Category: bk Opinions

01 Aug 2018
walking-dead_google

America Loves a Hero with a Familiar Face, Even in the Zombie Apocalypse

 

Image result for rick daryl walking dead amc

The Walking Dead may not survive upcoming major cast changes, and I’m worried that this is the end. Such as in the recently cancelled Once Upon a Time, an adult Disney adventure drama, and Scrubs, a comedy drama set in the everyday world of doctors, some characters become too entwined in the story for tv viewers to feel okay with their departure [despite an in-show reboot or character replacement]. At some point, you lose enough of your main cast that it doesn’t feel like the same show anymore, and this is the ultimate hit or miss. In the case of The Walking Dead, it has been confirmed that Rick will die and be replaced as leader by Daryl in Season 9. Is this a potential threat for the show?

There’s a chance that The Walking Dead may go the fate of Game of Thrones. I mean, they both aren’t scared of killing off characters… or are they? Granted, The Walking Dead has cut main characters, but with Rick standing in the center alive and, er, well, the core team can withstand the deaths and the viewers. If you think back to the show Lost, the writers were so afraid to kill off their cast that they brought them all back with lazy twisted finale. It’s understandable—why would you want to upset your fans after all this time, which is really why we’re in the situation we’re in. They want the show to continue and they’ve gone as long as they can with Rick. It’s just been too long.

I will say, though, that The Walking Dead keeps it more fresh than Supernatural (Why is that still going?!), when it comes to villains and general story.

Image result for the walking dead amc lion

With long-running shows, the audience tends to fall in love with a cast/characters just as much as the shows themselves. Due to this, shows have specific formulas that stand strong, even in an apocalyptical setting; the main one being the familiar gang in a series of uncomfortable situations, which is ALL of the aforementioned shows have developed.

This is not to say that some shows overcome this their loss [although some were better than others]:

  • US Office: Michael Scott (Steve Carell)
  • Cheers: Diane Chambers (Shelley Long)
  • Charmed: Prue Halliwell (Shannen Doherty)
  • Three’s Company: Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers)
  • Game of Thrones: Ned Stark (Sean Bean)

But most end up dying after just another season:

  • That’s 70s Show: Eric Foreman (Topher Grace), then Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher)
  • Two and a Half Men: Charlie (Charlie Sheen)
  • The X-Files: Fox Mulder (David Duchovny)
  • Spin City: Mike (Michael J. Fox)
  • Grey’s Anatomy: Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl)
  • One Tree Hill: Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray)
  • The O.C.: Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton)

With so many characters gone from The Walking Dead, is Daryl a strong enough character to take the helm? He’s a fully-developed personality and beloved by fans, but leaders usually have a love/hate relationship with their audience. This is due to the small, yet impactful decisions that only they get to make that cause internal conflict and future plot points. Are we sure Daryl can survive this? I wonder if it will feel more like a spin-off than the next season. With the ratings falling as they are, this could be the final choice that ends the show.

On some level, I do want the show to end. How much torment too much when it comes to the end of the world? If we are to assume there is never a cure, do we have to watch every last character die? Honestly, maybe this should be end of the show, with its this-might-as-well-happen ending.

I also can’t help but wonder, if this was done years ago, would the audience be more acclimated to the dead of a leader, or would the show have ended sooner?

Sources: All photos by AMC.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

 

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

03 May 2018
dallas-film-festival_culture_050218_google

Here’s Why I’m Going to the 2018 DIFF This Weekend, and You Should, Too

Sometimes it’s not about work. To clarify, in this blog representing my company, work is important, but so is the work-life balance as an individual person, and as a team. I feel like the big projects can wear you out as a group; unwinding back to routine is hard, and sometimes even that can make us all exhausted.

For me, this is challenging, as my job is 80 percent detail and structure, 20 percent creative. I also tend to take on extra projects because I think I have the capacity, even if I don’t. Hyper-attention and dedication is embedded in my soul. This leads me to the point of this blog, which is that I am psyched about the Dallas International Film Festival. And if any of that sounds like you, you should be, too!

