Infographic: Black Friday’s Retail and Brand Competition

The 2017 holiday season is in full swing and while we’re still in the midst of Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, we recently bid Small Business Saturday goodbye and before that, Green Friday and Black Friday.

Though Black Friday always falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, it dominates social media in a way that makes the occasion feel ubiquitous once November 1st rolls around. There’s no denying it, the sales and marketing holiday has a real impact on our lives, asking us to navigate busy parking lots, long retail lines, and clamor with the masses for can’t beat deals on the newest gadgets.

Black Friday is an intoxicating circus that we attend every year, often in sweatpants, well-fed and drunk with the hope of possibly finishing holiday shopping before the Thanksgiving weekend is over.

Seeing our mailbox overstuffed with the results of Black Friday’s brand and retail campaigns, we wondered which campaigns were successful in the eyes of social media? Who won (or lost) Black Friday 2017?

To answer these questions, we put searches into our media intelligence platform. Check out who came out ahead this year as compared to 2016.

Black Friday 2017 data infographic

 

And if you’re interested in seeing how your brand matches up in your industry, we can help.

Are Niche Social Media Sites the Beginning of a New Trend?

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a new social media app on April 18, 2017. The app is called Infield Chatter. As is the custom with new social media apps, this one is only available for your Android and iPhone devices. You can download it from the corresponding app store.

As of this moment, there are five major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram. All of these platforms have one thing in common: you can discuss almost any topic on them. Therefore, people get together and form their own cliques or niches. They connect with people who share their same interests. You’ll find sports fans on every platform, but it was hard to find a sports-only social media platform.

The MLB changed all of that.

The purpose of Infield Chatter is to have a place where MLB players can talk to and connect with their fans. Although it’s true that they can do this on other social platforms, this one is strictly for baseball fans. That means this place can be a safe haven, especially for people who only get on social media to talk baseball.

One of the things that the app is unique for is no trolling. The app creators have a team in place of real people who actually browse the site and respond to reports. It’s not automated like it is on Facebook, or ignored like it is on Twitter. The MLB cares about the welfare of its players and the fans, in the sense that it won’t tolerate such behavior. If you’re caught engaging in this type of behavior, your account will be suspended.

That means you can’t run around saying derogatory things about any team, player, stadium, coach, staff member, or anything or anyone related to the MLB. Be respectful to other people on the app, or leave.

Twitter could take a few pointers from this app.

Another social app was announced by Tumblr called Cabana. The purpose of this app is to allow groups of friends to watch videos together. There are already about a dozen apps out there for this same purpose, but apparently, Tumblr felt like it was smart to jump into the game.

The co-founder of Shoes of Prey recently announced a social network app that allows strangers to have conversations with each other. It’s called Mottle. The funny thing about Mottle is you actually use Facebook to sign into it. The social network is geared around in-depth human connection, which is something you apparently don’t get on Facebook. That’s probably why you need it to sign in.

Three niche social media apps were announced within two days, and there are probably more to come. Social media isn’t going away, but having a network that appeals only to a certain group of people isn’t a bad idea.

The Benefit of Jumping on This New Trend

Like every other trend on this planet, when someone sees a good idea they want to copy it. What MLB did was genius, because their fans are very dedicated to the sport and their favorite team. They’ve gathered their target audience into one place. If they treat them right, people will continue to be enthusiastic about baseball, go to games, and buy their merchandise.

The point is to find a group of people who are very dedicated to something and bring them together. So a social network for gardening or anime may be a very big hit. A social network about polyps probably won’t fly with the general public.

If you’ve got big money like MLB or Tumblr, you can easily drop millions into developing a social app. If you don’t have the money, you can either start small (like a forum) or create a place to hang out with people who share an interest connected to your industry.

For example, an auto glass repair business may create a Facebook group about cars. People interested in trading stocks may join a general finance forum.

Once you’ve got your audience, you can start to get to know them—how they think, how they act, what they want out of life. The closer you get to your prospects, the more of a relationship you’re going to build with them. They’re going to trust you, which goes a very long way toward the health of your business.

