How Brands Can Support the Safe Return of Youth Sports to Communities

As the school year kicks off virtually for many children and families across the nation, all eyes are turning to the possibility that youth sports could help provide much-needed activity, socialization, and emotional support during an otherwise overwhelming and disorienting time. Without a doubt, youth sports in a pandemic must look a lot different than they did in pre-pandemic times, but one thing is truer than ever: Brands can play a valuable role in helping youth sports return safely to the field and enabling the kids who need these activities the most to participate. 

Playing the Long-Game with Today’s Low CPMs

As companies try to strike the right advertising tone given the global pandemic, it is apparent consumers are getting hit with the same messaging over and over — albeit from completely different brands: ‘Now more than ever’… ‘In these uncertain times’…. ‘The safety and comfort of home’… ‘We’re here to help’… ‘We’ll get through this together’… 

It seems the same playbook for how to engage customers during this time leaked to every team. So how can brands break away from the ‘hipster conundrum’ (trying to be genuine and unique while everyone else floods the market with the same message and approach)? 

Why and How to Take Steps Toward Brand Assurance

Companies are adapting at breakneck speed. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering curbside pickup to protect its customers and staff. DoorDash is discounting delivery services to help working parents. Walgreens is making it easier to get critical prescriptions. Measures such as these have been essential in instilling a sense of community, care, and trust.

We must not attempt to carry on business as usual. We can no longer think about marketing and advertising in the same ‘brand vs. demand’ framework. Now is the time for brand assurance — to actively fulfill brand promises, to help customers, and to maintain brand reputation. 

4 Mobile and Location Trends for Brands to Keep an Eye On

Believe it or not, this is the smartphone’s third decade. When it comes to mobile apps and location-based marketing, so much has changed since the advent of the iPhone in 2007.

While it’s hard to predict what will become of mobile and location-based media in the next 10 years, it’s fair to prognosticate what we can expect for the rest of this year and beyond. Here are four mobile and location trends brand marketers need to watch.

Treat the Economic Symptoms of Coronavirus with Proactive Brand Management

In the midst of this uncertainty, your business’s online visibility probably isn’t top of mind—rightfully so. 

Nevertheless, communication is key to your brand management strategy in times like these. It’s important to make your customers aware of any changes in your business operations. Below are three tactics you can use to bolster your brand management as the coronavirus sends shockwaves through the global economy.

Creating and Maintaining a Cohesive Digital Brand Image

Visual consistency is about perception. It’s the ability to pick out, recognize, and immediately understand something you see. Coca-Cola is a great example. You can instantly recognize the simple, iconic red and white colors paired with its cursive font anywhere and in any language. Even for its holiday campaign, Coca-Cola used its colors to its advantage. Remember the famously adorable polar bears wearing red scarves that stood out from its soft, white fur and snowy background? Classic. 

This goes to show the power of strong, cohesive branding. Customizing the language, photography, color palette, layout, and written content of your brand’s digital marketing materials can go a long way. In fact, a recent study by LucidPress discovered that consistent brand presentation increases overall revenue and growth by 33%. 

2020 Arrives: How Brands and Marketers Can Survive the New Decade

Brands have an obligation to adhere to what their customers care about, but given how easy it is for people to digitally project an aspirational lifestyle, it’s no wonder brands are having a tough time understanding who their consumers are and what they want from the brands they support. To combat this knowledge gap and align what consumers say with what they actually do, we need more real-world intelligence.

Local Search Association Rebrands as Localogy

In 2019, updates to Google’s local search algorithms and changes in the way consumers use mobile devices caused a shift in the way local businesses marketed themselves online. Digital marketing firms have been quick to pivot to meet market demand. As of today, one of the industry’s most influential not-for-profit associations is making a change as well.

Local Search Association (LSA), a not-for-profit association of companies focused on local and location-based marketing, will now be known as Localogy. The name change is part of a larger rebranding effort as the group looks for ways to better showcase its mission to re-invest in the changing nature of local business.

In 2020, Independent Publishers Must Invest in the Quality of their Brands

The door is far from closed to success in publishing, and there are clear paths to prosperity for newer and leaner independent and local outfits. Even as more and more ad dollars go to a handful of giants, publishers have a chance to turn the tide, provided they invest in talent, maintain the integrity of their brands, and build an audience advertisers find worth pursuing.

The Risks and Outsize Rewards of Political Branding

In a time of unprecedented political partisanship, the risks and rewards of corporate political messaging are amplified. Viral marketing strategies including Nike’s partnership with racial justice activist and football star Colin Kaepernick, Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad, and Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stances rally political sympathizers to a brand’s side and alienate ideological foes.

Street Fight checked in with Jen Capstraw, director of strategic insights and evangelism at growth marketing company Iterable, to get a sense of how significant the benefits and drawbacks of political branding are, which ideological direction political ads are predominantly taking, and how strong the evidence is for the efficacy of partisan messaging.

Should Small Businesses Participate in Black Friday?

