5 Cool Gift Ideas for Creative Professionals

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While some people stress over gift-giving, we enjoy the process of finding the perfect gifts for everyone on our list. (It even sharpens our marketing skills!)

Danbo Santa Claus by Takashi Hososhima via CC BY-SA 2.0

Danbo Santa Claus by Takashi Hososhima via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/2gWkJS8

If you’re buying for a creative professional, check out our ideas for the mad men or women in your life.

Moleskine Notebooks
Creatives love notebooks, and these are the cream of the crop. Of course you don’t have to buy Moleskine, but they do offer special, themed and creativity styles along with personalization. Looking to splurge? Consider the Smart Writing Set.

Starbucks (or enter favorite coffee shop here) Gift Card
Coffee shops are a second home or office for creatives. There’s just something about the atmosphere that gets the juices flowing. A Starbucks gift card is a charger for a creative and may lead to a breakthrough that changes your recipient’s life. Remember to take some credit if that happens!

Cool Travel Mug / Coffee Mug 
Notice that we said cool. Creative types are typically coffee fans, so they need a cool travel mug when they’re on the go and a traditional mug at home or in the office. Think about your recipient’s tastes — favorite shows, authors, teams, movies — and don’t forget about the aforementioned coffee shop. Pick up some cool swag from your recipient’s favorite coffee shop and include a gift card. Win-win!

Active Lifestyle Accessories 
Maybe it’s the constant brain activity or coffee consumption, but creative types are usually active people. Whether it’s bicycling, running, hiking or globe-trotting, your recipient probably has a favorite active or outdoor activity. Whatever it is, there’s plenty of equipment and accessories that fit in a variety of budgets.

Bring the Juice
If coffee shops are chargers for creatives, then they’ll need plenty of battery power for their electronics. Mobile chargers are a must for creative professionals, because they’re always on the move and take their gadgets with them. Keep their specific needs and tastes in mind (along with your budget), and find the item that’s perfect for the creative guy or gal in your life.

Bonus: Vacation
If you really want to splurge, every creative professional we know would love a vacation! It doesn’t have to be grand; book a night at a nice hotel or a quick weekend getaway. Give a break from the routine with an experience your recipient will always remember — a spa day, sky diving adventure, swimming with sharks expedition or a trip to your recipient’s favorite author’s museum or hometown.

What ideas would you add?

Do you enjoy the gift-giving process or does it stress you out?

p.s. If you’re still stuck on what to buy the creative person in your life, let us know. We’d be happy to help you out with some suggestions — no strings attached!

p.s.s. Is your creative professional overwhelmed with work? Perhaps our marketing, writing or social media services would help. We do offer gift certificates!

CCC’s CCO (Chief Creative Officer),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about gifts for creatives, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

We know who won on the field, but who won the battle of the brands? Here’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50 advertisers.

“If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” -David Ogilvy

Portraits by Jeep for Super Bowl 50

Jeep’s ads, including Portraits, were on point.

Winners

  • Give A Damn, Budweiser: First, the King of Beers spent $5 million on a PSA condemning drinking and driving. 👍 Second, they featured none other than Dame Helen Mirren, who is known for portraying strong, frank women, and she didn’t mince words. Third, for every #GiveADamn mention, Budweiser donated $1 toward safe driving programs. Drinking & driving is a serious problem, and the ad’s timing was perfect.
  • Ultrasound, Doritos: This ad held our attention, featured the product prominently and made us crave Doritos! It makes sense for a snack brand to advertise during the big game, and this year concluded the company’s strong 10-year run of crowdsourced commercials. Doritos crunched its way to being the second most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game.

  • Portraits & 4x4ever, Jeep: The auto manufacturer scored twice this year. Portraits grabbed our attention with black and white images of Jeep owners that looked like they were captured on a (vertical) smartphone. More importantly, the brand spoke to its core audience in both spots, recognizing that Jeep owners crave experiences and live an adventurous, off-road lifestyle. “We don’t make Jeep. You do.”
  • The Longest Chase, Toyota: “Wait. Is this a Prius?”  Toyota wanted to convey that the all-new 2016 Prius isn’t just a comfortable ride. How do you do that in a fun, entertaining way? Have four buddies rob a bank, have their getaway car towed and outrun police on a wild, multistate chase. Speed, handling, gas mileage, spacious interior… #GoPriusGo
  • Storm’s a-Brewin’, Death Wish Coffee: The self-proclaimed maker of the strongest coffee in the world won this year’s Small Business, Big Game contest by Intuit, and its spot didn’t disappoint. Vikings? A raging storm? A day of reckoning? On brand for a company that uses a skull and crossbones in its logo. Two thumbs up for the prominent product and website placement at the end.