 

This article was originally published on this site on May 18, 2017. We republish posts on Saturdays for readers who may have missed them the first time. It was written by Brian Rashid from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Social Sidekick December 2017: Social Holidays, Themes, and Noteworthy Events

The temperatures are dropping quicker than holiday PR campaigns. Whichever tradition you ascribe to, whether that is decking the halls with holly, lighting candles for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, putting up a Festivus pole, or merely feasting with friends; there are always social holidays ready to celebrate. And if that Eggnog doesn’t help you get through the frenetic pace of the season, we will. Your Social Sidekick is here, every month, at the ready to slide into your DMs. Much like a snowstorm that blankets an alpine village on a winter morn’, we’ve got you covered.

CELEBRATE DECEMBER

//HEALTH//
Human Rights, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Stress-Free Month

//FOOD//
Food Service Safety, National Fruit Cake Month, National Eggnog Month

//FUN//
Tie, Write a Business Plan, Operation Santa Paws, Bingo Month,
Write a Friend Month

giphy (88).gif

WEEKLY HASHTAGS

//Monday//
#ManCrushMonday or #MCM, #MondayBlues, #MotivationMonday, #MarketingMonday, #MeatlessMonday

//Tuesday//
#TransformationTuesday or #TT, #TravelTuesday, #TongueOutTuesday, #Tunesday, #TacoTuesday 

//Wednesday//
#WomanCrushWednesday or #WCW, #WayBackWednesday or #WBW, #WineWednesday, #WellnessWednesday, #HumpDay, #WisdomWednesday

//Thursday//
#TBT or #ThrowbackThursday, #Thursdate, #ThoughtfulThursday, #ThirstyThursday, #ThankfulThursday

//Friday//
#FollowFriday or #FF, #FlashbackFriday or #FBF, #FridayFeeling, #FriYay, #FridayReads

//Saturday//
#Caturday, #SexySaturday

//Sunday//
#SundayFunday, #SelfieSunday, #Sinday

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1

//HOLIDAYS//
World Aids Day, Day Without Art, Bartender Appreciation Day, Eat A Red Apple Day, Faux Fur Friday, National Pie Day

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
 He’s Out There 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2

//HOLIDAYS//
National Fritters Day 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3

//HOLIDAYS//
Make A Gift Day, Roof Over Your Head Day, Disability Day, National Apple Pie Day

//TV//
The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special (CBS)

giphy spple pie.gif

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4

//HOLIDAYS//
Dice Day, Wear Brown Shoes Day, World Wildlife Conservation Day, National Cookie Day

//TV//
Vanderpump Rules (Bravo); 95th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting from President’s Park (Hallmark)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5

//HOLIDAYS//
International Ninja Day, Repeal Day, World Soil Day, Bathtub Party Day 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6

//HOLIDAYS//
Mitten Tree Day, Put On Your Own Shoe Day, Miner’s Day

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7

//HOLIDAYS//
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Cotton Candy Day, International Civil Aviation Day 

//TV//
The Great American Baking Show (ABC)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8

//HOLIDAYS//
Brownie Day, Lost and Found Day, Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day

//TV//
The Crown (Netflix)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9 

//HOLIDAYS//
Techno Day, Pastry Day, Gingerbread Decorating Day, International Day of Veterinary Medicine

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10

//HOLIDAYS//
Human Rights Day, World Choral Day, Worldwide Candle Lighting Day

giphy (88).gif

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11

//HOLIDAYS//
International Mountain Day

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12

//HOLIDAYS//
Gingerbread House Day, Poinsettia Day, National Cocoa Day

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13

//HOLIDAYS//
First Day of Chanukah/Hanukkah, Violin Day, National Guard Birthday

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14

//HOLIDAYS//
Monkey Day, Roast Chestnuts Day

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15

//HOLIDAYS//
Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, Underdog Day, Lemon Cupcake Day, National Cupcake Day, AIM Will Officially Shut Down On This Day