I’ve been living in Dallas now for about 2 years, yet I’ve run into a problem. When I get to spend time outside of work, I don’t want to read or write (sadly, because I do it all day) and being physically adventurous is not something I enjoy on the whole. I’m not a homebody, but I love movies and music and typically spend my time at home watching Netflix or listening to records. If I go anywhere, it’s to see a movie or listen to / watch live performances. I feel like all my friends and I do is watch the same movies we’ve always seen and get at the same restaurants that are nearby and moderately priced.

So when my coworkers here at bk began to talk about the Dallas Film Society and the Dallas International Film Festival – partly because they love to go each year, and partly because we got to do some commercial spots for the event itself – I was elated! It’s an annual 8-day festival that celebrates the wonderment of movies as a cultural phenomenon that starts tonight, so I don’t even have to wait for it.

First off, the commercials turned out awesome (Check these out!).

Second, something that combines film and light social interaction with my friends and coworkers seems right up my alley. This gives me something new to do, somewhere to go, and something that actually sounds interesting to me! In fact, I was checking out their list of films and here’s a list of a few random things that caught my eye:

  • Bo Burham, a rising comedian who focuses on introspection, is listed as a director. I mean, when? What? I must know what his directive style is.
  • A short film that stars Nancy from Stranger Things. Her real name is Natalie Dyer.
  • Harvey, the black and white 1950s move about the 6-ft rabbit that only one guy can see.
  • Hair Wolf, that has the following intriguing description: “In a black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn, the local residents fend off a strange new monster.”
  • And June, the story of “An immigrant Chinese wife tries to fit in at her husband’s graduation reception in 1950s America.”

There’s also political films, Texas-based films and several cultural films. As well as the big premieres: Shock and Awe, the 25th anniversary screening of Jurassic Park, and the 40th anniversary screening of Animal House.

It’s time to get us out of our ruts and go to the festival – grab your team (or any day, really, because it’s 8 days in a row!) You can buy tickets to see specific movies for about as much as you’d spend at a theater, so you can pick what you want and leave the rest. Or make this the week to remember for 2018 by getting passes and going to the premiers, parties and drinking from the open bar in the filmmakers lounge.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

22 May 2017
poor-design-decisions-35__605

For those who say, ‘Design doesn’t matter’

Recently, someone asked me what I like about being a graphic designer. My wheels started spinning because there are so many reasons. Besides the fact that I’m obsessed with color and typography, design, in my humble opinion, affects almost every aspect of our lives. Design is not just about making things look pretty (although, that is part of it). Design is about functionality, making things work or read a certain way so anyone can understand.

For instance, have you ever seen a parking sign that had so many words and symbols on it you couldn’t read at a quick glance if you’re allowed to park there? That’s because the sign was poorly designed. What about a door that says “Push” but has a pull handle? Bad design. Or the image above where the insect poison and cooking spray look the same?

Very. Bad. Design. I’m all for brand consistency, but that’s just dangerous.

Remember in 2015 when Steve Harvey announced the wrong name for the winner of Miss Universe? Look at the card he was reading from…

miss-universe-1

At first glance, it’s a bit confusing. And whether the card was the reason for the screw up or not, there probably would have been a lot less confusion if the card was more appropriately designed and laid out.

Poor design leads to confusion, frustration, and even embarrassment in Steve Harvey’s case. If your brand is associated with flawed design or faulty functionality, it could cost you, in more ways than one. I think good design often gets overlooked because it does what it’s supposed to do: deliver the right message or function properly. As a designer, I constantly try to be more aware of what good design looks like and how it functions, and can appreciate it more.

Being a designer is both a blessing and a curse. I flip through a magazine, and I don’t look at the pictures or read the articles. I applaud the layout, column, and grid structure. I buy certain products over others because I like the packaging design. And I can’t go to a restaurant without admiring or gawking at the typography and hierarchy on the menu (it’s a sickness, really).

Putting my design-related OCD aside, I love being a designer because design impacts our lives positively or negatively every day, and I want to be a part of creating positive experiences. I’m relatively new here at bloomfield knoble, but I’m glad to be a part of a team that supports and understands the intricacies and importance of good design.

