Now more than ever we thrive on data. We want to take these polls and then see where we fit. Yes, maybe more people might like to have the ability to eat without getting fat or more people want to know what their pet is thinking about them, but what does that all mean? Or even better, how do you explain it? These become especially pertinent questions when your campaign has finished and you’re left with all these numbers or you now know where most Las Vegas tourists are from.
However, sometimes answering these questions requires data visualization. That is, presenting numbers, stats and important information in a visually pleasing way. It’s a great way to create interactivity and keep your audience longer on your site. The key is to realize what is the best way to present the information and when to make it interactive or just static.
Below is a list of different approaches to present your data and some free tools that may help you.
This can be either linear (if you have a selection of photos that tell a story in a needed order) or nonlinear for when you just want to show a collection of photos. On most website platforms, including WordPress, you can simply upload your photos, however if you want a program to present the photos, WOW Slider is an easy and effective way to doing that.
This is a great tool to simply show a chart or several diagrams explaining a topic you’re discussing. Venngage is an easy-to-use tool that will let you customize your infographic and be presentation-ready for your next occasion.
These have been the biggest rage the past couple years, as it’s a great way to show off your data while sparking your audience’s eye with visually-pleasing graphics. Info.gram is a great way to create a chart from your Excel sheet and present/share your information in a simple interactive infographic.
Let’s say you want to show where people most want the ability for super speed versus the ability of invisibility. You have all these locations but no way to show it. A good approach would be to create a map with ScribbleMaps, which will not only show their location, but also show details about who is in that location. This is where mapping meets interactivity.
It’s crazy to think there’s all these tools for data visualization, but one that’s rather interesting is a new approach to presenting your resume to future employers. Visaulize.me helps you create an interactive resume that gives you infographics turning your work experience into a data visualization.
So no matter which route you choose, just realize and consider what the best approach would be to creating data visualization. Yes, you want to impress your readers but don’t go overboard by providing a cool interactive map when just a static infographic is necessary to show how many people want to read minds.
If you’ve viewed your social media feed at least once in the past two weeks, you’ve probably noticed the phenomenon ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People are dousing themselves with ice cold water all throughout the world to support the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association, which some people still confuse for the ASL Foundation (American Sign Language).
According to Facebook, 2.4 million videos have been shared relating to the ice bucket challenge and over 28 million people have posted, liked and/or commented about this trend. Additionally, the challenge has reached almost every country in the world.
The trend has been mentioned on Twitter more than 2.2 million times and over 800,000 times on Instagram.
This is a perfect example of people in support of your organization spreading a good deed through simply clicking the “share” button. It’s a chain effect. The only thing you need to is make note of your organization’s involvement and watch the magic happen while you create brand awareness.
ALS has received $31.5 million in donations for the July 29-Aug. 20 time period. Compare that to only $1.9 million during that same time period last year. These donations come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors. Yeah, and people say social media isn’t effective.
The challenge was in existence before Pete Frates, prior Divison 1 Boston College baseball athlete, picked it up in late July to support ALS — a progressive degeneration of the motor neurons of the central nervous system, leading to wasting of the muscles and paralysis.
The initial challenge was to dump a bucket of ice on yourself and if you didn’t accept the challenge then you had to donate $100 to a charity of your choice. Matt Lauer of the Today Show took the challenge after being dared by hall of fame golfer Greg Norman. The challenge started with pro golfer Rickie Fowler and then challenging his colleagues.
Now, celebrities and public figures continue to challenge each other as well as the general public too. Although there is some discord concerning if it’s just a “cop out” to take the challenge and not donate, however most celebrities promise to donate additionally.
No matter the reasoning for this challenge (potential slacktivism, but that’s another post), what matters is the power of social media and how an organization can continue to spread coverage through a positive image. It’s the epitome of spreading brand awareness and ALS Association is doing it effortlessly.
