How to Build a Trustworthy Brand

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Experiential Marketing, experiential retail

I had the opportunity to study and interview one of my client’s product demonstrations this past Monday during a Whole Foods in-store event. Call it experiential marketing for the organic & natural seeking consumer.

My assignment – discover how we can make the program even stronger. What tools should we supply these brand ambassadors with? How can we help them inspire and sell more?

This client peddles chemical-free hair color. I do a lot for them – including the creation of a beautiful new website.

It was just pouring outside. Bad weather had me cautiously driving slick roads thinking – low turn out, it’s going to be a bust, the store will be dead. Wrong.

Whole Foods was jammed, a cart-to-cart race around the fresh organic avocados and shiitake mushrooms. Thought to self: It’s Monday at 11 am EST, don’t these people have jobs?

Armed with new surveys, email sign ups and a beautifully wrapped raffle giveaway to inspire shoppers to hand over their emails and opt in to our monthly marketing offers, I was ready to take these demonstrations to the next level of branding and sales success.

When Branding becomes a Blemish on your UVP

I watched the demonstrator set up her table and she just blew my mind when she whipped out a home-made before and after photo of her own hair with her new healthy color. This is her show and tell to help sell my client’s hair color?

Two amateur photos, printed at CVS and glued on a piece of faded and slightly torn sheet of construction paper with the words “before and after” scribbled underneath. I was stunned.

Now my first thought was – add that to our graphics needs list, but the demonstrator insisted that customers just loved it. They believed the before and after because it was her own photo. It was convincing, not some “branded bullsh$@!

I gather the notion of making every single marketing message polished, perfect and PhotoShop-ed – is just not always the way to play it. Customers are so incredibly skeptical. Ready to shoot you down.

While I really don’t like “studies” and know that most statistics fall prey to confirmation bias, there has been  recent research on just how skeptical consumers have become.

The true challenge of marketing is how to make your mark without burning your brand. How to get customers to trust and believe you before they layout their hard earned cash.


Microvideos: Get On Board or Get Lost at Sea

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Micro Video Blogging, Microvideos, PR Agency, press liaison, social media marketing, Star Powered PR


Microvideos are taking the social media helm and these bite-sized bits of entertaining videos are popping up everywhere. Sharing streamlined messages of hyper-edited audio-visuals to a growing number of viewers has become standard. What started with Vine (6-second looping videos) has ended with the growth of competitors; Instagram video (15 seconds), MixBit (16 seconds), Tumblr GIFs (short animated images) and a flood of imitators.

In a world where immediacy, convenience and short attention spans are omnipresent, its imminent to jump on the microvideo bandwagon and continue to story tell your brand.


How to get started?  Weave microvideos into your social media campaigns and embed them in emails. Embrace the power of the microvideo and make your social media come alive.

 1. Compelling Content – Whether its comedic, artistic or a fast sequence of DIY steps, make every second count. The concept in its entirety must persuade viewers. Create a video you yourself would re-post. Referencing the rise of the micro video, Forbes’ article, The Top 7 Social Media Marketing  Trends Dominating 2014,” explores the success of Saatchi’s anti-smoking campaign, reaping over 50,000 likes and  26,000 re-Vines within the ad’s first week. According to UK’s Marketing Magazine because these short films are at present, push mediums, the content must be entertaining, informative or intriguing.

 2. Homegrown VS. Outsourced  On a budget and feel you have the creative eye in-house? Use one  of Scientific American’s recommended 12 Microvideo Apps. From free apps like Viddy to Snapchat coupled with smart phone high quality technology, these short clips could be done in the luxury of your own workplace. If you want to leave it in the hands of the professionals, consult sites Behance or Le Book. At MJMPR, we recommend NYC-based film production companies Legs Media and Matte Projects to realize your microvideo dreams.

3. More Brand Reach – If users avoid ads like the plague on YouTube and Facebook than microvideos are the holy grail of marketing. They offer less commitment from the viewer than traditional online video. Microvideos are short and therefore, brands must select simple visual cues that make the brand transparent from the start. Short snips actually share more.

