Trending from G/L: Debating Like A True Marketer

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Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Debating Like A True Marketer

These days it seems like there is a debate about something new EVERY DAY.

Some of the topics can be a little, well, trivial in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless are discussed in fervor on social media.

Are women’s pockets inferior to men’s? Yes, yes they are.
Is St. Louis the microbrew capital of America? Well, no…but we are near the top!
Are hit songs starting to sound a little similar? Yeahhhh.

These kinds of topics can generate some pretty strong opinions that inevitably circulate through our culture. But typically, there’s a decided shortage of facts to backup our claims. That is, of course, what makes these debates more of a matter of opinion. But now, The Pudding is here to shift the conversation from online shouting to in-depth sleuthing.

The site The Pudding has taken these entertaining cultural debates and put an actual answer to them. They conduct their own research and collect original data. Then they showcase their findings in a creative and super digestible way.

They use the “emerging form of journalism” called visual essays to tell their findings. Every essay on the site has interactive graphics to highlight the research and data in a way that is accessible to everybody.

Browsing through, you’ll see that the available essay topics are relevant and intriguing too.

The Pudding has tapped into something our culture didn’t even know we needed. Someone to help us FINALLY settle those debates you and your friends have over drinks on a Friday night.

How’s this relate to advertising? What The Pudding does and what those of us in the marketing world do are in essence one in the same: effectively communicate the truth about a particular topic. Getting to the bottom of what truly makes a brand or product unique and telling that truth in an engaging way is the key to good marketing and advertising. Imagine the latest debate is whether or not to purchase your brand or product. Is a shouting match of “buy” vs. “don’t buy” on social media going to be effective? Probably not. But how about a well-researched campaign that connects the essential truths about your brand to the people who will most likely value those truths? Now you’re talking. That’s what Making It Mean Something is all about, and it’s what we do every day here at G/L.

Great creative work is backed and inspired by great research. When you’re ready to discover the essential truths of your brand and make those truths mean something to your audiences, give us a call.

Trending from G/L: Engagement is key to Instagram’s new algorithm

The Blog

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

Trending from G/L: Engagement is key to Instagram’s new algorithm

Back in March of 2016, the world flipped upside down when Instagram put an algorithm in place to change how our content was delivered to us. Previously, posts were shown in chronological order, but with the new algorithm, content became prioritized based on the likelihood that you would engage with it.

Since then, Instagram has been continuously tweaking the algorithm, especially after they found that about 70% of posts were being missed due to an increasingly massive amount of content. Their goal was and still is to bring increased likes and comments to posts, but a lot of brands started seeing a decrease in activity – which bring us to today.

Though Instagram doesn’t publicly release exactly how the algorithm works, they have released key influencing factors on how content is delivered to the end user.  These factors include: how much engagement you’re getting on posts, how long your content is viewed, the time when you post, the type of content, who searches for you and how often, and if your posts are shared via direct messages.

Putting it in layman’s terms

All of these factors revolve around engagement. Engagement = more engagement – it’s a continuous cycle. Once a user engages with a brand, it is more likely that that user will be fed the brand’s other content too.

If you’re not at the point of getting engagement on your brand, then you’re negatively impacted by this algorithm. But we’re here to help with that. Of course, better content will help immensely (don’t know how to take your content to the next level? Let’s talk.), but so will a couple of additional key focuses. AdWeek lists 5 ways of ensuring that your posts are hitting these engagement marks.

  1. Schedule posts for optimal times: When your engagement happens is important. According to studies, photos that receive immediate likes shortly after posting perform better in the long-run.
  2. Call-to-action before the line break: Later, an Instagram marketing platform, suggests that the caption to the photo is almost as important as the photo itself. Be sure you’re prompting both your followers and new visitors to take further action from the get-go.
  3. Hashtags are important: According to Adweek, posts with at least a single hashtag average 12.6% increase in engagement. But don’t go overboard!
  4. Use the newest features: Take advantage of Stories, videos, carousels, Boomerangs, etc. Distribute your content creatively to gain more interest.
  5. Utilize paid advertising: With a successful paid ad strategy, you will be able to build a targeted audience that will ultimately build better engagement.