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ferdinand, Gotti

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16

//HOLIDAYS//
Chocolate Covered Anything Day

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17

//HOLIDAYS//
Pan American Aviation Day, Wright Brothers Day, Maple Syrup Day

giphy maple syrup.gif

MONDAY, DECEMBER 18

//HOLIDAYS//
Bake Cookies Day

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19

//HOLIDAYS//
Look For An Evergreen Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20

//HOLIDAYS//
Last Day of Chanukah/Hanukkah, Games Day, Go Caroling Day, Sangria Day

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Greatest Showman

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21

//HOLIDAYS//
Winter Solstice, Crossword Puzzle Day, Ribbon Candy Day, Regifting Day, Short Story Day

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22

//HOLIDAYS//
Forefathers Day, National Date Nut Bread Day

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
Pitch Perfect 3, Father Figures, Downsizing

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23

//HOLIDAYS//
Roots Day

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24

//HOLIDAYS//
Christmas Eve, Eggnog Day

giphy eggnog.gif

MONDAY, DECEMBER 25

//HOLIDAYS//
Christmas Day, Pumpkin Pie Day

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26

//HOLIDAYS//
Start Of Kwanzaa, Washington’s Birthday, Candy Cane Day

//TV//
40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27

//HOLIDAYS//
Fruitcake Day, Visit the Zoo Day

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28

//HOLIDAYS//
Card Playing Day

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29

//HOLIDAYS//
Tick Tock Day, Pepper Pot Day 

//MOVIE PREMIERES//
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30

//HOLIDAYS//
Bacon Day

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

//HOLIDAYS//
New Year’s Eve, No Interruptions Day, National Champagne Day

giphy champagne.gif

PR Trends: A Holiday Mindset

Let’s cut right to the chase; time is of the essence when figuring out the mindset of this season’s holiday consumer. Success will come to those creating alluring digital personal experiences. This is important for all consumer demographics, but perhaps most relevant for the subset of consumers 35 and under.  It is safe to say that holidays are a joyful time but can also create high levels of anxiety, even for those of us who embrace the season wholeheartedly. In this heightened emotional and high dollar consumer marketplace, savvy brands must connect with their customer(s) by creating an emotional personal experience. To understand their fragility, not only do you need to show empathy, but you must also be relevant, useful, trustworthy, and respectful.

Truths

Indulge me for a moment while I discuss the relevance and importance of one of my all-time favorite current Zeitgeist catchphrases, “digital Darwinism.” As technology and society evolve in parallel, so does the human social behavior. As Darwin’s research so aptly showed us, it is not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives; it is the one that is most adaptable to change. Change in many areas of human evolution happens slowly, giving us ample time to adapt to what’s new. With technology, human behavior has to adapt at a much faster rate. Consumers cannot be left to figure this out on their own. In an ideal circumstance, we will hold their hand, gleefully guiding them down a glittery path of adaptive AI technological realization.

To ultimately thrive in this age of digital Darwinism, companies must humanize AI and give it purpose by engaging the consumer through a lens of extreme personalization. Alexa and Google Home have already infiltrated our homes, so much so that NPR’ s Morning Edition recently aired a program discussing the importance of politely “talking” to these devices while around children so that kids may be guided by proper grown-up social cues. In past posts, we’ve stressed the importance of avoiding jumping on a trend because of hype. In this case, we encourage you to dive in headfirst and quickly figure out ways to creatively and empathetically connect with your customer through AI personalization and if possible, give them something they didn’t know they wanted and now can’t live without.

PR Trends

Tailor is a startup that is part of Google’s incubator, Area 120. At first glance, it looks like a run of the mill over hyped stylist-assisted services most closely akin to Stitchfix without the box delivery. Look more closely, and you’ll see a savvy nuanced subsection as of yet untapped by the more familiar competition. Appealing to anyone with a closet full of clothes they no longer wear and don’t know what to do with, i.e., most of us, Tailor has a service to help you find new ways to wear items you already own or help you get rid of items that don’t suit you or fit poorly.  Curious, in that this model doesn’t naturally lend itself to new sales, but rest assured, once the customer’s trust has been built, purchase recommendations by said trusted stylist would most likely be taken without much hesitation. There we have it, empathetic, relevant, useful, trustworthy and respectful, the magic combo that will lead to an engaged and loyal customer base ready for digital marketplace evolution.

