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2015 – Year in Review

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As 2015 comes to an end, we look back on the top marketing tools, trends, campaigns and more. Building a connection and sharing experiences with consumers, peers, businesses and more were some key themes we saw coming out of the marketing realm in this year. Here were some top trends from 2015.

Video Marketing and Live Streaming:
Live streaming has revolutionized marketing because it allows a company to connect with and learn more about a company, as well as share their experiences with their friends. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope lead the way in live streaming this year, and allow users and followers to share experiences and connect one another. This can help a brand by building a connection with users by sharing experiences through live video. Snapchat expounded on its marketing capabilities by creating the Discover options for brands, as well as allowing users to experience snaps and videos from around the world.

Technology:
Technology is always growing and getting better at anticipating our needs, which means that it anticipates the needs of a company and its consumers as well. According to Nielsen, Facebook, YouTube and Facebook Messenger take the top three smartphone apps. In addition, their study says that Android OS holds a higher market share in the United States with 52.7 percent, while Apple iOS only holds 42.8 percent.

Marketing Campaigns:
According to Entrepreneur.com, the top three marketing campaigns for 2015 are Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone 6” campaign, Glade’s “Museum of Feelings” campaign and Barbie’s “You Can be Anything” campaign.

Apple’s global campaign relied on consumer-created content to show the professional-looking images that the iPhone 6 can capture.

Glade’s pop-up museum started as a Facebook event page promoting “the first museum that reacts to emotions.” The museum and its website had mood filters that users could easily turn into a profile picture on social media channels. The mood filters suggested the best smells for a user’s mood, which made perfect sense when it was revealed that the “museum” was a campaign by Glade. The campaign came under scrutiny for being a “Secret Corporate Art Museum,” but also managed to garner 120,000 impressions, including the mood-based selfie filters. The museum closed on December 15, 2015.

Barbie’s campaign was created to connect with millennial parents. The campaign features a video of girls in various career settings. The videos are unscripted and have hidden cameras to capture how those around them would react, and the careers were chosen based on what the girls wanted to be at the time of filming. The video followed young girls as they became a professor, a veterinarian, a soccer coach and a museum tour guide for the day. The video states: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.” The brand also introduced dolls with more ethnic diversity earlier this year.

Emojis:
Emojis have taken the texting world by storm. With the launching of multi-ethnic emojis and the hard-fought battle for a taco emoji, these little images are allowing younger-targeting businesses more opportunities to connect with their consumers. Domino’s Pizza, whose digital orders make up about half of its overall orders, announces a “tweet-to-order” system that will allow users to tweet the pizza emoji to @dominos, and an order will be placed! Emojis even made their way into our lexicons. Oxford Dictionaries announced that the 2015 Word of the Year wasn’t a word at all, but was the “laughing with tears” emoji .

Social Media:
Social media connects consumers to their brands and to each other.
Images are ruling communications methods, which put social media channels, like Instagram at an advantage. Businesses should be using these social channels to connect with their followers. Social media is also the easiest and quickest way to get feedback from consumers and engage with them.

Twitter hashtags changed with the breaking news stream. Here are the most-used Twitter hashtags of 2015:
1. #jobs
2. #Quran
3. #ISIS
4. #PrayForParis
5. #LoveWins
6. #CharlieHebdo
7. #JeSuisCharlie
8. #BlackLivesMatter
9. #地震 (Earthquake)
10. #SandraBland

Emails:
Email has continued to be one of the most direct methods that businesses can use to connect with their consumers. Emails help a business share data, deals and information with consumers.

What do you think 2016 will have to offer?

Are you interested in getting started with these marketing tools and trends? Contact La Voz Marketing at info@lavozmarketing.com.

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of startups survive five years and only one-third survive ten years. Although the economy has been improving, new businesses are still at risk of failure. New Business Incubators are on the rise, especially in California, and are a great way for businesses to gain mentorship and industry connections. However, they are not a sure-fire way to create a successful business.