Don’t go at Instagram marketing alone. Our team can help build your brand a strategy for optimal results. Give us a call.

Trending from G/L: Our St. Louis Favorites

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Our St. Louis Favorites

Ask anyone from St. Louis where they went to high school, and they’ll have much to say about their alma mater, along with the ramblings of people they potentially knew at your school. Now ask them where to grab the best pizza (it’s undoubtedly in our neck of the woods) or which museum could keep their attention all day long, and they will have plenty to say about that, too.

But it looks as though St. Louis natives aren’t the only ones flocking to our favorite hangouts around the city.

This month, Vogue’s Dawn Sturmon wrote a travel piece about the 314, highlighting some choice local restaurants, companies, and activities for visitors to experience. She states that she’s called St. Louis home for the past 15 years, surrendering her dual-coast lifestyle for what she calls a “flyover city.” While that may be true, who better to ask for recommendations than people who were born and raised in the STL? (That would be us.)

Eats

First, in our neighborhood of The Hill, you will find the best Italian cuisine in the state. This Italian-American district takes pride in their ancestry, going as far as painting the colors of the Italian flag on it’s fire hydrants. In fact, it’s no surprise that a few baseball legends were from this area – Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola (we are a baseball town, afterall). Gian-Tony’s Ristorante is a Geile/Leon favorite, where you can experience fresh Sicilian homemade recipes straight from their vegetable garden. If a modern take on classic dishes is more your speed, head to Lorenzo’s Trattoria, where their Northern Italian cuisine is the perfect blend of classic and modern tastes. While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t forget to grab an order of a St. Louis signature dish – the Toasted Ravioli.

Wanting to instead satisfy your carnivorous cravings? Head to Hi-Pointe Drive-In for the best burgers in St. Louis. Using locally sourced ingredients, their goal is to breath new aromas into the classic burgers and sandwiches that have been popular to the area for over 30 years.

Activities

If you’re looking for something to do while in town, another G/L favorite combines two of our favorite things – animals and beer. Head to the original home of President Ulysses S. Grant, which was purchased by the Busch family (of Anheuser-Busch) and turned into Grant’s Farm. This 80-acre animal rescue allows patrons to interact directly with exotic animals from six continents. Feed goats and participate in dolphin shows, and even visit with Anheuser-Busch’s famed Budweiser Clydesdales. Finish the trip with some brew at their beer garden. Best part? This place is free!

Drinks

While we have the beer lovers’ attention, we should definitely mention all of our amazing breweries around the city. Even if you’re not a beer connoisseur, you won’t be disappointed with the atmosphere of our favorite breweries. Free tours, delicious food, and fun tasting rooms provide a great place to enjoy the company you’re keeping while taking in the aroma of hops. Where we like to pop open a bottle: Urban Chestnut, Schlafly Bottleworks, Four Hands Brewery, Civil Life, Earthbound, and 2nd Shift Brewery (also in The Hill neighborhood).

Just like the Vogue article states, “the city’s urban hang-outs rival the cool magic of [Los Angeles and New York City].” Though none of us here at Geile/Leon can vouch for that statement, we are extremely proud of this city where we do our business.

Do you have a favorite in the STL? We’d love to hear about them. Share with us on social media!

Trending from G/L: Do You Suffer From PAR-ENT-ING?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Do You Suffer From PAR-ENT-ING?

Are you suffering from PAR-ENT-ING?

YouTube content creators from the channel The Dad, delivered a hilarious dose of parenting reality with their satirical video entitled, “Do You Suffer From PAR-ENT-ING?” The video pokes fun at cliché and contrived pharmaceutical industry ads, exaggerating parenting as a disorder that “affects 10 out of 10 parents” and often results in “sleep deprivation, headaches, thinning hair, extreme debt and loss of self-identity.” The video continues to offer parents relief via a prescription called AphukenbrakE, which has side effects that include, among others, a sigh of relief, decrease in blood pressure and hanging with the guys.

