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October 17, 2016 - No Comments!

Mad Women

"Success is the best revenge"

Those are the words to live by if you're Ceil Walker, the charismatic CEO of Walker & Associates, a locally owned advertising, public relations, and marketing firm that represents large clients as McDonald's and NASA, and as homegrown as the Memphis Art Park and the Racine + Southern Dance Exchange.

"My mom has little plaques and coasters around the house that say; 'Success is the best revenge.' She's always taught me to gracefully let things go and work as hard as you can to be successful, and the rest won't matter someday, says Cecilia Walker, Ceil's daughter and the senior vice president of business development for the firm.

Read full article from Inside Memphis Business Magazine

October 13, 2016 - No Comments!

Making Lemonade: A Short and Sweet Recipe to Spin Any PR Scandal

So, life has given you lemons. A client may have done something the public didn’t find too sweet, and if you’re representing them it’s your job to fix it. What do you do? The answer is clear, make lemonade.

Directions are as follows:

Squeeze situation until disaster is completely drained

3/4 cup of damage control

Add a pinch of spin
1 apology (to dilute)

1 cup of humility

1 cup of swift action

Assess the pitcher, add hyperbole when needed
. Continue adding sincerity until you reach the desired taste.

October 12, 2016 - No Comments!

Memphis Business Journal Features CEO Ceil Walker

"When Ceil Walker took over as CEO of Walker & Associates after the death of her husband, there were plenty of people who didn't think she could do the job.

Deloss Walker, a once-poor Arkansas farm boy, founded the notable Memphis advertising agency in 1965 and managed the campaigns of several prominent politicians such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

But after his death, longtime employees and clients had their doubts that Deloss Walker’s wife, Ceil — 21 years his junior — would be able to continue the Walker & Associates legacy."

Read full article from Memphis Business Journal.

August 23, 2016 - No Comments!

Dissecting Snapchat and Its Place with Endorsements

Oh, Snapchat. The elusive milestone in technological communication that has most people aloof. We get everyone's doing it, but can’t quite grasp how. Is it a labyrinth? Is it an app? Sorta, it’s Snapchat.

Let’s begin.

In its ancient form, Snapchat was a simple social media platform. Child’s play. It allowed you to connect with fellow snap-chattering friends through pictures or videos in real time. You would snap a quick pic (or record a quick vid) with a lifespan of no longer than 10 seconds. Next you’d customize with a brief text and or draw on the screen with some aesthetically pleasing red ink. Lastly, you would select the length of your snaps life, then it’s off! Never to be seen again. Gone forever.

That Snapchat is no more. We now live in a world of stories, geotags, and dog filters. Not to mention the ever intimidating ‘Memories’ it has concocted.

So how do we maneuver through the excess of creative possibility that is Snapchat? We break it down.

Stories

Honestly, they’re a gift. Have you ever wondered what your friends are doing anytime of the day? Check their story. Scared someone has ditched your plans to hang with another? Check their story. Trying to avoid someone and want to scope out their whereabouts? Have no fear, stories are here!

In layman terms, a Snapchat story is a photo or video you post to a feed of your very own. It's visible for a 24-hour cycle to you and your Snapchat peers. All your friends. To see it swipe from right to left on any tab until you see a screen tab labeled "Stories." Your friends' stories will appear under "Recent Updates.” All your friends’ stories.

Usually composed of entrancing selfies, or even more mystifying dinner plates, stories are an outlet to tell people what you’re doing at all times.

As an extension of the Stories feature, Snapchat has created Discover. To cover a wide range of interests, Snapchat has partnered with CNN, Vice, Yahoo News, Comedy Central, National Geographic, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, and Cosmopolitan. Discover allows Snapchat users to view news in a similar format to Stories. After 24 hours, the stories disappear and are replaced with fresh content.

But wait, there’s more!

“Introducing, Memories! You can use Memories to create new Stories from Snaps you’ve taken, or even combine different stories into a longer narrative,” says Snapchat.

Not only can you show people what you’re doing in real time, but now you can upload beach pics from last weekend’s spur of the moment Miami trip in attempt to grab that one special snapper’s attention.

And yes. We see you, Instagram. Your version of “Stories”, while captivating, still has a curious on its implementation into the ad world. We’ll dive in and report back later. Now, back to Snap…

Decoration

You’ll never have lack of visual enhancements on Snapchat. Here's a concise list of your options: filters, face filters, geotags, stickers, weather, date, time, speed it up, slow it down, flip it back and reverse it.

Some of these are self-explanatory. Others are not, in particular: geotags. A geotag is an electronic tag that assigns a geographical location to a photograph or video, a posting on a social media website, etc. Simple, easy, decorative. To receive them all you have to do is enable your location!