Entrepreneur Gareth Forde from the startup “Tiny Kicks”, a product that measures the movement and number of kicks within the womb to help mothers and doctors track fetal health, spoke to the OC Register earlier this year about his acceptance to the EvoNexus business incubator in Irvine.

“The overwhelming reality of being in an incubator is it’s only as good as how engaged you are,” he said. “It’s probably one of the biggest drivers of success, the level of work and commitment of (your) team.”

Another key driver of business success is branding and engaging your audience through messaging.

Without a consistent, well-developed brand, a business can fail to reach the proper audiences or fail to accurately engage the intended audience because of incorrect messaging.

One important step to developing your brand is to ask the key questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? – not quite in that order.

What: What is your business? What is the problem or issue your business is aiming to solve or address? Your business should be trying to say something through its products. What is it trying to say? What is the message?

Who: Who is your target audience? Who will be interested in your business or product? Who are you intending to reach? What is your target audience like? Are they young, old, professionals, parents? Audience demographics are key in determining how to market your product and create the proper messaging.

Why: Why is your business or product important? Why is it different than other similar businesses? The truth is, there are very few original ideas anymore…so why should a client or customer pay attention to your business over the competitors?

How: How will you develop your business’ voice and personality? Will you use social media to engage your audience? Will you have a website? How will your website’s design, logo and verbiage convey your message?

Where: Where will you reach your target audience? Is it best to reach them at trade shows or online? Are mailers effective? Understanding where your audience engages is key to ensuring you are heard.

When: When are you launching your business? It’s best to understand your brand and develop it before you launch your business. Developing a timeline can keep you organized and keep your message on point.
Asking these basic, but important, questions will help you develop a strong company brand. Your brand is the essence of the business – it’s your unique differentiator, your mission, your personality and more.

If you have any questions about the key branding and marketing steps to starting a business, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

Meet Generation Z

students-99506_640-2Marketers have been interested in gaining younger mindshare with Millennials for years. Millennials, more properly known as Generation Y, are currently the largest generation in the workforce and have become the most researched generation in history.

Now, meet Generation Z. They were born between the years 1995-2015 and are still growing with each birth (a growth rate of approximately 361,000 babies each day, according to census data). Currently, they are the largest generational group in America, making up just under 26% of the total population.

Why should we care about Generation Z? They are just barely entering the workforce, but they are important for companies to understand in order to get a grasp of the future of marketing.
Based on the article “Millennials are Old News — Here’s Everything You Should Know about Generation Z,” by Hayley Peterson and considering a study by Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency, we can see the influence Gen Z will have on the future. Here are some of their key characteristics and takeaways that could change the future of marketing:

1. They are activists. According to the study, 60% of them want to have an impact on the world (compared to Millennials’ 39%). One quarter of them volunteer, which shows that companies wanting to connect with Gen Z should take part in the activism.

2. They value independence. Being the first group to grow up completely immersed in technology (including YouTube and the internet), they are natural researchers and they are often self-taught through tutorial videos and more. They are accustomed to finding out information about products on their own.

3. They use technology extensively. While millennials grew up using technology, they didn’t have full access to it. Generation Z, however, is growing up completely immersed in it. According to the Sparks & Honey Report, Gen Z-ers can work and multitask across five screens (compared to three screens used by Millennials). This means that content needs to live across platforms and technologies.

4. They have a short attention-span. With the instantaneousness of technology and the Internet, Gen Z-ers are used to receiving an abundance of information at the click of a button. For this reason, it has become difficult to keep their attention on one thing. It’s important to break up content into bite-sized pieces.

5. They speak with images. Emojis and emoticons are taking over their text language and serving as an underlying conversation. This image-speak makes sense to Gen Z-ers and is another reason why Instagram and Snapchat have grown in popularity. If you want to tell a story to Gen Z-ers, make sure to tell the story through images.

If you have any questions about communicating with different audiences and generations, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

The Human Side of Conversion Optimization

Increasing conversion rates is a common goal for retailers as most websites have a conversion rate less than 4%. Here are some helpful insights from WebCongress’ 2015 Digital Media Conference about conversion optimization:

Understand how people work physically and mentally

Who is your audience? What is their attention span? The concept of limited attention span is very important. Attention is like a laser beam; it focuses on a very narrow area. You need to be able to capture attention as quickly as possible to keep them on your website.

