Archive for August, 2016

Wells Fargo 2016 Together Experience Announces Autumn Tour Dates: Together We’ll Go Far

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Photos courtesy of MKTG Atlanta/Wells Fargo.

The Wells Fargo 2016 Together Experience Mobile Tour continues into the fall with more dates across the country. The tour has already hit major Music Festivals, Sporting events, Pride Festivals and Cultural Events. Consumers are given the opportunity to experience memorable and engaging activities- from virtual reality to photo ops to activity challenges. Our goal is to strengthen the key idea that Together We’ll Go Far.  A highlight of the Together Experience is a virtual reality challenge “Treasure Quest” that allows consumers to experience Wells Fargo brand history. Users enter a virtual world, transporting them to the brand’s 1860s beginnings back West. Users are greeted by the Virtual Banker at the start of their journey and then challenged to Gold Rush–era activities like gold panning while being guided by the Banker. Throughout the “Treasure Quest”, the user is directed to Wells Fargo ATMs and must complete their challenge back in time to return to modern day. This experience incorporates Wells Fargo’s current technology while providing the user with a greater understanding of the brand’s heritage. Join our Experience throughout 2016’s below dates and see how we can accomplish more, together.

National Tour Team Schedule

09/02 09/05 Matthews Alive Matthews, NC
09/17 09/18 LA County Fair Pomona, CA
09/24 09/24 San Jose Earthquakes Title Night San Jose, CA
10/01 10/02 Issaquah Salmon Days Issaquah, WA
10/08 10/08 Texas A&M First Home Game College Station, TX
10/15 10/15 Taste of Soul Los Angeles, CA
11/04 11/06 Dia de los Muertos Festival Las Vegas, NV

 

Turnkey Tour Schedule

09/09 09/10 Fiesta Mexicanas Wenatchee, WA
09/10 09/10 HRC Washington, DC
09/16 09/16 El Grito 2016 Portland, OR
09/24 09/24 National Book Festival Washington, DC
10/01 10/01 Battle of Piney Woods Houston, TX
10/02 10/02 Fan Fest NBA Portland, OR
10/05 10/06 Concord Nat’l Customer Service Week Concord, CA
10/21 10/23 Carolina Balloonfest Statesville, NC
10/23 10/23 Calle Orange Orlando, FL
11/16 11/18 National League of Cities Pittsburgh, PA
12/28 12/28 Texas Bowl Game Houston, TX
12/29 12/29 Valero Alamo Bowl San Antonio, TX

 

–Contributed by MKTG Atlanta 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 31st, 2016 at 3:10 pm

MKTG Rewards Winner Valerie Morales: Viva l’Italia!

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The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent this summer taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Valerie Morales is a Senior Payroll Analyst at MKTG NY, and Italy was always on her list of travel destinations. Her wish came true when she was elected one of our three international winners. Valerie toured Italy from August 9-18, accompanied by her Mom who flew in from Puerto Rico for the special trip.

MKTG: What was your initial feeling when you were chosen as a MKTG Rewards winner?
VM: Total shock. At the MKTG Rewards ceremony I saw my face appear on the screen and blanked out.  After that I was actually shy about it- and for those of you who know me- I am not shy! I was so humbled by the fact that I was chosen for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Why did you choose Italy as your destination?
VM:  Italy’s history has always fascinated me. I love art and studied the greats: Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello etc. Sadly, I don’t have the talent to draw but loved learning about them and always appreciated the beauty of their work. I also wanted to visit a country where the language would not be a barrier. I speak Spanish which has a similar foundation to Italian, so I felt that I could communicate in some way with the locals.

What was it like touring with a group, and would you return to Italy again?
VM: Most of our tour guides were from the cities we visited, and I loved how passionate they were about the history of their hometowns. We pretty much had a tour each day but were also given a day per city to independently explore, so that was fun. I would love to go back as I found it very easy to get around and there was so much left unexplored- such as Lido di Venezia, Milan and Sicily. Even the cities I did visit- Rome, Florence and Venice- left so much to be seen.

