International House of Buzz

  (@IHOb – Twitter)

Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” IHOP, or should I say IHOb really had people talking about them. In fact, the “B” should have stood for buzz, because they created a lot of that. If you haven’t heard by now, IHOP announced that they were changing their name to IHOb, and had customers guessing what the “b” stood for. Some Twitter users guessed things like biscuits, bacon, and breakfast, but when they announced what it really stood for everybody was shocked: burgers! You might be thinking, what?! IHOP is a pancake place, well that is exactly why they did this. They wanted to let everybody know that they offered food other than just breakfast food. They put out seven new burgers including their Cowboy BBQ with onion rings and bacon and the Mega Monster, which is stacked high and includes two premium patties.

Although they announced that they were changing their name, it was all a publicity stunt and they will remain the classic IHOP. In response to that, many customers as well as other businesses responded. Burger King changed their name on their social media accounts to Pancake King and also changed their logo and header to a picture of pancakes. Similarly, White Castle announced that they were changing their name to Pancake Castle. Wendy’s responded with sass, but is anyone really surprised by that? They Tweeted, “Not really afraid of burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.” Finally, here at Ciconte Consulting, we also changed our logo and announced our name change to Ciconte Cheeseburgers, which can still happen if the price is right.

Numerous other Twitter users also chimed in, which isn’t surprising either since there were over 12.5 million, yes million, views on IHOP’s video announcing what the “B” stood for. Some users were excited for this, but others weren’t too happy. One user even begged Waffle House not to change their name to Burger House. There are now journalists and even YouTubers giving their burgers a shot and reviewing them. Regardless of the negative comments, they got what they wanted, attention to their new burgers.

-EC

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Right on Target

Have great ads, but they aren’t getting enough attention? Then this blog post is perfect for you. An important part of marketing is making sure you’re advertising to the right people, your target market. A target market is a group is made up of three main categories: demographics, psychographics, and geographical locations. A good way to put all of these together is by creating a fictional character for your brand, and making an advertisement that would be perfect for them.

Starting with demographics, those are the basic things about a person. Demographics include their age, gender, race, income, education, and occupation. In most cases, it is better to create smaller brackets to look at in the cases of age and income. Although it would be shown to less people, if you picked a ten year range of ages, you would get more of the attention you’re looking for, instead of showing the ad to people of all ages. To start creating your character you would name them, and then choose their age, gender, race, income, education, and occupation, pertaining to the audience you appeal to the most right now.

Next are psychographics, which are often forgotten about. They are more of personality traits, things that people can change. Some examples of psychographics could be things they are interested in, their goals in life, and their lifestyle traits. If you owned a company that sold athletic wear, psychographics of their target market would include things like enjoying time outside, going on nature walks, wanting to complete a marathon, and doing yoga to warm up.

Of course geography is also important. If you own a company that doesn’t sell online, you wouldn’t want to advertise to people who aren’t anywhere near your business. I have gotten plenty of ads that I’ve clicked on and noticed they’re located 1,000 miles away. Geography also matters if you do sell online. You most likely wouldn’t want to advertise winter jackets to people who live in Hawaii.

Now you might be wondering, how do I find my target market and use that knowledge to my advantage? Well that’s what we’re here for. We can help in all different stages of marketing, so just shoot us an email, and we’ll help you reach your target.

 

-EC

Picture This

Although a story with photos and little to no text might sound like a children’s storybook, it is also an example of one of the most popular social media platforms today: Instagram. You might think Instagram is just a fun place to post selfies or the food you’ve had recently. In reality, Instagram is used by many businesses and companies to promote their goods and services. Pictures aren’t just about the subject matter in the photo, they are also about placement, lighting, and filters.

Starting with placement, a popular rule in the photography world is the rule of thirds. When using the rule of thirds, the main focus of the picture should be at the one-third point of the picture. By doing so, that will not only draw your audience’s eyes to the focal point, but also their attention. Not only does it make the object stand out more, but it can also cause their mind to wander places where it wouldn’t have otherwise. As you can see, not only does the tomato in that photo pop, but it also looks aesthetically pleasing.