Understand how people process information

Visual perception is the ability to interpret the environment by processing information based on our backgrounds.  We can all see the same object, but the mental representation that we have is different for every person. Every visitor that sees your product, service, or content will have a different mental representation. Take that into consideration when you decide to utilize visual content on your website.

Everything is a conversation

Whether you have a complicated or simple product, you need to establish a conversation. How do your visitors think? How do they make decisions? What do they need to know about your product or services? It’s important to build answers to their questions. Conduct research instead of making assumptions about who your visitors are and what they need.

Every web page is a script

Based on the research you have gathered on your audience, you can develop a strong script outline. Map out the thought sequence you want people to have as they visit your web page. After you’ve developed the outline and the order of importance, you can work on the design elements. The purpose of design is to manage the attention and guide people through the key points of the story line. Drive the audience to a call of action.

If you have any questions about conversion optimization, content development or web design, please contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com.

KidWorks Seeks Support to Continue Transforming Lives

KidWorks Blog Image

La Voz Marketing recently attended the ‘OC Latino Leaders Reception’ for KidWorks and learned more about the organization’s vision for the future from Kidworks’ Executive Director David Benavides.

Since 1993, KidWorks has been transforming the lives of at-risk children, families and communities in central Santa Ana through educational support, health and fitness programs, and spiritual and leadership-development activities.

At the OC Latino Leaders Reception, we learned about the exceptional results that KidWorks has achieved and the potential for greater future impact.  KidWorks currently serves 700 children, youth and parents in Santa Ana and reaches over 3,000 community members annually.

Over the past 10 years, KidWorks has served over 15,000 community members through various programs and events.  In the past 5 years, 96% of students in the after school program graduated high school and 83% enrolled in college. Although KidWorks has been making progress, nearly 300 kids seeking support are still on the waitlist.

Santa Ana is the second largest city in the county and has a high number of youth.  Unfortunately, only 15% of Latino graduates from Santa Ana Unified School District had taken the A-G course requirements necessary to be eligible for admission to the California State University and University of California school systems (Source: CA Department of Education, 2013).  More specifically, only 52.9% of adults in Santa Ana have graduated high school, making it among the most undereducated large cities in the county.

We appreciate the efforts of KidWorks to improve the lives of youth in Santa Ana. In order to expand their programs and services to a wider audience, KidWorks is launching its ‘Building Dreams’ Campaign to raise $3 million dollars. KidWorks’ goal is to purchase the building adjacent to its current Dan Donahue Center in order to double the size and impact of KidWorks in the community. The building expansion project will include the following:

  •      Innovation Center
  •      Outdoor sports and recreation court
  •      Health Fit Lab
  •      Urban learning garden
  •      Technology Help Desk and Lending Station
  •      Learning Labs
  •      Volunteer Hub
  •      Multipurpose Room
  •      Stage
  •      Think Tank
  •      Recharge Station

The program’s goals are as follows:

  •      100% of preschool students will be assessed as “Kindergarten-ready”
  •      At least 80% of K-5th grade students, testing below grade level in language arts and math, will improve
  •      At least 90% of high school students will graduate in four years
  •      At least 90% of high school graduates will enroll in college

If you are moved by their mission, you can support KidWorks in achieving its goals by clicking here and becoming a Dream Builder for the next generation!

La Voz Marketing Received OCPRSA PROTOS Award for its Consumer Program Efforts on ARTIC

Stacey and Sandra from La Voz Marketing at the PROTOS Awards

Stacey and Sandra from La Voz Marketing at the PROTOS Awards

PROTOS is the highest honor given to Orange County public relations practitioners who have demonstrated their understanding of the public relations and communications process including conducting research, defining objectives, and demonstrating measurable results of initiatives. Only 21 agencies / practitioners in all of Orange County received PROTOS awards this year.

