Archive for the ‘Trends of the Trade’ Category

MKTG Women’s Leadership Group Is A Growing Force

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womensleadership

Born in 2015, MKTG’s Women’s Leadership Group was founded as a way to connect and unite female colleagues as they navigate their way from entry level to executive, focusing on the many facets of a successful woman including career, family, physical health, etc. The group also focuses on raising women’s voices on topics that matter to them and increasing the level of awareness on the issues that affect our overall culture. Our colleagues at Team Epic have been operating East Coast chapters throughout our Westport, Charlotte and Atlanta offices, and as we venture into 2017, the network is continuing to blossom across MKTG’s North American offices.

The Team Epic group follows five key objectives with a foundation of applying these learnings to both personal and professional life:

Listen to the issues and challenges faced by women of the agency

Identify stumbling blocks that inhibit our personal and professional effectiveness

Support each other as leaders of the agency and our industry

Develop self-awareness and trust

Collaborate to bring about positive change for the agency

How did this all come about? It is impressive to think that a few casual conversations over post-work drinks saw the opportunity to unite our female network and turned these thoughts into a powerful reality. As one of the founders, Samantha Bond, Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Entertainment, Westport, said, “We thought it would be great for our female colleagues to have a safe space for mentorship, social and professional growth. We realized that this group could fuel opportunities for empowerment with scheduled events throughout the year and the help of senior leaders to impart their wisdom.” Fellow founder, Kati Kasch, Senior Manager, Sponsorship and Events, Denver, added “The response has been incredible.  High levels of participation, collaborative curriculum and the interest by other offices, prove that we weren’t alone in looking for a group like the one we created.”

Leading Atlanta organizer Erica Calhoun, VP, Client Services agreed, “Not only was this an opportunity for women to come together and discuss very important issues for this segment of our workforce, it also allowed for growth and collegial interaction outside of specific project work.”

While each office schedules their events separately, both groups take on a grassroots collaborative standpoint, and everyone is allowed to develop and propose ideas.

The groups make use of our network’s resources and takes on broad topics, zeroing in on subject matter relevant to professional women. A recent ‘finance’ focused course honed in on general financial guidance and the importance of investing. This summer’s focus was ‘fitness’ and both Atlanta and Westport hosted self-defense courses, particularly since so many of our female colleagues travel alone so often. Westport worked with a certified R.A.D instructor who visited the office teaching a free-of-charge self-defense class covering fundamentals of self-awareness and teaching basic moves. The session was free and participants were then invited to donate to the instructor’s charity of choice, the Special Olympics. Atlanta hosted female police officers from the local Marietta Police Department who discussed aspects of women’s personal safety- from available safety apps, risk reduction to consent and a R.A.D self-defense course.

Sessions take on a mix of serious discussions and fun bonding experiences; both teams are ending the year with a charity volunteering session and some room for happy hour and a Beyoncé dance class!

Although events have centered on the Westport, Charlotte, and Atlanta metro areas, MKTG offices from Chicago to the West Coast have sparked interest in starting their own branches.  Look out for more updates on what this dynamo of a network will be making happen!

Westport Founders: Kati Kasch and Samantha Bond

Atlanta Founders: Erica Calhoun, Christine Ralph, Trayce Griffies

 

–Contributed by Team Epic & MKTG Global Communications team

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What Millennials Want to See (and Take Home) From Branded Events

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Illustration by: Carlos Monteiro

Illustration by: Carlos Monteiro

 

Everyone loves a good party, and brands know that. As more events are sponsored, the ways that brands interact with partygoers before and after is becoming more important.

Splash, creator of experiential marketing software, mined its data for trends among millennial partiers who attend branded events.

“The brands winning over the millennial generation are delivering experiences, not just things,” said Ben Hindman, co-founder, CEO of Splash. “The savviest marketers understand the crucial link between events and brand loyalty—particularly when it comes to millennials. If you’re not creating experiences and memories, you’re not building anything.”

For the full article, see here

Source: Adweek c/o Splash, the leader in innovative experiential marketing software. We are not affiliated with Splash but love these infographics and the insights. Thanks Splash! 

