Super Bowl Commercials—What Can We Learn From This Social Experiment?

beyoncehttp://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/02/3-super-bowl-commercials-to-watch-out-for/

Overheard “water cooler conversation”:  “So, you excited about the big game on Sunday?” “My team isn’t playing, so, no. How about you?” “Nah, I’m really looking more forward to the commercials.”

You may have heard this kind of conversation before or even been in one like it. Statistics show that “nine in 10 viewers are as interested in the commercials as the game.” (Bruce Horovitz, USA Today) So for more than 100 million people watching the Super Bowl this year, that’s a lot of advertising and advertising dollars. That means the ads for the Super Bowl are considered the “Super Bowl of advertising”. What makes them so great and what can we learn from their social experiments?

betty whiteFor 15 years, Charles Tomkovick, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, has tracked companies who advertise in the Super Bowl. He says popular ads use dramatic sound, motion, celebrities as well as humor and surprise endings to get the audience’s attention quickly. “You also want to throw in some animals, if you can find a way to tie in animals with your brand,” Tomkovick says. “About 20 to 25 percent of Super Bowl commercials have animals. It’s like going to the zoo.”  http://youtu.be/RP9dmF7WFl8 (Denny’s screaming chickens, 2012) Tomkovick also says to avoid too much discussion of the product or service advertised.

“The more you talk about your product, the less people like it.” (Tomkovick)

There are controversial perspectives about the ads for the Super Bowl as well.  Bruce baby and dogstronautHorovitz of USA Today says, “The commercials for Super Bowl 2013 are so overloaded with eye candy — sexy models, too-cute kids, wacky animals, magical happenings and effects — that by the time folks take them all in, many viewers will feel like they just swallowed the entire bag of Halloween candy in one sitting. No room for the chips and dip.”

doritosIn fact, some of the ads have been more and more controversial as the years go on. This year, one particular ad was pulled from the lineup, namely, Sodastream, for using competitor branding without permission (http://youtu.be/68al-o2XSpE), which continues to show the ad online, instigating more interest and attention than if there hadn’t been the controversy. So, the question is:  with social media and online marketing at our finger tips, is it worth it to push the envelope, riding that thin line between interest and offensiveness?

“The debates have prompted millions of online views, thousands of social media comments and headlines questioning whether the pitches were offensive – all this before the full audience of 100 million viewers who will watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens have seen the ads,” according to Lisa Richwine and Sue Zeidler of etradeReuters. “That degree of attention can boost the value for ads beyond the $4 million-plus that agencies pay for some of the 30-second spots. Advance buzz gets people talking and, better yet from a marketer’s perspective, searching for the promotions online.”

Mae Anderson of the Associated Press reported that “Last year, Super Bowl ads released early were watched 600 percent more times — with 9.1 million average views,” clearly outweighing the skeptics who believe in a purist perspective, revealing the ads only on game day.

So what can we learn from the Super Bowl advertisers and their marketing maneuvers? Mix dashes of excitement and surprise with a few splashes of kids, animals, and celebrities and throw in some humor without talking about your product, possibly with some controversy, and you have the magic. Now, somebody pass me the buffalo wings, I’m ready for some Super Bowl commercials! By the way, we’d love to hear which ones are your favorites @ Kroma Marketing.

bethrose11

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Pillars of Honor

pillars (1)My daughter was inducted this last Friday into National Honor Society (NHS). The whole family was there—brothers, grandma, her dad and I—to acknowledge and celebrate this major accomplishment, especially at a college prep school.

As the teacher read off the merits a student needs to accomplish in order to be invited into NHS, I started wondering if those that had been inducted in, all these years past, since 1921—to be exact—had still lived their lives with the same motto: character, scholarship, leadership, service. Had they lived out or were living out these criteria in business, art, academics, service, science for which they had been honored in their youth?

So, it got me thinking: if they were living out these four pillars of NHS, they would surely, then, affect whatever they did in life in the same manner. For instance, if they were showing such character to be honored in high school, then that same character was probably still evident in their chosen career or field of work.

Stay with me here. (Sometimes I get on a roll and you never know where my thought process will go!) The connection in business, I believe, is poignant. The NHS is on to something that can be life-long: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character . . . “. It seems they are trying to develop responsible and successful adults for the future, essentially.

