Tag Archive: marketing

  1. Spinning a Yarn: The Science of Storytelling

    science of storytelling

    From cave paintings to the latest Star Wars movie, storytelling is something intrinsically human. There’s something about it–the structure of beginning, middle and end–that has entranced and satisfied our minds since before even the development of the written word. In my new book, Formulaic, I’ve shared how incorporating this powerful tool into our own marketing techniques has been vital for our agency (and countless other companies) to make deeper, more personal connections with our clients’ customers and our own audience.

    Like me, you probably grew up with the stories of a grandparent, parent or teacher, and have since sought out the narratives shared from Netflix to NBC, podcasts to PBS. Even the blog in which this post resides is a storytelling medium of sorts. Though they often transport us to places both real and imagined, stories are not (solely) things of magic. No–there is a science behind our insatiable appetite for being sat down and told, “Once upon a time…” Let’s examine how stories work and why they’re a trusty tool for marketers in any industry.

    The Scientific Facts Behind Fiction and Nonfiction

    People are emotional creatures. Yes, even the most stone-faced tough guy or gal has a song, movie or book that’s sure to evoke nostalgia, sadness or a smirk (even if internal). Enter: oxytocin. That stirring emotion of human connection you feel when watching your favorite film or hearing Johnny Cash belt out those Folsom Prison Blues is largely connected to the release of the neurochemical, oxytocin. Though you may not know it by name, you surely know how it feels — the pleasure you feel when meeting with friends, are complemented by colleagues or have the door held open for you by a smiling stranger.

    science of storytelling

    What’s paramount for marketers and brand managers to pull from the connection between storytelling and those oxytocin-fuelled warm fuzzies is that these feelings of engagement and connection aren’t unlocked with a paragraph of facts, hard data, or otherwise flatly presented pieces of information. So often, brands that are able to connect to their audiences with storytelling instead of dry, cold lists of benefits are more effective by being more emotionally affecting. The story of how a product or service has changed (or could change) someone’s life for the better often sticks with an audience far longer than the new, shiny features of the thing.

    Which is more convincing: a personal anecdote about how much my work has improved now that I’ve enjoyed full, restful sleep on Brand X mattresses or a paragraph on spring and wooden frame technology? If the thought of option B made you yawn, you’re not alone. By harnessing the deep-rooted, primordial power of storytelling, brands could very well write their businesses a “happily ever after” through this innately human connection.

    Crafting a Marketing Story Worth Telling

    Knowing the benefits of storytelling is all well and good, but you must also learn the tenets of good storytelling. Though there are many ways to tell a tale, you may want to keep these three common facets of effective storytelling in mind before spinning your own company’s yarn.

    • Characters: Your story is only as good as its characters are believable and relatable. Fill your brand storytelling with fully realized people who your audience can root for or against, depending on the needs of your story. Name them, imagine what they look like, where they are from and additional details that may illustrate them within your mind before you put them down on paper.
    • Conflict: Any traditional story needs a conflict for our heroes to overcome. Within your brand’s storytelling, this conflict should be relatable to common conflicts within your audience’s lives, thereby, creating an instant relatability to the story unfolding.
    • Memorable Moments: Beyond just catching the attention of your audience, you want to craft a story that will stick. Remarkable tales, whether humorous or harrowing, may stay with potential customers far longer than more mundane, dry explanations of your product or service’s key benefits. Take, for example, Founders Insurance. Founders’ “Hall of Coverage” series features truly unbelievable–yet 100% true–stories of claims they’ve actually satisfied. Sharing incredible tales rooted in the services they’ve actually provided customers has made Founders’ efforts hugely successful at sticking with people long after first viewing.

    Learning how to tell an effective story as a brand may seem like a lot of work, but if done correctly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more effective means of connecting your company with its customers–which is most certainly a story worth telling.  

    Looking for more marketing insights like the ones above? Check out my new book, Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market from the Core, and stay tuned to the Findsome & Winmore blog for more tips on how to unlock the formula behind effective marketing for your brand.

