How G/L and Union Pacific are getting teens’ attention on rail safety

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

How G/L and Union Pacific are getting teens’ attention on rail safety

Most people underestimate the speed of a train and don’t realize it can take up to a mile for a train traveling 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop.

The frightening truth is that deaths from walking on train tracks are up almost 10 percent this year, killing nearly 500 people in 2014.(source: Federal Railroad Administration). Many of these deaths are teens. This is, in part, due to the popularity of photos being taken on tracks by the teens themselves or by amateur and professional photographers. Believe it or not, train tracks are being used as a backdrop for senior photos.

The Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety (UP CARES) public safety initiative reminds both drivers and pedestrians to stop, look and listen when approaching railroad crossings and to always expect a train. As part of the initiative, G/L collaborated with Union Pacific Railroad to launch a campaign focused on raising awareness about the safety concerns and legal implications associated with taking high school senior photos on or near railroad tracks.

Playing on teens’ desire to look “cool” and not foolish in front of their peers, G/L created two videos that liken railroad tracks to busy thoroughfares (such as highways and busy downtown streets) and ask teens a simple question: “You wouldn’t get your senior photo taken here…so why would you do it on the tracks?” The videos, shared socially and digitally by Union Pacific, have been featured in articles on popular photography sites including SLR Lounge, Fstoppers, and PetaPixel, and were also included as part of a Nightline ABC story.

Changing behavior and perceptions through a campaign is no easy task. It needs to truly resonate with the viewer to make them think differently about what they’re doing. In this case the social media content and videos are connecting with both the teen and photographer audience thanks to the efforts of our client and G/L team.

Contact us using the form below if you have a public safety or internal safety program that we can help you strategize and implement.

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Get your Marketing Score Report and Assessment

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

Get your Marketing Score Report and Assessment

It’s time to assess how your marketing department performed in 2015, and how you are going to achieve your marketing goals for 2016.

I was at the Fuel Lines conference in Nashville last week and heard a fantastic presentation from Paul Roetzer, president of PR 20/20. His agency published the Marketing Score Report which provides some valuable insights on how companies rate their marketing performance.

The report evaluates marketing areas including:

  • Audiences
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Marketing technology utilization
  • Marketing team strength

and so much more.

As you develop your 2016 plans, this could be a useful resource in helping justify investments in technology, creating realistic and defendable budgets, and aligning measurable objectives with strategies that will produce the desired results.

One of the key findings that Geile/Leon has observed with many clients is that the majority of organizations have aggressive growth goals and conservative budgets, creating a potential misalignment of expectations. 

Another key finding is that despite lead generation and lead-to-sale conversions being the two highest priority goals, organizations are failing to tap into the power of social media to achieve those goals. Many companies don’t have a cohesive content marketing plan which supports their lead generation and branding efforts.

How does your organization’s marketing efforts stack up?

PR 20/20 has developed an online assessment tool to help marketers rate their marketing programs and identify weaknesses. Check out this valuable tool by clicking here: What’s Your Marketing ScoreTM?

Marketing Score

This report and assessment tool gives you plenty to think about as you evaluate 2015 and plan for next year, such as:

  • Does your organization have the right marketing talent and technology in place to achieve desired performance goals?
  • Are your expectations for growth aligned with your potential?
  • What can large enterprises do to stay on top when nimble organizations develop more modern marketing teams and quickly adapt to marketing technology advancements?
  • Do you have the right agency partners to fill internal marketing team gaps, and provide the skills/expertise needed for critical growth areas?

Fill out the assessment or just review the report. I have found them extremely beneficial for our agency and clients.

Display Advertising on the Decline? Well, yes and no.

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Display Advertising on the Decline? Well, yes and no.

As marketers, we have the occasional tendency to overreact. Whether it’s a particular news story, an emerging trend or a new platform to try, we want to immediately immerse ourselves in the new info. It’s in our curious nature.

In the excitement, though, that “next big thing” can overshadow what’s currently working. So instead of taking a previous approach and adapting it for the current landscape, we can end up opting for completely new solutions. And with so many digital marketing avenues to choose from, it’s definitely easy to feel overwhelmed.

So when a number of people make the claim that display advertising is dead, or at the very least, is sharply losing its effectiveness, it’s bound to grab some attention:

“The banner ad is now (two decades old). It has become a symbol of all that’s wrong with online advertising. It is more often than not devoid of creativity; it stands out as an intruder on webpages; and it is mostly ignored by readers.”

While it’s true that banner ads from the 90s probably wouldn’t be all that effective if they ran today, it doesn’t mean that display isn’t still incredibly effective:

“Even with these predictions of doom and gloom from some marketers the investment in display advertising continues to grow. Ad blocking software isn’t slowing that down. One of the reasons why is simple — targeting, retargeting, machine learning, and programmatic approaches to serving up ad units is creating a much more efficient system. This helps increase brands’ return on investment.”

At the same time, a number of marketers are diversifying their digital advertising with a combination of site-direct buys; programmatic opportunities, social media distribution as well as a strong push from sponsored content and native advertising.

This is even before considering different types of mediums, including images, video, infographics and other digital properties and how they plan to continue adapting to reach a wider, yet more targeted audience.

If you’re trying to figure out the best digital marketing mix for your brand, we’d be happy to chat and share what we know. Just drop us a line anytime.

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Does subtlety work in LinkedIn marketing?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Does subtlety work in LinkedIn marketing?

Ask professionals for their opinion of LinkedIn and you’ll likely get a wide range of responses. Some see it as an invaluable tool for connecting with their peers. Others may simply not use it all that much. Some find it profoundly creepy (and with good reasons).

That being said, LinkedIn marketing presents an interesting challenge. The site already has a member of “freemium” offerings to begin with, such as paid memberships, online learning and a whole suite of other sales-based solutions. While posting regularly on the platform is a good strategy, the reach of specific posts varies wildly.

While the platform has some reasonably priced sponsored post options, many of the more enterprise advertising and recruiting solutions on LinkedIn can be incredibly pricey. They know they have a deep pool of profiles that others want to connect with and they leverage that data effectively. Their game, their rules.

Some marketers have tried to work around some of the advertising restrictions inherent in the LinkedIn platform. Men’s clothing company Bonobos created a personal profile for a shirt, which was positively received. It didn’t last long, however, as the profile went afoul of LinkedIn’s rules.

Another cool spin comes from well-regarded airline Virgin Atlantic. The company has always prided themselves on having an outgoing brand personality. They’ve taken that playfulness to LinkedIn to the form of a contest disguised as a job posting:

Virgin claims to be the first brand to leverage LinkedIn’s job search feature for promotional purposes. And its VP of marketing for the Americas, Simon Bradley, says the response has been quite positive to date, with nearly 200 applicants at the time of this posting. Bradley has bigger plans for the campaign; he tells AdFreak that the work is “very exciting for us, and we’ll be starting to seed it in our social campaigns very soon.”

Unlike the Bonobos campaign, this seems to have been approved in some fashion by LinkedIn. Which is good because it’d be a shame to work so hard on a campaign idea to have it shot down by the platform. And it looks like the prize of a round-trip to London has garnered some significant interest.

LinkedIn Marketing

Which is probably good news for LinkedIn, which is now in the middle of a slightly embarrassing class-action lawsuit.

We’re always looking for innovative ways to help brands cut through the clutter. Want to find out how yours can push the envelope? Let us know your thoughts.

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