Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Things To Consider When Investing In A Digital Media Platform

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat is experiencing a steady decline in daily users, and its situation isn’t expected to improve any time soon. While Snapchat is certainly far from “dead” – there are still 186 million active daily users, according to Statista — many brands may opt to wait and see if engagement stabilizes before spending precious advertising dollars on the platform.

Snapchat’s downward trend may well prompt second thoughts for many brands that were considering marketing on a digital mediaplatform, including whether to move forward and, if they do, what the best strategy will be. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council share their thoughts on investing in a digital media platform.

1. Positive Return On Investment (ROI) Should Happen Within Two Weeks

Determine your reach and frequency first. How many consumers are you really reaching via Snapchat? Then calculate your ROI on your ad spend. If you are not seeing a positive ROI within one to two weeks, remove the media and allocate the past spend to a testing budget, but do not continue on the medium. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

2. Timing Is Critical

The unsuccessful Facebook purchase of Snapchat was the pivot point. The acquisition was the preferred but not the only means for Facebook to provide the same or better offer, and it has the user data to edge out the competition with better personalization options. Snapchat made some investors money who saw that writing on the wall and got out quickly, so it is as much a matter of when to invest as in what. - Elizabeth Jean PostonHelios Interactive, A Freeman Company

3. Consider The Platform’s Unique Audience

Snapchat offers a very addressable audience and, in some cases, an audience that is relatively tough to find in other places. What is most important for you to consider is if your target audience has sufficient scale and delivers performance above a point of diminishing returns. - Kieley TaylorGroupM

4. Take A Holistic View Of Customer Trends

Just because the overall Snapchat user base is changing does not mean that their core users have migrated to another channel. As a brand, it is crucial to have an always-on understanding of customers, including their device and social preferences. When brands invest in a customer data platform, it gives them a holistic view of their customers’ actions, which can enable data-driven investment. - Preethy VaidyanathanTapad

5. What Matters Is Where Your Brand’s Audience Is

Before worrying about a platform that feels like a media “ought to,” brands should first step back and determine if their target is even engaging there. Snapchat may have been a trend darling, but if a brand’s consumers aren’t interacting there, there’s no point in chasing it in the first place. If they are spending time on the platform, the dip in numbers doesn’t matter anyway. - Mimi LettunichTwenty Four 7

6. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term, Viability

When there is a decrease in revenue in a tool and an application like Snapchat, it is very important to make sure that all of the long-term viability assessments of the tool have been looked at. What that means is that before you are putting your money into an application, you want to know that it is going to make a recovery. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

7. If It’s Working For You, Stick With It

An “investment” really has nothing to do with the number of daily users, it has to do with the change in key performance indicators for your brand. While growing and massive social media platforms provide a wide audience, they also add the challenge of competition and cost. If Snapchat continues to build awareness, engagement, growth and a return on investment, by all means, continue to use it! - Douglas KarrDK New Media

8. The Audience Is Waiting — Build A Smart Package

Snap reported 191 million users earlier this year. Instagram has hit 1 billion. There’s no need to wait on either platform. The eyeballs are there. You just have to get a pulse on the best way to engage on each, then develop smart creative and negotiate the best package. There’s a certain amount of parity between both, but one group is way more ad-friendly. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. Ignore Industry Panic

Snapchat has gone through waves of popularity and waves of decline. Although ROI should be your chief metric, be sure that you’re not jumping too fast in the natural cycles of popular social media platforms. If Snapchat comes out with a new feature or method of organization that brings users back in droves relatively quickly, you might feel silly for panicking too early. - Brandon StapperNonstop Signs

10. There Is No Silver Bullet

Many people believe that marketers know the silver bullet. In actuality, the best marketers seek to understand their audience well and fire 10 arrows all in the same direction, knowing only a couple will hit the target. Channels come and go. Facebook is already losing its golden-child status. Don’t be surprised, do what good marketers do: Seek to understand your audience and be flexible. - Jesse MarbleMagneti

11. It Might Be A Great Opportunity To Reach Young Consumers

There is still a strong user base on Snapchat that is desirable (Gen Z and younger millennials). You might be able to get a better deal and reach your ideal, hard-to-reach young consumers. - Tom LaVecchia, MBAX Factor Media