4. Need ideas on what to Film and Edit?- How about a quick how-to about your product or service or a series of product tutorials? Maybe a time-lapse video of your brand’s evolution. Launching a new product? We recommend a brief company announcement. Take your iPhone or Android for a fast video around company headquarters. From filming the manufacturing process of your best seller to video teasers for upcoming events, the possibilities are infinite. Mashable shares the top 4 hot apps for microvideo blogging; Keek, Tout, Klip and Viddy, while each varies, they all specialize in editing and sharing short videos.

5. Share, Share, Share – According to a recent Marketing Profs article, video integrated emails will massively increase user click-through rate. After its creation, the short clip can be  cross-promoted seamlessly through all social media platforms including emails. If it’s got the creative grit, who knows maybe it will go viral. Tweet it. Gram it. Facebook it. Vine it. Tumble it.

A Matter of Brand Taste

Brand Awareness, building brand trust, Experiential Marketing, Sensorial Branding, Sensorial marketing, Uncatergorized

How are you making your brand memorable?

A study carried out at Rockefeller University shows that in the short-term we remember just 1% of what we touch, 2% of what we hear, 5% of what we see, 15% of what we taste and 35% of what we smell. What are you doing to make your brand memorable? 

Shopping for a Brighter World

neuroscience marketing, personalized brand experience, retail marketing, Uncatergorized

How to turn your boring retail experience into mind candy for the buying brain – secrets for selling to the subconscious mind. Click the link above and check out this neuroscience gem.

Step 1. Create multi-sensory experiences as you educate and entertain your customers while mixing high-tech with high-touch for the ultimate retail experience.

Step 2. Get on board and arm yourself with the smart shopping apps that your customers are downloading . . .

Consmr -a Yelp-styled app of consumer goods, where you can scan bar codes with your phone to see ratings, reviews, alternatives and product recalls.

Want to know whether to wait to see if something will go on sale? – check out Decide -an app that will help you know whether to buy or wait. You can set price alerts for items on your shopping list and search stores near your home or office.

RedLaser allows for on-the-fly comparison shopping with a multifunctional scanner that works by reading QR codes.

And yet another app, Slice helps you track and organize online shopping.

Now, onto tackling the million dollar question- How do we convert all this attention and engagement into actual retail sales transactions?

Expand a Brand – Off Line Retail Marketing Strategies

brand management, creative collaboration, experiential retail, Uncatergorized

We have a client that has built their brand name, over the course of 14 years, online, through their website, social platforms and via paid media, aka digital advertising. When it comes to SEO, they have arrived.

This client is an international community-based resource for expert beauty advice and best of beauty e-commerce.

They are now going off-line and have the opportunity to meet their readers, fans, followers and customers face-to-face.  Not at their own event/meet up, but at the counter, at retail.

The objective is to prove that they play a big part in the important  beauty purchasing decision process.

This opportunity came available through a new strategic partnership with one of their vendors that sells their beauty products in mass market stores like Target and Walgreens.

The challenge for our client is how to make their online content come alive at the pivotal point of purchase, while proving to the world that they are important part of the consumer’s decision making process.

We know that consumers find our client’s website through search engines like Google. We also know that our client has studied their viewers (1.5 million uniques monthly) by tracking where they go and how long they stay on the site, but the big question is, how will our client do this in store, in person in “real life”.  A click to the cart doesn’t look the same in a brick and mortar environment.

Our client believes that their brand can help educate and enlighten their vendor’s potential customers, while persuading them to buy more and buy the right products for them.

So as an online website and retailer, what do you (and our client) need to know about in store shopper engagement?

#1. Recognize the importance of engaging shoppers both visually and physically. This includes a flat screen monitor on the shelf with your website near the products and services you are moving to market.

#2. Use a combination of neuroscience monitoring, eye-tracking, and shopper interviews to determine in-store decision rates and the power of in-store marketing throughout the time spent creating a retail experience.

#3. Don’t forget about the importance of promotional displays.

