Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Business Branding with Social Media

By Nick Sutherland
Today, just about every brand has a social media presence, usually Facebook, Google +, Twitter.  Most are boring, bland and self-fulfilling and built with advertising in mind. You have to ask yourself why would anyone want to subscribe, follow or have that feed coming up on their screen on a daily basis? It’s more important than ever to be interesting, entertaining, and most importantly real. Society has become pretty good at sniffing out fake personas and company images; we tend to shun these and reward the authentic. Here are some ways to kick start that
Be Transparent
Transparency is VERY sexy for brands. People want to talk to and listen to REAL people behind real brands – Not Big Bad Corporate Logos. Social Media transparency can mean a lot of different things to many different people. It should mean  letting your personality shine, engaging with people, being cute or funny, and sometimes putting it out there.  People love fun, exciting and real and are far more likely to tune in and even engage with you if you are. If you like something as a brand or as a whole and it’s not political or really controversial then put it out there.  People also appreciate humility, admitting mistakes or saying you can do something better goes a long way towards being authentic as well. Always remember you’re real people behind the company and consumers will appreciate that.
Engage, Engage, Engage
There is nothing more important than letting your audience know you’re listening. How do you do that, by engaging with them! There isn’t a bigger turn off for me right now than shooting a  Facebook post over to a brand and getting zero response. It essentially says hey we don’t care.  Yet on the other hand when it elicits a response it makes you feel warm and fuzzy about that brand. A simple thank you, or an answer about a product or service can go a really long way.  
You Must engage with people if you want to build a fan base and brand champions.
Get to know your audience
So you have Friends, Likes or Followers but what does it all really mean if you’re disconnected from them?  No matter who you are a celebrity or a Fortune 500, take some time to get to know your audience. Ask them what they think about topics, or decisions you’re going to make. Show them their opinion matters. Provide feedback and replies to their engagement with you, show them you’re listening.  It’s an amazing way to create brand champions and fans. They will genuinely appreciate you.
Be Interesting
As I’ve stated  before Social Media is just that a form of media just like TV, Movies, Magazines, etc.  If it’s not entertaining, informational or intriguing nobody is going to stay tuned in. You need to create and share quality content if you want people to follow you, engage with you which in turn grows your branding and exposure. 
Part of the problem is a widespread belief that content is content -- any will do. Generic content typically lacks relevance that not only doesn't it engage consumers, but its lack of uniqueness can hurt the integrity of a brand.
Successful content marketers need to think less like advertisers and more like publishers. Publishers distinguish themselves in several ways. They apply distinct inclusion criteria to every pivotal content decision. They adopt a "pull" orientation rather than "push," allowing consumers to define the conversation. Finally, publishers dynamically plan and create content on a more "real-time" basis than on a rigid, cyclical campaign-centric basis.
Red Bull is a content-marketing success story, having shifted from energy-drink manufacturer to content dynamo, particularly with 2011's film "The Art of Flight" and last year's record-setting Stratos Jump, featuring a helmet-cam video of Felix Baumgartner's free fall. By understanding what its consumers are most interested in and consistently aligning content -- and the brand -- with action sports and adrenaline seekers, it has been able to cut through the content marketing clutter. But brands don't have to send a stuntman to the edge of space; a few simple rules will help stem the tide of bad branded content.
Support content by fueling the fire. The best content experts strive to create "elastic" content that stretches across multiple channels and devices and is shared by consumers.
If you haven't already done so, it is likely past time to update your approach to content. A brand with poor-performing content runs the risk of getting lost in in today's distraction-filled environment.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bacardi celebrates 'untameable' spirit with global marketing campaign
The rum brand is launching a new global campaign based around the line, "Untameable since 1862", along with a new visual identity and typeface inspired by the Cuban Art Deco style of Bacardi’s former sales office in Havana.

The television, digital and print ads offer snapshots into the brands history spanning more than 150 years with headlines such as, ‘We Remember Prohibition – It was a Blast’; ‘Some Men are Kicked Out of Bars – Others are Kicked Out of Countries’; and ‘Earthquakes, Fire, Exile, Prohibition – Sorry Fate, You Picked the Wrong Family’.

TV, digital and print ads, by BETC London, look to convey the "true grit and determination" which has sustained the Bacardi family though various challenges, including natural disasters, prohibition and exile from Cuba in the wake of the country’s Communist revolution.

