March 2, 2018

Lacoste’s  Alligator Steps Aside for Conservation

Lacoste, formerly IZOD- a brand that peaked in the 80s and 90s but has faded out of mainstream fashion is hoping to draw some attention  through a new campaign partnering with Union for Conservation of Nature. An article by Fast Company tells us the campaign will feature limited edition polos that replace the iconic alligator logo with depictions of 10 threatened animals in efforts to help protect the remaining wildlife. The shirts can be seen in detail on the Lacoste France website. We also like the simplicity of this shot from Creative Review's instagram feed.
Lacoste is only creating the quantity of polos that corresponds to the number of each species recorded in the wild. “Since there are only 350 Sumatran tigers, there will be only 350 tiger logo polos for sale. The gulf of California porpoise only gets 30 shirts, due to its dwindling numbers.”
Take a look here.
Cause marketing continues to gain steam as brands develop their social and political voices. But the incentives can’t be ignored. Is the true alignment to the cause as strong as the benefit for the brand? Is the brand exposing issues that would have been unnoticed by the general public?
These questions have to be taken seriously to work authentically. For now we can be appreciative of brands taking steps to tackle the issues that define their position in an ever complicated world.
Emily Mondloch
Market Research & Insights
Jeff Smack
Director of Interactive Media

December 12, 2017

Five Key Lessons Shared Between Non-Profits and Franchise Businesses

Recently, I’ve had some very honest and candid chats with some national non-profit leaders about the future of fundraising. Simultaneously, I’ve been talking with local franchise owners about the greatest challenges they face — regarding everything from communications to operations.
As it turns out, their challenges and struggles echoed each other. Be it easing cultural tensions, improving communication, encouraging mission alignment, or fostering consistency, many of the same issues keep them up at night. Between the two segments, I’ve distilled some parallels and will outline here five key lessons that local franchise owners can learn from national non-profit leaders.
1. Everyone can fund raise, but not everyone is a fundraiser.
To be a skilled fundraiser takes training and practice. Just because someone has the desire to go out and raise money, does not ensure they will be successful. Even if they are successful, it doesn’t guarantee that the success will be sustainable. Instead, train your people for the skills you need. Training should happen every time someone joins, but should also be on-going. Teaching the skills needed enables both success and sustainability.
2. It’s critical to connect people to your mission.
For non-profits, connecting people to their mission is the key to keeping the lights on. When individuals and corporations believe what you’re doing matters, then they show their support through donations and gifts. However, as more and more non-profits develop and ask for donations, the mission becomes a critical differentiator between them and their competition. Likewise, as the number of businesses increase and therefor competition, why you do what you do becomes as important as how you do it or what you offer. Know your mission, live your mission, and clearly communicate your mission so others can align with you.
3. Plan on people making it personal.
The more people invest in something, the more it matters to them. This investment could be time, money or both. Whether it’s the woman who dedicates hours volunteering for a cause because she or a family member is affected by a disease, or the husband and wife team who poured their retirement savings into buying into a franchise store. When it matters, it becomes personal. Channeling this passion can be an organization’s greatest challenge. To do so, give people a chance to express themselves. Listen as they express their concerns or share their ideas. Empower people to use their passions and motivations in creative ways. Give them a platform and the support needed to plan their Do-It-Yourself fundraiser, or design their own local marketing outreach. Yet, be clear and direct in policies and procedures so they know where the boundaries are.
4. Think global, act local.
The best executives always remember that for both non-profits and franchises, many of the most critical decisions happen quickly and at the local level. It’s easy to fall back on the national name recognition and forget about how stressful the small business environment can be. It’s tough! But, always remember to prioritize your goals, and work toward reaching one goal before moving on to the rest.
5. Incentivize initiative and show your appreciation.
Above all else, remember to say thank you. Be it volunteers or franchisees, expressing your gratitude matters. And it’s usually the little things that mean the most. A coffee mug filled with chocolates, a t-shirt with a note, these small things let the individual know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. You can even set incentive levels to reward good work along the way. However, be weary of saying thanks with things. If you go too far and give someone too nice of a gift, it makes the whole experience transactional, cheapens it, and demotivates. Instead to motivate employees, thank then sincerely and frequently with small, appropriately sized gifts.
Though I never recognized it, the similarities between the national non-profit and the franchise business models are striking. Both have a national brand supported by local factions, yet, though connected by name, these chapters or stores often operate independently. So, it makes sense that they share similar struggles. All of these listed takeaways represent real organizational challenges for both non-profits and franchise businesses. They are all primarily people concerns and every organization will benefit from realizing it’s living, breathing, human value.
Jane Broadbent
Senior Strategist

May 9, 2017

Is TV Viewing Going Over The Top?

Television viewership and viewing preferences have been making a shift due to the rise of over-the-top television (OTT).
An eMarketer interview titled, “Google Discusses the Rise of OTT TV, How Viewers Are Using the Services” with Rany Ng, Director of Product Management at Google, gives us Google’s explanation of OTT, which helps to define it. “When we refer to OTT, we really refer to over-the-top services that allow users to watch TV content that’s delivered over the internet instead of traditional TV infrastructure. Hulu, Netflix and CBS are examples of OTT services. And OTT services’ content can be streaming, it can be on-demand, and it can be viewed on a number of different types of devices – from a desktop or laptop, to mobile, to something like Roku or a smart TV.”
Ng also goes on to discuss why consumers are tuning into OTT and in what ways. “They can watch things on the go. It’s on their own schedule, so it’s very different from linear television where it is scheduled viewership.” In this day and age where consumers expectations of personalized products and services are never-ending, we can understand why people have responded positively to OTT. A separate poll from eMarketer shows us that 48% of U.S. internet users strongly prefer to watch TV via OTT services.

