Tag Archives: Foursquare

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.

Social Media Fun Facts

In honor of my appearance on HR/NY’s Social Media in the Talent Environment panel (moderated by Brandemix founder and CEO Jody Ordioni), here are some interesting facts about social media that I’ve learned in my recent branding research.

The record for most tweets per second is 25,088, which happened during 2011’s annual TV broadcast of Castle in the Sky in Japan. Viewing the 1986 animated film has become a national tradition, similar to Americans watching It’s a Wondeful Life at Christmas. (Geekosystem)

The previous record for most tweets per second was 13,684, which happened during a Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Chelsea in April. Before that, it was 12,233, which took place during the New York Giants’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl LXVI in February. (CNET)

Image courtesy of Infographic Labs

Zynga, creator of games like Words With Friends, Cityville, and Indiana Jones, was responsible for 12% of Facebook’s total revenue in 2011. (Forbes)

Searching for the phrase “How to land an airplane” on YouTube brings up 171 results. (YouTube)

The five most popular YouTube videos of all time are music videos, including “Baby” by Justin Beiber at #1. The #6 most popular video is “Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!” (YouTube)

The most followed pinner on Pinterest is Jane Wang, with more than 1.5 million followers. She is Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann’s mother. (Zoomsphere)

Image courtesy of Kate T.


In February, the most repinned image on Pinterest was a photo of a woman’s closet. The tenth-most repinned image was a photo of a bookshelf. Two of the top ten were pictures of cookies. (Pinfaves)

The top three brands on Facebook are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks; all consumer brands. The top three brands on Google Plus are Android, Mashable, and Chrome; all in technology field. (Pardot)

Two people join LinkedIn every second. It’s the 36th-most visited site in the world. Its fastest-growing demographics are students and recent college graduates. (Business 2 Community)

The location with the most Foursquare check-ins is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with more than 632,000 check-ins. It’s followed by airports in Los Angles (LAX), San Francisco, and New York (JFK). By comparison, Disneyland has 200,000 total check-ins. (Foursquare)

Image courtesy of Coasttocoast

Disneyland is, however, the second-most photographed location on Instagram. The first is AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the Giants baseball team. (Instagram)

On Instragram’s list of 15 most photographed places are three New York City locations: the High Line, Madison Square Park, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Empire State Building and the new World Trade Center did not make the list. (Instagram)

Want to learn more about these and other social media sites, and how Brandemix can use them to help your consumer branding or employer branding campaigns? Drop me a line

Social Media Fun Facts

In honor of my appearance on HR/NY’s Social Media in the Talent Environment panel (moderated by Brandemix founder and CEO Jody Ordioni), here are some interesting facts about social media that I’ve learned in my recent branding research.

The record for most tweets per second is 25,088, which happened during 2011’s annual TV broadcast of Castle in the Sky in Japan. Viewing the 1986 animated film has become a national tradition, similar to Americans watching It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas. (Geekosystem)

The previous record for most tweets per second was 13,684, which happened during a Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Chelsea in April. Before that, it was 12,233, which took place during the New York Giants’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl LXVI in February. (CNET)

Image courtesy of Infographic Labs

Zynga, creator of games like Words With Friends, Cityville, and Indiana Jones, was responsible for 12% of Facebook’s total revenue in 2011. (Forbes)

Searching for the phrase “How to land an airplane” on YouTube brings up 171 results. (YouTube)

The five most popular YouTube videos of all time are music videos, including “Baby” by Justin Beiber at #1. The #6 most popular video is “Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!” (YouTube)

The most followed pinner on Pinterest is Jane Wang, with more than 1.5 million followers. She is Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann’s mother. (Zoomsphere)

Image courtesy of Kate T.

In February, the most repinned image on Pinterest was a photo of a woman’s closet. The tenth-most repinned image was a photo of a bookshelf. Two of the top ten were pictures of cookies. (Pinfaves)

The top three brands on Facebook are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks; all consumer brands. The top three brands on Google Plus are Android, Mashable, and Chrome; all in technology field. (Pardot)

Two people join LinkedIn every second. It’s the 36th-most visited site in the world. Its fastest-growing demographics are students and recent college graduates. (Business 2 Community)

The location with the most Foursquare check-ins is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with more than 632,000 check-ins. It’s followed by airports in Los Angles (LAX), San Francisco, and New York (JFK). By comparison, Disneyland has 200,000 total check-ins. (Foursquare)