  2. Mind Your Business: The Intricacies of Writing and Marketing for Financial Services

    Business is, well, big business, so it should come as no surprise that an important segment of our clients at Findsome & Winmore include the suit-and-tie-clad savants who provide various financial services to major business-based clients across the country. Though we serve our clients with equal amounts of ample T.L.C., it should be known that those we serve often have us searching new terms, creating audience profiles and otherwise scouring the earth to fully understand the all-important “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “why” of their worlds.

    As you’ll see, financial services are most certainly their own beasts (we mean that in the nicest way), offering up marketing challenges and unique quirks that help to keep our nine-to-five hours anything but mundane.

    What Makes Financial Services Marketing Tick?

    The Voice

    The Voice

    No, we’re not talking about the America’s Got Talent/American Idol spinoff (save the singing for Karaoke happy hour, please). Finding the voice that speaks to your target audience is unbelievably important to creating content that works. Because our financial services clients deal both with groups of execs in charge of sums of moneys that end in many, multiple zeroes down to teachers and police officers that are simply looking for the best way to prepare for retirement, the voice can vary pretty drastically. Some constants, however, include a voice that exudes a sense of trustworthiness and empathy, along with a careful balance of jargon for experienced trustees and straight-forward verbiage for the less familiar.

    Halt, Who Goes There?

    Financial Services Marketing

    Unfortunately, there is no single, blanket audience that we can attach to all financial services. Even within the segment of financial services, there are nuances and niches — too many to list, in fact. However, in the case of our clients, audiences include investment board members who understand much about finances, investment plans and the like, down to soon-to-retire teachers who, like many of us, couldn’t pass the 101 class.

    Like a Snowflake

    What makes our financial services clients a unique challenge? First, we have to realize that much of these clients lean heavily toward business to business, meaning our content must meet a business-centric (as opposed to customer-centric) approach. Secondly, if you don’t know about compliance, you are about to take a crash course. Getting our content approved by FINRA, the SEC, the FBI and CIA (OK, we’re just kidding about those last two) is no easy task. These alphabet soup organizations have a responsibility to ensure that our clients do not promise what they cannot substantiate. It’s an important job, no doubt, and one that they take very seriously. Thus, we need to take equal measures to ensure that the copy we craft stays within dictated guidelines. As the idiom goes, time is money, and the longer it takes for content to be approved, the worse off our clients are for it.

    Hourglass

    To complicate matters further, some financial services aren’t even allowed to openly market their products. Yes, this throws quite a monkey wrench in our efforts but does not mean that we can’t find ways around this major stipulation; that is kind of our job, after all. Through strategically timed announcements that fall outside of the especially highly regulated fundraising periods and leveraging PR initiatives that focus on the success of past funds, market the company’s branding or garner attention with a new website, we are able to get just enough information out there to entice our target audience.

    What have we learned from working with a list of stellar local and national financial services? Quite a lot, actually. From learning to write with an extremely specific set of rules to cementing the importance of knowing your audience and writing to their voice, these clients have shown that they can teach much more than investment and financial planning best practices.

    Through it all, the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that research really matters. Financial services are not something you can guesstimate or stumble your way through when it comes to marketing efficiently and effectively. No, this is a field that earns its worth in precision, strategy and, frankly, doing your homework — all best practices that our friends in financial services have helped us {find} and {win}.

  3. When it Comes to Your Brand, Consistency is Key

    Far too often, companies invest massive amounts of money into creating a brand as a means to an end. A strategic logo is created, the color palette is just right, the font is unmatched, and the style speaks on its own. It’s been perfectly printed across all collateral materials and has been put on display for the target customer. The business is branded. The easiest mistake is then made when the creativity stops here, and all efforts have been put into creating a brand, and none into preserving it.

    That being said, does brand consistency matter?

    Does Brand Consistency Really Matter?

    The answer is YES.