How did each city distinguish itself for you?
VM: Rome has a metropolitan feel, and I was surprised by the abundance of graffiti. Rome’s history is remarkably well-preserved and a wonder to experience. Naples is a calmer city, which came to my surprise as it is still threatened by an active volcano, Mount Vesuvius, which is the same volcano that buried Pompeii under ash over 1,500 years ago. Visiting nearby Pompeii was sad but impactful.  The city was indeed ahead of its time and the abrupt loss of their vibrant people was tragic. Florence was my favorite city, as its metropolitan area is both urban and rural. I was able to explore the city’s history, enjoyed some shopping from local vendors yet also visited a local vineyard. The cuisine and gelato were amazing, too! Positano was very congested and felt like the buildings and roads were sandwiched on top of each other. That made for breathtaking scenery and everyone was so outgoing and friendly. Venice was a marvel of a city, and an architectural wonder. We enjoyed the history, getting around by speedboat and learning how their famous Murano glass is made.

Did the Italian way of life appeal to you compared to the 24/7 NYC lifestyle you’re accustomed to?
VM: The typical Italian way of life is certainly appealing, but again, it depends on where you go-  it’s either laid back or the usual urban hustle and bustle.

Italy is defined by its food. What were some of the best meals you had… and some of the most exotic?
VM: The food was very tasty yet I kept it simple trying pastas and pizzas. Each city had their own way of preparing these dishes, but I must say, I love my NYC pizza above all!

What was one moment on the trip you will never forget?
VM: I could not have won this trip at a better time. I purposely chose to go during these dates as I was turning 40 on August 11. For my birthday, we spent the morning in Vatican City enjoying the art that I’ve always appreciated, followed by an evening dinner and moonlight tour of the Colosseum. It was an amazing experience and the tour group really added to it. Apparently my Mom spilled the beans that it was my birthday and the group were so sweet making the night more special. They even added a candle to my dessert to wish me a happy birthday!

 

–Contributed by Valerie Morales, MKTG NY 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 31st, 2016 at 2:11 pm

A Toast To Summer…With Some Diageo Brand Cocktails!

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Photos courtesy of Diageo.

Photos courtesy of Diageo.

Are you in need of some showstopping cocktails to make your Labor Day BBQ Instagram-worthy? Thanks to Smirnoff and Crown Royal, we’re keeping the pool party going with some inventive tipples born out of this summer’s #DiageoGames from Diageo’s Tales of the Cocktail event. It’s not too late to be patriotic (and a bit retro) with some red, white and blue popsicles infused with Smirnoff vodka. Smirnoff partnered with the Pop Parlour in Orlando to create these tasty treats that will take you back to your childhood, with a kick.

You’ll need some popsicle sticks and plastic cups to start.

Then combine:

Red layer: 1/2 ounce Smirnoff vodka with 1/2 ounce grenadine 

White layer: 1/2 ounce Smirnoff vodka and 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/4 ounce lime juice, and 1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice 

Blue layer: 1/2 ounce Smirnoff vodka and 1/2 ounce blue raspberry syrup

Throw in the freezer and enjoy when frozen!

Or, if you’re loving the days getting shorter and craving a cozy hot chocolate, why not make a cold version and spike it with Crown Royal whiskey… and go mile high with the toppings?!

For more cocktail inspiration, head over to Smirnoff and Crown Royal to keep the summer festivities going into September!

 

Contributed by the MKTG Diageo team

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 30th, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Levi’s® Opens Its Doors in the Bay Area: Back Where It All Began

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Photos courtesy of MKTG/Levi’s®.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With its roots planted in the Bay Area, it was only fitting that Levi’s® opened its doors in the East Bay. To kick off Levi’s® August 26 grand opening at its new Bay St. store in Emeryville, Levi’s® turned to MKTG to tap into Oakland’s art scene and create a grand opening evening event that welcomed Emeryville residents, while also inviting key social influencers. With a tailor shop located at the front of the store allowing customers to have their favorite denim pieces tailored by a team of specialized craftsmen, customization was the focus.

Using custom designs built specifically for this opening, local artists Daniel Chimowitz and Nigel Sussman brought their unique flare and artistic ability to a store already filled with excitement. Attendees gave their new denim jackets and jeans to both artists to customize with a unique style of screen printing and stenciling. Old school Bay Area coins and iconic East Bay imagery were just some of the many embellishment options for attendees.

