Hey, all!

It’s mid-May and ski season is officially over and I’m sad about it. I’ll get over it by burying myself in my new Mountain Gazette subscription 😅. Anyway, it’s been a big week! We’re finally live with SourceCode Amplify, our proprietary AI-based tool designed to help comms and marketing teams quickly and efficiently share media coverage across all appropriate channels. 

Plus, PRWeek and PRovoke shared the news, so we’re kind of a big deal (insert Ron Burgundy voice here). Email me if you want a demo, it’s really awesome and you DON’T have to be a client to utilize it!

Two other things – 

  1. We’re still hiring like crazy
  2. I’m headed to Collision in Toronto next month, will you be around? I’d love to say hello!

Onto the newsletter, this week we pulled a few interesting stories – a rare marketing misstep from Apple and how they handled it, the Tiktok-ification of ALL social content and what we need to be thinking about, and an interesting new trend in social ads called ‘screenshot marketing.’ 

Until next time, peeps. 

-Greg

Listen to your audience: Learning from Apple’s missteps with its latest iPad Pro ad

TL;DR: Apple just debuted the newest versions of its iPad Pro with a commercial spot that left many people feeling disgusted at their dismissal of creative fields. The ad, titled ‘Crush,’ featured physical creative instruments, like paint cans and a piano, being crushed under a giant hydraulic press. The visual was meant to signify all the various creative tools now available in Apple’s thinnest iPad Pro yet. Apple has since apologized for ‘missing the mark’ and reaffirmed its support for creatives.

Takeaway: In marketing and communications, we have to remove our egos and personal biases from our work. Whether or not you think the anger around this ad was justified, people were upset by this. Apple could have dug in its heels and failed to validate the creatives who voiced their discontent. But instead, they held onto their reputation by leaning into authenticity and humanity. In our rapidly evolving industry, we’re all going to make mistakes. What matters is how you react to them. Apple responded with grace by owning the mistake, calling it what it was (as opposed to responding with defensiveness or reactivity), and apologizing for the hurt it caused.

Consider:

  • Everyone’s going to make mistakes. When it happens, take a beat and don’t make any knee-jerk reactions. Think of how you can react in a way that doesn’t cause further damage to your brand.
  • How can you foster more trust, empathy, and authenticity in your communications with your audience?

Focus on entertainment: Rethinking how social media incentivizes and rewards engagement

TL;DR: TikTok, whether or not it sticks around in the U.S., has majorly transformed the social media marketing game. In traditional social media marketing, interactions and engagements (in the form of likes, comments, and shares) were the key metrics for success. These metrics still hold value, but many apps follow TikTok’s lead in prioritizing time spent on the app. Experts suggest that to feed into this algorithmic goal, brands may see more success with publishing content that is purely entertaining rather than sales-y or hard-hitting.

Takeaway: Studies show that 50% of the content users see on Instagram now comes from AI recommendations. This means that, whether we like it or not, brands should consider creating content that aligns with the algorithm and supports each platform’s goals to achieve maximum success. If TikTok is prioritizing content that keeps users on the app, your brand should be creating entertaining, fun content that leans into that goal. Brands can leverage trends or pop culture references to create entertaining content that enhances relatability and increases chances of virality. Then, through building trust and brand affinity with your audience, you’ll be in a better position to convert those viewers.

Consider:

  • How could your content be more entertaining? Keep in mind that entertaining doesn’t need to mean bland or void of a deeper intent.
  • What content can you create that aligns with the algorithm’s goals of each platform? The magic is finding how you can marry your goals while being mindful of what the algorithm will prioritize.

Mix up your visuals: ‘Screenshot Marketing’ is a fun yet easy creative tactic to verbalize your campaigns

TL;DR: You may not have heard of ‘screenshot marketing,’ but you’ve probably seen it. It’s the concept of taking screenshots of a private chat through real or fake conversations that encompass your brand or product. These are a simple yet effective visual tool to debut a campaign, jump on a trending topic, or simply provide entertainment to your audience (see previous article).

Takeaway: Humans are nosy by nature. We’re interested in the allure of something private or something we’re not supposed to see. This is exactly why screenshot marketing stands out. It showcases a human perspective that we all know, as if we’re looking at our texts with our own friends, and evokes feelings of honesty, transparency, and relatability. Whenever possible, try to screenshot real conversations – the benefits are two-fold: you’re getting a look at a real conversation with authentic human responses, and these can also spark the content itself (instead of reverse engineering a conversation to fit a campaign).

Consider:

  • Screenshot fun conversations your brand is already having in Slack, Teams, etc. Don’t use confidential information, and make sure to ask permission from all parties involved before posting. But these natural conversations can often make the best content.
  • If you’d like to include screenshot marketing as a visual component of your campaign, manufacture faux conversations. Either generate it by giving your coworkers a prompt to input into your messaging platform of choice or design it yourself. You can use your graphic design platform of choice or try out fake text message generators.