Tag Archives: Branding

Gatorade’s Example: Can a Company Be Health-Conscious and Sales-Focused at the Same Time?

Health-Conscious and Sales-FocusedMarketing is a tricky game: Businesses must convince consumers to buy their product, even when both the consumer and the business are aware of certain product drawbacks. No product can be everything to all people, though.

For instance, proper running shoes won’t look like Converse Chuck Taylors. What makes running shoes fly off the shelf isn’t their style, but their function. The reverse is also true: Converse can’t market their sneakers like they would athletic shoes. In this case, it’s about style over performance.

The Marketing Dilemma: Handling a Product’s Weakness

Companies in the food industry have a similar dilemma. In today’s health-conscious society, consumers are paying attention to labels. Dramatically high numbers of fat and sugar will turn off many customers.

If a business isn’t selling a health food, marketing can be tough. Most companies generally avoid pointing out unhealthy ingredients in their products and focus more on the items’ positive aspects, never addressing issues that might be considered a drawback.

Ad campaigns and marketing for these products tend to focus on taste and satisfaction. They even appeal to the bandwagon nature of people: “This celebrity likes it, so should you!” While this makes sense, acknowledging the perceived weakness of a product may be a boon to a marketing campaign.

Leverage Weakness for Better Marketing

One company is changing the game. Gatorade, the well-known sports energy drink, has a new video campaign that explicitly addresses the amount of sugar the drink contains. One 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade contains roughly 34 grams of sugar, although the specific amount can slightly vary, depending on the flavor. Sugar is often considered one of the worst ingredients in today’s diet, and people have a tendency to consume far too much.

Since the American Heart Association recommends that men cap their daily sugar consumption at 37.5 grams and women at just 25 grams, Gatorade’s high sugar content could be seen as a sales liability. Gatorade’s new campaign, however, turns this weakness into opportunity.

Gatorade’s Bold Marketing Strategy

Gatorade is addressing concerns about the amount of sugar in its product with a new video series featuring professional athletes. In the videos, professional athletes such as J.J. Watt and Karl-Anthony Towns confront ordinary people drinking Gatorade outside the context of sports or exercise.

The athletes challenge these individuals to “earn the sugar” by getting active and working up a sweat. For example, in one video Watt has one woman push a blocking sled in order to burn enough calories to “earn” a Gatorade. In another, Towns challenges a man walking calmly down the street with a Gatorade to try to dribble a basketball around the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year.

Gatorade’s head of consumer management, Kenny Mitchell, said the “Burn It to Earn It” marketing campaign was born out of a desire to address the amount of sugar in Gatorade – a key component of the product – without hurting sales. Essentially, the company wanted to make it clear their drink is intended for use by athletes who need to replace the sugar they sweat out during exercise.

An Uncommon Approach May Be Successful

The Gatorade campaign is a risky venture, but it looks like a surprisingly successful one. In addition to being used as a sports drink, Gatorade has gained popularity as a folk remedy for hangovers, as well as being popular with consumers who simply like it for the taste. The new marketing campaign, which makes it clear that Gatorade is intended for athletes, risks alienating these other consumer bases.

In contrast to the new ads from Gatorade, companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo (the latter happens to own and distribute Gatorade) have been in the news for trying to protect their market share by lobbying against health bills meant to combat obesity by reducing soda consumption.

It’s a much more common strategy than Gatorade’s approach, similar to tactics big tobacco and alcohol distributors have used in years past. This approach also comes with some risks: No one wants to support a company that sacrifices their consumer’s health for profit. Gatorade’s campaign is different by showing that a company can send out positive, helpful messages to the public that address a product’s drawbacks but still encourage purchases.

Has the Health-Conscious and Sales-Focused Strategy Paid Off?

Recent sales data shows that quarterly and annual sales of Gatorade appear to be doing well. Data from the market research agency IRI shows Gatorade’s various brands of sports drinks (led by Gatorade Perform) dominated the field of sports drinks in 2015, with the overall market share rising 10 percent that year.

It’s too early to tell if Gatorade’s new campaign will result in increased revenue. However, the health-conscious campaign comes off as a legitimate branding strategy, rather than a gimmick to drum up sales.

It’s interesting to note that while Gatorade’s new approach seems to be helping its brand and sales, public consumption of sugared sodas and carbonated beverages is dropping off, in spite of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s lobbying efforts to protect consumers’ access to soda.

Although carbonated soft drinks still led in overall sales among convenience stores in 2015, sports drinks such as Gatorade were a much closer second than they’ve been in the past, and the product shows much greater overall growth.

Consider Other Health-Conscious Approaches

Gatorade’s new campaign makes for an interesting comparison to other efforts by brands traditionally viewed as unhealthy, which are trying to keep their sales stable in an increasingly health-conscious market. Take McDonald’s, for example. Particularly after the release of the documentary “Super Size Me” in 2004, the company has worked relentlessly to convince consumers its food isn’t all that bad for you.

McDonald’s recent “Always Working” campaign in the U.K. aimed to convince parents that they’ve made Happy Meals healthier over the last 10 years, and that parents shouldn’t feel guilty about offering them to their children.

Changing the Product vs. Changing Your Campaign

A big difference between McDonald’s and Gatorade, however, is that Gatorade hasn’t changed the product, just the marketing. McDonald’s campaign is trying to show that it is listening to its consumers and thus changing the product to make it healthier. Gatorade, on the other hand, doesn’t claim to have made any changes to the amount of sugar in their traditional drinks.

However, it’s worth noting that Gatorade recently launched a G Organic lineup of drinks. While these new products still contain a high amount of sugar, they are made with only seven ingredients, including organic cane sugar.