Honorable Mention

  • Esurance: You may have noticed that the online auto insurance company only advertised during the pre-game (when price tags are a little lower). So how did it steal the show? By enticing Twitter users to retweet its brand-appropriate tweets to enter to win big $$. Esurance was the most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game (835,101 tweets — 4x that of #2, per Amobee Brand Intelligence) and even trended on Facebook — with a Twitter contest.

Losers

  • #puppymonkeybaby, Mountain Dew: This bizarre ad reinforced that all publicity is not good publicity. Yes, people were talking about it, but most of it wasn’t good. We love puppies, monkeys and babies, but combining them doesn’t excite us — or make us want to drink MTN DEW Kickstart. After this commercial, we’re staying as far away from it as possible.

  • A New Truck to Love, Honda: Don’t get us wrong; we love Queen. But be honest: Did you actually remember who’s ad this was? Or were you just singing along to a great song? So were we, but that’s tough to justify the hefty price tag ($10 mil?).

  • Breathe, Michelob Ultra: Was it just us or were you a little confused by this spot too? We get that Michelob Ultra targets athletic and fit people, not your stereotypical beer drinkers, but there had to be a better way to show that — and drop $5 million.
  • What We Were Thinking, Quicken Loans: We’re all about technology making things easier but should applying for a mortgage be that easy? Maybe the biggest purchase of your life shouldn’t be done while waiting for your food at a restaurant. This commercial seemed to imply that an app could fix our economy overnight, which seems ridiculous. Let’s not #RocketMortgage our way into another recession.
  • Great Loans for Great People, SoFi: We touched on startup SoFi heading to the big game previously. While admirable, we’re not sure that its ad was the best way to spend 20% of its annual marketing budget. The company’s looking for a pretty specific customer, and the Super Bowl might not have been the best way to reach that market. We love fellow small businesses and startups (even ones with deep pockets), so we hope we’re wrong here.

That’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50. Congrats to the Broncos and every advertiser who sees a legit return on its investment. As a wise man once said, “if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”

Join the Post Game Huddle

Do you agree with our advertising winners and losers?

Would you advertise during the Super Bowl if you had the budget?

Were you on social media during the game? What platform were you on the most?

Still craving Doritos (and Death Wish Coffee),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Super Bowl, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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The Best Social Media Sites For Business Marketing

"A Conversation" by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

Social media is one of the best marketing tools for businesses. In fact, it’s not just great for businesses; it’s great for individuals looking to market a blog too.

I could go on and on about the advantages and strengths of social media marketing. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the best social media sites for business marketing.

Facebook image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business on the largest social networking site on the planet?

Facebook

Facebook has been around for 11 years now and few would have predicted its success. When it started out, there were a few users who accessed the platform to stay in touch with family and friends. Facebook is currently the most used social networking site of all time and shows no sign of slowing down. Millions of people use Facebook every day for a variety of reasons, and this is why it’s perfect for marketing. In addition to the vast amount of potential customers, the social giant offers resources for businesses to help with your marketing efforts. You can pay to have your Facebook page advertised on people’s News Feeds who fall into your target audience(s). There’s also a local element; you can advertise directly to potential customers in your area and promote your location via check-ins, a map and your profile. It’s a tremendous site for businesses to use and continues to add new features and resources on a regular basis.

Twitter image via CC0 Public Domain

Has your business joined the conversation on Twitter?

Twitter

When I think of Twitter, two words pop into my head: real-time and community. Twitter is the social networking site that people go to for instant updates. With its 140-character limit (for now), the micro-blogging platform encourages a higher volume of posting than other social platforms. Many people now go on Twitter to find out about news stories and learn what’s going on in the world. If you’re a Twitter veteran, you’ve probably noticed that online communities are easily formed there by utilizing lists, hashtags and tagging other users. In a business sense, it’s ideal for marketing. You can zone in on Twitter audiences that are most relevant to your business. Twitter also presents you the opportunity to engage with a lot of people. Some of the best social media marketing strategies include using Twitter to engage with users. Using hashtags gives you the chance to promote your business to people all over the world.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business utilizing the power of video?

YouTube

Many people forget about YouTube when the discussion turns to social media. It is considered a social networking site because you can create a profile and interact with others. YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006, only a year after its arrival, and is now a serious player in the entertainment business, with billions of people watching videos every day. This is fantastic news from a business marketing perspective. It gives you a chance to upload videos promoting your business, which can be viewed by potential customers around town or around the world. There’s also a chance that your video could go viral, resulting in a significant increase in traffic, attention and customers to your business. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, than a video is worth even more.

