Seamlessly Integrating Personable Ad Copy

Seamlessly Integrating Personable Ad Copy

I am a man of many talents, but full disclosure, copywriting isn’t one of them.

Having acknowledged that shortcoming, you can understand why when I get energized when I see a great ad in public. On a recent walk down Broadway I passed a bus shelter with a JCDecaux rotating display piece featuring an ad from Seamless, a website offering on demand food delivery.

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Seamless bus shelter ad by BBH New York

Something about this ad caught my eye. Was it the bright red background contrasting the grey city street behind it? Nope. Was it the bold font covering 60% of the space? Negative. Was it the company’s logo featured on the bottom of the display? Not at all.

It was the last three words of the four-word copy. I immediately identified with the statement, “is so Jersey”. As New Yorkers, we inherently think that we are superior to all others. From our amazing bagels to our handspun pizzas, we think we know what’s best. This is especially true when it comes to the friendly rivalry with our neighbors across the Hudson. We love our neighbors who travel through tunnels and over bridges to be here with us, but we can all agree that the different cultures and people make each state unique.

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The Hudson River separates New York from New Jersey

Those three words are a great example of how a friendly rivalry can be incorporated into ad copy so that viewers immediately identify with the piece. Most marketers and advertisers struggle to come up with creative ideas with minimal amount of text to create the maximum amount of impact that resonates with the target market.

The idea of cooking your own food on that side of the river means that you cannot enjoy the restaurants on this side of the river available to New Yorkers. New York’s easily accessible food delivery culture makes it just as easy to order in from local eateries, as it is to take the time to go shopping and cook a meal for your self at home.

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As someone who loves eating at restaurants, this ad hit the nail on the head by targeting my personal psychographics. These strings of thought being that; I dislike eating in, and that I don’t want to be considered a New Jerseyite (sorry guys, our pizza and bagels are better).

The copy of this ad is perfect for a New York street corner. It seamlessly (pun intended) identifies with the friendly rivalry New Yorkers have with Jersey, and creates a call to action that will drive future business. The physical placement near the uptown one train strategically targets tired workers heading home from work, who like myself might not want to spend valuable time shopping and cooking after a long day at the office. Bravo, BBH New York.

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.

Amtrak: Train Yourself To Deal With Millennial Service Needs

Amtrak: Train Yourself To Deal With Millennial Service Needs

Growing millennial service demands bring Amtrak to a spending junction: invest in their capital infrastructure, or focus on service amenities to better align with the millennial demographics.

On several recent trips on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train, it became apparent that while Amtrak has made great strides towards increasing its appeal, the company has yet to reposition itself for the next generation of travelers who will soon be deciding if it’s worth saving the few extra bucks by taking the train over faster options like air travel. Here are 4 ways Amtrak can better align its service delivery to delight and further attract millennial riders:

Better Food and Beverage Service

Millennials know what they want. It’s safe to say that microwaved cheeseburgers aren’t high on their list. Amtrak should take note of our friends across the pond. The Spanish national train company, Renfe, offers fresh baked breads, pastries, and sandwiches, including the famed jamon serano.

A sad microwaved cheeseburger from Amtrak.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Lynch/Thrillist

Better Pricing

Often the Amtrak routes will be priced higher than airfares along the same routes. Amtrak has been known to be a price discriminator that nearly doubles or triples fare prices as the trip date comes closer. The high variability of prices and the uncertain amount of time needed to book a trip at the optimal price often leaves millennials searching for a less expensive option.

Enhanced WIFI

While the Northeast Corridor offers select WIFI service on many trains that travel along this route, not all of the train origination points offer WIFI service. Notably, trains that originate in Vermont, dubbed the Vermonter line, don’t offer WIFI options in the train cars. With airlines offering connectivity at 30,000 feet, it is hard to understand why Amtrak hasn’t yet equipped all of the cars with WIFI options. If the company fails to invest in its network offerings, many younger travelers may choose to fly, enjoying entertainment options such as JetBlue’s DirecTV offering.

