Brand Building

Nike Continues Branding Dominance with #MakeItCount and @NikeFuel

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January 21  |  Brand Building  |   Simon

Nike and their long-time agency Wieden+Kennedy have never missed a game, lost a round, missed a shot or any other winning sports analogy you can think of when it comes to branding and marketing. W+K was actually formed as a result of Dan Wieden and David Kennedy taking Nike as their first client, after they left mega-agency McCann Erickson in the early 80s. Since then, Nike and W+K have had only victories in their ilustrious track record together and have never failed to impress both customers and marketers.  And they definitely didn’t lose their stride with the recent achievement with a viral and social media-powered campaign to brand a new product. And I promise that’s the last (intentional) sports analogy.

W+K came up with Nike’s “Just Do It”, which is probably the most well known slogan ever. Since its inception, it has stood as the ultimate motivational phrase. I recently watched the documentary “Art and Copy” that had interviews with people on the impact of “Just Do It” and their responses went far beyond sports or fitness goals. Check out the clip:

 

The new #MakeItCount slogan is a modern social media take on the same simple concept of their original “Just Do It” slogan.  The #MakeItCount campaign combined traditional marketing elements, such as print, commercials and brand ambassadors, combined with smart social media and viral marketing efforts. They fully leveraged all this through positive customer engagement and, in a sense, customer crowd-sourcing to promote their campaign.

Nike #MakeItCount poster

The #MakeItCount hashtag started up just before Christmas, acting like a new year’s resolution for physical fitness, was all a buildup for a mystery product launch yesterday morning. Nike encouraged its fans to tweet what they wanted to accomplish in 2012. Building a positive and motivational hashtag at the perfect time of year, to lead up to a mystery product launch.

This campaign was so successful that not only was the hype clearly seen through social media, but also in the stock market. Nike Inc. shares hit an all-time high Wednesday, breaking the $100 mark, just in anticipation of the mystery product launch, the day before it was actually revealed.

Nike #MakeItCount marketing campaign

Twitter was an important element leading into this new product launch, was the long-overdue launch of the official @Nike account. They already had a range of Nike Twitter accounts for their various sports and divisions, but were seemingly holding out on @Nike to coincide with the #MakeItCount campaign. Nike’s real-life clout transferred with ease into Klout on Twitter, with all of Nike’s big name athletes following the first day, including Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Steve Nash, the NBA and of course Nike’s strong existing Twitter accounts.

#MakeItCount tweet by Kevin Durant @KDTREY5

Tweet by NBA star Kevin Durant turned into a poster.

Launched on Dec. 29th, @Nike was able to surpass rival @Adidas within 24 hours, gaining around 14,000 followers. after 23 days, @Nike has over 227,000 followers. Over the last few weeks, Nike had their wide range of celebrity athletes, through all sports, countries and cultures, tweet and Instagram their goals for 2012 and #MakeItCount, encouraging fans to do the same. Topsy.com recorded 24,387 mentions on Dec 31st alone. Combined with Instagram, Nike has created a dynamic #MakeItCount page to showcase their fans motivational #MakeItCount tweets, along with their celebrity athlete ambassadors. The current tweet total is showing at over 59,000.

Here is the Youtube commercial released to coincide on Dec.31, which received around 62,000 views that day alone:

 

Nike was founded on the genuine goal to encourage sports and fitness, along with all the positive side effects they have. And by selling the products that help people to reach this goal, their marketing and products a honest combination that has always been well received by the public. With their ongoing #MakeItCount campaign, Nike has already received an obvious high-level of engagement with their huge fan base and effectively crowd-sourced them to hype their upcoming product.

Nike FuelBand - #MakeItCount

And Thursday morning, the Nike FuelBand was released to plenty of hype, praise and criticism, that you most likely caught some of by now. Even the @NikeFuel Twitter account that was launched yesterday morning has topped @Adidas’ follower count, with over 10,000 after around 36 hours.

Here is the Youtube video that also coinsided with the release, which has seen over 478,000 view in 3 days:

 

The huge press conference to finally reveal the mystery product involved out plenty of stars (and their Twitter followers). Pictured here at the event is Kevin Dudrant, Carmelita Jeter, Lance Armstrong and host Jimmy Fallon. With coverage hitting every major news source, blog and social media platform as a rusult, Nike has seen instant exposure for their FuelBand that few companies outside of Apple rarely see.

