The Undeniable Power of Snapchat

Last week, Snapchat announced that its users now consume 10 billion video views a day. With that many views, I’m sure you’re familiar with the popular photo and video sharing app. That number is an increase from 8 billion since February 2016 and 4 billion since April 2015. That is extremely quick and massive growth in one year. It’s not only that users are spending 25-30 minutes a day on the app, but more and more are flocking to the 5 year old platform each day.

Live Streaming

Sixty percent of teenagers and millennials ages 13 to 34 years old use Snapchat. The numbers only begin to tell the story of how powerful Snapchat is becoming. For the first time in history, NBC sold the rights to its Olympic sporting event content. Who got the deal? You guessed it, Snapchat! Before this deal, NBC only aired Olympics sporting event content live on TV and then later via its owned channels including its website and mobile app. This deal not only speaks to the power that Snapchat has an app, but also as a media production and content sharing platform.

You can now be present at some of the top events across the world like Coachella Music & Arts Festivals and NACAR races with Snapchat’s “Live” section. Snapchat has access to exclusive events through partnerships, but more importantly users. The content is unpolished and the perspective of everyday people who are actually in the moment. Users are creating more video content at these events in the hopes one of the stories they picks shows up to millions of users. It’s a truly unique way to connect users from across the world. And that’s just one of the ways the app is doing that.


Content Creation

You will now find Snapchat content on some of the top social media channels like Instagram and YouTube. Snapchat users save photos and videos with filters and then post them on other platforms. The app is allowing users to not only repost content like other platforms, but actually create it and distribute it how the user wants to. Snapchat has also gotten in on the content creation game through their various channels. The app has been creating original content on a “show” for the ongoing presidential election.

Snapchat has 18 channels in its “Discover” section including Comedy Central, National Geographic, CNN, ESPN, and Food Network. These media channels are not repurposing content, but creating content directly for Snapchat users that can only be found and viewed within the app. Media companies producing shows for other platforms? Only Snapchat has the power to get all of these groups together in one place.


Brand Advertising

The company is now valued at $19 billion. That amount is sure to increase as brands continue to leverage the platform for marketing to teens and millennials. Lucky for users, Snapchat has found a way not to disrupt their feeds with ads like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Paid brand content is only found in the “Discover” and “Live” sections of the app. Users have to opt into viewing those sections rather than just having the content appear in their feeds.

Only time will tell what the powerful app will do next. Let’s hope they stay true to users and don’t go down the road Facebook and Twitter have with advertisers. If they don’t, they are going to continue to dominate.


The Need for Diversity on Your Marketing Team

Earlier this month, Cosmopolitan Magazine had a major social media fail. The magazine pushed out a post on Twitter talking about the rise of a new trend called “hair tattoos”. The problem was that it was actually hair designs and parts that Black Americans have been doing for decades. Black Twitter created the hashtag #cosmoheadlines to make fun of the cultural appropriation that so often happens in the beauty industry as well as Cosmo’s lack of Black American cultural knowledge.

Cosmo’s major fail is a prime example of why marketing teams need to be diverse to shed light on various cultural trends. The advertising and marketing industries are known for being mostly male and mostly white. This is problematic when you advertise in a country that is extremely diverse. Having a diverse team is about being aware of what is happening in mainstream culture, but also subcultures. And the most important piece is having your team understand that mainstream culture comes from subcultures. In the age of social media and Google it’s hard to understand how Cosmo didn’t realize the trend was new and then that brings up the question of did they know and didn’t want to give credit. Either scenario is one you don’t want your brand to be a part of.

Cosmo Fail

Having a diverse marketing team will alleviate cleaning up a lot of the social media and marketing messes that are created by brands. It’s not just about giving credit where it’s due, but also being sure not to offend an entire racial or ethnic group of your consumers. A diverse marketing team can help your brand get to better insights that will lead to better creative ideas and finally inclusive and accurate advertising. When you have a diverse team you get diverse perspectives that can shed light on what may be deemed offensive to certain groups.

America is a diverse melting pot and advertising and marketing should be reflective of that. To truly be inclusive in your marketing your team needs to be inclusive as well. Diverse opinions, backgrounds, and lifestyles should be values and sought out when forming a team. There have been countless studies that prove that diverse teams outperform other teams. Diversity comes in many forms age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. When it comes to marketing, race and gender might be the most important ones. There are countless examples of advertising offending people due to lack of cultural knowledge and gender bias.