Gatorade’s new ads clarify that the product is meant for athletic competition and that when it’s consumed alongside exercise and sports activity, the amount of sugar isn’t overwhelming for your body. Mitchell actually states that Gatorade is proud of the sugar in their drinks and has no plans to change its formula.

Turn Weakness into Opportunity

Marketing is about explaining to your base why they want or need your product. If your product has a downside, there may be a way to leverage that perceived weakness into a strength, much like Gatorade has done.

The “Burn It to Earn It” marketing campaign shows that it’s possible for a company to stay true to itself while also responding to public health concerns, all without hurting the bottom line.

At Eminent SEO, we can evaluate your company’s brand messaging and marketing strategy for areas of weakness and potential opportunities. Give us a try! Call 800.871.4130 today.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Social Media Takeover: How the Wrong Social Media Strategy Can Drain Your Marketing Budget

Wrong Social Media Strategy Can Cost You Thousands - Eminent SEO

When we’re living in an era when you can legitimately put a profession such as “Instagram Model” on a resúmé, you know just how powerful a tool social media can be. A once-lonely and overlooked high school girl can instantly turn famous by clicking, posting and creating a massive following. Just like that, she’s a business.

Well, it doesn’t quite work the same if your goal is to grow your business, put money in the bank, maintain a reputation and expand. What too many businesses don’t understand is how the wrong social media strategy can cost them thousands of potential dollars.

So, Where’s the Disconnect Here?

The internet age is actually still in its infancy, but it’s growing and maturing at lightning speed. It’s seemingly impossible to keep up with the amount of information that is constantly generated, no matter how valuable. There’s simply too much.

Additionally, there is a general naivety and lack of awareness about the power of social media and exactly how to use it to generate revenue. Many business owners don’t even know that an actual strategy is needed in social media to accomplish their business goals.

Every click, like, share, comment or request is all potential dollars for your growing business. Using the right social media platform and reaching out to your niche audience are what most businesses fail to comprehend. Instead, they use the wrong social media platform and cater to the wrong audience.

Your goal is to engage with your audience frequently enough to build the type of relationship that will foster loyalty and support your business.

It’s Always Best to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Money Down The Drain - Eminent SEOSocial media is a game and a precise strategy needs to be involved. There are rules to play by if you want to win. It’s not good enough to just show up on the sidelines and expect to get a trophy. You have to get in there, know your opponent, and then play better and harder.

Wasting your time Instagramming when you should be Facebooking can cost you labor dollars and decrease your online exposure – and eventually your ROI. This is why narrowing down your niche audience is so important. Snapchat is used by a much different generation and demographic than Facebook or even Instagram, and you certainly don’t want to waste your time and efforts on the wrong platform.

Don’t Be Afraid to Pull the Trigger!

Now let’s take a closer look at what evaluating a social media strategy looks like for an agency. Let’s say a client was a trendy new yoga studio located just outside of a major city. The social media agency may start with posting content on general health, wellness, the benefits of yoga, etc. to multiple social platforms. The marketers begin to notice that there are very few “likes,” comments and share on all of their posts.

The agency may start to realize that most social media platforms are image-driven, so it begins to repost the same content and add an image. This simple addition generates a significant amount of interest and response from the client’s audience, and then interaction with followers becomes more frequent.

Well, that’s great, but there are still one or two platforms (let’s say Snapchat and Tumblr) that are still not generating as much “buzz” as Facebook and Instagram. At this point, it may be better to ditch those two platforms and pour all social media marketing dollars into the ones remaining.

Now would be a great time to reevaluate the client’s target audience and the overall social strategy. The agency may conclude that there is an older demographic interested in the studio from a few clues:

  1. They are getting most of their responses from Facebook and Instagram.
  2. The studio is located outside of the city, which means the audience is most likely made up of people who are settling down and have families.
  3. Through geo-fencing strategies, this demographic has been targeted and has been receiving ads and promotions.

That’s still not the end of the agency’s marketing efforts. The marketers can now get even more detailed in their approach, and they can better specify exactly which kind of images appeal to the client’s target demographic.

The agency realizes that this “older” Facebook and Instagram crowd may be intimidated by images of yogis bending and twisting like a professional contortionist, so it decides to only use images that a healthy person at any age can easily do. This will show that the yoga studio welcomes all levels and ages of health and wellness. Even a small tweak such as this will boost audience interaction even more, which can quickly translate to direct membership sales for the studio.

The Moral of the Story:

Agencies must be quick to adjust, evaluate and reevaluate, and they can never slip into a place of complacency when strategizing for a business. They must be prepared to ditch any platform that is not producing results, based on the initial goal, and move forward with the others quickly.

But What if You’re Not the Young Instagram Model or the Stay-At-Home Mom Starting Her Own Business?

Social Media Thumbs Up Bar Chart - Eminent SEOA cheeseburger affects an Olympic marathoner differently than someone having a triple bypass. Posting frequency works very much the same. While some individual social media users can post multiple pictures and content all throughout the day, a thriving business using this tactic will quickly be considered spam. In order to capitalize on your platform and not chase away followers, it’s important to follow the rules of engagement.

Your main goal should be to increase followers and keep them engaged with your content. If you “overshare” and flood their timelines, you easily run the risk of getting unfollowed – or those who still follow you will quickly become overwhelmed by your content.

Building your business using social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The more consistent you are at posting on the correct platform, the more traffic you’ll see, and the more likes and shares you’ll receive. Additionally, your brand will make a name for itself and the money will flow – if you stay committed and consistent.

Seems Like a Full-Time Job in Itself, Huh?

