An army of chocolate lovers is putting the hard word on Cadbury to bring back this product

cadbury-blocks.jpg

This article written by Emma Koehn originally appeared on SmartCompany here, featuring commentary from Good Things Marketing's CEO Helen Ahrens.

Chocolate maker Cadbury has been hit with a deluge of emotional pleas calling for the restoration of its marble chocolate block, in the latest chapter of a social media campaign that has popped up over the past year to bring back the milk and white chocolate swirl.

A Facebook post from a Cadbury fan last Thursday has generated more than 25,000 engagements after she begged the company to bring back the marble blocks and their “fluffy hazelnut praline” centres.

“I’m writing to implore you to bring it back, even just for a little a while. Let’s not kid ourselves, it should have never been taken away,” the post reads.

Cadbury Australia has been tight-lipped on whether there’s any chance the product, which was discontinued in 2012, could actually return.

In a statement to SmartCompany, a spokesperson for Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez International said while the company was constantly reviewing product lines, the discontinuation of the marble block years ago was a case of making way for other ideas.

“Unfortunately this sometimes means that nostalgic favourites need to be discontinued to make way for the new,” the spokesperson said.

While there was no commitment to a revival, the company says “we are always listening to consumer feedback so we never say never!”.

This is not the first time this year the chocolate maker has been asked to come to the table to discuss resurrecting the product.

A Facebook page with more than 10,000 followers has also been making a push for the return of the product, posting a variety of humorous pleas, including an image of an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull on the matter.

In response to individual comments on Facebook this week, Cadbury Australia has responded with the message, “We’ll let our team know of your interest in seeing Marble return “.

Social media expert and director of Social Concepts Jessica Humphreys says even if the company has no intention of bringing back the product, Cadbury could be doing more to leverage the product enthusiasm on show in this case.

“I think most businesses of any size would count themselves lucky to be in the position Cadbury is, but they’re not really taking the opportunity,” she says. 

Even if there’s no intention of reviving a product, it’s important to engage with fans to show “there’s an understanding of why they love the product”, Humphries says. In this case, a standard response might not cut it.

Amplifying the goodwill

Cases like this one hold significant lessons for small businesses, says branding expert Michel Hogan. There’s always room to amplify enthusiasm even if you can’t follow through on a customer’s request.

“If something like this is going viral, it’s going viral from a reason,” Hogan says.

“You’ve got a customer saying, ‘Hey, we love you!’ They’re not saying, ‘you suck’. It’s about finding and taking the cue from the customer and doing something with it.” 

There might be cases where you simply cannot accommodate a request for a product relaunch because of logistics or timing. Hogan says that doesn’t mean a business shouldn’t form a connection with a fan who is asking for something to be added to your business.

“There are so many other ways you can tap into it. Maybe you involve the person in a product development group, saying ‘we’d love to have your opinion on some other good things we have coming up.”

Chief executive of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens agrees that bringing fans into the realm of product testing is a good strategy. But given Cadbury’s silence so far, Ahrens believes it’s unlikely the company is seriously thinking about relaunching the marble product.

“If they haven’t brought it out already, then it’s probably not viable,” she says.

However, Cadbury’s reluctance could carve a space for other businesses to leverage enthusiasm for the marble product with their own cheeky campaigns.

“Maximise the opportunity that someone else isn’t picking up on,” Ahrens says.

“If you were a rival chocolatier, I would be a bit cheeky on social, maybe offer a product, or try a “Marble pop-up” in your cafe.” 

Learn more about Good Things Marketing and what we do here.

How to nail guerrilla marketing - Sydney's “awesomely creepy” marketing It campaign.

it.jpg

This article written by Dominic Powell originally appeared on SmartCompany here, featuring commentary from Good Things Marketing's CEO Helen Ahrens.

A crafty guerrilla marketing campaign for soon-to-be-released horror movie It has been met with both delight and horror on social media, with users saying it was “awesomely creepy”.

On Sunday, a number of red balloons appeared attached to drainage grates around Sydney CBD, accompanied by a stencilled chalk note saying, “It is closer than you think”.

The initiative also received praise from advertising trade publications, with Mumbrellasaying it was “impressed” with the guerrilla campaign.

Speaking to SmartCompany, product marketing manager at Village Roadshow Films Stacie Beeksma said creative agency Mr Glasses and guerrilla marketing agency Showtime Marketing were behind the campaign.

“Our strategy was to implement a disruptive campaign geared to generate anticipation of the release and establish a new generation of IT fans,” Beeksma says.

“The balloons on the drains was another disruption element executed by Showtime Marketing. Amazing that sometimes the simplest and cheapest ideas are the most effective.”