If your team is running a multi-cultural campaign or a campaign that is targeting a certain group of people, be sure to run the idea and creative by more than one person from that group. This process will help putting out offensive marketing or an idea that isn’t based on accurate insights and cultural knowledge. While one or two people cannot speak for an entire group of people, they can certainly shed more light that someone not of that group. If your team is not diverse, you should push for more qualified diverse talent. In the meantime, you can always seek out diverse opinions from partners and consumers. How has diversity helped your team perform better? How does your company promote diversity when it comes to marketing and advertising?

How to Win With a 360 Digital Campaign

How do you win with a 360 degree digital campaign? Just ask Taco Bell. A few weeks before the Super Bowl, Taco Bell released a heavily redacted digital press release via its website and sent it to major news outlets. The press release promised the national taco chain’s biggest product release ever, but made sure to black out any other important details. All that was clear from the press release was that the new food item would be unveiled during a 30 second spot during Super Bowl 50.  The press release was the beginning of a well-crafted month-long 360 digital campaign.

Quickly, consumers as well as news outlets began to guess and also create wish lists for what they wanted the new menu item to be. Many assumed it would be the Quesalupa which was only available in limited distribution in Canada at the time. Surprise, it was the Quesalupa, a hybrid of a quesadilla and chalupa! Although many people guessed what it would be ahead of the Super Bowl, it didn’t slow down buzz or lessen consumer excitement. It actually helped. Taco Bell began their digital campaign on their website and then expanded it to their other owned digital channels included Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

Taco Bell Press Release

Here are a few tips so you can also win with a 360 digital campaign.

  1. Be a Content Generator

With a 360 digital campaign, a few pieces of content are not enough. Taco Bell ensured it had fresh content to push out the entire month leading up to the Super Bowl. Fresh content doesn’t mean pushing out the same static image out across all of your social channels. It means making different pieces of content for each platform.

The week before the Super Bowl, Taco Bell released behind the scenes, short, teaser footage on its social channels. The footage contained local celebrities from the commercials and nodded to what the mystery item could and couldn’t be. Content can come in many forms with a 360 campaign. Having static and video content is best as you will need both for different channels. Different types of content also engage different types of consumers.

  1. Let Consumers Get Involved

A few days before the Super Bowl, Taco Bell allowed consumers to preorder the mystery item via various social channels as well as a branded microsite. The prebuzz paid off in a big way. Taco Bell said more than 67,000 Quesalupas were preordered online without consumers even knowing what the product was. The preordering helped because once people picked up their item; they did the most natural thing, posted it online.


They snapped a picture and put it on various social media channels adding fuel to the social chatter fire. Quickly, #tacobell was trending on Instagram and Twitter. Those that weren’t among the 67,000 of course saw a friend’s picture and wanted their hands on the new Quesalupa. Consumers want to do more than purchase a product from your brand, they want to help create content and share it. Let them do that and your campaign will be stronger.

  1. Tell a Well Timed Story

Part of the magic of Taco Bell’s campaign is the timing. When telling a good story in person or online, timing is everything. Don’t reveal everything all in the beginning. You have to keep your consumers engaged with content. Timing is not just about when you push out content, but which platforms should showcase major pieces of the story first. Knowing which platforms to put content on first means knowing where your consumers are and when. Content and timing mean nothing if you are not where your consumers are.

Taco Bell debuted its new ad during the Super Bowl as promised. It gave fans more content by also releasing five ads that featured local internet celebrities in top markets. Local ad buys are usually unheard of during the Super Bowl, but the ads were a hit within the markets they were shown.

Remember, in the world of digital, campaigns that transcend platforms are the most popular and often the most effective. Millennials as well teens switch digital platforms multiple times within an hour because they are looking for fresh content. Give them fresh content on each campaign, but ensure that it can all come together to tell your brand story. How did you feel about Taco Bell’s digital campaign? How did you feel about the Quesalupa? Tell us in the comment section below. You can see more of the quesalupa by visiting

Crisis Communications: Lessons from Red Lobster

The day before the Super Bowl, Beyoncé debuted her new single “Formation” online. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that, it’s been the talk of the internet for over a week now. The song includes a quite catchy and explicit line about using Red Lobster has a reward for her husband after sex. The line was included in the song unbeknownst to the national seafood chain. Beyoncé super fans (the bey hive) quickly took to social media channels and included the reference to the restaurant. Red Lobster didn’t respond to tweets for hours and when they finally did their responses was thought to have fallen flat due to the delay and lack of creativity. During this time, you can only imagine Red Lobster’s social media and marketing team was debating about how to respond. Unfortunately, I don’t think they had any way of predicting the immediate positive effects along with the ongoing negative effects that continue today.