12. Move Around Media Dollars To Find What’s Effective

It’s not about whether a platform is in growth or decline, but whether it provides the best opportunities for your brand to reach your audience. You may leverage that platform while it’s trending, but decide if it’s the most effective medium. Because you can easily move your strategy with media dollars, brands aren’t committed to platforms long term and have the freedom to move to new channels. - Danny FritzSBX Group

13. Favor Steady Engagement Over Swift Monetary Return

As long as you’re seeing engagement and a strong following that’s not disassembling your budget, then it’s always worth it to keep investing in a platform. It’s important to remember that with digital media platforms, your monetary return takes time to establish. - Jordan EdelsonAppetizer Mobile LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/04/13-things-to-consider-when-investing-in-a-digital-media-platform/#42b5b04749fb

Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Effective Methods To Help You Keep Customer Loyalty While Rebranding

Modern technologies have enabled companies to get to know their target audience better than ever before. As such, many businesses choose to use customer data to evolve in order to suit their customers’ needs. Rebranding is an effort to better a company’s connection with their audience, but it can leave intended consumers unsure.

So, what is the best way for companies to shift their brand in order to better speak to today’s customers, while also minimizing a divided reception? Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share their most effective methods for shifting their branding, while retaining new and old customers alike.

1. Involve Your Audience In The Journey

Consumers no longer live at the end of the funnel. They are influential brand citizens, expect to have a voice and often have a lot to say about a brand and its positioning. If you enroll them as advocates and partners in the process, rather than springing dramatic shifts on them, they'll be more loyal and prone to defend the new branding or positioning among their peers and external audiences. - Daryl McCullough, Citizen Relations

2. Maintain Functionality

After a brand reconstruction, your app and website should retain similar functionality so consumers don’t get confused. Changes to your copy may deter divided customers, so be sure to refrain from overhauling your layout or design. Additionally, sending out a mass email to your users explaining any changes or shifts in your product will keep consumers updated and aware. - Timothy Nichols,ExactDrive, Inc

3. Don't Depart From Your Main Message

People are often resistant to change, but you can minimize drama by shifting in a direction that is new but not unfamiliar to your base. Do this by highlighting aspects of your values or mission statement that are more aligned with the direction you're going in. If the message is different but still familiar, you have less chance of hard resistance. - Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

4. Pick Your Creative And Strategy Team Wisely

When looking to shift your brand to speak to a new generation, those are the consumers who should be directly involved in the strategy and brainstorming leading up to the shift. A creative team comprised exclusively of the target consumers will allow the organization to capture vital messaging, brand reactions and create a brand that truly speaks to its demographic. - Danielle SabrinaTribe Builder Media

5. Prepare Your Audience For The Change

Most people don’t like change. Period. Brands need to keep in mind who they are trying to attract and whether or not a rebrand is worth losing a percentage of their existing customers in order to gain a new client base. Brands should also launch “something new is coming” campaigns to prepare the public, priming them for the upcoming rebrand. Launch the campaign and start listening! - Bernard May,National Positions

6. Focus On Making It Easier

Data today provides a vast variety of options. But many consumers are overwhelmed by too many choices, causing them to be less satisfied and abandon a brand. Regardless of the shift, companies succeed as they build valuable relationships with customers and make the user experience more comfortable and more robust for them to buy and consume what they truly desire. - Cagan Sean Yuksel,GRAFX CO.

7. Communicate Why You're Rebranding

Companies that want to rebrand for a modern audience need to own the shift and transparently communicate why they’re rebranding, who they’re speaking to and what they’re doing differently to be better. Transparency on key learnings, research and development and future goals will ensure a seamless transition, especially if a comprehensive customer service protocol is accessible and responsive to Q&As. -Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing

8. Lose The Meek And Weak Marketing

You can't make everyone happy -- and that shouldn't be the goal. As long as you stay authentic and don't try to be something you're not, then be bold. You may polarize consumers, but at least they are talking about you. While some people didn't like that IHOP converted to IHOB, everyone understood that their menu was broader than just pancakes, perhaps for the first time. Mission accomplished. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

9. Do The Math

Deciding on a dramatic rebrand for a long-established brand requires a very calculated assessment to weigh the potential gain from new consumers against the potential loss of established and loyal customers. If that proves out, the next step is to map out a plan that includes strategies for engaging the at-risk brand loyalists in the rebranding process. - Keri Witman, Cleriti

