onechocolate loves… the view from the US

Our colleagues in onechocolate’s San Francisco office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new apps and cool events…

#1 Gartner’s 2015 IoT predictions

Connected cars

Gartner recently released its report “Predicts 2015: The Internet of Things,” which projects that there will be a quarter of a billion connected vehicles on the road globally by 2020. The analyst house also predicted that one in five vehicles around the world will have some sort of wireless internet connection within five years, at an estimated total of more than 250 million vehicles. It’s difficult to fathom now, but given how many connected devices our team saw at CES recently, it might not be too far of a stretch!

#2 Exploding kittens blow up Kickstarter

This week, one project broke the Kickstarter record for the most backers ever. No, this new idea was not a next-gen gadget or innovative piece of tech, it was in fact a card game with exploding kittens! Created by Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), Elan Lee (Xbox, ARGs) and  Shane Small (Xbox, Marvel), the simple card game has already raised more than $4.4 million from more than 100,000 backers, and shows no signs of slowing. We can’t wait to play it!

#3 Puppy Bowl lineup

Puppy bowl

If you’re having a “ruff” day, you should check out the new Puppy Bowl lineup. The annual event plays in conjunction with the Super Bowl (airing this Sunday, February 1st) and is aimed at those who aren’t interested in the big game. Besides, who doesn’t love a room full of rollicking, happy puppies? And if that wasn’t cute enough for you, this year the 2015 lineup will be joined by a team of goat cheerleaders. Go team!

#4 Apple Smart Watch

Apple Watch

After Apple’s record-breaking earnings announcement this week, the innovative tech giant gave some insight into its much anticipated Apple Watch. The company said that the watch is “right on schedule,” and will begin shipping this April. With so much hype surrounding this new device, it will be interesting to see how people actually interact and use the device day to day. Considering Apple just shattered analyst expectations with revenue of $74.6 billion, the company looks to be doing just fine!

#5 Half a billion people can’t be wrong

Facebook mobile users

Despite widespread reports that Facebook is losing its touch, it looks like we just can’t quite shake off this social network. It released an earnings report this week noting that some 526 million active monthly users access the app on a mobile device. This number is already up from the 456 million in the previous quarter, and represents a whopping 38 percent of Facebook’s 1.39 billion monthly active users. It looks like Mark Zuckerberg’s push towards mass mobile adoption is working.

#6 Tumblr update for content creators

 

tumblr

While there are many corporations using Tumblr effectively, namely Denny’s, J. Crew, and many more, the social media platform recently rolled out a series of updates to help content creators with updates to both its mobile and web app. Users can now access several tools much faster for style and formatting, and includes improved support for push notifications and messaging. Get blogging folks!

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onechocolate loves… the view from Germany

Our colleagues in onechocolate’s Munich office selected this week’s round-up of  inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 Tough Enough

DELL

This month, DELL proves once again that it knows how to make a funny campaign work. As part of its ‘Tough Enough’ campaign, it has released the latest episodes in a series of short YouTube videos, which show the IT support of a fictional company at work. The hilarious situational clips are sure to resonate with those who work in or with IT departments.

DELL has also created a tumblr site where you can not only find all the video clips, but also comical dialogues between users and IT support. Those who work in IT can even upload their own stories about the most incapable users they have had to deal with. This multi-channel campaign is a great, tongue-in-cheek way for DELL to talk to its target market and position itself as a leader in IT technology. 

#2 A whole new world

Instagram account

This week, we stumbled upon a brilliantly creative Instagram account from Derrick Lin – a photographer and brand strategist from Columbus, Ohio. Derrick converts everyday objects such as his desk, coffee mug, sugar bowl, even colleagues’ faces, into a new world in which miniature figures are taking over. What we take away from his creative idea is to think differently, change perspectives and always keep an open mind to experiment.

#3 Mario comes to life

Mario

This week we spotted that a group of students from the University of Tübingen have given the beloved video game character, Mario, the gift of intelligence. Through a combination of coding and the basic principles of psychology, these talented students brought Mario to life; he understands spoken advice, commands and questions, and he even assesses his own needs by collecting coins when he is hungry or exploring when he is curious. While we love this as a fun game, the artificial intelligence technology used also gives insight into the future of things to come such as the self-driving car, self-optimising assembly lines or traffic control systems.

#4 Girl, you wanna get a beer?

You wanna get a beer

Suppose your brand wants to reach a new demographic, how do you do that? By talking to them, of course! That’s precisely what Astra, the German beer brand, has done to appeal to a female audience. It has installed a high-tech billboard next to a bar in Hamburg that can discern the gender of passersby. Whenever a woman walks past, it begins a conversation and invites her for a beer. Although trying to appeal to a new audience, the lame pick-up lines used by the billboard still stay true to the brand’s blunt, tongue-in-cheek character.