What if you decided to employ these traits to your business? What would the outcome be if you lived out:

  • Character: “qualities of honesty, courage, or integrity” = honesty in carrying out everyday duties within to employees and outside to customers or clients.
  • Scholarship: “learning; knowledge acquired by study” = staying sharp in your craft by attending conferences or avid reading on the subjects that affect your business.
  • Leadership: “authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness, sway, clout” = taking the reins of your business and influencing every component toward the goals you have for success.
  • Service: “helpful activity; help; aid” for others = being a servant leader to your employees, clients/customers, and community—caring about them to help them get what they need and want and to influence them to do the same for others.

I believe that if anyone in business took these pillars seriously and kept them as the foundation of their trade, they and their business would be successful.

Granted, these pillars must be solid, unwavering, and structurally sound—these ideals must be carried out daily. If so, they will hold up under the weight of fiscal crisis and employee issues. They will hold up against the winds of change and the storms of downturn. They will continue to be the foundation of success every day, every year, every decade.

Are the pillars of your business solid or are there fissures showing from the pressure? Is there repair that needs to be done to any of the pillars to make them more “sound”? We’d love to hear from you. Kroma Marketing

bethrose11

REASONS FOR REASONS: Why ask “Why?”

lance-armstrong whyTHE DESIGNER:  In a world where the customer/client is “always right,” it is easy to get away with saying, “I don’t like that.” However, the words at hand don’t mean anything. Sure, you might truly have no desire to pursue a style or direction for your brand, website, etc., but having no reasoning behind why you don’t like it can stall or stop progress dead in its tracks. Designers (and their respective companies) thrive on positive and negative feedback. It is what allows them to learn and stretch the range of their skill set. It is what allows them to better their asset delivery time and make the process as quick and as painless as possible. It also helps build relationships between clients, both new and old. Neutral feedback, something like, “I don’t like that,” does the exact opposite.

Yes, neutral feedback is the worst type of feedback a client can give their designer. It essentially leaves the designer hanging from a cliff with no one there to help them up. The designer has no option but to fall to the ground and start the journey to the top all over again, still lacking the proper direction. However, if the client was willing to inquire more or discuss certain aspects of the designs they don’t like, this time with a bit more detail, maybe this temporarily derailed train could get back on track.

THE CLIENT:  From the client aspect, this may all be confusing. Why do these designers need to know why I don’t like something? Why is my displeased state alone not enough for them? Well, I’ll tell you; it’s because it doesn’t give any direction or help prevent any future designs from deterring you again down the road, potentially for the same exact reasons.

Plain and simple, if the designer doesn’t know what is wrong, there’s a pretty good chance it will happen again. For example, if they don’t know that you don’t like certain colors or specific typefaces you are seeing now, what’s to stop them from using them again on the next thing they deliver to you?

It is up to the client to inform the designer as much as possible to help prevent the things they are not happy with from reoccurring. This is where proper reasoning plays a big role.

Also, don’t throw a good design away just because you don’t understand it. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask about it. There may be a pile of thought behind it that just may convert you to a believer.

  • TRY ASKING WHY:  Next time you don’t like something, try asking “why?” Ask the designer why he/she did something in the manner that they did. I promise you, nine of ten times you will understand a concept 100 times better if you allow yourself the chance to hear the designer’s reasoning behind why certain things are the way they are. Also, it may inspire you down the road.

(Don’t ever doubt a good designer’s mindset. We do everything for a reason.)

  • TRY SAYING WHY:  If asking isn’t your thing, try telling. Tell the designer why you don’t like their direction or vision. Don’t be afraid to tell them when something looks a bit too childish or maybe it’s too “loud” in a design sense. Tell them the good and bad things about each design you see. This helps them eliminate the things you won’t like from future designs and will help steer them in a new, better direction.

(Go ahead. We can take it. At the end of the day, designers just want to please the client, and we are very good at listening.)

Tell us what you like and don’t like about your website–we would love to help! Kroma Marketing

by Taylor Carter, designer, -Kroma Marketing, drummer, fan of working out, and newbie

by Taylor Carter, designer, -Kroma Marketing, drummer, fan of working out, and newbie

SOTB (State of the Business) Address

Kroma SOTBNew. It is a word that excites some and causes others angst.  When I hear the word “new” it fills me with excitement. My mind immediately goes to possibilities to come. I look forward to new things, new seasons, a new year, a new perspective.