  1. Table Space. Setting up a table or branded kiosk gives you the ability to display a limited variety of your products and messages.
  2. Temporary Stall/Kiosks. These are the kiosks that spring up everywhere from time to time. The sheer flexibility of these temporary stalls/kiosks is that you can set them up in different parts of the store at different times and gain visibility among different types of customers.
  3. Point of Purchase displays and post purchase marketing collateral to stay relevant with shoppers

The Global Association of Marketing at Retail have been studying the way people shop for quite some time. You can also learn how to turn an in-store experience into a purchase by using a Shopper Gauge. ShopperGauge is an in-store monitoring system that delivers continuous reporting of shopper behavior. You can use it to enhance the shopper experience, to increase store loyalty, to get better ROI on your marketing and merchandising investment, and to improve operations.

Taking it to the streets – Successful Offline Events

Creative Marketing Campaigns, Experiential Marketing, future of marketing, Uncatergorized

Offline events, inviting your audience or your customers to get off line and participate in a meet up or sponsored gathering in their region, is becoming increasing popular with all brands.

All around the office and as of recent, everywhere we go, we hear some marketing/PR pro buzzing about creating offline events for their brand. We’ve also been involved in orchestrating them for our clients. Experiential marketing events will help you connect with your audience and customers on a deeper level.

The objective  is to help boost traffic to your site with new members for your site, create value-added marketing for your advertisers and  build a more engaged fan base.

Successful Offline Event Tips

  • Choose a venue that’s convenient for all
  • Create a “save the date”  and send it out at least 4 weeks in advance
  • Send out reminder notices a few days before the event and the day of, to keep the likelihood of attendance high
  • Send out the invitation (via email/text/Facebook/Twitter)
  • Ask your audience to invite friends and family
  • Check RSVP’s daily
  • Give them an incentive to invite others (sweepstakes/content/raffles) the day/night of the event
  • Create promotional signage (branded banners/rollups/bags, etc) for your site at the event
  • Have your partners create special gifts for those that attend
  • Consider using this following/fan base for market research
  • Have an onsite sign up (iPad, flat screen, laptop) for your site
  • Make it last (at least two hours) and make it memorable (music, food and beverage, special guests)
  • Take photos and video of the event to post back up on the site and for your blog

Fashionably Yours – Creative and Smarter Customer Engagement

creative collaboration, Engaging Customer Service, Entertaining, Experiential Marketing, experiential retail, future of marketing, Uncatergorized

  Fashion’s Night Out was created in 2009 to inject excitement and cash flow into the sinking fashion and luxury goods industry. Three years later, an international event, it is filled with boundless creative energy and awesome ideas for designers and retailers to create engaging retail experiences all year round; NOT on just one evening of celebration.

Not to take the fun out of a carnival like night of play, but some may  argue that these events don’t necessarily move a company’s bottom line. We argue that when events are strategically  linked to actual purchases and profitable promotions, the benefits of experiential marketing creates brand awareness, customer loyalty, publicity and longer lines at the counter.

Business owners should consider their marketing strategy before planning a retail boosting event-

  • Create actual sales goals for the event. How much do you expect to sell and at what price points will you still be profitable?
  • Develop an event idea to inject excitement into your stores at slower retail times of the year.
  • Focus on your VIP customers when sending out invites and ask them to invite their friends (this should be an invitation-only happening).
  • Merchandise the inventory you have on hand to sell before the event. Make it easier for your customers to shop.
  • Redesign your space/store for the ideal flow of heavier traffic and socializing/shopping.
  • Plan for proper staffing to make the event a profitable success.
  • Measure the success of the evening by the increase in sales, press and new customers.

