Summer of sweetFrog Social Campaign

Who ever said eavesdropping was a bad thing? It can feel a little weird at first – like you’re jumping in to give your opinion without being asked. But if you think about it, it’s just like overhearing. For example, as a bakery owner, if you heard two people walking down the street discussing which cupcakes were the best in town, you’d definitely perk up your ears and maybe even jump in. Why not apply that logic to your social media strategy?

A lot of brands do a great job responding to users who talk to them first by mentioning or tagging them, and a some are taking the extra step to search for potential conversations to join that go beyond their own brand.

Brands should take a proactive approach with social listening. Learn their language and speak in a brand voice that embraces them. When sweetFrog came to Big River with the goal of using social media to increase traffic through their existing stores, the first step was to analyze the social media habits of sweetFrog customers. The goal was to understand what channels they were on and what language they used. How did the brand fit into their lives?

We found that people love sweetFrog (no surprise there). We saw selfies, sweet daddy-daughter dates, and a lot of having fun with food.

Those insights were used to inspire a creative social campaign across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram– the summer of sweetFrog Challenge. All of the content, including calls to action, was influenced by behavior that we found to be intuitive to the sweetFrog audience. We encouraged playing with food and sparked creativity in fans. They already loved engaging with the brand, we just wanted them to do more of it.

With any social campaign, you need to be nimble. Even with a campaign rooted in customer insight, you need to constantly monitor audience reaction and adjust accordingly. The sweetFrog Challenge was an 8 week campaign with themed weekly photo challenges. We kept each week’s theme tentative. We reviewed social listening reports and social analytics before committing to the next step of the plan. For several weeks, we made shifts to the creative after learning from the reactions to the previous week.

Instead of just pushing out content, there were conversations. sweetFrog played along with fans, complimented their photos and even heard personal stories that intersected with the brand – fans shared birthdays, first dates (sometimes with parental supervision), celebrated cancer recovery and even rewarded themselves for being brave during shots at the doctor’s office. Although high participation was expected, the personal and heartwarming stories were beyond anything that our team could have predicted.

The conversation didn’t stop at mentions and the campaign hashtag: #sweetFrogChallenge . Social listening was used to identify opportunities for deeper real time connections with customers. These deeper connections led to customers coming back again and again. We saw users participate in multiple in-store challenges, indicating repeat store visits.

Social media gives you the opportunity to “overhear” your customers any time you’re willing to listen, and the rewards can be pretty sweet ;) Check out the full case study here.

AICP’s Best Commercials of 2013

Every year, the Richmond Ad Club helps put on the AICP Best Commercials show. It’s always held in the gorgeous Byrd Theatre, and preceded by a happy hour at the bar next door The NY Deli. The organist opened the show, and then we watched some awesome commercials.
The Byrd Theatre

Some of them I’d already seen and loved, like this one from Proctor and Gamble.

Others, like this spot from Axe, I was seeing for the first time. I like how different this is from Axe’s usual approach.

I also remember First World Problems spot from Water is Life earlier in the year. I’m glad it was recognized. 

Your Tweets Are Bad

I recently discovered this hilarious new twitter feed, Your Tweets are Bad. It collects retweets poking fun at brands whose efforts to “engage” are coming on just a little too strong. They’re following over 400 brands , everyone from Q-Tips to Mercedez Benz, ensuring they don’t miss a corny tweet. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

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These last two are a great example of something tons of brands are struggling with.  In case you haven’t worked in advertising, legal departments put the fear of God in us about getting sued when it comes to mentioning events, celebrities, companies, products, brands, people, places, things and pretty much anything and everything on social media. However, we’re all under pressure to engage in real-time, so tweets like these are what we end up with. Chobani poked fun at this game we play as brands with this tweet during the Oscars.  Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 9.29.38 PM

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I can say without sarcasm that tweeting is hard. We’re all still trying to figure it out, but it’s fun to have a laugh along the way.