La Voz Marketing recently attended the Orange County Public Relations Society of America’s (OCPRSA) 40th Annual PROTOS Awards, which honors public relations agencies and professionals who have completed outstanding work for clients in the previous year. La Voz Marketing was honored to receive the PROTOS award within the Consumer Programs category, for its efforts to prepare the market and launch ARTIC to the public. The PROTOS award is the highest honor given in the industry.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the PROTOS Awards, the OC-PRSA held the “Anchored in Excellence” event at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The esteemed Vikki Vargas, the Orange County-based television reporter from NBC 4, emceed the program and announced the winners.

Kajsa James, Vice President of Development at the Ocean Institute and President of the Maddie James Foundation, spoke to the attendees about the important role that public relations played in her life and the life of her daughter Maddie. Maddie was five years old when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She loved the ocean and visited the Ocean Institute frequently with her family. Maddie’s mother realized that working with the institute would be the best way to honor her daughter’s short life.

With the help of public relations, James was able to raise awareness and the $1 million needed to name the new expansion to the Ocean Institute after her daughter – the “Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.” This learning center helps her daughter’s legacy live on and educates more than 115,000 of the K-12 students that visit the Ocean Institute every year. James reminded the marketing and public relations professionals at the event of the importance of their work.

La Voz Marketing was honored to help the City of Anaheim and Lincoln Property Company educate the Southern California community about the purpose and benefits of ARTIC, which merges various modes of transportation to seamlessly connect travelers to different destinations throughout Southern California. If you want to learn more about how La Voz can help you achieve your goals, please contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com.

Six Things to Consider When Working with Bloggers

IMG_0313 HPRA

La Voz Marketing recently attended the HPRA: PR + Bloggers event in Downtown Los Angeles. Three successful bloggers shared their experience working with PR professionals. Here are six key takeaways:

  • Do not ask bloggers to promote something that was not agreed upon
    Bloggers have worked hard to build their following. They won’t put anything out there that doesn’t resonate with them or their audience.
  • Avoid providing bloggers with scripted messages
    Bloggers have already developed their voice and personal brand. They know how to leverage their social media channels to get the results that you want.
  • Stop using the term “Mommy Bloggers”
    It was suggested that PR professionals stop using the term “mommy bloggers” because it annoys bloggers. Click here to see some of the reasons why they dislike it.
  • Mom bloggers aren’t the only ones with influence over children
    PR professionals put so much emphasis on working with mom bloggers, but they are missing out on other key influencers. There are various female bloggers, especially Latina bloggers, who have influences as a tía (aunt), a madrina (godmother), and a hermana mayor (older sister).
  • Latinos are outnumbering the general market
    The Latino market in Los Angeles is becoming the general market. Keep this in mind when you build your next communications campaign. You need to find the right blogger that can cross over naturally by speaking to an audience versus speaking at an audience. This rule applies to all cultures and backgrounds, but it’s emphasized because it usually doesn’t happen when marketing to the Latino audience.
  • If you invite a blogger to an event, be there
    One of the bloggers shared a horror story about a company treating her wrong during a live streaming attempt. The client/company did not understand the value of the blogger’s physical and online presence. As a result, the company lost business and respect from some of her 45.8K Twitter followers. Bloggers highly recommend a PR professional to be present at the event for additional support.

If you are handling your marketing efforts in-house, we hope you keep these points in mind!  For assistance with blogger outreach, feel free to contact La Voz Marketing.

 

LVM + BisNow OC Construction and Development Conference

bisnow

La Voz Marketing recently attended BisNow’s 3rd Annual OC Construction and Development Conference.  The event attracted industry leaders and newcomers alike, all ready to discuss what it takes to get a new project off the ground in the current market.  The panelists shared insights on unique strategies behind creative renovation and repositioning of existing assets.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Creativity is being rewarded in the current market, whether for design or how a deal is structured. The best marketing for a project is the quality of its design and brand.
  • From a demand standpoint, there are large differences in the tenant/buyer mix between the current cycle and the last cycle. From 2004 to 2007 most of the industrial development projects in Orange County were smaller buildings driven primarily by SBA financing. During the recovery and expansion cycle, however, demand has been most prominent in larger buildings.
  • Developers have to pay close attention to their basis to generate their desired return. Ever-increasing land costs, higher fees and an increase in construction costs leave developers with no other option. Many new projects require substantially higher equity contributions for the investor/developer to get started during the last cycle.
  • Investment capital is coming from overseas and from other sources. Investors are competing with users for small or large vacant buildings. Chinese business owners and investors are buying most of the industrial buildings.