Red Lobster

The positive effect is that the song was released on a Saturday and the next day, Super Bowl Sunday, sales increased 33 percent compared to the previous year. Red Lobster sales have been declining for years and until the song’s release, they showed no immediate signs of improvement. The negative effect is that due to political and racial imagery in the music video, some people called for a boycott of the restaurant. What is even more unfortunate about the timing of the video is their ongoing social media campaign “lobsterworthy”. Before the video was released, the chain began asking consumers to share their “lobsterworthy” moment on the brand’s social media channels. To consumers that were calling for a boycott, it seemed as if the restaurant was capitalizing of the song. In reality, they were continuing to run a campaign they had already invested time and money into. This campaign even included the ill-timed or brilliant-timed (depending on how you look at it) release of “lobsterworthy” t-shirts and Valentine’s Day specials.


The campaign actually began on Valentine’s Day 2015 when the brand had the term “lobsterworthy” added to the Urban Dictionary. If you’re caught in a sticky situation like Red Lobster what should your brand do? First, your brand should always have a crisis communication plan in place. As sports buffs say, “The best offense is a good defense”. With every campaign know the risk involved and prepare for that. In Red Lobster’s defense, they could not have known the popularity or the controversy that would surround the video. But none the less, they had time to prepare and their corporate responses continue to disappoint consumers. When it comes to crisis communications, there are a few do’s and don’ts that can be learned from Red Lobster.

  1. Humanize Your Brand

A few consumers called out Red Lobster for their overly corporate Facebook responses to disgruntled people saying they were boycotting the chain. Social media is for conversations; real conversations. No one likes to call and get an automated recording and they don’t want to see automated corporate responses on Facebook or Twitter. People connect with brands that are human and speak as humans do. This includes having your social team sign each message with their first name or their initials. All consumers have to do is scroll up or down your timeline to see the exact same response 50 times. Yes, it’s tedious, but the time it takes will pay off in the end.

  1. Take a Stand

Red Lobster never truly took a firm stance on the imagery in Beyoncé’s video or the song lyric. In the beginning, they had a few “you go, Beyoncé” tweets, but as backlash grew they began to retract those statements and the corporate responses grew and took over. Absolutely nothing on social media dies. Consumers will find everything and call you out for not being authentic. Once you have a response stick with it or be prepared to tell people why.

Consumers quickly noticed Red Lobster was not responding to its loyal supporters and consumers, but rather just to the boycotters. They were swiftly called out on it. Respond to everyone. Even if it’s a simple “thank you” your consumers will appreciate it. Hard to support a brand that doesn’t seem to support your support them.


  1. Stick by Your Words

Once you’ve taken a stand, be sure it’s what you want the world to know about your brand. Consumers connect with and are often more loyal to brands that take a stand on social issues. This means your brand has to be brave. Whether it’s gay rights or racial inequality your brand has to acknowledge there will never be an issue all of America agrees on. I’m sure you’re asking, “when is it right for a brand to take a stand?
In the case of Red Lobster, now is the time. Other brands like Starbucks and Chick-fil-A were also forced into it or did so on their own accord. With social media, it’s hard for brands to continue being superficial. Consumers want to connect on a deeper level and that means being honest and open.

Only time will tell when the Beyoncé & Red Lobster backlash will die down. For now, the restaurant should continue its campaign and embrace new consumers that may be replacing old ones. The positive comments on their social media channels seem to be overtaking the negative ones. Supporters are speaking loudly and helping do the job of responding to critics. That’s the great thing about social media, sometimes your consumers help you clean up the mess. Do you have any tips in crisis communications to add? How do you feel about Red Lobster’s social media response? Tell us in the comments.

You Don’t Need a Big Budget to Win During the Big Game

The Denver Broncos won the 2016 Super Bowl yesterday, but there was no clear winner in the TV brand bowl. There may not have been a clear winner in the brand bowl because many advertisers shifted their dollars to digital and social media this year. A few years ago, the ads that would premiere during the Super Bowl were just as exciting as the game. Now, with the rise of social media, many brands have begun releasing their ads via YouTube and Facebook before the game airs live. It is a shift that will likely continue happening more as social media continues to prove its reach and worth to brands.

