IKEA Småland: No Instructions Needed

ikea-smaland

I am not a big fan of shopping at IKEA, but on a recent trip there with the family I discovered something (a fabulous touch point) that has completely shifted my feeling on the store. Tucked back in a corner near the entrance is a place they call Småland, a children’s play area. This touch point is even better than the meatballs they sell at the food court.

IKEA 1

So what is Småland and how does it work. It is a play area where we were able to drop off our son while we shopped. Instead of him having to tag along with Mom and Dad, he got to play in ball pits, on sliding boards, tunnels, climbing obstacles and even watch a movie. That is right; he got to have a blast in Småland while we shop for the furniture and home goods we needed. No more having to chase him through the kitchen models or drag him along as he gets bored and restless. We could concentrate on our shopping and he gets to run around in an area where it is allowed. There are some rules, age restrictions and requirements like the children must be potty trained, but the best part… it is free of charge.

IKEA 3

Småland is a great example of a company looking outside of its normal operations and creating a touch point for the brand that is unexpected. A touch point that creates a positive perception for the brand, I know it did for me. With this one simple idea, IKEA as completely shifted my perception of the brand and changed my feeling about having to go shop there. Their furniture may still come with some of the least helpful instructions, but their stores provide an enjoyable shopping environment having Småland available for the kids.

Author: Gary Balakoff

Advertisements

Applebee’s Instagram: Power to the Foodies

#FantographerUser generated and influencer content is a great resources for advertising and Applebee’s is taking this strategy to the next level with their Instagram account. Starting in July and lasting for 12 months, they are turning over the account to their diners. User must go to a microsite to give permissions and ok the privacy policy stuff, after that anything posted with #Applebees or #Fantographer (the campaigns title) will get posted on their Instagram. Applebee’s even brands your post with a nice boarder to tie it into the campaign.

I like this idea for multiple reasons… It is easy for users, Instagram’s popularity, simple to manage and explain… but the real reason I like it is that is utilizes user generated content for the campaign. User generated content is becoming more popular in advertising but it is still a relatively untapped resource for companies and brands. Why do I like user or influencer generated content so much?

  • It shows you care about your customers and what they have to say
  • You are engaging with your consumers/audience
  • It creates authenticity and honesty in your advertising
  • Work of mouth: More likely to share content because they created it
  • An emotional connection, people get excited to see their posts used
  • Creates a level of transparency for the company
  • People love to talk about themselves and share pics
  • It is free or relatively low cost content

iPhoneI could probably go on, but I think you get the idea. User generated content can be a great tool for advertising. Sure there can be some negatives to using this type of content, issues like having to monitor very closely to avoid negative or inappropriate content, what if no one shares content for the campaign, technical issues, etc. However those companies that look past these issues and take a chance on their audience can create a campaign that has a bigger impact than several traditional campaigns put together.

So if you don’t mind taking a chance and have faith in your consumers, reach out to them and see what they can do. Who knows they just might surprise you and help create one of your most powerful advertising campaigns?

Author: Gary Balakoff

Google Maps, Twitter and a Hashtag equal Engagement and Promotion

scavenger-hunt

I have a passion for social media and the role it can play in marketing. I believe it can be a powerful and successful marketing tool, especially when it compliments traditional techniques. That is not to say that some social media campaigns can’t stand alone. One social media campaign that recently caught my eye was for the Firefly Music Festival held in Dover, Delaware a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the festival (looked like an amazing line up), but I did catch their twist on the Twitter scavenger hunt for free tickets. If you are not familiar with how a Twitter scavenger hunt works, it is pretty simple, in order to give away free promotional items, you hide said items out in public somewhere. Then you leave clues on where to find the promotional item on your Twitter feed. The first person to follow the clues and find the prize wins.

The promotional gurus for the Firefly Music Festival took the traditional Twitter scavenger hunt and added a nice twist. They paired it with Google Maps and a custom hashtag (#Firefly2013) for the festival. Then, instead of tweeting out the clues to the hidden tickets, they had followers tweet out the hashtag. How did one find out where the tickets were then? A special Google Map web page was set up (see it here) and the location would be shown on the map. However the map started zoomed all the way out, the more tweets they got with the hashtag, the closer they brought the map, until it was close enough to see where the tickets were hidden.

firefly_3  firefly_1  firefly_2

While past scavengers hunts I have seen get you Twitter followers, this version added a few results that I find quite beneficial.

  1. Awareness and Promotion:  For one, contestants had to visit a special web page (here); this web page is full of marketing and promotions for the concert and links to additional information. Secondly, users were tweeting out the hashtag so everyone in their networks was seeing it. Hundreds of people tweeting to hundreds of followers… do the math, that is a lot of people reading about Firefly Music Fest or at least seeing the hashtag.
  2. Trending Topic: By having the participants tweet #Firefly2013 over and over, there is the potential to get the hashtag trending. It might be really tough to get it trending nationally, but could very easily start trending regionally. Regardless if it trends or not, the event hashtag is getting posted hundreds of times throughout the day.
  3. Audience Engagement: With past Twitter scavenger hunts, the goal is to get a lot of additional followers and then send out a lot of posts to Twitter. With Firefly’s set up, you are getting your followers to do the posting, the organizers only needed to control the Google Map. The contest is tapping into user generated content and getting the users to push out the tweets for you.

I am always in favor of adding social media to your marketing mix. It can open up opportunities to be more creativity. Social media contests are on every format, and whether you are looking to get followers, shares, likes or to gather emails with yours, why not add an element that makes it stand out and creates additional return.

Author: Gary Balakoff

Not your average billboard

mcdonalds_chalk_billboard   orphea-billboard

I think billboards are such an underutilized and underappreciated medium. Too often people ignore their value or overlook the creative opportunities they can provide.  For lack of a better term, billboards have been type cast and many feel are only good for advertising your companies contact information.

This is why I think they offer an opportunity to stand out and get noticed and why I love seeing outside the box billboard concepts.  I recently came across two examples on AdFreak (here and here) that I think do a great job of standing out and go beyond the boring billboard stereotype.

1.      McDonalds Chalkboard Menu Billboard
Chalkboard menus can be creative in their own right, but taking that concept and putting it on a billboard scale is impressive. I like this concept for a few reasons. First, it’s creativeness, taking a chalk menu and putting it somewhere it doesn’t really belong. Who thinks to do hand drawn chalk boards at that size. Second, the commitment to the concept, they could have just done a drawing and when it faded, take it down or then draw a new one. No, they changed it out two times a day to keep it fresh and make a statement. This leads to my third point, it ties so nicely into their new fresh menu items. When I think of chalkboard menus it makes me think of small local sandwich shops. Also using chalk gives it a real rustic and homemade feel, not some mass produced piece, which is what McDonalds seems to be going for with its new items.

 

2.      Orphea Bug Spray
I like this one because it takes a billboard and makes it what I am going to call indirectly interactive (a mouthful I know). As an observer there is an interactive quality to it.  I understand that an individual cannot directly do anything with the billboard, but the real life changes that take place because of the bugs sticking can be immediately observed.  As a passerby you can clearly see the changes taking place and have an immediate reaction to those changes.  Another thing that I really like about this billboard is how clearly it demonstrates the purpose of the product.  The bug spray claims to kill bugs and its billboard illustrates the bug spray killing bugs.

The next time you are running a campaign; don’t underestimate using a billboard for your advertising. If you can come up with an outside the box idea like one of these, it just might help you stand out.

Author: Gary Balakoff