 

15 Jan 2017

Caveat Empclicktwittor

The same machines that help us better target can also hurt us.

Caveat Empclicktwittor is me pretending I remember anything from high school Latin class, but I’m going to loosely translate it as, “beware what you click on Twitter” because it turns out that the same machines that help us better target customers can also hurt us. Nevertheless, I love Twitter. It’s my favorite social media platform. Admittedly, it’s the only social media platform I use, so I may be a bit prejudiced, but fortunately I’m not the “social media person” here at bloomfield knoble, so I don’t have to use any others.

One of my favorite things to do on Twitter is to craft tweets that will generate engagement (likes, retweets, comments, etc.). I get a rush every time I see that little dot next to the Twitter logo on my iPhone. It’s not exactly an obsession, but I will admit that I have annoyed Jeff Carrington, who is the “social media person” here at bloomfield knoble, a bunch of times to learn best practices and methods that improve my chances of generating engagement. However, I know I’m not obsessed, because I don’t troll and I don’t (usually) tweet at autoresponders. I love interacting with people on Twitter and having conversations at 140 characters with people I don’t know perfectly fits my generally anti-social behavior. So if you’re tweeting to me, or even just about a topic I like, it’s not unusual for me to jump in.

Unfortunately, that may be about to change.

I didn’t grow up with social media, but I understand it. I know how to spot clickbait and phishing, where crooks try to trick people into clicking links to malware or sites that steal personal information, is common on Twitter. So as much as I love seeing that dot on my iPhone, I know better than to fall for the obvious. Or, I did. According to Sally Adee, writing in NewScientist, a machine learning system that reads our past tweets to craft personalized traps could make clicking links that show up in my Twitter feed even riskier.

Some criminals take the trouble to tailor their phishing tweets to specific individuals by hand – known as spearphishing. For example, (and it’s been suspended, so I don’t feel like I’m helping out the enemy here), @NatWest_HelpTC was a scam account that responded to anyone tweeting a customer service question at NatWest Bank’s real Twitter account. The imposters direct users to a fake NatWest site in an attempt to harvest bank login details. Success rates for spearphishing are estimated to be around 45%, but it’s also time consuming. Banks shouldn’t count on the difficulty of phishing protecting their customer though – researchers at Baltimore security company Zerofox have shown that spearphishing can be done automatically.

By mining people’s past Twitter activity, their mating learning system first hunts down a target. It looks for high-profile or well-connected users – such as those who list a job title like recruiter or CEO in their profile – and people who are particularly active. Zerofox’s Philip Tully says they also targeted people by looking at the hashtags they used in their tweets, as well as what the person likes to retweet and the times they are most likely to be using Twitter. Using this information, the algorithm generates tweets that the individual is likely to click on – and behold, personalized clickbait.

The team tested the system on 90 people and managed to trick more than two-thirds of them into clicking the link. The team thinks that the approach could reach far more people with a greater success rate than handcrafted approaches. They also say the system would work on other social media sites, including Facebook. the work was presented at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas last month. But it’s not just about clicks. A recent study from Columbia University found that 60% of people don’t click or read the links they retweet. Tully says that’s a boon for the technique his team is warning about – no look retweeters are effectively laundering the scam tweets, giving them a sense of legitimacy and making it more likely that others will click.

Avoiding the trap isn’t always easy, but keep your operating system up-to-date; have a virus-protection program running on your system, and – especially if you are reaching out to customer service – only click on links offered from the verified account. As an agency heavily involved in social media advertising, we are very careful to avoid content that sounds like clickbait. While we would love to get a 45% success rate, we try to mitigate the potential fury of customers on social media that fall for scams. Unfortunately, like in the case of NatWest, it’s hard and spearphishing attacks have plagued them – and others – as long as Twitter has been around.

 


About the Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect with Thomas Thompson
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

01 Nov 2016
2016-07-16-13-23-24-225x300

Turns out Tweens are, well, different.

The next generation of consumer is even more different than you think.

My 11 year-old son makes me insane. Don’t get me wrong, I love him more than anything, but after watching him walk around with a trash can on his head the other day, I’m starting to think that maybe . . . just maybe . . . there is something wrong with him.

Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to have unrestricted access to a cognitive neuroscientist – his grandmother.

I was quickly (a) assured that there is nothing wrong with my son; (b) that I was way worse in terms of making my parents insane; and (c) that, duh, he’s a kid.

Quick side note – people here at bloomfield knoble know that I have a tendency to explain Hawking / Einstein when asked, “what time is it?” Well, if you think I’m bad, you should meet my Mom. Here’s what I learned about Tweens and early Teens: Adolescence is a period of human brain growth and that from about 12 until 14 the brain’s cortex layers thin down probably as a result of pruning out unwanted connections between neurons, while important neurons gain a sheath that helps transmit signals more quickly. I was directed to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America titled, “Adolescence is associated with genetically patterned consolidation of the hubs of the human brain connectome.”

While I am more familiar with physics than biology, I thought I would take a look and uncover the mystery of youth. I was kind of excited, not just because I would like to figure out what is going on inside my son’s brain, but also because we at bloomfield knoble have had the opportunity to work on many projects that involve marketing to the parents of children. Let’s be honest about our industry – it’s not just advertising to the parent, it’s also getting the child excited about the product enough to help encourage the parent to make a purchase. So I’m pretty confident that this new research could really help us better understand the next generation of purchaser and position us as an agency to get ahead of the curve.

I made it through the abstract.

How does human brain structure mature during adolescence? We used MRI to measure cortical thickness and intracortical myelination in 297 population volunteers aged 14–24 y old. We found and replicated that association cortical areas were thicker and less myelinated than primary cortical areas at 14 y. However, association cortex had faster rates of shrinkage and myelination over the course of adolescence. Age-related increases in cortical myelination were maximized approximately at the internal layer of projection neurons. Adolescent cortical myelination and shrinkage were coupled and specifically associated with a dorsoventrally patterned gene expression profile enriched for synaptic, oligodendroglial- and schizophrenia-related genes. Topologically efficient and biologically expensive hubs of the brain anatomical network had greater rates of shrinkage/myelination and were associated with overexpression of the same transcriptional profile as cortical consolidation. We conclude that normative human brain maturation involves a genetically patterned process of consolidating anatomical network hubs. We argue that developmental variation of this consolidation process may be relevant both to normal cognitive and behavioral changes and the high incidence of schizophrenia during human brain adolescence.

So I called my Mom back, who, having heard from me twice in the same week presumed that something was terribly wrong, to ask for a summary of the report. It turns out that kids are different. Not just different, but different. As in, their brains aren’t like ours. Playing – even if it seems pretty nonsensical to adults – is training their brain to process information. Lack of focus is the brain creating pathways to different files that form foundations for future reasoning. Doing stuff that seems, well, stupid, is just a part of growing up. What we, as adults, perceive as a lack of common sense, is really just the brain shedding – or adding – layers of information.

I asked my Mom about ways that we, as an agency, could better market to Tweens. She chuckled (or snorted, either way it was a verbal dismissive gesture) and said that while market research may generate some observable results, the simple truth is that adults no longer know how to relate to kids that age – our brains simply don’t work like that anymore. Furthermore, asking a kid to come up with an ad for kids doesn’t work so well either, because it forces them to process information differently. In other words, asking a kid to come up with an ad will get the kid to stop acting like a kid and start thinking (or trying to think) like an adult who is problem solving. My Mom said that the best examples of success in her trials had always been to watch kids at play and observe. Enough observation may reveal certain patterns of behavior that could be used to identify opportunities for engagement.

I decided to give it a try – rather than let my son make me insane, I decided just to observe and try to identify a pattern that we could use on our next project. That lasted about 20 seconds because my kid declared himself a human Nerf gun and shot a dart out of his nose.

I think we’ll just avoid marketing to children in the future.

 


About the Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect with Thomas Thompson
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

09 Jun 2016

Taking the ‘Insta’ Out of Instagram

Instagram’sInstagram Not So Insta Anymore not so “instant” any more. Soon, if not already, your Instagram newsfeed will become scrambled – out of chronological order – based on your interactions on the photo-sharing platform.

