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Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Study: Nearly Half of Marketers Will Launch Holiday Campaigns Before Halloween. Ugh.

cnn_stuff_081As a true New England girl, I love all things Autumn with an almost maniacal passion — the leaves, the hot cider, the apple picking, the pumpkin carving, and, most especially, Halloween. But over the course of my lifetime, I’ve noticed (as we all have) the ever-encroaching holiday shopping season infiltrating my sacred season of costumes and pumpkin pie — it happens earlier every year. Once upon a time, people complained about Christmas trees in the malls before Thanksgiving, but now we run the risk of bumping into Santa Clause while shopping for Trick-or-Treat candy. Creepy (in more than one sense).

If you, too, are frustrated by the creep of the holiday shopping season, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that this is a trend that shows no sign of retreating. A new study done by Experian Marketing Services, which surveyed more than 200 marketers about their cross-channel marketing plans for the holiday season, found that 50 percent of all marketers plan to launch their holiday campaigns before Halloween.

“Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it’s not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research of Experian Marketing Services, in a news release. Read more

How to Help Your Brand Connect to LGBT Audiences

Now that the majority of Americans (if not the majority of American states) have accepted same-sex marriage and effectively welcomed the LGBT community into mainstream culture, brand strategists are brainstorming over how to make the most of a large and passionate demographic. Why? Well, gay men and women do “have the largest amount of disposable income of any niche market,” so…money.

That’s according to Community Marketing Inc., a gay-centric research organization that just released its 7th annual LGBT community survey of more than 30,000 consumers in 100 different countries. Their findings should help marketing/PR pros better understand the community.

The fact that LGBT individuals “keep up with online media” isn’t much of a revelation, but here are some more interesting conclusions:

  • “LGBT” is the preferred term for gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, though gay men are equally receptive to the phrase “gay and lesbian”. Words like “queer”, “rainbow” and “gay-welcoming” are less effective (probably because they’re condescending).
  • Consumers prefer that corporate communications refer to their legal relationships with the terms “spouse” or “husband/wife”, though “partner” also works. Dated terms like “significant other” and “gay couple” don’t test so well.

Study: Social Influencers Can Easily Manipulate Online Reviews

We all know how important consumer reviews can be to clients, especially those in the publishing, service and retail fields. For that reason, we were taken aback by a new study demonstrating how easily the reviews that authors and businesses work so hard to earn can be manipulated.

In short, online critics behave like sheep: the first and most prominent reviews drive the herd’s behavior, lending an inordinate amount of power to these first-touch “influencers” (who may or may not be legitimate critics).

It seems the wisdom of the masses isn’t as pure as we’d like to think.

Researchers for Science magazine conducted an extensive experiment by measuring the public’s reaction to more than 300,000 reviews over a five-month period. Some of the reviews had been manipulated by the researchers while others had not.

Their findings were revealing:

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TripAdvisor Offers to Scrub Negative Hotel Reviews in Exchange for a Little Renovation

In what should be great news to anyone with clients in the hospitality industry, top travel blog Skift reports that TripAdvisor has announced plans to remove negative user reviews from hotel listings…as long as the businesses in question do some renovating. Given the power of user reviews to drive sales, this is kind of a big deal.

The change has been in the works for some time, but the company recently got specific with its demands (hint: new paint and window dressings won’t do).

To qualify as a major renovation, changes must be structural in nature. Cosmetic changes, such as new carpets, paint, or wallpaper, do not qualify.

In order to certify said (major) renovations, the business in question must submit one of the following documents:

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Amazon Flack’s Comment on How Often He Makes Comments: ‘No Comment’

Tucked away in this weekend’s nth “What Will Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Do with The Washington Post?” article lies a less-than-subtle hint at the company’s media relations strategy:

Ha ha. Jim Romenesko even asks “Does Amazon’s spokesperson have the world’s easiest job? (All he ever says is ‘no comment.’)”

We don’t know that we’d go that far, but it’s safe to say that Bezos and Co. follow the Bill Belichick “keep it boring” model to a T. And yes, Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener does make liberal use of the phrase in question. Their company’s PR team has determined that it’s best to simply put up and shut up whenever possible.

Here are some other key quotes about Bezos, his management style and his approach to media relations:

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Reputation Management at Amazon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Last week, online retail behemoth Amazon received the kind of PR boost that any brand outside the Republican Party would kill for: President Obama visited its massive Chattanooga warehouse and used his media megaphone to promote the company for creating jobs fit for every politician’s favorite fallback character: the “middle class” American.

This is all well and good, but Amazon’s recent reputation management challenges are far more complicated…and less complimentary.