 

Image courtesy of Coasttocoast

Disneyland is, however, the second-most photographed location on Instagram. The first is AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the Giants baseball team. (Instagram)

On Instragram’s list of 15 most photographed places are three New York City locations: the High Line, Madison Square Park, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Empire State Building and the new World Trade Center did not make the list. (Instagram)

Want to learn more about these and other social media sites, and how Brandemix can use them to help your consumer branding or employer branding campaigns? Drop me a line


Insights from the BDI Social Consumer Conference

I recently attended the Social Consumer 2012 conference, presented by the Business Development Institute. Representatives from major brands discussed how they used social media to connect with customers. There were five fascinating presentations (and one entertaining interview, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s Simon Constable) followed by roundtable discussions hosted by experts in numerous fields. A very educational experience.

If you couldn’t attend, here are some highlights.

JetBlue on Twitter Drinking From the Fire Hose
Jenny Dervin, VP of Corporate Communications, called customer service on Twitter drinking from the fire hose.She gave a recent example of how JetBlue uses Twitter to handle complaints. A passenger had a carry-on bag that held a folding bicycle. The ticket agent ignored the fact that the bag was the proper size and weight for carry-on, and charged the passenger JetBlue’s standard bike fee — meant for bikes that take up valuable space in the cargo hold. Unsurprisingly, the passenger complained about the fee on social media and got his Oregon-based bike club to join in. Dervin’s team saw the problem on Twitter and issued a refund within 24 hours. Now the entire bike club are JetBlue fans.

The Lesson: Dervin put it best: A service failure is an opportunity to build loyalty — if it’s done well.When a customer has a problem, “you get credit for publicly saying We agree with you and we will look into this.’”

Fun fact: JetBlue has 15-20 people monitoring Twitter and other social media channels using CoTweet; six are on duty at any given time.

MultiVu Brands As Storytellers
Tom Miale, Director of Multimedia Engagement at MultiVu, said that the #1 issue at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive was that brands must become storytellers to be compelling to customers. As an example, Miale presented the Facebook Page for Captain Morgan. The company uses the Timeline feature to post events all the way back to 1635, the real Morgan’s birthdate. In the 1800s section of the Timeline, you’ll find photos of Morgan’s crew, accompanied by jokes and stories in the captain’s sly tone. This is a fun and innovative way to take full advantage of the Timeline feature by creating stories that involve customers and keep them on your Facebook Page.

The Lesson: Not every brand has the adventurous history of a pirate. But you can still say a lot about your company and your product, from your humble beginnings to the challenges you’ve overcome. Your employees undoubtedly have interesting stories; ask to share them to help create a personal, emotional connection to customers. 

Fun Fact: Miale told us that, in 1965, three 60-second commercial spots could reach 80% of American adults. Today, youd need 117 commercials to accomplish that feat.

Tasti D-Lite Swirls Around Foursqaure
BJ Emerson, Vice President of Technology for Tasti D-Lite, may have been the hit of the conference — and not just because he was giving out coupons. He showed how the frozen-treat company allows customers to connect their store TreatCards to Fourquare. When the clerk swipes the card, the customer is automatically checked in on Foursquare (which gets posted on Twitter and Facebook if the customer chooses). Emerson cautioned brands to “go beyond the mechanics and look at the dynamics. He cited an example of a Tasti cashier who knew to push the “Foursquare discount” button on the register, but didn’t know what the customer meant when she said “I’m actually the Mayor.” Our social media tools seem straightforward, but you have to make sure you train your staff how to use them in face-to-face situations with customers.

The Lesson: Emerson had the most retweeted line of the conference: Referring to the fact that brands now know where their customers are in real time, thanks to Foursquare and Twitter: “We used to call it stalking; now we call it location-based marketing.” Luckily, most brands are using that knowledge for good, by giving instant discounts and prizes.

Fun Fact: Emerson recommended creating a Google Alert for online mentions of your brand. Make that alert an RSS feed and send the feed to Outlook. That way, you have an offline archive of all your mentions and can search back through years. It’s more efficient than combing through the archives on Twitter or its various applications.

This was only a small part of the great information given by knowledgeable speakers. Thanks to BDI’s Sponsorship Event Coordinator Jennifer Brous, Director of Events Maria Feola-Magro, and CEO Steve Etzler for another informative conference.

