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Social TV and the Second-screen Era

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Who doesn’t love spending money on items that wow them? What if you could instantly learn more about or even buy those particular items on sight as they appear on your TV sets? Well then, social TV is your new best friend. The idea of watching TV while engaging with the content online is not brand new, but the fact that it has started to take good shape in the media world is making advertisers alert. Not only social TV can bring about meaningful engagement and buzz among TV viewers who depend on their second-screen devices where the conversations take place, now it is enabling advertisers to influence the viewers and earn ROI.

According to Nielsen, nearly 40% of Americans use tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day, and 62% do it several times a week – the numbers are showing a shift in how consumers interact and engage with content or brands. Presumably, brands that have the propensity to disrupt the consumers during their viewing will be ignored and wooed since they have the option to opt-out their primary screen and land on their second screen at will. American Express and Target are trying to be unobtrusive with their advertisements on TV and migrate to the second-screen phenomenon to generate sales.

To put this in perspective, I tuned in to Spotify the other day and saw a new music video from Ellie Goulding on the screen beckoning me to press play, so I did, and as I hovered the cursor over, there were these gray transparent boxes all over the artist’s body from her top to necklace to pants to shoes with details about them as well as how to buy. Similarly, American Express is trying it out with the show ‘New Girl’ on Fox as well as NBC Universal cable networks; it is supporting programs that let the viewers buy items that are selected by and presented in the show and networks in real time. Moreover, Zeebox is embraced by AMEX and NBC Universal enabling users to interact through Zeebox with NBC’s content during a commercial break with related content, which helps intensify conversations further. At the same time, Target is aiming at the show ‘Revenge’ to boost sales by encouraging users to engage with additional content on their second-screen devices, where they learn more about the items and how to purchase. Many other brands such as Neiman Marcus and Verizon are also striding into the same area.

It’s true that social media conversations are imperative for brands to last in the minds of the consumers during their TVs are on and after they are turned off, but it’s also true that they are not enough anymore. These brands need conversions, and social TV might be the ultimate answer for advertisers to reach their consumers, especially if they continue to multitask and have short attention span. My question remains whether social TV and its new strategy is powerful and reasonable enough to move the consumers to impulse buying and conversion at the end of the day. On the bright side, the product placements of these items allow the consumers to easily visualize the items on them or in their homes. However, this is just the beginning of the trial; it’s still a long way to go to see the outcome of this shift and whether or not social TV will be a successful force for sales generations.

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Show Interest in Pinterest

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

We have an array of social media platform to choose from whether it’s for business or personal purposes. These different platforms own diverse characters, thus can be used to answer different needs as well, especially when it comes to business. Pinterest has surely been interesting; it’s perhaps the year’s biggest digital-platform sensation, which has attracted both consumers and brands to join its scrapbook-like site that works as an inspirational board. Now that Pinfluencer, the Pinterest analytics firm, is launching promotions tool that enables brands to use the platform to promote contests and sweepstakes on Facebook or the brands’ own site that tie in Pinterest, of course, the social media is showing good signs of expansion.

The idea behind the tactic is to allow users’ creativity to blossom while increasing participating brands’ exposure to Pinterest users. Pinterest users create their personal boards that pin pictures that are relevant to a contest’s theme to win prizes from the brand; for example, Gilt, a wedding boutique, is among the firsts to sign up with the ‘Pin to Win’ promotion, invited users to create a pinboard that repins one of Gilt’s five bridal gowns plus additional pins of items, styles or places to create their dream wedding scrapbooks. The advantage of these activities is engagement; while users are browsing and selecting pictures to create their pinboards, they also learn more about the brands. Therefore, brands have the tendency to be exposed to the consumers in a much deep sense as well in terms of interaction. The users spend time working on their pinboards because they either find it entertaining or worth winning some prizes, but whatever the main reason is brands benefit from this type of engagement. Other well-known brands such as Sephora and E-bay are next to make use of the tool.