10. Focus On Appealing To Your Core Market

It’s hard to avoid a divided reception during a rebranding. Companies seeking to rebrand should analyze their key markets and gauge their reaction. A perfect example is Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign. Though it seemed like a gamble, it’s clear Nike ran the numbers and determined that their core market would approve. The outliers were inconsequential against the support of their key consumers. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

11. Keep Early Adopters In Mind

Maybe people really are more divided than ever. But if there's one trait most people share, it's resistance to change. Whether you're looking to expand your market or remain relevant to your existing customers, don't leave your early adopters behind in the dust. Keep in mind the core products and promises that led your most fiercely loyal customers to become loyal in the first place. - Kristopher Jones,LSEO.com

12. Be True To What You Believe In

Authenticity is at the heart of any successful rebrand. If your brand promise and value proposition align with the redefined brand, you will have a better opportunity to succeed. If the rebrand is seen as a superficial shift to chase a trend in the market, it has less of a chance to be accepted. - Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

13. Shift Your Brand Gradually And Consistently

Truth: As you read this, your brand is becoming outdated. The best way to shift your brand is to do it gradually and consistently all the time. Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself after gaining weight? You might not have noticed before, but it's glaringly apparent now. Avoid a similar effect on your brand by listening to the market and making small changes to adapt it every year. - Benjamin Collins,Laughing Samurai

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/11/26/13-effective-methods-to-help-you-keep-customer-loyalty-while-rebranding/#47a2185ae439

Looney Featured in Forbes - Turn Praise Into Power: How To Make The Most Of Your Company's Accolades

Company and personal accolades provide great opportunities for promoting your brand. Not only do the accolades shine a spotlight on what you or your company is doing right, but they are perfect for social media sharing. Whatever form the praise is in can be translated across myriad platforms, sharing the good news and getting loyal customers hyped about the company’s success while drawing interest from new audiences.

But the key is in how the information is utilized. So, what are the best ways to make the most of a company or personal accolade? Below, 13 members of the Forbes Agency Council share insider tips on effectively utilizing accolades.

1. Translate The Accolade Into Sales

A great way to do this is to flip the accolade into something that would be of value to potential clients. For example, if your business won an award for delivering an outstanding campaign, then you could take that and use it as the open for a case study. Then, you could drive traffic to that via social media. It essentially validates your business and personal brand. - Darryl Mascarenhas, LivelyGroup

2. Go Smaller

Often, the intent of a press release is to reach as broad an audience as possible. But you can also take a more focused approach, looking for opportunities to share your good news and its value with a targeted audience. For instance, you might produce personalized videos for your top five prospects, showing how your accolade is proof that your company is a better fit for each of them. - Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup

3. Get Punchy And Creative

Having come from the media world, press releases only go so far. Get punchy and creative. Write a short pitch idea. Pull out the hook and send it to a few targeted contacts and personalize it. And get even more creative on social media. Create a graphic or artwork to promote yourself, post it and tag everyone associated with it. This is a formula that works. -Michelle Mekky, Mekky Media Relations, Inc.

4. Leverage Social Media

Use social-media-sponsored posts to get the most of company or personal accolades. We recommend creating a blog post on your website with details and information on your accolade. You can then share this page on all relevant social media channels. Sponsored advertising can be a cost-effective tactic to gain additional exposure for your accolade to a targeted audience. - Jody Resnick, Trighton Interactive

5. Create A Dedicated Page On Your Site

If you're proud of your recognition by multiple organizations, why not create a page solely dedicated to listing all of your achievements and partnerships? This can present your team as industry leaders. An "Awards and Recognition" page can also become an important factor for leads in a sales funnel to convert into customers. - Arya Bina, Kobe Digital

6. Share It With Existing Cheerleaders

Sharing accolades with people who are proven to be positive cheerleaders for your brand has many long-term benefits. We often implement a multilevel communication strategy that mixes personal phone calls, a newsletter, emails, a blog post and social media messages to reach the right supporters. We contact people we know are excited to hear the news and eager to share with their network of supporters. - Timothy Nichols,ExactDrive, Inc

7. Let Employees Announce It For You

Create a shareable piece of content that every one of your employees can post in their own social media channels. It will not only get the word out to all of their friends and colleagues who may not have otherwise heard the news, but will also convey a collective pride in the company and its accomplishments. - Jess Cook, TMV Group

8. Leverage Custom Audiences And Retargeting

When you have good news to share, pay the bucks to put it in front of your most important audiences. Custom audiences and retargeting are two great ways to ensure those you want to know find out, even if they don’t click to read more. - Dan Golden, Be Found Online

9. Pitch The Media

Identify the top 10 media outlets and contacts that you think would be most interested in your news. Then, personally pitch them not only the accolade but the backstory about your or your company’s journey to accomplishing that significant goal. - Drew Gerber, Wasabi Publicity, Inc.