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Today’s Trends: Portrait of Millennial Women

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By Ellie Strube, Experience Strategist

Millennial women’s aspirations for their lives are fluid, not black and white; they hope to balance both the traditional and non-traditional. Accordingly, they seek products that respect all of the roles they play.

These women have grown up in an era where gender equality was an assumed reality and positive reinforcement was ubiquitous. They are empowered with choice, but are comfortable making decisions based on what benefits them as individuals – rather than what advances society as a whole.

They prefer to be label-free, unencumbered and personally motivated. Egalitarianism is the new normal and brands need to know this. Blending traditional and non-traditional, choosing to be stay-at-home, part-time or full-time, there isn’t one formula and these women do not appreciate the mommy wars.

Millennial women feel Secret Deodorant is a brand that speaks to them. The campaign addresses how women have different roles – and brands need to know this. Further, Secret believes all people should be able to pursue their goals without fear. Women can be active, get nervous, lift their arms and just live their life without fear or embarrassment.

Sources: Iconoculture; Dig

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Written by Theo Berenson
Theo Berenson

February 29th, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Trends of the Trade: CES 2016

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Another year, another CES, the infamous consumer electronics expo that beckons technocrati from around the globe to descend on the Las Vegas Strip each year—converting Sin City into a veritable shopping mall of the future for one fleeting week. Drawing in well over 3,800+ exhibitors and 170,000+ attendees each year, CES is an undisputed premier tech conference filled to the brim with the latest tech—from the mundane to the paradigm shifting. It’s here that innovators, brands, media, and marketers all collide and mingle to learn about what’s new, what’s next, and frankly just geek out at all the cool stuff.

While a good portion of the products on the show floor never quite make it to mass-market consumer adoption in the ways they are shown then. CES has never truly been about the short-term future; it’s been about pushing boundaries and expanding our definitions of what’s possible. A proof of concept, if you will, to show the world just how innovative the world can be. The present may be set, but the future is infinitely pliable. Naysayers and pessimists may call that outlook naïve, but you can’t get to the next big idea without a couple quirky first steps to help you along the way.

As our clients/brands become increasingly more comfortable exploring new technologies and emerging mediums of engagement, here’s what we’re seeing will be hot experiential trends for 2016:

INTIMACY

Wearables are here to stay. With the continued maturation of the industry and shift from fitness to health and wellness, expect to see them pop up more and more in brand activations as takeaways and experience enhancers. The form factor for sensors in general has become increasingly smaller and durable over the years, enabling one of the more intriguing items on the show floor this year to come to fruition: smart clothing. Companies such as Sensoria have utilized textile sensors to create more seamless / intuitive experiences, in this case a pair of sensor embedded socks that track your running (from run cadence to foot impact).

Sensors are getting even smarter. As all the tech companies race to bring the first fully autonomous car to market, the sensor industry (particularly, object detection and identification) has seen a huge boom in innovation. Netamo announced their outdoor security camera system “Presence to critical acclaim, the camera includes a robust identification software that can distinguish between people, cars, and animals with surprising speed and accuracy.

What does this all mean, you ask? Simple. Continued innovations in wearables and sensors represent a prime opportunity for marketers to create more engaging and dynamic personal experiences that are tailored to each consumer.

 

IMMERSION

At MKTG, we’ve been playing around with Virtual Reality for a couple of years now—carefully watching its development from a relatively unheard of niche gamer centric gizmo to a huge untapped new medium for filmmakers, artists, and brands.

2016 will be the year VR reaches critical mass. With the imminent release of high-end consumer facing VR (e.g. Oculus) later this year, and continued public interest for more mobile friendly VR (e.g. Gear VR and Google Cardboard), don’t expect to see the appetite for VR to drop any time soon.

The major VR players are pretty much set at this point: Oculus, HTC, Google, and Samsung. This year’s VR standouts at CES were mainly focused around hardware extensions for virtual reality environments. Products such as the Krush Moveo, Virtuix Omni, and Infinadeck all answer one problem that holds back full immersion in VR, movement.

While we’re still quite a ways off from a Star Trek like holodeck, with VR marketers have a unique opportunity to craft and deploy incredibly immersive experiences in virtually any location or condition.

