Brand Personality — Pumpkin-Spiced

 

Every year as summer begins to soften into fall, there are a couple of things I look forward to. The sweater weather, the changing leaves, football season and…Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice latte.

Not only do I love the taste of it, I love the special voice that their marketing team gives the PSL on social media.

Everything from beer, to cereal, to chips and salsa can be pumpkin-flavored, and we can give the credit for pumpkin spiced passion to Starbucks. The PSL was first created in 2003, and has started a pumpkin spice boom every fall season since. From the beginning of September to the end of October (or Pumpkin Spice Season), @TheRealPSL is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with cleverly curated posts. The PSL has been on social media since 2014. Aside from the Frappucino, The PSL is the only drink on Starbucks’ menu that has its own social media account.

Ultimately, the PSL social media is all about creating and sustaining hype for the drink. The PSL accounts are only active in the fall — first, to announce the imminent arrival of the PSL, and thereafter to remind people they can still get it.

As a major part of Starbucks’ sales, the PSL and its social media are essential.

So what makes the PSL social media strategy so effective? Four vital attributes–audience, scarcity, brand personality and creative content.

Audience

Starbucks knows their audience well. PSL customers tend to be somewhat affluent, health-conscious millennials. Reaching their audience effectively means that Starbucks has been able to gain a lot of followers (37k on Instagram, 17.4k on Twitter). Not only do they have a significant number of followers, the PSL generates significant engagement on their posts as well. PSL posts receive 493% more likes per photo than Starbucks’ regular posts.

By using a mixture of photos, videos, and GIFs, the PSL is able to diversify their social media feed and keep it interesting. And @TheRealPSL adds the bonus of responding personally to its followers.

Now you see where I got the good looks & bad eyesight. #FBF

A post shared by Pumpkin Spice Latte (@therealpsl) on

Scarcity

The PSL only comes around once a year for a short amount of time. Starbucks takes the cue of the changing leaves to start creating hype. By using clever, sporadic posts for the PSL social media, Starbucks drives excitement for the PSL and thus the purchase of the beverage.

Brand Personality

Unlike the other social media accounts for Starbucks, The PSL is very much a brand character or persona. The posts are put into PSL’s first person voice. The more PSL posts, the more the audience learns about the character. Even though it’s a product and it’s not around most of the year, the audience is invested in the PSL story, and they grow to love the PSL character. And because the brand has a well-defined, fun personality the content they produce is top-notch.

Creative Content

To go along with brand personality, the PSL social team has created posts that are eye-catching, entertaining, and fun. We learn the PSL goes backpacking, has a pumpkin-cat named Ginger, and other fun details. And the brand is responsive — engaging with fans that want to interact with the beverage on social.

For another example of a company using a branding character, check out New Belgium Brewing Company’s Voodoo Ranger. He’s a relatively new marketing tool for New Belgium, but he’s already the face of four of their beers.

Utilize the PSL social media strategy for your own marketing goals. But be sure to be original — we all know that the copycats aren’t the same as the real thing! Now, who’s thirsty for a PSL?


Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten once dressed up as a PSL for Halloween and it’s still her favorite costume to date.


Protecting your Brand against the Unknown

Writing this blog was not on my “to-do” list until news of Hurricane Harvey. Current events spark conversation, so this seemed timely. It is not without sensitivity to those who have lost loved ones or who are dealing with loss of all unimaginable kinds.


The recent events in Houston invoke all types of emotions, by those directly and indirectly affected. For me, the current event was bone chilling because I spent the summer reading 5 Days at Memorial, by Pulitzer Prize author Sheri Fink.

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The book is a real-life account of the 5 days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The first half of the book paints the picture of a flooded basement that contained the emergency generator, a helipad that was in disrepair, a lack of electricity, plumbing, food and a lot of patients at various levels of health.

People died. Some on their own, some with the help of physician-directed medication. Healthcare professionals were saddled with a hopeless situation and delivered compassion in the form of dosages of lethal medication as they deemed necessary.

The second half of the book details the litigation that followed those difficult life-ending decisions. Everyone accused was eventually acquitted and the exercise prompted immunity laws that protect workers in an emergency situation today.

The epilogue was maybe the most powerful portion of the book. It reviewed not only disasters in third world countries when medical resources have to be rationed, but also situations like Hurricane Sandy and the Ebola patient at Texas Health in Dallas. It included discussion of ethics and the possible biases of having a limited resource distribution protocol in place. “Fifty patients, six outlets. How do you decide?” — was a quote from the book referring to a real-life situation when all fifty patients needed to be on ventilators.

A thought provoking read and history does, tragically, repeat itself.

What does this have to do with protecting your brand? Nobody can predict a natural disaster, but everyone can make an intentional effort to plan for the worst and practice their crisis plan. The lawyers in 5 Days at Memorial asked hospital executives for their crisis plan — a show of due diligence.

Your communications team needs to be part of the team crafting your crisis plan. Who will talk to the media? Where will press conferences be held? What is the message and talking points? Do you have press release templates and up-to-date media distribution lists?

What are smaller and more likely worst-case scenarios that might affect your business? Maybe it’s a theft, power outage, server failure or more snow than your employees can plow through.