The Dad focuses its content on modern fatherhood, serving as a hub for comic relief, community and of course, plenty of dad jokes. The Dad does an excellent job of capturing the humor and the messiness of parenting in a way that’s relatable to parents – both mothers and fathers alike. So, given what we know about millennials and the content that they embrace, the success of channels like The Dad should come as no surprise.

Millennial parents gravitate towards content and brands that they view as authentic and honest, which in the case of YouTube channel The Dad is exactly how their portrayal of parenting can be described. Millennials want to see content that is relatable to their own parenting experiences. In fact, millennial parents feel better about parenting when they hear about other parent’s mishaps. Read more on marketing to millennial parents here.

Check out The Dad’s PAR-ENT-ING video below:

 

Trending from G/L: Google’s “Year In Search”

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Google’s “Year In Search”

Google recently released its annual, “Year in Search,” which compiled lists of most trending search queries and topics over the course of the year. Top global searches (also broken down by individual country) for 2017 included Hurricane Irma, iPhone X,  prominent figures, widely reported elections, and popular memes.

Included with these top-ranking searches, and perhaps most striking, was Google’s powerful and emotionally-charged, “Year In Search,” short video. The video narrows in on the question we asked most in 2017, how? What begins as questions concerning fear and disaster, becomes questions of hope, healing, and moving forward.

All of the “how” searches in the video were searched at least 10 times more this year. “These questions show our shared desire to understand our experiences, to come to each other’s aid, and, ultimately, to move our world forward,” says Google, “Many of our trending questions centered around the tragedies and disasters that touched every corner of the world…In these moments and others, our collective humanity shined as we asked ‘how to help’ more than ever before.” See Google’s compelling, “Year In Search” short video below:

Trending from G/L: Mars Commercials From Another Ad Planet

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Mars Commercials From Another Ad Planet

Bite Size Horror

The relationship between marketing and entertainment is a long and storied tale of product placements, sponsorships and the like. It’s made the journey from subtle positioning in the background of a movie scene to TV episodes in popular shows that center around a corporate product. And of course, has anything really come full circle until it authentically and hilariously parodies itself?

But Mars and Fox have combined to write the next chapter in the love story between brands and entertainment. Instead of finding ways to make their brands a part of consumer entertainment, Mars went ahead and skipped both the middle-man and the not-so-subtle product placement by just creating the consumer entertainment itself. And perhaps surprisingly to some, it doesn’t feel forced, branded or gimmicky.

While we would have loved to be in the meeting when the idea of a series of two-minute, branding-free videos was first proposed, “Bite size horror” is a great example of where brands and corporations are heading. It’s not about sneaking in some subtle marketing message – consumers are way too smart for that anyways – so much as it’s about simply saying what’s worth saying and making what’s worth making. Would we be talking about it if the videos weren’t worth it? The connection to the brand isn’t convoluted – bite size candy bars are like mini candy bars, these two-minute movies are like mini horror movies. And the rest is just about making something good and bringing cool projects to life. There’s not much more to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1olUV3BGvQ

Watch all of the Bite Size Horror Films here.

Trending From G/L: Marketing to Millennial Parents

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending From G/L: Marketing to Millennial Parents

ICYMI: Millennials are not just the same old flannel-clad, entitled, couch and career surfers anymore. Millennials are growing. Growing into families that is.

That’s right, almost half of our beloved millennial demographic are becoming mommies and daddies. At least 40% of millennials already have children, and that rate continues to climb as millennials continue to age. Considering millennials make up more than a quarter of the population representing 83.1 million Americans, and surpassing the Baby Boomer generation by over 7 million in population, this life-changing milestone means major lifestyle changes for millennials, and major sales category shifts and opportunities for marketers.