What’s Foursquare Really For?

The best social sites have clearly stated goals. Facebook is for connecting with friends. Twitter is for live updates. LinkedIn is for business networking.

So what is Foursquare? The smartphone app allows you to “check in” to a location, with the option of adding a comment and/or sharing the update on Facebook and Twitter. You can leave a “tip” at your location, so other users will see “Be sure to try the nachos!” when they check in at the same restaurant. 

You get points and badges for various “achievements,” whether it’s visiting five different Italian restaurants or traveling to different states. You can compete with your friends for the most achievements. Whoever checks in the most at a location, whether it’s a park or a store or the Rose Bowl, becomes the “Mayor,” with their photo on the location’s main page.

But what’s it all for? The points have no value. You don’t need a third party to announce your location on Facebook and Twitter. The tips aren’t moderated, leading to weird or unhelpful comments, and old tips can become outdated. When you check in at a museum or gallery, for example, you’ll see many posts about exhibits that are long gone. 

One of the best uses for the service was for businesses to offer discounts to anyone who checked, or to the Mayor. Dozens of Houlihan’s franchises give a free order of fries for every check-in, while the current Mayor receives 10% off all food items. This strategy could lead to consumers actually competing over who visits an establishment the most — a dream of any store owner. But few companies have followed Houlihan’s lead.

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley recently spoke to VentureBeat about the service’s “identity crisis.” He said Foursquare is “most interested in taking the data from check-ins to model what’s happening in the real world, and help people find new things.” He pointed to Radar, an app now available on phones running iOS5, which alerts you when your friends are nearby or when you’re near a venue you’ve told Foursquare you want to visit.

I’ll be the first to say that Facebook and Twitter can’t match that. But just a few weeks later, Foursquare also announced that it was adding menus to 250,000 restaurant listings. Even Yelp and Urbanspoon don’t offer that feature. But how is it social? How do recommendations and menus align with points, badges, and tips? How will any of these lead to more businesses offering discounts to attract new customers?

It seems that Foursquare has a lot of good ideas but isn’t sure which direction take. If Zagat, now owned by Google, adds menus to its app, it could quickly overtake Foursquare’s new feature. Facebook’s “Add a location to this post” option now threatens Foursquare on another flank. And I travel all over New York City and hardly ever see a Foursquare sticker on a store window or the logo on the menu.

I hope Crowley can find a clear path for Foursquare. After all, it’s a great concept. But its time is running out.

Does Mobile Gaming Increase Sales?

The recent Business Development Institute conference that Jason attended featured a number of presentations about mobile gaming. With mobile gaming sales reaching $5.6 billion in 2010, everyone agrees that mobile games are fun, popular, and profitable. However, I think there’s still one question that remains unanswered: Do mobile games actually increase sales?


In 2010, Volkswagen unveiled a driving game called Real Racing GTI to promote their new car. It was “the first time someone launched a car on mobile,” according to Daniel Rosen, the head of AKQA Mobile. The game was downloaded over 6 million times and was the #1 free app in 36 countries. But did it move the needle? AKQA reports that Real Racing GTI led to “over 80% increase in sales leads, test drives and quote requests.” They, and Volkswagen, attributed more than 200 car sales to the campaign.


So there’s one example of mobile gaming increasing sales; here’s another. Jason wrote about RadioShack’s Holiday Hero campaign, in which players could unlock a 20% discount by checking in on Foursquare at locations connected to superheroes, such as a gym. The campaign was backed by funny commercials and videos of holiday shoppers in capes and tights. When the promotion was over, RadioShack found that Foursquare users spent 350% more than the average RadioShack customer during the Christmas season.


Mobile gaming can work for cars and consumer electronics. How about shoes? Fresh Networks ran a Foursquare campaign in London for Jimmy Choo, called the Trainer Hunt. Foursquare allowed a pair of Jimmy Choo trainer shoes to check in at trendy spots around the city. Any Foursquare user who checked in at the same location before the trainers left received a pair of shoes in any style or size. The mobile game became a real-time treasure hunt. The result? During the campaign, daily trainer sales increased 33%.