10. Promote Across Multiple Channels

Promote it across other channels. Announce it on your social platforms, paste the award badge on your website homepage, create a button in your signature and package it up in your monthly newsletter. As with most announcements or accomplishments nowadays, you should always be thinking about the multiple ways to repurpose and distribute content. -Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

11. Run Facebook Ads To It

Target your ideal customer on Facebook and run ads to an article talking about it. You can upload your existing customer list as a custom audience, show it to them directly and use that to create a lookalike audience of others you want to reach. Chances are they will not know they're being targeted directly and this will give your company more credibility and increased client retention. - Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising

12. Leverage For In-Depth Profiles

A press release is just the start. We like to take the release and parlay it into a larger pitch/story idea for an in-depth profile piece. Very often, colleges/universities will put together an alumni profile after winning an award or other accolade. After celebrating within the office, we also like to take the imagery and videos from the office celebration and share on socials for added reach. - Durée Ross, Durée & Company, Inc.

13. Tell Your Mom

Outside of the obvious PR, there are dozens of ways to tie back to an achievement. Put it in your email signature or bio with a link, your business card and website. Include it in a content-based email blast or old fashioned direct mail promo. Also, don't forget to tell your mom. She'll brag about you and spread some serious word of mouth. Plus, she deserves to be updated on her ROI. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding


Looney Featured in Forbes - 12 Important Storytelling Lessons That Came From Unexpected Places

One of the most important lessons a marketer can learn is how to tell a compelling story. It's a critical job skill if they want to effectively connect with and influence their audience; however, this skill isn't necessarily gained in the workplace. Sometimes, the most profound lessons about how to tell your story originate in the most unlikely of places.

We asked a panel of Forbes Agency Council members to share their top storytelling lessons learned from unexpected sources. From a high school orchestra to an equestrian workshop, here's what these seemingly unrelated experiences taught our experts.

Members of the Forbes Agency Council share their storytelling lessons.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Success Doesn't Happen Without Failure 
One of the best work-related lessons occurred when I was in San Francisco on a business trip. I had a few hours to spare and decided to go to The Walt Disney Family Museum. While there, I learned Walt Disney faced multiple failures, even after he was considered a genius. It made me realize that success doesn’t happen without failure. It was an important reminder to take risks and to keep swimming. - Ginger E. JonesWebPunch

2. Emotion Makes For Better Stories 
I was once telling someone the story of picking up our yellow lab from the breeder. When I finished the story, she said, "Wow, Ben, that's a good story. But next time you tell it, talk more about how it made you feel. That would make it a great story." Her advice was spot on. Now, we use that in our digital marketing to create great user experiences via stories that evoke emotion. - Ben LeDonniCreativeMMS

3. Recognition Is A Powerful Motivator 
When younger, I co-chaired several large civic events that involved managing hundreds of volunteers. Since these people were not employees, I had to learn how to motivate people without recourse to tangible rewards. I learned that people naturally enjoy having something expected of them as long as you don't micromanage them, and that recognition alone is a powerful motivator. - Jeff Bradfordthe Bradford Group

4. Strive To Be Present 
We were at a family dinner, and I was on my phone when my mom yelled, "Put that stupid phone down! It can wait an hour." At first, I thought that she just doesn't get it. I need to be on top of it! Then, I figured she might be on to something. Since then, I schedule my email checking/replying, so it doesn't dictate what I do and when I do it. It has almost doubled my performance. Go, mom! - Rafael RomisWeberous Web Design

5. Keep Your Ego In Check
After winning a competition against others who I knew were far more skilled than I was, I had to remind myself that was just one day. The same is true in business and marketing. You may have skill and you may completely crush it that day, week or year. But there is always competition close by, ready to take you down. Stay focused and keep your ego in check. - Bernard MayNational Positions