In addition to artist engagements, attendees were treated to two local food trucks, music and drinks. With an Oakland vibe and customization at the center of the experience, the Bay St. store saw over 350 people pass through its doors over the course of the four-hour event.

It’s safe to say that Levi’s® showed up in style!

 

–Contributed by MKTG San Francisco

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 30th, 2016 at 10:54 am

A Day in the Life: Ari Solomon, MKTG Atlanta

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Comparing Ari Solomon’s Atlanta “Day in the Life” to our previous feature of Jonathan Zheng’s Singapore experience is definitive proof about what it’s like to work at MKTG: we’re such a connected network focused on the human experience, yet each office enthusiastically distinguishes itself through the city it calls home. Let’s take a trip down to The Peach State, checking in with Ari Solomon, Client Services at MKTG Atlanta.  Ari proves that his hometown is a city with so much more than the usual stereotypes of BBQ, endless traffic and Southern hospitality. After a day’s work amidst the tightly-knit culture that MKTG Atlanta is known for, Ari takes on the ATL as a roving foodie, music expert and hockey player.

MKTG: What do you work on?
AS:
I work on Client Services for The Wine Group account. My daily responsibilities include event management, client communication, strategy, ideation, vendor sourcing and hospitality for the account’s music festival programs. Due to my 10+ years of music industry experience at CAA and Live Nation, I’ve been able to provide unique opportunities to elevate the brand’s festival experience through artist procurement, contract development, strategic partnerships, licensing and publicity opportunities. In addition, I enjoy providing insight to coworkers who inquire about opportunities to integrate their accounts into the music business.

What time do you wake up on a typical work day?
AS: I usually hit the snooze button around 6:15 am and wake up at 6:30 am.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you have a routine?
AS: I scroll through my Twitter List to catch up on pop culture and tech news, brew a cup of coffee, answer work and personal emails, shower, check in with family and scour the fridge for items that may pass as lunch.

Your day cannot be properly started without ______
AS: Having coffee with my wife before she starts her shift at the hospital- she’s a postpartum nurse.

How do you commute to work and do you enjoy your commute? Details please!
AS: Drive. I don’t mind the commute because I utilize the time listening to my favorite podcasts.

Which podcasts do you listen to?
AS: I really got into podcasts when my car radio died. I enjoy listening to episodes of Fox’s Radio Newscast, Recode Media with Peter Kafka, The Joe Rogan Experience and NPR’s All Songs Considered.

Does your day have a soundtrack? If so, what’s on your playlist that is a daily obsession or gives you that stroke of genius?
AS: Absolutely. I usually let my daily mood dictate the era, genre and artist, however, The Beatles, The Stones, Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Ryan Adams, Zac Brown Band, and Kings of Leon are daily obsessions. I’m currently loving new music from The Record Company, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Chris Stapleton- check them out and let me know what you think!

Name your top five apps and why.
AS: Spotify: I love being able to listen to my entire music library at any time, and I enjoy exchanging playlists with music fans from around the world.
Twitter (Lists): One stop shop for all my favorite media and news outlets.
Waze: It corrects my terrible sense of direction and helps me defeat Atlanta traffic.
Whatsapp: Affordable way to stay in touch with family in Israel and South Africa.
Mixology: Provides inspiration for my inner mixologist.

What are some restaurants or spots near your office that make your day- from a lunch place that knows your ‘usual’ to a beautiful park- what locales do you live by?
AS: It’s a great time to be a foodie in Atlanta. The culinary scene is rapidly increasing and we are seeing award-winning chefs debuting trendy restaurants every weekend.
Muss and Turners: Deli by day and bistro by night with “no culinary boundaries and no pretense.” Also, the speakeasy located behind the kitchen freezer door is a great spot for post-work drinks.
Heirloom Market: Where “The South” meets South Korea to create delicious smoked BBQ. I recommend the smoked tri-tip sandwich with the sweet heat sauce.
Porch Light Latin Kitchen: Local farm-to-table Central American-inspired cuisine. The friendly chef is known for sitting down at your table, grabbing a drink and discussing his creations with you.
Canoe: Fresh seasonal dishes with a view of the Chattahoochee River, colorful gardens and natural greenery.

