I was totally deceived for a while!

Ever have a nagging feeling only to find “definitive facts” that shoot your feeling down? Here’s the deal: companies are always looking for new ways to make money, buy advertising and reign supreme. Of the larger brands in the US, McDonald’s is a ferocious beast. Who else would try to take on Starbucks at their own game?

So imagine a staple of Online Media at the center of a swirl of rumors. Facebook was rumored to start geo-location support. It’s been the nerd talk for 2010: geo-location. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla are leading the way. But just like Twitter, Facebook seemed poised to announce a new geo-location feature for accounts. With a huge user base, Facebook could easily put Foursquare and Gowalla on the path to shut down.

Facebook’s big developer conference ended without squat about geo-location. Then yesterday, the advertising world was buzzing about McDonald’s and Facebook. Turns out McDonald’s will be the launch advertiser to use Facebook’s upcoming geo-location feature. Check in at a McDonald’s and get a free fries or something. Can you imagine being enticed to show your phone the next time you order a Big Mac?

I was totally deceived for a while! | business growth   Zazza Media Strategies a Dallas Area Media Strategies, Relations, Advertising and Marketing firm.

Geo-Location and New Social Media Tools from Facebook will make your business more profitable.

I’ve been hesitant to mention geo-location until this very moment. Mainly because if you’re not in New York City, maybe 5,000 people are using either Foursquare or Gowalla. On top of that, there was no clear leader between the two. No reason to invest in the idea until now. The moment Facebook launches it’s time for every company or business to analyze implementation to their media strategies.

Rewarding people for sharing their patronage with friends is network marketing making things happen. “Free” advertising for minimal cost. Chipotle still engages in a similar form of “free” network advertising. At locations near college campuses, Chipotle would offer free burritos on Saturday. What college kid gives up a free lunch? Chipotle would spread the word a bit and before you knew it, college kids loved Chipotle. They loved it so much Chipotle has an entire college campus marketing division.

With the impending launch of geo-location on Facebook, I don’t recommend panicking. It’s ok to get an extra cup of coffee and visit sites like Foursquare. Just don’t feel overwhelmed quite yet. It is the weekend in a few hours after all.

The potential from this news is extraordinary. It will also quell any detractors out there as well. It is very clear that McDonald’s is getting this unique privilege from a very large media buy. The full details are not clear but in what will sure be a big splash, McDonald’s will help transform Online Media trends.

For the average small business there might be a learning curve. That’s expected. Considering that you want people to visit your business you will probably catch on quickly. Sending “Check-In” promotions to friends who hopefully then visit and “Check-In” themselves. From there their friends see where they “Checked-In” and love the promotion so they show up and “Check-In.” After that it gets quite cyclical and the potential becomes beyond incredible.

Have you already been having fun with Foursquare or Gowalla? Let me know! I’ve been trying it out myself a bit under a pseudonym and it can get addicting fast!

Have a fantastic weekend and I look forward to seeing you here again on Monday!

Tell a Friend,

TZ

Blame Game going Bad.

Blame Game going Bad. | branding   Zazza Media Strategies a Dallas Area Media Strategies, Relations, Advertising and Marketing firm.

Branding an identity from crisis. How to avoid an industry stigma and remain positive.

How many times have you heard of the company Cameron International? What about Transocean? I’m a huge animal lover and I drive an SUV to carry them around to the park, vet or even on a road trip. So now that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is reaching the shores and affecting wildlife preserves I’m getting really anxious. When I go online and read more and more about it I only hear about one company: BP. British Petroleum, a worldwide oil conglomerate, that sells you gas, explores for oil and finally drills. Or do they?

I’ve heard of BP plenty of times. They’ve had cute commercials in years past, a colorful logo and they’re huge in Southern California (where I’m from). Cameron International and Transocean are new to me. Are they new to you? Certainly I’m not an oil expert. But the multi-billion dollar industry is not as simple as it looks. BP and others like it, contract out to local companies that specialize in certain jobs. They hire one company for exploration to find new oil reserves. They then hire another company to drill the oil. Then another to send it to shore and of course it continues on from there.

Blame Game going Bad. | branding   Zazza Media Strategies a Dallas Area Media Strategies, Relations, Advertising and Marketing firm.

Transocean is the operator and owner of the rig responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (http://deepwater.com)

Transocean is responsible for the oil extraction. They are the technical owners of the rig and they operate it themselves. BP hired Transocean for their services and most importantly, their expertise. Cameron International is responsible for the equipment Transocean uses. Most importantly they manufacture the safeguard device meant to plug an oil drilling hole in the event of an emergency. Obviously between the two companies something went wrong. Oil is washing ashore and threatening delicate wildlife and damaging the fishing industry already. Millions of dollars in damages are poised to skyrocket. Ultimately, who is responsible for this mess?

Blame Game going Bad. | branding   Zazza Media Strategies a Dallas Area Media Strategies, Relations, Advertising and Marketing firm.