Nike FuelBand press announcement event

Photo courtesy of CNET

For a better explanation of what the FuelBand does, check out the video below:

 

From  a marketing perspective, the desktop and mobile app are important mentions. They lets you track and monitor your progress, using elements of gamification to keep you engaged with the product.  The social aspects come in here, letting you share your goals and progress with friends through social media, either to motivate, brag or compete with each other.

Now the Nike FuelBand, retailing for $150, isn’t a new concept,with comparable products already existing, such as Motorola’s MOTOACTIV (with costs $250, but with a music player and GPS) and the cheaper JawBone UP at $100. But like the world of gadget brands being divided by Apple and non-Apple, no fitness brands can touch the Nike brand.

Nike was eager to get people testing the FuelBand, with most reviews saying it’s does what it promises too. But when it comes down to it, this product can be seen two ways: Either a great motivational tool for fitness or a unnecessary gimmick that doesn’t technically improve your fitness. With the social elements of sharing with friends and the gamification element of gaining points, beating records and tracking progress, it can be a great tool for some. Or you could just do all those activities without the $150 wristband.

Nike Make It Count Poster

Every Karate Kid-style crane kick counts too.

One thing is for sure, Nike has branded a fitness tracking product like no other company could ever do. They excelled in all areas, from traditional, viral and social media marketing efforts, to leveraging their athlete brand ambassadors to engaging and crowd-sourcing their fans.

And to keep these $150 FuelBands selling, Nike has no plans to let #MakeItCount and @NikeFuel stop trending. First by using their athletes’ continued promotion and and massive combined Twitter following they’ve easily built up. Secondly, with their fans’ utilization of the social sharing and gamification aspects to keep each other engaged and active. Has Nike started a new era in fitness? Or have they just started a big pile of barely used $150 wristbands? We’ll have to wait and see.

Here is Nike’s pop culture/sports/movie montage to promote the FuelBand and #MakeItCount that’s racked up over 1.3 million views in 3 days. Another stellar commercial by W+K that’s imagery resonates with its audience, conveys what the product is about and is just fun to watch, check it out:

 

Follow me on Twitter:@S_Gerard and for another recent viral and social media success by Nike, check out my post on: Marty McFly’s Nike Sneakers are Finally Back From The Future.

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Deadmau5 + Nokia In London Launch The Lumia 800

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December 30  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

With the launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 they sourced deadmau5 to drop some serious branding magic on the world in London. If you want a top notch example of branding that’s going to bring you serious attention both in the real world and the social, here it is. This event drew in a massive crowd that sparked thousand of user videos, blog posts, newspaper and magazine mentions, pictures, TV buzz, radio buzz…pretty much the bloody works. I love bring you folks amazing examples of branding even if I’m a month behind on mentioning this one.
 

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2012 ADDY Awards Commercial

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December 27  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

 
I just caught this promo video calling for entries into the ADDY Awards and couldn’t get but think this should already be the winner. This contest is open to students, professors and agencies of all sizes and the only thing that matters is creativity. If you want to take part you can drop off your entry to the Miami International University of Art & Design 1501 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fl 33132. You can alsoenter by going to http://www.addycompetition.com.

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Ron Paul 2012 Viral Video Marketing Effort

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December 17  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

 
Ron Paul being what seems the only candidate with a heart and brain(and non corporate ties) running on both sides of the idiot fence, his message is not his only strong point. He’s the only candidate with a strong social media push from supporters and his camp and this video is a brilliant example of doing things right. Sadly the mainstream media treats him like the handicap kid in school stuck in the far back corner. Well, before I go off on a political rant and make either new fans or enemies, just sit back and press play….the marketing is brilliant and so is the message.

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Sockos Commercial With Blake From Workaholics

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December 13  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

I noticed Blake from Workaholics in a commercial for Sockos(thanks to the folks on the Workaholics Reddit) and loved the cross branding. I always talk about “riding the social wave” of other influentials in the social realm, and this is a fresh example of just that. Blake has 111,000 Twitter followers, mad Facebook rep and enough branding power to get Sockos a huge amount of buzz.

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Building Your Band Brand In A Social World

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December 5  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

I thought I’d never see the day I would have a client come in needing promotion for their music. While it’s not at all strange, it was just a unique and refreshing client opportunity that I had to jump at. To make things even more fun, it was a Dubstep artist we’re all a fan of here at work so we were pretty pumped to take it on. With any music niche you’re promoting, social media is most definitely the most powerful tool in the shed. This artist also wanted a strong link profile to boot, so that was something we could most definitely help with. Even though this is a vertical you’re not all going to be engaged in, it should inspire you to work all the angles no matter what niche you’re rocking.