Below is a compilation of celebrities and public figures taking part in the challenge…
The name of a brand is the key to its identity – it’s what people say when they recognize your logo or tagline. This name isn’t (or shouldn’t, at least) be taken lightly — it’s like naming your child; it requires some thought and deeper meaning.
However, not all babies are named as thoughtfully such as Fox India Owen, Bear Winslet, North West, Cricket Pearl Silverstein or the lovely Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson (yes, that’s one person).
Some brands have followed in these poor babies’ footsteps with unusual names (that don’t work) and oddly enough, several have some awkward sexual implications.
Kum & Go
Based in West Des Moines, Iowa, this convenience store attempted to do a play on the phrase, “come and go,” however I’m not sure if it was the best option they could have picked in 1975. If anything, they’re extremely memorable.
With the motto, “Smashed Fresh. Served Delicious,” Smashburger apparently does just that to serve tasty burgers (no matter it’s implications).
BJ’s (Restaurant | Brewhouse)
There are too many places with this name (from a wholesale club to a 99 cent store), but a prominent one here in Las Vegas is the restaurant BJ’s, where they promise you’ll be greeted with, “Welcome to BJ’s!” They’ve been flaunting a good restaurant owned by BJ since 1978. Simply put, there’s too many inferences that can be made from this name.
A Kraft Foods product, this dijon mustard may be the best-selling Dijon-style mustard (there isn’t much competition) in the U.S., but it also may make you second guess the process in making the condiment. It’s a partnership between Maurice Grey and Auguste Poupon since 1886, but no matter how you say it doesn’t sound like their tagline in the video below: “One of life’s finer pleasures.”
Now yes, it’s important to have thought behind your brand name (which all of these listed do), but it’s also important to realize how people will perceive your name. If you want sexual implications when people think of your restaurant, then go ahead and name it “BJ’s,” but if not then be sure to reassess that decision. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]It’s a risk to stick with an odd name, but just be sure to own it if you do.[/inlinetweet]
These companies below have odd names, but do a good job of making fun at themselves while still creating a positive face for their brand.
Fresh Body: Fresh Balls
A personal hygiene brand dedicated to keeping you “So Fresh and So Dry,” they really go all out to take care of a man’s genitalia. Also, don’t worry they feature Fresh Breasts too, ladies.
Thus, this video shows the very concern involved with a man’s sweat in his not so talked about regions.
It’s literally what it sounds like. A freshener that you spray prior to dropping the motherload (or using the restroom) to prevent others from smelling what you just did in the bathroom.
This video shows their great use of playing on their awkward name and concept altogether.
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]So when you name your brand, be sure it’s something you’d proud to hear in conversation.[/inlinetweet] It’s just like naming your baby — you want it to thoughtful and meaningful. Unusual brand names are great, but only when they’re marketed appropriately and reach their desired audience.
So your phone is attached to your hip. What else is new? I mean you’re probably already addicted to social media, we all know that, but do you? If any of these signs are a reality for you, then yes…you’re addicted #readabook.
1. Hashtags are a part of your daily speak #amiright
2. You look at your phone just out of habit, knowing that there haven’t been any updates from the past 5 seconds.
3. You created an Instagram account for your pet cat (even though it’s your neighbors).
4. You post a pic of your food while on a first date.
5. You record yourself with the intention of making it a Vine/social media hit #notgonnahappen
6. You have a minor heart attack when your posts don’t upload.
7. You share every result you’ve ever gotten from a Buzzfeed quiz.
8. For all the pinned recipes you have on your “Food Must Make” board, you’ve made none of them.
9. You checked social media while reading this list #multitasking.
10. If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen.
11. This list makes no sense to you…but you’re reading this from a social media post so #goldstar
Congratulations. You have a business and know your brand strategy. Great. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
Now that your self-esteem is raised, let’s lower it. Since only you and your great grandma know of your brand, you’re in need of some brand awareness. There is no better way to reach out to your target audience than through social media. However, between all the blogging, tweeting, pinning a kale recipe that we know we’ll never try and “Instagraming” your outfit of the day (or #ootd), which one do you use? Several? All? Or none and just cry yourself to sleep?