6. Use Only What You Need 
My nana was a single parent who worked two jobs to support four daughters. One day, I saw her ripping paper towels in half. When I asked her why, she simply stated it was all she needed. A lifetime of making ends meet defined in one moment. Whenever we produce work, we are super efficient. I just think of this petite woman, her strong forearms and a powerful lesson defined by a single paper towel. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

7. Understand Your Communication Process
Wyatt Webb is the founder of the Equine Experience at Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona. I participated in a workshop there that provides insight into relationship communication. Working with horses, guests begin to see patterns of learned behavior that may be working against them. Understanding your communication process helps improve personal and professional relationships. - Timothy NicholsExactDrive, Inc

8. Success Requires Detail, Precision And Cooperation 
To understand attention to detail, to apply specific skills at just the right moment and to cooperate across a group to achieve a common goal, I can think of few lessons more valuable than performing as part of an orchestra. In fact, I recently attended the memorial service for my high school orchestra director and thanked his wife for the valuable life skills her husband had offered to me. - Dave WendlandHamacher Resource Group

9. Resourcefulness Is Your Greatest Asset 
I lost both of my parents when I was 20 years old. With the choice to earn money or starve, I realized everything is a resource. As long as I am resourceful, I can achieve anything. After moving to the United States, I was unable to do the only skill I knew. This meant I had to be resourceful by learning new skills and creating a new network to build my ideal business and life that I love. - Imran TariqWebMetrix Group LLC

10. Always Aim For A 'Home Run' 
When I played baseball, a coach told me a story of Mickey Mantle being asked by a reporter if he goes up to the plate with the intention of hitting a home run. The Mick looked him in the eye and said, "Every damn time." That resonated with me for the rest of my life; you have to go to the plate with the intention of playing long ball. Otherwise, success will be limited. - Paul E BenninghovePhalanx Digital Inc.

11. Get Back Up And Keep Trying 
I learned the most valuable lesson watching one kid after another completely wipe out trying to clear hurdles. I asked myself, "Why would kids choose to hurdle?" Then, I saw a young, short boy fall on nearly every hurdle, yet he continued to get up and keep going. He triumphantly kicked the final hurdle out of the way to end his race. Falling down is not a failure as long as you get back up. - Katie HarrisSpot On Solutions

12. Convey Complex Ideas In Their Simplest Form 
A great storyteller is someone who can explain their vision, get people excited and inspire them to take that visionary ride. When I have a great story to tell, I find my 10-year-old son and if he can follow along and get excited, then I'm on to something. A good storyteller takes a complex scenario and illustrates it in its simplest form. If my 10-year-old gets it, then everyone else will. - Julie VelozIPG Mediabrands

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Find out if you qualify at forbesagencycouncil.com/qualify.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/08/30/12-important-storytelling-lessons-that-came-from-unexpected-places/#96258ef70677



Ironshore wins another IMCA Showcase Award of Excellence for their 2018 print campaign

Ironshore received the top accolade for their 2018 campaign in the Print Corporate Advertising and Marketing category from the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA). This is the second time Ironshore has won the award, in collaboration with longtime agency of record, Looney Advertising & Branding. 

“It is especially gratifying to be recognized this year since we set out to dimensionalize to brokers and risk managers what it means now that Ironshore is a part of Liberty Mutual.”

- Charlotte Moscardelli, Ironshore’s SVP of Marketing and Communications


Founded in 1923, The IMCA is the oldest insurance marketing trade association in North America. IMCA is pleased to recognize the best work in insurance marketing and communications each year. The Showcase Awards are some of the longest running awards in our industry and highlight excellence in a variety of categories each year. Judging was conducted by more than 60 industry marketing executives across North America and recognizes the most effective and innovative work of the year out of hundreds of entries from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. 

"The Showcase competition was very tough this year. We received exceptional entries and it was inspiring to see such creative and effective marketing and communication efforts," said Anna Hargis, chair of the board of directors.

IMCA represents over 120 regional and specialty companies, general agencies, prominent industry suppliers and prominent multi-line insurance companies and brokerage firms, as well as the top five property casualty writers in the U.S. Our membership is drawn from insurance and financial services industries throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda.

Other award winners included AIG, John Hancock and American Family Insurance.


Data access will be more difficult for marketers. Here's why this actually may be a good thing.