Photo: Avicii – he was not our client, just used in all the examples

I contacted Jason to do a guest post and thought this topic would make an interesting case study, even though I wouldn’t be able to disclose my client. The campaign was also a huge success and both parties were not ready for the amount of traffic, followers and links that were to come in. If you’re a band/dj/composer then be ready to explore a plethora of marketing avenues.

This post will be chalk full of all the real world examples I can give away because not everyone will be able to abuse these resources. More importantly, you cannot be bringing lame sounds to the table, so you won’t go very far utilising these marketing channels if what you’re producing isn’t good. We learned that one really good track was enough to cripple our clients download servers, blast him with thousands of links and produce a 64% increase in social followers within a week. His record label was more than thrilled with the interest and didn’t mind the excess server bill we caused them.

Build Social Followers & Links While People Listen:

The main goal is to be heard and seen and luckily for you, this isn’t so hard in a social world. There are a boatload of amazing websites that you can actively promote your music and not have to worry about anything else. We’ll take a look at the top few we had a huge success with specifically with this client. These sites are not to be slacked on and will forever push new listeners your way.

Soundcloud.com – I’m sure most of you have been to this site by now, especially those into the electronic music. It’s one amazing platform that allows fans to get music either streaming on their site, or instant download for listening on the go. Their platform is great for promoting your music, especially because you’ll be using their bandwidth. The second best part is you can nab some links to your homepage and other social channels you’re wanting to promote. Since I used a picture of Avicii above, we’ll take his SoundCloud profile as a great example.

The social community at SoundCloud is alive and well. There are also tons of groups on Sound Cloud so make sure you’re in there promoting your tunes. On top of that, you can promote your tour dates quite nicely and we all know that’s where the money is for artists these days. This social music site, in my awesome opinion, is the creme de la creme in music industry.

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Last.FM – This is another music social site no band can ignore for promotion, and the links aren’t even close to the best thing about it. I’m a daily user of the site and it has lead me to discover countless artists based off of the ones I love. Last.FM is the total package and provides information on your tour dates, blog entries, fans, ringtones, groups, events and news.

Of course, Last.FM provides links to all your important social profiles and your homepage so you can’t forget to funnel the Last.FM traffic about your social profiles and let the search engines know where you are on the website. How often do you find yourself checking out an artist then following them on Twitter and Facebook? I do for all my favorite artists when I come across their profile on here. Last.FM also does a really great job at marketing the artist in all the areas I mentioned above… I mean, just check out the 360 degree promotion going on here;

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Resident Advisor – While this site is strictly for electronic artists, it’s another great example of an authority niche site you’d want to be linked and mentioned on. This site has been around the longest and provides a wicked cool profile like the other sites mentioned above. It may not be as pretty, but if you’re a DJ, then you know you’ve made it when you have a profile here. Avicii of course has made it so, once again, I can use him as an example for my post here.

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Discogs – This is definitely on the top 5 must be listed on music sites out there as they help you build your brand, get fans and sell your music! It was also on my target list for a great place to get a link to the client’s homepage and his major social profiles. Our client also saw a pretty hefty jump in music sales from Discogs which is really the end goal here. Most of all the other sites listed above allow the artist to sell as well, but Discogs was quick to show results.

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The buck doesn’t stop there either! There are tons of niche social music sites out there that are worth checking out. You folks know how to use Google(or Bing/Yahoo), so put it to work for you and discover what else exists. For general band branding you’ll be left in the dust if you don’t get your chords wrapped around these musical powerhouses;

- Google Music
- iTunes
- Spotify
- PitchFork
- Billboard.com
- Song Kick
- Tune Wiki

Interviews, Radio & Podcasts

Over the 6 months we were marketing this Dubstep artist, one of the main goals was to get some air time. Being a decently well-known artist in the genre, we had an easy time locking down a whole host of juicy publicity. We managed to score the artist all of the above during the 6 months and it made a huge impact on the overall visibility of the music/artist.

Getting our client the gigs was very much the same as link begging, and it even required some of that to boot! The first step we took was to get either an interview or guest mix spot on a related podcast, and there’s a lot of options out there. The best part of this marketing avenue is that it all came with links, brand buzz and a new connection made in the digital music space. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to start to track down podcasts worth building a connection with. Even if you don’t get a guest mix opportunity or an interview, you can still submit your tracks in hopes of getting some air time and a mention.