A global TV ad, called ‘Procession’, shows actor Jordi Mollà walking through different crowds representing historical events, with a voiceover by Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs. In all global marketers, other than the UK, the ad will be soundtracked by Arctic Monkeys hit ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ 

Dmitry Ivanov, senior global category director of rums for Bacardi, said: "Bacardi is known for its passionate drive, regardless of circumstance, convention or expectation.   The campaign pays tribute to the brand’s enduring popularity, continuing ingenuity and connects with consumers as it inspires them to ignite the bold, ‘Irrepressible Spirit’ within us all.” 
“Taking a global creative approach with the ‘Bacadri Untameable Since 1862’ campaign allows us to focus all of our marketing resources against a single powerful idea; an idea that’s completely ownable to Bacardi as it is rooted in the brand’s history and the Bacardí family’s attitude to life.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Domino's Pizza Jamaica -Great response to customer

By Nick Sutherland

About 2 weeks  I had an issue with Domino's Pizza in Kingston, Jamaica.
I called Domino's Pizza Constant Spring (Kingston, Jamaica) and they told me that since they have only one bike that night, the delivery will take 1 and 1/2 hours.

I was very disappointed that they didn't offer a discount if something like this happens. I decided to order from Pizza Hut instead, I thought Domino's just lost me as a customer, I was very disappointed. 

I posted my complaint on my  Facebook page and Domino's Pizza Jamaica- "If only they could have the sames quality of customer service that they do in the States, it seems the Jamaican franchises always lag on service ."

The next day Domino's Pizza Jamaica got in touch with me, apologized for the issue and offered me a free pizza of my choice.

I was very happy to get such a good response and the next day my free pizza arrived at exactly when they said it would. I posted on Facebook how happy I was to see that service in Jamaica is not just restricted to our tourist hotels.

 I am back as a loyal customer of Domino's and glad to see that their Jamaican franchise holder Wisynco is making sure that customer concerns are at the forefront of their business focus.

Domino's franchise holder and charismatic brand ambassador Ramon de Leon (owner of 6 stores) has set the standard pretty high for all franchise holders. See an apology he posted to Youtube below and check out his presentations at LeWeb Paris in 2011 and 2012.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Latin America’s Competitive Airlines

 By Nicholas Sutherland

While Latin America in general lags behind the United States in competitiveness, it can actually boast a competitive advantage in certain areas. One such area is airline service and comfort. 
While some U.S. airlines flying Latin American routes typically offer poor service aboard old and run-down planes, Latin American airlines like Avianca, LAN, TAM and Copa all provide friendly service and modern planes. 
 I have to also mention Caribbean AirlineS,  which has acquired Air Jamaica. Air Jamaica had a generally good level of service but that seems to have declined. Recently I had to fly Caribbean Airlines (CAL) from Jamaica to Trinidad. Their fees for overweight and/or extra bag is outrageous. 
Onboard, the cabin staff were friendly  but we couldn't get extra creamer for our hot beverages. The attendant came with evaporated milk and proceeded to add it to my friend's coffee, resulting in her having to get another one and another package of creamer and sugar. The little TV was loud and there was no way to block it out. The food was cold and tasteless. Asking for  a second soda, was apparently frowned upon by the flight attendant, if her withering stare was anything to judge by(I did receive the soda though).
I contrast this with the service that Air Jamaica gave to its passengers. I think the difference lies in the fact that Air Jamaica was a major carrier for European and North American tourists to the island, while CAL (formerly BWIA) carries mostly Trinidadians and other Caribbean islanders. The feel of the service at Caribbean Airlines is that it is somewhat friendly, but not professional.
The difference between friendly and professional service,  is that a friend represents only him or herself, whereas a professional represents a company. Friends are free not to care, but a CSR is paid to care, and is obliged to provide service regardless of their mood, or how they feel about the person on the receiving end. To that end, Caribbean Airlines' service is good when things are going well and that friendly feeling prevails. It quickly turns distant and unfeeling, however, when things go badly and this is where the other airlines are generally better.
Did I mention the TV, Avianca  and TAM all offer personalized in-flight-entertainment centers for all passengers, unlike the TV hanging from the roof on U.S. airlines, with its one-size-fits-all programming.
Not only do Latin American airlines beat their U.S. counterparts on international flights, but also on local domestic ones. I remember a short trip between Bogota and Medellin on Avianca where the airline still made time to serve us a meal and a good one at that. Even flying with one of Panama’s small domestic airlines, I was served a basic meal on a 50-minute flight between Panama City and the city of David. 
Caribbean Airlines now upholds the banner for ferrying North American tourists to Jamaica and other destinations like Barbados. They need to ramp up their customer service training as they start to fill the shoes of Air Jamaica or thousands of Jamaican residents abroad and North American tourists, who previously flew on "Air J" start using American carriers for their trips to our sunny climes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Island-by-Island Guide To Caribbean Rum

