Category Archives: Great Marketing Examples

Lovers Give Diamonds. Dog Owners Give Harnesses.

My Boston Terrier, Winston, is zealous about his daily walks. Despite thousands of dollars on private training for this pup, he insists that strolls are for geriatric dogs and an Alpha like him needs to seize the path. He is an explorer, a canine Lewis and Clark. He is incapable of walking a straight line, and he pulls to lead the way, then stops abruptly to sniff some grass or inspect a tree. To get him back on track, I have to tug on the leash.

He is such a rambunctious, erratic walker, that it took a toll on my hands, and I ended up with something called “trigger thumb,” which basically meant my thumb squeaked when I bent it, and it throbbed considerably. I was able to fix the pain through the help of a doctor, but, the saga with Winston and his walks continued. My main concern was that he would break free of the harness.Thankfully, he never did, but the fear lingered.

He was running through harnesses every three months. They would stretch out and the rapid aging reminded me of the before-and-after photos of presidents at the end of their term.

I took Winston to my favorite dog store in Studio City, Maxwell Bark, and the sales lady, after taking one look at him, pointed me in the direction of some dog harnesses made by Puppia. I have not looked back since, except when I’m having to pull Winston on a walk. His Puppia harnesses, tough as they are, lasts about a year before I start feeling like it needs to be replaced.

Being a fan of Puppia, I Liked their Facebook Page, and as I scrolled down the wall, I realized something: I have never seen such passionate brand advocates on any Page. I am the primary social media person for my company, and I wish I had the raving lunatics they have.

So what is the lesson learned here? If your product solves a problem, people will love you. Sure, but why does this page have fans taking the time to upload shots of their dog, wearing Puppia clothing and harnesses, and saying things like, “I will NEVER use another brand”?

I think its the combination of solving a problem and love. Dog owners love their dogs, some of them as deeply as others love a child. I haven’t investigated any children product sites, but I wonder if there is a great brand, that solves a problem for moms and has them raving?

Being in the jewelry industry, I think of jewelers, and how many of them desire that level of brand advocate that Puppia has. You would think that a diamond ring would engender the same kind of ardent appreciation, and it comes close, but not quite. Diamonds represent love. A dog harness represents keeping a loved one safe. Maybe it’s not a stretch to say that a harness is a dog owner’s version of a diamond. It’s what we give our dogs to show love. Puppia has pulled off the ultimate sales and marketing trick and built a better mouse trap.

This reinforces a lesson taught in any Marketing 101 class, but is often overlooked: The very best marketing concepts fail when the product doesn’t live up to the hype. Let’s face it, without a great product, you’ve got one out-of-control dog with a weak harness.

“Pretty Hurts” Christmas Card

Ten years ago, I used to get cards in the mail. Now, I get very clever video and flash holiday cards in my inbox. Rand Rusher sent me this video card and I just had to share. When you click on the photo in the card, it takes you to a video. Rand, who makes the women of Beverly Hills look fresh and youthful, will be starring in a reality show called “Pretty Hurts.” This clever video playfully makes fun of, well, botox, while promoting the show. Congrats to Rand. I guess this means his rates are going to skyrocket now, ladies.

Be Still My Heart(s): Hearts On Fire Launches E-Shopping

If you are like me, you would probably rather get root canal than fight the holiday traffic and manic shoppers. Thankfully, for people like us, there is online shopping. However, I like to know first-hand what I’m buying before it arrives in the mail. Specifically, I want to feel confident about the quality of the product. When I heard that Hearts On Fire had just launched e-shopping, for the first time ever, I thought, “Thank you, Santa! Thank you.”