A business needs to have a new challenge brought to it each year. Sustainability is not to be celebrated as a goal; it is to be a marker along the journey of building a business. It is necessary to review our past, without allowing it to define our projections for the upcoming months and years. It is these perspectives to which I pause to have a look at Kroma.

My journey into marketing began in the 1990s.  I gave it up to make more dollars on the sales side of corporate America and was moderately successful. As I moved into deciding the next phase of my career goals, I felt led to quit my job, yes quit, and begin a new business. It is out of this decision that Kroma Marketing came into being.

A new business has many seasons of change. Some come and go quickly while other seasons last months and even years. Kroma was birthed out of hope… a hope of providing a “new” perspective to marketing and design. We want to come alongside our clients and partner with them. We feel our success is measured by our clients’ ongoing growth and success. We believe that each client deserves excellence in design and measured results of our marketing efforts. I firmly believe there is an ROI (return on investment) to every dollar spent. There is accountability to the client for each dollar they spend with Kroma.

With that, we are brought to our assessment of last year. It was a season of change once again.

  • We added staff as we saw others move on to other states, other jobs, and other seasons in their lives.
  • We increased our expertise in many services.
  • Originating in web design and traditional marketing, Kroma quickly became strategists in the last few years with online marketing.
  • Kroma increased our services to our clients by adding several acronyms to our expertise: SEO, PPC, SEM, along with the growing trend of social media.  This allowed our new team to bring excellence beyond design in traditional marketing, to excellence through research and development in the new frontier of online marketing.

Our corporate culture continues to morph. The employees we hire come with fresh and innovative ideas and design. They come ready to be pushed to excellence in what they do. It’s a win to see them begin pushing one another in concepts and executables to achieve excellence for the clients we serve. They get it.

Ordinary is not welcomed here.

Finally, we are becoming sustainable! We have growth projections that stretch our budget, but are worth investing towards the betterment of our client services. We were able to review our pricing and keep cost of services the same as last year. We are able to do this by keeping cost down and quarterly projections conservative. We are doing as our website says:  “Thriving in a down-turned economy”…we are honored to do that for the clients we serve.

If you are looking for something new, we’d love to partner with you in growing your business. Contact us @ KROMA.

Richard Rose, CEO/Owner, Kroma Marketing

Richard Rose, CEO, Kroma Marketing

THEN and NOW

PastPresent5“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”― Robert Frost

At this time of year, we tend to look back over the last year, at least, and contemplate how far we’ve come. Like a “before and after” photo. It’s a measurement of sorts, helping us take stock of the success of our efforts. If you want to know where you’re going, you have to look at where you’ve been. We decide, then, if we want to stay on the same course or change direction.

In business, it’s not a bad idea to take stock every now and then, to focus in on what the business was doing six months or a year ago and what it’s doing now; a sort of analysis of the past and projections for the upcoming year.

In our own business, Kroma, we have come a long way in a few years, from a back room rental with a few clients to an office in Southern Johnson County with a large client list. Our CEO, Richard Rose, will be sharing his “State of the Company” in next week’s weekly blog. In taking a look at the past year, we are able to appreciate the current situation, that we’ve, indeed, come a long way.

What about your business? Have you taken that long look back to see the progress in your business plan? Here are some questions to contemplate:

  1. What was first quarter of the year like in your business?
  2. How was the staffing—number, productivity, morale? Did it change over the year? How so?
  3. Was there a generated ROI? How did you track it? How did it change if it did?
  4. Was the income to outgo ratio balanced? If not, why not? What was out of balance?
  5. How did your projections turn out? Did you come under them, meet them or exceed them?
  6. If you had to change anything from this last year, what would it be?
  7. What have you learned from last year that you definitely will apply to this year?

Share with us some of the ways you’ve improved in business—maybe we can all learn from your “Then and Now.”

bethrose11

Save the Fonts! Save the World!

Header-image-for-blog

Most people won’t notice a good typeface when they see one, but, most of the time, THAT IS THE POINT! If a website is designed well, the font will portray a feeling to the site that gives your entire site the vibe it deserves. First off, there is no perfect font. Every designer has their favorites, but no designer uses their favorite on even half of their work. So how do we pick the right one? Well, start with not picking a bad one!