What after-work activity makes your week complete?
AS: I’ve been playing ice hockey since I was 7-years-old and I currently play in the Atlanta Amateur Hockey League.

 

Contributed by MKTG Atlanta & MKTG Global Communications team

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 25th, 2016 at 10:17 am

Smirnoff House: The Party Is Just Getting Started

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MKTG has already brought some serious Smirnoff House party vibes to the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas & HARD Summer this year- and we’re just getting started.  The House’s intimate stage puts you only a fist bump away from your favorite headlining DJs, many of whom just finished playing in front of 70,000+ crowds at a main stage.DJs in our House use this platform to transcend typical genre boundaries playing their favorite floor-shaking sounds (it literally shakes!) and pairing up with other top artists B2B (that’s back-to-back, for all you EDM newbies) to create a special moment for their fans. You never know who will show up to crash this House party until they’re behind the decks (sometimes we don’t even know)!

Smirnoff House will be throwing it down again at Nocturnal Wonderland during Labor Day Weekend (9/2 – 9/4) and EDC Orlando (11/4 – 11/5) to round out 2016.  We are gearing up for an even more massive 2017 festival season, but in the meantime, be sure to check out some WTF moments.

If you can’t crash our party at a festival near you, don’t fret. Here are some of our FAVORITE SETS in their entirety to turn your desk, living room or wherever into your own Smirnoff House party!

Contributed by MKTG Smirnoff team

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 24th, 2016 at 10:44 am

MKTG Extends To Germany Through Acquisition of Markenloft

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August 18, 2016: Dentsu Aegis Network today announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire Markenloft GmbH (“Markenloft”), a leading brand and lifestyle marketing agency in Germany. The completion of this acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Markenloft will be fully integrated in the lifestyle marketing agency MKTG, further expanding the brand’s footprint around the world and strengthening the network’s sports and entertainment, experiential and lifestyle marketing offering.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Dusseldorf, Markenloft has grown to become a leading brand and lifestyle marketing agency in Germany by creating new standards for advisory client relations based on ‘emotional brand selling’. Markenloft’s holistic brand experience approach brings together event marketing, live communication & experience production, experiential campaigns, sports & entertainment consulting, sponsorship management and celebrity consulting. With a strong team of more than 30 experiential marketing experts, the agency provides lifestyle marketing services to high profile clients across various industries.

Following the acquisition, Sebastian Birwe and Kai Burkhard – Founders and Managing Partners – will continue to lead their successful team within the new MKTG offering across Germany. They will report to Zoja Paskaljevic, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Germany.

Zoja Paskaljevic, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Germany, commented: “This is a really exciting opportunity for our group and I am delighted to welcome the Markenloft team to our network. Their experience and proven leadership will provide us with solid foundation to launch MKTG in Germany and significantly strengthen our lifestyle marketing offering globally. Bringing Markenloft to Dentsu Aegis Germany will build up an entirely new brand experience offering to deliver even more value for our clients.”

Charlie Horsey, Global Brand President MKTG, said: Establishing a presence in Germany has been a priority for us since being acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network in August 2014. We were committed to identifying an existing business that was not only a market leader and a functional fit, but a cultural fit. We found that in Markenloft from our first meeting. Sebastian and Kai have built out an incredible business, one that perfectly complements the integrated lifestyle marketing service offering we have been building out around the globe. We very much look forward to working with Sebastian, Kai and their entire team to achieve great things for MKTG, our employees and, of course, for our clients.

Sebastian Birwe, Managing Partner of Markenloft, commented: “We are truly excited to be joining the innovative Dentsu Aegis Network and launch MKTG in Germany. With this partnership, Markenloft will empower its talent, clients and ideas through MKTG’s established global network and resources that are beautifully aligned with our purpose and vision of our industry.”

“It’s an exciting day for Markenloft. MKTG is an extraordinary international network because of their commitment to always being at the forefront of brand experience and lifestyle marketing and we are thrilled to join forces. Together we can leverage the synergies in creativity and innovation on an global scale”, Kai Burkhard, Managing Partner of Markenloft, added.