Hearts On Fire’s stunning diamond jewelry is now available for purchase at Heartsonfire.com and select retailer websites. Within 24 hours, and free of delivery charges, you can shop for an assortment of their diamond pendants, earrings and bracelets. And when you do, remember your favorite blogger over at Audacious Ink. Baby would like a new pair of diamond earrings. And pendants. Okay, I could use a bracelet, too. Don’t go overboard, though, okay?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hearst On Fire on a variety of projects, and with different associations, over the years. Their tagline is “The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond.” Judging by the sparkle, they are on to something. They get the fierce kind of brand attention we all crave. A happy consumer recently commented in a jewelry blog that she loved her Hearts On Fire ring “because it sparkled across the room.” That’s the kind of stuff that you want people to say about your brand.

Ellen Malony, EVP at Hearts On Fire says that by selling Hearts On Fire jewelry designs online, it “allows our retail partners the opportunity to attract new web savvy consumers to the brand and provide added service and convenience to existing customers who may prefer to shop online.” In other words, customers like me who can’t stand the idea of fighting traffic, or crazed shoppers determined to buy all their gifts in one outing. I can just sit at home and buy me some pretty sparkle.

So shop in peace, and buy someone you love something sparkly for the holidays. Oh, and please avoid the crazed shoppers . . . and root canal, too, if you can.

Whole Foods’ Twitter Experiment

I love wine. I love Twitter. I love Whole Foods. My head almost exploded with happiness when I saw that Whole Foods was running a Twitter Wine Tasting. The detail that caught my eye though was exactly that, the detail of the details. Read how they are hosting it. It’s a great how-to manual for a Twitter event. Not only are they giving wine-loving tweeple something to tweet, they are giving marketers the blue print to having their own event. It’s a very well-thought out plan. Kudos, Whole Foods, and cheers.

Be Still My Heart(s): Hearts On Fire Launches E-Shopping

If you are like me, you would probably rather get root canal than fight the holiday traffic and manic shoppers. Thankfully, for people like us, there is online shopping. However, I like to know first-hand what I’m buying before it arrives in the mail–specifically, I want to know that I’m ordering something of great quality. When I heard that Hearts On Fire had just launched e-shopping, for the first time ever, I thought, “Thank you, Santa! Thank you.”

Hearts On Fire’s stunning diamond jewelry is now available for purchase at Heartsonfire.com and select retailer websites. Within 24 hours, and free of delivery charges, you can shop for an assortment of their diamond pendants, earrings and bracelets. And when you do, remember your favorite blogger over at Audacious Ink. Baby needs a new pair of diamond earrings. And pendants. Okay, I could use a bracelet, too. Don’t go overboard, though, okay?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hearst On Fire on a variety of projects, and through different associations, over the years. They get the fierce kind of brand attention we all crave. A woman left a comment in a jewelry blog recently, saying that she loved her Hearts On Fire ring “because it sparkled across the room.” That’s the kind of stuff that you want people to say willingly about your brand. They are the kind of brand that doesn’t just have consumers, they have brand evangelists.

Ellen Malony, EVP at Hearts On Fire says that by selling Hearts On Fire jewelry designs online, it “allows our retail partners the opportunity to attract new web savvy consumers to the brand and provide added service and convenience to existing customers who may prefer to shop online.”

So shop in peace, and buy someone you love something sparkly for the holidays. Oh, and avoid manic shoppers–and root canal.

Gap Returns to Old Blue Logo After Fans Gripe

The Gap is returning to their old blue logo. I blogged about this in my last post, and so naturally, I will be bragging today to all my friends how I blogged about The Gap’s new logo and forced them to change it back to the old. The power of blogging, the power of Audacious Ink. . .(cue the needle scratching abruptly across the record.)

Okay, delusions aside, seriously, wow: the power of the masses. The Gap was a trending topic because of the logo flap. No one liked it. Graphic design blogs were sounding in, marketing blogs, fan blogs, fashionistas blog, probably pet blogs even sounded in, who knows, but seriously, half the Internet was talking about this. The Gap realized the mistake they made strategically and reversed it.

Will this be a case study in future marketing classes? It’s gotta be.