Yes, you should have 3-4 different platforms, but which ones will help you determine the focus of your brand. To help you, below is a list of the most popular social media platforms (in alphabetical order to practice your ABCs) and what/when they’re best used for.
This is one of the best ways to generate organic traffic through search engine optimizations (in case you forgot what SEO meant), as 77 percent Internet users read blogs. Also, 61 percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on blog post, which is quite influential. The key is to give advice, insight and note coming-of-age trends.
River Pools and Spas does a great job of showing off their knowledge of pools and spas through informing the reader about topics such as an earthquake’s impact on a flexible fiberglass pool.
With 1.28 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the leader in the social media platforms, but their user demographics is significantly changing. Originally intended for college students, 72 percent of adults are now visiting Facebook monthly. Now It’s important for almost all businesses to have a Facebook page, however the most common reason determined to unlike a page is uninteresting content. So be sure you’re active and engaging, especially since 75 percent of of the engagements occurs in the first five hours of a post.
The owner of bareMinerals, Bare Escentuals, does a great a job of engagement as their fans are driving conversations with posts, likes, shares and comments.
A site based on showing your circles posts you share, information about you and bringing together all your Google product accounts, 540 million active users dominate Google+. More than half of the interactions between a Google+ user and a brand is positive. This is probably one of the more underestimated platforms, but definitely something to be considered with its possibilities. Especially since there’s the possibility to do a live chat, which automatically adds to your connection with your audience.
Global communications and technology company, Alcatel-Lucent, does a great job of utilizing all of Google+’s products. They have live chats, videos from recent conferences and constant updates of posts relating to their brand.
With over 200 million active users, Instagram is all about connecting a community visually. With their addition of video, this allows businesses to create 15-second engaging videos for their audience to connect. 23 percent of teens alone consider Instagram to be their favorite social media platform, which can help boost your engagement incredibly if that’s your target audience.
The high-end designer Burberry incorporates video and images seamlessly from their runway shows to their behind-the-scenes design. The video below features a dance number in the windows of their Shanghai building.
Known as the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn’s 187 million active users are a force to be reckoned with. This is a great place to not only post your job applications (44,000 job applications are filled out daily), but to also create groups among colleagues that you may not see everyday.
Adobe is a great example of creating community and availability on LinkedIn. They provide different pages according to their audience – whether it be their Creative Cloud or Marketing Cloud, Adobe continues to have a two-way conversation with their determined audience.
A platform dedicated to admiring fashion, food, do-it-yourself tutorials and dorm room designs, Pinterest is predominantly used by women (80 percent to be exact).
Oreck (yes, the vacuum), does surprisingly well. Not because they post interestingly angled pins of their vacuums sucking up the world, but rather an adorable kitten sitting on a recently vacuumed carpet. There’s the best of both worlds: proof their vacuums work and a cute kitten for the Pinterest ladies to “aw” and “ooh” over.
Dedicated to sharing your point of view, Snapchat has 30 million active users sending 1-10 second videos and seflies to their friends constantly. As 400 million Snapchats are sent daily, you might want to consider creating an account, but how would you do it? The World Wildlife Fund #LastSelfie Snapchat campaign raises awareness about endangered species. It’s extremely simple, but ridiculously powerful and effective.
A quirky and predominantly young micro-blogging platform (67 percent of users are under 35), Tumblr is not for the faint-hearted. A big user on gifs (an endless looping image), Fiat recently did an advertisement playing on that idea called, “Endless Fun.” If your target audience is young (a teenager to be exact) then this would be a good platform to consider.
Dedicated to sharing ideas and information, Twitter is dominated by 255 million active users. Although you can tweet images and videos, Twitter is still content-based. Also, keep in mind that 77 percent of accounts are outside the U.S.
This is a great platform for a two-way conversation among followers.
For example, several of the car brands (Chevrolet, Ford, GM and Honda) are tweeting at people who post pictures of their new Camaro, answer customer questions or clarify misconceptions.