Next, is lighting. Lighting doesn’t only change how a picture physically looks, but it can also change the mood of a photo. To get the most out of natural lighting, the best time to shoot would be an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, also known as the golden hour. A brighter photo can look friendlier and show viewers a look into a brighter future. A darker photo can become more dramatic and tell more of a story. As you can see, both of the pictures show city streets, but the darker photo looks more mysterious, while the brighter one looks more welcoming.

Finally, something Instagram is famous for, is filters. Filters like lighting can also change the mood of a photo. As talked about in a previous blog post, trends are constantly changing. The ways users edit their photos have also changed. Instead of using preset Instagram filters, users have now turned to other apps to edit their photos before posting, like VSCO, Facetune, and Snapseed. With what seems like an endless amount of filters to choose from, there is a filter to set the right mood of your photo, no matter what it is.

 

 

With all of that information in mind, you now know how to make the most of your next Instagram photo.

-EC

Nothing Is More Important Than Your Customers

How do you start a successful business? That’s a big question that everyone has their own answer for. People go to school for years to try and figure that out, but in all honesty, there isn’t a singular answer.

Every business is different, which means there are thousands of ways to approach a problem, and every business needs to approach that problem in a completely different way.

And even though every business is different, there is one major similarity across the board that may actually be the answer, and that is the need for customers/consumers.

Though that may sound extremely obvious, a lot of people tend to forget that. It’s easy to fall into the trap of putting your business first. And though that isn’t always a bad thing, you can’t forget the people who made you who you are.

So, you may be wondering how you can find that happy medium of your business and your customers. Now, that is a difficult rope to walk on, but it’s not impossible!

One thing you can do to make sure your business and customers are on the same page is to engage with them.

So many business fall into the trap as treating customers as a means-to-an-end, basically treating them as just a little part…rather than the thing that caused the business to be successful in the first place, and customers can sense this. They know when a business doesn’t care.

So what can you do to not fall into this? It’s actually pretty easy! Talk to them, see what they’re asking for, and just be aware. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. All in all, just treat your customers like people.

People know what they want, and those are the people who are going to be making you money, so it’s a win-win for both of you!

-Luis R

Emojiglyphics

Emojis have played an increasing role in the past few years when it comes to the social media strategies of numerous companies, i.e.; Taco Bell, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Coca-Cola, etc. And those are some heavyweight companies that are banking on the reach of the emoji usage on social media. Emojis basically serve as another language for communicating throughout the tech world and with consumers. Time to go over Rosetta Stonji.

As strange as it seems emojis help us convey our feelings so we can better understand each other through text. How do I feel while writing this blog? 😊 Well of course if consumers are using emojis, brands have to adapt to emoji use…whether it be a marketing campaign or simply sprinkled into messages sent on various channels. Like all other strategies in business, emojis can be hit or miss. One brand that knocked it out of the park is Domino’s Pizza. If your twitter account is linked to your Domino’s account you can simply tweet them the pizza emoji and boom, your favorite pizza is ordered. This also works via text message, seen below.


Another “pretty big” company that utilized the emoji for a social media campaign is McDonald’s. They essentially used emojis to tell some short stories about how a bad day can turn into a good day, by obviously eating McDonald’s. Which is fairly easy to understand by the looks of the image.


A couple other ways emojis are used by brands can be seen in their custom keyboards if they have one, sticker packs, or even throwing said emojis on a product #pepsiMoji…Google it. And don’t forget Bitmoji! (random food for thought, over 6 billion emojis are sent everyday…whole lot opportunities there) .

Emoji use is just going to keep growing, amongst consumers, brands, and throughout the tech world. Apple, Android, and Windows keep adding new emojis, so make good use of them and use them wisely. Oh and if you got this far without knowing what an emoji is, thanks for reading and here you go. “emoji – a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.” – Dictionary.com

#TrendingTopic

*Insert meme here* Whether it’s consumer goods, social media, or content; the world we live in is full of trends. Things can trend on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, and everyone always wants to be “in.” This is more than evident when it comes to the overall trends we see on social media throughout our time spent on various websites and apps. From a business standpoint what type of trends will we see in 2018?

So you’re probably wondering why I said “insert meme here,” to start this post. More recently, Spongebob Squarepants has taken the internet by storm via various memes from episodes. Now once one of these memes picks up speed it seems that everyone or every company tries to hop on the wagon, some hit, some miss. But these memes, by all means get plenty of exposure via likes or retweets and thus grow your brand, and make it seem like your company is more down to earth. However, these memes definitely have a shelf life, roughly a week goes by and it’s on to the next. Get after it early.