Well, you can certainly take advantage of social media dashboards like Hootsuite or Buffer that make creating and posting content much easier. They allow you to create multiple social media streams, post to all of them at the same time, and even schedule out posts in advance. Again, consistency is key! Using these dashboards will allow you to account for human error, forgetfulness and even laziness all with a simple click. These social tools are all about convenience.

Don’t miss out on the chance to generate interaction and engagement with your followers because you didn’t stick with it. Social media is about investing time and constantly doing research in order to reap the rewards.

Don’t Forget to Track Your Progress!

How do you know you’re losing weight without a scale? Just like someone trying to drop weight can’t gauge their progress without a scale, a business cannot assess its progress without tracking it. This means recording the number of likes on a post, the comments left, the number of shares, etc. They all matter.

There’s always room for growth and development, so if one strategy or platform doesn’t work, no need to worry. Just switch up your game until you find your sweet spot. Again, repeat business and a strong brand reputation requires customer loyalty, so it’s important to quickly change and adapt to what your audience wants to hear or learn.

Can You Track Sales Through Social Media?

Now, social media isn’t the easiest way to track precise sales, but it’s possible to get an approximation.

Buffer is an excellent resource to help you calculate tangible goals and project the outcome of your social media campaigns. You can see just how much money you will be able to generate and can soon watch a “click-click” turn into a “cha-ching!”

Knowing is half the battle. When you know your goal and how it translates to revenue, you are able to strategize in the most effective way for your business.

Getting Help so You Don’t Have the Wrong Social Media Strategy

Social media is the way businesses market now. Buying a local ad is a waste of money if you know how to work your social media and maximize your efforts. Not jumping on board and becoming educated on all the tricks can cost your business some serious change, and who can afford that?

It’s all about finding the best strategy for your business and then adjusting it and making it even better as you ramp your efforts up. Eminent SEO is a leading industry professional here to guide you and perform market research on your behalf to quickly decrease your costs and increase your profit!

If you are overwhelmed right now, don’t be. That’s why we’re here! As the internet continues to develop, the type of resources at our disposal will expand, including ones that will help us streamline your efforts. The trick is to stay abreast of your competition and put out more useful content that drives consumers to your website.

Eminent SEO is here to guide you and help you filter through steps to save you time and frustration. We can remove all of the guesswork and tell you which social platforms are working best and what kind of online engagement can be expected. Click to learn more about our Social Media Marketing Services, or call 800.871.4130 to get started now.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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More Big-Box Retailers Bite the Dust: What’s to Blame? (Besides Online Shopping)

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RoomStore Sports Chalet Phoenix - Big-Box Retailers - Eminent SEO

A Sports Chalet and The RoomStore are situated next to each other in north Phoenix, and both franchises are in the process of going out of business for good. (Eminent SEO Photo)

It’s always sad to see a business close its doors and leave behind a vacant storefront.

Well, almost always – depending on if the shuttered business personally wronged you in any way.

Over the last couple of months, multiple big-box retailers with a once-prominent presence here in Arizona announced they would be closing all of their locations. The notable closures include Southwest-based sporting goods franchise Sport Chalet and the Arizona-only furniture chain The RoomStore.

So, what caused the demise of these long-standing retailers?

Was it online shopping (ecommerce) options? Too many direct competitors? Failure to distinguish themselves from similar franchises? An economy that simply refuses to kick into the next gear?

It’s likely all of the above, plus another, less-talked-about factor I’ll examine a little bit later. First, let’s look at the particulars of these franchises’ final days, as well as some of the main influences that put them out of business.

Details on The RoomStore’s Closing

The RoomStore is currently having one of the more spectacular going-out-of-business bonanzas I’ve ever seen. Around the metro-Phoenix area, shopping center signs and cargo trucks have unabashedly been heavy on terms like “Liquidation” and “Going Out Of Business Forever.”

RoomStore Liquidation Truck - Eminent SEO

A semi-truck parked near The RoomStore in north Phoenix advertises the furniture retailer’s going-out-of-business sale. (Eminent SEO Photo)

The company’s website impresses the sense of urgency even further, encouraging you to negotiate the price you want and that nobody beats The RoomStore’s going-out-of-business sale.

RoomStore Going Out Of Business Sale

Um, are they excited to be going out of commission? The company even appears elated to point out that several locations have closed and the rest are shutting down soon.

RoomStore Homepage Locations Listings

The Room Store was actually founded in Texas in 1992, and it opened its first Arizona location a year later. When all of the Texas RoomStores began closing down in late-2012, the Arizona locations were immune, since they were owned by a separate company: The RoomStores of Phoenix, LLC.

At its height, The RoomStore owned 12 locations in Arizona, primarily in the greater Phoenix region. The company was perhaps most recognized locally as a long-time sponsor of the Phoenix Suns.


When The RoomStore filed for bankruptcy protection last December, it was a definitive sign that the local furniture empire was on its last legs.

Details of Sport Chalet’s Closing

Sport Chalet’s wind-down process has been much more somber. In April, the company sent an email to all of its subscribers announcing the end of the franchise. A version of that email is currently on the homepage of the website, which appears to be the only page on the site anymore.

Sport Chalet Homepage Closing

You can’t even find which stores are still open through the website. The company has sent several follow-up, matter-of-fact emails that announce extensions of honoring customers’ gift cards and other similar notices. The retailer doesn’t appear to have any sense of urgency in enticing the consumer to visit a store and buy an item on discount before the place closes.