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More Loyalty Perks

Amtrak’s loyalty program, Amtrak Guest Rewards  offers three unique tiers that require yearly qualification points. At major stations, none of these tier levels allow early boarding, which can be a bit of a hassle at the major hubs. Enhancing how the carrier identifies and treats its loyal guests will increase customer satisfaction and ease of travel. Much like purchasing extra leg-room on an airline, travelers appreciate the little things.

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Millennials are known to marketers as expecting a higher service standard without having to pay for the upgrade. The younger generations, fueled by the increase in mobile technology, has created new demands and service requests surrounding travel.

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My Two Cents: I would go as far as to guess that Gen Y’s would choose a slightly longer travel time in favor of increased WIFI and connectivity options onboard trains. It is now up to Amtrak, as well as other transportation giants to determine how they will focus their spending when upgrading their infrastructure. Whether this upgrade be to include more service options to meet customer demands, or to increase infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels to ensure business growth.

While these suggestions aren’t going to make or break Amtrak’s future success, they would further entice millennials to fall back in love with rail travel. With airfare cutting the travel time between some points by a third, there is heavy competition in the travel industry to capture the business of the Gen Y’s. Service delivery is important for all industries, including ones that are semi private (like Amtrak) and competing with other modes of transportation seeing heavy investment in en-route entertainment technology.

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.

When’s The Last Time You Saw The Government Swear?

When’s The Last Time You Saw The Government Swear?

When charged with ensuring millennials listen to the PSA’s plastered on the ceilings of subway cars, what is the easiest way to catch their attention? Swear.

“Outrageous”, “Disgusting”, “Immoral”. These are all words used by a Facebook user to describe a hoax subway overhead ad supposedly by the MTA. My description of the pretend campaign? Pure Genius.

With outrage and controversy growing over the latest photoshop stunt featured below, it is important to step back from the vernacular used and understand the context and meaning of the message.

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“Don’t Be A Fuck Boy”

The term fuck boy, recently coined by millennials, is defined in the Urban Dictionary as “the type of guy who does shit that generally pisses the population of the earth off all the time”. In short, this is a person with loose moral character and having little regard for the respect and space of others.

Think back to your last subway ride. Did you encounter someone who was a “pole hog” or “man-spreading”? Chances are you did. The younger generation in New York City is known for disrespecting the space of others on subway cars and furthermore, known for not giving up a seat for the elderly or those who require it. With changing personalities comes a false sense of entitlement. Listen to any Gen X’er and you will hear praise of the good ‘ole days when gentlemen would give up their seat for a lady. There is a reason you hear these remarks more frequently in 2016. Millennials hold a sense of entitlement, arguing that they shouldn’t have to give up a seat, or move out of someone’s way because they paid for that spot, or more commonly “they have a right to be there”.

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This fake ad, while vulgar, speaks to the target market of the campaign in terms they understand. By using the vernacular in the ad, the MTA (or mysterious photoshopper) is able to identify with the target market by referencing how their actions can be construed with the negative connotations that follow the moniker “fuck boy”. It is also comedic to note that the red figure in the picture has a white triangle below its neck. This is meant to visually show the shirt is a v-neck cut, a popular shirt style of millennials who will further successfully identify with the ad’s copy.

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V-Necks Are A Popular New Shirt Cut

When I think of a great ad campaign, it is one that speaks directly to the target while evoking an emotional response. This fake PSA’s message is loud and clear (to its target), “Millennials, respect the space of others”. While older generations may take offense to the language used in the copy, they should look at the benefits of using such a term to speak to those who need to heed the message the most in a way they will. After reading that ad, most millennials will become aware of their selfish actions, and yield extra space for others to hold onto the pole, or grab an open seat.

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.

At The Peak of Marketing Automation, A Thank You Note Won My Business

At The Peak of Marketing Automation, A Thank You Note Won My Business

As I a college student, I can often be described as the two dreaded “b’s”: busy and broke.

