Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Power of New Usage Occasions for Products

Most shopper marketers know that, today, the path to purchase is different for each shopper. Shoppers make purchase decisions based on a number of environmental and psychological factors and want to know how a product fits into their life before purchasing. So, what do you get when you take a utilitarian item like a housecleaning product and highlight multiple ways to use it? You give shoppers new reasons to purchase. (Cha-ching!)

The same can be done for just about any product.

Giving shoppers fresh ways to utilize a product can:

  • help you reach new audiences
  • show off your brand’s personality
  • allow you to take advantage of emerging trends without changing your base product

Social influencers are experts when it comes to creating new usage occasions for products without being too unconventional or unrealistic for their followers to want to try. Social influencers could be the missing piece to a shopper marketing strategy.

Social influencers are experts when it comes to creating new usage occasions for products. Click To Tweet

Check out these content examples:

Freschetta and Honey Maid products for “Glamping” experiences

Photo content by Easy Peazy Meals and JMan and MillerBug

Viva® Vantage® paper towels as a tailgating cleanup essential

Photo content by Frugal Living Mom

We increased basket size for Chobani with an influencer campaign highlighting new usage occasions.

When the brand wanted to stand out amongst competitors at Kroger’s Family of Stores, they activated a Shopper Social Media campaign to incite new usage occasions for consumers. The campaign focused on “Smoothie Week” with social influencers being challenged to come up with new and creative smoothie recipes using various flavors of Chobani Greek Yogurt and fresh fruit from Kroger Family of Stores. Through the influencers’ unique recipes and mouthwatering photography content, Chobani Greek Yogurt products became much more than just yogurt in a cup – it was the hero ingredient for a massive range of healthy smoothie options. The campaign resulted in over 33K engagements from 22 blog posts and a 2.4x mROI for the brand.

Additional Reading: Increasing basket size through new usage occasions [Case Study]

Want to learn what other roles social influencers can play in shopper marketing? Get your copy of our new white paper now!

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The Weekly Bias: Social Video Takeover

Video content has been growing in popularity for a long time, as we see YouTubers making millions of dollars from their channels. Social video, however, is now becoming the norm. This week’s Weekly Bias explores the latest in the social video takeover.

Snap, Inc. Introduces Snap TV

We mentioned a few weeks ago that Snapchat has rebranded to simply, Snap, Inc. and is referring to themselves as a camera company. Attempting to go the way of Netflix, Snap, Inc. is preparing to launch original TV programs, while also hoping to be seen as a news outlet. It appears Snap tested this back in August when they partnered with NBC for exclusive episodes of shows like, “The Voice” & “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”. Read more about the evolution of Snap, Inc. in this article from Business Insider.

Is Instagram Going Live?

First, Instagram gave us an additional 45 seconds of video for our sharing pleasure, then they introduced Instagram Stories in order to stay competitive against the aforementioned Snap, Inc. Now it seems Instagram may be taking a note from the pages of it’s parent company, Facebook, by introducing live video. A Russian Instagram user noticed a “live” button in his Instagram Stories recently, but couldn’t access the feature. Instagram has declined to talk about this, giving us the impression that they may be testing out what could become a brand new feature. See the screenshots and read more in this article from Mashable.

Virtual Reality Shopping Experience

Virtual reality as the norm could be in the not-too-distant future, particularly thanks to Facebook and its developers. Two years ago, Facebook bought Oculus, the company who created a virtual reality headset, and has since spent time and money working to develop this technology to make it more mainstream. Facebook hopes to allow brands to create full VR websites, which will allow consumers to become fully immersed in a virtual shopping experience. Read more about this game-changing technology on Insights.

R.I.P. Vine

Twitter announced it’s Q3 earnings at the same time it announced significant layoffs within the company. It should come as no surprise, then, that Twitter is letting go of it’s short-form video brand, Vine. With all the advancements in video from other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, apparently there just isn’t room for everyone. Vines will still exist, but the brand itself is phasing out, according to Twitter, in the coming months. Read more about the upcoming death of the app that started the short-form video craze on Gizmodo.

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4 Steps to Effective Influencer Marketing Relationships

Influencer marketing is still on the rise, with brands from Maybelline to Huggies, and everyone in between, jumping on board and hiring influencers to promote products and services. Running an influencer marketing campaign can be more time-intensive than you think, especially when working with a large budget and a busy influencer. Take these four steps to ensure that your campaign goes as smoothly as possible.

Be clear about your objectives.