As announced in March, starting soon, the posts you see will be determined by Instagram’s new algorithm, which takes into account which users you’ve Liked, Shared or Commented on.

Some Instagrammers are up in arms, even before the feature gets its wide release. Users have become accustomed to scrolling through a literal timeline, liking, sharing and commenting along the way, to the first image they recognize from their last session, thus knowing that they’ve seen all the posts from the people they follow.

Brands, worried that their organic posts will no longer be seen by users who don’t scroll down far enough, have encouraged users to turn on notifications. That’s a clunky solution because nobody wants to get a notification every time a brand posts something.

To wit: In the ramp up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I got caught up in the frenzy and turned on notifications for posts from the official Star Wars Instagram account. That didn’t last long. I was soon being driven crazy by alerts (especially since they show up on my watch), reaching a crescendo on the night of the red carpet premier. This is sort of a big deal because it’s me. And Star Wars. There’s no greater love between human and brand than between me and Star Wars.

So, no – the solution is not to turn on alerts so you don’t miss a brand’s Insta post. Instagram’s numbers show that posts in newsfeeds that have the algorithm turned on have seen higher engagements. But, of course, those users are being served posts from other users with whom they’ve already had interactions, or tend to interact with more. Which is  the way this is supposed to work.

This change means that Instagram is no longer the even playing field it used to be. I’ll no longer see posts from Star Wars and Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco keyboardist and amateur photographer) alongside that guy who I’ve forgotten why I followed ages ago. His (very) occasional gems will be buried further down.

Facebook and Twitter have already long ago implemented similar algorithms to serve up content that those platforms think you want to see. The lesson we learned from those changes is the lesson we will have to learn from Instagram’s change:

Content Matters

Develop better content for the platform and you’ll have more interactions on your post. Then you’ll be served up higher in followers’ newsfeeds. This applies to individuals who want the ego boost of more likes and shares, but it more importantly applies to brands who need to up their game to stay relevant to their followers.

It also means (and who couldn’t see this coming?) paid advertising will be more and more important to brands wanting to get noticed on Instagram. Facebook, Instagram’s owner, already makes it super easy to launch a standalone ad or one that’s part of a Facebook campaign (you have to set up your Instagram campaign using Facebook anyway). Now that your post runs the risk of being pushed further down a user’s timeline, paying to push it to them when they open the app is the best way to guarantee your post is seen.

What does this mean to you as a brand? Develop the best, most engaging content you can, post consistently and budget for paid social advertising. If you need help with any of those three prongs, bloomfield knoble (bloomfieldknoble on Instagram) is always here to help.

Oh, and by all means, follow jeffcarrington on Instagram, and turn on alerts for my account.


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

27 May 2016
brd-moody-graphic

Twitter Character Count: Much A-Twitter About Nothing?

Wiser words were never said.
Wiser words were never said.

Make no mistake, Twitter is my favorite social network. Facebook feels like a guilty pleasure (why am I stalking friends while they’re on vacation?). LinkedIn is, frankly, a snooze. And I’m not enough of a shutterbug to get a lot of use out of Instagram or Snapchat. Twitter is just more … useful.

I get news, traffic, jokes, updates from organizations I’m involved with and little glimpses into (but not full-on photo essays on) the lives of friends. I find it’s the first place I go for breaking news nationally or locally. I’m just more likely to find what’s really going on, in real time, on Twitter than from a news outlet. When a temblor hits Irving, the first place I look to is my “Irving Earthquake” search term newsfeed to see if it was really a quake and verify the magnitude.

So you’d think I’d be more excited about the changes coming to the character limit than I am.

To catch you up – in a recent blog, Twitter announced the following:

“In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters. Here’s what will change:

  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
  • Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the “.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.”

The big news here is the fact that attachments like images, videos, GIFs, polls and quote tweets no longer count as 24 characters. This is all well and good, and I’m happy to have the additional real estate to compose my thoughts. It seems more straightforward than trying to do math when planning to insert an image or video (ask anyone – nothing causes a dark cloud to creep over my face more than math).

