Tag Archives: video

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

As 2012 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from telling your brand story to embracing new technologies to engaging your employees. I hope these articles will help you become an employer of choice and attract top talent — and avoid some of the biggest social media mistakes. 

Here are the BrandeBlog’s six most-read posts of 2013.

Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story\
One of the biggest recruiting trends of 2014 is employer branding: the promise your company makes to its employees. And one of the biggest trends in marketing is brand storytelling: the use of content and experiences to bring your brand to life. Combining these trends can bring a powerful presence to your talent acquisition. Here’s how to do it.

How to Become an Employer of Choice
A recent Gallup study found that only 47% of American workers are completely satisfied with their jobs. A MarketTools study found that 21% of employees had applied to another job in the past six months. Clearly, many employees are ready to look elsewhere for the next step in their careers. To attract the best of these workers — and make your current employees stay with you, follow these steps to become an employer of choice. 

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business with Community Involvement
For any small business to succeed, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed. Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace.

One question that gets asked in every employer branding workshop we hold is, “Where does our employer brand fit with our corporate brand?” Some companies create an employer brand slogan that lives only within recruiting or HR. That’s often against best practice, as it has no bearing on a true employer value proposition. A strong EVP is based on the unique elements of your culture and workplace, resonates with the people you would like more of, and integrates with the same value proposition to your consumer base. Integrating the two brands isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial to success.


Social Media PR Disasters: Applebee’s Wild Night

If it’s true that you can learn more from failure than from success, then there’s a lot to learn from Applebee’s mysterious midnight meltdown. After the restaurant chain’s controversial firing of a waitress, critics took to Applebee’s Facebook page to complain. In the early hours of Saturday, February 2, someone from Applebee’s tried to fight back. What happened next is a perfect example of what not to do in a PR crisis.

Recruiting with Google Glass
Google’s new wearable technology may change recruiting forever. Why? Because, as the economy improves and the competition for talent increases, Google Glass will allow organizations to show a job listing and a corporate culture instead of telling. From talent acquisition to employer branding, here’s how this amazing visual device can be used to engage job-seekers in several new and exciting ways.

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! 

Want to be more popular to job-seekers, employees, and customer? Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2014.


Thanks for reading and happy holidays.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: More Interest in Pinterest

Is your brand ready to join Pinterest? If so, here are some beginner’s tips from Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Hack Me If You Can




Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains what Jeep and Burger King did right — and wrong — during and after their Twitter hacks.

Bonus Reel: Applebee’s Biggest PR Mistake

Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg reveals Applebee’s biggest mistake of its crazy Facebook night.

Are Twitter and Vine Shrinking Our Attention Spans?

Since the beginning, Twitter users, including me, have at times been stymied and frustrated by Twitter’s seemingly arbitrary character limit, which redefined social media. Now Twitter aims to shift the paradigm for visual sharing as well with Vine, an app for sharing six-second videos. Is it the perfect balance between Instagram’s single images and YouTube’s long videos? Is it the best of both sites? The worst?

For me, the bigger question is: How much shorter can our content get?

Twitter’s 140-character limit has driven all its users, from high school students to the New York Times, to get creative when communicating. And if you want to encourage retweets, the number should be closer to 115, since some Twitter applications add your handle to the retweet (Twitter itself does not).

But it doesn’t end with Twitter. Social Media Today published an analysis that Facebook posts of 70 characters or less get the most likes and comments; posts from 71 to 140 characters do less well; and the number of likes drops tremendously when posts are more than 140 characters. The same number as a tweet – coincidence?

courtesy of Track Social and Social Media Today

courtesy of Track Social and Social Media Today

The visual social site Pinterest virtually does away with words altogether. Though Pinterest allows 500 characters for descriptions, many “pins” lack any descriptions, and some even lack titles. Over on YouTube, a study by Pew found that 29% of the most popular videos were a minute or less in length.

The trend goes beyond social media. Numerous sources state that the average length of a text message is 160 characters, which makes room for three or four words more than Twitter does. But despite the extra letters, texting brought us abbreviations like “c u l8r” and “how r u?” Those “words” have found their way into lots of online content – though not blog posts, thankfully. Yet.

Into this race to the shortest content comes Vine, with its limit of six seconds. While this allows for stop-motion animation, since users can open and close the “shutter” as much as they want, it doesn’t allow for any editing, sound effects, graphics, or titles. The videos play in a loop, much like GIFs from the slow-modem 90s and which have themselves enjoyed a recent renaissance.

Unlike GIFs, Vine videos include sound. If the user doesn’t speak, the viewer ends up hearing breathing or background noise, usually a TV. With no music or titles, many videos show a single slice of life and create a sort of Zen experience, hypnotizing you as they automatically play over and over. Like the microphone, the replay feature can’t be shut off.