Pantene won big before the game by releasing 4 short spots featuring NFL players doing their daughters hair. The campaign branded #daddo went viral in a day and garnered industry attention. The campaign was widely shared on Facebook. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter were the platforms where consumers were the most engaged during the game. Facebook held steady as always, but wasn’t a place of truly inspiring content during the game. Instagram reps reported that 38 million people engaged with the app’s Super Bowl-related content 155 million times on Sunday. Snapchat allows brands to show their ads for a much cheaper price tag than the primetime game. With these growing digital platforms, advertisers are able to get their message in front of the same audience for half the cost or less.

snapchat football


During the big game, Instagram is great for quick videos and static images. Have a mix of polished images as well as images that will blend into consumers’ timelines. Something that will look like it belongs and their friends may have posted it. With Instagram you can see what is trending and use that hashtag to get more eyes on your content. Trending topics may inspire you to create a new piece of content that is shareable and engaging to your audience.

If you have the budget, it’s best to have promoted posts leading up the game and then ride the engagement wave with regular posts during the game.


With Snapchat brands can not only show their 15 second commercial on live and existing channels, but help consumers create branded content. Advertisers can do this by using branded filters. Gatorade had a fun video filter that allowed consumers to pure a bucket of Gatorade over their heads. Pouring Gatorade over the winning coaches head is a signature of the big game. It was a perfect integration and used by millions of users or seen by the ones who missed it. Deadpool the movie also had a popular static branded filter.

Another way to get your brand on this platform is to have influencers integrate your brand message into their story. Many brands used influencers they have existing campaigns with while others did one day campaigns for the game.


Branded “Deadpool” Snapchat Filter from the Superbowl


When you want to get into the live conversation about the game, you need to get on Twitter. You have to have someone ready to jump on any trending topic. That means have a writer and a creator handy to jump on a moment like Oreo did when the lights went out a few years ago. For this platform, you can have static images ready to push out during key periods such as halftime and time outs. Create content you know fits with these moments and will be relevant to the consumers that will see it at that moment.

Remember, you don’t need a big game budget to win during the big game. That holds true any time of the year. Engaging content will always win and always breakthrough to consumers. Agility is the key. Have content ready that you know will work, but be able to adapt to what is actually happening during the game. You never know what little moment may steal the show and you don’t want to miss the chance to capitalize on it. Even with a small budget, you can score big!

Digital PR: Start More Conversations Online

Does traditional PR still matter and does it still work? Yes, traditional PR still works when combined with digital tactics. Digital PR combines traditional PR tactics such as press releases and events with social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). With a digital PR campaign, you are taking static news and turning it into a topic of conversation with your audience. We can no longer pitch and deliver news to consumers. We have to tell them digital stories using compelling visuals and engage in ongoing online dialogs with them.

Have the goal of your digital PR campaign be to connect with consumers rather than to simply reach them. You should value engagements more than impressions with this type of campaign. Yes, you want as many people to see your campaign, but the true goal of a digital campaign should be interaction with your consumer base. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR is about creating news, not just delivering it. Below are two tips to help engage in more conversations with your digital PR campaign.

  1. Start Don’t Lead the Conversation

With the help of the media and your own content, you can start the conversation and give prompts where you want the conversation to go. Make sure your campaign includes a branded hashtag that can be used across social channels by consumers and the media. Your traditional press release should include the hashtags and what the consumer call-to-action is.

Let the consumers lead the discussion and see what happens. Yes, this can be scary, but some of the best content is user-generated. Consumers are very creative and can help spread your brand message quickly and further than you can.


Image from:

  1. Keep the Conversation Fresh

In order to keep the conversation fresh, you have to create new content. This new content should be extremely shareable, but also prompt ideas from consumers. How are they able to build off the content that you have shared to create and add their own similar content? With digital PR you use the media as an outlet, but also have to contribute from your own social media channels or brand website.

Each platform should have its own unique content, but should come together to tell the campaign story. Consumers naturally change platforms while online. They are looking for fresh, engaging content across channels. Your campaign should fulfill this need.

With the above tips you will begin to have better conversations with your consumers. In the old days of traditional PR, brands could only pitch their stories to radio stations, TV outlets, and newspapers. Now, we can directly reach the consumer with social media. Now, consumers are the media. They are influencers that are not only sharing news, but creating it themselves. See this as a great opportunity to do more with your PR. You will see a higher ROI for your PR work when you truly make the campaign digital. Join the conversation below in the comments. Tell us about any recent digital PR campaigns you have seen.