While social media is a conversation, what you want to achieve from this game-changing addition to your marketing mix is all about you.

While these three social platforms can be great options for businesses, remember that your business has unique objectives and needs. That’s why it’s crucial to put together a strategy before getting social. If you’d like help putting together your targeted strategy (or just have some questions on the subject), let us know. We love to help brands get social with their targeted audience(s)!

Let’s do social well (and social good),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media for business, social strategies or otherwise):
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5 Digital Marketing Trends To Develop Your Marketing Strategy

A strong online presence is essential in today’s market. Without the help of digital marketing, your business is already one step behind. It’s that simple. To make sure that you never fall behind the curve, here are five marketing trends to keep you current. These are relevant right now, so prepare to adjust and adapt in the coming months.

'Digital Marketing Trends' by Automotive Social via CC BY 2.0

Is your digital marketing strategy up-to-date?


Don’t Rely On Google (Now a Subsidiary of Alphabet)

Whisper it quietly so no one can hear you, because you might start a riot. Google, the king of the Internet’s search engines, might be on the decline (and is certainly going through massive changes). That doesn’t mean that the search giant isn’t still relevant. Google holds the largest market share and is one of the biggest brands on the planet. However, consumers are starting to want more from their search engine. Some just want a change because Google has been around for too long. SEO is too important to put all of your eggs in the same basket. 


Mobile All The Time

One platform that you have to rely on is mobile. Unlike Google, mobile technology is at the peak of its powers. More than ever, consumers around the globe are using mobile technology to make purchases. Right now, there is an obsession with everything mobile that does not look like it is going to subside anytime soon. Remember that mobile technology is the technology of choice for over half of the world’s purchases, so it’s crucial to incorporate mobile technology into your digital marketing strategy. 


Payment Methods Are Becoming More Popular

A Magento developer has never been more important for e-commerce and online payment websites. With the rise of the Europay, MasterCard and Visa card, or EMV for short, a new age of online purchases is here. Today, you need more from your developer than ever before. They have to be able to install and input these new techniques into your site because the world is quickly embracing the technology. EMVs are supposed to reduce the risk of fraud and data breaches, so you can see why they are becoming more popular.


Time To Start A Conversation

Unless you have been living ‘off the grid’ for the past several years, you know all about the benefits of social media for business. However, one tactic that is often left is the ability to start a conversation. Yes, social platforms are a great source of inexpensive advertising, but they also allow you to connect to your customer base. By connecting with your customers, you have the ability to improve your conversion rates. Sometimes, a simple conversation is all it takes to get to know someone and create a sense of loyalty.

Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation


Paid Advertising Is Key

The trend of paying for advertising is not a popular one, but it is here for the long-term. As a result, paying for online advertising will provide a boost to your marketing strategy if done correctly. 

Digital Marketing Trends: Your Feedback

What do you see as the biggest digital marketing trend right now?

What will be the biggest digital marketing trend in 2016?

Which social network do you prefer for your brand?

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy or have any questions, let’s talk.

Let’s get social,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about digital marketing, social media or otherwise):
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Amazon Turns Its Boxes Into Ads With First Of Its Kind Marketing Deal For “Minions” Movie

Recently, we blogged about taking your message to your audience instead of waiting for them to come to you. Well, here’s a great example. Universal Studios partnered with Amazon to promote its new movie, Minions, on the retailer’s shipping boxes.

What a great idea! You can’t miss these bright and cheery boxes, and everyone from recipients to postal carriers is sharing pictures via social media. Heck, some people are even ordering something from Amazon just to get a Minions box. On that note, we may need some office supplies…

If you are a Minions fan, Amazon has you covered. Check out http://amazon.com/minions for nearly anything with the little yellow guys that you could possibly want.

Have you received a Minions Amazon box?

Are you going to order from Amazon to get one?

Have you seen or been in a partnership like this before?

Poopaye! (Goodbye in Minion-speak)
Jaime

Let’s chat (on the Minions, brand partnerships or otherwise): 
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TechCrunch

Forget billboards or magazine ads, if an advertiser wants to put its brand in front of a big audience today, you may as well slap that ad on an Amazon shipping box. Or, at least, that’s the mindset behind the new partnership between Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment and Amazon, as the retailer has begun to ship customer orders in bright yellow delivery boxes featuring cartoon characters from the upcoming “Minions” movie. The deal represents the first time Amazon has ever allowed a third party to completely brand its delivery boxes.