People’s natural instinct is to use any new platform to tell stories. Ad agencies will use it to sell brands. There has even been some, shall we say, erotica uploaded to Vine. But how much story, or branding, or even pornography can be packed into just six seconds?

Vine screen shot

Years ago, many people bemoaned the MTV generation, which supposedly shortened the attention spans of Generation X’ers and affected everything from movie plots to video gameplay. The internet was the next step in that process, making text, photos, and videos available almost instantly. Then mobile technology allowed us to consume content while waiting in line or sitting on a plane. Twitter took us to the next level and now they’re taking us to another one. Are there any levels left?

It’s possible that Vine will be a failure, or a novelty, and most of us will stick with photos or “normal” videos. But if it’s a huge hit, and our attention spans shrink again, then I have to wonder, how much will be left?

Bonus Reel: How to Ruin Your Employee Referral Program

A follow-up to our popular article about employee referral programs

Why I Love the Wendy’s “Hot Drinks” Video

As a specialist in employer branding and HR communications, I’m always looking for hiring, onboarding, and training samples and ideas. Here’s one I recently came across. It’s a training video, produced by Wendy’s, instructing employees on how to prepare hot beverages. The video seems to have been produced in the late 80s or early 90s.

Here’s why I love it:

It’s actually informative.
I work just a block away from the Wendy’s on Fifth Avenue but rarely have a reason to go inside. Watching the video, however, I learned that Wendy’s sells not just coffee and decaf but also hot tea and cocoa. I honestly had no idea that I could get hot chocolate at Wendy’s. And who wouldn’t want their drink served with a “juicy slice” of lemon?

It wasn’t posted by Wendy’s.
At least, as far as I can tell. The video is posted on a personal YouTube account with no affiliation to the restaurant. The video is so entertaining (or so kitschy) that someone decided to post it for the world to see – and more than 225,000 people have viewed it. Rather than trumpeting this video to the public, Wendy’s was simply trying to educate and amuse their employees; the fact that it’s going viral without their help makes its success completely authentic.

It didn’t have to be fun.
The training video for preparing four hot drinks could have been straightforward. A smiling Wendy’s employee could have conveyed the information in two minutes, at little cost. But Wendy’s took this video to a whole new level, writing an original song, adding effects, and turning a simple one-shot setup into a production with multiple cuts and angles. I’m sure that employees watching the video would go from smiling to laughing to tapping their feet. Even if they’re laughing for the wrong reasons, they’d at least know they’re joining a company that values fun.

This video is proof that it’s possible to be cheesy, fun, and informative all at the same time.

The next time you’re about to create training materials, remember “Hot Drinks” and ask yourself: Is this as fun as it could be? Will it keep the employees’ attention? And if an employee posts it online – a real possibility in the digital age – how will our brand look?

If you have training or onboarding content this compelling and engaging, send it my way. If you don’t, let’s get together

Why Zappos is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my speaking engagements and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” Past winners include State Farm and PepsiCo

Today I’d like to recognize a company that’s taken a fantastic brand and brilliantly expanded it into the social space: Zappos.
I’ve written about my love for Tony Hseih’s online shoe company before, but now it gives me great honor to truly call it a Superstar.

With more than 2,600 YouTube subscribers, 260,000 Facebook Likes, and almost 2.6 million Twitter followers (across seven accounts), Zappos has definitely made a social media splash. But lots of footwear and apparel companies appeal to young social media users. How does Zappos stand out? Here are a few reasons.

Website Videos – Instant, Honest, and Short
Zappos created a team of ten employees to make videos about every single one of its shoes. The videos are done on-site and are unscripted. Since starting the program in 2009, these employees have now created around 100,000 videos. They’re all under a minute, so that customers don’t get bored. Even better? Each video has three prominent sharing options – Twitter, Facebook, and HTML code for bloggers. The videos allow Zappos employees to share their love of the product and encourage customers to share their love on social media.

Social Recruiting, Too
Zappos offers a YouTube channel just for recruiting, with 33 videos. The content ranges from employee interviews to a look at the Zappos HQ fitness center to advice on how to dress for your job interview. This is a fantastic resource for job-seekers, with each video showcasing the spirit of fun and customer service that is the foundation of the Zappos brand. On Twitter, ZapposInsights and Inside_Zappos both offer a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s unique culture, with lots of interaction with followers.

Their Own Personal Pinterest
The Zappos website has a unique feature that really makes it a superstar. It’s called the TweetWall; a collection of tweets from anyone who has linked to a Zappos product. It’s a form of crowdsourcing, where customers can see what styles have the most buzz. And instead of encouraging fans to tweet about the company, Zappos is rewarding fans for already doing it. Fans know this, and may tweet about Zappos just get a spot on the coveted wall.


Through YouTube, multiple Twitter profiles, employee videos, and the TweetWall, Zappos has created a virtuous circle: fans celebrate the brand because the brand recognizes the fans who celebrate it.