Founded in 1959, Sport Chalet at one point had more than 50 locations in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and, especially, California, where it was headquartered. The sporting goods chain is part of the Vestis Retail Group, which also owns Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and Bob’s Stores, all located in the Northeast. Vestis has filed for bankruptcy, but it is keeping most of its EMS and Bob’s Stores open while cutting out the fat that is Sports Chalet.

Too Much Competition for These Big-Box Retailers?

The RoomStore and Sport Chalet were both plagued by lukewarm and negative online reviews. For The RoomStore, complaints mostly concerned returns, refunds, sales tactics and even deliveries and the quality of furniture. For Sport Chalet, sky-high prices and poor customer service appeared to hamper the business most forcefully.

As a significant side note, if you’re going to survive as a brick-and-mortar store in today’s environment, you’ve got to offer an experience, not just lay out merchandise and hope somebody buys it. If you want to look within The RoomStore’s industry, it’s easy to see that the home furnishings giant IKEA offers a distinct shopping experience. Did The RoomStore offer a discernible experience, or did it simply (haphazardly) sling furniture?

If you’re looking at Sport Chalet’s industry, you can see that Dick’s Sporting Goods at least somewhat offers an experience, as each store maintains a locker room feel. Did Sport Chalet offer an experience? Do large photographs on the walls of various sporting activities make for an experience? The franchise initially started out with a focus on skiing equipment and later expanded to scuba gear, but after that, it tried to appeal to a wider audience, and it ended up throwing aside its unique selling proposition in the process.

Also, Sport Chalet wasn’t on its email and ecommerce game the way that Dick’s is. Personally, I was buying online from Dick’s Sporting Goods way back in the early 2000s. Lo and behold, several physical locations started cropping up around town just a couple of years later.

It’s obvious that Dick’s has a two-fold strategy to grow its business. Even if Sport Chalet’s ecommerce sales were vibrant, they weren’t enough to salvage the entire company, and apparently not even worth keeping as an online-only business.

Also of note is that Sports Authority recently filed for bankruptcy and later announced it is closing all of its stores. Same concept here: What was the Sports Authority Experience? Anybody? Bueller? Sports Authority was once the country’s largest sporting goods retailer, but like Sport Chalet, it will soon be no more.

What do these major setbacks mean for the great American sporting goods store going forward?

Did a Sluggish Economy Kill These Franchises?

Well, even if the economy is hurting – which it no longer seems to be, by most indicators – the furniture and sporting goods industries aren’t currently feeling the pain. Here are a few stats that tell the tale, as provided by the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Retail and food service sales are up 3.5 percent in Quarter 1 of 2016 from the same time period last year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings store sales are up 5.6 percent in Q1 of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales are up 7.4 percent, one of the largest jumps in any retail and food service niche from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016.

So, even if retail is up this year and the furniture and sporting goods sectors are particularly doing well, those factors apparently weren’t enough to save franchises like The RoomStore, Sport Chalet and Sports Authority. You would think that even a higher-priced store like Sport Chalet, for example, would be able to survive as long as the economy’s in good shape and there’s enough consumer spending to go around, but alas, some businesses are still going under.

Truth be told, these franchises were hemorrhaging profits for years prior to the economy righting itself, but by the time it got better, it was too little, too late – and the writing was on the wall for these once-prominent retailers.

Did Ecommerce Sales Play a Role?

It’s always the elephant in the room every time a big-box retailer goes under: internet sales. Yes, online sales are becoming more and more common as the checkout process continually gets easier, but ecommerce still doesn’t take up as big of a chunk of the market as you’d think.

According to the chart below, ecommerce sales comprised only about 2.5 percent of all U.S. retail sales (adjusted) back in Q1 of 2006. The market share has continuously grown since then, rising to nearly 8 percent of all retail sales in Q1 of 2016.

Yes, 8 percent doesn’t really seem like that much, but that still represents more than $92 billion in transactions in just one quarter of the year. It’s decisively large enough to play a role in putting brick-and-mortars out of business.

Overlooked Factor: Reluctance of Dealing with Sales Associates

Although online shopping is more convenient than ever, I think the issue goes much deeper when it comes to why big-box retailers are hurting. When shopping online, you can line up dozens of items side by side, check out their specs and then make your purchase with one or two clicks of a button, all without having to deal with a salesperson.

While it’s hard to beat physically trying out an item in the store, some might still say, “Why deal with a potentially incompetent, unhelpful or pushy sales associate when I can just buy the merchandise online.”

To some shoppers, it might be a diagnosable social anxiety disorder that keeps them buying their furniture, clothing and other merchandise from a distance. To others, it might be a conscious decision to avoid the hassle and wait that is latent every time you walk into a store – especially one like The RoomStore or Sport Chalet, according to many online reviews.

Many people spend more time with their face buried in their phones or computers than they do interacting with others face to face, so it’s no wonder ecommerce continues to grow. You could argue we’re being conditioned to do more interaction online than we do in “the real world.”

According to a 2015 eMarketer forecast, Americans spent an average of 2 hours and 54 minutes each day on their mobile devices last year, and that doesn’t even count phone calls. That number equates to 44 days out of the year just spent on a mobile phone or tablet. The 2016 average is expected to jump to 3 hours and 8 minutes per day – again, not counting using a phone the old-fashioned way.

Learn More About Internet Addiction

While some can juggle face-to-face interaction and heavy internet usage well, others cannot. If those who struggle with it are able to simply buy merchandise remotely, even if it means the item’s size or color might be askew once seeing it in person, then that’s a risk they’re willing to take. And let’s be honest, you can find some great deals online. Also, the online checkout process is usually easy and you’ll save gas by not having to drive to a store.

It all adds up to a significant threat to big-box retailers, which need to make sure their online sales process is as good or better than their in-store operations.