Let your chosen influencer(s) know up front what your objectives are. Are you trying to drive site traffic, gain awareness, or engage with an audience? This is a crucial first step that too many brands don’t focus on, and it can oftentimes help the influencer determine a) is this a good fit for my brand and b) if I want to work with this brand, what will my angle be?

Influencers are creative types, so rather than always prescribing exactly what you want them to say, give them some creative freedom: You may be pleasantly surprised about what you get back!

Be clear about your budget.

An influencer should know what the expectations are prior to agreeing to do any work, and a brand should have clear expectations as well as to what the influencer is expected to deliver or not. When an influencer or brand asks for a “collaboration,” which is often the language used in influencer marketing, the term can mean anything from creating a jewelry line together to one blog post. Because communications often happen over email, and email can often be misconstrued, it is imperative to be clear on both sides. For example, a brand can ask for 2 Instagram posts highlighting creative ways to use the newest gel pens. Which leads me to ….

Contracts!

Put everything in writing. It’s the easiest way to make sure both the brand and the influencer understand what they are responsible for, what they are paying for/being paid for, and the timeline. Without a written contract, you’re going off of (for the most part) emails, and things like a posting date can get lost in the shuffle.

Follow up

Brands should follow up regarding the analytics of the campaign, letting their influencers know if anything looks “off”. Influencers should follow up with the brand and send along any related links. Influencers, never make an assumption that the brand saw that you posted 4 tweets and 2 Instagram photos instead of the agreed-upon 2 tweets and 1 Instagram photo. Let them know that you went above and beyond!

Setting expectations and keeping an open line of communication through the process will help to ensure success with influencer marketing campaigns.

Alyssa is a Boston-based lifestyle blogger and digital marketer. She has shared attainable style, as well as lifehacks and travel tips, since beginning blogging in 2012. Alyssa is passionate about skinny jeans, a good pair of boots, animal rescue, and to do lists.

5 Creative Ways to Share Content This Holiday Season

While you’re busy getting ready to deck the halls and trim the tree this holiday season, you might not always have time for a full blown blog post to share your content. On the flip side, consumers probably won’t have enough time to sit down and dedicate time to digesting content either. Thankfully, there are others way to market your brand or company using different channels that will still reach your audience in a thoughtful and content-driven manner.

Instagram Stories

New to Instagram this summer, Instagram Stories are a great way to show a behind-the-scenes peek at what is going on with your company, product or brand. Are you launching a new product for Black Friday? Making a big announcement after the new year? Give your followers teasers or the inside scoop via this video feature on Instagram.

Twitter Chats

Is there something exciting going on within your brand that you can’t wait to share? Set up a Twitter chat to spread the word, get feedback, answer questions and more. Twitter chats allow brands and companies to interface with their audience directly on an up-to-the-minute basis. The holidays would be a great time to offer incentives for Twitter chat participants, such as a discount code or gift cards.

Facebook Live

Are you brave enough to take your company or brand live? Utilize this updated Facebook feature for someone from your company or brand to share exciting information off-the-cuff, make a big announcement or use it like a live press conference. A great bonus of Facebook Live is that unlike Snapchat or Instagram Stories, it stays live on your feed and allows viewers to participate by asking questions, liking, loving, etc. that the presenter can see.

YouTube Videos

Not quite ready to go live? That’s okay! YouTube provides a fantastic platform for producing high-quality videos that can be edited prior to uploading. This would be a great way to share a fun new holiday recipe that features your product, an exciting holiday wrapping hack for gussying up your product, holiday travel packing tips and more. Video producers are able to make the video as long or short as necessary, can add festive music and more.

In-Store Demos

Do you have a product or idea that isn’t best displayed through the internet? Set up a live demonstration so you can really showcase how awesome it is within your local community. Don’t have a product? Ask to set up a booth with informational fliers, worksheets, questionnaires, etc. to let everyone know who you are, what you’re doing, and how it will help them.

The holiday season is the perfect time to think outside the blog post, sharing content in different formats that are easy for your target audience not only to consume, but to share. And remember, influencers can provide holiday content outside of the blog post, too. Combine influencer marketing with creative content and you’ve got a solid holiday campaign ready to go!

About the Author: Kait Hanson is a Hawaii-based writer who focuses on food, travel and lifestyle topics. She is a bar columnist for Metro Honolulu and contributing writer for Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, People Magazine and more. When she’s not writing, she can be found trying a new restaurant with her husband or playing with her two chocolate Labs, Judy and Bill, at the beach.