Beeksma says marketing for films is “a combination of art and science” and while her team was hoping to create some buzz with the campaign, she said it is “never guaranteed”. The campaign is reportedly launching in Melbourne today.

Concerns were briefly risen by some on Twitter over the environmental impact of popped balloons entering drainage systems, however, in a tweet, Beeksma said her team would be removing the deflated balloons.

How to nail guerrilla marketing for you business

Director at Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens tells SmartCompany she thinks the campaign is “brilliant”, especially due to the ostensibly low cost of “a few balloons, some string, and some stencils”.

However, for businesses hoping to gain similar traction through their own campaigns, Ahrens warns these types of campaigns often need to be backed up with a strong social drive.

“The thing to note with this campaign is the team has created content online to match the real life experience with these balloons,” Ahrens says.

“When viewers see the marketing, companies need to be strategic and have somewhere where they can go online and find out what it’s all about.”

The hashtag tie-in via the stencils serves a dual purpose, believes Ahrens, because it provides an avenue for viewers to locate more info and can be used as a way to drive user generated content around the movie.

“It’s also a way for them to measure the engagement for future campaigns,” she says.

“Advertising with emotion involved has been proven to get viewers more motivated and interested, and this will invoke strong emotions in some people because it’s pretty creepy.”

Businesses of all size should try guerrilla marketing

Ahrens says guerrilla marketing can be employed for businesses of all shapes and sizes, using the example of a restaurant getting its staff members together and doing a cooking demo in the middle of a busy area.

“If you can do things people remember and take photos of, it can be very low cost but very effective, especially compared to $300,000 TV or billboard campaigns,” she says.

“You’ve got to be looking at your marketing strategy and your projected budgets, and make the choice between a pop-up style of marketing or something bigger.

“All campaigns have risks, but even if you calculate a 5% chance of there being risks, take the other 95% and go forth with strength and confidence.”

Learn more about Good Things Marketing and what we do here.

How to build a troop of your own social media influencers & follow Kmart's lead

b.png

This article written by Emma Koehn originally appeared on SmartCompany here, featuring commentary from Good Things Marketing's CEO Helen Ahrens.

It’s no secret Kmart fans are competitive bargain hunters, but branding experts say small businesses should take note of the discount department store’s strategy for rallying its Instagram base and transforming enthusiasm into organic advertising content.

News.com.au reports the retailer is powering goodwill towards its newest products by inviting a select group of 20 social media savvy Kmart fans to special preview events several times a year, giving the store’s most passionate shopper base access to new products and hopefully inspiring their Instagram posts.

“[The events] are usually held at a house which they have styled exclusively with Kmart products so you can walk from room to room and imagine the pieces within your own home,” said Helen James, whose Instagram account @i_heart_kmart has 112,000 followers.

“You also get the chance to chat with the design team and buyers. They are always eager to see how we like the products and if we have any suggestions,” she told news.com.au.

In a statement to SmartCompany this morning, a Kmart spokesperson confirmed these events happen several times a year, and “we have a lot of fun together as we share the same love of the product”.

The “Kmart Instagrammers” are invited to take photos at the events, however, Kmart told news.com.au that it does not pay for sponsored content on the social platform, although some users are sent free products.

Kmart has secured a lead in the discount department store wars because of its product mix, store layout, focus on simplicity and low-cost homewares, according to retail experts.

However, it’s the significant reach of its online fan community which has sparked fervor for the brand’s offering. Instagram accounts like @kmartlovers, which has 142,000 followers, focus on finding individual bargains in stores across the country and sharing these with other bargain hunters.

Director of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens says Kmart’s approach of giving its biggest fans a glimpse of what’s on offer is not a new idea, but executed well, any business can benefit from taking customers behind the scenes.

“It allows mega fans to then go and be influencers in their own communities,” she says.

However, pulling off this kind of digital marketing isn’t always an easy proposition. Here are three ideas for giving clients VIP treatment to ensure they share the love.

1. Find the big hitters

There’s several ways to drill down and identify your most influential users, says Ahrens, but the first stop is identifying those individuals who might deliver the biggest bang for buck.

This can include key clients and important people in your suburb or area more generally, as well as the top social media accounts in your industry.

The trick here is to think beyond your own offering and not to be afraid to look at the competition for inspiration.

“Look at rival business’s hashtags with a similar offering. Ask others in your industry, ‘who do you listen to for insights’ and go to them,” she advises. 

Director of CP Communications Catriona Pollard says for SMEs, the most difficult part of finding a loyal client base is determining which people will create an authentic tone when they share their experiences later.

“When it comes to the genuineness of sharing, and the authenticity of it, that is worth 1000 likes,” she says. 

2. Beware those who say they have influence

There’s no shortage of social media users positioning themselves as influencers, says Pollard, so small businesses should try to steer clear of anyone who claims to have a big following or reach if it’s not obvious they actually use your products.

