The Swirl: February 29, 2016

In this special Leap Day edition: defining brands, humor that knocks us to our knees, and a glimpse at the future of things. Hold on tight, the marketing turn up is about to get very real.  


"Daaamn Daniel!" -Cali kid with a cell phone.

ICYMI: The Internet blew up last week over two teens posting... about their clothes. Just goes to show, nothing - and we mean nothing - is too stupid to go viral. They even landed themselves on The Ellen Show where she decided to give Damn Daniel a gift that will literally keep on giving: a lifetime supply of white Vans sneakers. His videographer friend? A personalized surfboard. For ya know, surfing. Gnarly, dude.  


What's really in a brand? Is it a logo? Is it the tagline? It is what differentiates you from other brands? The answer is yes to all of these, plus more. It defines who you are, shows an understanding of your audience, and conveys expertise. From big campaigns to social posts, everything you put out there has to stay true to your brand. And recently, we've seen a lot of brands reinforce who they really are. Delta has shifted their focus from the journey to the destination, Nascar is bringing out the competitive nature in all of us, and Hershey's ditched the chocolate milk to move towards a masterbrand approach. What we're seeing is less of the product and more of what it means to the consumer. Because as much as we love looking at chocolate, it's more about how it makes us feel.  


Marketing is all about getting consumers to feel connect with them on an emotional level. That's the real challenge that brands face in this day and age. How can you truly breakthrough the swirl of messages that consumers are inundated with on a daily basis? Hit them in the feels. Repeatedly. That's how. See how Volvo is killing it here. PS - this isn't just something we think is true. We know it is. It's grounded in neuroscience and the way our minds and bodies inherently operate. This guy and his golden circle have a lot to say about it.  


Brands that want to dig deep and pull at our heart strings. There's no getting around the fact that humans are emotional beings. But that doesn't always mean tears. It can be funny too. The bottom line is that emotions control our actions, so give us a place to feel them. Even Facebook is onto this trend.  


Just ask Charlie Chaplin - "A day without laughter is a day wasted." We'd have to agree. Especially when it comes to standout advertising. We already learned that emotion is key. So, how do you make people laugh? First, you have to have a sense of humor and know that your audience will too. Take Snickers for example. Their absurd take on airbrushing went over, shall we say, flawlessly? And then there's Adobe who portrayed Bob Ross in the modern tech age. You can't help but laugh, or at least smile. Humor can be a hard thing to get right, especially when there are a ton of ads out there trying to do the same thing. But these brands have successfully gotten us to show our pearly whites. Props.


We've all seen humor go wrong. Too controversial? See ya. Too much of a stretch? Bai. But speaking of bai, they're doing it hilariously right. More than anything, the key is to make your content entertaining, memorable and true to your brand.  


All industries. And if you think your product or service is too mundane or regulated, think again. Bank of America even makes financial services fun. If used right, humor can be a great conversation starter for your brand. You just have to make sure it's right and doesn't stretch too far from home. Staying true to you brand always comes first.  


We've all heard of the Internet of Things. Virtual reality. Connected devices. Some of us even own Fitbits and Apple Watches and have installed Nest into our homes. But these things are just a glimpse into the future of technology and how consumers and brands alike will be leveraging it to their advantage. What does that look like? Well, Visa's working on the technology to pay for gas from inside your car. Lowe's has got a customer service robot trolling the floor. And in the fashion world, Rebecca Minkoff is flirting with the reality of virtual shopping.  


There once was a time where we would never have agreed to the instant access that technology allows - like managing your home security or transferring money with the touch of a button. Now, we're open to the idea of relinquishing some of our privacy or giving up our information in exchange for convenience and accessibility. It may seem far-fetched, but soon technology will allow consumers to connect in ways we never thought possible. And for the record, we're not saying do cool for cool's sake - this kind of technology needs to be designed with the consumer in mind, and ultimately deliver on an unfulfilled desire or unmet need. Delta's already got the right idea.  




As if you needed more of a reason to start capturing work life moments on Snapchat... behold: the create-your-own geofilter feature. Start working on those design skills.  


Lunch bunch is a real thing. As it turns out, we're not the only ones bonding over salads and sandwiches at lunch time. The agency kitchen is universally where true relationships are being built. Moral of the story: make a point to break away from your desks and join in on the social fun, friends.