Speaking of treasure hunts, mobile game maker SCVNGR has achieved success with its Diamond Dashes, citywide quests for a diamond engagement ring. SCVNGR has brought this technology to communities in North Carolina, Montana, and Philadelphia, among others. The marketing company claims that its fun, romantic searches brought “positive TV, print, radio, internet and word of mouth attention” to its retail partners. But what about sales? SCVNGR’s case study provides impressive numbers in Facebook Likes and website traffic, but is silent on financial matters. Still, I bet that all that news coverage of laughing couples chasing clues and solving puzzles was probably worth thousands of dollars in advertising.

After all this research, I’m prepared to say that mobile gaming can, in fact, increase sales. From sports cars to RC cards, and from footwear to diamonds, a number of different brands (and ad agencies) have found measurable success with mobile games. My agency is excited about this technology and working on several mobile projects for different clients. If you want to learn more, or share your own mobile gaming story, then post a comment, tweet us @BRANDEMiX, or write on our Facebook wall.

Getting Socially Mobile at BDI

As Director of Interactive Branding at BRANDEMiX, I attended the Mobile Social Communications 2011 conference, presented by the Business Development Institute. This fascinating event featured both case studies and roundtable discussions about how brands are achieving their business goals by using mobile social strategies and new mobile platforms in their marketing campaigns.

For those who couldn’t make it, I’ll recap the highlights. There were some very cool insights, important lessons, and fun facts that I’d like to pass along.


Corcoran and Foursquare: Check Out A Neighborhood Before You Move In

Matthew Shadbolt from the Corcoran Group started things off.  His real estate company’s goal: going “beyond the four walls” in providing apartment information. Since the most important part of real estate is location, Corcoran partnered with Foursquare to provide New York City neighborhood tips, submitted by residents, to help homebuyers determine if a particular area was right for them. This would let homebuyers “shop like a local, find hidden dining gems for restaurants, [and] seek out local deals and coupons.” Shadbolt made clear that this information was aimed not at tourists but at residents and newcomers. Many real estate sites show you what it’s like to live in a particular house; Corcoran now shows you what it’s like when you step outside.

The lesson: Foursquare wasn’t designed with real estate in mind, but Corcoran saw the potential in combining local reviews and apartment shopping. I’m sure that a number of real estate companies, especially in New York, will follow Corcoran’s lead.

Fun fact: According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of people start their home search online, “months before speaking to an agent.”


American Express OPEN: Promoting Small Business Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Laura Fink from American Express OPEN showed us how the company is reaching out to small businesses. AmEx created Small Business Saturday, a movement to make the Saturday after Thanksgiving a day of patronizing local, brick-and-mortar businesses. Fink pointed out that Black Friday is for the big box retailers, and Cyber Monday is for online stores, but no one is championing the mom-and-pop shops, which are especially vulnerable in this economy. SBS was promoted through a website and Facebook Page. The first Small Business Saturday, last year, brought a significant increase in sales to small businesses, and American Express is hoping to keep the momentum this year. It’s a great idea—and how many corporations have created a national holiday?

The lesson: Since any American Express cardmember who spends at least $25 on Small Business Saturday also earns a $25 statement credit, the card company is backing up its message with actual savings. American Express, consumers, and small business owners all win.

Fun fact: 41 elected officials, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, declared November 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday.


Foursquare and RadioShack: Rewarding Users For Checking In Somewhere Else

Not surprisingly, Foursquare came up frequently at this conference on mobile social media. Here, Eric Freidman talked about RadioShack’s Holiday Hero campaign during Christmas 2010. A month before the big day, users could earn the badge by checking in at two “Holiday Hotspots”: gyms (where superheroes stay fit), coffee shops (where they recharge), and transit locations (“where they can zoom to unknown destinations”). Anyone who unlocked the Holiday Hero badge received 20% off their RadioShack purchase. This marked the first time a retailer had issued a badge that led to a store discount. RadioShack has embraced Foursquare for some time: mayors of individual RadioShack stores receive a 20% discount, while just checking in gets users a discount of 10%.

The lesson: I think this is a perfect example of “gamification,” using game-design techniques to engage consumers. Lots of businesses offer discounts for users who check in, but RadioShack rewarded users for checking in to places other than RadioShack. This shows just how compelling game mechanics can be.

Fun fact: During the Holiday Hero promotion, Foursquare users spent 350% more at RadioShack than the average customer, making the campaign was a heroic success.

I’ll have to save the other informative speakers for another post. Thanks to the Business Development Institute’s Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Brous, Director of Events Maria Feola-Magro, and CEO Steve Etzler for a great event.