The pairing between the movie makers and Amazon makes sense for this latest installment in the “Despicable Me” franchise of films. The popular movies, which to date have grossed over $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide, have already turned the film’s characters into merchandise. The “minions” have been translated into a ton of consumer products, including dolls and figurines, board games and video games, and other toys. They also…

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A Nation Full of Dreamers: Who inspired you?

Today would have been Sally Ride’s 64th birthday. She’s widely known as the first American woman in space, no doubt inspiring millions to dream big and shoot for the stars (literally).

Sally Ride's 64th birthday

Not as widely known is her work on Earth, educating millions of kids in science, especially girls and minorities. As someone who broke barriers, Ride, a physicist, wanted non-traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students to know that they could succeed in these fields too.

Most of us have someone who inspired us to do what we do. It could be a family friend or well-known individual in your field. We asked CCC Facebook fans what book transported them to a defining moment or event in their life, and Missy Radecki, an RN and Associate Professor of Nursing, gave a tremendous response.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly….published in 1997, memoir by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby editor of French Elle. He had a stroke at the age of 43, woke 20 days later and had locked in syndrome, he wrote the book by blinking. It gave me insight into being a patient and how he saw his nurses….I was moved by it and was the cornerstone of how I treated my patients.”

That question was inspired by a book I read while in college, A Big Life (in advertising). The author, Mary Wells Lawrence, rose through the ranks in the advertising world and ended up owning her own agency when few women made it past the secretary pool. The Mad Men finale triggered memories of reading this book, which is set during the same era, and encouraged me to pull it from my office book shelves.

When I read this book, I was pursuing a degree in advertising, so Lawrence’s message of success hit home. Despite ad agencies still being male-dominated, I knew I could survive and even thrive on Madison Ave, just like she (and Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway) did. It was a bonus when I discovered that Lawrence hails from Ohio, just like yours truly.

So thank you, Mary Wells Lawrence, for living your big life (in advertising) and inspiring a fellow Ohioan to follow in your footsteps. Maybe one day I’ll get there.

Who fueled your dreams?   

p.s. Another great book by a woman who excelled during the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising is Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond by Jane Maas.

Living a big life,
Jaime

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Think Outside of the Booth: Ideas to Promote Your Brand at Events

Last month, CCC traveled to Indianapolis to work an event for a client, and it was an amazing experience. In addition to fueling the conversation with 32,000 firefighters from around the world, we walked away with some creative branding ideas.

A turnout jacket cling on a bathroom mirror

Think outside of the booth when promoting your brand!

While your booth doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be boring, there are so many other opportunities to grab attendees’ attention at an event. Take the above static cling, for example. It was hard to miss this manufacturer’s ad of a turnout coat on full-length mirrors in bathrooms around the convention center. It’s crazy. You can almost see yourself in TECGEN® PPE’s gear, can’t you? You might as well go to the company’s booth and try some on.

TECGEN® PPE's unique hallway display shattered convention!

TECGEN® PPE shattered convention — and expectations — with this hallway display at a firefighter conference.

If you somehow missed TECGEN® in the bathroom, the company stopped attendees in their tracks elsewhere too. Instead of shattering glass (to remove a fire extinguisher), the manufacturer shattered convention with its newly redesigned turnout gear — and hallway display. In addition, the company’s unique display was in a high traffic area right outside of a doorway to one of the exhibit areas and a food court area.

Not to be outdone, MSA Safety’s booth was so hot it was smoking. Literally! This may be one of the coolest booth ideas we’ve ever seen.

And we haven’t even talked about the well-placed floor graphics (stairs, anyone?), ceiling danglers, electronic signs, individual event sponsorships, fire trucks in lobbies and so much more.

Remember, your event experience doesn’t begin or end at your booth. That’s just where the party’s at!

p.s. If you’re planning to exhibit at an event or planning an event itself, we’d love to help! Drop us a line so we can help you maximize your event experience!

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on events or otherwise):
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Are You Being Heard? Communication Tips For Your Brand

Communication. It’s so simple, right? We learn to do it at a young age, and it’s second nature. So why is it so difficult to communicate effectively with your customers, business partners and employees?

"The biggest illusion in communication is that it has taken place."  -George Bernard Shaw

Sure, you blast out emails to your customers and employees, blast out promotional social updates and blast out glossy hyperbole in your monthly newsletter. But what are you actually saying?

Before you send another email, post another update or publish another newsletter, read what you wrote — as a recipient. Who are you trying to reach? What would a person in your target audience think of your communication? Even if it’s only an email to a colleague, employee or business partner… would you understand what you’re trying to say?

“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I will understand.”  -Benjamin Franklin

How do you know what your recipients need and want (two different issues)? Ask them. Observe them (in a non-stalking manner). Put yourself in their shoes. Spend a day in their life handling their challenges and looking for opportunities.