 

Contributed by Dentsu Aegis Network 

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Farewell MKTG Summer Interns – One More for the Road!

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Connor (l) and Dan (r) prepping for the intern team’s farewell party, flanked by yummy Diageo brand cocktails.

As summer comes to an end, that means it’s time to bid farewell to our stellar 2016 Sales & Marketing team interns. We’re following up with Connor Kubikowski (St. Joseph’s University) and Daniel Andree (University of Notre Dame), as they close out a successful season experiencing the experiential and all that MKTG has to offer.

Q: You both arrived at this internship with a basic understanding of experiential marketing. Now that you’ve actually “experienced the experiential,”what would be some keywords or overall thoughts you have about MKTG’s services?

CK: After being with MKTG for the past ten weeks, I have been exposed to every aspect of MKTG’s services and I would have to say that the work we do is truly incredible. I had the opportunity to take part in the beginning stages of an event, which I eventually helped run and bring to life with my fellow colleagues. Having this opportunity made it very clear that MKTG’s employees both care about and ensure the highest quality in their work.

DA: I had the opportunity to see what really makes experiential marketing different from the rest of the industry. Marketing is all about trying to connect brands and businesses with real people. In experiential and lifestyle marketing, you do that in a special sort of way. MKTG creates experiences and memories for their consumers that seamlessly fit into their lives; they try to help build a more personal relationship with them. One of the things I enjoyed most was that experiential allows you see a client’s immediate reaction – compared to other mediums.

Q: During your time with MKTG, was there an experience in particular where you really felt the human connection of experiential marketing? Any electrifying moments where you witnessed how MKTG’s work truly connects their clients with its audience?

CK: The first time I felt a human connection with experiential marketing was during one of my first few weeks at MKTG. There was an activation on the New York City High Line for Olive Garden and the theme was a “Never Ending Family Table.” The activation started with a few tables and chairs, and they continuously added more on as people showed up. This resonated with me because my mother has an Italian background and the notion of a never-ending table is true in my house, so it created that connection with the Olive Garden.

DA: The coolest human connection I had was during my first week at MKTG. I was participating in a Nike Home Run in Central Park. As we ran, other runners that were not part of our Home Run would call out “Go Nike Run Club!” as we would pass them. It was really cool to see and feel that sense of community.

As the run continued I got to see how widespread the Nike community is. While we were running, another runner about my age joined up next to our pacer and asked if he could join our group. It turned out he was from Australia and recognized the pacer’s shirt since he participates in the Nike Run Club back home Down Under.

Q: The 2016 PGA Championship in July was the arc of your internship. You strategized and planned MKTG’s presence at Baltusrol with our New Business team- then fully executed everything you planned. Talk about some of the highs and lows of putting together a full-fledged high profile event- and the moments where you really felt proud of all the hard work.

CK: Being a part of MKTG’s presence at the 2016 PGA Championship was an incredible experience for me. Having the ability to work on a PGA Major, an event of such magnitude, as an intern, was extremely special. At a young age, I grew up watching golfers play in Major Championships and wished that one day I could do the same. The next best thing to playing in one is working it. That was so cool.

DA: It’s hard to pick out just one high point from that whole week. We did so many different things and it was really rewarding to see all of our hard work and planning come to fruition. Among others, one thing I was really excited about was getting Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and John Daly’s autographs.

In truth, a low point of the week was the rainy weather during a few of the days. Saturday was rained out midway through the competition. It was disappointing that we didn’t get to see the whole day through.

Q: A couple of months from now when you’re sitting in class staring out the window, reminiscing about MKTG summertime vibes, what fun moments will bring a smile to your faces?

CK: One of the fun moments that will bring a smile to my face has to be one of the very first days of my internship. Like good interns, we were sitting at our desks working, while everyone headed to the bar for drinks. One of our co-workers came over to us and said, “What are you guys doing here? Come to the bar, have some champagne and let’s start your internship off right!” And yes, I’m over 21…

DA: As I previously mentioned, at the PGA there was some rain throughout the week. As Paige (McConney – MKTG Sales & Marketing Coordinator), Connor and I were making our long trek back to the cars, we got caught in a torrential rainstorm. We had umbrellas, but they didn’t help much when the rain is coming at you sideways. When we got to the car we were completely soaked and muddy. It was so ridiculous that we all just had to laugh.

