The Kids Are Alright Part II

In an earlier post, I reported that it was great to see the Gen Y kids driving the tremendous outpouring of financial support for Haiti relief via texting.

I’m happy to report that the American Red Cross “Text ‘Haiti’ to 90999” campaign has raised $24 million to date. See the DMNews story here.

Think about this campaign for a moment. It has achieved some amazing accomplishments – in a short period of time – since this devastating earthquake hit Haiti just last week on January 12th:

  • $24 million has been raised via $10 individual donations to help the Haitian people – 1/5th of the amount the American Red Cross has raised to date – breaking all records by a huge  margin.  Reference note: After Hurricane Katrina – a mere 4.5 years ago – the ARC only received $120,000 via texting – and Katrina occurred on American soil!
  • The ARC has built a valuable mobile text database for future marketing communications and financial appeal efforts
  • The ARC’s core donor base skews older and texting gave the Gen Y folks an easy, quick and convenient channel to offer their support (marketing lesson – treat different people differently)
  • The campaign execution of  the ARC and its mobile firm partner mGive was flawless – amazing too – considering the fact that they started to work on the texting campaign the evening of the earthquake
  • The viral goodwill spread of the “Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999” campaign in Social Media channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (100K tweets/retweets)

I’m far from being in the Gen Y segment, but I did text a donation to the ARC and will tell you that it was easy for me to participate. As important, I felt comfortable donating because of the supportive and reinforcing messages I saw on TV news and various high profile broadcasts such as the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes.

Also, after texting the shortcode “HAITI” to 90999, I was asked me to respond “yes” to confirm my donation and then I received a nice comforting thank you too – nice touch.

This overwhelmingly positive experience led me to spread the ARC’s good word and to feel more comfortable using this channel in the future.

Strong brand promise, ease, convenience, simple message and trust are the hallmarks of success for the ARC’s texting campaign and they could be put to good use for your brand’s future success too.

Photo by CollectiveGood.


The Kids Are Alright

If you think young people these days are inconsiderate, selfish, concerned with only themselves and wear their “pants on the ground“…think again.

Soon after the devastating Haiti earthquake hit, @RedCross tweeted: “You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in #haiti.”

Kudos to the Red Cross marketing folks for being prepared (excellent online disaster newsroom) and recognizing the fundraising opportunity available to them in this terrible time of crisis.

And, much more kudos to the kids that drove this “texting bus” because they’re the ones credited with leading this Red Cross effort which has raised over $10 million for the cause since this record breaking mobile fundraiser was launched last Tuesday.

This is a great example of using technology to build rather than destroy.

Watch text marketing grow from this effort and put in on your list of things to test for your business too!

P.S.: Here is a list of 8 ways you can help Haiti by texting:

  1. Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross
  2. Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee
  3. Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada
  4. Text HAITI to 20222 to donate $10 through the Clinton Foundation
  5. Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way
  6. Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation
  7. Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International
  8. Text RELIEF to 30644 (to connect with Catholic Relief Services who will instruct you how to donate money with your credit card)

…the 9th way to help is to pray.


A Sign of Accomplishment

Greenpeace Sign for G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh
Greenpeace Sign for G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.

I was proud that Pittsburgh my hometown agreed host the recent G-20 Summit. I dig the fact that we were courageous to take a shot to do something remarkable.

Time will tell if the city’s investment was worth it – my gut says it was a good one.  Sure, mistakes were made, but as a wise man (probably wise woman) once said, “You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelete!”

I was vacationing in Orange Beach, AL when the Summit was held (What Marketing Lessons I Learned from My Summer Vacation Blog posts coming soon – take  this signage tip as Lesson #1) and I couldn’t help but recognize the great work of sign art that Greenpeace created. Their sign hung from Pittsburgh’s West End Bridge. Check it out – and check out the cool Greenpeace Ninjas that are rappelling from the bridge to unfurl the sign – BRILLIANT!

The road sign color composition is an idea to consider when you’re crafting your own signage to stop traffic. eMarketer’s excellent charts do a similar great job.

Pittsburgh's G-20 Summit Logo
Pittsburgh's G-20 Summit Logo

P.S.: I thought the G-20 Logo was pretty cool too – which highlights Pittsburgh’s Bridge history as well as the Summit’s goal of bridging nations together.


BrandMill Wins 3 Pittsburgh PRSA Renaissance Awards

Fact WRII Poster finalLast Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) honored the region’s
best public relations campaigns and tactics, as well as its most admired communicators, during the 2009 Renaissance Awards.