Take some intentional time and brainstorm with your team. Make a list:

  • What could happen?
  • How would we respond to an event?
  • What can we do proactively now to minimize the effects of an event?
  • What is our chain of communication?
  • What/When/How do we inform our customers?

Read about other crisis situations, learn from their successes and failure. Remember Tylenol? Uber? Samsung? Wells Fargo? There are many examples of how the actions of others or actions of your internal staff can damage your brand.

My rule of thumb for a crisis response:

  1. Accept responsibility (not applicable in a natural disaster) — State what happened, clearly and honestly
  2. Apologize — We are very sorry for . . .
  3. Explain how it won’t happen again — new training, education or new processes in place — and set those changes in motion

Brands are an investment, and a good brand reputation can be quickly lost whether it’s the fault of something in your control or not. Nothing brings that home more profoundly than a tragic event. With Harvey on our minds, now is as good a time as any to be prepared.

Sending our prayers for those in Houston.


Swag Stats: Ten Things That Might Surprise You About Promotional Products

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Stylin’ in Jet shades

We all know that marketing has changed significantly over the last few decades. There are certain things that have remained consistently effective when it comes to brand recognition, swag items being one of them. People still like receiving promotional products and especially useful ones. Depending on distribution, it may be more effective to select something of higher cost that the user will value and keep longer, maybe an insulated tumbler. If the goal is to reach a broader audience, go with something less valuable but perhaps just as useful like a pen. Let these statistics* help guide your decision to get the best ROI for your business.

1. 85% of people remember the name of a company that has given them a promotional product

2. Consumers are 2.5x more likely to have a positive impression of promotional products compared to internet advertising.

3. 87% of consumers keep promotional products for over a year.

Here are some examples based on popular branded giveaway categories among US consumers:

4. 50% own a promotional writing instrument.

5. T-shirts are the most popular with consumers over the age of 55

6. 50% own a promotional bag. Among 18-24 year old women, 57% own one.

7. 53% own logoed drinkware, 50% of them use the item 2-3 times per week.

8. 45% own promotional USB Drives, and 91% keep them because they are useful.

9. 29% own branded calendars, and 76% of those consumers have them displayed in their home or office.

10. 50% of consumers own logoed outerwear and 75% of those keep them because they are useful.

Danielle
A Jet mason jar tumbler in action!

It is also important to consider the timing of a product — Think outside to box to gear your goods towards an event or the time of year. Is your audience going back to school? Think USB drives or cord wraps. Are they going to a football game? Maybe a clear tote bag. Do you want to engage your audience in social media posts? Give out something like trendy sunglasses to encourage fun photos. Regardless of the timing — go with a unique, useful and memorable item to make your brand stand out.

The right promotional product is out there for your business. There are endless options, and if you need help finding the perfect fit, we can help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FullSizeRenderKatie proudly sports her Jet coffee mug almost everyday. She loves finding the perfect swag items for clients and then seeing them in action!


Five reasons your brand isn’t working any more – and what to do about it.

Like everything in life, business is about relationships, and branding does a lot of the talking for you to your customers. Your brand communicates your values to your customers – are you trying to sell fun, quality, reliability, familiarity, innovation, or something else? Does your brand say that? If your branding isn’t communicating what you want it to, it’s time to think about rebranding. A rebrand isn’t a decision to take lightly — but it can make all the difference for a company, and take it to new levels.

Some reasons an organization might need to rebrand are:

A bad reputation — less than stellar customer service relationships may have tarnished your image. You’re ready to start over — with a new identity that’s more focused on your customers.

Name change, or a merger/acquisition — New blood in the family or a new direction prompts a conversation. Who are we? What do we do differently? How can we explain how the new organization is for the customer’s benefit?

Your brand no longer describes what you do — Along the way, your organization may have found a way to specialize or found new avenues of business. A rebrand helps solidify your place of relevance in today’s market.

Confusing — what is it you do again? If the customer has to ask this, they’ll probably use your competition instead.

You look like a competitor — You gotta stand out from the crowd.

Take rebranding as an opportunity to solidify colors, taglines, logos, and your look and feel to create a professional package that can be maintained across mediums. A brand isn’t just about the logos — it needs to be about your brand’s promise to customers too. A solid brand is a launch pad to fulfilling your customer’s expectations of you.

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A few of our clients have had different reasons for rebranding. For Campbell County Health, located in Gillette, Wyoming, they needed to figure out a name that showed that they were a health system, not just a hospital. With clinics, a hospital, and a variety of specialties and facilities, they needed a name and brand that encompassed the whole organization. By rebranding to Campbell County Health, they were able to designate themselves as a health system, not only a hospital. For their patients, Campbell County Health is now a more comprehensive health system that can provide excellent care for a variety of needs.

 

Another client, Prowers Medical Center, had had the same logo for almost 20 years. They had an outdated logo that didn’t speak to their real expertise. As one of the Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals in the nation, Prowers Medical Center needed to look like it and present a united front. With a new brand, Prowers Medical Center extends the promise to their patients that they are contemporary and patient-centered. Branding & Strat_1

So — what kind of message are you trying to communicate to your customers, and is your brand doing that? If not — reach out to us. We’re great at helping you define your brand message. And from logos to materials, we’ll get you there.

Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Among friends, family, and at the office, Kirsten is known as the cat lady – she’s starting to think it’s time for a personal rebrand!

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