Category Archives: Brand

Introducing…c21’s first Vlog

A video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog, uses video to convey a message or story. Vlog’s often combine embedded video with supporting text or images that are eventually posted to a personal blog, or YouTube channel, Vimeo, etc.

YouTube currently ranks among the top three most-visited sites on the web. With over 1 billion unique visits per month, it reaches more Americans ages 18-34 than any cable network. More than 100 hours of video are uploaded every 60 seconds, and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month.
The inclusion of video to a marketing strategy could be the missing link to what connects a business or organization to its target audience.

With that in mind, c21 has launched an in-house video marketing suite featuring the latest technology including a high quality camera, lavaliere mic, state-of-the-art lights, software and more to accommodate our client’s latest video needs.

To see our capabilities, check out our first vlog where we examine, “What makes a video go viral?”

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Super Bowl is Turning 50 – the NFL Makes a Big Change

“Brand marketing” aren’t just words – they can seriously impact a business. In a somewhat surprising move, the NFL has determined that the letter “L” – which equates to the Roman numeral 50 – could not stand on it’s own as part of the Super Bowl’s 2016 mark for the 50th anniversary of the world’s most popular sporting event. Using this milestone event, they developed 73 different logos before they landed on a national and local version.  Check out the new national logo.  In a related move, the Atlantic Coast Conference also unveiled a new logo this week to somewhat mixed reviews.  Will these moves hurt or help the organizations?

Anniversaries and milestones are a great opportunity to take a step back and review an organization’s brand to determine if it still embodies the mission, vision and culture.  We updated our brand for our 15th anniversary, and believe it captures our bold yet bottom line nature.

What do you think of the NFL’s anniversary logo and the ACC’s new logo?  (or ours for that matter!)  Are there others you love or hate?  Let us know!

Roman numeral falls for Super Bowl 50

Roman numeral falls for Super Bowl 50

 

GASP! Corporate Social Responsibility Can Result in Profits?!?

Last week, the world recognized International Corporate Philanthropy Day to raise global awareness of corporate-community partnerships.  I don’t know about you, but I took a moment to pause, reflect upon my personal charitable contributions and pay-it-forward to a stranger on the street.  Ok, I’m lying.  But it did get me thinking about how public relations practitioners can leverage corporate social responsibility (CSR) to sway public opinion, raise awareness and yes, maybe even increase revenue.

Several recent CSR campaigns have caught my eye.  For example, have you ever been to the Southeast Asian nation of Bhutan? Well, neither have I, but a company called Mountain Hazelnut Venture located in Bhutan is combating deforestation by planting 10 million hazelnut trees in the next five years. Coca-Cola Sustainability Report Meanwhile, in c21’s backyard of Atlanta, The Coca-Cola Company compiled all of its inspiring corporate sustainability efforts into an annual report and then placed it online, rather than in print, to conserve resources.

According to Stephen Jordan, founder and executive director of the Business Civic Leadership Center, “In 2000 there might have been a dozen Fortune 500 companies who issued a CSR or sustainability report.  Now almost all of them do.”

Wall Street even produces a “Corporate Social Responsibility Weekly Recap” each Thursday, which details recent philanthropic headlines from publicly-traded companies.

So is CSR just a buzz word?  A profit-sucking goodwill effort?  Or is it a real public relations tactic that actually provides a true return on investment?

In early February, Burson-Marsteller launched the Global Corporate Reputation Index, which identifies the 25 companies with the best corporate reputation, such as Puma, Lego and Ford.  The study found that most companies underinvest in CSR, but the companies who do put forth effort are rewarded by consumers.

In fact, a 2010 study found that “75 percent of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55 percent of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don’t.”

Clearly, CSR programs attract customers and create a loyal fan base, that can result in increased profits.  And if you meet revenue goals this year, perhaps you can take that trip to Bhutan you’ve always dreamed of.

QTS and YearUpMany of c21’s clients have robust CSR programs.  For a great example, watch this FOX 5 story on leading data center provider, QTS, and its partnership with YearUp.  If your company is interested in how it can leverage CSR through public relations, click here to request a custom capabilities packet today!

Anna Ruth Williams– Anna Ruth Williams, senior account manager

Holiday Ads: The Naughty and Nice

A recent Advertising Age article lists Best Buy’s holiday commercials as some of this season’s best, but I cringe every time I see one.  These ads are based on the premise that Best Buy, with all of its great gifts, renders Santa Claus useless.  Personally, I’m a big fan of Santa, so any commercial that makes him look bad goes on my naughty list.

With daily news reports on the dreary state of the economy, politics, business, real estate and so on, we could all use a little Santa-style hope and magic.  My holiday plea?  Let Santa do what he does best – spread joy and cheer – and stop turning the holidays into a competition.

So what commercials are on my nice list?  Frankly, no holiday ads are stand outs, but I’m loving this Travelers Insurance Puppy Love spot.

