Category Archives: Social Media Events

Christmas with Kentucky – A Holiday Marketing Case Study

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According to branding legend, foreigners visiting Japan in the 1970’s on Christmas had a hard time finding turkey to have for their holiday meal, so they had the next best thing—a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The story was passed on from employees to managers and eventually turned into the wildly popular “Christmas with Kentucky marketing campaign that spun into a national phenomenon. Now, families in Japan line up around the block at KFC locations, sometimes reserving special Christmas with Kentucky dinners that include champagne and cake, months in advance. At first glance, waiting in line for hours at a fast food restaurant on Christmas sounds crazy, but by looking closely it’s easy to see the tradition’s familiar roots, and learn a few lessons about successful marketing.

Think Outside the Box

Thinking outside the box (or bucket) helped KFC become a holiday success in Japan. Fast food places from the west, like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC, started popping up in Japan in the 1970’s, and now have thousands of locations nationwide, plus Japan-based fast food chains to compete with. By thinking beyond the scope of what fast food restaurants are known for—a place to grab a cheap, quick meal—KFC turned an amusing anecdote into a nationwide phenomenon. Pay attention to the most unconventional ways people interact with your business or brand—it could give you inspiration for a new approach to your marketing.

Create a Niche

In an alternate reality, Japanese families are lining up around the block at Burger King locations across the nation for their annual Christmas Whopper. It sounds crazy, but the reality is, any other fast food company could have done what KFC did by using aggressive marketing to cement their product as the thing to have for Christmas dinner in Japan. KFC created a niche for themselves in a market where the population doesn’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Look for holes that need to be filled, and see how your brand or business could fit, then laser-focus your marketing to cement your legacy.

Make Marketing Fun

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ve probably seen a handful of quirky advertisements from Japan. Ad campaigns get rolled out for new menu items at fast food places often, and it’s exactly ads like this that helped make “Christmas with Kentucky” a widely-known phrase and an annual tradition. You probably won’t have to recruit major Hollywood stars for your commercials, but having a finger on the pulse of pop culture keeps you on-trend. Don’t be afraid to loosen the tie—Japanese commercials might seem strange to the West, but they blur the line between entertainment and advertising. In a time where the internet makes this a necessity, looking to a market where the two were integrated long ago gives good insight on how risk-taking in marketing can work to your advantage.

Your brand or business exists with a purpose in mind, but looking beyond the strict guidelines you’ve set for yourself can lead to creative new branding ideas. Once you’ve found that unique thing that sets your brand apart from your competitors, strategically target your marketing. Don’t be afraid to take risks and have a little fun, especially in holiday marketing. After a long, stressful year, the holidays are a time to take a breather, have a little fun, and look forward to the year ahead—maybe over a bucket of fried chicken.

Going Viral: What to Do When You’re Internet Famous

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Internet fame comes swiftly and unexpectedly. It starts with a single social media post, and eventually takes the internet by storm. Going viral. What is it that causes one out of thousands of Tweets, posts, or videos a day to become so popular? Digital content goes “viral” for a variety of reasons, and this sudden boost of internet celebrity is always handled differently. However rare internet celebrity status may be, it’s important for businesses or individuals to know what to do with their sudden fame. In today’s blog, I take a look at why content goes viral, how internet fame helps (and hurts), and what you can do should you find yourself suddenly internet famous.

Why is it going viral?

The town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s live feed of an intersection near the town square became an overnight success, often with over 2,000 unique viewers at once. A strong social media presence and promotion on YouTube made the stream’s overnight success possible. Other popular internet memes, such as “LOLcats,” follow a simple formula: the content elicits an emotional response, is easy to understand, and can be easily duplicated. Sharing and promoting your content on sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and others makes it easy to view and share. If your content makes people laugh or smile, you’re more likely to see it spread, and telling a joke that is easy to repeat ensures others are “in” on the joke.

The Good, The Bad

Going viral for the “right” or “wrong” reasons makes all the difference in the trajectory of your internet presence. Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug, two adorable pets with millions of followers, became popular for arguably the “right” reasons: being cute animals with a humorous social media presence. Conversely, when a mattress store in San Antonio released an insensitive “Twin Towers Sale” ad, the negative online backlash led to the store’s eventual shutdown. Turning internet fame into a success story requires care and cultivation, and monitoring social media outlets to prevent bad PR is essential for making a name for yourself for the wrong reason.

Grow, or Let Go

There are a few ways to grow from or sidestep internet fame or infamy. Interaction with new fans and followers goes a long way; you probably won’t have to do push-ups in the street, but positively acknowledging the sudden hype lets new followers know you’re “in” on the joke. If you find yourself in hot water online, try if possible to avoid stirring up more trouble; if necessary, issue a single note of acknowledgement and apology, then let the issue fade naturally. Keep in mind, internet fame fades as quickly as it comes, so ride the wave of success while it lasts but understand that your fifteen minutes can, and will, eventually end.

“So… how do I become famous online?”

There’s no ultimate formula for online success, and the reasons for why things become popular online vary too much to predict whether your content will go viral before you post. However, making emotionally-charged content easy to understand and duplicate is a tried-and-true formula for many of the most popular memes. The various success stories make internet fame alluring, while the tales of tragedy from online infamy may scare individuals or businesses into staying safe with digital content. Ultimately, staying true to your brand’s message online takes top priority, and if your next post on Twitter or YouTube becomes popular, enjoy it while you can.

Austin SCBWI General Social Media Presentation June 2011

I had a lot of fun talking about Social Media as it pertains to YA and Children’s Literature. Most of what I talked about was pretty generic, but according to everyone at the meeting it was helpful. Please, if you have any questions or want to talk, feel free to comment to this post and/or email me. There will be more to follow, but I figure this slideshow will be a good place to start.

The event was held at Austin’s BookPeople. SCBWI in Austin meets monthly, find out more about this incredible organization at Austin SCBWI online.

 

SXSW, Shelton Interactive and the Power of the Well-Planned Event

It has been two weeks today since the Shelton Interactive and Cave Henricks Books and Bytes event at SXSWi. I cannot thank Rusty Shelton enough for inviting, as it was an awesome gathering of talent and professionals in the publishing industry. Also, I have to give a shout out to the Iron Cactus for doing an excellent job of hosting the event.

In an industry where most relationships are started online, it is refreshing to experience a live event where you can rub shoulders with folks, share a drink and have conversations more than 140 characters at a time… I had the unique pleasure to meet the entire Shelton Interactive team, the founder of BookYap, reps from Publisher’s Weekly, West Publishing Group (part of the Perseus Group), some folks from Cave Henricks and of course the amazing writers on display at the event. I made connections with folks, putting names to faces and shaking their hands, leaving a lasting impression. This is something we, as human beings, have been doing since Adam, but for some reason I feel I need to remind myself and everyone else about the power of the well-planned event. Continue reading