But it’s not a game changer. I think individuals trying to compose a clever thought or update will get the most use out of the extra characters. But for companies who have been building their audience and engagement and adhering to best practices, this should have little impact.

Basically it boils down to brevity. The goal has always been to keep Tweets as short as possible. According to Twitter’s own research (via Buddy Media) Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate, so why would you want to go longer? Just because you have the extra space isn’t a reason to make your Tweets longer.

This change will only be a boon to the longwinded individual user who can now use the full 140 characters and still share the cat GIF they found on Reddit.

As they’ve done in the past with changes to the platform, Twitter may release a corresponding paid promotional feature that takes advantage of the new character count. That will certainly be something that bloomfield knoble will be watching out for, to consider for brands doing paid advertising. For now though, don’t look for brands to start telling you to buy their product or service using 24 additional characters.

 


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

29 Apr 2016

About Snapchat – It’s Not Just Sexting Anymore

Snapchat_Logo

At this point, who hasn’t heard of Snapchat? The popular photo-sharing app has become so ubiquitous that it can even advertise itself without saying a word. If you’re over 30, while you’ve heard of it, you probably don’t completely understand it.

I’m over 30 too, and I don’t blame you. If you’ve tried to use it, you know the user interface begs for a seasoned user to give you a lesson. Think teens at a lunchtable or in the library showing each other how it works and what a swipe or icon means. As adults with careers, we tend to figure things out on our own, not huddled over our iPhones with friends.

This definitely isn’t the cool-kids table, but gather ‘round and get a Snapchat briefing for the over-30 crowd.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video sharing mobile app. It launched in 2011 and because of the feature that deletes photos from the recipient’s phone after up to 10 seconds, it became infamous as a sexting app for teens. Today, that stigma is gone – photos can be accessed longer via the Story feature and the company has made moves to attract brands, further “maturing” its image.

Usage

200 million users

Over 100 million daily users

800 million photos and videos shared every day

Six in 10 people age 13 – 35 use Snapchat

12% of daily users are age 35 – 54

Usage in all age groups is growing

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.11.42 PM
An example of Snapchat’s customization features. You can also write or draw on photos.

Photo and Video Sharing

Snapchat’s core functionality is sharing content immediately, with the ability to add captions, emojis, frames or “lenses” directly to the image. Its differentiator is that the photos disappear from the recipient’s device after up to 10 seconds (the sender determines the length of time).

Stories

Another feature is the SnapChat Story, which was added after the app caught on. Users can select the option for a photo to be moved to their “Story,” which allows their followers to view that image alongside all their story images – for the next 24 hours.

The Story feature is the primary way brands engage with Snapchat. It’s also the primary way I’ve found to enjoy the app. I don’t have much reason to post pictures for my friends that only last 10 seconds. Unless they’re of my dog, of course.

Discover

The Discover home screen.
The Discover home screen.

Snapchat highlights 20 content publishers in their Discover section. Hand-selected by Snapchat (making a spot in the Discover section highly coveted), these brands are able to post content that users can scroll through – images with headlines/captions and the ability to swipe up for more to the story. These are not advertisements, but rather news/lifestyle posts.

Examples: CNN posts news images and headlines with the rest of the story in the swipe below. Food Network posts videos and images of food with the recipe below.

I’ve used this feature the most, and gotten the most enjoyment out of it. I love my friends, but the latest news from Syria trumps their latest picture with a racooon face lens or showing off a cookie shaped like a Wookiee. (I loved those, Sam, but c’mon – Syria.)

How Does Snapchat Make Money?

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.01.08 PM
Snapchat sponsored lenses

Sponsored Lenses – This feature allows users to take a picture or video of themselves and add different animated, branded filters to the shot. 20th Century Fox was the first, allowing animated selfie features with Peanuts characters to promote “The Peanuts Movie” last Fall.

User Base Reach – Snapchat also charges between $450,000 and $750,000 per post for a brand to reach the app’s entire user base. Peak days like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are priced at the upper end of that spectrum, while normal days can vary.

Should You Use It?

Snapchat still appeals primarily to a younger audience, but as with Facebook and Twitter, the trend is that older users are logging on.