Sure there are tons of “fun looking” looking fonts out there that you may think fit exactly what you want to say, but, more often than not, it really is just “fun looking”. The question is: will someone actually read it? In today’s world, it is much too easy to add any font you want to any medium that calls for it.

Here is what to stay away from and why you should stay away from them.

comic-sans

Even though you might love it, this font is bad, bad, bad, bad, baaaad for your site. The appeal is the hand-drawn nature of the font, which may give it that “fun” aspect you are going for. In reality, this font was designed to do just that. Unfortunately, on today’s web, hand written fonts don’t fit in the clean cut digital world. This font is over used and is unappealing to every audience older than 5 years old. What is easier to read: a hand-written three page paper or a typed three page paper with Times New Roman?

Copperplate--Gothic

This font was a poor attempt of modernizing a block print typeface. Lesson on modern typefaces: they are made to be “modern” and we all know “modern” things always expire. This font was created in 1901. Needless to say, it is outdated. Please refrain from old, “modern” fonts.

Brush-Script

NO, NO, NO, NO . . . it does not look like a brush stroke. Once again this is another font that was created to mimic a handwritten feel but with a “50’s large letter” effect. Dated? Yes.

Arial

Maybe Arial is not that bad of a font, but only in a few scenarios. Let’s say you own a sleep therapy company, this is the font for you. Maybe you only want the viewers to look at pictures instead of reading your important information. Either way, this font is BORING. People WILL be uninterested in most everything you have to say, because this font generates no interest at all for your important information.

Papyrus

Ah yes, we almost left out the worst font in the world. This is the third replica of a hand-generated font, and once again, it is over used, hard to read, and just doesn’t look right. Nearly every designer will name this font as one of the top five fonts in the entire world. This font is not only hated, it is loathed entirely.

Do your end user a favor and don’t choose these fonts for paragraph text. They are all very hard to read and are unappealing for your over-all website. Every decision is important for your site. However, if it’s amazing but nobody can read it then what is the point of having a site in the first place? A recent statistic shows that any site that has these five fonts anywhere on it, Google then deletes the site from its search results . . . ok maybe that’s not a real statistic, but it is funny. Don’t get me wrong, any font can be used correctly, but do the web world a favor and use a good font. Save the fonts, save the world!

What are your thoughts on fonts? We would love to know! Kroma Marketing

lukecoselmon

STUPID

sunglassesSo… your difficult boss, customer, prospect is… probably not stupid–just uniformed. There’s a huge difference.

I have been on a Seth Godin kick recently, and he outlines the difference very well; so well, in fact, that I have to share it with you.

He states, “Every person makes decisions based on their worldview and the data at hand. If two people have the same worldview and the same data, they’ll make the same decision, every time (unless they’re stupid)”.

So, there are plenty of times where a lack of information leads to a bad decision; plenty of times where an out of sync worldview leads to an out of sync decision. Basic, eh?

When the board of directors embraces a fading old media model instead of embracing a strategy that leads to rapid growth, it’s probably because each of them started with a worldview about the way things worked and were going to work. Add to that little direct experience, and it’s no wonder they decided what they did. You would, too, if you were given the same resources to begin with.

Changing worldviews is very difficult and requires quite a bit of will. Changing the data at hand is a lot easier, and that’s where marketing can really help. If you, as a marketer, can package data in a way that people with a certain worldview can accept, you move the conversation forward far more quickly than if you merely dismiss the non-customers or the doubters as stupid.

In my experience, a closed-minded worldview is the most difficult hurdle to overcome. But a closed-minded worldview doesn’t mean you’re stupid; it means that you are selling yourself and your colleagues and your community short.

The easiest way to grow is to sell to people who share a worldview that endorses your position. The most effective way to grow bigger than that is to inform those that disagree with your position–more data in a palatable form. It turns out that the best way to change the world is to open the closed-minded.

I welcome your thoughts and insights—what do you think? Kroma Marketing

colespriggs

In Denial

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” —C. Northcote Parkinson 

De · ni · al:  a river in Egypt; refusal to admit the truth or reality. (Merriam-Webster)

Probably one of the biggest examples of denial in recent history is the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, the denial of terrorism “poster child”. It’s denial at its worst, albeit. There isn’t any upside to denial at all other than blissful apathy until the realization of what the denial has wrought. It really is bad news all around.