Apart from collaborating with and expanding reach to Facebook users, conversion to Pinterest is likely and highly possible. Pinterest will gain quite a large number of Facebook-base users, who will become more familiar with the nature of Pinterest once Facebook users are exposed to the tie-in activities. Since Pinterest is an image-base social media site, followers have higher propensity to want to purchase pined items, which benefit participating brands. Moreover, brands also profit from data that Pinfluencer gathers for them such as pins, repins, clicks and page views. But more importantly, brands can track conversion by tracking revenue that comes from transactions originated from a contest, which will be of huge tangible benefit to brands since social media in general is still struggling with conversion data. Also, brands know what content works best on Pinterest because Pinfluencer is able to aggregate the number of potential reach of contest-related pins and the influencer scores of participating users. Consequently, marketers will probably find this data useful when it comes to advertising and finding a way to drive continual traffic to the brands’ Pinterest boards by using contest pinboards and promoting them on online display ad channels to consistently remind users of Pinterest. What will benefit marketers even further if Pinterest pulls off its near-future plan about user segmentation and audience profile databases is an understanding of their followers’ psychographic and demographic profiles and their lifetime value – priceless data for marketers to maintain and gain potential followers.

Pinterest seems to be getting a good grip of the social media landscape and how to stay relevant. Marketers should probably do the same thing, if they aren’t involved with Pinterest already as the platform still has promising room to grow. So, Pinterest anybody? Why not?


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Integration is Power

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

If you ask many traditional book aficionados, they would answer quite unanimously that they would always choose real books over the electronic ones. Books that they can touch, smell, collect, and depend on. Like these fans, I believe, most of the keenest fashion supporters would certainly prefer and choose to touch, feel, see, and try on fashion items before they purchase them to worship back at home. But, more and more I find that the previous statement I made is already obsolete and might be better off in past tense. Brands, high-end or mass, are becoming truly tech savvy by reaching and serving their customers right at their fingertips through social media and mobile applications. It probably doesn’t sound intriguing in 2012, but if a luxury brand started out in 2004 has been embracing the development of digital technology since the very beginning has made its way to opening more than 450 locations in department and specialty stores worldwide and 20 more shops in major international cities within 8 years, I reckon its success is worth noting. E-Commerce is undoubtedly the new black.

Tory Burch is one the young and vibrant luxury brands out there that has gained recognition and popularity swiftly in the fashion battlefield. How? Less mumbo jumbo and more interactive communications. Tory Burch has not yet purchased any traditional advertisements in U.S. magazines by far; the brand is largely propelled by the growth digital technologies such as social media, blogs, and mobile marketing. Well, I find 8 years of a luxury fashion brand without the use of magazine fascinating. Tory Burch’s e-commerce website attracts more customers and purchases more than the physical stores do. The brand is enthusiastically engaged in direct and constant conversations with its customers; for example, Burch herself is responsible for the brand’s Twitter account where she employs the space as a channel to have a two-way conversation with her followers in a way that a human being would normally talk to another. Apart from Twitter, the brand doesn’t leave out any chance to involve popular media platforms to reach out to their customers: Flipboard, Tumblr, Foursquare, YouTube, and Weibo in China. Speaking of China, I think it is such a clever move to embrace Weibo early on and quickly earn a huge support from the populations in a way that traditional marketing strategy would have hardly achieved in such a short period of time. The brand’s blog has always been a big part and is steered  by a famous former editor from InStyle magazine; by having someone who is knowledgeable in the fashion field and understands the needs of readers simultaneously is greatly beneficial for the brand as it creates relevancy and engagement. Plus, the booming of iPad as well as mobile marketing makes this marketing effort within Tory Burch grows the fastest across the board. Most importantly, however, the brand is focusing on the evolution of Facebook commerce or Fcommerce where they interact with their customers while starting to offer exclusivity to the fans, so that they feel privileged and valued. As we can see, Tory Burch takes advantage of every viable digital platform while also using digital technology as a major business model to grow its business opportunities. Currently, the brand monitors its media presence with Klout scores and closely watches interactivity between the brand and its customers to see the areas in which they can improve and expand.

Like I said, this is probably isn’t all new to most of us, but what it is showing is the power of integration and a deep understanding of the digital landscape. Despite the different platforms that the brand has, they all represent the same voice and messages, thus giving such a strong brand image over the years. It is not only about having all these tools present in the marketing efforts, but it is about how they are managed and utilized to create synergy. I believe it was nothing near easy for the brand to first start without a full blown traditional media campaign and decide to opt for the digital media when it was still very early in its development and popularity. Today, the people of Tory Burch are waltzing around with their gadgets and are able to drive handsome revenue to the company with possibly very little money slipping through their fingers.

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