As digital natives, this generation has grown-up with cutting-edge technology at their fingertips and has been exposed to marketing messages coming at them from all angles. Millennials understand that brands are going to target them, and here’s what marketers should consider when communicating with today’s millennial parents:

Authenticity

Millennials recognize that parenting isn’t perfect; it’s messy, it’s stressful, exhausting, and absolutely extraordinary. Therefore, millennial parents prefer to see marketing messages that are authentic and honest about the portrayal of parenting. According to research from BabyCenter, 66% of millennial moms say it’s important for brands to realistically portray the challenges of parenting. Millennials gravitate towards brands that can offer a unique, tailored experience that can connect and relate to their own parenting experiences.

Community

Community is critical for today’s millennial parents. Millennials will seek parenting advice and product recommendations from multiple sources including, their peers, other parents, and oftentimes, community boards to get immediate, real-time responses. Much like millennial’s preferences for authenticity from marketers, according to BabyCenter, 55% millennials would rather seek advice from other parents and influencers who are open and honest about their parenting mishaps. And according to, Cassandra’s 2016 Modern Parents Report, 4 out of 10 millennial parents feel better about parenting when they hear about other parent’s mishaps.

Shared Experiences

Millennial parents want to publicly share their experiences navigating the journey of parenthood; the challenges, the milestones, and the joyous victories, all through the lens of a digital camera and shared via social media. And it’s not enough for millennial parents to just share their own experiences, millennial parents are more likely to engage with other parents, offering words of encouragement, advice, and make product recommendations to other parents via social media and community boards.

As millennials continue to disrupt the parenthood industry, marketers need to be more receptive to these lifestyle changes and tailor their messaging for multiple platforms, while reflecting authentic and honest experiences millennial parents are challenged with today.

Trending from G/L: Above the Fold is a Myth

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Above the Fold is a Myth

Above the fold’ is a myth. No really, there’s an entire web page and a bunch of data to back up such a bold statement. But we get it; you want your most valuable information to be front-and-center in case visitors don’t scroll.

Here’s the deal, unlike in the nineties when scrolling was mostly discouraged, today, everyone (even your 2-year-old) is predisposed to the habit. So much so, that one study found that at least 91% of visitors not only scrolled below the “fold,” but also almost always scrolled to the bottom of the page, regardless of visual cues. And according to MOVR, on mobile, half of the users start scrolling within 10 seconds, and 90% within 14 seconds.

The Screen Estate Debate

While there doesn’t appear to be much argument that, indeed, visitors do scroll below the “fold,” there is much debate on how long visitors engage with content above and below the “fold.”

Studies have yielded varying results on where most attention is spent. Chartbeat found that 66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold. Conversely, the Nielsen Norman Group showed that users spend 80% of their time looking above the fold.

Even if we can’t agree on how much attention is spent above or below the “fold,” it’s still important to include attention-grabbing content at the forefront of your homepage. After all, your visitors will make their decision to continue scrolling based on the content at the top of your page.

(Web) Design With a Purpose

Marketers and designers should design their websites with intention and purpose. Below are some design principles that can be applied to keep visitors scrolling.

 

  1. Use relevant content:  Your website is competing for your visitor’s attention, and your visitors won’t stay long if they can’t easily access the content they’re looking for. Keep your content relevant and straight to the point.
  2. Break up your content: Instead of squeezing anything and everything above the “fold,” utilize the scroll to separate content to keep visitors engaged and interested. Humans by nature are scanners, and we tend to scan a new web page picking out individual words or sentences. It’s crucial that designers and marketers break up content utilizing eye-catching sub-heads, visuals, keywords, or lists.
  3. Avoid false bottom: False bottom occurs when your web design misleads visitors into believing there is no additional content below. To avoid this, arrange your content so that your additional content, such as a grid or sub-head, is placed just slightly above the fold. You can also create visual cues, such as an arrow, that prompts the visitor to scroll.