Conclusion

So, ecommerce sales, stiff competition and possibly the economy are all going to weigh heavily on brick-and-mortar retailers going forward, but I also think we shouldn’t discount the ever-increasing reluctance to social interaction. If someone can buy the same item online that they would otherwise have to walk into a store and deal with sales associates, especially a place that’s not known for its customer service, how can you convince them to buy from you on location?

We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on why big-box retailers are going under as well as your ideas to keep them afloat. Comment with your opinions below.

Oh, and R.I.P. Sport Chalet, Sports Authority and The RoomStore.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Vol. 53: Contribute to Eminent’s Art Wall; Google Rolling Out ‘Local Business Cards’

Eminent SEO Art Wall Banner

Eminent SEO News: Art Wall to Support Local Arizona Artists

Creativity comes in the form of inspiration. As a way to help inspire creativity in our office, we have officially started a new art wall that we plan to fill with custom artwork from some of the interesting and talented local artists we have here in Arizona!

So far we only have two pieces, but check out the work of Aaron Motley and Andy C Artwork (the two artists featured in this pic below) and let us know if you or your favorite Arizona artist is interested in adding to our Eminent SEO Art Wall. You can contact hello@eminentseo.com to find out more. #EminentSEOArtWall
Eminent SEO Art Wall Mesa AZ

What’s New in SEO: Google Experimenting with ‘Local Business Cards’

As Google’s search results pages continue to get more visual, the tech giant is reportedly testing out “local business cards,” a feature which doesn’t have an official name yet.

These local business cards appear in a horizontally scrollable carousel, similar to the Candidate Cards and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) the search engine has rolled out in recent months.

Haven’t seen this feature yet? Don’t worry. Not too many search users have.

Search Engine Land reports that local businesses cards only show up when searching for a “few dozen” local businesses that Google apparently approached directly. The content in these cards are custom and not drawn from Google My Business or any other feed. This feature also marks the first time Google has returned an animated GIF on a search results page. The carousel was reportedly created with mobile users in mind, but it shows up almost identically in desktop results.

A Search Engine Journal write-up on this development gives even more details on the implications this new search feature has on local businesses:

  • Businesses need to submit a request to be included, but Google must approve it first.
  • Certain services and content can be promoted in the local cards, which will show up near the top of a results page.
  • This content appears to show up in order of sheer popularity, rather than by traditional ranking signals such as backlinks, domain authority, etc.
  • Websites of businesses that have brick-and-mortar locations appear to have a leg up on the competition at this stage in the game.

So if your website is newer or has a low domain authority, you still might be able to show up high in the search results if you create a popular piece of content that gets featured in the local business cards. The problem is Google’s not letting everybody opt in at this point. How will this impact local search going forward? Stay tuned.

March Social Media Roundup

March was fraught with memorable holidays: Pi Day, St. Patrick’s, Good Friday, Easter, etc. On social media, we had a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’ for each of those big days. Our St. Patrick’s “What’s Your Leprechaun Name” graphic especially was a hit. See below for our holiday creative images, motivational posts and helpful SEO statistics that make up the best social content we shared in March.

#3LittleWords #Empower #Individuality #TeamEminent

A video posted by Eminent SEO (@eminentseo) on

I Literally Cannot - Bossbabe - ESEO

Whats Your Leprechaun Name - St Patricks Day - Eminent SEO


Mobile Searches Increase Year Over Year - ESEO

March Blog Roundup

Our first pair of blog posts in March focused on websites – why you should avoid an easy website builder and how to deck out your site’s 404 page. We then shared several tips on how to find and hire a qualified content marketer. Catch up on our most recent blog posts below, and don’t forget to head over to the entire blog and submit your email so you’ll never miss another post. Happy reading!

How Easy Website Builders like Wix, Muse and Weebly Hurt Your SEO and Growth Efforts

You can use a website service like Weebly, Wix or Muse to build a decent-looking online storefront, but are these codeless website builders positioned to help you grow a business? Find out about the pitfalls of using an easy, codeless website builder, including how most of them struggle with SEO.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect to Optimize Your Website’s 404 Page

Believe it or not, you can actually create a good user experience with your website’s 404 page, not that you ever really plan on taking a visitor to that page. In this post, take an in-depth look at how to optimize your 404 page, when to redirect broken links, and when it’s OK to serve a 404 page to a user.

How to Find a Qualified Content Marketer to Add to Your Team

Effective content marketing can give your business a boost and indirectly lead to more sales. What is content marketing? How do I find a highly qualified content marketing? Find out the answer to those questions in this comprehensive blog post.

Featured Service: Brand Reputation

A scathing online review or even one ill-advised blog or social media post can break you. Such a mishap could make you lose clients, thousands of dollars and/or take years to recover from.

Don’t let such an incident keep your business from growing! When you start working with Eminent SEO, we can do a brand reputation audit to see what we’re up against. We’ll seek out mentions of your business online, and then we’ll work on removing or obscuring any negative or damaging reviews, if any.
Brand Reputation Can Make Or Break You - Eminent SEO
Not only do we seek to destroy any negative mentions of your business, but we also take a more positive, proactive approach. This usually involves helping your brand get better visibility on more platforms, such as review sites and directories, and encouraging your existing customers to leave some positive feedback of your business in high-profile places.

Let Eminent SEO build a custom brand reputation strategy for you! Click to learn more about our Reputation Management Services, or just call 800.871.4130 today.

Until next time, see ya online!

