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The Spin Cycle — Winter weather goes viral with #polarvortex

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

When much of the country turned into the world’s largest freezer earlier this month with a massive arctic blast, it ushered in another buzzword to society’s collective vocabulary – polar vortex! No, it’s not a new weather-busting, wind protecting garment, but yet another meteorological explanation to the sub-zero gale hitting us head-on. Did you know what a polar vortex was even a month ago? The Spin Cycle sure didn’t.

The deep chill created a digital avalanche of top brands capitalizing on Old Man Winter. Here’s some of the coolest responses:

Crest — the minty-fresh and cool-tasting toothpaste sent a Twitter shiver with:

“Is eating ice cream your #PolarVortex?”

AMC Theaters — went Silver Screen with “Anybody else think it’s funny that ‪#Frozen was the #1 movie last weekend and temps were at record lows? ‪#polarvortex ‪pic.twitter.com/WZ4VVuIyoM”

Junior Mints — With this #polarvortex you don’t even need a freezer. Just throw your Junior Mints outside!”

TGI Fridays — “Fighting the ‪#polarvortex one stacked burger at a time.”

Corona — tried to take us to a tropical beach with “RT if you’re stocked up. ‪#PolarVortex ‪pic.twitter.com/ UXuA1R56X1.”

Wendy’s — although, cheesy, was perhaps the coolest with a photoshopped spicy chipotle sandwich weather app that brought them 380 retweets and 402 favorites.

It was indeed a social winter wonderland!

Women use social media more

While men are more apt to us mobile apps as showcased in a recent Spin Cycle, women are much more social.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, women “control more than $20 trillion or about 70 percent of global consumer spending.”

In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center examining online social media habits for a five-year period (May 2008 to May 2013), researchers discovered women were five to 10 percent more likely to use social media compared to men.

Seventy-four percent of women online use social media sites.

So with that in mind, does your company, product or service target women as the perfect customer? Here are ways to meet this target market more effectively:

Where to reach women in social media

In the same study, Pew broke down social media usage by network and user profile:

» Facebook — More women 18-29, 67 percent of online users

» Twitter — Mix of urban men and women 18-29, 16 percent of online users at a time of survey, but growing quickly

» Pinterest — Mostly women under age 50, 15 percent of online users

» Instagram — Adults 18-29, more women than men (gaining popularity with teens in the last year)

Shift into high marketing gear for 2014

When considering how to strengthen your brand and maximize your reach for your marketing initiatives this year, consider these helpful statistics as you chart your communications goals:

» Facebook users spend 6.35 hours each month on the social network via computer

When it comes to sheer usage, Facebook still reigns supreme, accounting for almost twice as much time spent monthly by users on the social network over Google. And while mobile usage is on the rise, the majority of this time is still via a desktop experience. (Facebook)

» Thirty-three percent of consumers cite social networks as a way they discover new brands, products or services

One-third of all consumers are discovering new brands and products via social networks. That may not lead to direct attribution on the brand side yet, but it’s an indicator that brand awareness and reputation are powerful in the social consumer lifecycle, according to eMarketer.

» Business decision-makers use social media for work purposes — Social networks are thriving, but does that mean they are being used for business purposes? Forrester Research confirmed that, statistically every business decision maker is both using social media and doing so in part for some type work purpose.

» Seventy percent of marketers say that content marketing has increased their brand awareness. Content marketing is on the rise for a very important reason: social is an always-on platform, and it requires compelling content to consistently reach and resonate with audience members. The good news? iMedia reports that brands are seeing positive results as it pertains to content, raising brand awareness.

» Sixty-five percent of marketers cited an increased social media ad budget in their 2013 plans. To advertise on social, or not advertise on social is no longer the question. Two out of three marketers increased their social advertising budget in 2013. And with greater stringency placed on Newsfeed placement, this number will likely rise in 2014 for marketers to reach their intended audiences, according to Nielsen.

» Seventy-nine percent of marketers have integrated social media into their traditional marketing activities. Social media earned a seat in the integrated marketing mix last year. Going beyond paid, owned and earned social, brands are now actively integrating social with traditional marketing and creating a full view of social’s integration within CRM systems, according to a recent Social Media Examiner industry report.

» Pinterest drives referral traffic — conversions are a marketer’s best friend. As it pertains to social media, Pinterest proved its power in driving users from the social network directly to corporate websites, second only to Facebook, according to Shareaholic research.

Tarnished or Golden Mic — ‘Bridgegate’ & Gov. Chris Christie

It was a classic scene in reputation repair 101 in the wake of a vitriolic scandal. After news broke about an allegedly engineered traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge by some on his team, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the stage at a news conference to distance himself from the simmering controversy. Time will only tell if “Bridgegate” will remain a major problem for him in the now and looking ahead to a potential 2016 presidential bid. Here are some things he did right on the PR front:

1. First and foremost, he was remorseful and apologetic – it wasn’t hedged, and didn’t heap all the blame on his staff. He did blame some, and took plenty of blame, himself. He had a real and heartfelt tone, a departure from his typical brashness and bluster, and genuinely seemed sincere.

2. He fired people – there was no way Bridget Kelly could keep her job after the e-mail trail about the scandal was revealed. Christie even fired Bill Stepien, a close political ally – calling both of their actions “stupid” and “deceitful.”

3. He took many questions and was ready to answer any reporter. Christie may have lingered way too much, however.

Under the spotlight of public opinion, it was probably about as good as one could expect from Christie. While this publicity strategy may have worked in the short-term, there is no way the New Jersey governor has moved beyond the political peril. So depending on your perspective, it could either be a Golden Mic moment or Tarnished Mic episode. You be the judge! Time will only tell if the guv repaves the bridge to a better reputation.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.



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