Communication

Ah yes, the art of endorsement
. Because Snapchat has such an intimate relationship with its users, endorsements tend to go a long way. From Arnold Schwarzenegger's political support of John Kasich, to Kylie Jenner's tireless, promotional lip kit snaps, Snapchat advertisement knows no bounds. But, considering this superhuman app reaches 41% of 18-34 year-olds on any given day, why should it?

It is personal; it makes the user feel connected. So when someone hears or sees something on Snapchat, they listen. This app isn't Twitter, and most certainty is not Facebook. It's not overwhelmed with shameless plugs, so the Snapchat sphere pays attention when something is brought to its attention.

It's no wonder Ms. Jenner's lip kit consistently sells out in under a minute; she is one of the world's most followed people on Snapchat.

Go King K.

The Chat of Snapchat.
 At the core, it is the actual ability to chat. Either through quick text exchanges, voice- call, or video chat, you can communicate virtually anyway you’d like.

This section is simple enough.

Congratulations, the in’s and out’s of Snapchat have been revealed for all our non-millennial and gen z-ers. Now, we patiently await the next update in hopes it doesn’t throw its loyal patrons for a complete 180.

 

July 27, 2016 - No Comments!

Why You Should Re-Think Your Website’s SEO

Is SEO important?

Search engine optimization (SEO). You've heard of this buzzword, but you might not know what it means or why it's important for your business. And for some people, even the mere phrase sounds like technical mumbo jumbo that’s too complicated to dissect.

So you think to yourself, “Why is SEO important? Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement and my business already has a solid reputation. If it's not broken, don't fix it...right?” Wrong.

Or perhaps you’re a little familiar. You've been told it has something to do with keywords and getting your website on the first page of Google. While ranking for keywords and increasing your search engine visibility are key for developing a strong online presence, SEO is about much more. In fact, here's a secret that some marketing agencies don't want you to know. Ready for it? Here it goes....

No one can guarantee you the # 1 ranking on Google.

In fact, anyone who guarantees this promise “in X amount of days” is indeed implementing unethical marketing tactics that could hurt your business. SEO is a holistic digital marketing process that takes time. It requires constant planning, execution, maintenance and monitoring. But when implemented properly it will increase search traffic, referral traffic, reputation and brand visibility.

And you better believe that Google, Yahoo and Bing constantly change their algorithms to penalize websites who (knowingly or unknowingly) use shortcuts to outsmart the process. That's right; search engines are notorious for banning websites without any notice. Working with professionals indeed has its advantages.

Whether you’re familiar with SEO or not, or whether your business is a new startup company or large corporation, here are 4 reasons why every business model should not exclude SEO from their marketing infrastructure:

It is critical for success.

Ever heard of “out of sight, out of mind.” It's true! You soon forget people or things that are no longer present. This is not only true for consumers but for search bots as well. Without SEO a website can be invisible to search engines. It’s like having a great commercial that never airs.

If a website is lacking quality content, effective link building, keyword strategy, or proper URL and HTML structure (just to name a few), search engines will ignore your site and it won't generate traffic. More traffic = higher visibility. The higher your visibility, the higher your returns, and higher returns generate direct revenue.

Your competitors could be drinking opportunity that could be yours.

Thanks to the Internet, marketers are able to reach customers at every stage of the buying process: anytime and anywhere. But the playing field is not level.

With SEO, the longer you take to get into the game, the more competitive the keywords become and the harder it is to rank for them. Therefore each time your competitors show up for a product or service that you offer, and your website does not show up, you’re missing the opportunity to sell what your customers want, when they want it.

Search is Growing.

The phrase “just Google it” is perhaps one our favorite ways to explain why SEO is important for online visibility. That’s because consumers use the Internet to look up everything: from information about a product, reviews, location, competitor choices, etc.

In addition to the rising amount of search queries, more and more people are becoming comfortable with purchasing online and customer mobilization is rapidly growing. Therefore SEO gives business owners access to a rapidly expanding market.

But search engine results pages (SERPs) are not the only places consumers are hanging out. The growing popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are also great and additional avenues to generate traffic back to websites.

As search expands, gaining “online real estate” becomes more important.

Lack of SEO could hurt other marketing and advertising efforts.

Even with a solid traditional marketing strategy like word-of-mouth, the Internet is the most important source of content at all phases- before, during and after referrals. In fact, recent studies from Google reveal the Internet is both the leading spark of WOM conversations and the #1 resource utilized to take action after a conversation.

Search impacts more than 15% of all WOM conversations. And Google directly informs 146 million brand conversations a day. Therefore lack of brand visibility could decrease credibility or your ability to connect with potential clients.

July 5, 2016 - No Comments!

4 Reasons Why Brands Fear Social Media

Social media may be aging, but it knows how to stay hip. That’s because new and innovative social media channels consistently pop up to fill needs we didn’t even know we had. And more than that, the capabilities and uses of these social media channels are constantly evolving.