But what does this mean from an advertising perspective?
Well, TV audiences have always been a primary consideration of media buying. And it is vital to be aware of the channels that win viewership and the characteristics of different audiences across channels. It’s our job to keep up with changing trends while keeping a non-biased, full circle view of the landscape.
Advertisers will have to continue to strategically place different cross-channel media according to their own goals and audience composition. For instance, research from eMarketer shows that Millennials are responding a lot quicker to OTT than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. It also shows that the trend hasn't necessarily been adopted strongly by other countries like Canada, Australia and the UK. Many other factors need to be weaved in and considered by advertisers before buying media.
Regardless, OTT adoption is an accelerating trend and data shows that it’s a legitimate contender for media dollars.
But as it grows into its own, OTT is uncovering its own issues around increasing demand and the effect that has on inventory. Also, because these platforms allow companies to deliver their ads to a very specific target audience of their own design, users are sometimes left sitting through the same advertisements repeatedly throughout their episodes because they are the prime target of that ad. This frequency saturation can affect consumer attitudes and brand sentiment in less positive ways, actually driving consumers away.
Each medium has its own strengths and blind spots. Broadcast TV ads build the basis for a brand over time because of its ability to hit a wide range of people, while digital television is growing as a complementary method, contributing to a multichannel customer experience. OTT, Connected TV or streaming video reaches audiences that may not be watching as much scheduled programming. TV also generally shows the most significant ROI over time, with digital showing a strong ROI early on but usually dying out sooner.
As new trends and forms of media consumption arise, advertisers will continue to assess the best media channels to reach audiences, meet client needs and complete business goals. This can only be done by keeping up with current consumer channels and navigating the steady rate of change in the industry. We will never stop learning.
Emily Mondloch
Market Research & Insights

April 6, 2017

Barber Martin Loves Virginia

A new LOVE sign was unveiled this past Tuesday morning at Virginia's Weight of the State conference. And Barber Martin Agency designed and produced it!
We loved the opportunity of creating the sign. It started with sketches and a lot of phone calls and then took off. Thanks to sculptors Eric Stepp, Ian Gamble and Jessica Dodd for bringing the idea to life!
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth presented the sign to the First Lady and the Governor of Virginia as a gesture of thanks for everything they do to help bridge the nutritional divide and end childhood hunger in our state.

The sign will travel the state making appearances to bring awareness for children's health through increased access to healthy foods and promote Virginia-grown agriculture.
Check out our instagram feed for another shot. And visit the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth's Facebook to see more photos from the conference and the unveiling.


October 10, 2016

Zappos Builds Community Through Local Art

While many retailers are shifting to be more locally minded, Zappos goes further by investing in community through corporate values and creative expression.

Partnering with Beautify Earth, Zappos has launched a multi-city mural project. Local artists were commissioned to interpret one of the company's ten core values and translate it into a sizable mural.

Zappos is no stranger to innovation. However, neighborhood revitalization through art is a new approach for them. Bringing beauty into communities can stimulate local economies through an increase in community pride and participation in the project.

Murals were created in areas with the most enthusiastic Zappos shoppers. Some of the communities included Miami, Baltimore, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, NYC, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The murals tie into a larger mission, the "Downtown Project" which was designed to restore the community culture in Zappos’ hometown, Las Vegas.

Engaging local communities through shared experience is a growing trend in retail. Brands are creating community hubs for socialization through events and through comfortable spaces that promote interaction. BUT standing up for communities and bringing them alive through art and creative culture is truly genuine, serving business and marketing goals in the margins.

Displaying values over product is something Zappos has termed an “experimental strategy”. They hope to build brand by showing heart. This smart retail authenticity is becoming more of the expectation from the younger market base.

Zappos' goal is to be viewed as more than a company that sells shoes. Creatively shaking things up may allow them to bolster a very human element of the brand.

Note: Respecting rights to photography and art, the image that heads this post is a stock image. Please check out Beautify Earth or #zapposart on Instagram to see more of the project.

Andrea Neudecker
BMA Millennial Marketer

December 10, 2014

Making a Better Impression

This week Google released some findings from their study on the viewability of digital display ad impressions. When the number came back a few points over 50% on average, there was a bit of a roar among the crowd.

Some articles seem to frame the point as if Google has been getting away with something, but in this case, Google is playing referee by conducting the study and releasing the findings to the broader industry so that advertisers may better define the value of their ad spend. The topic of viewability has been a hot one this year with the IAB and industry decision makers weighing in. This new study seems to be Google’s response as leader of the field.

It’s never been totally clear how valuable the awareness value of display advertising is. It’s an interactive medium so the bulk of the value rests on what happens beyond the impression. As well, Google isn't ultimately responsible for the quality of content or the design of its publishing websites. It has standards and guidelines in place. It holds very strong influence, but it relies on the vested interest in quality across advertisers, agencies and publishers in a rapidly evolving and currently self-regulated arena.

According to Google’s own literature, “An ad served doesn’t necessarily equal and ad viewed.” Common sense informs us of this. Even a viewable ad may not be seen by the user. However, when an ad is clicked we can safely attribute awareness value to that transaction. The behavior beyond-the-click is where the ad stands to serve a business goal and where the real value may be derived. You have heard these behaviors referred to as conversions or KPIs.

So it’s important to remember that before we implement a digital campaign of any sort, we want to identify what our business goals are first and then build a campaign that supports that. If this process is followed, then the incremental awareness value of impressions (or rather about half) served is just added value in pursuit of real goals and a more concrete return on ad spend.

Jeff Smack
Digital Communications Director

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