“Looking for influencers is a minefield,” she says.

“You have to do a lot of research on whether an influencer is really an influencer at all. I think it’s a lot more effective if you can find people that have demonstrated that they are a key part of your target audience. Maybe they already share things or use a hashtag without payment.” 

The process of choosing an elite group of fans is also about understanding that they might not like everything you put in front of them, says Ahrens.

“Risk is something that exists in business everyday, but as long as we take calculated risks, the payoff is worth it,” she says. 

Even if one member of an influencer crew doesn’t like a new idea or product and voices that, you’ve already got the space to respond to them in a straightforward way.

“Just say, ‘thanks for your feedback – we’re going to work on this’,” says Ahrens.

3. Prioritise in-person over online

Ahrens says in her recent work with clients on launches and special events, the aim has been to create an “exclusive launch” feel that demonstrates not just individual products on offer, but the overall brand of the business.

Pollard says the experiential element of any product launch or preview is as important as the payoff you get from Instagram posts.

“It’s as much about the experience as anything else. And remember, even if someone doesn’t have 10,000 followers, they still have a sphere of influence,” she says.

And while having a social strategy is important, SMEs should continue to stay focused on connecting in-person and directly with the groups of people most likely to speak to their networks about your brand.

“If someone’s emailed you to say, ‘I really like your products’, then start developing relationships with those people,” Pollard says.

Want to activate your own social media influencer tribe for your business through clever social media marketing? Contact Good Things Marketing here now to chat about the possibilities!

LinkedIn rolls out video feature, but mind your manners when you use it

This article written by Emma Koehn originally appeared on SmartCompany here, featuring commentary from Good Things Marketing's CEO Helen Ahrens.

linkedin.jpg

Professional networking platform LinkedIn is bringing video sharing to its users, but marketing experts say there are a number of key differences between the new feature and the video capabilities offered on other social platforms.

On Monday LinkedIn headquarters released a blog post announcing LinkedIn Videowas now out of testing mode and ready for individuals and businesses to start uploading their own content straight to the site.

Positioning the new feature as a way for businesses to share expertise and make more connections, the platform suggests users record themselves in design studios, or on factory floors and with colleagues to better showcase to their network what they actually do at work.

The feature operates in a similar way to the Facebook Live function, allowing users to record video on their phones directly through the LinkedIn app and then post the clips to their networks.

“After you post a video, you can see audience insights such as the top companies, titles and locations of your viewers, as well as how many views, likes, and comments your videos are receiving,” the platform explained in this week’s blog post.

Use the opportunity, but “treat it like a conference”

Helen Ahrens, chief executive of Good Things Marketing, says one of the biggest opportunities LinkedIn Video presents is “leveraging your personal brand off another personal brand” by doing things like filming conversations with other professionals in your field. 

Video capabilities are only available in the US market at present but will roll out globally “over the coming weeks”, according to LinkedIn.

Once that happens, Aussie entrepreneurs and business operators will be able to film conversations with other professionals at conferences, launch events and product demonstrations.

However, just because video gives you the chance to show personality, doesn’t mean you can fully let your hair down in LinkedIn videos, Ahrens says.

“I think keep it professional — LinkedIn is a virtual conference. If you wouldn’t walk up to someone at a conference and say something to them, then it’s not for LinkedIn,” she says.

While Facebook videos are well suited to lifestyle and inspirational content, Ahrens says whatever you post on LinkedIn should have a more professional air.

Social media expert Dionne Lew agrees, saying one unique element of LinkedIn is that “there’s no real anonymity, and so people are well behaved there”.

Having already gained some insights into the beta testing of LinkedIn video, Lew says she has heard from colleagues who have created viral videos with more than 100,000 views.

There’s a real opportunity for SMEs once the video features are rolled out, but they must be careful not to get stuck on ideas about what video production “should be”, Lew says.

While LinkedIn works best for videos that show a business in action, users should avoid being “too overly corporate or staid”.

One potential use for video would be to humanise the brand by giving your network an insight into the people who work for you, Lew suggests.

“If you’re new to video, you want to avoid being sales-y. Instead, use the opportunity to showcare more of your people,” she says.

Marketing departments tend to get overly obsessed with booking professional studio time or finding the best equipment to record video, but on platforms like LinkedIn, you should be forgoing this idea and just focusing on clear and useful content, Lew says.

“It should be clear, audible and [the picture] shouldn’t be shaking. If people want to buy anything, just buy one of those tripods for your desk with a smartphone holder. That’s really all the production value people need,” she adds. 

Should you let a robot decide how you tell your brand story?

Looking-at-a-mobile.jpg

This article written by Emma Koehn originally appeared on SmartCompany here, featuring commentary from Good Things Marketing's CEO Helen Ahrens.

