A blog by the Brick Factory The Brick Factory

@Safeway:You MUST Like This Page to Continue vs. Like @NissanEVs LEAF & Plant a Tree

Facebook-_-Safeway-Must-Like-2In the last two days Safeway and Nissan have launched  unique Facebook landing pages that take different approaches to accomplish similar objectives. Playing off two very different motivations, both companies want your profile information and status updates in exchange for delivering a reward.  In this case, money or karma. Winning the award for the most aggressive approach is Safeway’s landing page promoting a $100 Memorial Day gift card giveaway. Considering the potential to generate a very high number of names, mailing addresses,  phone numbers, email addresses as well as Facebook, Twitter and blog  postings compared to the relatively low cost of the promotion itself: $500 total in gift cards, plus web consulting fees. I would expect more companies to follow suit. There is of course the added benefit that most people who enter the contest and “like” Safeway’s page will most likely stay fans of Safeway’s for the immediate future, thus giving Safeway additional opportunities to market their supermarkets. (Poorly Photoshopped text added.)

As for Nissan, instead of the chance to win a $100 gift card, in exchange for “liking” AutoNation / LEAF and selecting your choice of locations, you are rewarded with a Facebook status message informing the world that your slacktivism: “Just planted a tree in Brazil which will help re-develop the Atlantic Rainforest that has been depleted by sugar cane production.” Also very clever of AutoNation / Nissan to advertise on  the current live stream of TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference.  It will be very interesting to see which promotion is more successful. Are more Facebook users willing to give up a lot of personal information for a chance to win $100 vs. the certainty of planting a tree? Current stats are 74,695 fans for Safeway and 1,670 for AutoNation. Facebook _ AutoNation


The Who Rocks Facebook with Name That Riff

The Who - Name That Riff Main Pic I’m not a big fan of the majority of available widgets, apps, and games that bombard Facebook.  Most are garbage in my opinion, and do nothing other than clutter your profile or page.

The problem is many of these widgets were built with the old school marketing mentality of “if we build it, they will come.’”

The truth is, Facebook widgets fail for the following reasons: 

  • They provide zero value, and do nothing but act as bulletin boards for a product or brand.
  • There is no level of engagement  that relates to the user.
  • They rely on a flashy gimmicky presence to create a viral whirlwind.
  • The existing culture and loyalty of the brand was never taken into consideration.

So when I came across The Who’s Facebook game, Name That Riff, I was skeptical. Being a big Who fan, my concern was their game would fall into the above reasons of Facebook widget purgatory. That wouldn’t be the case.

Name That Riff works.

The game provides loyal fans an opportunity to show off their knowledge of The Who.  The design is strong and fits in the visual identity the band has built since the 60’s. Most importantly the game is simple and doesn’t take much time.

  • You are given 17 music clips to listen to.
  • You must choose from 3 answers and have 30 seconds per clip.
  • Like the bar quiz games, the quicker you answer, the more points you rack up.
  • You are allowed three chances to improve your score.

The Who - Share on ProfileThis game picks songs from the entire Who archive.  Also songs start at random places to throw you off.  I fancy myself as a knowledgeable Who fan, but I tripped up at some of their selections.  Once done you can publish your score on your profile and in your news feed.  You can also compare your score with your friends on Facebook or globally.

The word of mouth aspect is very clever.

Players are urged to challenge their friends. Doing so opens up bonus rounds that you can play to improve your score. And unlike other apps that rely on you spamming random friends, you’ll want to share it with other Who fans.

The Creative Corporation, who built this game, did their homework, and it shows. They took into account, what fans of The Who love, their music. By providing a simple but entertaining widget that people will want to use and share, they are successful.  It appears that Name That Riff was just released on TheWho.com, so it will be interesting to see how well it does.

Incidentally, if I happen to win the customized American Standard Stratocaster, I’ll let you know!

The New York Times Maps Metropolitan Culture via Netflix

Through a very elegant blend of rental data from Netflix and Google Maps, the New York Times continues to improve on the infographic with a very interesting interactive feature called "A Peek Into Netflix Queues", which it published on January 10.

NYT's Netflix Map of the popularity of "Rachel Getting Married" in Washington, DC The Netflix maps drew me in for about 30 minutes, as I clicked from film to film, watching as the density of rentals for each was represented in shades of red within each zipcode in the Metro DC region.  For rental distributions that may confirm some common assumptions, look no further than "Frost/Nixon" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop".

One commenter on Metafilter went so far as to say that the feature could be used by people (snobs?) as a tool for selecting neighborhoods in which to consider living.  ("Hm, the schools are good and the neighborhood is safe.  But do we really want to stand in line at the grocery store with a bunch of people who sat through ‘Bride Wars’?")

The Times has mapped 12 major metro regions.  Take a look at it here.