Dubstep isn’t the most well know genre of music, but it certainly has been the talk of the internet generation in the past few years. We certainly didn’t have a shortage of podcasts to attack in this genre, and as you can see, the results were staggering. We only netted half a dozen guest mixes and interviews in the time we had, but we’ve been asked to proceed down this path again in the new year. Check out the results for dubstep, and just imagine the opportunities for say hip-hop or country music.

Podomatic – This is the go to place to find a whole host of awesome podcasts in all different genres. These podcasts are done for the love of the music and almost every DJ we contacted was more than thrilled to be involved. And why not? Everyone wins in this situation and the two 90 minute long guest mixes each reached over 50,000 downloads!

Podfeed – This is another podcast directory that has been around a long time and will quickly get you what you need.

The best podcasts these days seem to be on their own domain, building their own brand. In my client’s case, Dubstep.FM was the golden egg. A little social networking and getting in touch provided us with some air time of some tunes and an interview. Since our client had a repertoire and a bit of a reputation, it was a match made in bass heaven. Also remember that you can get links and other important information dropped into the podcast episodes information… it’s basically a blog post so don’t forget!

Radio & Industry Connections

We found it wasn’t too hard to get coverage in the media, especially when our clients EP dropped. Most of the coverage came after the tracks were released onto related blogs, but it never hurts to alert the right journalists. There’s no secret in doing this, it just takes some hard work or hiring the right PR firm to utilize their connections. I recommend doing the following;

- make relationships on Twitter with journalists
- utilize services like HARO(Help a Reporter Out)
- put out a press release for tour announcements and releases
- Use the huge reach the folks at http://getinpr.com/

Blogs, Forums & Lyric Sites

I’ll tell you this now, marketing via blogs and forums in the music industry is a blast. Since you have amazing content to share, you’re welcomed almost everywhere you go! If you’re well known, then the music world is your oyster. There are tons of blogs and forums for every music genre and it’s one amazing way to get exposure. Usually people associate the word spam with forum marketing; I like to refer to it as being a part of your community. We’re not here to drop links and disappear, let the world know who you are on the forum and make friends.

Music Blogs – I’d definitely take advantage of Jason’s information posted on link prospecting with SEOQuake in this area of link sniffing. In our case, there were hundreds of high quality dubstep blogs and we took it a step further to the ones that accepted tracks. One good blog can result in insane amounts of listens and downloads, but most importantly, social shares. A few of the posted tracks spread like wildfire throughout forums as well, which was a nice bonus.

Music Forums – I recommend not outsourcing any form of forum participation, but instead go on as the artist. There’s no need to try and be sneaky just for a link or two – that’s not the point of being on a related forum either. Most, if not all, forums related around a genre will have a section for artists to “pimp their track” to the masses, so there ya go. One of the biggest dubstep forums has a few areas for artists to promote and get feedback, no spam needed!

Lyric Sites – These sites are a dime a dozen and some of them provide nice bio’s with link opportunities. Since dubstep is mostly WOMP WOMP WOMP and wobble wobble we could not really make use, but keep these sites in mind if your music does in fact make use of words.

Event & Tour Sites

Almost any established band/DJ is going to be touring at one point, even if its restricted to only your city. This is where people start out and it can be a great asset to your online marketing aspirations as well.
There are almost too many event sites out there, so taking the time to see who syndicates what and who has the most traffic is key here.

If you’re in a bigger city, you’re more than likely to find a whole bunch of local sites ready and willing to take your event. You had better make sure that your website has a tour/event data feed of sorts because websites/APIs/scrapers will come for it eventually. We had a huge increase on our clients tour RSS feed after 6 months of hitting the digital streets.

I’d most definitely recommend out sourcing this work mainly because you shouldn’t be focusing on this. But if you’re into the whole guerrilla marketing thing, getting out and submitting your gig is the way to go. Let your friends do all the Facebooking and Tweeting, but make sure your event is getting some exposure.

Social Event Sites – There are dozen of event sites out there in the social realm and I tend to stick to Yahoo Upcoming, Going.com and Eventful for reach. There are tons more you can hunt down as well from the links I’ve posted in this section, so don’t forget to try them all out. You’ll find different ones have amazing partners and syndication, so you never know how far the word will spread.

Local Event Sites – For the extra exposure in your city make sure to use Google to sniff out the many options that await you. Let’s say you lived in Chicago and wanted to submit your event…. what kind of options are out there that are ripe for the picking?