The benefit to posting on Snapchat is the immediacy and connectivity. Because content is gone in 24 hours, users tend to be more attentive and engaged with Snapchat content than other platforms.

From a personal standpoint, even for a 30+ user, there are some interesting and fun ways to use it. I have a lot of young friends, and I make a living working with social media apps and promotions, so I have a really good reason to use it. But if you don’t know anyone else on it, there’s not much point from a personal use perspective unless you want to be on the vanguard of your group of over-30 friends.

If you’re looking for the next platform to leverage your brand, you definitely need to look at who your target audience is and how you want to communicate with them. Large brands from McDonald’s to General Electric to Sour Patch Kids have been active users with interesting campaigns using Snapchat’s unique features and young-skewing audience. A financial services company is probably wasting their time – for now. But give it a few years and you just might need to know how to engage Snapchat users because that’s where your target audience will be.

As we like to say around here at bloomfield knoble, fish where the fish are. The best reason to adopt a new social platform is because your target audience is already there. But don’t waste your efforts in a pond that doesn’t have the fish you want.

And that’s the bell. Put your phones up. See you in class.

 


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

14 Jan 2016

The bk ‘We Care’ Campaign Launches for 2016

The Special Olympics is bk's longest running We Care program.
The Special Olympics is bk’s longest running We Care program.

I know, I know. The year just ended and you were barraged with social media messages about holiday charitable support from seemingly every company in the U.S. Holiday charitable support now seems as ubiquitous to the holiday season as “Holiday Sales Events” (kill me).

At that time of year we, bloomfield knoble (bk), may appear to be callous or indifferent to charitable support. The fact is, we provide support year-round. So by December we are wrapping up our 12-months of work and readying for the new year of support. Like everything, we kind of over achieve. It’s in our nature.

If you are not familiar, the bk “We Care” program consists of our choosing 12 charitable organizations each January. We provide financial support to all of them in January, then we spotlight one each month of the year to provide pro bono social media support or hands-on volunteerism by the bk staff. Most of the organizations have been supported by bk for years. However, we do try to add in new worthy causes each year. For instance, this month, we are spotlighting the Special Olympics of Texas. This is the 18th year we have provided support to the Special Olympics. It was the original organization we chose when we founded this agency and we hold that group very close to our hearts.

Last year I finally made the effort to explain why we let you know that we support charities. Here is that blog Why bk is Telling You We Support Charities. Therefore, I won’t go into that again. But I do reiterate that providing support for organizations year-round is better than checking it off a list once each winter.

It is wonderful that people think of charitable efforts during the holiday season. But making a difference means committing to some heavy lifting all year long. Since we focus on several human/civil rights organizations and environmental groups, we know they need support every day in any way they can get it. Therefore, we encourage our peers and colleagues in the industry to adopt this approach. It is actually less effort and more meaningful than just writing a check at the end of the year.

Further, while there is nothing wrong with supporting one group at the end of the year, we would urge you to consider sharing the wealth and expanding your support.

As an agency, we have found that our focusing each month on a different cause or group allows us to include every one in the office. Some people may not be much of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supporter (I am, however). However, they may really be into pandas, so the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gets them more involved and jazzed to support that month.

bk Partner Chris Weatherley's We Care organization of choice is the Coastal Conservation Association.
bk Partner Chris Weatherley’s We Care organization of choice is the Coastal Conservation Association.

It’s about inclusiveness and maximizing the impact we make. Just because our creative director/agency partner, Chris Weatherley, is really into the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), doesn’t mean that Thomas Thompson, our lead strategist is. In fact, I think Thom prefers the Electronics Take Back Coalition to any outdoor activity we might support.

The point I am making is that in order to make an impact we have to get people involved. As a top advertising agency based in Dallas, TX, we simply applied the same tactics to our internal charitable support as we do to client advertising planning campaigns – reach people where and when they are most interested. Limiting one’s reach to one group minimizes interest with your potential participants. As with any marketing effort, we activate the target audience through compelling content that drives them to take an action. It’s advertising 101, really.