Tell me, which ads are making your holidays merry and bright?

Renee Spurlin– Renee Spurlin, director

Starbucks Brings Your Coffee to Life

Whether you are a coffee drinker or not, Starbucks has launched a very cool mobile app today that brings its holiday red cups to life. Yes, you read that correctly. Starting today, the holiday red cups come alive with an augmented reality app for smartphones (for both iPhones and Androids!).

Since I’m a green tea drinker myself, I don’t normally frequent Starbucks that often, but I do find myself very curious to try this app out. The app allows you to scan five Starbucks holiday characters on red cups and 47 other in store items, like bags of coffee and displays, and watch as they come to life.

To make it even more interesting, those who activate all five characters can qualify to win an as of right now unnamed prize. If you know me, you know I’m competitive and I like to win, so I just might change up my morning routine and stop in for Starbucks this week to check this out.

What about you? Do you think the augmented app is the wave of the future or a waste of marketing effort and money?

Watch the demonstration video here.

– Telleen Anderson-Lozano

Google+ brand pages – will they be worth the wait?

Ever since the search engine giant, Google, launched its new social media platform in June, c21’s clients have been asking, “How do we get on Google+?”

In the profound words of Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, “Hold up, wait a minute.”

In July, Google+ opened the floodgates for folks like you and me to compartmentalize our friends, family members and coworkers into those now-famous concentric circles; but Google+ hasn’t allowed companies to take advantage of the new site…yet.

Initially, marketers were anxious to leverage the site for both companies and consumers.  A few brands came out of the gate with profiles, like Sesame Street.  Lacking a policy for businesses, Google+ gave the boot to those early adopters, including my childhood friends, Bert and Ernie.

Google’s product managers responded to booming business interest in a post last month, indicating that we will see brand pages by the end of 2011.  In the meantime, they have granted beta brand pages to a few, select companies, like Ford.

While Google+ perfects its brand pages, anticipation is building in marketing departments across the globe – for good reason.  Interactive experts predict that brands will be able to measure consumer interaction on Google+ pages using the widely acclaimed Google Analytics – providing valuable social media ROI.  In addition, it’s expected that Google will give companies greater search engine exposure by highlighting a company’s Google+ page in search results.  Most importantly, Google+ allows users to segment other users through circles, providing marketers with the ability to hyper-target posts, and yes, even Google Ads.

When Google+ finally raises the veil on its brand pages, c21 will provide clients with a full update on how to establish a corporate presence on the social media site and what the new rules mean for pay-per-click advertising and consumer interaction.  Until then, logon to Google+ and add the c21 team to your circles: Sharon, Marlena, Renee, Anna Ruth, Telleen and Karla!

– Anna RuthAnna Ruth Williams

Social Media & Marketing Campaigns: Keeping Japan Connected

Last week’s earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, leaving behind grieving loved ones, homeless families, destroyed businesses and a nuclear emergency.  Within minutes of the deadly natural disaster, #Japan became a leading Twitter trending topic as loved ones turned to social media to find one another.  Since then, some of the world’s largest corporations have employed marketing campaigns to help the Japanese people communicate with each other and the rest of the world.

It seems like every time I load my Twitter feed there is a new story on social media pitfalls and marketing mishaps, so let’s take a minute and spotlight some innovative uses of social media and marketing that are keeping Japan connected in the wake of last week’s tragedy.

  • Google People Finder – As the death toll climbed into the thousands and with hundreds of thousands of Japanese declared homeless, Google launched a Crisis Response page for global citizens to find government information, make donations and more.  They also launched a People Finder page where loved ones can look up missing persons and enter information about people they know. There are more than 140,000 records on the site.

  • Miswasa Air Force Base Facebook Fan Page – After land lines and cellular phones went down, the military personnel at the Miswasa Air Force Base turned to the base’s Facebook page to communicate with soldiers’ families in the United States.  The fan page jumped from about 1,000 fans to 4,600 in a matter of days.  Thousands of military families have used the page to offer prayers, find loved ones and learn about relief efforts.

  • Mixi – Lesser known in America, Mixi is one of Japan’s largest social networking sites.  Since its inception in 2004, the site has gained more than 25 million users who engage in “community entertainment” – sending and receiving messages, writing diary entries, commenting on other entries and inviting friends to join.  Following the mega-quake, Mixi’s leadership added a donation button for users to click when they log in to their account.  In just two days, the site raised $1.5 million for a Japan relief fund.

  • AT&T, Verizon & Sprint – On Monday, AT&T announced that customers in the United States and Puerto Rico would be able to call and text to Japanese numbers for free through the end of March.  Shortly after AT&T’s announcement, Verizon tweeted that it too would offer free calls and text messages to Japan. Sprint ultimately joined the bandwagon as well, offering free services through April 10.

— Anna Ruth Williams