    Take a look at one of the biggest players out there, one who has been excelling at offering a steady, protected brand since 1923: Disney. The Walt Disney Company evokes a certain reaction from us: feelings from childhood memories and emotional bonds to recognizable characters, neither of which happened overnight.  The company has worked hard to convey defined messages reflecting its values and voice through consistent branding in everything it does, from in-person interactions to written communications on social media. These efforts, built over time, allow the company to create a solid brand that has become recognizable and associated with the exact image they want to convey.

    Star Wars

    Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

    Let’s take a look at a brand that, if it weren’t for some very clever maneuvering, may not exist as it does today: Star Wars. This brand experienced a slight misstep in the ‘70s after the notorious Star Wars holiday special, one even George Lucas wishes he could forget. Quickly swept under the rug, the Star Wars brand still exists and is stronger than ever (partly due to their buy-out by the multi-billion dollar Disney). This is a prime example of why correlated messaging is so important in building the brand you want, with the audience you want. With a cohesive team and a pivot in marketing tactics, Star Wars has proven that even in the face of adversity, a solid brand can overcome pretty much anything.

    As with all good things, brand consistency takes time, but is oh so worth the energy once it’s rolling. A company isn’t just a name, it has its own voice and attitude; you just need to define and build on it for the world to take in.

    So What Makes Brand Consistency Worth Your Time?

    It sets you apart. What makes you different from all the others providing the same things you do? Your identity. Building a brand with an individual voice differentiates you from your competition and makes you easy to recognize and create associations with. The personal experiences people have with your brand are what will later influence their opinions about you (and whether or not they think you’re worth their time).

    It gives you credibility. The initial contact a customer often has with a company is through its brand presence. It’s a search on social media, on a search engine, or a glance at a brochure on a desk. With branded messaging across all channels, trust is instilled and customer loyalty is achieved. They come to know what they can expect by associating your identity with what you do. And after all, creating sustainable relationships is what it’s all about.

    It makes you, you. Planning and showcasing a consistent voice that enforces core messaging is what will give your brand life. No longer just a name printed on a billboard, your audience now knows who you are, what you do, and how you roll. You can be witty, informative, sarcastic – anything you want. This is how your audience will come to remember you, and ultimately decide if you’re the right fit for them.

    Featured Image Credit: Yui Sotozaki

  4. Get Your Priorities Straight with Agile Marketing

    Agile Marketing

    “That sounds sexy.”

    “I want to be part of whatever that is.”

    “What the heck is that?”

    “No, that’s too out of the box.”

    No, these questions aren’t directed at yours truly. They are often associated with agile marketing and this term has the marketing world abuzz.

    To break it down, agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach. It encompasses a marketing team collectively identifying high value projects that deserve focus and the team’s collective efforts. Agile marketing allows a team to manage complex projects with many unknowns and moving parts and takes inspiration from agile development. It’s something that we find value in over here at Findsome & Winmore and are continuing to focus on more and more.

    Agile marketing allows us to:

    • Respond in a quick manner to changes in the market
    • Produce rapid campaigns that can be tested and optimized over time
    • Experiment with lots of ideas and expand on the ones that succeeded
    • Justify what we are doing with our marketing projects with hard data
    • Collaborate with team members to prevent a tunnel-vision approach to marketing

    When starting the agile marketing process…

    Think of the process in phases. The first phase should be detailed with the following phases more high-level. Going this route allows you to experiment during the first phase, make changes to what you are doing or completely throw out what you’ve been doing and start over! Instead of testing out theories and ideas in the long term, you are testing them out in the short term, allowing you to eliminate what doesn’t work and expand on what does to give you a better return in the long run.  

    Fear not my anxiety-ridden marketing mangers, we’re not saying abandon what you’ve been doing this whole time, the hours of research, the content you know works, etc., we’re just asking that you open your eyes to maybe another alternative in the world of digital marketing. Agile marketing allows you to experiment and do right for your clients. Start small, review what you are doing and evaluate what is right and wrong for you. There are factors that can always come into play (new competitors, new technologies, new trends, etc.) that will affect what you’ve been working on, and that’s the beauty of agile marketing! You can move and work with it and not against it!