Held in the East Club Lounge at Heinz Field, the Renaissance Awards were emceed by Andrew Stockey,
anchor of WTAE-TV Channel 4 Action News. In attendance were some of the country’s leading communications professionals representing global agencies, Fortune 500 corporations, and elite higher education

An independent judging panel from the Los Angeles Public Relations Society of America evaluated nominations for more than 40 award categories, such as special events, media relations campaigns, and direct mail pieces. The top entries earned the coveted Renaissance Award, while runners-up received the Award of Merit.

I’m proud to report that the Pittsburgh Public Relations Society of America honored BrandMill with three First Place Renaissance Awards for Best Public Affairs Campaign, Best Press Kit and Best Poster for the Whiskey Rebellion II campaign to “Axe the 10% Drink Tax” in Allegheny County.

These three PRSA Renaissance awards complement BrandMill’s and F.A.C.T.’s (Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation) Marketer of the Year award in the Sports Entertainment Hospitality award (and third runner-up overall for Grand Marketer of the Year) for its Whiskey Rebellion II campaign given by the American Marketing Association of Pittsburgh this past December.

Here is a link to the Pittsburgh PRSA’s press release about the 2009 Renaissance Awards.


Marketing Black Friday Stupidity
As a marketer, I've never quite been able to get my head around Black Friday.

This is supposedly the day that most retailers finally make it into the "black" or profitability.

First of all, if you have a Brand – any Brand – that traditionally doesn't make a profit until 11 months into a calendar year, then there is something seriously wrong with your market offering, value proposition and more.

Why anyone would invest in that business model makes no sense to me.

Secondly, to totally prostitute your Brand for a few hours of one morning for one day offering ridiculous loss leaders which bastardizes your Brand, taxes your employees and has now turned deadly as it did for a Walmart in Long Island, should send you a clear message that you need to step back and re-evaluate things.

On a personal level, it saddens me to think about the state of people's greed and reckless consumption habits during a special time we should be giving thanks. In fact, the only thing we should be spending is our time with family, friends and those less fortunate than ourselves.


Social Media For Good – Charter for Compassion

This effort by the Charter for Compassion is a fantastic demonstration of the strength Social Media and I hope and pray their good work succeeds. What an uplifting example of the power of marketing, of the Internet and of individual concerned people. I love the fact that you can view the video in multiple languages.

To quote their YouTube site, "The Charter brings together the voices of people from all religions. It seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule.The Charter will change the tenor of the conversation around religion. It will be a clarion call to the world."

It's an excellent example of social media marketing at its finest and kudos to Director Jesse Dylan and Producers Priscilla Cohen, Theresa "Sparky" Pomeroy!


10 Marketing Lessons from Brand Obama


I try to stay apolitical in this Blog, but WOW…how can a marketer not comment on this landmark Presidential campaign? What a unique game-changing marketing performance and case study! What a two-year marketing ride choosing between Brand McCain and Brand Obama.  No matter if your guy won or lost, you can learn a great deal about marketing by scrutinizing why Brand Obama was the brand more Americans preferred.

The main reason why Obama won was that he/his brand was uniquely different!!

However, here are 10 more reasons why Barack Obama’s marketing campaign rocked America’s house:


1.    Brand Obama stayed on the singular message of CHANGE!
2.    Brand Obama was a better storyteller. His oratory skills were spectacular and his messaging was focused and clear. His classic speech on race…WOW, it doesn’t get any better than that.
3.    Brand Obama’s internet marketing strategy was superior. Viral media, engaging media all excellent.
4.    Brand Obama built a bigger permission based database which led to record donations.
5.    Brand Obama reached beyond its base to be inclusive and nice to others to convert
6.    Brand Obama was clear and calm. Any leader can row a boat when its calm, but can they do it when the water is rough? Obama showed a calm demeanor through the entire campaign and people were looking for calm, cool leadership and not the cowboy arrogance of Bush.
7.    Brand Obama executed better – flawlessly. He never seemed to make a mistake.
8.    Brand Obama worked to pump up the pumped up. He reached out to other groups unlike his base, but they were interested in change.
9.    Brand Obama attacked actions not the person. People respect those who do not attack ther person, but rather his/her actions.
10.    Brand Obama satisfied customer’s main need to fix the economy. In mid September when the race was getting a little tight and the banks started to collapse, McCain said, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong!” Well, Obama’s team jumped on the statement which showed he was a bit out of touch not recognizing the famous line of the Clinton campaign, “It’s the economy stupid!”

Here’s a good New York Times story that adds a bit more texture to my argument…Hail to the new Chief! “Yes we can” learn terrific marketing lessons from this campaign. God bless America.