Archive for October, 2013

How to Work, Travel, and Stay Sane


October 28th, 2013

Between travel arrangements, gathering up every possible file you may need, packing your luggage, and actually getting there, a business trip can be a huge undertaking. Once there, you have to immediately organize yourself in preparation for client meetings, event check-ins, and whatever else is needed. It can be overwhelming trying to balance being out of town, keeping up with your regular work, and trying to add a bit of fun. With some simple preparation, you can keep your stress levels at a minimum and maximize your time with the following tips:

Take a few minutes to list anything and everything you might need on your trip. Think of any documents that might need to be printed and any files needed for your trip. Be prepared for anything that may come up while being out of office. If you are worried about misplacing any important documents, consider making copies and keeping the originals safe back in your office.

While packing, organize your outfits based on all possible situations. You should be prepared to dress to the occasion, whether it is a formal client meeting or a casual dinner. Otherwise, you may have to go on a shopping trip or two.

Double check you have all the essentials, especially any chargers. Often, you have to stay connected to the office while away and a dead electronic doesn’t help with that. Consider keeping extra cords in your travel bags to always have a spare in hand.

By following the tips above, you can avoid a few travel stresses and focus on having an efficient, and yes even fun, work trip.


Marketers Embrace 3D Printing


October 17th, 2013

While 3D printing may not be a new technology per se, it has recently made quite an impact in different industries with a multitude of applications. It has been used in producing medical equipment, automobile parts, and even food items. That’s right. You could, in theory, be printing out your dinner in some years time. As this technology continues to be further developed, industry leaders are tinkering with its diverse functionality to create innovative uses for 3D printing, including marketers.

Marketers are beginning to take hold of 3D printing. To promote its new mini bottles, Coca Cola printed 3D copies of consumers, like action figures. Nokia provided consumers with the opportunity to print out customized covers to promote its Lumia 820. While currently the big brands are capitalizing on this technology piece, consumers should not be surprised to see 3D production integrated in campaigns more often as the cost of production decreases and 3D printers are more accessible. 3D printing especially opens the floodgates of possibilities for experiential campaigns.

3D printing offers customization and on-site production. The consumer can design one-of-a-kind premiums that enhance the brand experience and create personalized interactions. What if a major car brand had an activation that let consumers customized their dream car and have a model printed for them on the spot? Or a shoe company prints sandals with branded messaging on the soles on the beach in Santa Monica? The possibilities are truly endless for crazy ideas to take form. Not only does 3D printing capture the consumers’ attention with its novelty, but it also adds a unique touch point to a brand experience.

The downside? The printing process does take quite some time, limiting the number of consumers who could directly interact with the technology. There are no doubts, though, that this will also see mass improvements.


Best Practices For Picking The Right Hashtag For Your Campaign


October 14th, 2013

Remember when # represented a number sign? Nowadays, # is synonymous with the popular hashtag. Originally on Twitter, the hashtag has now infiltrated Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, and Facebook. Hashtags allow for social media users to search and track topics based on a keyword. Platforms such as Tagboard even allow for cross-channel aggregation to see who is posting what and where. Think of the hashtag as a way to listen in on what people are saying.

Hashtags have now become commonplace in almost every marketing campaign. It allows for brands to track what their consumers are saying and an opportunity to fortify relationships. When determining what specific hashtag to associate with your campaign, keep in mind a few best practices.

First and foremost, make it relevant. A hashtag loses its effectiveness if it is too obscure and your consumers are unable to associate it back to the brand. Remember, this is an opportunity to connect with consumers on a digital platform, not to confuse them.

Do some research before making a final decision. See if the hashtag has been used previously or is associated with something you don’t want related to your brand. Try to think of the worse case scenario of how it can be used or misinterpreted because hashtag hijacking is not uncommon. McDonald’s learned the hard way and had to quickly turn to damage control. Also, don’t jump on a hashtag that is trending without looking into context. You don’t want to attach yourself to a national tragedy without realizing what you were doing.

Character count is everything on Twitter. Have your hashtag be memorable yet short. If you make it too long, consumers may forget it or simply not want to bother using it.

Actively promote the hashtag to your audience—display it on signage, include it on collateral pieces, and make sure your brand team encourages consumers to use it. Let them know what it is and reinforce a call to action to post to social media channels with the hashtag. Have an on-site activation? Incentivize the call to action by offer premium items to consumers that can show that they posted a tweet or photo with the hashtag on their social networks.

