The Rise of Technology Brings the Decline of Privacy

In this digital age, the issue of privacy seems to come up again and again. Cameras are everywhere- from security cameras in stores to the cellphones we carry. With apps like Periscope, it is now easier than ever to live stream and almost impossible to hide. The CEO of periscope didn't anticipate the app to bring any controversy, but the live element does add a twist. People are bound to post something they wish they hadn't, and no longer have that editorial pause to rethink it.  

While this issue will undoubtably occur for adults, questions are raised about it being appropriate in the hands of teenagers. Currently Periscope bans users 13 and under from using the app and pornography is prohibited, but anything can slip through the cracks since it is live. Recordings of the stream can stay up for up to 24 hours. Do you think users are responsible enough to use live streaming apps? Read More     

The Most Interesting Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

-Email and direct mail are far from dead. Social media and mobile media may be getting more attention these days, but response rates for email are between 50% and 60% which can be attributed to better data and target marketing.

-The marketing team at Universal Pictures deserves some applause. Pitch Perfect 2 was released in theaters on Friday and had 300,000 followers on Snapchat. Chances are a big number of their millennial followers bought tickets. 

-Food festivals are getting on the social media bandwagon. Food trucks got on a while ago and now festivals are catching up. New York's Harlem EatUp has successfully grown its social presence in the past 6 months.  

- To celebrate 80 years of the beloved KitKat bar, Google and Nestle teamed up and released 600,000 limited edition packs in the UK with the name "YouTube Break" on the label. This surprisingly isn't the first campaign from this unlikely partnership.  Read More

Fast Food Paper Tray Gets An Upgrade with Advertising Campaign

The KFC Tray Typer | theverge.com

The KFC Tray Typer | theverge.com

KFC in Germany has launched a new advertising campaign featuring some cutting edge technology. It is a common occurance for consumers eating fried chicken to become frustrated using their iPhones with greasy fingers– so those clever Germans hatched a solution.

The KFC Tray Typer is a thin, bluetooth keyboard that arrives with your tray and allows you to text without messing up your phone screen. This new device is meant to get wiped down and reused, although after they launched they were all taken home by the first batch of customers who received them. There has been similar technology to the tray typer produced in the U.K. A company called CSR makes a blue tooth keyboard claimed to be just as sleek in design as the Tray Typer. Even if the product is just part of an advertising campaign, it serves a purpose and is a better idea than say, a keyboard or mouse in the shape of fried chicken (actually a thing thanks to KFC in Japan).  Read More 

Do You Need to Outsource Your Digital Marketing?

The advantages of Digital Marketing are unparalleled to traditional marketing strategies. It gives companies access to metrics, the ability to understand target audiences, and utilize various delivery methods. With that in mind- how do you know when its time for your company to utilize outside digital marketing resources? Here are some tell tale signs that it's time to take your efforts to the next level and call for back up: 

-Your company has some digital marketing experience but not the time to devote to strategizing and executing campaigns. You may have already achieved some success but bringing in experts to bring in different tools and technology can take your digital marketing game to a new level.

-You've gotten positive feedback and results when testing a campaign on a small level. It's possibly you don't have the resources or staff to expand but outsourcing is a valuable option that can give your digital marketing a boost while you can focus on other operations.

- You're company is behind the curve and needs to play catch up in a short period of time. Digital Marketing is the way of the future and its time for your brand to get up to speed. You want to make sure you make the most of your online presence and don't miss any important steps. The right digital marketing strategy is going to be more effective than other other traditional marketing tactics.  Read More

How have Digital Natives Shaped the Retail Revolution?

Screenshot of an example of how Birchbox engages customers on Twitter | @birchbox 

Screenshot of an example of how Birchbox engages customers on Twitter | @birchbox 

Retailers and consumer goods companies are demonstrating that they recognize the importance of digital engagement with their millennial consumers. Brand loyalty and purchase decisions are more dependent on digital engagement as opposed to store product placement and TV advertising. Traditional brick-and-mortar retail spaces are being challenged by brand-retailer hybrids that appeal to digital natives.

Warby Parker and Birchbox are just a couple of the direct-to-consumer companies that are proving the most important consumer interactions occur in the digital space. Visual and tactile in-store experiences are no longer necessary to build a digital brand. Industry giants who were once untouchable due to advances in scale, distribution and infrastructure, now are focusing on reaching their millennial consumers on platforms that are much more personal and comfortable to them. To have the competitive advantage, companies now need to engage consumers across multiple digital channels and with user-generated content. How are you seeing major brands engage their target demographic? Read More     

What does the future hold for delivery?