Q: Most companies feel that internships should be mandatory for pending college grads. Do you feel that this experience thrust you into a real understanding of agency life and prepared you for what is to come in 2017?

CK: This experience was definitely beneficial for me because it provided an understanding of what the agency life is like, and of the opportunities that are out there in the “real world.” Along the way I was able to create new relationships and make new friends, be a part of some very cool events and activations, and ultimately further myself on my career path.

DA: This summer has really prepared me for what will come after graduation in 2017. It was an amazing experience and I learned many things that I will be sure to use both in my professional and personal life. I will not forget all the people I met and connections I made. It has given me a better picture of where I hope to see myself five years down the road and has given me many of the tools to get there.

Q: And finally, we know you’ll miss socializing at our awesome bar. We’ll wish you guys were there, too. Which Diageo brand will you miss sipping on the most?!

CK: I will miss sipping on Don Julio the most. I have grown a huge appreciation for that brand over the past few months and I’m sure I will continue to enjoy it (responsibly) in the future!

DA: I think I will miss the Guinness on tap at our bar the most. To be honest, coming in at the beginning of the summer I was never really a Guinness fan, but after learning more about the brand and its history (as well as learning how to properly pour a pint), I’ve gained quite an appreciation for “the black stuff.”

–Contributed by MKTG Global Communications Team

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Written by Paige McConney
Paige McConney

August 12th, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Influencers Are People, Too!

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There have been a lot of articles written lately on Influencer Marketing. The sentiment seems to range from frustration (“Why Brands Fail at Influencer Marketing”) to bitterness (“Is It Time To Call Bullshit on Influencer Marketing?”). As we navigate the ever-changing “new normal” of data driven marketing, distribution platforms, emerging technologies, and media channels, we too often lose the humanity in our craft. Nowhere is this more critical than when we look to embrace those with influence and have them embrace us in return.

To start, let me share one of the lenses I look through on the topic. Nine years ago I met a young hip-hop dancer from Indiana named Will Adams, a great kid with a big smile and even bigger talents. He moved to LA, determined to make a career out of hip hop dance and got on the grind. With endless classes and auditions while doing whatever it took to get by, he was the embodiment of the starving artist.

I started a video production company dedicated to the dance world with my friend and videographer Helton “Brazil” Siqueira. Together we created content – and lots of it – for dancers like Will and dozens of others. We did it out of love for the art form and the artists themselves. Fast forward, “Wildabeast” now has amassed more than 1.6 million YouTube subscribers. One of his class videos has an attention-getting 92 million views and his content is highly anticipated and voraciously consumed.

An influencer in every sense of the word, Willdabeast’s peers, students and fans take cues from him on everything from fashion to food to electronics. As you might imagine, brands and agencies have tried to leverage his influence, sometimes clumsily, sometimes offensively. What should be a match made in heaven looks more like an awkward courtship.

Seemingly requisite in blog posts these days are lists, so here are 4 guideposts to consider when wading into the Influencer Marketing waters:

1. Understand What Type of Influencer You’re Dealing With

Beyond a boatload of eyeballs, it’s important to take a look at how and why these folks are influencers. What are they known for? What cues do people look to them for, and through what lens do people view them? The credibility of any influencer will vary from topic to topic based on their actual experience and role in the space. Brands should understand those nuances when approaching any influencer.

Some influencer profiles might include Practitioner, someone who is hands-on in his/her art form, sport, or discipline. An Analyst, similar perhaps to an academic, may be an individual who is viewed as having credibility in analyzing and critiquing the particular discipline, usually based on an investment of study and learning in the space. A Curator, as many of the new YouTube stars are, has built a following as someone who is agnostic, constantly searching out, assessing and sharing the latest trends and techniques.

Think of the differences between how people view influencers within the context of the influencer’s experience and role. In fashion for example, these nuances become apparent when looking at designer Christian Soriano, fashion blogger Sylvia Haghjoo, and Valerie Steele, fashion historian, curator, and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. All are highly credible in the fashion space, but come from three distinct perspectives.