Sometimes as we evolve, we are so focused on the new; we lose sight of innovations along the way that were loved by the consumer and then discarded for one reason or another. Step on up nostalgia! Change is hard. Humans love to cozy up to the familiar, nestle into things that make sense and feel right. When we find something we are in love with, we put up a fight when it is taken away. It makes evolving difficult for some. The mobile device industry is aware of this, and several big players with not so distant device extinctions are reclaiming their territory, or at least trying to.

Nokia has relaunched an icon amidst enthusiastic fanfare. The Nokia 3310 achieved cult status 17 years ago, so much so that Finland (where it was designed) created an emoji for it as a cultural symbol along with the sauna and the headbanger. The phone was one of the highest selling phones of its time and was known for its durability as well as a cool game called Snake. Durability isn’t exactly one of the selling points of today’s smartphones, and consumers are hip to the fact that phones are made to last just long enough to benefit the manufacturer. Well, what’s old is new again, and Nokia is nostalgically banking on it.

PR Takeaway

Emotions are high, consumers are feeling especially vulnerable and brands have a great opportunity to do a little consumer hand holding. This holiday season, whether it’s leading consumers down the overwhelming path of digital Darwinism by humanizing and personalizing the AI experience, or appealing to a beautiful sense of the past by reinvigorating nostalgia, make sure to err heavily on empathy and authenticity. Though consumer emotions are fragile and heightened, so too is their no bull spidey sense.

 

Public Relations Trends: How to Explode Your PR with Visuals

Visual content is one of the public relations trends that has exploded recently. Put simply, if your content doesn’t include a visual component, you’re losing a huge chunk of your potential audience!

People are more visual than ever in their communications — think emojis, GIFs, and video calling. So it’s unsurprising that this has trickled down to business to business public relations and communications.

Yeah, sure, visuals may take extra effort, but you’ll be well-rewarded by journalists, bloggers, and prospects.

Why Are Visuals So Important?

Let’s break this down a little. Say you’re in front of a business’s physical door — what is more likely to draw you in? A long paper posted on the door, singing the company’s praises? Or a poster or some other visual showing how the business will improve your day-to-day professional life? Personally, the latter would engage me more — and I’m not alone!

Consider this stat: People process visuals 60,000 times faster than they process text. Add to this the fact that 65% of people today are visual learners, and that color visuals increase readership of a piece of content by a whopping 80%. It’s no wonder that visuals are one of the fastest growing PR trends in recent years!

These statistics show the powerful impact that visuals have on audiences. If you’re not using visuals, you’re only hurting yourself.

Visuals are intrinsically linked with human emotions.Tapping into those emotions is a key part of public relations and an excellent way to boost such PR metrics as engagement and lead generation. Numerous studies have shown the effect of images—and even certain colors—on people’s actions and purchase decisions.

What kinds of eye-popping visuals can you use in your pr campaigns and other content? Here are a few examples of how you can get more visual:

  • Blog images
  • Graph or charts
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Product demos

Now that we’ve considered why visual content is important, let’s now look at 5 actionable ways to be more visual in your PR campaigns.

5 Visual Public Relations Trends That Will Make Your B2B Public Relations Pop

1. Use More Video

Video is a tool that gains more and more traction every year. However, some hesitate to implement it in public relations thinking the time and resources aren’t worth the effort. That belief couldn’t be more wrong.

With the prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and new technology, making video has never been easier. Shoot short segments from your phone or tablet, and use inexpensive software or apps like Powtoon or Animoto to transform your footage into a professional-quality masterpiece.

Would you like to learn how to do a PR campaign that leverages video? Consider some of the ways you can use video to draw in prospects and customers?

  • Product demos
  • How-to segments and tutorials
  • Audience Q and A
  • Behind-the-scenes tour
  • Case studies

Consider this example from Meltwater’s case study of the Muhammad Ali Center. The customer success story really comes to life in this case study video. What would have otherwise been just words on a page, pulls at our heartstrings with a real customer’s voice, professional-quality video graphics, and appropriate background music.