The national pizza chain Pizza Hut is making moves to catch up with long time rival Domino's in the delivery game. Domino's has been viewed as having the edge on delivery by millennials who value transparency and instant information. So to up the ante, Pizza Hut is testing an Uber-esque delivery system where drivers are tracked on a map and the customer knows exactly where your pizza is on its journey to your door. 

In this digital age where information is so easily accessible, it's no surprise that consumers want access to the the location of their order. This technology is not just limited to food, industry experts predict that it could become second nature to monitor the delivery process on retail goods such as Amazon orders. Other brands currently testing this type of delivery include McDonald's and Starbucks. Read More

Brands are building loyalty with a new tactic: "Surprise and Delight"

Everyone loves surprises. Brands have caught on and are utilizing the tactic appropriately known as "Surprise & Delight" as a marketing strategy to keep consumer coming back for more. Businesses are finding this effective because it forms a deeper connection with their customers. A complimentary dessert or free beverage for no reason can go a long way to make customers happy and keep them as loyal to the brand for a long time. This tactic also spawns good press when the happy customers share their experience on social media. 

MasterCard has been known for years for its "Priceless" campaign, but most recently it launched a surprise and delight program called "Priceless Surprise." MasterCard uses social media to connect with members and as a way to surprise them with spontaneous gifts (including exclusive concerts and tickets to the Grammys.) The platform has recently expanded to its partners (such as Citibank and Staples) which are now also offering surprises to their customers. Read More

Uber Expands to Delivery Services

The latest buzz about the popular car service is its launching various delivery services. Making bold claims of being able to deliver food in 10 minutes in NYC, consumers can't stop talking about UberEats. 

And the company is taking it a step further, by quietly testing a same-day merchant delivery service for retail goods called UberRUSH. According to sources, high-end brands such as Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus are involved in this trial run. Originally the idea was for UberRUSH to mainly utilize large online retailers such as Amazon and Ebay, but testing proved it was too difficult to acquire accurate inventory for the warehouses. Spring, a mobile shopping app, is a fascinating testing ground as the inventory available is always listed on the platform. Having the inventory readily available to the driver and the consumers is just half the battle for making this program to work. It will be a huge advance for logistics if these verticals can be successfully combined. Ideally the goal is to have Uber drivers transporting food, merchandise and passengers simultaneously.  Read More     

How Digital Has Revolutionized Advertising

Advertising campaigns were once largely focused on television, but with the rise of social media and digital marketing, these days are ending. Many companies are investing more of their ad budgets toward digital. Customers are watching less TV and are instead checking their phones and various social media outlets throughout the day. Consumers can access everything on their mobile devices from Netflix to Facebook to Snapchat. Because of this, it is much easier for advertisers to target their audience to receive messages from the right channels at the right times. Doing this through television advertising was much more difficult.  

50 percent of the companies surveyed by research company Forrester are planning to increase their digital budgets in this coming year and 40 percent said they will spend more on data analytics. The rise of targeted advertising can provide advertisers with proof that their money is being spent wisely to reach their customer. With all of the data being gathered from credit card purchases, online profiles, and customer loyalty programs, advertisers can target their customers directly. Read More

Innovative Apps For the Restaurant Consumer

Grubhub and Seamless have paved the way for these new apps that are making the dining experience friendlier for even the most frustrated consumer. We are living in a technology driven world and diners want restaurant apps to make the experience easier. So who are the newcomers that can successfully benefit both the patron and the business?

1. Reserve is the new OpenTable. This app goes beyond just reserving a table- the consumer can get recommendations based on their personal dining preferences, reserve the table and also pre-pay for the meal. The dining experience is completely taken care of the moment the consumer walks in the door. They are greeted by name and there is no awkward fumbling for your wallet to pay at the end of the meal. Currently this is only app that combines restaurant recommendations, booking the table, and the payment process. 

2. Hello Vino is a wine selection app that takes the intimidation out of ordering from a lengthy wine menu. This app pairs foods with certain wines, stores the brands you have tried, and also has the capability to scan bottle labels for more information. Statistics show the usage is low for in restaurant visits and is currently used more for retail purchases, but its founder and CEO is confident there is room for growth. After all, 95% of wine consumption happens in restaurants. 

3. Caviar is a high-end model of Seamless or GrubHub, specifically partnering with pricer brands. This app facilitates delivery from some restaurants that do not even have in house delivery employees. In many cities, busy professionals can't always get out of the office for lunch, and Caviar targets this market. It's user-friendly and filters out lower end establishments. Read More 

Will McDonald's Turn It's Business Around?

It is no news that McDonald's sales have been rapidly dropping in recent years. With the rise of Fast Casual led by Chipotle and Panera, this has triggered consumers to expect more from their food options.