It is important to understand how the influenced view the influencer. This relationship provides a critical foundational underpinning to an influencer strategy.

2. Understand How They Relate to Your Brand

Similarly, it is critical to understand how the influencer relates to your brand. And this is often a challenge for marketers as we may view our brands through rose-colored glasses, or perhaps more relevant, a sepia tone Instagram filter. Don’t try to force your brand into a role that is inauthentic.

Work hard to take an objective view on this topic. Is the influencer a functional user, where the product is essential to the creation of their art and the development of their discipline? Are they an ancillary user where the product might play a supporting role, or perhaps a lifestyle user where the product has no direct line-of-sight to the discipline but is connected to the influencer’s personal identity and preferences.

Especially for products where competitive parity is the norm, it is often what your brand stands for that makes the difference. And that stance in today’s connected world is shown and proven by actions, not messaging.

In short, don’t try to convince people that Willdabeast uses your candy bar to fuel up for a class. Perhaps instead, simply show the community that you value his art form and are a company that is committing resources to make sure he is able to create more of it. Will’s loyal followers will love you – and your candy bar – for it.

3. Come to Know Them as People, Not Just Eyeballs

When you meet Willdabeast, you will find someone with a huge heart, a big smile and sharp wit who has achieved a level of celebrity few have within the dance world, evidenced by direct outreach to him from music icons like Diddy and Usher. You will hear people on the streets of LA calling out his name in passing cars and sharing their personal stories of how he inspires them, even having “saved their lives” through dance.

What you will likely not gather in a cursory discussion is his personal path, the decade of grinding it out in North Hollywood, 8 – 10 hours a day between dancing, teaching classes, auditions and working on his choreography chops. Nor will you understand his vision for the future. Is there a “Super Bowl” or an “Oscar” in their discipline the influencer is trying to achieve? Or perhaps they, like Willdabeast, have a bigger vision, a life’s mission to expand their art form, build a global culture of inclusion and provide a platform and path for young aspiring artists.

What you also might miss is that sometimes these influencers have been knocking on your door and have been rebuffed. It’s kinda like the not-so-popular kid in school that you ignored and now they have become quite attractive. A delicate dance to be sure.

Invest time in understanding their personal story, what they stand for and what are their ambitions. Come to know their craft. Get out there in the midst of it and understand their community. If you spent half a day at “BuildaBeast2016” and sat in the room where 1,500 amazingly talented dancers practiced their craft with Wildabeast and the industry’s best, you would be stunned at the talent, diversity and spirit of this massive, global subculture, and your brand’s place at the party might come more clearly into focus.

4. Establish a Relationship With Them

When the appropriate investment has been made and time spent with your influencer and his/her community, a relationship can develop. You will begin to understand each other’s needs and goals and you will collaborate enthusiastically, with each looking for ways to add value to the other. You will understand and think of creative ways that can the brand support the influencers’ vision & goals…and it may not be all about money.

You want to build a relationship, not execute a contract.

Another friend and influencer in the dance world (with nearly 2M YouTube subscribers) was approached by one of the largest beverage brands in the world (with about 900k YouTube subscribers). They waved their logo and history in front of him and essentially wanted to rent his eyeballs. CPM calculations were done and a fee was set as the cornerstone of the relationship.

This influencer quickly understood that the brand didn’t know, or probably care much about him as a person or an artist. Also, he’s no dummy. They entered into a contract where every tweet, like, mention and post had a hard line item cost to it. It was strictly business. He lived up to his contractual obligations and gladly took their money. There was no sincerity, no joy and little passion for the brand. It was a transaction. He and his followers knew it was such and they said “good on you for getting a piece of the action”. By the way, he was a hardcore consumer of that brands’ main competitor and when the cameras were off, he carried that competitor brand everywhere he went. Which brand do you think his followers went out and bought?