    Smart Small

    Note that Xerox has been proactive with agile marketing since 2009. Judith Frey, the VP of Interactive Marketing at Xerox said: “Because of the volume of projects that come up in the Web environment, you’re changing things on an ongoing basis. A way to manage those and prioritize them so you’re always working on the highest value projects is very much congruent with how agile operates.” For Xerox, the biggest improvement in business results for them has been in their ability to prioritize and get the right things done the right way.

    Learning the ins and outs of agile marketing can take time and it might feel like a slow crawl in the beginning, but the benefits at the end can definitely be worth your while. Think efficiency! Think happy customers! Think a better functioning team and process! Think agile marketing!

    Sources:

    Marketer Gizmo

    Harvard Business Review

    Agile Marketing

    Agile Marketing

  5. Company Rebranding: 7 Telltale Signs That It’s Time

    Rebranding Your Business

    Like the first day of school, rebranding your company can be a mixed bag of emotions; equal parts fear of failure and the gut-tingling excitement for a fresh start with renewed hope for success. Though not something easily decided upon, it’s vital to never shy away from the prospect of company rebranding if it seems necessary or appropriate for the needs of your business.

    Telltale Signs That it’s Time to Consider Rebranding

    • Product and/or Service Change: No longer offering just one service to customers? Company rebranding can help your business break away from the perception that it’s a one-trick pony, repositioning it as a one-stop shop for multiple consumer needs.
    • Merger and/or Acquisition (or “Conscious Uncoupling”): If your organization is joining forces with another entity, acquiring another company, or experiencing a “break up,” it may be a good time to embody a new brand that reflects this change.
    • Crisis: In most cases, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (or crisis) when your company finds itself in a sticky situation; however, if the damage is too extensive, a rebrand can help shed a negative perception or event.
    • Revitalization and/or Relevance: It can be difficult for business owners to admit that their brand is outdated. To stay relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace, be honest with yourself and your customers by refreshing a brand that is no longer relevant or could use a reboot.
    • New Ownership or Structure: If you’ve just gained control of an organization, or if the core structure of your company has changed, consider rebranding to put some distance between where the company has been and where it’s headed.
    • Expanding to New Markets: A brand that is associated with a particular region or market can hinder expansion opportunities. In some cases, especially with hyper-local companies, company rebranding can make an organization marketable in multiple locations.
    • Legal or Trademark Concerns: In some cases, rebranding is less about preference and more about necessity. Creating a new brand should be a no-brainer if it means keeping your company out of a legal battle.

    With these considerations in mind, it’s a pertinent practice to regularly check the health of your brand. Never leave out the possibility of a rebrand if the circumstances are right. Having gone through this process ourselves, we find that Findsome & Winmore is all the more clear, inclusive and focused for it. As usual, it turns out those first-day-of-school jitters are nothing to fear at all.

  6. What Can CrossFit Teach You About Growing Your Business?

    It is hard not to notice the phenomenal growth of CrossFit, the international fitness movement that has taken the world by storm as of late. If you’re not familiar, CrossFit is a global network of independent gyms (called affiliates) that focuses on group exercise. You’ve likely seen these gyms (referred to as boxes because of their raw nature and simplicity) in different cities and neighborhoods. Orlando alone has seven or eight CrossFit locations. The concept is growing like a weed across the globe.

    If you ask anyone why they like CrossFit, they usually say that the alternating nature of the workouts (the sessions tend to focus on variety and muscle confusion) keeps things interesting. There is often a competitive component as well, which adds something. But the element you hear most about is camaraderie and community. CrossFit effectively combines exercise with teamwork in order to foster something unique. Naturally, the community component spills over online with social media. Most CrossFit affiliates leverage Facebook to bolster the community component, taking advantage of the network effect.

    Why does this matter to me?