When you take your customers’ needs and wants into consideration, and involve them in your solutions, you stand out in a sea of information overload — and tend to be heard. Which would make one of my heroes, the late, great Gabrielle Bonheur (Coco) Chanel, proud. And that works for me, and CCC. Are you being heard?

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”  -Coco Chanel

Communicate with CCC

What is your most effective type of communication?

What type of communication would you like to improve?

Do you have “miscommunication” issues often?

Do you have a communication question? Leave a comment or ask us on social media.

p.s. We’d love help you communicate with your target audience(s)! Check out our marketing, writing and social media services, and contact us to discuss your needs. Each project receives personal attention at CCC!

Your Captain of Communication,
Jaime

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Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era

“Everyone has a story to tell. It only goes in one direction: forward.”                                                                         -Don Draper

And Mad Men, the popular drama about the advertising world (and life) in the 1960s from AMC, has told its story well. In its own way, with some detours of course. But isn’t that life?

Sorry, CCC will be out of the office on Sunday evening -- watching Mad Men!

As an advertising major (and disciple), I love this show because of its attention to detail. Everything — the ads they create, the most minor set props (Tab, anyone?) and the lifestyles depicted are true to the time period the show is set in. (Just ask real-life Mad Woman Jane Maas.)

Even AMC’s social media marketing is on point. Take the above out of office that you can create on the Mad Men Facebook page. Pick your favorite character, decide what you’ll be doing (brainstorming a new ad, meeting with the creative team or going on a date) and fill in your name to let your connections know that you’ll be tied up on Sunday evenings. Genius.

Furthermore, the Mad Men voice is consistent wherever you hear it. Watch the show, scroll through its tweets or check out pictures on its Facebook page. AMC remembers that the brand is set in the 60s and acts accordingly, even down to the words it chooses. Want to rub elbows with Don and Peggy? Don’t sign up for the show’s newsletter; join the Mad Men Social Club. Looking to enjoy the next episode with friends? Check out the Cocktail Guide. Still not enough? Get the Mad Men Birchbox, male or female version.

AMC has stayed true to the brand it created while taking advantage of more modern marketing options, like social media, brand partnerships and email marketing. That’s why it’s so important to understand your brand’s voice, so you can present a consistent presence across platforms, marketing vehicles and generations.

Now make yourself a martini, put your feet up and enjoy storytelling at its finest.

Tell Your Story

What brand is your favorite storyteller?

Would you work at Sterling, Cooper & Pryce?

Who’s your favorite Mad Men character?

Editor’s Note: Different bat time, same bat channel. The CCC blog will now publish on Mondays and Thursdays. Don’t want to miss a post? Click on the subscribe button to the right of this post’s title. Thanks for reading!

A Mad Woman at heart,
Jaime

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Brands: Is Looking Stupid Ever A Good Thing?

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”                                                                      -Brendan Behan, Irish writer

Even in the constant onslaught of social media, some things stop you mid-scroll.

Here’s the kicker (no wrong sport pun intended): Hostess did this on purpose.

“The ‘Touchdown’ line was intentional; it’s fun and aimed at young audiences who are in on the running joke – which, of course, is the goalllll.” -Ellen Copaken, senior director of marketing at Hostess Brands

Huh?

As a company who helps brands with social media, we love to secure increased exposure for clients, along with achieving their other objectives. Positive exposure, we should point out. We can’t ever imagine making a brand look stupid in order to gain engagement and attention. How does that help with the big picture?

“For a few hours, Hostess achieved the all-consuming goal of social media managers everywhere: cut through the noise. Even though it had to act like an idiot to do it.” -Mashable

Along the same lines, there was a mixed reaction to JCPenney’s #TweetingWithMittens Super Bowl stunt last year. If you missed it, the retailer sent out a series of tweets filled with mistakes and typos. Most Twitter users thought that the people manning the account were intoxicated, or the account had been hacked. It turned out the company was “tweeting with mittens” to promote its status as the official supplier of Team USA’s mittens.

The company planned this strategy because Super Bowl XLVIII was held outdoors in New Jersey, and freezing temperatures were expected. Unfortunately for JCP, temps were much higher for the game, so wearing mittens didn’t make sense. However, JCPenney’s engagement went through the roof (both positive and negative), and its week-over-week mitten sales doubled.

So, here’s our question –> Does the end always justify the means?

If your brand’s engagement soars (even negative mentions), is it worth it?

Would you use a stunt that may reflect poorly on your brand in order to gain publicity?

This is a hot topic; Mashable even wrote about it. We’d love to hear your take!

Cheers,
Jaime

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