How to Bolster Charity Campaigns with Influencers

Are you in shopper marketing? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Before shopper marketing was called shopper marketing, the industry knew it as “sales promotion”. It has since heavily evolved with the pervasion of digital and social. The path to purchase is now different for every shopper, making it that much harder for marketers to keep up. That’s where social influencers come in.

In our new white paper, The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing, we talk about the many functions social influencers can serve in elevating shopper marketing strategies. One of those functions is bolstering charity campaigns. According to Cone Communications/Ebiquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study, 90 percent of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. It’s no wonder so many brands consistently create charity campaigns: they benefit the brand, consumers and the respective charity.  

Get your copy of The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing for free now!

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So, where do influencers fit into charity campaigns?

Influencer content is not just for for helping reach traditional KPIs. Integrating influencers into charity amplifications brings another layer of authenticity to a brand’s efforts to impact both charities and sales. Wielding the online reach of influencers to get the word out about a worthy cause is truly social good.

Take popular pet food brand PEDIGREE® for example. Last year, PEDIGREE® activated an influencer marketing campaign when they wanted to promote their charity initiative in which each purchase of a PEDIGREE® product earned a dog in need a bowl of food, donated from the PEDIGREE® brand. Influencers shared heartwarming and inspiring stories of their pets. They creatively weaved into the post that when a PEDIGREE® product is purchased at Sam’s Club, the PEDIGREE® brand will donate a bowl of food to a dog in need. At the core of the campaign was a focus on helping dogs in need while taking care of your own animal.

Additional Reading: Humanizing brands through seasonal charity promotions {Case Study}

Want to learn what other roles social influencers can play in shopper marketing? Get your copy of our new white paper now!

Get your copy of The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing for free now!

influencer marketing

The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing is a free mini white paper from Collective Bias. Download your copy today & improve your influencer marketing strategy.

The Weekly Bias: Holiday Influencer Marketing

The holiday are quickly approaching (10 Mondays until Christmas!) which means brands and influencers alike are preparing for the holiday season with content and promotions that will attract their target audience. This week’s Weekly Bias will help you gear up for Black Friday and beyond with influencer marketing.

Thinking Outside the Blog

Holiday marketing goes far beyond a blog post. Influencers can create valuable and highly shareable holiday content using Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. After all, Pinterest is now used regularly for shopping as well as searching. Convince & Convert breaks it down in this post.

The Presidential Election Can Teach Us How to Market the Holidays

The presidential election is upon us, and there is much to be learned from the media strategies used in this election season. Marketers are facing Q4 consumer spending of $655 billion, and influencer marketing can help brands do more with their advertising spend. This article by Rhythm One shares more media strategies learned from this year’s election.

Video Content Is An Effective Holiday Marketing Strategy

Video is an extremely popular media format, as we’ve seen with the advent of Periscope, Snapchat, and now, Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. It should come as no surprise that video content is also useful for holiday marketing. This webinar replay from Marketing Bitz break down key fundamentals to successful holiday marketing using video. 

Don’t Forget Email Marketing

Email marketing allows brands to hyper-target their audience and strategically promote during the holiday season. What brands promote via email is only half of the game, however. It’s also important to know when to promote different types of holiday content. This infographic from Social Media Today showcases a holiday email calendar to get your brand through the new year.

Time for the FTC Crackdown

This article by Collective Bias SVP of Marketing and Content, Holly Pavlika, originally appeared on Media Post.

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the complicated business of influencer marketing. The FTC just cracked down on Warner Bros. for a YouTube influencer campaign that failed to disclose sponsorships. Entire industries are at risk of getting their wrists slapped for illegal endorsements. To make matters even trickier, no one can seem to agree on a standard method of payment.

The conventions of influencer marketing are still malleable right now, and it will be crucial not to let bad habits and practices take hold. That’s why the recent crackdown on influencer content and native advertising disclosures isn’t surprising. It’s a typical response to the burgeoning changes in advertising.

Requiring clear disclosures across all social media channels is a good thing for brands and marketers. Here’s why.

Requiring clear disclosures is a good thing for brands and marketers. Click To Tweet

Disclosure puts the focus on creating quality content.

If the content is high quality, audiences won’t care if the content is sponsored. It will expose true influence versus the paid shill.

Influencers understand there needs to be a balance of sponsored content and unsponsored content to retain the audiences they worked so hard to cultivate. Influencers who have not spammed their audiences and reward their audience with quality, useful and entertaining content will be rewarded, regardless of changes in algorithms.