In this article, there is a great, succinct quote about brands that I am going to reuse myself in the future, as it’s the best I’ve heard. “Logos are key to brands because they convey meaning and are something fans feel connected to.” Emily Fredix, the AP marketing writer who wrote the story gets credit for that one. I think she hit the nail on the head, and it explains, in part, why there was such an uproar. It’s a logo, right? Who cares?

We did, and the Gap listened and responded quickly. I’m so misty-eyed over this marriage of branding and t-shirts that I think I’m going to shop at The Gap today in Sherman Oaks. Look for my Foursquare check-in.

Mad Men’s Old School vs. New School Power Scene

I’ve been thinking all week about a scene in Mad Men’s last episode: at the end, hip-chick copywriter Peggy goes out into the lobby to meet her hipster pals who have come to take her to lunch. Peter, Roger, Don et al are in the lobby, ready to wheel and deal with some clients from Vicks. The hipsters are just outside the glass lobby wall; the old school is inside. I reserve the phrase “breathtaking” for Bruce Springsteen concerts, but this was a breathtaking moment in TV. It was Show, Don’t Tell at its finest. The hipsters, or the new school (for that time) were at the gates, and they were on the brink of invading, as the old school, as they are apt to do, didn’t notice.

It reminds me of an elderly executive I worked with a few years ago, who told me that Web 2.0 was over-rated, and that social media would be a passing fad. He was laid off about a two years ago, and has been unable to find a job since. His skills are of the Mad Men variety, and no doubt, in his hey day, he was a bright shining star. Unfortunately, he didn’t grow and adapt his skills to the market, and worse, he was obstinate about any new marketing change, preferring instead, to strictly adhering to the basic 4Ps of marketing–which have grown to 7ps to include People, Process and Physical Evidence.

People refers to, in a vague way, the social networks. Marketing used to be about you and your customer, but now it’s about you, your employees, the media, the customers–and a whole myriad of people. The opportunity is that you have forums to provide rich messages that delivers more value to your customers.

Process is really all about relationship building. It’s the added value–the experience. Think about your day spa. They probably offer you cool water with lemon slices or mint in a beautiful glass. Somehow the water at my spa is just better than when I try to do the same cocktail at home. When I make an appointment at the spa, I look forward to going, for little reasons just like that. It’s part of the process.

Physical Evidence refers to what a customer sees and knows about your brand before they are ever a customer. I have never owned a Rolls Royce. I’d like to own one, because it’s a big, lumbering, fancy car with nice-smelling leather. Call that my physical evidence of the brand. If I go to a Rolls Royce dealer with a wad of cash to buy the car, they will treat me like I’m the Queen of England. That will be my new physical Evidence of the brand.

Like any respectable Mad Men crazed fan, I love Don Draper. It’s interesting to see the barbarians approaching the gate, though, and the ways they are going to rock his world. I think often about the senior executive I once knew, and how I’d like to connect with him and talk about the show, to see what he thinks. Hmmm, if only he were on Facebook or Twitter. . .

Mad Men Yourself

I love Mad Men, Mashable and JibJab, and not necessarily in that order–though when I realized there was a Mad Men marathon on last night I plopped down on my couch and watched it till I woke up at 1:00am and saw Don Draper’s face staring at me from the TV, then slipped happily back to dream land. So, when I saw this article in Mashable just now, I nearly spit out my water, fell off my chair and screamed with joy. JibJab and Mad Men have teamed up to promote the July 25 season premier of the show. You can morph you and your friends’ faces onto your choice of Don, Joan, Roger and Betty.

The marketing angle here is that it is a brilliant way to promote the premier. JibJab fans are as rabid about the site as Mad Men fans are about the show. And when you have a fan of both, well, you have me. This is a fun, interactive and viral way to promote the best show on TV. I think it’s so brilliant I may explode.

Guess what I’ll be doing in my free time?