INTEGRATION

IoT is the buzz word that inevitably gets thrown around each year at CES. While there is no shortage of smart products out in the marketplace, a clear winner for a universal/unified platform to manage all these smart devices has yet to emerge. As the public waits before taking the big plunge into smart homes, the industry has been busy creating micro-integrated ecosystems to whet consumers’ appetites. 

To that effect, as consumers expectations shift from what a specific product or service provides individually, to how does this product add value to a connected lifestyle, thinking big picture and integrated will continue to be more and more important to brands and marketers.

TL;DR: Ongoing developments in wearables, VR, and sensors will enable marketers to easily create more tailored, personal, and brand experiences/activations in 2016.

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Written by Chris Liao
Chris Liao

January 15th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

MKTG Brings You: Merry & Bright Bevies

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With the countdown to the holiday break in full effect, we wanted to make sure all of our fantastic followers are well equipped to bring the holiday cheer.  Show off your hospitality and bartending skills with the below list of holiday cocktails that will be sure to wow your friends and family.

The Zacapa Solera Hot Cocoa
ZacapaHotCocoa

1 1/4 ounces Zacapa Rum 23
1/2 ounce Pedro Ximenez Sherry
5 ounces Hot Cocoa
Grated Cinnamon and Cracked Pink Peppercorn for Garnish
Combine rum, sherry and hot cocoa into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour contents into glass mug. Garnish with grated cinnamon and pink peppercorn.
(Recipe by Lynnette Marrero for Zacapa)

 

 

An Old Fashioned Holiday
OldFashion

1/2 
teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 
orange peel
5
 dashes Angostura bitters
1 1/2
 ounces Bulleit bourbon
1 1/2 
ounces apple cider
Muddle sugar, peel and bitters until sugar dissolves. Add bourbon and apple cider and add ice. 

 

 

Tanqueray Gin Flip
GinFlip

1 ¼ ounces Tanqueray® London Dry
½ ounce almond syrup
½ ounce heavy cream
1 egg
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with star anise.
(Recipe courtesy of Tanqueray)

 

 

Morgan Mule
Mogan Mule1.5  oz. Captain Morgan® Original Spiced Rum
4  oz. ginger beer
2  sprig(s) mint
2  lime wheels
Muddle a mint sprig and lime wheel in the bottom of a tall glass. Add rum and ginger beer. Garnish with mint and lime.
(Recipe courtesy of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum)

 

 

 

 

The Ketel Fig & Rosemary
Ketel-One-Fig-Rosemary1.5 oz. Ketel One Oranje® Flavored Vodka
1 tsp. Dalmatia original fig spread
1 small branch of rosemary
0.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Club soda
Dry shake Ketel One Oranje flavored vodka, fig spread and rosemary in a mixing glass. Add lemon juice and simple syrup and shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and Angostura bitters.
(Courtesy of Kettle One)

 

Don’t forget to get the party started with MKTG’s own Holiday Cheer mix on Spotify.

 

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Written by Theo Berenson
Theo Berenson

December 22nd, 2015 at 12:19 pm

MKTG INC @ Cannes Lions 2015

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A team from MKTG INC recently traveled to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The festival is the annual mecca for the global marketing communications industry, with the most powerful brands, media outlets, agencies of all kinds (advertising, PR, experiential, digital, technology, data, social, mobile, creative, and many many others) – approximately 15,000 people, flocking to Cannes to network, to visit brand experiences, to close major deals, to learn, to meet a lot of people, and in many cases take home some hardware.

Sure, the setting is seriously glorious, but it is honestly a beast of a week. Think Sundance or CES…at the beach…in the South of France, in the summer. You are running, watching a panel on a rooftop in 85 degree heat, then running into a freezing cold conference room and back again, and grabbing food along the way, usually until sundown when things slow up a bit.

Luckily, my friend Julie Thompson, a 16-year Cannes Lions veteran, wrote this hugely insightful article for Adweek, that I used as gospel to make sure I made the most of my four days in Cannes. Even with Julie’s help, I still overbooked myself, but not complaining.