In business, denial will most likely lead to financial failure. Yet businesses are still in denial regarding not only the need but the necessity of social media on a daily basis. Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report “The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action” [Report PDF; sponsored by SAS] discovered that most of the commitment to social is future-oriented. The report went on to say, “Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, a measly 12% of those firms feel that they are using them effectively.” Only 12%. Pitiful, when you think about how brands are being represented on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to name a few.

But is it just the non-use of social media that makes business efforts ineffective or the fact that there is still not an “all in” belief in the necessity of social? Rob Ployhart, a professor of business administration at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, believes there is a “skepticism” in social media because companies haven’t seen the data showing the return on investment from social media. Ployhart says the ROI data will most likely be available within the next three to five years, making social media more credible in the eyes of some businesses.

Until then, what does a company have to do to engage in the social impact of business? Believe. They have to put their faith in it and engage in it daily or they’ll be left standing on the sidelines in their cynicism.

The facts are all there. Businesses engaged in social media are investing in their own future. Ployhart says, “In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology. I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.”

The experts are all saying the same thing:  businesses that are engaging in social media have the upper hand.

It’s almost 2013. What’s on the horizon, then, for engaging in social media in business?

According to Simon Mainwaring, New York Times bestseller We First and social branding consultant to Fortune 100 brands, “Every company or institution must now function as a social brand due to the mass adoption and penetration of social media in our lives as citizen and customers (and by social brand I mean an organization that uses and engages in a real time dialogue with its customers using mobile, social and gaming technologies to build its reputation, profits and social impact.)”

So, if you are in business and you are in denial of the social media bull breathing down your neck, don’t turn around. Just get on the social media train and ride it all the way into the station. That’s where you’ll find relevant business being done. Welcome to the new world.

Are you in denial or are you using social media in business? We would love to hear from you. Kroma Marketing.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

What are you looking at!?

Ever get that feeling that the “Happy” in “Happy Thanksgiving” isn’t so happy? Think about the last few years. People have lost their jobs left and right. Gas prices couldn’t be higher (oh man, don’t jinx it!). Sandy. Obamacare.  Ke$ha. Let’s just stop there.

As we approach this holiday season, and I mean HOLIDAY (since we have 5 shopping weeks, not 4) since Black Friday seems to have taken over the calendar to become “Black Part of November and Most of December”, let’s take a moment to think about the things for which we are grateful, and let’s NOT include the YouTube video of that “It’s Thanksgiving” girl! I know this sounds very rudimentary but sometimes we need to go back to the basics and acknowledge the people who are a part of our business.

Customers or clients would be number one—without them, well, you know. What is it that makes them believe in you and your business to cause them to stick around? Look at the relationship you’ve created. What do you do that sets you apart from your competitors, those little differences, engagements and practices you need to repeat with future customers? Be grateful you still got it! How can you show them your thanks?

Direct reports,  the front liners, the doers and movers. Ok, not every one of them is your favorite but what does each employee bring that is unique to them and which only they can provide? Be grateful you’ve got these people! How can you thank them, every day? Sometimes we need to act like we have the greatest business in the world with the best employees and the most amazing clients. If we do, we may just raise the bar, and they may just jump high enough to clear it.

“If your treat an individual… as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will BECOME what he ought to be and could be.”  Johann Wofgang von Geothe

It’s like the trainers at Sea World. I heard it asked how they train these giant mammals to jump in the air as if they are floating over the training pole. The trainer explained that they start with the bar under the water and of course reward them every time they go over it. They keep raising the bar until a 20 foot long, 4 ton Orca is jumping 20 feet over the water. If the trainer wasn’t holding fish to entice the whale, do you think that whale would jump? No!

Then why expect people working for us or with us to do their jobs without appreciation or thanks. It really isn’t rocket science, but we act like it’s the toughest thing in the world to stop what we’re doing and let people know we appreciate what they do.

Let’s just do it every day—say thanks for the small things and before you know it, they’ll be sailing high above the level they were.

How will you be thanking your clients, employees, coworkers for Thanksgiving? Here at Kroma Marketing, we’re having Thanksgiving Dinner together, with maybe a little “thanks giving” in the conversation!

Happy Thanks-Giving!