To segue from memes, what other trends can be seen in 2018 so far. The overall continuing growth of social media advertising. It’s too hard to ignore the actual reach of various social media channels. So, with that in mind we are going to continue to see companies pour money into their social media ads. This is a good thing though. More people are using social media apps or websites which will have an increased effectiveness on your ad campaign.

VIDEOS! Whether it be Facebook Live, Instagram live stories, going live on Twitter, Periscope, official Snapchat stories (or snaps in general), Twitch, etc., content is king. More people are flocking to these videos because they want to be part of the social experience. If you can’t be there in person, you can view it through whatever electronic device you can stream it from.

Social customer service and chatbots are becoming more and more of a normal thing for companies to implement. Chatbots, being that little pop up window that comes up when your browsing a company’s site and can answer pretty straightforward questions. Social customer service is the much bigger picture. From Facebook having a more customized messaging and response system in the Messenger app, to companies having direct support pages on Twitter (assist via reply/direct message) with multiple reps assisting those with issues. It’s a very straightforward process.

Of course there are many other trends and I could go on and on and on, but I won’t because I’ll spare you. Stay ahead of the curve and utilize the aforementioned knowledge of the growth of trends and even trends to come. Grow your company while engaging with your customers.

yep…

-JC

What You Need To Know About Google Analytics And Why You Should Get It

When it comes to tracking traffic to your website, there are so many options out there that it becomes a little daunting just to choose one. However, there is one analytics service that stands out from the rest, and that is Google Analytics.

Now, if you’re asking yourself, “Why should I use Google Analytics?” then keep on reading because that question is about to be answered in a few short moments.

To start this off, we would like to point out that the standard version of Google Analytics is free. With this you get access to all of their tools, but the data you get from the free version is more of an average. This means that the data you get is an estimate, so it’s not as accurate as information you would get from the premium version.

Even if you decide that to buy into the premium version, you’re going to be saving so much money due to the fact that Google Analytics has all the tools you’ll ever need when it comes to analyzing site traffic.

With all these tools at your disposal, you can track things such as: active users currently on your site, whether users are coming to your site organically or through other sources, bounce rates, repeat visitors, and so many other statistical variables. And this information doesn’t only need to be used to track your day-to-day operations.

With Analytics, you can track your social ad campaigns or campaigns made through programs like AdSense with the same accuracy. Also, you can use it for Ecommerce to track things like: sales performance, transactions, and at what times people are buying your products most.

All of this information is at your disposal with the free version of Analytics and you don’t even need to host your site with Google, but the best part about it is how easy it is to get started.

Though we won’t dive into the set-up here, just know that all you basically have to do is drop in a few URLs and add a tracking code to your site’s code. It’s really simple and could be done in under an hour.

Having some sort of analytical service is necessary if you want to make accurate and educated moves, and we think that Google Analytics should be the one you choose. And once that is all said and done, you can drill into all the information you want and push your performance and sales to the next level.

-Big Lou

Marketing Food & Beverages to Kids in School: Ethical?

For the past decade, children and teenagers have been a huge market force in the food and beverage industry. Young people have caught the interest of these marketing techniques because of their influence on each other and their parents, overall spending power, and the fact that they are going to be future adult consumers as well. So, the real question is, with the rise in obesity and long-term health problems, is this marketing ethical?

Most foods that are marketed towards children and teenagers are very unhealthy. Many of these marketing companies are focusing on throwing these advertisements in schools, clubs, on the internet, and on products that have well-known brand logos.

Healthy nutrition is one of the most important aspects in growth and development. Eating these sugar and fat loaded foods that have been advertised to these kids can damage them long-term and increase their risk of diseases.

Everybody knows that childhood obesity is a major public health concern these days, so why allow these companies to even attempt to target them while in a public school setting? Shouldn’t their minds be filled with educational information instead of thinking about the greasy cheeseburgers they plan to consume at lunch or the double chocolate rice crispy bar they are going to purchase from vending machine?

It is understandable to assume these companies want to raise brand awareness for their product. Are there any other ways to do so without drilling these unhealthy products in their brain on a daily basis? It’s one thing to have an ad on the screen-saver mode on school computers, but when they are on the school’s athletic scoreboards, gym banners, school newspapers, yearbooks, and sometimes even on the school athletes warm up outfits and school buses, have we gone too far?