The celebrity abuse of these rules hurt the hard work the majority of influencers put into their craft and taint the industry as a whole. Celebrity influencers are, more often than not, in it for the money, versus the mainstream influencer who wants to be paid for the work they put in. These influencers are dedicated to building their personal brand, while providing value to their audience.

Your cheat sheet to compliant influencer marketing:

  • Clear and conspicuous disclosures must be at the top of any blog post. Not at the bottom. Influencers can get creative with their disclosures, but they must be at the top.
  • Every tweet issued by Twitter party hosts must be accompanied with #ad, #client or #sweeps.
  • Visual content that clicks through to sponsored content also needs disclosures.
  • YouTube videos need clear disclosures at the beginning of the video.

An easy rule of thumb to remember is that the consumer needs to know content is sponsored from the minute they start consuming it.

Brands should ask to see examples of influencer content during their influencer selection process and cross-check for FTC compliance. Brands should also ask for the influencer or influencer company’s guard rails for ensuring compliance, particularly when doing influencer programs at scale.

Google recently released its own crackdown.

Google is now requiring influencers to include No Follow links to any product or service they receive as a way to tell the search engine not to follow a certain article. This requirement is a good thing for the industry because it stops link building.

The most self-respecting bloggers and influencers won’t take free products in exchange for a link. These influencers choose brands they are passionate about and feel fit well into their own brand. The choice of who they work with should start with the brand and type of content first, rather than links.

Most advertisers or brands come for the influencer’s audience, content, the engagement it can generate and the scale—not the links. Besides, Google’s No Follow links still work to build awareness and users can click over to the directed site.

Affiliate link disclosures rarely mentioned…yet.

Just like the FTC disclosures, there should be disclosures for affiliate marketing on an influencer’s site. Google doesn’t like affiliate links at all, so influencers should make these No Follow tags as well—not everyone knows that.

The recent crackdown on the industry will expose the dabblers versus the companies that truly understand influencer marketing and all its complexities. There are too many companies looking to get a piece of this $2 billion to $16 billion industry with too little experience and regard for the rules.

We need to come together as an industry to be more transparent, starting with better payment models, disclosing sponsorships and working only with companies and influencers that comply with regulation.

5 Things Brands and Bloggers Need to Know

Work between brands and bloggers can be a beautiful thing or a complete nightmare. Often times, communication is not where it should be and, thus, chaos ensues. Bloggers over-promise or under-deliver in the eyes of the brand because bloggers fluff their stats and engagement too much. Brands, on the other hand, can be demanding, inflexible, or downright rude because they don’t value the efforts of the blogger.

While it may seem like one party is to blame, the truth is that much of the conflict that happens between brands and bloggers is a vast collection of misunderstandings. In order to avoid further miscommunication, there are five things to keep in mind when brands and bloggers work together.

Be Kind.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? If not, it basically means being kind will get you much further than being rude and it’s true. If you’re kind to a blogger, they will go above and beyond to help you. You may find them working double time for you simply because they like you and appreciate your kindness. It’s easy to get frustrated with bloggers if they are not doing what you want them to do or if you’re on a time crunch, but trust me when I say this: being kind and assertive will promote a more positive experience for everyone. There’s no need to create animosity, and the same holds true for bloggers who want to work in a positive direction with brands.

Know Blogger Value.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with brands who think it’s somehow “unethical” or “not worth their time” to fairly compensate bloggers. Bloggers can take your campaign to the next level, connect you with the right audience, and help make your brand more human.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are bloggers out there who seek to take advantage of freebies and other perks from brands which should be avoided as well. This is why it’s so important for bloggers and brands to correspond beforehand to ensure their campaign goals will be met, and they are a good fit for one another.

Be Straightforward.

As a blogger, one of the most frustrating experiences has been dealing with brands who have expectations, but never voice them. If you want to reach a certain amount of people or have a specific goal, please share it with the blogger! They can tell you whether or not that audience or goal can be attained through their blog.

Additionally, it only helps both the blogger & the brand when goals have been communicated clearly, as well as expectations for a post or campaign. It doesn’t serve the brand to leave things out of the communication, then become upset when those objectives are not met.

On that same note, bloggers should be straightforward about the kind of objectives they can reasonably accomplish. If you don’t have the audience size or interest that a brand is looking for, it doesn’t serve anyone to lie about it.