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Vol. 48: ESEO Promotion, Google’s Addition to Algorithm, Blog and Social Roundups

Eminent SEO News

Kirstin Douglas - Director Account Management - Eminent SEOA job at Eminent SEO provides ample opportunity for career growth. Kirstin Douglas is the latest employee to actualize this. Last week, Kirstin was promoted from a Senior Account Manager to the Director of Account Management. Kirstin’s duties now include:

  • Defining business strategies by applying knowledge based on customer markets.
  • Being responsible for retention and growth of the existing client base through individual efforts and efforts of the account management team to deliver profitable quality service.
  • Managing client assignments.
  • Building strong customer relationships.
  • Being familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices and procedures.
  • Relying on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.
  • Leading and directs the work of others.
  • Using a wide degree of creativity and latitude.
  • Reporting to top management.

Kirstin has been a rock star for us, and will get an even bigger chance to shine in her new role. Congrats, Kirstin! You can get to better know Kirstin by checking out her bio page here.

What’s New in SEO: Meet RankBrain, the Newest Addition to Google’s Search Algorithm

Recently, Bloomberg Business had the scoop on Google’s new search results-processing technology, called RankBrain. The new system is a form of artificial intelligence, meaning it can build upon what it already knows, rather than needing a human to guide it each step of the way.

RankBrain is just one part of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, to the best of Search Engine Land’s understanding, and it doesn’t handle all searches. As a reminder, a search algorithm is a system that processes search queries and combs through billions web pages in order to rank the best ones first. Essentially, Rank Brain is doing some of the heavy lifting for the algorithm, automating part of the process for Google’s experts.

A senior research scientist at Google said RankBrain is the third-most important signal when it comes to ranking web pages. What are the first two? Google won’t reveal. Check out Search Engine Land’s FAQ article to find out all that has been revealed about RankBrain to this point.

October Social Media Roundup

Eminent SEO’s October was all about getting ready for Halloween, celebrating our sixth anniversary, and attending Pubcon Las Vegas. Immediately below are the highlights of all of our social media posts from October. To see more of what we learned at Pubcon Las Vegas, check out our CEO Jenny Stradling’s Twitter timeline for her live tweets during the Pubcon sessions. Also, scroll down to the “Blog Roundup” section of this newsletter to find the link to account manager Lacey Chic’s in-depth write-up on “The Future of SEO,” as predicted by Pubcon presenters.

Max Shirts - PubCon - Team Eminent SEOThe Hoth - PubCon - Eminent SEO

Happy Halloween - Monsters - Eminent SEOHappy Halloween - Monsters - Eminent Social MediaLIke Old Picture - Michael Myers - ESMSEOs Celebrate Halloween - Panda And Penguin - ESEOHalloween Cat Costumes - Eminent SEO

October Marketing Blog Roundup

Searching for tips on how to boost your business, especially when it comes to social media, your website and your overall brand? Look to the blogs on our Eminent family of sites for valuable tips, tricks, how-to’s and SEO news. Catch up on the best of our October blog posts below. If you haven’t already, visit the Eminent SEO blog and click on “Subscribe.”

Understanding the Future of SEO: What to Expect in 2016 and Beyond

Going to Pubcon gave us a lot to chew on, as the world of search and users’ habits are constantly changing. Not to mention, there is just so much that goes into best SEO practices. Check out this blog post to see our many takeaways from Pubcon Las Vegas and to get a preview of the future of SEO.

Ad Blocking is Changing up the Marketing Game

Read about how more and more people are blocking online advertisements, plus how much the practice is costing the advertising industry in lost revenue. If you have a website that relies on hosting ads, check out this blog post for some ideas on how to make up for lost revenue due to the rise of ad blocking.

When is the Right Time to Hire a Social Media Manager for Your Business?

Do you run a business and handle your company’s own social media in your spare moments? Or, are several people on your team expected to help you run your business’s social accounts, even though nobody is technically the manager? If your business meets the four conditions explained in this blog post, it’s time to put out a help wanted ad for a highly qualified social media manager.

Is A Logo A Brand?

A business’s logo is not a brand in itself, is it? Find out the role a logo plays in a brand, plus what goes into a logo and how the image should align with the company’s industry and customer base.

Featured Service: Company Branding

You may have put together a logo quickly and gotten your business off the ground, but have you established a brand? Does the average person recognize your brand when they see your employees’ uniforms or any company vehicles? Or, do online users recognize your logo and know what your brand is about?

Your company’s logo, color scheme, website design and even custom symbols and images play a role in the overall brand. If you don’t have a true brand strategy in place, Eminent SEO can step in and help out. Our marketing and design experts can take your existing brand strategy and make it stronger, or we can build a new identity from scratch. When you contact Eminent SEO for branding help, the measures we’ll take include:

  • Auditing your brand and current strategy.
  • Refining collateral related to your brand.
  • Designing and developing a new logo.
  • Marketing your new brand.
  • Managing the reputation of your brand.

Importance Of Online Branding - Eminent SEO

If you’re ready to build a rock-solid, recognizable brand with help from a team of seasoned marketers, learn more on our Website and Business Branding Services page, or call us right now: 800.871.4130.

Until next time, see ya online!

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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2015 Super Bowl Commercials: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

This entry was posted in Branding, Commercials and tagged , , on by .

Football fans and their uninterested family and friends unite for the Super Bowl each year, why? Well, besides chicken wings and lots of beer, even those who couldn’t care less about the game will get together to watch the commercials.

I personally fall into the second category. While I understand the love for football, it’s just not my thing. However, I LOVE the commercials and I look forward to the event every year for that very reason. Each year companies spend millions of dollars for their chance to give the public a reason to talk about their brand. Some go for humor, some go for sentiment and some even produce some serious (and often controversial) content.

This year was no different.