    As a business, CrossFit has exploded. Recently, CrossFit and its founder Greg Glassman were profiled on 60 Minutes in a piece entitled ‘The King of CrossFit.” The 60 Minutes segment was interesting in many respects, but the biggest take-away for me was the part about CrossFit’s use of content marketing: creating and publishing brand-related content in an effort to inform or influence instead of advertising or selling.

    Founder of Cross Fit

    CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman in a recent 60 Minutes segment and referenced content marketing.

    Reporter Sharyn Alfonsi was particularly interested in Glassman’s use of of giving away free online video to users to help them learn more about fitness. CrossFit has a “media office” in Silicon Valley whose primary purpose is to create and distribute free educational content to affiliates and participants.  

    Baffled by the thought of “giving away” educational content that participants should seemingly pay to receive, Alfonsi posed the following question to Glassman: “How does that make sense?” After all, why wouldn’t customers just perform the exercises on their own at home (for free) instead of visiting the gym and paying for them?

    Glassman’s simple yet profound answer was, “it didn’t until we did it. The more video we give away, the more money we make.” That statement bears repeating: “the more video we give away, the more money we make.”

    Cross Fit-Videos

    The CrossFit website features a ton of free videos and instruction guides for users to learn how to get in better shape.

    Why does this work?

    It does seem counter-intuitive for this to actually work, but it does. Here are a few reasons why:

    1. Providing all of these videos positions CrossFit as knowledgeable experts, thereby enhancing the brand.
    2. Incorporating updated video and content helps to keep the CrossFit website fresh and dynamic.  This gives users a reason to return to the site frequently.
    3. Online videos are great for sharing on social media to keep users engaged and involved in the community.
    4. Fresh content (especially video) helps users find the website on Google and other search engines.
    5. Consuming and sharing the video is essentially free advertising for CrossFit. True, there is a cost to creating video, but the media cost is next to nothing compared to running television ads.

    How can I put this idea to work for my business?

    With a little effort and creativity, any business can put this lesson to work. Here are a few simple steps you can take to use content like CrossFit does:

    1. Let go of the fear that publishing content is going to (a) make customers steal your advice and not pay you or (b) give your competitors your playbook. While there may be some of either, the benefits will far outweigh the costs
    2. Think about what specific areas you know something about and publish. That means write, draw, film, animate and/or photograph your expertise in action.  
    3. Solve your customer problems with your content. If you are not sure of topics to use as the subject of your publishing, start with the questions your customers ask you. It’s a great place to begin.
    4. Be consistent and patient. This approach takes time, so don’t expect results overnight. Give it 4-6 months of consistent publishing and sharing. With a little patience, you’ll start to experience the snowball effect. Content that you created months earlier will begin to produce results far into the future.

    In the end, remember that your customers’ eyeballs are on social media. If you want to reach them, you need to be there. And if you want to make a good impression, your content ought to be strong. Creating content that helps customers learn and/or solve problems is your ticket to building a relationship with them.

  7. Grassroots Marketing Done Geeky: What Brands Can Learn from Comic Con

    What Brand Marketers Can Learn from Comic ConSan Diego; “America’s Finest City” and California’s second largest city on the picturesque Pacific Coast. However, for just a few days every year, this city hosts Comic Con — a mecca for superheroes, movie stars and more than 130,000 deeply dedicated fans and press outlets. In fact, dedication doesn’t quite capture the level of fervor, excitement and obsession that these fans often exhibit. From burgeoning blogs to creative cosplay (dressing in costume, for the uninitiated), these fans take fandom seriously.

    Surely, this level of fandom extends beyond the world of comic books, video games, and movies; We see similar instances of sports fanatics when it comes to game day. But the lesson that I believe we can all pull from what is now a mainstream “nerd culture” is this audience’s grassroots marketing impact from a business perspective.

    Aim to produce a product or provide a service that your audience will evangelize.

