Monthly Archives: April 2011

Reading time

Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011 by Alan

It’s Friday. Matt and I are headed on a ride. Susanne’s headed for the Big Apple. Lyn’s prepping for the close of National Dance Week. And you’re headed for the best of the best of the P&B reading list:

Kindra thinks all of the web design newbies shouldn’t fear the internet.

Oscar Wilde + Jersey Shore = :).

Lauren Drell walks small business owners (and big business owners) through FourSquare marketing.

And Ohio’s tourism folks get friendly with Groupon.

Have a good weekend out there.

P&B goes on a photo expedition

Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011 by Alan

Al, Erika and Lyn headed over to Middleton today for a photo shoot. They hit Hubbard Avenue Diner, Capital Brewery and spotted some kids catching air in Quarry Skatepark. Felt good to get the photog juices flowing again!




P&B links

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Alan

It’s been a remarkably busy day in the P&B office. Kindra needs a Jamba Juice. Matt sat through a grant meeting (zzzzz). Lyn’s been humming Mozart. And our fax was on the fritz.

But that doesn’t stop the links from coming. This week’s recommended reading:

Tasti D-Lite’s Bill Zinke offers some insight into the company’s social media strategy during a Mashable interview, including iPad guestbooks and a loyalty program that rewards users’ social media activity.

The Navy Command Social Media Handbook has some useful pointers for brands. Check out especially slide 12 and the section about personal and professional usage.

Colleen Jones of Smashing Magazine reminds marketers that content is king.


Why here?

Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Tyler

Cute puppy for destination marketing awareness - why here?With all the travel destinations in the Midwest, why would someone choose yours? It’s a good question. And during a period of economic change, when travelers are reconsidering their travel habits and pondering new vacation and getaway options, it’s the crucial question for every destination.

Communities and tourism-related businesses should be able to quickly answer the question “Why here?” What do you have that no other destination can offer? Are you the perfect escape destination for a particular metro area? Does your community have an alluring personality that truly sets it apart? What recreational, cultural or scenic wonders do you offer? Are you folksy? Are you cool?

You have to have something. Whether you’re a remote backwater perfect for paddlers or an upscale shopping paradise, you’ve got something that makes you shine above all other destinations. The key is having the honesty, humility and experience to identify just what that is. When you find it, you’ve got a seed that can grow into one heck of a destination marketing strategy.

Too often, destinations choose to advertise the assets that they think people want, even when the destination doesn’t really have those particular assets. Any success that follows from such a plan is short-lived. Marketing and advertising can attract new travelers to an area, but it is the traveler’s experience that determines whether or not they come back. False or misleading marketing messages just create dissatisfied travelers.

So, figure out what makes you so special and then market the snot out of it. That’s destination marketing in a nutshell (although it’s maybe a touch more complicated than that).


Why pages on Twitter is horrible news for marketers

Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Alan

According to various sources, including this post by Mashable’s Stan Schroeder, Twitter is considering changing the way brands will appear on the social network. Reports indicate that Twitter will give brands “pages,” similar to the way brands appear on Facebook now.

From Stan’s post:

The initiative, which Marketing Magazine reports is being lead by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and President of Revenue Adam Bain, is to give brands their own space on Twitter — a page they could point to and use to deliver content, while encouraging Twitter users to follow them.

For Twitter, which has been looking for ways to monetize the site for years, this change makes a lot of sense. Giving brands a more official-looking platform on the site will offer Twitter’s designers new opportunities to gain revenue, instead of relying solely on promoted tweets, accounts and trends.

But while the news may be good for Twitter’s bottom line, how should we in the marketing community react?

First, the good news:

More official looking pages mean more customization, new opportunities to present content in different ways to our fans and followers. Think of all the cool things we can do with Facebook pages (the apps and contests and custom tabs), and the value we’ve gained by having dedicated marketing opportunities on the platform.

Now the bad news:

When I help our clients build their brands on Facebook, one of the mantras I like to repeat is: “think of your brand as a person.” It’s a branding philosophy built partly from the science of marketing (people trust messages from other people more than they do a branded message), and partly out of what P&B’s clients want to be to their customers (they want to build a personal connection with travelers). What that translates to on social media is a personal, fallible, human approach to social media marketing. If Black River Falls were a person, for example, P&B thinks that person should be someone who really loves Black River Falls, who posts photos of trips, and shares anecdotes and reminds fans what they love most about the community.

On Twitter, this brand/person merge has been much easier than on Facebook. Until now, our destinations’ pages have always looked like any other account. And that’s made our job easier.

But even if our clients are doing a great job of being human on social media, the separation of brands from people that Facebook (and now Twitter) are implementing, is making the distinction between real citizens of the community and brands clearer. When a fan interacts with Black River Falls on Facebook I want that fan to be as at ease and convinced of the authenticity of that “brand/person” as he is of his best friend. But the more separation the designers at Facebook and Twitter put between brand accounts and people accounts, the harder that job becomes. Our clients’ brands may talk like people and interact like them, but now they won’t look like them. Users who visit these accounts are alerted immediately (or at least subconsciously) by the brand-specific page design that they’re interacting with something less than a full member of the community.

Are brands people? Of course not. But if a brand presents itself authentically, honestly and openly to a community, and has real friends, fans and followers who enjoy that brand’s appeal and message (just as they enjoy their friends’), the distinction begins to fade away.

I’ve been reminded more than once as a social media marketer of the story of Pinocchio. All he wanted was to be a “real boy.” And all my clients want is the chance to present an authentic, real, human face to the world. Unfortunately for them (and for us), that job continues to get harder.

My thoughts on colors

Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Alyson

Picking a color….so easy but so hard. When faced with a choice sometimes we rush to the obvious without even considering other lesser known options. And the color palette, let’s talk about choices.

If my memory serves me right and I can recall the color theory classes I had, any color is possible. Do you use any color though? Typically not, most of the time we have an idea of what we want to use…a favorite if you will. I tend to stay by the hard primary colors and try not to use soft colors all that much, simply because I feel like they are harder to read.

Most of us do not even see the same colors anyway. I remember listening to my physics professor explaining to our class about colors in science and how they work in nature with light. I suppose I take this to heart as well when putting ideas to paper.

Then you have to consider the effects of colors on our senses. For instance:

Of all the colors in the spectrum, blue is an appetite suppressant. Weight loss plans suggest putting your food on a blue plate. Or even better than that, put a blue light in your refrigerator and watch your munchies disappear. Or here’s another tip: Dye your food blue! A little black will make it a double whammy.

So the next time you look at an ad or the cover of a book or even the television, take a closer look at the colors and see how you feel. See if other colors invoke any different feelings for you….you might just pick out a new favorite color!


Friday Link Roundup

Posted on Friday, April 1, 2011 by Alan

Another week, another reading list from P&B:

Big news for SEOs and social media marketers from Google.

Mashable’s Brian Anthony Hernandez breaks down Facebook’s recently unveiled Questions tool with help from Oxford Communication’s Ben Grossman.

An enlightening critique of a Lady Gaga Facebook Fan Page app by social media marketing agency MetaBlocks.

Tate Linden of DC-based Stokefire reminds marketers that they do, in fact, have a backbone.

And some social media marketing humor, courtesy of swissmiss.