The real purpose of the President’s visit was to propose a bargain between the two political parties in which he would trade a cut in corporate tax rates for increased government investment in “education, training, and public works projects” designed to facilitate the creation of those precious middle class jobs. The event unsurprisingly attracted critiques of both the company and the President that highlight their unique PR struggles.

It’s true that Amazon’s planned hiring wave will create as many as 7,000 American jobs, but Obama’s visit raised several questions that the company would rather not address:

  • Are these jobs truly “middle class?”
  • Is Amazon the sort of company that will help strengthen the American economy at large?
  • Will this PR stunt facilitate any truly meaningful political activity?

That’s easy: no, no, and…no.

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Facebook Wants to Know What You Had for Breakfast This Morning

Facebook’s latest plan to convince brands and advertisers that its services have some real-world value involves utilizing the endless data collected via users’ adventures beyond their own accounts.

In other words, Zuck and company’s new aggregation partners will collect info about what users do when they’re not scrolling through their newsfeeds so the ‘book can better tailor ads to relevant audiences and convince more clients to pay for exposure. Yes, the faceless Big Data-bot wants to know which books you bought on Amazon, which shows you watch on Hulu and which restaurants you like on Yelp and Seamless — because it’s all about those cookies. Identifying data will be scrambled, so your names won’t be revealed. But still: New World Order, One World Government, cats marrying dogs, yadda yadda. We’re all doomed.

As All Things D‘s Peter Kafka observed yesterday, this sounds a whole lot like what Google and other companies have been doing for years. So now brands have two options: they can promote themselves the Facebook way by shoving sponsored stories in your face or they can use outside data to reach target audiences like everyone else. They can also do both and compare the data.

More options are a good thing! But will this move make Facebook more valuable for clients and users? We’re pretty tired of seeing sponsored posts that don’t interest us at all, so we’ll say maybe.

Retailers Fight ‘Showrooming’ by Charging Visitors to Browse

“Showrooming” is a relatively new phenomenon in the retail world, but it appears to be growing. It’s basically the act of visiting a physical store, checking out the prices on the items you want, then buying them online for less. (We assume celebrities hire people to do this sort of thing, but what do we know.)

So customers walk around stores armed with their smartphones, checking to make sure they can get that TV or iPad a little cheaper on Amazon. It’s a big deal for retailers because, of course, their ultimate goal to encourage browsers to actually buy stuff. And they’re dealing with it in different ways.

Best Buy, for example, rolled out a promo campaign to combat “showrooming” by promising consumers that it would match or beat the price offered by local and online retailers for every product in stock. Bold move, but this week Reddit users found an Australian specialty foods retailer with an even more brazen approach: charging customers $5 just to browse.

Frankly, we don’t think this approach will work. It implies that the retailer simply doesn’t trust the public — which is a terrible PR move. If it were a high-end store then charging visitors $5 to look around might make sense. But don’t most people visit the Gucci store just to browse anyway? It’s not like anyone can actually afford that stuff.

10 Brands That Do Customer Service Right on Twitter

Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles”. This makes perfect sense, right? Customers value great service above all else, they love the instant gratification of social media and they really, really hate waiting for reps to pick up the phone. Also: by establishing separate Twitter handles for customer service, brands can “divert negative attention and activity” away from the primary feed.

So what goes into running a great customer service operation in the twittersphere? In order to find out, we poked around and found ten examples of brands that are doing it right, starting with some of the biggest.

1. Nike Support: This one is pretty much the gold standard. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how quickly and how often the feed’s managers respond to individual customers.

2. Xbox Support: Xbox boldly claims to hold the Guinness World Record for “most responsive Twitter feed”–and based on the number of replies their team posts every minute, we can see why they make that claim.

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PR Fail: Amazon Silent on ‘Keep Calm and Rape a Lot’ T-Shirt Scandal

If there’s one trend we’d like to kill deader than the Harlem Shake, it’s “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Now comes news that will hopefully mark the end of this meme: Amazon is in a big pot of extra-hot PR water after briefly carrying a series of T-shirts bearing charming slogans like “Keep Calm and Hit Her”, “Keep Calm and Knife Her” and the winner, “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot.”

We think we speak for everyone when we say “Yikes.”

Here’s the dish: over the weekend, said shirts appeared on the site via a super classy Australian third-party retailer known as Solid Gold Bomb which has partnered with Amazon in the past. A public uproar quickly followed, with Britain’s shadow culture secretary calling on Amazon to make an immediate and “substantial” donation to a refuge for abused women. Amazon quickly removed the pages, but as you can see from the image above, screenshots live forever..

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