There turned out to be a lot of options going back 10 pages deep in the SERPs! Of course not every option is going to be a match, but there was definitely a lot of local event marketing options just waiting for your content. Any major city is going to be the same and even smaller cities are going to have a couple of opportunities. The one thing I kept finding was opportunities to get links from local newspaper sites, which is always a nice bonus. A lot of local blogs also seemed to have an events section, or were more than willing to write about it if it fit their user base.

Viral Marketing Opportunities

This was best aspect of the 6 month campaign we had the pleasure of doing! Dubstep is pretty hot right now and the viral marketing tactics were a breeze. I’ll talk about a couple of areas we explored that netted our client many millions of video views and sent a hunger through the community for his tracks. If I had to choose from one tactic to stick to, this would have been it without a doubt. The key to success here was of course relationship building and having some damn amazing music to work with. To kick this section off let’s use this video as a perfect example. Sadly this was not my client but you get the idea.

The result? 18 million views and a few reuploads with more millions of views to boot. Both the dancer Marquese Scott and the producer Butch Clancy propelled their careers big time here. They managed to reach our to a lot of new people and the result was nothing less than stellar. The dancer is incredible and the remixed song to dubstep isn’t so bad either.

So what lessons are to be learned from this?

Collaboration! There are so many ways dubstep artists (and other producers/artists) are getting mad exposure from doing something fun and unique with other people. I’ve also mentioned numerous times that your tunes have to be tight, and if they are you’ll have no problem with viral exposure. We explored a few options within our 6 month campaign and only began to scratch the surface of what is possible.

Remixes Are Key – I don’t really have to say much here other than be one of the first artists to remix a pop song that’s trending hard. Keeping on top of this will bring you millions of song listens and downloads. For those who frequent Youtube and dubstep forums for tracks, how often are you listening to remixes? I know I do on a weekly basis and I’m sharing them when they’re hot. Take a look on Youtube to see what’s been done and what worked for other artists.

Be Apart Of The Bass Community – I already mentioned the forums and blogs out there, but don’t forget to come join us on Reddit.com/r/Dubstep and also for the hipsters, Reddit.com/r/Realdubstep. There are tens of thousands of fans here that are well connected and can help launch your career to the next level. This is the beauty of social media! If you’re bringing the goods, you’ll be welcome with open arms from the community at large… you’ll have my upvote!

Random Video Marketing – While this aspect can only come from putting your tunes out there in the wild. When we had a new track out from the client we made sure to fire it off via email, Youtube shares and Twitter to video producers that we had our eyes on. It eventually paid off and a few tracks were used in a few productions which lead to a contact for a commercial.

 

Others Avenues Of Social Sharing – After getting the video marketing aspect out of the way we found a few other interesting areas to explore. We gave away tracks to ringtone and royalty free music websites. It’s perhaps not the most explosive marketing opportunity, but you never know where it will lead. I’m all for more branding and exposure so it might be worth looking at. Sadly I don’t have much in the way of ROI so I’ll let you experiment on your own.

Resources & Your Thoughts

I always close my posts asking to hear from people who’ve had experience to help us learn from your expertise. There are so many online marketing avenues to pursue when it comes to music, so let’s hear what has worked well for you. I hope we hear from more artists to get us to help with their marketing, so don’t be scared to get in touch.

Tracking Social Media With Radian6

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October 12  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

We recently helped a hotel chain put together a 6-12 month link building + social media plan and do some training with the staff. I ended up getting a little training myself when they let me loose on their Radian6 account. If you’re unfamilair with this social media toolset then I recommend you jump on over to their website after checking out this video. We’re going to be doing a lot of social media based contests in the coming year, as well heavily tracking what’s being said. I’ve only had a few hours in there but it was really a delight and I think I’ll be recommending this to a few clients.

The data it presents makes tracking your efforts the best I’ve seen and if your brand is deep in the social media game, then check out Radian6!

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I Just Blue Myself Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

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October 5  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

I know we already wrote about the wicked cool marketing stunt by Ben & Jerry’s earlier with their Schweddy Balls, but sh!t just got real. Hot on the trail of news of an entire new season of Arrested Development prior to the movie, it looks like a fan has made a Ben & Jerry’s flavour called “Tobias Funke’s I Just Blue Myself” ice cream and it’s going mega viral right now.

This is such a great example of how fans can build your brand online. What’s more is that it works for both Arrested Development and Ben & Jerry’s. Can’t wait to see if the two will bow to pressure and actually make the stuff. Photo credit and work goes to designer ninja Jonny Etc.

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