Just as creative design is being rewarded, creative branding for properties and developments helps drive demand as well.  La Voz Marketing specializes in creative branding and marketing for office, retail, commercial and industrial properties.  Contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com for more information on our real estate specific services.

The Dalai Lama Encourages the Use of Social Media to Spread Compassion

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La Voz Marketing recently attended the Global Compassion Summit at the University of California, Irvine in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. The 3-day summit was a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s lifetime of devotion to spreading the message of the value of peace, kindness and universal compassion throughout the world.

Prior to the summit, the Dalai Lama made a comment about gifts on his birthday. He said the best gift of all was to live with compassion. For this reason, the Friends of the Dalai Lama, a nonprofit that advocates for global compassion and innovation, came up with a social media campaign to honor his birthday wish.  They asked everyone to post pictures and videos of people treating each other kindly or sharing kind words, accompanied by the hashtag #withcompassion.

People utilize social media for a variety of reasons, but can we do more? Regardless of religious beliefs, spreading compassion is in our human nature. At a very young age we shower our parents and family with love through small acts of kindness. As we mature we begin to see and act differently, but we are still able to show affection to one another.

Spreading compassion requires some effort, but there are many benefits in return. At La Voz Marketing, we are proud of our staff who give back to our community through participation in nonprofit organizations such as The Elite OC, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Make-A-Wish, Alzheimer’s Association, Habitat for Humanity, among others.  It is important to lend a helping hand and contribute to the greater good of our society. If you can’t find the time to get physically involved in your local community, spread compassion through your social media efforts!

When building a compassionate social media plan, there are a few questions you should consider at a deeper level:

  • Who is benefiting? Your organization or your audience?
  • How are they benefiting?
  • Is this a short-term benefit or a long-term benefit?

We hope you create a successful social media campaign #withcompassion to help make the world a better place. If you need guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com. We are happy to help!

Use Snapchat to Attract Millennials and Centennials

Snapchat

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to view images and videos that disappear after displaying for up to 10 seconds. According to GWI, Snapchat was the fastest growing social app in 2014 with over 100 million daily active users.

Marketers have been struggling to target Millennials through various mediums, primarily due to the lack of targeting and understanding of specific subgroups. Recently, marketers have sought ways to target Centennials, also known as Generation Z, who currently make up more than 25% of the U.S. population. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate why Snapchat is the perfect social media platform to attract both groups:

  •   71% of Snapchat users are under 25 years old
  •   77% of college students use Snapchat daily
  •   30% of U.S. millennial internet users access Snapchat regularly
  •   34% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. have a Snapchat account
  •   32% of teens (13-17) use Snapchat

If that doesn’t convince you, a recent study by Mashable shows a lot of opportunities for companies to expose their brand to college students. Here were some key findings:

  •   45% of college students would open a Snapchat from a brand they don’t know
  •   73% of college students would open a Snapchat from a brand they do know
  •   67% of college students would want to receive discounts or promotions from brands on Snapchat
  •   58% of college students are likely to purchase a brand’s product or service if they send them a Snapchat coupon

Although this data shows that Millennials and Centennials are frequent Snapchat users, only 1% of marketers use Snapchat. Brands that are afraid to experiment with new social media platforms are making a big mistake.

Wet Seal, for example, stepped outside the norm by hiring a 16-year old to manage their Snapchat account. Within two days, the brand had 9,000 new followers and 6,000 views of Wet Seal’s Snapchat “story.”

At the end of the day, brands should not be afraid to use Snapchat, especially since Snapchat’s CEO is a Millennial himself!

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