Between the client and press meetings at our home base, the Dentsu Aegis Beach House, panels, Q&As, creative showcases, press sit-downs, more panels from Adweek, Medialink, digiday, LinkedIn and visits to Google Beach, Facebook’s Hacker Square, and my favorite stop, The Girls Lounge, I averaged 22,000 steps a day according to my trusty companion, my FitBit.

Anyway, rather than yarn on, I figured I’d share with you some photos I snapped along the way:

 

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EMS 2015 Takeaways

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EMS 15

The Good (But Not Surprising) News

Experiential is bigger than ever and only going to grow in importance. More and more brands are putting experiences at or near the center of their marketing mix. It’s increasingly a driving force, making up much of campaign content. One need look no further than this year’s Grand Ex winner – Bud Light and Mosaic’s Up for Whatever – to appreciate the sheer magnitude of this intensifying shift. Some data for 2015:

– 79% of brands plan to execute more experiential programs

– Budgets are expected to increase by more than 6%

Results. We all know that experiential marketing, done well, works. But there’s rising data to back this up which is partly why so many brands are turning to what we do.

– Over 75% of brands see better than a 2:1 ROI on their investment

– After an event, 74% of participants have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted

– 87% of respondents say a live event helps them understand products or services better than a TV spot

– Experiential drives consumers to purchase: 98% of people are more inclined to purchase as a result of attending an event

– 71% of participants tell a friend or family member about their experience

northface

Recurring Themes

In examining the vast array of work showcased and dissected at this year’s summit, there were a few marketer behaviors that generated breakthrough experiences:

– They were bold. A no-fear attitude. The thinking is big risk, big reward. Examples: Heineken and KY Jelly (yes, KY Jelly).

– They pulled at heartstrings. Direct quote: “If they’re crying, you’re doing your job.” Examples: Dove, P&G.

– They created user-triggered experiences. See bullet one – this can be dicey – but not knowing what you’re going to get can be the brilliance of it too. Examples: Visa, Old Navy.

– They used experiences to do what nothing else ever could. This sounds obvious but when you watch the floor drop away at a North Face store in South Korea, you’ll get my meaning. Examples: The North Face, Samsung

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What’s In Your Wallet, Danielle?

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Unknown

Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of  Danielle Stefanuk, Senior Account Executive, in MKTG INC’s New York City office.

It’s always the quiet ones.
I may seem quiet at first but once you get to know me, I’m anything but quiet! Don’t let my soft-spoken voice fool you.

For example, to resist eating a sugary snack one fateful afternoon, the demure darling you see in front of you once sprayed a fistful of jellybeans with Windex.
This is, embarrassingly, a true statement. Even more embarrassing than the act itself is how I got the idea. My roommate and I were watching an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians (guilty pleasure) and in the episode; Kim received a bunch of cupcakes. She didn’t want to eat them all so she sprayed them with Windex. While I typically would never emulate the actions of the Kardashians, I just as equally did not want to eat my entire bag of jellybeans. So I sprayed them!

When asked why, her response was simple: “Well, would you eat something sprayed with Windex?”
There are not many people that would actually eat something after it has been sprayed with Windex…except for maybe the father in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding (am I right?).

This kind of clear-sighted practicality paired with fervent passion is one reason clients love Danielle. Or maybe it’s because she’s always giving them jellybeans.
It’s definitely the former. I am certain of this because I no longer buy Jellybeans in an effort to save my bottles of Windex for cleaning purposes only.

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3 Key Learnings from Digital Summit Atlanta 2015

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DS2

Digital Summit Atlanta, a gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in digital marketing, took place this week and I was proud to make it my 3rd time in attendance. Each year I have been able to discover new topics and discuss the next trends in digital marketing.

Overall, each year has followed its own theme as digital marketing as a whole evolves so quickly. In 2013, trends in how social media was changing for brands was explored in a lot of sessions. Last year it shifted to a major focus on content marketing and SEO. Now, at #DSUM15, the next stage in UX (User Experience) design seemed to be the key focus.