Be Humble and Human.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance so it’s better to be human (as in not sending out mass emails that are all the same!) and to show a little humility. Moreover, it’s equally great if you spell blogger’s names correctly, their blog name’s correctly, and actually look at their blog before emailing.

Of course, the same goes for bloggers! Don’t mass email brands or reps with the same impersonal pitch email. You will have more success by approaching brands with real enthusiasm than shooting in the dark by emailing a thousand brands who are not a good fit.

Make Sure It’s A Good Fit.

In that same vein, please do not waste blogger time by emailing us about promoting your brand if it’s not a good fit. Check out their blog, the categories, the about page, and read a post or two. Figure out if the blogger’s writing style, photography style, and audience fit your brand before contacting them. Just as you don’t want your valuable time wasted, neither does the blogger.

Again, the same goes for bloggers. Research a brand’s mission, products, founders, and anything else you can get your hands on. See what their past campaigns look like. This will be a good indication of the kind of content they may be looking for. Don’t waste a brand’s time pitching them ideas that don’t suit their market.

At the end of the day, misunderstandings are bound to happen between bloggers and brands. The best thing we all can do is work with an open heart, humble mind, and remember that we all function under the common ground of being human. Stay inspired and remember that we all want the same thing. We all want to create awesome campaigns that are successful, engaging, and helpful to readers. Keeping an open line of communication, compassion, and creating real, solid relationships with each other is the best way to ensure you both get the most out of a project. The more seamlessly you work together, the more successful you will be. And isn’t that what everyone is really after?

Tianna is a 27 year old California native with a passion for stories, connecting with others, and the rain! She runs a lifestyle blog (Storybook Apothecary) where she helps millennial women find the best natural products.

The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing [White Paper]

Each month, brands are spending over $255 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone. That’s a pretty penny. The marketing channel saw a massive increase in Google searches last year, as brands, retailers and agencies wanted to know what this type of marketing could for them.

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The versatility of influencer marketing is huge. There’s a type of influencer and a type of content for just about any category. Particularly with shopper marketing, you might be surprised to find how many roles influencers can play. That’s where our new mini white paper, The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing, comes in.

In this new snack-size white paper, you’ll discover how social influencers can solve your most common shopper marketing challenges, including:

  • New product launches
  • Creating new usage occasions
  • Extending the life of in-store demos
  • Saving de-listed items
  • Attracting new audiences
  • And more!

Get your copy of The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing for free now!

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The Role of Influencers in Shopper Marketing is a free mini white paper from Collective Bias. Download your copy today & improve your influencer marketing strategy.

The Weekly Bias: The Latest In Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is constantly being redefined and perfected, particularly as new social media platforms are created, and new ways to measure ROI are discovered. This week’s Weekly Bias uncovers the latest in influencer marketing.

Creating Lightning in a Bottle

With the rise of new influencer marketing companies, it’s easy to get lost in the inflated statistics, or campaign ROI that is really just lightning in a bottle. Holly Pavlika, SVP of Marketing & Content for Collective Bias, explores ways to replicate this “lightning in a bottle” campaign success in this article on Medium.

Influencers Can Help Elevate a Brand

According to a Nielson report, 92% of people trust brand recommendations from individuals even if they don’t know them, which makes the case for influencer marketing. But how do brands get started with an influencer marketing campaign? This article by Content Marketing Institute breaks it down into an 8-step process.

CPE Payment Model Isn’t Necessarily The Best Way

Some influencer marketing companies have been using CPE, or cost per engagement, as their payment model. However, this payment model could lead to more influencers “fudging” their numbers, forcing clicks through social media threads filled with other influencers, or encouraging other practices that devalues their content. Our own article explains more on this payment model. 

Influencer Marketing Coming to Snapchat?

Snapchat has been the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to social media platforms that are being used by influencers. However, UK-based Fanbytes has launched a Snapchat influencer network and performance measurement platform. Fanbytes began by creating influencer marketing opportunities on YouTube for brands such as Adidas and Disney. Could this be the next big thing in influencer marketing? Read more on VentureBeat.

Dark Social Is On the Rise

Dark Social is hard to measure but can potentially be a strong influencer marketing approach. Dark social is the social sharing of content that cannot be measured by normal web analytics – basically when someone shares a URL with someone else, that’s dark social. Adidas has formed what they call “tango squads” and depend on dark social within these squads to spread the word about their brand. Read more about how Adidas is amping up it’s dark social influencer marketing in this article on Marketing Week.