I took to Twitter to participate in live Tweeting related to the Super Bowl – specifically the ads (and a little other commentary). Each year the online marketing community gets involved and uses hashtags like: #BrandBowl #AdBowl and a new one (at least it’s the first time I’ve seen it) #HashtagBowl. Between the Tweets in my feed and the group I was with, I got a pretty clear picture of what commercials went over well and which ones flopped.

Here is the breakdown:

Let’s start with the bad: The Worst Super Bowl Ad of 2015

It’s pretty obvious who made the worst ad this year. The online census is clear. Sorry Nationwide but come on, do you really think that freaking out parents with childhood death was appropriate for the Super Bowl? I understand this is an important topic… but most people feel like it was in bad taste for this particular event.

Nationwide Insurance: Make Safe Happen

The comments were pretty harsh:

Other Losers:  

Although the response to most ads was somewhat mixed, it’s pretty safe to say that there were some other losers, including:

    • Victoria’s Secret: Despite the beautiful models in their underwear, this ad was a big yawn fest.
      • T-Mobile: Kim Kardashian for DataStash: Supposed to be funny, but ended up mainly as a big, ehhhhhh.
        • Mercedes-Benz: Fable: Beautiful car, but the tortoise and hare idea is a bit overplayed already, dontcha think?
          • Esurance: Say My Name: We love you Heisenberg, but most of us were left wondering “WTF?”.
            • Skittles: Settle It: Skittles has done such a great job with their ads in the past – we were all expecting something a lot better than this.
              • FIAT 500X: The Blue Pill: This one had me at first, but once that blue pill slipped into the FIAT gas tank we were all a little grossed out.

              And, finally for the good: The Best Super Bowl Ads of 2015

              The Tearjerkers:

              Every year there is at least one ad that hits our heart strings, but this year there was an overwhelmingly large amount of ads that were intended to bring on the tears. Admittedly, I am a crier. I cry when the underdog wins, when Oprah causes a celebrity to have an “ah-ha” moment and when my kids give me a homemade card that says “I love you”… so it’s no wonder that more than one commercial made ME cry. But here is what the group had to say:

              Budweiser: Lost Dog: Awwww, a cute puppy, beautiful horses and an old favorite song all in one commercial? *tear*

              Some of our kids really loved the commercial, but it’s for beer so… But, overall it got a pretty good response on the web:

              Coca-Cola: Make it Happy: I liked this ad because it A) raises a good point: there is WAY too much hate on the web and B) acts as a reminder we should all try harder to be kind to each other.

              However, others found it “cheesy” and a lot of the comments online were regarding the brand and the product itself, specifically about Coke causing obesity or something similar:

              What a stupid commercial. Keep poisoning everyone with your toxic high fructose corn syrup.”

              McDonald’s: Pay With Lovin’: The runner up for the best tearjerker of the night.

              Great message (yes, I cried) but unfortunately people still hate McDonald’s:

              “Why not show some love for the animals you confine and kill by the billions each year?  Stop pretending to be “good guys”.

              Still, fans seem to be pretty excited about the idea of free food:

              And, some of us see it for its marketing brilliance:

              “Beautiful, smart and unique concept. A table and I were even talking about it before the super bowl even aired on Saturday because we had heard about it on the radio and paper. Love that they’re continuing to do it Feb 1st – Feb 14th – Ongoing love and PR!”

              Always #LikeAGirl: The clear winner of the tearjerkers this year. If you don’t like this commercial, there’s something wrong with you. The Always marketing people did a fantastic job with a tricky product – particularly for the Super Bowl. A lot of thought went into this one:

              And, yes, as a mother of a teenage girl, I cried… in fact, this one had the biggest impact on my emotions overall. I wanted to run to my daughter and tell her how awesome it is to be a girl and that she can do ANYTHING she wants to in this world.

              Other responses:

              “I loved the #LikeAGirl one because I have 2 daughters (one of which is excelling in martial arts) and a strong woman who don’t do things in the put down way of ‘like a girl’.”

              “The minute they showed the ten year old girls unaffected by gender stereotypes, I started to cry. I started to cry because I was taught that running and throwing like a girl was a bad thing. Stopped running in marathons when I was twelve. Stopped playing softball when I was fifteen. I just thought…I don’t know what I thought. Just know this made me cry! I do remember what it was like. I don’t know why I ever listened!”

              The Funny:

              A note to big product brands: when it doubt, go funny. I get it, funny doesn’t work for everything. However, this IS the Super Bowl and it’s a family event. So, family friendly humor goes over well and doesn’t isolate.

              Bud Light: Real Life PacMan: The group at my house thought this ad was rad. It left us all wanting to play a real life PacMan game.

              I personally was a little disappointed there wasn’t more to the ad after last years EPIC ad with the same premises #UpForWhatever:

              But I still want to play Real Life PacMan.

              Snickers: The Brady Bunch: The runner up for the best funny ad this year. Keeping in line with their other “hangry” commercials, this one spoke to the Brady Bunch lover in us all:

              Many thought the ad was nothing short of perfection: “I doubt we’ll see a #SuperBowl ad that tops Snickers’ with Danny Trejo in The Brady Bunch”

              And, for THE WINNER:

              Mountain Dew Kickstart: Come Alive: The full version came on before kickoff and helped get the party started. Tell me this isn’t funny:

              I don’t know what’s funnier, the guy getting low, the fluffy dog or that deer on the wall… Either way, it was nice to actually laugh out loud (and not be embarrassed to share the moment with my kids). Some comments from on-line: “Best commercial I’ve seen this year! Go ahead. Touch stuff.”