And with that, here are three key takeaways from the conference as it can relate to what we do in the experiential space…

1. Humanizing UX

Many of the sessions at Digital Summit really focused on UX as we were challenged to think of what was next in the field. For example, how do we run UX more lean and understand better, powered with ‘big data’, how to humanize someone’s digital experience. When we map out the consumer journey – remember that each user is an actual person with problems and needs.

When you look at bring a consumer through a brand experience for experiential this line of thinking makes a lot of sense, right? It is our expertise to bring brands to life in a way that they can interact with consumers as people and not anonymous IP addresses. However many activation designs we see in the field could do a better job from at the ideation stage to keep in mind that once launched, these are people with their own objectives who will walk through our ideas.

So when thinking through your consumer experience idea, map it out. Literally draw out each stage of the activation UX and use this tool to identify where the gaps are or more importantly, where it can be more streamlined.

2. Millennials are mobile-first…and are starting to earn a lot of money

When you hear the word “millennials” – how old of a person pops in your mind? Probably an early-20-something with new student debt maybe? Well consider that millennials are were born starting in 1980 and now are entering their mid-30s. Sure there is probably a healthy amount of debt still lingering – but this generation is now entering over a $Trillion in buying power and loves to spend.

So with all of this data we now have on the ‘Connected Generation’ – what have we learned about marketing to them? It’s a long answer but here are two quick tips from @annieg from StumbleUpon.

First, “6 is the new 60” – as in the 6” phone is more important than the 60” TV. Now that doesn’t mean the generation is consumer less video – in fact it’s more than ever. But reportedly 33% do not watch any broadcast TV.

Second, it seems obvious that millennials are connected to their mobile devices, sure, but how many experiences are being built mobile-first? When we consider social, if you stop to think why they are so effective with the connected generation it’s not just because they are social – but because the most popular experiences are mobile-first. Snapchat, Instagram, Vine…some of the most powerful platforms for the younger Millennials have excelled by being native to the 6” screen. So consider mobile-first experiences to connect and make an engagement that this group wants to use. After all, it is why the younger Millennials are now being known as Social Natives.

3. The Entrepreneur Wants to Solve a Problem

I heard a great line this year and it came during a keynote speaker Chris Brogan, whose content I highly recommend. To summarize:

Stop chasing innovation, which aims to just do something.

Be an entrepreneur, which aims to solve someone’s problem.

While this is absolutely a trap in creating the latest in digital experiences, it is also a trap in experiential marketing. Brands and agencies alike all want to innovate and create and truly great new things are activated in our space every year. But when coming up the ideas for the experience on the front end, don’t just try to chase an innovation for the sake of doing it. Instead, identify an audience’s problem and solve it. That is where the entrepreneurship mindset excels and where experiential marketing can truly make an in-person impact on someone.

If you are ever free in May, I highly recommend Digital Summit. This is only a small snipet of content from the 2-day conference. I still have to go through pages upon pages of notes but in the meantime, enjoy the learnings and feel free to find me @BradMEpstein if you want to go through my timeline where I shared some more real-time leanrings!

Bonus! PowerPoint is where data goes to die!

If you work with data (you should!) treat it as a living, breathing source. PowerPoint it becomes static and if 2015 taught me anything – is that static is kryptonite for the modern marketer. So learn new tools that keep you agile and keep your brand’s marketing velocity as fast as possible.

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#OwnYourTomorrow

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IMG_7844

In support of Charles Schwab’s launch of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™, we constructed a two-story Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Pop-Up Lounge in two major cities – New York and San Francisco between March 16th and April 1st.

The consumer engagement launched in New York’s iconic Grand Central Station within Vanderbilt Hall and then on to San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza. With a focus on commuter locations, this effort merged sophisticated style, technologies and partnerships. In line with the technology-based product, we provided consumers with an interactive robot barista making and delivering coffee, multi-touch IR tables, second story LED screen and an automated ordering system for complimentary coffee provided by Nespresso.

CSOur lounge served as a conduit for Schwab financial professionals to speak with consumers about the product and a place to enjoy coffee with free WiFi. The activation was positioned to live beyond the physical space through social the extensions @SchwabBlue and #Ownyourtomorrow.

The overall results were very strong as it relates to eyes on the product, lounge visitors and meaningful one-on-one engagement.

Brook Soss contributed to this article.

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