Call it rum, rhum, or ron; just don't call it boring. (falsely) portrayed as uniformly saccharine, rum is one of the most diverse spirits on the planet. Today, in honor of National Rum Month (August) and the upcoming National Rum Day (August 16), we're going straight to the source to get the full story. Next stop, the Caribbean islands.
Caribbean rums range from crisp, complex Martinican bottles and subtly sweet Bajan blends to the bold, whiskey-like Haitian distillations. How can one three-letter word encapsulate so many discrepancies? Due to unregulated production laws, anything distilled from sugar cane or its by-products can be classified as rum. Couple that with the broad range of Caribbean cultures, histories, and topographies, and you've got yourself a veritable rum rainbow.
Jamaica: One of the only islands to create an official classification system for its rum varieties, Jamaica's bottles range from light and clear to dark and full-bodied. After distillation in clay pot sills, most Jamaican rums are blended and used in cocktails and seemingly ubiquitous punches. While Appleton is the country's best-known export, island experts like the Tryall Club's Jerome Dellon and Courtney Virgo champion local favorites like J. Wray & Nephew White Overpoof Rum, which has a smooth taste despite its 60+ proof.
Martinique: Arguably the foremost rum destination in the region, this French-Caribbean island produces only Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) rums. Translation? Martinican rum standards are so high that the French government monitors its products using the same type of strict guidelines it has for Burgundy wine or Roquefort cheese. Distilled from pure sugarcane juice, Martinique's rhums agricoles have a complex, almost vegetal quality, and range from the delicately spiced Saint James Royal Ambre to clear and crisp Clément Blanc.

Dominican Republic: For proof that all rums aren't sweet, consider Dominican distiller Brugal. The 125-year-old label produces a range of light and dark rums, culminating in the distinctive Extra Dry. Something of a gin-drinker's blend, this white Brugal is made from fermented molasses and aged for just three to five years in American oak casks once used for bourbon. The result is crisp, clear, and unlike any other rum from the region.
Barbados: Like Armagnac production, Bajan rums are distilled using both column and copper pot stills. The resulting blends range from light to dark, but al have a light, subtle sweetness. Barbados' best-known brand is Mount Gay, which dates back to 1663 and claims to be the world's oldest operating rum producer. The blended bottles make for great company--Bajan rum enthusiasts use them in carefully guarded rum punch recipes or mixed with fresh coconut water for a simple, straightforward, delicious cocktail.
Guyana: The only Caribbean country that is not, in fact, an island, South America's coastal Guyana is an outlier in more ways than one. Its rich, dark rums get their distinctive terroir from the Demerara River, where Guyanese sugarcane is picked before being crushed into molasses. Distilled in both pot and column stills, they can also be aged for remarkably long periods of time. Consider luxury brand El Dorado cask-aged, 21-year-old Special Reserve, which has a dark, honeyed taste, perfect for sipping straight.
Haiti: Made from pure sugarcane juice, Haitian rhums agricoles have a sharp, layered bite. National brand Barbancourt makes all five of its bottles using a French double distillation process called charentaise. Typically used for bottling cognacs, charentaise gives Haitian bottles a distinctive tang that makes them excellent for drinking neat or with a solitary ice cube. Care to sip with a conscience? As part of Haitian earthquake relief efforts, Barbancourt has created a foundation to house some 1200 displaced people. It continues to accept donations and distribute aid; find out more here. --By Emily Saladin

Monday, August 19, 2013

Brazil-A Social Marketer's Dream

By Nicholas Sutherland

Brazil was recently named the “social media capital of the universe” by the Wall Street Journal. A rapid uplift in Facebook users means the country is second only to the USA in terms of account holders, even Twitter recently set up a major office there. And Brazilian users are among the world's most engaged, spending an increasing amount of time on social media sites.
 Brazil is a nation of early-adopters – and not just in terms of technology. Political and economic stability are new to the country, which is only now beginning to experience a culture with an empowered middle-class.  This is a population for which so much is new that adaptability has become second nature. 
In many ways, Brazil is the ideal target for social media marketers – with a young, savvy, socially-connected population who are happy to engage with brands. While Facebook use reaches saturation point in North America and Europe, it’s still growing fast in Brazil.   