Cameron International manufactures devices for oil drilling meant to cap oil spills before they happen. (http://c-a-m.com/)

There are a ton of people who are anti-oil and blame companies like BP. Well BP has already stepped forward. They’ve accepted blame and have dedicated a full clean-up and restoration team. It’s only expected because the technical clean-up of any oil spill is responsible to companies like BP. But the cause of the oil spill does not belong necessarily to BP. Lawyers will soon be able to analyze data and conclude who is to blame for the oil spilling in the first place. The real loser either way is BP and the oil industry as a whole.

BP has taken the right course: they’re accepting blame in it’s entirety. For their reputation, it’s best to be seen as humble, apologetic and committed to righting it’s wrongs. But what about the industry? What about these two companies who are most likely to be blamed for the spill in the first place? Media strategies offers businesses the unique ability to engage the public and media en masse and form the story from their perspective. While no official investigation has made any official findings public, it’s possible to see the BP media machine charge after their contract workers.

Avoiding any stigma is very difficult and it does not happen overnight. What is possible is to avoid the stigma for yourself and place it squarely on another entity. Managing crises is very sticky business. It too, does not happen overnight. But what do you do? Try making information easy to read and easy to understand. Make sure it explains your perspective and make sure that you separate yourself from those you are not wanting to be associated with. Sounds easy but the key is making that information easy.

I’m not a big fan of animals being harmed because of a careless corporation. But in the game of industry stigmas it’s always best to be honest and forthcoming – whether you’re the one to blame or not. You have a voice and it’s in times like these that you have to use it. If you don’t then you are more likely to be used as a scapegoat. And that’s not any fun.

I hope you all have a great Monday! Looking forward to the weekend already! See you back on Wednesday!

Tell a Friend,

TZ

Tony Zazza, a 15-year media, marketing and advertising expert, is the Principal of Zazza Media Strategies, a Dallas Texas Marketing Firm, that specializes in growing small to medium sized businesses to their fullest potential.

It’s the end of Google Search…

Its the end of Google Search... | accessibility   Zazza Media Strategies a Dallas Area Media Strategies, Relations, Advertising and Marketing firm.

Media Strategies, Media Relations, Social Media and Google Search. How to realize the true potential of online communities for business growth.

I’m not joking at all. I’m completely serious that ‘Googling’ will come to an end. I may just be a few decades ahead of myself is all.

Ya know how they refer to Facebook and Twitter as ‘Web 2.0′? It’s not because they’re social media, it’s because of the technology behind the websites. Back when Web 2.0 started a good friend explained to me the underlying principle guiding the technology. After building a Web 2.0 company himself he was best to describe it. Web 2.0 is designed to respond to you before you act. In other words, it should know what you want to see and show it to you before you even click a button.

Creepy?

You’re already getting used to it right now. I wrote this week about Facebook’s privacy and new features. Facebook announced today that over 50,000 websites have adopted their new plug-ins that essentially help Facebook dominate content across the web. Now you have over 50,000 different websites that you can ‘Like’ and suggest to friends. Facebook then passes that along to your friends and your friends pass their likes along to you.

Have you seen those Microsoft Bing commercials? They always take a jab at Google, the dominate search engine, for not being very visually appealing. Do you agree? Google is very simple. It’s text and list based. You search and their engine gives you results with very few images (unless you search for images) and it’s just very pure data. Bing is a very visual search engine. But even the typical search engine is slowly seeing a fate worse than death.

For marketers, Google is an amazing way to track and analyze where advertising dollars are spent and their results. Facebook, Twitter and others do not have that “graphing power.” You can’t walk into a room of high-dollar executives and show them results on a dry erase board because there’s only very select information. Facebook’s new methods of ‘Like’ and commentary centralize social media interaction in a way easier to potentially analyze.

That’s been the biggest problem for social media to date. So many others, including myself, know that social media is a valuable tool. Putting an exact number on that value has been the hardest thing to do yet. But what is very clear is that Facebook and Twitter are recognized by about 85% of the US population. That’s more than the percentage of people with regular internet access. Social Media strikes a chord with most people. Here’s what I think the major reason is:

Everyone wants to be involved in a community and share experiences and opinions with others.

To date, there has been no way that a single person can in theory interact with billions of others in the blink of an eye. Connecting with someone on the opposite side of the planet is easier than ever imagined. Google is very single-user focused. Facebook has been too mass-mob focused. Blending and bridging the gap makes for a very clear message:

Media Strategies is an active method to be seen and be heard in a community environment of instant action and instant response.

Searching will be dead. Finding will be king. Bookmarking will be a habit and sharing is only natural. If you’re not getting on board now you’re only delaying the inevitable. Until Monday friends, have a great weekend!

Tell a Friend,

TZ

Tony Zazza, a 15-year media, marketing and advertising expert, is the Principal of Zazza Media Strategies, a Dallas Texas Marketing Firm, that specializes in growing small to medium sized businesses to their fullest potential.