For sharing videos, tweets, and photos with their fans, and allowing their fans to share content in return, I name Zappos a SoMe Superstar!

Do you know of a brand that deserves superstar status? Drop me a line.

Tips for Creating Great Corporate Videos, Part 1

Brandemix has been working on a lot of video projects recently. I see the same challenges whether the client is a manufacturing giant or a local nonprofit, whether the video is for employees or the general public. Here’s a brief list of hints and tips to make sure your video shoot goes as smoothly as possible.

Lights: Hot Set
Unless you’re shooting outdoors, you’re going to need lighting. Fluorescent office bulbs bleach everyone out, while house fixtures and lamps cast strange shadows. A good video requires at least two lights: a “key” to light the performer and a “fill” to fill in the shadows created by the key.

The lights get hot, so bring gloves – and be ready with makeup powder and towels for the performers sweating under in the heat. In a pinch, reflectors can bounce the nearest light onto a performer’s face. You can even use your car’s sun shield! Rental budget: $75

image courtesy of CSI Rentals


Sound: Hearing is Believing
Without a doubt, the number one indicator of amateur video is poor sound. All too often, the microphone attached to your camera (or phone) isn’t sufficient. When you listen to the footage weeks later, suddenly you can hear the air conditioning, or traffic outside, or people down the hall talking. There are two ways to avoid this problem:

– A boom pole allows a crew member to hold the microphone above the performer. This boom operator wears headphones to monitor the sound of every take. They move and angle the mic so it’s always facing the right direction. This option requires an extra person on your set, and holding the boom can be tiring if the shoot goes long.

– Lavalier or lapel microphones clip to the performer’s clothes. No one has to hold a piece of equipment all day and the mic is always near the performer’s mouth. But the mic sometimes picks up the sound of clothes rustling, so you have to be careful where you place it. Also, lavaliers run on batteries, so have plenty of replacements handy; sometimes the batteries quit halfway through a take.

Rental budget: $50

Music: Don’t Skimp or Steal
Movie scores have shown that effective music can heighten the mood and create an emotional response from an audience. Just because music is one of the last elements you’ll add to your video, don’t leave it until the last minute. Take the time to search for the right piece that supports your message and tone.

Also, don’t steal music for your video. If you post it on YouTube, you may find the soundtrack removed or the entire video taken down. Affordable, royalty-free compositions can be found at Music BakeryStockMusic.comGetty, or even from individual composersMusic budget: $200

 A small investment and a willing, talented team can produce a professional-looking video in a problem-free environment. 

Of course, for larger-scale productions, call Brandemix; we’d be happy to help.

Five Reasons Why Starbucks’ Cup Magic Is Truly Magical

You may have read about “Cup Magic,” Starbucks’ augmented reality holiday promotion, but if not, here’s the scoop.

Caffeine lovers are encouraged to download a free app, buy a cup of coffee, and point their smartphone at the character on the cup. Through the magic of augmented reality, the characters come to life, acting out holiday scenes such as sledding and ice skating.


Here’s why BRANDEMiX believes augmented reality will be a major advertising trend for 2012:

  • •It’s social. The Starbucks app easily allows you to share the animations through either Facebook or email. So even people who don’t know about the promotion, or even consciously ignore Starbucks advertising, may find a fun little holiday video in their Facebook feed. Starbucks is letting customers do its marketing.
  • It’s great for business. Since each Starbucks cup features only one character, customers must buy at least five cups of coffee to see them all. Then again, even non-drinkers can get into the fun, as 47 Starbucks products are involved in the promotion.
  • •It’s great for everyone. Let’s face it, Starbucks doesn’t offer many items for little ones; many locations sell biscottis instead of cookies. With this new promotion, anyone of any age can enjoy the experience. In fact, since the videos have no dialogue, you don’t even have to speak English.
  • •It creates urgency. Assuming the promotion runs through New Year’s Day, that means customers have 47 days to experience it. A short timeline encourages consumers to visit their Starbucks as soon as possible (though some of us wouldn’t last 47 hours without our Frappucino). Compare this to summer promotions, where consumers sometimes have more than 125 days to participate. More time means less urgency.
  • •It’s fun. There are no coupons, discounts, or special offers associated with the campaign. It doesn’t even cost anything to participate, since the app is free and you can activate videos on products that are just sitting on the shelves. Keeping money out of the equation reinforces the idea that the promotion is for fun and for sharing with friends, a perfect theme for the holidays.

Photo by Liam Gladdy

Starbucks is proving to be a leader in the mobile space. The company’s payment app, which launched in January, has already been used in more than 20 million transactions.  Its QR codes give customers an “evolved shopping experience,” letting them hear music from the region where Starbucks coffee is grown or read reviews from coffee experts.  Cup Magic looks like it will continue Starbucks’ exploration of mobile technology. What’s next?

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.