The Equifax Data Breach. The Instagram hack in August of 2017. The Google data scandal with android location tracking. And now the Facebook Cambridge Analytica Data Leak. All of these events have happened within the past year and a half, and all have to do with the handling and usage of individuals’ private data. Ultimately, in response to these events as well as others, new and tighter regulation on access to private data has been approved, making it increasingly difficult to gain prized first-party data. This is especially relevant to marketers and advertisers who use customer data to craft more targeted approaches in their marketing campaigns. With Americans using 2,657,700 gigabytes of online data every minute, the amount of personal information brokers are selling is exponentially greater. According to a Pew study, it’s very important to 74% of Americans to control who accesses their data, but right now, the reality is  we’re all for sale. While many think more recent stringent developments may cripple the marketing industry in the future, increased regulation might not be such a bad thing after all.   They’ll force companies to put more emphasis on personalized customer relationships over the long run.

To better explain this potential dynamic, you have to understand the details of the new regulations, and specifically the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Basically, GDPR, which went into effect on May 25th in the European Union (EU), tightens an already strict policy on what companies can do with personal data. It was reintroduced because it was originally created before smartphones began compiling massive amounts of personal data (thanks to Google, Facebook, Instagram, and recent data hacks). The regulatory policy allows more consumer control over data, requires company justification and absolute consent before using data, and considers any data that can identify an individual to be personal data.

And even though GDPR is EU legislation, it still affects almost all businesses outside of Europe. Many firms collect & use EU residents’ data. Furthermore, many international companies draw on companies in the EU for services and processing data, all of which will now be regulated by GDPR.

All in all, it spells trouble for those who want access to first-party data, and requires firms to simplify their language in describing data usage. For example, whenever a customer signs up for a service, they are given a block of text on their data privacy agreement, followed by a small box the user can check agreeing to the privacy policy. According to a 2008 study, it would take an average person about 244 hours a year to read all the private policies on sites they use, or approximately 40 minutes per day. Keep in mind this was in 2008, when people used the internet for ⅓ of the total time they use it today. So rather than reading the excessively long text on privacy agreement, most users find it much easier to simply check the box of agreement and start using the service provided. We’ve all done it.

Now with GDPR and other regulatory legislature going into effect, privacy policy as a whole will be simplified, meaning more consumers will feel inclined to read said policy, and improper uses of data will be quickly exposed and addressed, making first-party data more difficult to obtain. The policy also affects third-party data collection, the means by which most marketers collect data. Oftentimes, marketers don’t collect data themselves, but through certain data vendors. However, since GDPR regulations are universal, vendors are also regulated, and as a result, so too are advertisers and marketers.

The consequence for breaking the GDPR is steep -- 20 million euros (23 million USD) or 4% of annual turnover—whichever figure is larger. It’s safe to say breaking this new policy would be a devastating blow for any company.

To make matters worse for marketers specifically, the general public already holds great distrust for the industry when dealing with privacy and cybersecurity. In fact, based on an industry scorecard found in Lara O’reilly’s recent WSJ article on digital marketing and data privacy policy, Social Media, Digital, Marketing and Advertising companies were trusted by less than 5% of consumers about cybersecurity and privacy. Banks and hospitals were the most trusted by all consumers, but even these industries were trusted by less than 50% of consumers. Overall, most people already have a negative outlook on the advertising industry in the sphere of privacy and data security, something that will only become more scrutinized with new regulation on the horizon.

To adapt to new data collecting regulations, those involved with advertising and strategic marketing will have to employ new and more personalized marketing techniques, something that will make the industry as a whole more profitable in the long run and may even positively reshape the public outlook on marketers’ collective practices.

One major technique that abides by new regulations and encourages data exchange is the idea of “equitable value tradeoff”, as described by Mike Katz, the CEO of mParticle. Basically it revolves around the idea of giving consumers something in exchange for their data as an incentive, such as access to special deals or exclusive clubs. Data usage still must be clearly identified and outlined thanks to regulation, but consumers are more inclined to give access to their data for a reward. Many companies have already found success through this practice, most notably Starbucks and Nike. Through their reward program, Starbucks exchanges certain rewards in exchange for consumers using their app (the more data a user inputs, the better the rewards they receive). Similarly, Nike developed an app called SNKRS to gain data, which is simultaneously used to gauge user interest and target marketing tactics. Consumers have a positive view on this collection of data because in return for their information, they find products that more closely align with their tastes and interests. Nike’s approach follows a general theme necessary for marketing agencies to thrive in the age of increased regulation: firms must enhance personal customer relations in order to gain access to data. And by any standard, having a better relationship with the people you are interacting with is marketing in its purest form.