According to comScore's 2012 Brazil Digital Future in Focus report, more than 46 million Brazilians are now online, with an impressive 97 percent using social media. This figure doesn’t take into account the high number of mobile-only users, which pushes the figures up even higher.

After a slow start, Facebook has finally taken off in the country, with user numbers soaring to 65 million users in 2012, while the country is the second biggest market outside the US for Google’s YouTube. It’s also one of Twitter's fastest growing markets. 

Once they’re connected, users are bucking the global trend by spending more time interacting on social networks. While globally, the average time spent on Facebook dropped 2% to 361 minutes per month in September 2012 (according to comScore) it rose by 208% to 535 minutes in Brazil. 

As well as the major players, Brazilians have also embraced smaller niche networks. ComScore also reported that Vostu (a social gaming site) grew by 338% in 2011, while Tumblr use grew by 206%. Badoo, a site that combines social networking with online dating, is hugely popular with more than 14 million users.

Alexandre Hohagen, vice president of Facebook's Latin America division, puts the obsession with social media partly down to Brazil’s extroverted culture. It’s common for Brazilians to strike up conversations in elevators, restaurants, and other public places. People have always loved chatting about TV shows, sports and the news. Now younger viewers are turning tv series, soap operas and televised soccer matches into a shared experience, posting real-time updates to Twitter and Facebook.

In a country with a big rich-poor divide, social media bridges class divisions. Although broadband use is still patchy (and expensive), mobile phones provide a much cheaper way to get connected. Twitter has targeted mobile users since it first launched in Brazil. 
 Brazilian flavor
Brands that have tried to be successful with lots of hype but without having an adequate product or distribution, or without having a clearly defined reason for being here, have never worked well in Brazil. Global and international brands must acquire some ‘Brazilian flavor to work well there. 

Sponsorship of Brazilian events - with a digital element - is one relatively simple way of doing this.. YouTube’s Brazilian domain has sold sponsorships for live-streaming events such as Carnival in Salvador and Rock In Rio for the first time in 2011, allowing global brands such as Volkswagen, Garnier and Santander to access the marketing power of local events. With the FIFA World Cup coming to Brazil in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro hosting the 2016 Olympics this is an area that looks set to grow.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Coke FM Colombia-The worlds first concert at 50 meters

By Nick Sutherland

Coca Cola in Colombia staged a concert featuring Don Tetto (one of my favorite Colombian bands btw) to promote their online radio station Coke FM.

The audience were required to download the band's songs on the radio station's website, in order for them to descend to and use the stage built on the ground. For every 10,000 songs from coke FM's website the platform lowered by 10 meters and finally made it to the mAin stage. There were over 50,000 downloads in one hour in this genius campaign ! The audience literally "downloaded" the band.

The interaction time in the website increased by 800 % and 337 % more visitors !!

To get free tickets, fans had to send a photo of themselves with a cd, dvd or holding up a picture of Don Tetto various websites, including Coke FM, Don Tetto's facebook page, ( a Colombian music magazine)  and 

This was a tremendous work of synergy between Coke and Don Tetto which raised the social media equity of both. The "Call To Action" was viral. This was a bleeding edge campaign which went beyond the usual dog and pony show of staging a concert and plastering Coke visuals everywhere, the audience had to interact with Coca-Cola.

Intangible Sponsorship Benefit
Coke, already the market leader in Colombia is cementing its partnership with the young people (the Millenials), as the brand which identifies with their psyche and follows the paradigm shift in engaging with consumers.

The advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather de Colombia won the Ojo de Oro (Latin America's advertising awards) for best interactive campaign.

And on another note, I think this probably was a good marketing spinoff for Android devices and Iphones   vs. Blackberry, because of their faster browsers there was considerable buzz afterwards that Android and Iphone users were able to download their songs faster. 

Imagine the comments during the concerts:

Paola (android user): "I downloaded the first song. What about you?"
Alejando (Blackberry user): "No, wait, almost..almost..almost...."
Sandra(Iphone user): "I just got the third song"
Alejandro (Blackberry user): "Almost got the first one..almost.."

See video below of the campaign and concert.