Trending from G/L: McDonald’s delivers fabled famous Szechuan sauce to Rick and Morty fans

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: McDonald’s delivers fabled famous Szechuan sauce to Rick and Morty fans

Free earned media. It’s the crown jewel of the marketing world. And it really doesn’t get much better than the McDonald’s-Rick and Morty-Szechuan-Sauce story that’s unfolded.

Image via Justin Roiland

The SparkNotes summary: Hit TV show with a dedicated following, Rick and Morty, referenced an old sauce that McDonald’s once served years ago as part of a tie-in with the 1998 Disney release of Mulan. Fans then became wildly curious about the sauce that had been discontinued nearly 20 years before, with even some McDonald’s higher-ups chiming in about its fabled existence.

It became a viral joke that had the McDonald’s name attached to it at every corner. And of course, they played along. But, they did it in such a natural way that fans, consumers and the like weren’t turned off by it becoming too much of a marketing grab.

In advance of the premiere of the new season of Rick and Morty, McDonald’s sent Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland a bottle of that now-infamous Szechuan sauce, complete with hilarious description and label that played right along with the show. Justin Roiland’s tweet of the bottle and its packaging has, to date, garnered 141,781 retweets and 339,146 likes!

Image via Justin Roiland

But the pursuit of earned media like this almost never yields such incredible results. So what was the difference? Simple: McDonald’s never overplayed their hand. They just played along. And that’s a very big distinction.

Instead of latching onto the sudden and unexpected conversation around their decades old sauce, McDonald’s did no more than what felt natural. They didn’t milk it for some tired, multi-month campaign. Or try to turn it into a hashtag. Or any of the other marketing gimmicks that consumers now roll their eyes at. They put some effort into creating the packaging and remaking the sauce, and then let the internet do its thing. It’s no coincidence that, while they later released a few more bottles to fans via branded posts, the most viral post wasn’t even theirs. They just sent the bottle to Justin Roiland and trusted that his tweet, free of corporate hashtags and paid promotions, would do the rest. And they were right.

It’s an important lesson in an age where brands haphazardly try to insert themselves into the conversation. Don’t overstep your role as a brand. Just play along.

Trending from G/L: Facebook gets ready to launch Facebook TV

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Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Facebook gets ready to launch Facebook TV

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Facebook was back on track for releasing Facebook TV, rumored to release later this month. In other words, the company is about to take on user-generated video content giant, YouTube. Shocking? I think not. What is shocking is how long it’s taken a rival to take on the behemoth. Facebook’s rounded-up their fair share of social dynamite over the past few years, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Live and most recently, taking a page from SnapChat’s ever-engaging, ever-addicting, short-lived video/photo messaging content via Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories.

Image via Variety

So what can we expect from Facebook TV? Ridiculously targeted content and world domination. Not necessarily, but you can count on a mix of scripted and user-generated content, that thankfully (at least for now), will not be featured on your News Feed. Facebook’s impressive 2 billion users can catch fresh content on Facebook’s TV designated page. The company aims to create higher-end content compared to YouTube, but supposedly it’s not competing with video producers such as Netflix, HBO and Showtime…sure you aren’t Facebook, not this month.

Facebook’s newest endeavor comes on the heels of the company’s push toward longer-form entertainment and tackling an over-crowded News Feed filled with advertising, as well as incorporating ads into Facebook Messenger. Facebook is funding a set of original programs intended to give the company a slice of the super-sweet $70 billion television advertising market.

Facebook originally expected the project to be ready about a month ago, but it has taken longer than anticipated and further delays could occur, according to Bloomberg.

Now, this new TV venture does not come without its constraints. There’s a risk that Facebook’s users won’t necessarily spend as much time scrolling through Facebook’s News Feed if they start watching long-lasting videos via Facebook TV. “That’s going to have an impact on impression rate growth,” said CFO David Wehner. “So there is, in that sense, a cannibalistic effect of sort happening there.” Indeed advertisers, how will we survive without our traditional News Feed impressions? Video content advertising via Facebook TV, am I right?

We’ll be staying tuned for updates on the company’s latest project and any advertising opportunities that come with it.

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