BRANDE : Statistics

December 10, 2012

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012

As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back at this year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from examples of the best social media to some of the worst, and from internal branding to external. In case you missed them, here are the BrandeBlog’s five most-read posts of 2012.
Employer Branding Numbers Everyone Should Know
2012 brought us a number of recruiting studies that turned conventional wisdom upside-down. How many employers said they had an employer branding strategy? How many employees leave a company for reasons other than money? How many companies plan to increase their investment in employer branding? The answers may surprise you.
Social Media PR Disasters: #McDStories
Sometimes you can learn more from a failure than a success. That was certainly true of our story on McDonald’s Twitter debacle, in which an innocent hashtag was taken over by critics and pranksters in a matter of hours. See how McDonald’s reacted and learn what to do (and not to do) when your brand encounters a similar social media crisis.
What’s Foursquare Really For?
The best social sites have stated goals: Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for business, Instagram is for photos. But what about Foursquare? Is it for sharing local finds with your friends? Posting reviews for strangers? Competing for discounts with other customers? Discover Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley’s answers to these and other tough questions in this post.
Social Media Marketing Simplified
Ever come out of a social media planning session with your head spinning? New forms of marketing have created new buzzwords like optimize, reciprocity, and engagement. But you don’t have to learn all the jargon to have a successful social media campaign; you only need to answer three basic questions.
Why State Farm is a Social Media Superstar
The most popular post of the year was an exploration of State Farm’s social media recruiting. The insurance company has a dedicated Facebook Page and answers questions and comments within 24 hours. The State Farm careers site features videos testimonials from interns, a rarely seen part of a company’s workforce. Finally, State Farm’s interactive website takes online recruiting to a whole other level. See how your brand can attain “Superstar” status here.
What do these posts’ popularity tell us? That there a lot of people with an interest in  and a need for  social media trends, marketing, and branding. As it so happens, they are also specialties of ours! 
Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2013; we want to be popular, too. 

November 1, 2012

Engage Your Audience With Infographics

In the past few years, infographics have been taking the internet by storm, turning seemingly innocuous blog posts into viral sensations. Beautiful, funny, and charming works of art, they turn boring statistics and information – like “50% of all smartphone owners drink coffee between 7 and 10 a.m.” – into something that’s not only informative, but also easy on the eyes. 

Great news: You don’t need to be a statistical genius or a brilliant artist to dazzle your audience.

Here are a few simple steps towards making them great.  

1. Find a Viral Topic
Whether you’re trying to detail something as expansive as the history of the internet, or something as simple as the latest Kindle, relevance is important. If you’re creating a comparison chart between the Kindle and Nook, but you completely leave out the fact that the iPad Mini was just released, you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to create something that people might want to share with everyone they know – and that’s the point, right?

So think about relevant current events, topics, products, crises, scandals – anything. If people are talking about it, creating an infographic that’s reflective of those events is a simple way will make people far more likely to share that infographic.

2. Keep it Simple
Perhaps the best element about infographics is that, like Twitter, they force us to be concise.

Chances are that if you’re reading a lengthy report or a case study, there’s a lot of unnecessary information.

So focus on the things that matter – the differentiators, the key takeaways, the glaring discrepancies, whatever they may be.

With that in mind, just because you’re focusing on the essentials doesn’t necessarily mean that the infographic has to be short. It can be small, like this one from Hubspot or huge, like this one from Pop Chart Lab.

Just don’t fill it up with tone of useless information. This Kindle vs. Nook chart below is a great example, as it focuses on one thing  the price of books in their respective e-book stores  and keeps it as straightforward as possible.

Source: Booklr Blog

3. Just Build It

Creating an infographic is extremely difficult and expensive, right?

No, not really. In fact, there are a few free – that’s right, free– resources that enable anyone with a few minutes of time, some interesting statistics, and a handful of unique ideas to create things that are as pretty as they are shareable.

One simple (and free) resource for doing so is called Easelly, which lets users create infographics like this and this with minimal effort.

Beyond that, sites like Infogr.am allow users to easily import statistics into a wide (and constantly expanding) range of infographics. Want more? Infogr.am allows you to make those infographics interactive. It’s magic!

Source: Infogr.am

Those not your dig? Here are a few alternatives. Still not doing it? Hire an agency.

October 7, 2012

The Great Debate: Demographics or Psychographics

Since the early days of Madison Avenue advertising, demographics have helped advertisers  kind-of sort-of pinpoint the types of consumers that might be interested in purchasing their products or services by such segments as age, income, location or education. 

But now big media, including news networks like NBC News, and are focusing on something that could potentially provide much more value for advertisers, and provide much more relevant advertising to consumers: psychographics.

The idea behind the shift is such: Though demographics help content producers and advertisers define particular spectrums in terms of those that are more likely to be able to purchase particular products, they don’t necessarily focus on things like aspirations, attitudes, or perhaps most importantly, intent.   

So, are demographics dead?
Can we – advertisers – truly divorce ourselves from something that has long been the way to target advertising? Are demographics still as important as they once were?
Take, for example, Nielsen TV ratings which has often caught flak from audiences and advertisers alike for relying on things like demographics and impressions in order to determine the value of advertising in the increasingly-disrupted medium that is TV. It may be foolish to rely on half-century old ways of targeting consumers when, in just the past decade alone, the way we consume information has begun changing at an alarming rate. 
But Nielsen, too, seems to have realized that, joining forces with Catalina Marketing in order to more effectively target their advertising initiatives through psychographics.   
Research on the subject of demographics from Catalina Marketingindicates that as little of 15% of brand advertisements — that’s 15 cents on the dollar — are targeted towards the consumers that account for 80 percent of a brand’s sales!
Which means that it might be time for a paradigm shift. Especially when you consider the wide number of massive online networks and free advertising tools that make performing psychographic research much easier. 
But ultimately, whether you target based on demographics or psychographics, marketers must still focus on the messages that they are broadcasting to their target audiences. 
 And that’s where brand comes in.  : ) 
March 4, 2008

Big Brother or Biggest Loser

The New Workplace Rules:
No Video-Watching
March 4, 2008; Page B1

Carriage Services Inc., a Houston funeral-services company, recently discovered that 70% of the workers in its 125-person headquarters watched videos on Web sites like Google Inc.’s YouTube and News Corp.’s MySpace for about an hour a day.