You’ve heard the statistics and the reality is right there in front of your face: digital devices are now literally attached to your consumers.

And yet, it can feel like a bigger battle to capture their attention than ever. 

Surveys of both business owners and consumers suggest that when it comes to digital marketing, things aren’t as simple as just buying some search terms and setting up a Facebook page. 

When Sensis surveyed 1,100 businesses and 800 consumers in June, the results showed the number of users actively following brands online dropped from 36% a year ago to 24%, suggesting the drive for customers to connect with your business through digital channels is waning.

But beyond the guidebooks on search engine marketing and optimisation, there’s a whole range of trends emerging that you can take advantage of to connect directly with your user base and to make sure your brand stays front-of-mind.

SmartCompany spoke to digital marketing experts this week to find out how you can leverage some of these new approaches.

Interactivity and speed in storytelling

Social media expert Dionne Lew says brands can no longer think of digital marketing as big chunks of information or storytelling.

“The trend small businesses should be tracking is micro-content,” she says.

There might be a temptation to create lengthy, detailed narratives, users are increasingly switching off any information that takes them a long time to process.

“While customers have 24 hours in a day, they have 31 hours of activity. They are stacking activities — for example, listening to a podcast while they go for a run,” she explains.

This means a brand’s digital marketing should include a number of pieces of “stackable” content, including video, that can be easily accessed and engaged with in small bites.

Ralph Grayden, director of content marketing agency Antelope Media, founder says interactivity is also going to play a big role in the year ahead.

“We’ve actually been working on quizzes and “choose-your -own adventure” type content just as much as on traditional articles,” he says. 

Customers who are engaging with brands online are less interested in simply hearing about their offerings; they’re now more interesting in getting things — whether that is a discount or another opportunity, according to the Sensis survey. 

Thinking about fun and engagement when setting up your strategy can also allow users to learn more about what you do in a way that can, in turn, give you data about what your users want.

The strategy of “gamifying” or creating easy-to-consume digital content has been favoured by a number of brands over the past year, including removal startup TaxiBox, which created a Tetris game last year to give more users an incentive to book their services.

Artificial intelligence and automation

If you’ve attended any kind of marketing workshop over the past 12 months, chances are you’ve heard the concepts of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) thrown around.

Founder of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens says SMEs and startups should be across what automation could mean for all parts of their strategy.

“It’s automation in sales — the ease of e-commerce platforms; automation in email marketing, [with products like] Mailchimp, and their integrations into e-commerce/CRM [customer relationship management] platforms, and automation in social media,” she says. 

Picking an automation software that works for your specific needs could mean you can start generating digital content that can compete with what’s being produced by the bigger players in your industry, because with the tools now available, smaller operators don’t have to outlay so much time on the set-up, says Grayden.

“Automation changes let SMEs compete on a more level playing field. What that means is streamlining processes, taking the burden of producing content and maintaining social media and newsletter campaigns away,” he says. 

Platforms that use artificial intelligence to match messaging to customers might have seemed like light years away in the mid 2000s, but Australian entrepreneurs are increasingly using — and investing — in these tools.

Earlier this month Shark Tank investor and serial business founder Naomi Simson announced her company, Big Red Group, had secured the rights to bring artificial intelligence marketing platform Albert to Australia. 

Albert is designed to process mammoth amounts of data to identify information points, like popular keywords, to boost the performance of a company’s search engine marketing.

The RedBalloon business says the technology reduced its customer acquisition costs by 25% in its first month of use. Simson says despite some business operators being hesitant about AI, it can free up valuable energy when used the right way.

“We should not be fearful of this, as it frees our people up to focus on the higher value tasks like collaboration, strategy and creativity,” she said last month.

The advice game

A SmartCompany survey conducted earlier this year found content marketing was the third most popular strategy among 700 SMEs, with blogs, video content and podcasts all popular areas of priority.

But just because you have expertise in a particular area doesn’t mean you’re going to create bang for buck making content. It’s a slow process, and one that requires diligence, say experts.

“It’s the Pantene principle — it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen,” says digital marketing expert Kirryn Zerna, who says businesses get the best boost from producing regular content, rather than just publishing the odd piece of advice here and there.

Depending on your setup, the idea of regularly feeding a content hub to attract more customers might seem like a nightmare, but the other great thing about AI is it can consolidate what you already have, says Lew.

“For example, using free tools like Lumens5 you combine text and images through AI to create a video,” she says.

Once you’ve got a clear goal and a system in place, you can then knock over groups of bite-sized content in a row, Lew says.

“You can work out say 20 micro-stories that you can tell around a bigger issue and produce it in advance, in batches, which you just drip feed out,” she adds.