So follow us through social media  and support our “We Care” campaign throughout this year. Take note as we implement our social media editorial calendar and support a different organization each month by highlighting the volunteerism in our office, as well as general support of the organizations’ own outreach and awareness efforts.

Then, why not join bk and change up your support format from a holiday theme to a dedicated annual effort? We could all use your help.

Thank you for your support – Eric J Hirschhorn, partner, the bloomfield knoble Advertising Agency


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

13 Nov 2015
Google Cardboard

Behold Google Cardboard

I struggled to find time to write this blog  – not because I’m too busy at work, but because I’ve been too busy playing with Google Cardboard.

I had heard about Google Cardboard, but I’ve been more interested in Oculus Rift and similar devices and hadn’t given it much thought. Then, much to my surprise, I received a pair (set, maybe? not sure what the accepted term is just yet) courtesy of the New York Times. The pair (that’s what I’m going with) came with my subscription courtesy of GE in Sunday’s paper. Although I was surprised it was included with the paper, the box was clearly marked, so I was quickly aware of what it was. It was in its own packaging and it only took a few minutes to unfold (assemble). An instruction card directed me to download the NY Times virtual reality app (the URL is also printed on the side of the cardboard). The VR app installed quickly and then I was instructed to put my iPhone into the cardboard and enjoy.

Now, just in case you’ve never heard about it, Google Cardboard is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a fold-out cardboard mount for a mobile phone. It is intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR and VR applications.

GoogleCardboard
Jeff exploring VR with Google Cardboard

Here is my takeaway both personally and professionally. Personally, totally dig it. The device itself is, indeed, cardboard, but feels quite sturdy. I’ve used mine quite a bit and while I am generally careful with it, haven’t had any issues with it at all. I didn’t have any concerns about inserting my phone – it feels like it’s held securely – and although I need glasses to see up close, the screen seems in focus. I’m familiar with VR (I’ve written about it before), but hadn’t experienced it via my phone. The VR itself was excellent, but I recognized pretty quickly that this is because of the content. The NY Times had excellent content – both in subject matter and production – available the day I downloaded it. Their app focuses on news stories delivered via immersive video and audio. They brilliantly had a wide range of subjects which enabled me to both watch content that was relevant to me, but also waste time just checking out the different options. I also used it to view an ad – just to continue enjoying the experience.

This wasn’t just my take either – my family all found it cool as did people here at bloomfield knoble.

I think what the NY Times did was an excellent promotional use and one that could be repeated across brands and platforms, with the following challenges:

  • It worked because it was delivered to me. If I had to fill out a form or pay for it, I probably wouldn’t have messed with it. I think it’s an excellent promotional handout or direct mail device.
  • It was new to me, so I downloaded the app to play with it, but I’m not motivated to download a bunch of other apps to use it. This is actually really good news for the NY Times, because they made me loyal to their app – so anytime I want to show it off or mess around with it, I use their app.
  • It’s all about the content. The NY Times content is excellent and also being freshened. If this came with 1 piece of content, I would have tossed it once I got bored. If this were to be used for promotional purposes, it would either have to be a one-off (which is fine sometimes), or it will have to be supported by ongoing content (also fine sometimes).
  • It’s still just cardboard. I’m being pretty careful with it now, but because I have no economic value associated with it, I am going to put it in a drawer and it will get damaged or broken. It’s like the cheap pair of sunglasses – you toss those around, but are careful with the pair that cost you money.
  • I’m not trained (yet… maybe never). I’m just not sure that I need to get my news via VR. I think that this is more of a content issue, because I might train myself to check the app regularly if it’s something that is experienced much better in VR – like the Royals victory parade, for example. That would be cool. If I know once a week or so that there will be something that is entertaining – I’ll start using it more. For now, just getting news stories, no matter how well done, doesn’t motivate me to regularly check the app.

Now, having said all that, it’s still a job really well done. More than half the battle is getting people to engage with a promotion – in whatever form – and the fact that I took time to assemble the unit, download the app, use the app and then share the experience is the very definition of a successful marketing campaign. And while it sits unused on my desk, it is still on my desk and the app is on my phone.


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.