Additionally, many firms found that a straightforward approach in asking consumers about data usage (and revealing what data was specifically used for) yielded people sharing more information. According to SAP CMO Mika Yamato, “if we figure out how the customer wants to connect with us, we have a greater opportunity to connect with them and inspire them”. And as many in the marketing industry understand, consumer inspiration is always a primary goal.

Being more straightforward and personal with consumers as a whole also evades much of the problems associated with consumers submitting false data. Sometimes when special deals and discounts are offered in return for data, consumers supply false data in order to take advantage. However, people are much more likely to give accurate information on themselves to a real person that they have a personal relation with instead of an online form, which further supports the idea of prioritizing customer relations over brand promotion. Phil Sutcliffe, head of offer and innovation at Kantar TMS UK, agrees with this notion by saying, "People talk about trust in brands in a similar way to which they talk about trust in people-it's quite emotive-so it's important for brands to embody those human qualities and to be quite real and vulnerable and transparent in terms of how they are communicating.”

The main caveat with this new approach is that marketers have to be careful that they aren’t too aggressive in trying to obtain consumer data, a practice that will surely deter customer interest. Privacy has to be viewed as a core value, and not just an additive marketing ploy. Apple’s newly implemented privacy icon represents a great example. The privacy icon pops up when one of apple’s apps asks for personal data, in effort to prevent piracy attempts and show the corporation’s dedication to protecting the users’ personal data..

All in all, if companies continue to implement policies like Starbucks, Nike, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and others, then GDPR regulations and other changes to private policy should not be feared amongst marketers, but instead welcomed as an impetus for improvement and a better way to build real relationships where they are invited into a very private conversation.


Unfriending Facebook

Will Ferrell, Elon Musk, and companies such as Playboy and Mozilla have dumped Facebook. Most people know they profit by collecting data, but they've kind of ignored that fact as they promote a fake perfect version of their lives.  It's like the creepy Uncle you invite to the table every Thanksgiving - you think you have to do it until you realize it's just not worth it. Facebook has been a great tool for marketers to reach millions of people and measure the results, but the veneer is wearing off as people are now understanding the depth of the invasion of their privacy. Unlike, MySpace, Facebook always seemed a little too big to fail once it took off.  The reality now is that there are other options that have reached critical mass for the Gen Z and millennials, Facebook isn't it.  Many Gen Xer's got on it because their kids were engaged and they were checking in, but it's not really part of their daily routine. Facebook is reacting slowly by reducing the effectiveness of companies being able to interact with followers, but they are missing the point.Facebook has lost trust in consumers and younger generations prefer more engaging platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Slowly, Facebook’s “friends” will start declining. This won't happen over night, but you will see the 2 billion mark erode. FB will try new things, but intangible products crash fast.  RIP Vine and their 40 million users. It doesn't mean that it's still not a viable media choice, it just means that you have to pay attention to the value it delivers in your media plan. Millennials grew up with Facebook. In fact, 86% of the users on Facebook are made up of millennials. However, 35% of Gen Z-ers are quitting many social media platforms, but keeping Snapchat and YouTube. This is mainly because they can control their content. The future is Gen Z and savvy brands will curate content to what they want. In short, Facebook might not be the best option when appealing to future generations.


Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Rebranding

There are a number of valid reasons a company might want to rebrand itself. For example, your business may have evolved since you started and you need your branding to reflect your growth. Maybe your brand no longer resonates with customers and you feel like you need a refresh to drum up interest. Or perhaps you've decided to completely pivot your business model and want an updated look to match your new approach.

Conversely, there are also a lot of bad reasons to rebrand your company. Changing things up without a solid strategy or purpose is a waste of time and money, and worse, it could confuse and alienate your customers. If you're thinking about making a significant change to your brand identity, first ask yourself these 13 questions recommended by members of the Forbes Agency Council.

1. Why Am I Rebranding? 

Know who or what you're rebranding for. Rebranding for a new audience? For new services? Or simply trying to keep up with the times? Pivoting to try and gain a new market can be risky. However, if this market is clear, you are far closer to a successful rebranding strategy. Be careful not to alienate your existing target market (unless that's the goal). Know your "why" and go from there. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. What Could You Lose? 