#5 Viral marketing

Viral marketing has been a buzzword for some time now, and one of the key rules is to not make people feel like they are being ‘marketed’ to. The brand and/or product name will almost always take a back seat. Content can be quirky, funny, moving, shocking or all of the above, but the most important thing is that it should evoke emotion and be shareable. Done well, viral marketing also has the potential to deliver great ROI; budget is spent on, say, one video that can then receive thousands or even millions of views and shares.

We enjoyed a trip down memory lane when we read Claudia Hilker’s article on the best viral marketing campaigns for social media für unternehmer. Our personal favorite was Ruegenwalder Muehle’s video to introduce its new dry packaging. Check out the hilarious clip above for yourself.

#6 Facebook ends hoax stories

Facebook hoax

Most Facebook users have at least one friend on Facebook who regularly posts outlandish stories that turn out to be fake. However, as of this week, when you come across a hoax story about a dead celeb or law change, you can report the story as false. When a number of people have flagged the story, Facebook will acknowledge it as a hoax and delete it. Although Facebook may not be known as the most reliable source for information; it’s good to know that our News Feeds will be more trustworthy from now on.

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#BlueMonday hits 2015

Yesterday was Blue Monday, the day considered to be the most depressing of the entire year. But as we climbed out of our warm duvets to face the cold winter morning and the slog to the office, many of the brands we know and love took to social media to cash in on this now highly competitive diary date – with freebies, fun and games.

Across all of the social platforms, the media marketing machine went into overdrive, with giveaways, creative promotions and a blast of fun to beat the January blues.

So where did the idea of Blue Monday come from? No, it’s not just a New Order song; it’s actually a PR invention! Back in 2005, the now defunct Sky Travel channel ran a publicity campaign that cited the third Monday of January as “scientifically” the most depressing day of the year. The idea, fuelled by social media, has stuck ever since.

It’s a great day for creative newsjacking so we thought we’d share our favourite #BlueMonday moments from this year…

Pret kindly offered us a free caffeinated pick-me-up for a limited time in exchange for an aptly chosen buzzword, a great way to start the day. (Well, apart from those of us who didn’t notice the tweet until after the deadline.)

Pret

Supermarket brand Aldi handed out £20 gift vouchers throughout the day to those who participated in the #AldiChallenge on its Twitter feed, which consisted of a series of competitions; from sharing your favourite joke to caption contests. To add to our happiness, they also tweeted a picture of an adorable sleepy baby.

Aldi

It wouldn’t be true internet-based happiness production without throwing a few kittens into the mix. The charity Cats Protection shared pictures and videos to make us feel as warm and fuzzy inside as the kittens themselves.

Cats Protection

And finally, this little missive from Innocent Drinks made us smile…

Innocent drinks

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onechocolate loves

Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye…

#1 Mop Dog

We’re not ashamed to admit that Dr. Pepper knows the way to our hearts: cute animals and a sentimental story. Its latest video follows Mop Dog’s struggle to fit in, his search for love and how he is finally accepted. Mop Dog is absolutely adorable and there was barely a dry eye in the house after viewing it. The video is a great way to support Dr. Pepper’s brand messaging: ‘Always be yourself’. Definitely a must see!

#2 Puppy love

Imagine if your puppy stayed a puppy…forever. It’s every dog lover’s dream isn’t it?

Well, now it could be a reality. PuppySwap, featuring a video jam-packed with cuteness, advertises itself as the world’s first puppy subscription service. It promises a low monthly rate with no long-term commitments. PuppySwap, it says, is simple. Pick a breed, love your puppy, and watch it grow. Once it becomes a burden or simply not as cute any more – swap it.

If you visit the associated website, which also presents interactive infographics to show the most popular breeds of the moment and displays puppy user-ratings, things soon turn sinister. After a couple of minutes of enjoying cute puppy pics, a pop-up reveals the truth: PuppySwap isn’t real. “Unfortunately, pet abandonment is. Over 180,000 animals enter Canadian shelters each year – 40% will never leave.” Strong stuff from the Toronto Humane Society.

#3 Driverless cars becoming a reality

Mercedes driverless car

Those who have seen the 1980s film, Knight Rider, may remember the Hoff’s car and how futuristic it seemed. Thirty years later, we are finally seeing this sort of technology become reality with the new models released by Mercedes and Audi at CES last week. For example, the Mercedes F015 Luxury in Motion really does live up to its name: it’s sleek, cool and has all the mod-cons one could ask for.