The quick-serve giant, McDonald's hasn't been getting the love it once received. With a new CEO in place, the company is expected to unveil some major strategies in the upcoming months to get business back up. Analysts anticipate various scenarios, one in particular being to embrace the burgers and stop trying to be Starbucks. McDonald's implemented the pricey McCafe model in its stores hoping to compete with the coffee mogul. Some analysts would call this the most expensive mistake in the history of the company. While McDonald's tried to "keep up with the times" by adding espresso-based beverages, its slower to catch on in areas that would be financially beneficial. The food industry has embraced mobile ordering, and McDonald's seems to be last to the party. The company recently announced that a global app will be launched in the near future, the functionality is yet to be determined and will vary depending on management in each country. Read More 

The Top Online Advertising Channels

When choosing an online advertising channel for your business, you have to make sure you balance your budget and the cost of a particular channel. Here are the top three digital channels that will be cost effective and get the best results:

1. Many businesses have had success driving traffic to their sites using Google AdWords. By leveraging this platform you can efficiently market products/services and increase sales. Some business owners foolishly stay away from PPC thinking it will eat up their marketing budget but Adwords gets results and is well worth the investment. There are other tools you can use in conjunction with AdWords to enhance your results. 

2. Email marketing still has the lowest costs and should not be underestimated. You may be thinking email marketing is outdated, but think again. It's possible that you are overlooking necessary components to creating email value such as using consumer intelligence to better target and personalize your message. 

3. Consumers across all age groups utilize social media so whoever your target is, you can reach them here. Use customer profiling to make sure your ads are reaching the right users who are likely to turn into customers. Make sure your ads are mobile friendly as more and more people are using their smartphones to access social media. Read More  

How to Remedy Bad PR with Digital Marketing

Has your company had some bad PR?  In this digital age, reputation is more important than ever. Everyone makes mistakes but don't let a couple slip ups ruin your company's good name. Here are the necessary steps to recover from bad publicity and restore your reputation: 

1. Whatever you do, don't click the link. It may be tempting to read the dreaded story but resist, and make sure your team is on the same page.  Excessive link clicking will only reinforce to your search engine that the content is relevant. Instead, be proactive and create new stories with pertinent and enticing material that will attract attention. 

2. Utilize imagery! Often times the words aren't the only problem. Negative images generally accompany bad press. Create and post appealing images and match them with appropriate and popular hashtags. Consider using YouTube for video content or even podcasts that can be easily uploaded to iTunes.  

3. Revamp your Social Media profiles. It's important to update them and make sure they contain current information. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are readily viewed but don't forget about Instagram and Pinterest for the most up to date images.  Read More 

A New Class of Technology: Mobile Presence

Mobile ordering technology is going a step further with location- aware technology, also being referred to as mobile presence technology. In the near future, we are sure to see brands utilizing this technology which will communicate the customer's location to the restaurant's proximity through a geofence. There are user prompted techniques that currently accomplish the same goal, but this way the app will do it automatically without the need for manual check in.  

This technology will not only enhance the customer experience but make the kitchen run more efficiently and ultimately prevent food waste. If the customer doesn't cross the perimeter, the food won't be made. Order accuracy, kitchen operations and speed of order fulfillment will all be improved upon.  Read More

What Are The Secrets to These Brands Social Media Success?

Over 10,800 restaurants and 121 million social restaurant consumers have been studied by the RSMI and from that data– we can pull the most loved restaurant brands by consumers. 

The quick-serve moguls Starbucks and Subway, and the casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings came out on top as the highest performing brands in the digital world.

But, it's not always smooth sailing for brands in the social space. For example, Starbucks recently made waves with the controversial and short lived "Race Together" campaign.  But even with its upsets, Starbucks manages to stay No. 1 with its high mobile app usage of 13 million users.  The brand is also testing mobile ordering in Portland and recently announced a partnership with Postmates for coffee delivery. Sandwich giant Subway comes in at No. 2 with its ability to engage its customers through playful banter. By using pop culture references, they are able to stay relevant with their target demographic.  Read More            

Denny's Unique Social Media Strategy

If you have recently scrolled through Denny's Twitter or Facebook, you may think that it sounds like an average American teenager managing the platform.

Well that is exactly the strategy the company is aiming for. Denny's is getting away from the standard restaurant chain's script of promotions and deals, so they took a more friendly, relatable approach. On Denny's Twitter feed you are more likely to find pop culture commentary than the advertising pitches. This unique approach has been the company's strategy since they started working with marketing agency Erwin Penland. Having jokes referencing popular recording artist, Drake, makes it fun and easy to for millennials and its younger audience to relate. So far it seems to be working as Denny's has higher customer engagement on its platforms than its competitors. They currently have over 203,000 followers on Twitter and 859,000 likes on Facebook. 