With all of the demands placed on us students from both their educational and financial responsibilities, it is sometimes hard to justify spending little, if any money on enhancing our style and standard of living. Having taken a trip to Europe recently, I was reminded that life is worth enjoying, whether it is drinking a handcrafted cocktail, having a nice shave in the comfort of your own home, or showing up to the party looking as dapper as possible.

When I saw an ad on social media for Bespoke Post, I was immediately drawn by their approach of monthly-curated box shipments that enhance one aspect of a man’s daily style or routine one month at a time. To top it off, they are one of the only companies in the space that allow you to skip that month’s selection if you don’t think it fits your personality, or to choose another package that better fits your needs, all for $45.

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A few of Bespoke Post’s Monthly Box Selections

Whoa. Did the hungry college student who enjoys selecting the chicken over beef flavored ramen noodle packets just say that he was drawn to a monthly box subscription totaling over $500 annually? You betchya.

Was it the persistent social media remarketing, the nurture emails, or the easily identifiable content that reassured me that I made the right decision in enhancing my style? No, quite frankly it was none of that. Rather, it was a long forgotten marketing communication tool that stopped me from canceling my membership: a handwritten thank you note.

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Today, over 79% of top-performing company websites use some sort of marketing automation software to capture customer data, and nurture potential buyers into customers. While Bespoke Post employs these tools in their arsenal, they also align their communication channels seamlessly with their brand using the very underappreciated thank you note.

This handwritten note arrived in my mailbox shortly after my first monthly box subscription arrived, and immediately brought back the nostalgia of my grandfather following up his tri-annual visits with a handwritten thank you note.

The class and eloquence that Bespoke Post portrays in their brand’s product offering is represented across their delight phase of the buyer purchase cycle, and seamlessly integrated into their customer communications program. They could have easily chosen to follow up my box receipt with a stock thank you email; instead their handwritten thank you note sealed the metaphorical deal in justifying my monthly box subscription.

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It is easy for digital marketers to assume that sending a follow up email is “enough” after a sale, but when you curate high class products and accessories, is there any other way to better deliver your brand promise and message to the customer?

Marketers: take note. Bespoke Post is a prime example of a company that expertly integrated their USP and brand promise into their marketing communication mix. This ensures customer retention (for me at least) via an extension of their style into their post conversion communication strategy.

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor compensated for this blog post.

Loyalty Program Devaluation Lessens Brand Loyalty

Loyalty Program Devaluation Lessens Brand Loyalty

As a marketer obsessed with brands, it is easy to understand why I fell in love with loyalty programs at such a young age. I remember the first time my mother introduced me to Starbucks, a worldwide purveyor of coffee and pioneer of the growing American coffee shop culture. My mother, a self proclaimed coffee junkie, refuses to “Get her fix” from anywhere besides the green mermaid. In early 2008, her coffee addiction awarded her a Starbucks Gold Card, a significant milestone given to the most loyal of customers. Back in 2008, I wasn’t aware of this significance for loyal customers who spent well over Starbucks’ expected customer life amount in a matter of months. When paying with her brand new gold card, I was amazed that a huge company, with thousands of locations, would recognize my mother for being such a loyal customer.loyalty_infographic1As of late, it seems that the Starbucks Gold Tier rewards program has lost its way. Pre-April 12th 2016, earning “Gold” status required 30 visits within one calendar year, regardless of dollar amount spent. The new Starbucks rewards program modeled the one utilized by Dunkin Donuts. Rather than include their own loyalty model with the new offering, Starbucks wiped away the frequency rewards in favor of the dollar-spent model. Essentially, anyone who spends $62.50 or more will instantly be awarded the perks of Gold status regardless of how long you’ve been a loyal customer.screen-shot-2016-03-07-at-8-20-46-pm