The total amount spent by shoppers on Black Friday in 2018 was $715.5 billion, according to The Balance. What’s even more noteworthy is the average amount spent per shopper, at $1,007.24. This represents an increase of approximately 4.3% over Black Friday 2017 sales. The numbers show that shoppers are ready and willing to spend on Black Friday. So, rather than leaving it to large-scale retailers, if you’re a small business owner, why not consider joining in?

The truth is, you still might be wondering whether the additional time and investment are worth it. Below, we present some pros and cons of participating in Black Friday you may not have considered.

How CPGs Can Score a Touchdown This Fall by Emulating Spiked Seltzer’s 2019 Summer Splash

In a way, local football fandoms are microcosms for the communities they represent. Each franchise fandom possesses a deeply rooted culture — the kind of loyalty and camaraderie marketers strive to inspire among their own consumers. From high school matchups and college games to the national stage and beyond, the opportunity to tap into local sports to forge meaningful connections with consumers is conspicuous. The strategies and tactics to go about creating those connections, though, is far from obvious. 

To home in on a seasonally relevant, hyperlocal strategy for tailgating and football, brand marketers can look to the strategies hard seltzer brands implemented that resulted in the overwhelming successes of the past summer. 

Defining Your Purpose: 4 Ways to Optimize Purpose-Driven Marketing

Ultimately, ensuring the success of purpose-driven campaigns comes down to building meaningful connections using all the technology, data, and creativity at one’s disposal to reach the elusive double bottom line. Here are four tips that can help marketers tap into data and technology to optimize their purpose-driven campaigns:

Teaching An Old Brand New Tricks

An agile brand strategy allows organizations to update traditional brand messages in the moment as events happen, while still remaining true to their core values and identity. Agile branding is not about changing things all the time; it’s about responding and iterating in order to stay relevant.

Technology is the driving force behind agile branding. Modern consumers expect more from their favorite brands, and through a variety of tech platforms, they interact with them on a daily basis. Connecting to consumers through digital and largely interactive channels (like social media) gives brands access to a valuable supply of consumer data. In this “always-on” culture, knowing what consumer audiences are saying, thinking, and feeling about your brand in real time is at the core of an agile brand. 

Transparency and Brand Purpose Dominated Cannes

The big topic of the week was industry change, driven largely by transparency. Agencies are evaluating opportunities and challenges to their business model as buyers demand more oversight of media, fees, and attribution. Increasing interest in ad tech in-housing has also stoked soul-searching.

Every brand also talked about reflecting an authentic, real world in its marketing—from the people in front of and behind the cameras, to creative and targeting strategies. The campaigns that seemed the most likely to succeed were all “purpose-centric,” with the brand rallying around a specific and common cause.

Brand Safety is a Brand Authenticity Problem

Marketers know that in a world of globalized competition, consumers are one click away from choosing a different product or service. Taking a stand can help brands appear righteous and earn consumer loyalty, which is why brand safety scandals necessitate a massive and speedy PR response. However, responding to or apologizing for such scandals can only be perceived as authentic the first time around—not the second time, and definitely not the third. The endless cycle of brand safety scandals reveals one of two things about today’s brands—they’re either lemmings, or they don’t really care about brand values.

Fostering Brand-Customer Relationships in the Age of Social Checkout and Chatbots

Currently, 74% of consumers visit the social media pages of brands to inspire future purchases. And as evidenced by the popularity of Instagram Checkout, sales tools like Apple Business Chat, and new ad products like Google‘s Shoppable Ads, the industry is rapidly moving towards commerce that removes the friction between inspiration and an actual purchase.

But when the path to purchase is shortened, so is the opportunity for brand and customer to interact, which is probably what attracted your customers in the first place. Especially in the world of social media, brand persona is an enduring element that differentiates your brand and creates fans out of customers.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice brand voice for a social commerce strategy. In fact, with the right tools, you can enhance it.

The Genesis Story: Why It’s a Key Part of an Effective Marketing Strategy

The cornerstone of a company’s brand narrative and storytelling efforts will all spring from the brand’s genesis story. The story of the creation of the brand, the who, the why, and the what of it, are the threads that weave the brand’s story together. A genesis story tells the consumer not only what the brand is and how it was created, but also about the brand’s values, what kind of company they are, and what kinds of people work there. Think of the brand genesis story as the brand legend.

Beyond SEO: How to Reframe the Local Marketing Conversation

“I am looking for a language framework that helps business understand that the idea of ranking only makes sense in the context of not just getting more customers but also keeping them. While businesses might want a floodgate of leads, there are many things that they could be doing that would be cost-effective and productive,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm in their latest Street Fight discussion.

Brand Building Beyond Reviews: Is the Local Marketing Ecosystem Ready?

“I think it makes more sense for a small business to buy ‘brand building’ that includes some community events and link building than for that same business to buy SEO,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. Find out what tech tools can build a local brand and why David disagrees partly with Mike’s suggestion.