Fashion’s Night Out is loaded with courageous ideas. Year round ideas that will  lure shoppers in and boost retail sales for your business  –

  • Your offering can be as simple as sipping cocktails and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres to make shopping in your location a bit more relaxed and enjoyable.
  • A photo booth on hand seems to be the “must have prop” of the 2011 FNO (although we are not quite sure, with Instagram taking center stage).
  • Shoppers receive “Denim Therapy” – a free hem with purchase of any jeans at 7 For All Man Kind. Consider how this convenient service can be offered at your location.
  • Make it a game, like the scavenger hunt at Alexander McQueen with  limited number of Fashion Night Out key codes, which can be entered online to win its latest iconic bag, the Folk Tote.
  • Raffles, contests, giveaways, celebrity guests, fashion shows, DJ’s, previews of upcoming collections – get as creative as you can.
  • One of our favorite events in NYC is Tracy Reese’s dance-a-thon, inviting guests to show-off their best moves, in the boutique and even in the store’s windows, with DJ Tyger Lilly to keep the music going all night at her boutique in NYC’s Meatpacking district.

Racked NY  and New York Magazine have curated some of the best places to eat, shop and be entertained in NYC tonight. We can help you create your own Fashion’s Night Out anytime of the year and properly plan and orchestrate it for sales and marketing success.

Make Your Next Event Memorable

customized promotions, Experiential Marketing, experiential retail, retail marketing, Uncatergorized

Creating an exciting and successful retail environment begins the moment you start looking for retail space.

When selecting a temporary or permanent address for your store/salon/spa/lifestyle emporium, select and build the space so that it is conducive for exclusive events and experiential marketing.

Why can’t every night be a Fashion’s Night Out?

  • Co-promote with like-minded brands and create experiences that will have your customers coming back for more.
  • Include live music and/or DJ and dancing or a crazy Karaoke contest.
  • Bring it all back to a great cause – from The Humane Society to the Red Cross – local or global (anything that is near and dear to your customer’s heart).
  • Feature emerging new designer guests to meet and dress your VIP customers.
  • Invite top stylists to help edit and curate next season’s fashion trends.
  • Get the party cooking with chef classes and/or tastings that will drive word of mouth buzz.
  • Host a live fashion show with “must have” pieces from next season’s collections.
  • Design bespoke experiences – customize something that’s personal for each customer.
  • Host a makeover madness night with your favorite beauty experts.
  • And don’t forget screenings, book readings and signings and celebrity guests.

Need help getting creative? Feel free to contact us at The Market Council.

Become Smitten with Your Customers

Engaging Customer Service, Experiential Marketing

What’s your brand’s love story?

Props go out to Trader Joe’s for  falling head over heals with their customers. Yeah, I’m crushing the crew right back. They really know how to lighten up the sometimes mundane chore of weekly food shopping.

While we were in the store this weekend my lovely college-bound daughter applied for a part-time position. She handed me the detailed Trader Joe crew position description.

There’s a lot to learn here about creating a “WOW” customer experience.

Trader Joe’s explains that their “crew” members are responsible for creating a fun, warm and friendly shopping experience throughout the store. And you know what – they really do deliver on it.

Their ATTITUDE towards the customer is something that every  business should blatantly copy and expand on in their own authentic way.

It all starts with the proper training of every employee. Train your staff (before their first day of hire and at least monthly) to know everything there is about your business (even the fun back story). Teach them how to tell your story. Role play.

Trying to make a love connection?

Promote an energized experience by-

  • Creating an engaging sense of arrival that’s fun, exciting and friendly
  • Have your team members aka employees take their head out of the stock and start making eye contact
  • Make sure your hires (brand ambassadors) know enough about your products and services to answer questions and help customers find what they need in a fast and efficient way
  • Remind them continuously to be friendly, courteous and respectful to all
  • And a warm smile – in a from the heart  kind of way – goes a long way

It’s funny, last Saturday Whole Foods tried to “wow” me with live music (yes a live band) and a few international “artisanal” tastings scattered around the store. Sure the filleting and sautéing the 50-pound Opah Tuna fresh from Hawaii was fun to watch, (and actually tasted great with Thai ginger seasoning) but nothing wins like consistent and respectful human kindness.

How are you “wowing” your customers? Are you getting creative with your experiential marketing strategies? Incorporating timely and consistent customer training sessions into your operation’s plan?

Have a unique customer experience you just love? We’d love to hear about it.