI.

    Stories haven’t changed, but the way we tell them has. With consistent messaging across channels, marketers can tell stories about brands and connect with customers through quality, relatable content.


    Susan Shimotsu - Public Relations Coordinator

  • Why the NBA is Poised to Pick and Roll the NFL

    Apr 28 2015

    Casual sports fans often joke that the NBA doesn’t matter until the playoffs, which are now in full swing. But the NBA is doing three big things that could allow it to surpass the NFL as America’s favorite sport.

    The No. 1 big thing the NBA did was put its brand first. It acted swiftly and decisively to expel Donald Sterling, crushing the vitriol he promoted. From day one, the NBA made it clear it wouldn’t tolerate racism by one of its own. Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues to show an immense lack of leadership running his league, as players are constantly embroiled in scandals from domestic abuse to murder.

    A second smart move by NBA commissioner Adam Silver was to hire Pamela El, the league’s first CMO since the 1990s. Her top priority is to win more fans, which we can clearly see with this season’s marketing campaign. Tapping an au currant hip hop artist for the NBA’s opening montage helps appeal to younger, mainstream fans.

    The third way the NBA is winning is by lending itself to big, boisterous personalities that offer golden entertainment value. Fans can’t get enough of BGCP3TV in HD, the branded content that has collected more than a million views in only two episodes for Nike’s Jordan brand. And, whenever a game airs on TNT, you can be sure viewers are in it for the halftime report analysts as much as the game action. We haven’t seen such magnetic characters in the NFL since the Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle in 1985.

    While brands are having a tough time backing the NFL, the NBA is winning brands’ affinity again and again. Brands love to align themselves with the NBA just like Kia has done, landing LeBron James’ first car sponsorship.

    Casual fan or fanatic, who doesn’t love the NBA?


    Roxana Janka - Public Relations Specialist

  • Mobile: The New King of Digital Consumption

    Apr 28 2015

    We are now past the mobile tipping point: we use our mobile devices to access Internet more often than our desktop devices. Since mobile eclipsed desktop in 2014, brands lacking mobile sites have seen an increasingly negative impact. It’s bad news when your target audience can’t find you, but it’s even worse if they find you with a poor user experience, frustrating them into leaving your website within three seconds.

    The shift from desktop to mobile didn’t happen overnight, but how did we end up here? Here are three main reasons that accelerated this shift:

    1. Increasing ownership of mobile devices: More than half of Americans now own a smartphone (Nielsen). Tablets are on the rise as cheaper models roll out and smartwatches are next in line to take a bite from the big mobile pie.
    2. More sophisticated users: As part of the customer journey, we now seek more information about the products and services we use or purchase, especially on the go. We browse recipes in grocery stores, check for competitive online prices or look up a restaurant to make a reservation after we get into our cars. We are more mobile and hungry for information.
    3. Love of apps: About 89 percent of time spent on mobile is through mobile apps (Nielsen). In other words, if you want to make your brand visible on mobile devices, you need to enter the app world. Don’t worry, there is an app for everything, so you won’t have any issues finding your target audience. However, if you want to make sure that you are reaching a large pool of users, go social. Facebook is still the most-used mobile app and the majority of the TV conversations are happening on Twitter in real time.


    Deniz Kahriman - Digital Media Strategist


  • How to Create Great Messaging

    Apr 28 2015

    “Messaging” is how we describe the output of strategic and creative processes at Phelps. It’s the work, and we strive to make it as creative as possible. Why? Because studies show that creative messaging is far more effective than conventional messaging.

    For the purposes of this article, we are defining creativity as “the ability to find unusual and non-obvious solutions to a problem.” Creative messaging often has these four dimensions:

    1. Originality – Has qualities that are rare or surprising.
    2. Flexibility – Connects the product or service to a range of different uses or experiences.
    3. Elaboration – Contains unexpected details or extends simple ideas so they become more intricate or deep.
    4. Synthesis – Blends or connects normally unrelated ideas or objects.

    There are many ways to achieve this type of solution, but here are traits that are common to creative thinkers.

    1. Fluency – Or, the number of relevant ideas proposed. Creative thinkers never stop at the first “good” idea.
    2. Originality – How uncommon are the responses? Creative thinkers often discard the most obvious solutions to pursue the unexpected.
    3. Elaboration – The amount of detail given in the proposed idea. The difference between good and great is often in the details.
    4. Abstraction – The degree to which a word or slogan moves beyond being a label for something concrete. In other words, creative thinkers avoid “see/say” ideas that simply describe what you are seeing.
    5. Resistance to premature closure – The most creative thinkers avoid the temptation to execute a good idea in favor of pursuing more innovative solutions.

    So how do you create great messaging? By adopting and practicing the traits of creative thinkers above. Don’t stop at your first “good” idea; generate as many relevant ideas as you can. Purge the obvious solutions so you can push for originality.

    And, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re doing it right, you’re out of your comfort zone. Relax. That’s where the really good stuff is.

    Brad Gantt - VP, Creative Director