Under the old rewards program, anyone who made 30 purchases in a calendar year was awarded gold status. This devaluation caused a large uproar from current gold members who threatened to frequent Dunkin Donuts in favor of a brand that maintains their rewards status quo. With some critics of the program saying Starbuck’s previous rewards program was overvalued since the start, this devaluation, essentially returning it to an industry standard valuation, wasn’t much of a change. While the program now rewards customers for dollars spent, there is a lingering feeling of distrust between the ex elite and the coffee giant.images-1.pngTaking advantage of the strife felt by Starbucks gold members, Dunkin Donuts fired right back. Dunkin sought to capitalize on its own successful loyalty program to capture disgruntled customer’s business through clever social media campaigns. It worked.images.pngThe rise of loyalty programs has become both a blessing and a curse. Often, those customers in the higher echelons of loyalty programs feel a larger sense of entitlement. This feeling of entitlement, speaking in terms of bringing a rewards program valuation back to industry standards from an inflated high, offended long time clients who enjoyed their exclusive-elite status. In a time when one person’s dollar is worth the same as the next, it is up to large brands to create loyalty programs for their frequent visitors and generate demand for their products. With customer acquisition costs skyrocketing, companies such as Starbucks can’t afford to lose market share simply because the company overvalued its rewards program and only now decided to make such a drastic devaluation. A devaluation intended to increase brand engagement and reach can backfire on those who supported the initial rewards program, propelling them to choose to frequent competitors who have listened to the call of the consumer. The importance of creating and retaining a higher-level loyalty program for members that will be sustainable throughout the growth of the business is becoming more and more important in today’s customer centric world.images.jpeg

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.

 

Elevator Pitches Are Dead. Here’s why:

Elevator Pitches Are Dead. Here’s why:

The last time I stepped onto an elevator in a corporate office, I wasn’t asked to explain my life, my accomplishments or my aspirations in under sixty seconds by an executive as we rode up to our respective floors. Instead, we both stepped into the car and immediately withdrew our phones from our pockets, beginning the ritual of self- isolation by checking email, social media notifications, and Yelping for the hottest dinner spot that night. Striking up a conversation with the person standing next to you has become a thing of the past. We now choose to avoid communication with others in favor of falling into the fallacy of a digital comfort zone that exists inside of our cell phones.

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It is time for millennials to modernize their skill set. Prospective hires must adapt to changing market trends and capitalize on the digital real estate that encompasses every possible touch point that a hiring team will have with your online personal brand. You are more likely to have to describe yourself in under 156 characters rather than a 60 second pitch.

Today, striking up a conversation with those around you seems like it belongs in the graveyard of social interaction. So how can millennial job seekers convey their personal brand in this current state? Chances are, before you step into that elevator delivering you to your first job interview, an HR staffer has already conducted a basic Google search to ensure that the accolades on your resume are valid and that you do not exhibit poor personal brand management on social media platforms. When Google searches are conducted, their search algorithms pull up websites whose content matches the keywords used by the searcher. Google, like every other search engine, primarily relies on the webpage’s Meta description to match the relevant content with the original keywords used by the searcher. The meta-description is comprised of 156 characters that are embedded strategically in the websites HTML code, invisible on the website page yet highly important when ranking in a search engine query. Websites without purposely placed Meta descriptions extract the first 156 characters of text on the webpage.

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An example of a properly formatted meta description.

Gone are the days of a 60 second elevator pitch. We now live in a world of character limitations and web presence that have become the deciding factor in whether future leaders are hired by today’s companies.

The charge to millennial job seekers is this: challenge yourself further to be able to describe your life in the form of a tweet, not just in a Meta description format. This 140-character limitation forces you to think creatively. If asked by an employer to describe yourself, providing concise creative tweets about yourself as an example demonstrates your knowledge of current social media trends. If seeking employment in a marketing or brand management role, you will be able to demonstrate best practices in SEO/SEM and social media strategy right on the top of your resume or personal website. This is another way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

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Prominently display your Me in a Tweet on your profile.

Differentiate yourself from everyone else. Don’t be afraid to be different when developing and showcasing your own personal brand. Check back weekly for more brand management tips and insights here.

Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand manager based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.