Hearts On Fire Redefines the Consumer Bridal Experience with iPad Technology

A while back, I wrote about one of my clients, Hearts On Fire, and their great contest, The Perfect Moment. I love, love, love it when brands really think beyond the product and consider the experience they are giving their customers—and call me biased, but Hearts On Fire excels at this. As I mainly focus on the social media aspect of their business, I was excited when they told me that that are now utilizing one of my favorite addictions, the iPad. I’m not usually such an Apple geek, but I actually bought my iPad the first week it came out: I could not wait to get my hands on their eReader. While that’s the main reason why I use it, I have noticed that the apps are also great, and my credit card bill seems to be rising a little higher each month because I’m always downloading something new.

Hearts On Fire continues to surprise and thrill those of us who are fans of the brand by elevating the experience at retail: they are arming their retail partners with iPads to use at point of sale. Seriously, I’m thinking of getting a job with one of their retailers just because I love this concept so much. Yes, I’m that much of a geek. Don’t judge. Anyway, by using the iPad, Hearts On Fire is digitally extending the retailers’ case for consumers because they are providing a window into the entire Hearts On Fire diamond and jewelry inventory—with the touch of an iPad screen.

The web application allows sales professionals to work with customers more efficiently by simplifying the search for diamonds and jewelry. Retailers can search Hearts On Fire Diamond Engagement Rings based on their customers’ preference for retail price, center diamond, and mounting design. Hearts On Fire is also offering the retailers training for the sales presentation, which is a great way to not only teach them how to use the tool, but to ensure that the brand message carries through. It’s so well thought out that once again I have to ask, why didn’t I come up with this idea? Instead, I just tweet about failed marriage proposals that I think are funny or find excuses to somehow incorporate my Boston Terrier into their Facebook updates–hey, that takes a lot of creativity to tie a dog into a luxury diamond brand. Again, don’t judge.

“We had an online tool for our retailers in development, but when the iPad was released in April, we realized it provided the ideal platform for this digital content. Not only will it help showcase the breadth of the Hearts On Fire product line, but it will make the retailer’s presentation and the consumer’s experience the best it can be”, says Ed LaPlante, VP of Information Technology at Hearts On Fire. “Plus, we knew Audacious Ink would go nuts and write about it.” Okay, I’m kidding. He didn’t say that last line.

Hearts On Fire will unveil the iPad tool at the Couture Show in Las Vegas and will begin deploying globally into their retail partners stores by July.

Hearts On Fire Launches Facebook Promotion to Celebrate Life’s Perfect Moments

Yesterday, one of my clients, Hearts On Fire, launched The Perfect Moment, a photo contest that will take place exclusively on Facebook. You might say I’m biased, and I am, but nonetheless, this is a very unique contest worth talking about. To be clear, the idea was not mine; file it under “Things I wish I had thought of,” along with a search engine named Google, an online auction named eBay and an online book + everything retailer named Amazon.

Hearts On Fire has long associated their brand with celebrating love and the emotion that diamonds symbolize. It’s fitting, then, that they would create a promotion that ties into that, be it a romantic moment, a night out with your friends, capturing your child in her own perfect moment, or if you are me, snapping endless photos of your Boston Terrier. As a marketer, I see it as a way to extend the brand and really connect with your community on a deeper level. As a lover of sparkling things, I wish I were eligible to enter. I’m not, but you are so please check it out. Here’s some excerpts from the release, with details on how to enter:

Any Facebook user can enter the contest simply by posting a photo that best captures one of life’s perfect moments. Users can share their entry and vote for their favorite photos today through June 20th. The winning entry will receive Hearts On Fire diamond jewelry valued at up to $10,000 retail.

“The Perfect Moment is about recognizing and appreciating the meaningful moments in life, both big and small”, said Caryl Capeci, Marketing VP at Hearts On Fire. “It can be the perfect golf swing, the perfect bucket of popcorn at a great movie or that perfect smile on your baby’s face”. Fans are asked to capture these special moments on their phone as they happen and share them with the Hearts On Fire Facebook community. “Encourage your Facebook friends to vote for your photo, and you could be wearing the World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond”, says Capeci.

Enter the contest and find all details here.

Click here to learn more about Hearts On Fire. You can also follow them on Twitter.