Commercially speaking, that last sentence is a big point. Social media in general is becoming more and more important for businesses, both big and small. While many business leaders are taking advantage of the power social media can offer to their bottom line, many ignore it.

Social Categories

Business leaders typically approach social media in 3 distinct ways.

  1. 100% embrace it
  2. Acknowledge its importance, while also acknowledging they don’t understand it
  3. Remain completely blind to its benefits

If you already embrace social media to meet your business objectives, then congrats, you win. You can stop reading this article and jump over here to learn more about Facebook advertising. (hyperlink to our blog post about Facebook advertising).

If you fall into one of the other two categories, then we’re here to help. We’ve heard all of the reasons why you won’t invest the time and effort into social media, but we aren’t giving up on you yet.

Reason #1: “I don’t understand it.”

That’s fine. Again, social media is new. Maybe you didn’t grow up with it or you just haven’t spent the time and energy to understand it (probably because you don’t want to). But that doesn’t mean you don’t need it.

The thing is, you don’t have to spend time and energy to master social media if it’s not something you want to do. There are plenty of people out there who eat and breathe social media and are ready to help. You just need to be willing to invest the resources. Hire a coordinator. Hire an agency. Do something.

Why? We’ll tell you!

Reason #2: “I don’t see how it benefits my business.”

In 2015, brands spent $187 billion on advertising. TV made up the biggest share of this ad spend, at 42%, or $79 billion.

If companies are willing to spend that much money on TV, why not invest in social media? An effective investment is pennies compared to TV.

That’s not to say social media rules all. It shouldn’t replace all other advertising channels. But it does a great job of complementing them.

Integrating your campaigns with social media is a great way to ensure you’re effectively reaching your audience by creating frequency and more impressions. But most importantly, you’re creating engagement and conversations around your brand.

64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users say they’re more likely to buy products of brands they follow online. That means if you’re not on these channels, these customers are going to your competitors who ARE.

There’s more…

84% of CEOs and VPs confess to using social media to help make their own purchasing decisions. If that’s true, then why do you think social media isn’t right for YOUR brand?

Not only can advertising effectively on social media impact your bottom line, it can also digitally impact other marketing areas that you use to impact your bottom line.

Is it important for your website to rank well on Google search engines? For most companies, yes it is. And if so, then you need to really think about your Facebook strategy and creating compelling and engaging content. That’s because shares on Facebook have a large influence on Google search rankings due to Google’s preference for backlinks.

Reason #3: “My target audience isn’t on social media.”

WRONG!

Every audience is on social media. It’s just a matter of which social media channel is most effective at reaching your target audience.

72% of all adult Internet users are on Facebook. And over 84% of the US population are Internet users. So chances are, your target audience is at the very least active on Facebook. This makes Facebook a smart channel to start your campaign, especially since 56% of users check Facebook DAILY.

But there are other social media platforms you may want to use depending on your audience.

Are you trying to reach the coveted millennial generation? Well, 55% of adult Internet users ages 18-29 are on Instagram. There are 5 million images uploaded every day here. Shouldn’t yours be one of them?

Are you targeting women in your campaign? Well, 44% of women Internet users are on Pinterest, so get to pinning because the average user spends 89 minutes a month here.

What about college-educated professionals? 46% of adult Internet users with a college education are on LinkedIn. It’s time to up your game here because it’s where the average user spends 21 minutes a week.

53% of consumers recommend companies and products on Twitter. Don’t you want to be in a position to engage in these conversations about your brand?

Reason #4: “You can’t measure success.”

You can measure success, it just depends on your objectives.

Perhaps you want to measure success by the amount of conversions your campaign produces.

Easy. Just place a tracking code from your ad campaign onto the confirmation page of your website, whether it be a confirmation page after a transaction or a new lead through a contact form (depending on your business objective). Then your data will show you that Campaign A resulted in (x) impressions and (x) conversions, giving you an (x) conversion rate. There’s your measurement for success!

For reference, advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn come with easy-to-use conversion tracking capability. Surely, other platforms will follow.

Or maybe you want just wanted to raise awareness about your company or product. Then you’d use key performance indicators, like retweets, likes, comments, followers, page likes, link clicks, etc. (jargon depending on which social network the campaign is on, obviously).

Though measuring social media campaign ROI may be muddy depending on your goals, it can be much more crystal clear than measuring your TV advertising ROI. And the investment needed for an effective social media campaign is a fraction compared to TV.

Do You Love Social Media Yet?

Social media is here and it’s not going anywhere. It’s becoming more and more a part of our everyday lifestyle, and brands are buying in. As a business leader, you know how important it is to track not only the consumer, but also the competition. And they’re both on social media. So the question isn’t whether or not you should be on social media. The question is what’s your strategy going to be to beat the competition and win those consumers?