It’s quite obvious that the food and beverage industry have used children as one of their biggest driving forces of marketing. Although their goals are to grow in brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand preference, it seems these goals are possibly causing a serious health risk in the United States.

Not only is the marketed foods and beverages unhealthy, but it makes these kids more susceptible to the effects of marketing then that of their parents. These children do not understand that commercials and internet ads are created to sell products, so they cannot evaluate these advertisements truly based on experience or the knowledge that they are supposed to be learning at school.

-Steve the Intern

*The views of the author don’t necessarily reflect the views of Ciconte Consulting.

Mistakes Were Made

When it comes to marketing, there are so many different and nuanced ways to approach it, that mistakes are just bound to happen.

And while learning from your mistakes is just a part of life, we’re right there with you if you would much rather just avoid making them in the first place. That’s why we’re going to let you in on a little secret.

We’re going to let you know the five most common marketing mistakes that all small business owners should avoid.

Make Sure You Have A Plan!

While this sounds like a very obvious mistake, you would be surprised by how many people just decide to “wing it” most of time. Though winging it works sometimes, you can’t really do that before you have a solid structure to stand on.

Though it may not always seem like it, every solid business has a plan. So if you want to be successful, get yourself a solid plan and then you can move forward from there.

Find Your Niche

Though eventually you want advertise and assume that everybody on Earth is a potential consumer, you need to start with a niche.

Narrow your focus to a singular audience, and it will be easier for you to target and figure exactly what those people want or need. Once you successfully are able to figure out your niche, then it should be time to expand and broaden the horizon of your audience.

Pay Attention To The Numbers

There are so many different ways to track your numbers, most of which are built into social media networks or could easily be integrated. So there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on your numbers.

The reason this is important is because there is really no other way to know if what you’re doing is working. And if you don’t know what’s working, then there is no way to grow.

You’re wasting all of the work you put into your marketing strategy if you’re not looking at the numbers and building off of what works.

Try Some New Things

A lot of businesses are stuck in their ways. This is a possible detriment to them, but it doesn’t have to be for you.

What this means is that you should make sure to keep your eyes on new and upcoming trends, and try and figure out how you could incorporate that into your future marketing strategies.

While it’s good to have a routine, don’t get complacent! Try new things!

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

It’s easy for people to look at a small business and look it at it like every major corporation, and not actual people working hard behind the scenes.

This makes it easier for people to dismiss your business as some cold and unaware, and that is not good for you as most people find out about a good business through other people. So if someone is having problems with your business and simply providing some costumer service is the way to fix it, then go ahead and do it.

People like to know that you care. People like to know that their problems are being resolved. Don’t be afraid to reach out, people really like when you do.

Now, there are other mistakes that you could possibly make, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All you have to do is learn from them, and grow from them. Just try and avoid these, and you should be on your way to becoming a successful business in the marketing world!

Luis Rodriguez 

E(ffective)vent Marketing

Marketing here, marketing there, marketing everywhere! Event marketing is effective marketing. Simple as that. End blog post. Not really though, there’s many pieces that make event marketing what is and through those pieces make it effective. If the Joker was a business savvy villain, he’d be asking “why so effective?” Fine visual representation through a meme, I’d say.

Event marketing is effective because you or your company are promoting a product/service through in-person interactions. A potential or valued customer gets a hands-on experience with what you have to offer all whilst the relationship between customer and company begins to grow. Like all relationships this business relationship takes time and feedback to help nurture its growth. Insert a stat and beautiful visual here! “According to Forrester Research, events make up for 24% of the B2B marketing budget.” VERY WOW, MUCH STUNNING. (Image from Forrester Research)

What this visual demonstrates is that even with the growth of social media, events will still be some of the most important communication tools in marketing by 2020…and beyond? Even with the growth of social media in the past decade, it’s actually helped with the successfulness of events. Think Facebook, with the multitude of events that pop up in a calendar, seeing who’s interested in events, checking in at locations, and even the use of the live video feature to experience events via technology. YOU JUST HAD TO BE THERE! Continue to grow relationships with your clients through these events and continue to watch your brand grow. Your event marketing is truly effective marketing if properly carried out.