    This year, Warner Bros. (WB) Pictures had a huge showing at Comic Con, presenting exclusive trailers for wildly anticipated films, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. These sneak previews were meant to be exclusive looks at the upcoming films, only to be seen by Comic Con attendees. However, to no one’s surprise, fans filmed and uploaded these previews, sharing them with the information-hungry masses over the Internet. Overnight, these films received what may be millions of dollars worth of free press, just because their fans are genuinely invested in their product.

    You may assume that WB was thrilled with this publicity — but you’d be wrong. Instead, the company labeled the leak as “piracy” and, with much chagrin, posted the full, high-quality version on YouTube. What WB may fail to realize is that the fans that they have labeled as pirates (rightfully so, arguably) are their biggest cheerleaders and a most valuable, grassroots marketing resource.

    Advertising is the cost of being boring.

    A famous quote credited to writer Andy Sernovitz is, “Advertising is the cost of being boring.” Though we’d like to believe that marketing strategy is most definitely an essential, he does make a point. If you produce a truly unique and high-quality product, your fans just may do much of the advertising heavy lifting for you — but only if you allow them. This is where blogging and an active and responsive social media plan will come in extremely useful, providing a place for your fans to share word of how awesome you are.

    Though “make good stuff” may seem like rudimentary and overly simplistic advice, if you focus on business practices that people can get behind while providing a fertile digital environment for your audience to both champion your brand and interact with you, your marketing dollar will go much further. Never underestimate the power of grassroots marketing from a dedicated, nurtured and respected fanbase, as it’s often your customers that help your brand become truly superheroic.

  8. 4 Summer Marketing Tips to Avoid the Dreaded “Slump”

    sleeping man

    Summer isn’t only associated with fun in the sun, cold frosty drinks and treats, and vacations. Unfortunately, it’s also associated with what marketers like to affectionately call the “summer slump.” Just because things tend to slow down during this hot time (no pun intended) it doesn’t mean your marketing needs to.  Drink some iced coffee, read our list of summer marketing tips below and FIGHT THAT SLUMP!

    1. Ready…Set….Go!

    Your marketing doesn’t need to go on hold just because people might be less active during the summer months. Keep active with your marketing channels like your blog and social media accounts. This all aids in your SEO and just because they might not be paying attention to you now, this content your pushing out will help in your future.

    2. Keep it local

    Although the economy has recovered quite a bit, consumers are still cautious of spending and they’re spending less. Knowing that your customers are tending to stay local and enjoying  what’s around them gives you the opportunity to keep your awareness level high. Try out sponsoring local events like concerts, sporting events, festivals, etc.

    3. Experiment and adjust

    While the traffic is low, why not experiment with your marketing and see what you can do differently and what could potentially work for you? Ideas can start from testing your presence via other media channels, promotions, PR and more. Summer is also a great time to review your marketing plan and make any changes as you see fit, review your current website and see if any changes are needed, and create new white papers, blogs, and other juicy content.

    4. Reach out and touch

    Use this time to get in touch with your customers both old and new to gain feedback on what you are doing right and wrong. Find out what their thoughts are on your products and services.

    Also send out some notes or make some calls to check in with clients and let them know they are top of mind for you. I personally love sending and receiving hand written notes and it can go a long way with a customer. Not many businesses use this old school practice and it can make an impact.

    This season can be fun for everyone, so take these summer marketing tips and enjoy yourself this season both in the office and outside of it!

  9. Why Do Options Attract Clients?

    It’s 2pm and I’ve been waiting eagerly in this L shaped line out the door at Chipotle. I stare ravenously at my soon-to-be burrito bowl as the woman behind the counter finishes layering the corn salsa on my glorious veggie mountain. She starts to reach for the guacamole spoon and before she can even ask, I blurt out “I’d like guac with that!” I take out my wallet to pay, and I feel more than satisfied with the result of that experience. 

     Customize Clients

    Ordinary line at Chipotle Mexican Grill

    In an every day environment, we see a line and feel defeated by the urgency of time. But what makes Chipotle the exception? Their model has shaped success in many industries by demonstrating the benefits of simple, flexible and affordable. In the same respect, Chipotle also thrives on the quality of their food and service. The end result? Enough flexibility to allow the customer to choose what they want and what suits their needs.