              A Few Honorable Mentions:

              • Microsoft: Braylon O’Neill: Good job, but unfortunately didn’t make the “best” list.
              • T-Mobile: Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler for Wi-Fi Calling: I thought it was funny.
              • mophie: All-Powerless: “When your phone dies, God knows what can happen”… Well played, mophie, well played.
              • Squarespace: Super Bowl 2015: Om: This one got mixed reviews, but one person in the office loved it: “I loved the Dreaming with Jeff Bridges by Squarespace ad…cuz I love the Dude!”
              • Dodge: Wisdom: This one also got some mixed reviews. The overall response was it was good, but most couldn’t see the ad and the brand connection.

              In case you missed the Super Bowl (or, maybe were you busy grilling and eating during some of the commercials) click here for a full list of the YouTube videos.

              So, that is it for this year’s #BrandBowl recap.

              What were your favorite and least favorite ads? Did they make our list? Share in the comments below.

              Jenny Stradling

              Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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4 Steps To Building A Brand On A Budget

Piggy bank

So you’re starting a business and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything? (If you say you aren’t, you’re a liar) . You don’t need to be a millionaire to build your brand- everyone has to start somewhere. Social Media is a free and great place to start – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr are all solid places to get a kickstart your first impression in a digital sense. Below you will find some ways I think you can start to build your brand on a budget and when you’re ready for a little assistance you can reach out to our Eminent team.

1. Customer Service is Key

Have you ever heard the saying, “First Impressions are everything”? Well those words couldn’t be any more true. Customer service is key when it comes to building your brand with your potential audience and/or demographic. Slip up and give some a sour taste right off the bat; people will treat you like the Bubonic Plague and steer clear.

Going above and beyond to make a customer feel appreciated, not only creates a solid foundation for a returning customers but develops brand affinity. Brand affinity builds word-of mouth, and in turn you’ve got a social buzz going. And so the domino effect continues.

2. Think Outside the Box and Get Creative

Dollar Shave Club is by far, one of my favorite companies who reflects the “Think Outside the Box” mentality and created a low budget video- that gained them more than 8+ Million views and one of the most viral campaigns for a start-up.

3. Make Friends & Collaborate

Whether you’re looking to work in a collaborative work environment like Co+Hoots or GangPlank or looking to collaborate two brands, like what Monster Cable and Dr. Dre did to create Beats by Dre  to build awareness of both brands – Each side could bring a little something unique to the table. Each company has their own USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that they can leverage, and in these collaborative opportunities you give the opportunity to bring what makes you shine to the for-front and that too for your collaborative partner. Win-win all around.

broken piggy bank

4. Market Your Resources and Be Resourceful

Don’t take your team for granted and recognize the assets you have at hand. Each individual you have hired has a skill set that gravitated you to hire them and each of those individuals have interests beyond their day-to-day work load. Maybe you need video- and you can’t afford to hire a big production team to execute what you thought was going to be a pricey penny- why not keep it low-budget and entertain the thought of using your own team of real employees and ditch the idea of actors. Have you ever taken a peek at Google’s Videos, featuring one of our favorites, Matt Cutts. Now they are a HUGE company, but recognize they can cut costs and create just as great videos on a small budget.

So remember, you don’t need a huge budget to start to build a brand. Money helps to nurture and build support but if you’re just starting out, I hope these four initial steps will help in conjuring up those creative juices .

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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EminentSEO.com Monthly Newsletter Vol 5

Announcement

We recently launched our Brand Identity division. Do you need help with your logo or branding?

EminentBrandIdentity.com ScreenshotAt Eminent Brand Identity we will help you build an effective brand name, if you don’t already have one, or we will help you enhance what you already have. We will help you connect your brand to your target audience. We do this through deep research of your competition and the market place and, at times, your client base as well. Each brand, like a person, already has a personality or will develop a personality with the effort we help you put forth in the market place. Learn more about the Eminent Brand Identity Services, visit the new site: EminentBrandIdentity.com

From the Eminent SEO Offices

Happy Valentine's Day from Eminent SEO Happy (early) Valentine’s Day from our Eminent SEO and Eminent Social Media staff!
We are in LOVE with Marketing, Branding, Research, Strategy and all things that we can do to help businesses succeed online. Our LOVE for Internet Marketing translates into passionate, knowledgeable and hard working staff who can’t want to help you succeed at what you LOVE.

Industry News and Featured Content

STOP SOPA

January 18th the Web went on strike… did you take part?

The two bills in Congress, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the Senate and PIPA (Protect-IP Act) in the House of Representatives, would censor the web and slow the economic growth of the U.S. as the web is one of our biggest job creating engines in America. Did you sign the petition to put this to a stop. Read More: Tell Congress: Don’t censor the Web | Get informed about SOPA and PIPA

 Link Building for SEO

Why Link Building is such a big part of SEO and why you should be investing in it!

Links are a big part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Link Building for SEO is the practice of building links on other websites that point to your website. Generally the links use an anchor text (most commonly referred to as “keyword” or “key phrase” here at Eminent SEO) that we want to rank a website for in the organic search… Read More

Announcing the launch of The Slim Side!theslimside.com screenshot

Looking for a live example of our work? Check out a recent client website launch: http://www.theslimside.com We created their logo and branding and designed and developed the website. We also manage their social media and other marketing. Ask us if you are interested in learning more about this project or what we can do for you.


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Eminentseo Monster VideoOur Monster is still without a name! Won’t you help us and spread the word to vote for a new name?
Help Team Eminent SEO Name our Monster Mascot!  Learn more about The Eminent SEO Monster Here. Are you ready to vote? Vote here! If you need more visual persuasion, see the video.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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