A Parisian Experience in Richmond with Adventure Often

Jenn with the car jenn in the car me jenn and kristen me jen and kristen at versailles french essentials fleurs books in the latin quarter dress shopping french onion soup

What’s FeastRVA?

I think the concept of FeastRVA is really awesome, and I knew it would definitely be something I was into. I missed out on the last event, so I made sure to get tickets for this one right away.

Here’s how it works, taken from their Facebook page:

“The idea is simple, FEAST attendees donate $25 for dinner at a local venue. Upon entry, participants receive a ballot with a list of proposals by local artists. Throughout the night short presentations are given for each idea, after which attendees have the opportunity to discuss the proposals with the artist. At the conclusion of the night, ballots are cast, and the artist with the most votes receives around $500 comprised of a portion of the door money.”

Tonight’s event was held at 1708 Gallery and the space looked awesome. The tables were adorned with photos and facts about famous Richmonders (our table had Bojanges!) The catering was done by Saison, and cornish hens were served. yum!


The three groups we heard from today were 804ork, The People’s Library and RVA Swappers. We heard each of them speak, and got to learn a little aout each project.

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Chris Gatewood and Susan Howson introduced us to 804ork. Their goal is to create a community cookbook for Richmond comprised of chef profiles and recipes from some of the best restaurants in town. They had already talked to chefs at Heritage, Blue Goat, Hill Cafe among others, and got them on board.

The People’s Library takes old books that the Richmond City library is throwing away and recycles them into journals that people can use to write their stories. Anyone in the community can check out these blank books, fill with their histories and bring back to the library to be included in the permanent collection.

RVA Swappers is a food and beverage swapping organization in RVA advocating for community, food and farm to table living. Richmonders meet to trade goods and teach skills. (Their next meetup is at Ellwood Thompson’s on May 5th.)

In the end 804ork came out the winner, and a great time was had by all. Check out this list of restaurants. How awesome is this going to be?!

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Here’s a video from the FeastRVA Facebook that explains more about the group, taken from their website.

Sometimes My Work Can Be Really Fun

The creative team at my work that works on GEICO just wrote a book from the point of view of the GEICO Gecko. We’re super excited about it. Part of my job has been to think of creative ways to promote it on social media. The other night, a local book store, Fountain Bookstore, threw a launch party for the Gecko’s first book, complete with adorable Gecko cake pops from Candy Vally Cake Company. We had a blast.

you're only human gecko cake pops 2 Gecko Cake pop

Bad Words: Build A Bulletproof Brand Voice To Increase Your Profitability

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I had a great time at the Great Richmond Chamber’s event this past Tuesday, Bad Words: Build A Bulletproof Brand Voice To Increase Your Profitability.

Bayonet, a local branding agency, gave some great tips about brand voice that definitely come into play in what I do for a living. Here they are:

1. Decide on your company’s celebrity soul mate. Then don’t tell anyone this information. — Finding the person who embodies your brand can help you put the brand into words.

2. Figure out what language your customer is speaking, and speak that language back to them. “English” doesn’t count. — Speaking to your customer means you are also choosing not to speak to other people who don’t fit your market. Wal-Mart uses different words than Nieman Marcus.

3. Settle on a tone. Use personality descriptors for an easy way to get this into words. — Birch Box, a subscription service that sends out upscale beauty products, said in its style guide to avoid exclamation points whenever possible: “it makes us sound a bit like teenyboppers,” the guide said. Since you know who you are talking to, you need to use a tone they will relate to.

4. Take the time to make some style rules. Vocabulary, sentence structure, syntax, and, yes, grammar and punctuation. — How you structure sentences says a lot about your brand, Howson said. Le Meridian, the upscale hotel chain, looks to avoid commands in its marketing materials. Aloft, a hotel group looking to appeal to young, hip travelers, focuses on action verbs and evocative language.

5. Enforce across all possible channels. It takes many hours to build a brand voice, and one tweet to destroy it. — The voice on Twitter should match the voice on your website.


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