    We are seeing a rise in this trend in companies such as McDonalds and Dish Network. McDonalds felt the rigid sting and announced a customizable burger option. Dish Network threw a curve ball to cable companies across the continent with a no-contract service, SlingTV. SlingTV streams live television with devices like Apple TV and Roku and offers ESPN, A&E, TNT etc, for a cheap $20/mo. Throwing out the cable bill and going digital, the customized way, is now the trend. But what makes these models so popular in retaining clients? And how do the concepts resonate with your business and marketing strategy?

    Client value

    When it comes to a marketing strategy, the same models of simple, flexible, and affordable should be put into practice.

    • Simple: Nobody likes complicated. Making your recommendations and offerings clear and to the point to your clients should generate attention to the necessary areas. Get rid of the fluff and be the expert in the areas in which you specialize.
    • Flexible: Tailor your marketing strategy toward your audience’s behavior and what you want your business to focus on. In the same respect, also try to give your clients options and the freedom to customize. Your customers will feel a benefit from your services by allowing them flexibility.
    • Affordable: This can sometimes be a sticky situation, but affordable is a relative term. It’s not necessarily about how much you cost, but how much value you offer your audience. If you can provide the credibility that your service and products are worth the price and you have an audience that recommends you, then you’re affordable.

    These three points can make all the difference in your business strategy. Take the time to think about what works for you. Provide your clients with your knowledge and recommendations and let them make the final decision. You’ll find that in the end, they’ll be the ones standing in your line of success.

  10. The Top 5 2014 List Posts to Ring in the New Year

    It’s my favorite time of year: List time.

    Best of, worst of, top-selling, funniest, weirdest, most viral – I love those compact, summarizing, quick-hit catalogues of cool.

    When I was little, I read The Guinness Book of World Records cover to cover. It was my favorite Christmas gift. As an adult, I’m a grocery store, housework honey-do, holiday shopping, bucket list kind of person, so when you put anything on a list, I will probably read it. I especially can’t wait for those annual who-said-what, who-watched-who and what-sucked-most list posts because they’re a mind-blowing reminder of how fast 365 days actually pass by (the Olympics were a few months ago? Really?).

    List Posts = Efficiency

    How to Enjoy List Posts

    On social media and blogs, list posts are the most read social posts. There is so much content out there that searching for quick answers to your questions can be overwhelming. Because of this, simple, digestible bullet points are rewarded. When sifting through millions of Google results or clicking through to find out the 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy, people are more likely to take a look at this concise dose of facts than a vague title that…well…sounds loooong. Sad, but true. And when it comes to list posts, laziness is good. It is a promise of efficiency.

    So, my lazy and nostalgic friends, I give you my 5 Favorite “Best of 2014 Lists” List (listception!).

    1. The most popular “word” in 2014 was not a word at all; it was an emoji. A heart-shaped one, to be exact. This “word” barely edged out Ebola, which makes it a little less upsetting that our most popular word wasn’t even a word.
    2. The best advertisements of the year featured people acting “like a girl,” Bill Gates dumping ice water on his head, and Matthew McConaughey acting weird normal.
    3. Of course we were appalled every day on social media about something “important” so why not make an Outrage List? Take for instance, on July 2 we found out that Facebook was doing mood experiments on us without our knowledge and on October 21 we were abuzz by Renee Zellweger’s new eyes! Yes. We. Were.
    4. The Top Ten Viral Videos of the year include a couple of my favorites, such as Emma Stone’s lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon and President Obama on “Between Two Ferns,” but how did I miss the video with the Lion King cast on the New York subway? Wow!
    5. 2014 was the year many people tried to “break the internet” and the Masters of Photoshop were very bored…I mean…busy.

    What lists are you reading to ring in the new year?

    P.S.: I still can’t believe Pharrell’s hat was 2014. It seems like that was so 2013!