2. Include Visuals in Your Pitch

This PR trend even ripples out to how you engage with journalists.

Journalists are often under a tight time crunch to produce articles that will speak to their audience on an emotional level. Visuals help them to do so. When they come across pitches with no visual content to speak of, they’re looking at a tighter time crunch to write the story and produce their own visual content.

Whenever you assemble your pitch, think about how to make it more visually accessible. Do you have stats and figures that can be conveyed in a chart or graph? If it’s a product launch, do you have how-to videos that explain your product in an engaging way? Can you create a colorful infographic that summarizes the key points of your pitch?

However you choose to do it, visual content has a vital place within your press release. Journalists have been known to work with companies repeatedly based solely on the visual content they receive.

Rather than simply inundate a journalist with video content, we recommend asking permission as part of your pitch. Simply mention that you have an infographic or whatever your visual element is, and say you’d be happy to share it.

When you do send it, ensure that your visual content is easily accessible. Double check every downloadable link. Make sure that content is sized appropriately to send via email. And everything should be sized appropriately for journalists and bloggers to use right away.

Take IBM as a superb example of this. Not too long ago they released a news release unveiling its first-ever global trade digitization solution. The company’s news release not only clearly identified contact information and resources but also included the following infographic to underscore the impact of the solution on an industry.

Infographic The Paper Trail of a Shipping Container.jpg

3. Branding

Every visual you create—from infographics to video—gives you a branding opportunity. Visual content is a great way to slip your brand’s logo and coloring into your message. Every piece of visual content should represent your brand well, no matter where it is posted or who reads it.

Consistency across all of your visual content is another key to successful branding. From blog images to infographics, your visuals have the power to engage.

Emarketer is a great example of the research firm uses its charts and graphs to imprint its brand on its audience. Every chart or graph is immediately recognizable in terms of its red and black design—just check this one out.

Chart From eMarketing.gif

4. Use Colors Wisely

Colors have the potential to impact your audience — in good ways as well as bad. The colors you choose can make the difference between a click-through or a pass. They even have the power to influence purchase decisions.

So how can you wield that power successfully? Learn more about the psychology of colors and how they impact your audience.

Choose what message you want to convey to your audience. For example, green is often associated with competence, reliability, and intelligence. Red, on the other hand, is often associated with exciting, trendy, and cool.

Take this logo from Salesforce as an example. Blue is often associated with sophistication and class — the kind of confidence and attitude that a cloud computing company like Salesforce would want to portray.

salesforce-logo.png

Or consider this logo from Recast Energy, an energy company that focuses on turning biomass into green electricity and thermal energy for industrial businesses. Its two-tone green logo plays off of the energy field that they operate within, and highlights its go-green initiatives. Plus, it imprints a sense of competence and reliability that customers look for in energy companies.

Recast Energy.png

5. Always Be Honest

None of us like click-bait—it’s dishonest and downright frustrating! So don’t do the same thing with your images.

You wouldn’t write a title that had nothing to do with your blog. So why would you create an image that was misleading or even completely misrepresented your topic?

Choose images that complement your written content.

This shouldn’t quelch your creativity or the emotional impact of the image on your audience. For example, say that you’re a B2B financial institution with a blog post on 10 Wise Business Spending Practices in Today’s Economy. You could choose an image for that blog that resonates with the pain points of your audience — the stress and worry that budgets and spending create for business owners.

On the other hand, an image of a businessman in a gigantic pool of money might misrepresent the overall message of your post. Think about what your image portrays in the first glance, and if that’s not your intended message, change it.

Key Points to Remember

  • People process visuals faster and more effectively than text
  • The colors you choose can have a major impact on the purchase decisions of your audience
  • Use video to present product demos, tutorials, case studies, and more.
  • Always include your brand’s logo on every piece of visual content.

These public relations trends are just a hint of how visual content is exploding in the world of business to business public relations. How do you plan on taking advantage of this trend?

This article originally appeared on The B2B PR Blog, it was written by Wendy Marx from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.