“I almost fell out of my chair when I saw how many people were doing it and how much bandwidth those sites sucked up,” says Jeff Parker, the company’s information-technology administrator. He quickly blocked access to both sites.

Like Carriage Services, companies across the U.S. are starting to prevent their employees from accessing Internet-video services at work. The move follows previous steps by IT departments to shut employees’ access to instant-messaging services, streaming music and Web sites with adult content.

Now, online video has become an increasing irritation. Worker productivity is being jeopardized as short, often low-quality video clips popularized by YouTube are being joined by better-quality video services with long-form content. According to a study released last month by Nielsen Online, an Internet tracking service owned by Nielsen Co., the heaviest consumption of Internet video is during weekday lunch hours between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., when most people are at work.

Online video also is taxing already-strained corporate-technology networks. It poses a particular problem for smaller companies, which have limited bandwidth capacity to accommodate bulky video files. Online video files on average are about seven times as large as audio files, and 100 times as large as email.

In December, Internet users watched more than 10 billion videos online, according to comScore Inc. — one of the single heaviest months for online-video consumption since comScore began tracking it in 2006. And with Web sites such as Hulu LLC and Netflix Inc. set to roll out heftier high-definition video services in the coming months, corporate networks face slowdown in computer traffic, and possible outages.

For companies that have a limited amount of bandwidth, Internet video can be a significant drain on resources, says Paul Stamp, an analyst with Forrester Research. “Without having some kind of a set policy that either controls or blocks video, [companies] run the risk of their networks crashing or, at the least, slowing down drastically.”

William Bailey, IT manager at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County in San Jose, Calif., says he has to block video at the 400-person nonprofit to ensure that the agency’s network will remain operational. “It’s a real issue when a network can’t handle demand, and too much media, particularly video, is usually the reason why,” he says.For people like Shawn Birkett, such shutdowns can thwart both legitimate work and extracurricular video-watching. A sales executive with wireless equipment company Moonblink Communications Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., Mr. Birkett used to spend about an hour and a half a day looking at online video, often related to his company’s customers. Then six months ago, Moonblink blocked all Internet video after IT managers found that streaming audio and video had slowed the company’s Internet service.

Now, Mr. Birkett acknowledges, he doesn’t get “sidetracked” by nonwork-related video like he used to. At the same time, the blockage makes it difficult for him to check out clients’ online videos. He says he has to call his IT department for special permission each time he wants to view customers’ online videos. “It’s been frustrating,” he says.

Blocking online video isn’t easy. As people use the Web for a growing number of capacity-draining functions, from Internet telephone services to peer-to-peer file-sharing, it has become tougher for technology managers to sift through activity on their networks. In addition, the growing use of video as an office tool has made it more difficult to know whether employees are using video sites for work, or for diversion. Stealthy programs like Internet video site Joost NV and peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent Inc. can cause further problems for IT departments, since the services can confuse network-security measures.

The confusion has created opportunities for small networking companies such as Palo Alto Networks Inc., BlueCoat Systems Inc., SonicWall Inc. and OpenDNS Inc., which offer products and services capable of peering into computer traffic and dissecting it.

Schemmer Associates Inc., an architecture firm in Omaha, Neb., tapped OpenDNS last year to block unwanted video after experiencing substantial network slowdowns. Scott Bennett, network manager for Schemmer, traced the problems to some interns who watched online videos on blogging sites and social-networking portals. In December, Mr. Bennett installed the OpenDNS system that categorizes and filters Web content.

Later that same week, the system received its first major test when a 19-year-old high-school dropout shot and killed eight people, including himself, at a shopping mall across the street from Schemmer’s offices. During the ordeal, Mr. Bennett says Schemmer’s employees wanted to watch online news reports, but were blocked. Without the new system, says Mr. Bennett, the network would have crashed.

“The system saved me from what could have been a huge problem,” says Mr. Bennett. “I had pretty much the entire office come over and tell me how upset they were at not being able to see reports online. And I told them, it could have been worse.”

Meanwhile, R.J. Griffin & Co., a subsidiary of J.E. Dunn Construction Group, says it plans to block employee access to Internet video over the next few months. The 600-person Atlanta company is grappling with the housing downturn and is looking for ways to conserve spending. But the company also wants to add capacity to its existing network. Jason Cunningham, IT director for R.J. Griffin, says blocking video could save the company from making a potentially costly technology upgrade.

Mr. Cunningham recently found that YouTube was the most popular Web site visited by R.J. Griffin employees, receiving 3,000 hits a month. To prevent any employee backlash, he plans to issue a report explaining the threat that video poses to bandwidth. He says he dealt with a similar challenge two years ago when the company decided to shut off access to adult-content Web sites after an internal audit found that they were the most widely visited sites at the company.

“I know our people will say we’re acting like Big Brother,” says Mr. Cunningham of the new online-video ban. “But those pipes belong to the company. If management says we need to protect our resources, then that’s what happens.”