Book Review: The New Rules of Marketing & PR

TNROM&PR David Meerman Scott was one of the first names I came across when I started this whole social media adventure.

At the time I was writing white papers and press releases for the launch of a new web site. This was something I had never done before, and I found the whole experience rather boring. If I was bored, then what I was writing had to be even worse.

There had to be a better way of doing this.

So, doing a quick search on marketing and PR I came across something called The Gobbledygook Manifesto. Immediately the light bulb went on, and  I connected with what David was trying say  – that things had changed.

“The web has transformed the rules, and you must transform your marketing to make the most of the Web-enabled market place of ideas.”

Recently, I received a copy of David’s revised edition of, The New Rules of Marketing & PR. I don’t read a lot of books on marketing, but this is a must have.

David’s book does a great job describing the old school marketing mentality, and why it was forced to change.  He stresses that companies, organizations, and people need to become creators of content. More importantly, that the content must have value to  the audience who now have significant influence on the success of a marketing campaign.

Having read many of David’s publications, I was pleased to discover new information in this revised edition. The big value is the case studies. David provides real life examples that cover just about any facet of business and niche. Including:

  • Why Zemoga gives flip cams to all their employees and customers.
  • The importance of a company blog, and why companies need to interact within the blogging community.
  • How CollectSPACE leveraged the importance of participating in community forums. (Notice I said participating, not promoting)
  • Why Wikis shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • What Conrete5 learned by providing their software for free.
  • How Mignon Fogarty’s podcasts helped sell her book.
  • Why groundbreaking, industry standard, and cutting-edge are words you should avoid in your press release.
  • That Search Engine Optimization isn’t just about keywords.
  • How the National Community Church has embraced the social web to reach thousands of people.
  • The new rules for finding a job.

“You can trigger a World Wide Rave, too – just create something valuable that people want to share, and make it easy for them to do so.”

A big thank you to David Meerman Scott for sending me a copy of his book, and for including the story on how I found my job here with The Bivings Group.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR provides a solid foundation for people who are having difficulty getting their heads around the social web. From CEOs to the entrepreneurs, anyone reading this book will come away with something they didn’t know before. It’s a great read and I highly recommend snagging a copy.

Best Practices for Mass Emailing

Here at The Bivings Group, we’ve dealt with a myriad of requests for mass emailing services, tools and strategies to help our clients make the most of what is the most powerful weapon in online advocacy. Based on our research and testing, here are some best practice tips for making your email campaigns as effective as possible. Most of these items fit a general theme of narrowing the focus and increasing the personalization in email messaging.

Smaller targets

The smaller the target, the more successful the email open and click-through rate. Emails sent to specific states or even determined areas around specific cities get much more attention than those sent to the whole country. People are generally inclined to get personally involved in local issues rather than national campaigns.

Specific goals

Ask people to do one single, specific thing. Example: “Sign the petition to protect America’s indigenous forests.” When these requests are linked to a form where users could do exactly that, success rates are very high. General requests such as “Support the Environment” with a link to a main homepage result in less clicks and less direct action by email subscribers. Emails that link to multiple items or actions are less successful than those focused on promoting a single action.

Getting to the point

Keep it short and simple. Getting a subscriber to open an email is just the first step. You want them to read and understand your message. Put your message in plain, direct words at the very top. Use short, single sentence paragraphs whenever possible to make the email as easy as possible to get through.

Repetition, repetition, repetition

Once your simple, direct message is at the very top of your email, repeat it throughout the body of the text. Two or three repetitions of the same call to action and link is not too much. Repetition is the best way to drive home a particular point. Repetition is the best way to drive home a particular point.

The visuals

To keep messages from looking like advertisements, it’s best to keep graphics and imaging to a minimum in general. Messages should not look dramatically different from the messages people receive from their friends and family. Some light branding images should be used in the header of the email and to emphasize the actions the email asks people to take. Keep in mind a large percentage of subscribers will only see a text version of the email or will choose not to enable graphics, so make sure all pertinent information in graphics is repeated in email body text.

Special requests

Timing is everything, even email. Give subscribers something to do, the reason to do it, the tools to get it done, but don’t forget to let them know they need to do it NOW. Emails sent surrounding current legislation or events in the news, letting subscribers know about upcoming events, or asking people to help celebrate important milestones, convey more urgency than emails unrelated to a timeline. Time-sensitive emails should be used sparingly, however, because the more you send, the less important they’ll seem.

.. add variation to an even tempo

A successful email effort has to find the right balance between being a consistent, reliable source of campaign news and flooding subscribers’ inboxes. Never let more than a few weeks pass between emails, and we should avoid sending more than two to three emails in a week unless we are in a period of intense activity. Keep in touch with subscribers without overloading them.