Do you think Denny's social media presence will help them stay relevant in the competitive restaurant space? Read More

Starbucks launching delivery in Seattle

Starbucks addicts rejoice!  The coffee chain is taking it a step further from the order-ahead feature that they started expansion on last week. It was just announced that Starbucks has signed a deal with the delivery service, Postmates. Starting in Seattle and New York City, you will soon be able to order lattes from your mobile app and have it picked it up and delivered to your door. This is not a surprising move since the brand's typical customer is one who generally values convenience and is on the go. 

The majority of Starbuck's customers regularly use the phone app to pay in store and earn points towards free beverages. 14% of US transactions are done through the mobile payment app. Starbucks currently has a significant advantage over competitors with over 21,500 locations worldwide, but they are making sure they stay ahead of the curve. Is the brand trying to control the "on demand" coffee business, before three party delivery companies move into the space?  Read More 

Live Streaming Dining Experiences

The Evolution of Foodspotting?

By Jeff Kingman, DigitalCoCo Director of Business Development

This past week at SxSW, the new hot tech darling has been Meerkat, a platform to video live stream your world on Twitter.

As a digital branding agency, we paid attention, downloaded the app and started playing. As a digital agency focused on the restaurant industry, our app playtime asks: (a) How can foodservice brand marketing use it, (b) How will consumers use Meerkat around dining, food and beverage, and hospitality experiences, and (c) Is it a platform that marketers should consider? A fourth factor we are pondering is Twitter's purchase of similar service called Periscope.

While we continue to test and measure Meerkat and Periscope (we're geeky that way here at DigitalCoCo), we wonder if prosumer foodies might crowd-live-stream eat at a high-end chef's table event, or whether a customer with a gripe against a brand might live stream every experience they have with that brand. Could these platforms be used by food activists -- or other activists -- who are intentionally setting out to target a brand?

Digital brand development is not just about aggregating fun content or shooting some videos for Youtube with the brand founders. Digital brand development takes street-savvy, data-hungry and tech-geeky "let's break it and see how it works" thinking based on test and measure foundations. 

At DigitalCoCo, we actively hunt for these opportunities to test, measure and produce superior results in our work. Often, we are live-testing tactics and strategies on our own publishing work at Foodable Network (which is distributed to over 750,000 foodservice decision makers every month). 

Wrapping up, we invite your conversation on live streaming video apps like Meerkat and Periscope, or on any other marketing topic:

  • Will Meerkat and Periscope impact the hospitality industry?
  • Is your brand assessing risk of activist use of social platforms?
  • Does your marketing team try to break social platforms? 

Event Promotion Using Social Media

Screenshot of social post promoting the Nightclub & Bar show | @NightclubBar

Screenshot of social post promoting the Nightclub & Bar show | @NightclubBar

There is lots to be done before the event to effectively reach potential attendees. Map out your event timeline and communication plan. Be sure you are channeling to your target audience. Know who they are and why they will be interested in attending your event. Utilize the platforms that your audience most frequently uses and focus on those. Create content around the event- blog posts, pictures, videos etc. Create a hashtag for the event and use it to build traffic and engage your audience. Explain the registration process in a way that is easy to understand. Make sure your marketing strategy makes it easy to interact and register on mobile devices.   

During the event, encourage your guests to use Foursquare and other apps to check in and share on their other networks. Stream videos of interviews, speakers and other interest content live from the event. Don't forget to engage with your audience during the event. Create a hashtag that the audience can use to ask questions to speakers. Identify a place where attendees can get information throughout the day.

After the event, post some blogs crediting speakers and anyone who worked behind the scenes to make the event a success. Using Youtube or Vimeo, publish presentations from the event. Thank everyone who follows you on social media and anyone on emails lists for attending. Communicate if there will be any follow up content. To get feedback and ideas for your next event, ask attendees to fill out a brief survey.  Read More  

Digital Marketing For Startups

Building your brand is important and there are effective ways to go about it . Here are some tips to get the most reach when first starting out.    

  • Social Media is a cheap and effective way to build your brand. Make sure to remain consistent with your posts in order to establish your brand's voice. Post regularly and keep the content consistent with brand's message. Use these platforms as a way to engage with your audience. Don't be afraid to address customer complaints and give exceptional customer service that will leave your customers with a good lasting impression. 
  • Experiment with various platforms and figure out which ones are going to be the most valuable for your brand. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are generally most effective for a business to business model while Facebook may be better if your audience is mostly consumers. Instagram is a useful outlet for image-friendly businesses– such as restaurants or clothing designers.  
  • Content quality is not to be overlooked. For your startup to be successful you need to formulate your brand's message to be clear and structured. Do industry research and have a unique selling strategy. Focus on the benefits rather than the features. Read More