Will a rebrand endanger the brand equity you've built up over the years? If the changes you make are drastic, will your current customers embrace them? Is the potential lure of new customers strong enough to risk alienating or confusing your current base? If not, then what? Is it possible that polishing up your current brand elements would give you the best of old and new? - Scott GreggoryMadAveGroup

3. What Do My Customers Want? 

It's typical for companies to strongly believe they know exactly what their clients' need to hear and see in their brand. Guessing what customers want is dangerous and leads to incorrect assumptions. All rebrands must include a structured discovery process that includes customer interviews to eliminate guessing, and internal interviews to bring the entire company together in one message. - John GumasGumas Advertising

4. How Does My Brand Feed The Identities People Want To Create? 

Brands play a fundamental role in reinforcing the identities people construct for themselves — multi-dimensional identities. By decoding what motivates people to build a particular identity and understanding your brand's role in supporting it, you can build brands that become, in some small way, part of how someone defines themselves, and ultimately, part of the cultural fabric. - Meggan WoodInnate Motion

5. Are We Ready To Do This? 

Rebranding is a good idea when sales are flat, the company's focus has changed or a reputation has been tarnished. But a new brand is a new promise. As such, a true rebrand requires commitment from employees at every level to truly support the revised position. Often, companies waste money going through a rebrand only to keep doing things the same way. If you aren't going to change, save your money. - Jacquelyn LaMarVI Marketing and Branding

6. Can Our Marketing Campaigns Compensate For The Rebrand? 

Rebranding is incredibly expensive and requires a complete organizational restructuring of the way you communicate your business over existing marketing channels. Everything from your brand's voice to the content you create will change. Can you maintain consistency and continuity across your channels? And can existing customers keep you afloat in the meantime? Determine costs before moving forward. - Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

7. Will This Rebrand Deliver Significant Changes Or Consumer Benefits? 

As a PR agency, we are often tasked with promoting a rebrand as big company news. From our perspective, if generating buzz around a tired brand is one of the rebrand's goals, it must deliver significant changes or consumer benefits beyond a new logo, packaging or tagline to get media and consumer attention. - Suzanne MillerSPM Communications

8. Do I Have The Budget To Make A Real Impact? 

Companies rebrand all the time because they've become tired or have a new, shiny positioning to push out. The second question you need to ask, especially if there's a mass audience, is: Have I set aside enough budget to make an impact? Brands can't go out in public half-naked. If you have an established brand and need to change your target's mind, you have to invest more across all comms. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. How Will It Impact Our Existing Customers? 

When rebranding, you should always consider how the change will impact existing customers. Sometimes a rebrand is necessary, but many of today’s businesses are looking to rebrand to attract younger demographics. In this case, it’s important to ask whether the core components of your business will change and, if so, how that will impact the loyal customers you’ve already earned. - Matthew JonasTopFire Media

10. How Will I Track The Results Of The Rebrand? 

How do you plan on tracking the rebrand's success and ROI? Figuring out the why is easy — maybe it's keeping up with competition, needing a design refresh or modernizing your brand. But if you are not tracking the results afterward, it will be hard to tell how successful your efforts have been. - David KleyWeb Design and Company

11. Will I See A Real ROI? 

Will your new brand open up enough revenue-generating opportunities to justify the expense, time, resources and disruption that will happen before the rebrand is done and successfully implemented? Be clear on how the rebrand will help you attract new clients, deepen existing relationships, command more for your offering and attract new talent. Think carefully before taking the plunge. - Michelle PittmanJConnelly

12. How Well Do I Know My Audience? 

If you have a deep and strategic understanding of your audience's interests, needs and digital preferences, your rebrand is more likely to resonate with the audiences that matter most to your business. - Paula ChiocchiOutward Media, Inc.

13. What Problem Will This Rebrand Solve? 

Rebranding for the sake of rebranding is a waste of time and energy. Understand what problem you are trying to solve and figure out if rebranding will fix it. If your customer base has changed, new customers are coming back and you are altering your entire business, then yes, rebrand. But if you are simply having a slightly off year, don't spend the time. - Aidan ColenTuitive.social 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/03/02/13-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-you-start-rebranding/2/#37cace723f41

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