Most importantly, don’t forget to plan for how you are going to monitor is use. Determine what benchmarks for success will be set in place. Know when it is an appropriate time to enter a conversation.

Want to join in our conversation? Look for #ThinkBT.


BT Team Highlight: Kirsten Cowles, Event Coordinator


October 8th, 2013

Kirsten brings a unique perspective on experiential marketing with an extensive background in event marketing as a Brand Ambassador and Event Manager for over three years. She has represented a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Porsche, eBay, Toyota, and Verizon Wireless. Kirsten utilizes her past promotion experience as she manages multi-state mobile tours for Jack in the Box.

How have your experiences as a Brand Ambassador and Event Manager prepared you for managing national accounts at Beyond Traditional?

Rarely do people working on the agency side of an experiential campaign have the experience of directly interacting with consumers at an event. My past involvement executing activations exposed me to various types of campaigns and the different elements incorporated into each. I have seen how technology can be integrated and what levels of consumer interaction are needed to reach campaign objectives. When looking to source Brand Ambassadors or staff for my clients’ campaigns, I understand the sourcing process and know what qualifications are needed to make an event successful.

Does your team ever come to you for advice on how to manage promotional staffing?

Absolutely! I can give an opinion from the “other side” on how something might be received by consumers at the activation based on what I have seen work amazingly and also fail. At times, I help my co-workers see how a situation might appear from the view of a Brand Ambassador or Tour Manager so they understand a situation better. Communication between you and your event team is crucial, especially when constructing event plans that are sent to them.

What is one experience you can take away from being a Brand Ambassador and apply it to your position now?

Dealing directly with consumers has allowed me to really analyze a campaign strategy from start to finish. You have to always consider the consumer standpoint when creating a campaign otherwise you may fall short of your ROI objectives if the consumer doesn’t feel compelled to participate. For example, I have worked activations that asked consumers for information that they were not comfortable providing and turned them off from learning anything else about the brand. I have taken this experience and applied it to how we promote sign ups for Jack’s Secret Society as part of the Jack Munchie Mobile tour.

What is different on the agency side of event marketing?

I used to wonder why an agency would make the decisions that they did and now I understand. I had no idea how many elements go into a single decision – client approvals, budgeting, maintaining certain image. I have really loved being able to broaden my scope of understanding experiential from all angles.


Integrating Real-Time Marketing Into Your Experiential Campaign


October 4th, 2013

Oreo’s brilliant response to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout sparked a new obsession over real-time marketing. Real-time marketing is when a brand puts something out, typically via social media channels, on the fly during or response to a particular event with the goal to create buzz and generate a conversation bit to further engage with consumers. Some have had some success, like Old Spice’s viral YouTube campaign, while others have faced widespread backlash.

Recently, Coca Cola took real-time marketing to a new level by integrating live tweets into a television ad to encourage people to enjoy meals together. Not only did social media following increase, but also people wanted to actually watch the ad to see if their tweet would be featured. Coca Cola was able to have its messaging be noticed without being lost in the advertising clutter because it gave its consumers a reason to interact with the brand.  The cool factor of having your tweet displayed alongside an ad was really only a bonus incentive; instead, the thought of reconnecting and engaging with human interaction had a much more profound impact.

This hot trend of featuring real-time messaging in traditional and digital media channels has also been incorporated in experiential campaigns with unlimited possibilities of integration including RFID, interactive digital walls, or street projections. Here at Beyond Traditional, we identified the benefits of capturing a larger audience by featuring live updates from an activation a few years back. As part of our campaign to promote Yahoo!’s sponsorship at New York Internet Week, the Yahoo! Studios Sweets Treats Truck featured instantaneous Facebook photo uploads of participants proudly displaying their delectable treat at the activation and connected the activation to the digital world. Followers of Yahoo! Studios social media channels viewed photos of the brand experience as it was happening, expanding the event footprint to the digital realm and resulting in over tens of thousands impressions.

Integration can range in complexity and still encourage consumer participation that matches your campaign objectives.  One of the biggest advantages of incorporating real-time marketing into your experiential marketing plan is that by allowing for consumers not present at the activation to involve themselves and witness what is happening, you increase your campaign impact and reach. Even more importantly, you engage in developing deeper relationships with your customer base.