Bottom line? Be real. Care. Be open to new possibilities and relationships. People are smart and they can smell marketing bullshit a mile away. They tend to operate in closed communities, requiring and invitation and an escort. Invest in a relationship where you come to know your influencers. When you care about these people as, well, people, things start to align and the natural harmony of the relationship can blossom. Remember you are not simply making a media buy; you are engaging a person in an age-old relationship, as vocal brand ambassadors, but with bigger amplifiers.

When you take the time and get it right, the true power of Influencer Marketing is unleashed: joyful, effusive and sincere ambassadorship of your brand that is undeniably authentic.

And by the way, if anyone is interested in engaging with this massive, diverse and global community that lives in the center of pop culture, at the intersection of music, sports and fashion, hit me up. I’ll be happy to escort you in…as long as you promise to behave.

Contributed by Paul Fitzpatrick, MKTG Chicago 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 10th, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Navigating Olympic Advertising- Rule 40

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The Olympics have been setting social media into a frenzied spin, yet your brands probably won’t be able to talk about it! Here at MKTG we have great experience in rights holder restrictions and helping brands navigate them to gain traction with creative ideas. We’ve been inundated by brands and network agencies asking us what can and can’t be done with advertising around the Olympics.

The phrase ‘Rule 40′ sends shudders down most marketers’ spines but what does it actually mean and how can you navigate your brands around these murky, hazardous waters?

In theory, Rule 40 stops the over-commercialisation of the Olympics but practically, it simply gives the IOC a way to prevent non-sponsors, athletes and your local bakery from hijacking the Olympics’ valuable brand terms and logos.

Generally speaking Rule 40 has actually been relaxed – contrary to many scare mongering reports. As of this year, the IOC now allow generic non-Olympic sponsor advertising during the period of the Games, provided it had been approved before March 2016 and is clearly part of a longer term marketing campaign (i.e. not just for the two weeks of the Games).

But what does that mean if your brand didn’t apply for these sanctions?  If you’re not an official sponsor like P&G, Coca-Cola or Visa, even posting about the Olympics on social media during the official blackout period — which started last Wednesday and ends on 24th August — can be like doing the 100-yard dash down Oxford Street trying to catch the rarest of Pokemon (if you didn’t get that analogy; it’s a minefield!).

Even, words such as ‘2016’, ‘effort’ and ‘Olympian’ cannot be used by non-approved sponsors in any sort of advertising.

Here’s a guide to the restrictions against business activity during the games:

    You can’t use hashtags that include Olympics trademarks such as #TeamGB or #Rio2016.
    You cannot use any official Olympics logos.
    You cannot post any photos taken at the Olympics.
    You can’t feature Olympic athletes in your social posts.
    You can’t even wish them luck.
    Don’t post any Olympics results.
    You can’t share anything from official Olympics social media accounts. Even retweets are prohibited.
    You cannot create your own version of Olympic symbols, “whether made from your own logo, triangles, hexagons, soda bottle tops, onion rings, car tires, drink coasters, basketballs, etc.”
    Do not host an Olympic- or Paralympic-themed contest or team-building event for employees.

These are just the top line restrictions, there are further phrases and terminology that brands are restricted from using.

In summary, the IOC are trying to protect the investment of their partners and prevent competitor brands from jumping on the positive sentiment of the Olympics.

What are the penalties?  Well, if you break these rules, you will first likely be sent a cease and desist letter, demanding that you remove the content.  The next step would be for the local Olympic Committee taking legal action against your business.  As such, the policing of this will be dependent on the strength and commitment of the local Olympic Committee – here in GB and also in USA, they are pretty hot on it, as you’d expect.

But non-sponsor brands can still participate in the Olympics conversation by creatively latching onto specific moments during the games, as Oreo did with its on-the-fly “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the Super Bowl blackout. This means establishing a war-room type strategy, when something uplifting or nerve-wracking happens. Other brands are using individual influencers (such as former Olympians) to help get their messages out during the Games. So, with the right message and the right brand, there will be opportunities to talk about it.  Remember to also run any campaign ideas for the Olympics past your local Legal team.

Ultimately, we have to think a little bit differently – don’t think of it as, “How are we going to get around the rule?'” but more, “How are we going to work within the rule, and what’s our tone of voice?”

 

–Contributed by Charlie Powell, MKTG UK 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 9th, 2016 at 3:34 pm