More than 1 billion users are visiting YouTube where originally-created videos are uploaded and viewed. YouTube is the #2 search engine following in the giant footsteps of Google. With 80 percent of traffic outside of the U.S., this distribution platform can help your channel reach a large audience.
Several companies and talented individuals create series to keep a consistent audience coming back. Comedian Jenna Marbles gives brash advice and makes fun of herself and celebrities to her 13 million (and counting) subscribers. One of her most infamous series is “What Girls and Guys Do.”
Owned by Twitter, Vine has over 40 million users. Known to be the “best way to share life in motion,” these looping six-second long videos can be some of the funniest six-second moments of your day. 60 percent of Musicians’ Vines are retweeted while the weekends are most popular for sharing Vines.
The U.K.-based animation studio, Animate & Create, did an effortless and effective job of creating an old-fashioned flip book. It showcases their talents, but also adds some delight to your Vine feed.
At STANCE, one of the ways we achieve our purpose of elevating meaningful brands is by leveraging technology to create brand awareness. One of our popular service offerings is Social Media Management which takes away the pain and mystery of managing your own social media accounts. We do all the above for you.
Backed by research, we create a powerful social media marketing strategy that will ensure your brand reaches the audience it’s meant to serve. Find more information about how Social Media Management can benefit your business.
So the key is to never forget your target audience. Hang out where they hang out. If you don’t have customers on Vine, then don’t get one just to get one. It’s a waste of your precious time.
Also, to prove the point of having more than one social media platform, each of these profiting companies listed as examples have at least two other active accounts. So [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]expand your brand awareness from just you and your grandma, to everyone and their grandma.[/inlinetweet]
Reflect back to December where gifts and holidays are a commonality, however Target graced us with a disclosure that hackers stole credit and debit card information from millions of customers. Or travel back another three years to BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Both BP and Target experienced the concept of negative face.
Face Negotiation Theory
This concept stems from Stella Ting-Toomey’s Face Negotiation Theory, as she described the concept of our self-image, or face. We all have a positive and a negative face, which is defined by our culture’s reaction. It could be something as little as not saying “thank you” to a generous donation or “accidentally” sneezing on someone to add to our negative face. In an individualistic culture like the United States, the perspective of face is reflective on the individual. So, in turn, the individual determines our positive and negative face (compared to a collective group).
This very concept is easily reflected within the core definition behind a brand. At its bare basics, a brand is the gut emotion evoked by the customer (best described by Marty Neumeier). So in turn,[inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”] the customer or individual determines the face of the brand, which can be a different evoked emotion for each individual.[/inlinetweet]
Now, let’s say the brand got itself into a pickle and is now reflecting a negative face to the customer. This could be something as little as posting a tweet linking to a disliked article or forgetting to send out a thank you letter to a recent client…or hackers and oil spills for Target and BP. Whatever the situation was, the brand is now stuck with this distasteful image.
Five Different Approaches
Ting-Toomey said there are five different approaches we take to save both our face and the face of the other in communication. We can dominate (win/lose), avoid (lose/lose), oblige (lose/win), compromise (lose/lose) or integrate (win/win). Obviously the best option from these is integration. This is simply by recognizing there’s a conflict amongst both parties and agree to resolve the problem together.
So in the brand’s recent situation with the negligence of a thank you letter, they would contact the client and meet with them to formally apologize. Both parties will discuss any issues and integrate a new solution together.
Target responded with integration, resorting back to its positive face by providing coupons for customers and then also hiring a new security chief six months after the incident. For BP, despite their efforts to remove the oil and their negative face, there is still some left today. The company responded with providing $500 million towards the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative: a 10-year independent research program.
The key behind a brand’s positive face or image is connected engagement with the audience, as well as being consistent with each individual’s evoked emotions.
However, [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]we’ll all come across moments of negative face and when that happens remember to integrate and communicate. If we don’t, then we’ll be stuck with a distasteful image.[/inlinetweet]