Category Archives: Marketing

Jpegs Without Borders

Q. What is both visual and numerical, enticing yet informative and has the ability to go global in one single jpeg file?

A. It is the Infographic! (official definition: graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge.)

Is it just me, or have you noticed that infographics seem to be appearing everywhere across the net, providing statistical snapshots of anything and everything – from ‘gold medals at the London Olympics’ to the meaning of brand colours and rates of coffee consumption to the population growth.

There seems to be an infographic for every obscure piece of trivia or statistic you could possibly think of. For example, have you ever wondered how many bridesmaids wore identical dresses at weddings?  The ‘Bridesmaids by Numbers‘ infographic will tell you this and more!

But all joking and pink tafetta aside, I will admit, I am a fan.

I’ve always loved a good statistic and the fact that infographics (or data visualisations) breakdown complex data into simple and easily digestable chunks of information packaged up in a pretty, colourful and well designed image makes both hemispheres of my brain happy.

As a marketer, I am even more impressed as these images can act as branded content with a high propensity to go viral. Infographics have the ability to cut-through because they are visual, easy to consume and even easier to share. They are a tool that can be utilised to showcase products and services, position brands as thought leaders, influencers and specialists in their chosen industry, tell a story and ultimately increase reach and engagement. In addition, they can be a great PR tool, as it is always useful to have relevant statistics and numbers of interest when pitching stories.

Even better – according to this recent report from Buddy Media, infographics and other visual content shared on Twitter generate two times more engagement than those without images.

So how can you create and utilise infographics in social media marketing? Here are my observations from across the web:

1. Provide quality content.

Just like all social media marketing, the key is in the content. To engage and enhance sharing potential, infographics need to provide quality information of interest that is different or unique. Don’t rehash or copy a competitor’s data, find new research and tell a different story with a unique perspective or interpretation. And don’t just try to disguise an advertisement as an infographic. Today’s consumers and web users are well informed and highly knowledgeable so will very quickly see through advertisements posing as infographics.

2. Invest in good design.

As with all marketing communication tools, it is worth investing in good design that creates a layout which is visually pleasing and easy to absorb. Break up the text with numbers and images –  according to this Smashing Magazine article, the key to infographic design is “show, don’t tell”. Simplicity appears to be a good rule of thumb. This article from the Guardian also has great advice:  1. Keep it simple, 2. Less is always more, 3. Tell a cohesive story and 4. Make sure your readers can consume the information across all devices and platforms.

3. Take it social across all your platforms

Don’t place an infographic on your website and let it just sit there. Leverage its potential and reach. As it is an image, an infographic has the ability to translate across many platforms and be used on blogs, Facebook pages and other social networking sites. Pinterest is an especially good platform for images and there are a number of accounts devoted purely to infographics. You can also send it to sites that specialise in infographics like dailyinfographic or coolinfographics to which many people subscribe.

4. Maximise your ROI!

Although it is not a disguised advertisement (refer to point 1), ensure that your infographic is sufficiently branded and embedded with clear links back to your website or social media platforms.

Want to find out more? I highly recommend this post from Oli Gardner as a great read on creating and marketing infographics.

Before signing off, I think it is important to acknowledge that not everyone is a fan of infographics and a backlash is slowly emerging online. Their rapid proliferation and unaudited content have caused ripples of discontent and may see them reach a saturation point in the not too distant future.

But I still like them!

So what do you think – are you an infographic fan ….or are you over them and believe that they just perpetuate pointless information? Have you utilised them as part of your social media marketing strategy? What are your tips on how to create good infographics and leverage them for marketing purposes? Love to hear your thoughts and perspectives!

Until next time

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Marketing to the Millenials

Marketing to children is a controversial and often emotive topic. Whatever your personal view on the subject however, there is no doubt that it is big business. Food companies alone spend $1.6 billion a year advertising directly to kids, and children under 12 are estimated to be responsible for over $500 billion in purchases per year.

Children are key influencers and consumers in their own right. They have a potent effect on parent’s wallets through so-called ‘pester-power’, a strong word of mouth network with their peers and the potential to be brand loyalists and advocates for a lifetime.

And in today’s environment, the current cohort of millenials and generation Alpha now have even further reach and influence. Having grown up with mobile phones, the internet and xboxes, they are tech savvy digital natives who are now getting social.

Even though the official entry age is 13, it is estimated that 7.5 million kids under 13 use Facebook, (five million of whom are less than 10 years old) and 14% percent of tweens and teens are regularly blogging. Even PlaySchool is tweeting to the kindergarten age.

Word of mouth in the schoolyard is suddenly a world of mouth.

As a result, social media is an increasingly popular choice for marketers wanting to cut through to a generation who can consume media when, where and how they want, across multiple platforms and a range of digital devices.

This is not just through Facebook likes. One of the most popular social media methods used to target younger audiences is ‘gamevertising’ or ‘advergames’. Also known as immersion advertising, as the name suggests, it integrates branding and advertising messages into virtual social worlds and digital games via characters, plotlines, sponsorships and pop up ads. In Nickelodeon’s NeoPets for example, kids have been known to search for ‘lost chicken mcnuggets’ in the McDonald’s Meal Hunt or retrieved stolen Nestle frozen snacks from the hungry Neopets.

On sites such as Stardoll, over 100 million tween (7-12) girls dress digital paperdolls, join clubs, enter contests and connect with friends in a virtual world peppered with logos and offerings from the big brands including Mattel, UniLever and Dove. They shop for their ‘MeDolls’ and decorate their ‘suites’ with products from virtual branded boutiques like DKNY, Vivienne Tam and Sephora. Friends can send virtual branded gifts to each other and play games like ‘Brand Detective’ where they look for Prada, Antik Batik and Halston in the Word Search.

The social nature of these virtual communities encourages children to connect and influence their friends both online and offline through their virtual purchases, the way they dress their avatars and their wishlists.

Interestingly however many of the brands showcased on StarDoll are luxury products, at the top end of the market which suggests that some brands are pursuing social media channels as a long term strategy to inspire future purchases. Others aim for immediate engagement and buzz (e.g. Justin Bieber movie launch) and utilise the network to drive traffic and sales offline.

The challenge of course is whether brands can convert virtual selections and brand awareness into tangible purchases. Within its first 16 days on StarDoll, Kohl sold 1.8 million garments. Virtually. In the same period they recorded 97,000 click throughs to their website. Less than 20%, and what proportion made it instore?

It has been said that this generation are not interested in ‘liking’ brands or entering into a dialogue. They just want brands to help them connect with others. Social media is certainly a way to do this, but are the new generation of savvy kids turning the table on advertisers by utilising free branded resources to express their preferences rather than commit to an actual purchase?

Or is this type of immersion advertising a little more sinister? Is it shaping impressionable minds at a vulnerable age?

What do you think? Do you, or would you, let your kids enter these ‘branded social networks’?

Until next time…

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