With Britain playing a leading role in the development and testing of this technology, the safety of driverless cars is a concern with almost half of the population. The F015 Luxury in Motion is just a concept car and the real thing will not be appearing on our roads for about 15 years. We can’t wait!

#4 Telco market … up in arms!

Telcos

Consolidation in the telecoms market is spreading like wildfire after BT’s merger talks with O2 and EE a few months back. Now, this week, Three’s Canning Fok has highlighted M&A as a ‘top priority’. We’re keeping our eye on this ever-changing marketplace as telcos innovate more than ever… but who will win the war on customer service and true ‘always-on’ connectivity?

#5 IoT at CES

Internet of Things

The huge Consumer Electronics Show is done and dusted for another year and, judging by some of the amazing technology on show, we have a very exciting year in store!

Right from the outset, it was clear that the overriding theme was to be the Internet of Things (IoT) with Samsung Electronics co-CEO, Boo-Keun Yoon, using his opening keynote to champion everything IoT. That speech set the precedent for an avalanche of product announcements and vision statements on everything from self-driving cars and connected appliances to smart security and even self-tending gardens. And drones – everywhere you looked there were drones!

#6 3D fashion

3D fashion

Another trend tipped to be big for 2015 is 3D printing, it’s set to impact a number of industries, but will this trend be storming the catwalk too? Apparently so. At CES last week, 3D Systems demonstrated how this technology can be used to create fashion items, from shoes to dresses, that weren’t too different from those currently hanging on the racks of the clothing stores we frequently shop at. With 3D printed dresses having already made a debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2013, surely it’s only a matter of time before printed fashion – and we don’t mean leopard or zebra – is in everyone’s wardrobes.

#7 Hashtag history

Through social media the humble hashtag has taken on a life of its own, but where did it originally come from? Luckily, the Guardian’s tech whizzes have come up with this video to enlighten us on the strange history of #, from Sir Isaac Newton’s scribbles, to 60s dialling pads, to #YOLO.

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6 top tips to create your personal brand

Personal brand

There is a common misconception that company branding is more important than employee branding. But in an age where consumers buy into the values and personality of a brand, the faces behind the name do matter. Richard Branson and Bill Gates are examples of this done to perfection, but how can you replicate this on a smaller scale?

Whether you’re a CEO, CMO, PR manager or sales exec, we’ve compiled a list of six top tips that are sure to get your personal branding project off to a flying start.

#1 Refine your persona

Decide what persona you want to create for yourself and stick to it. Make sure it reflects your company’s brand and is consistent with its message; whilst at the same time keep it in-line with your own expertise.

Always focus on topics that you have a passion for and find easy to talk about as this will shine through in your communication. Work and personality are becoming increasingly difficult to separate, so include your hobbies and interests outside of work to give your personal brand a truly individual feel.

#2 Choose your tools

Select what tools you want to use to promote your brand and use them to maximum effect. Particularly at first, you should focus on the medium you find most easy to use, whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine or blogging. Update your page(s) regularly to create a consistent profile for yourself.

Social channels are adding new features all the time, so ensure you are watching out for these developments and utilising them to maximise your impact on the platform. If LinkedIn is your platform of choice – which it often is for B2B professionals – be sure to check out our blog on 10 smart ways to stand out on LinkedIn.

#3 Curate content

The good news is that you don’t need to create all your content from scratch. Find, follow and watch the people producing interesting material and then use your voice to comment on it. Using your own voice is the most important point here – it will differentiate you from others who will be talking about the same thing. Remember, you are an expert in your field – your opinion will add value, or at least interest others.

#4 Remember the top rules of communication

Create consistency in your messaging, by sticking to the same broad themes and topics. However, don’t be afraid to stand out and say something different to rise above the noise of what everyone else in the industry is talking about.

#5 Maximise your traditional communications

Social media is a great way to sweat your assets and maximise the results from your traditional methods of communication. For example, if you are speaking at a conference share it with even more people by tweeting before, during and after it. Then post your slides on SlideShare, stream the presentation live, record your presentation and upload it on YouTube, poll your audience and post the results on your blog.

#6 Don’t sell

Your connections don’t want to be bombarded with the latest releases from your company. You will gain much more traction on social if you create and curate content that is useful to your prospects, business partners, potential employees etc. By all means do share updates from your company, but don’t make it all you share.

Apply ‘The 80/20 Rule.’ This guideline for social media will help you strike the right balance – post just 20% of your content directly about promoting about your brand, and dedicate 80% to content that you think will appeal to your audience and engage them in conversations.

Of course, it takes time to research the current hot topics, but don’t let it slip down your list of priorities when you’re busy. Block out time in your diary to read material, or do a search on your morning commute.

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