Stir Blog

Data is the new black

By Pete Rathkamp, director of digital strategy

As I was binge watching one of my favorite new series on Netflix, “Orange is the New Black,” I was suddenly and randomly inspired for the title of this blog post. Data used to be boring and seen in the geek realm as simply binary in nature. But all of those ones and zeros are starting to play big roles in our everyday lives. Binary is not the “data” I am referring to.

The data I am talking about is consumer data. Lots of it. All around us, being forever collected, parsed, interpreted and applied. Where does data appear? Why does it exist? More importantly…how do I get my hands on it?

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Posted under Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, IT, Social Media, Technology

Kohler’s trade show strategy

By Meg Hemmelgarn, PR account supervisor

I recently attended a PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin luncheon featuring Kohler’s communications team. Presenters included Todd Weber, communications director – product PR; Mirjam Lippuner, associate manager – kitchen and bath PR; Anne Smith, APR, corporate PR manager; and Jo Brown, associate Internet content manager.

This smart group of public relations and social media pros shared their best practices and tips for conducting successful social media and media relations before, during and after trade shows. As a fellow public relations and social media pro, I found their strategies insightful and helpful, and as someone who loves watching any and all shows on HGTV and likes reading up on the latest home renovating and decorating ideas, I enjoyed seeing some of Kohler’s cool new kitchen and bath products.

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Posted under Media Relations, Social Media

What brands can learn about marketing from Pearl Jam

By Dani Theisen, inbound marketing analyst

I recently saw Pearl Jam for the first time, and might I add, it was the best show ever. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the band being together (they’re older than my young, Millennial self) and through the years, the band has learned how to retain their original fan base while attracting new fans, as well. It wasn’t just the music I was in tune with that night – it was the fact that Pearl Jam can actually teach us a lot about marketing.

Know your audience

Over the past 24 years, Pearl Jam has evolved, as has their fan base. Their original fans have grown up and have families and kids of their own, and the band’s newest music resonates with this demographic. They still have the rebel appeal they did in the 90s to draw in younger fans like myself.

At one point during the show, Eddie Vedder stopped to tell a story about Old Milwaukee beer. He later referenced that Aaron Rodgers and others from the Green Bay Packers offensive line were at the show and had a humorous banter back and forth with the crowd about trading Rodgers for Jay Cutler (as Vedder is a devout Chicago Bears fan). They also connected with Milwaukee Bucks fans by bringing out a Bob Danridge jersey, attaching it to a light and raising it over the crowd.

Without all of this Milwaukee fanfare, the show wouldn’t have been the same. Pearl Jam found ways to connect to Wisconsinites on a very personal level, and they did so well. In the same way, brands today need to connect on a deeper level with their audiences, giving them something to look forward to and keep them coming back for more.

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Posted under Content Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Media

The killer of creativity: getting feedback from a creative’s point of view

By Lee Tse, associate creative director

If you don’t know how to properly deal with negative feedback, it can disrupt, slowly corrode, and in the end, kill your creativity. If you’ve ever said, “Yes, I can change that,” knowing deep down inside of you a little bit of your creative soul died, then this blog article is for you. Let’s take a look at negative feedback and learn how to best utilize constructive criticism.

Thickus Skinus

They say a creative’s skin is several layers thicker than most other mortals. There is a reason for this mutation: clients, managers, co-workers – okay, basically anyone with an opinion offers their two cents. I don’t think there are many other professions where any person off the street thinks they know better than the professional. I would hesitate to tell an airplane pilot I think he should move to another altitude for faster travel. But I’ve certainly had my share of people walk past my desk and offer unsolicited tips on how I could improve a design I am working on.

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Posted under Advertising, Creative

The discipline vs. the tool

By Brian Bennett, president

Having a toolbox doesn’t make you a mechanic. Owning track shoes won’t make you a fast runner. An expensive instrument won’t make you a good musician. Knowing HTML code doesn’t make you a communicator.

There’s a difference between owning the tools and mastering the discipline. In advertising and communications, this has often been the case. Elaborate productions can’t make a bad idea interesting – just watch the Super Bowl for proof of that. Having and using state of the art web marketing tools does not mean that you know how to build a brand. CMOs, brand managers and many opportunistic agencies often get distracted by the shiny objects that are technology.

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Posted under Advertising, Branding, Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Technology

A brief history of content marketing

By Dani Theisen, inbound marketing analyst

While the term ‘content marketing’ has seen a huge increase in popularity over the past few years, the concept is nothing new at all. The story of how this effective method of marketing came to fruition begins more than 100 years. If you really stop to think about it, the fact that it has lasted this long is not surprising. While the way we consume brand stories has changed through the evolution of devices, the words that weave the stories are nothing new.

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Posted under Content Marketing

Four ways to leverage LinkedIn to increase brand awareness

By Dani Theisen, inbound marketing analyst

All good marketers know their business must have a presence on social media. Whether your brand is new to social media marketing or you’ve been marketing your business through social media since day one, you understand the effort and time it takes to set up and maintain a social media platform.

A platform that tends to get overlooked is LinkedIn. This social platform rides a fine line of personal and professional, and posting appropriate content can be confusing and time-consuming. I had the opportunity to hear Yumi Wilson (@YumiWilson), director of corporate communications at LinkedIn, speak at the PR + Social Media Summit about how to use LinkedIn to drive brand awareness.  Here are some of her top insights:

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Posted under Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Marketing, Social Media, Tips & Tricks

The future of social media

By Monica Lawton, integrated marketing specialist

I had the privilege of returning to my alma mater (Marquette University) this week for the sixth annual PR + Social Media Summit and hearing from social media guru and senior strategist at Sōsh, Caity Strong (@cmotion88).

Caity’s insights on the future of social media are takeaways that every brand should consider moving forward.

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Posted under Social Marketing, Social Media

Social media lessons from the Milwaukee Brewers

By Meg Hemmelgarn, PR account supervisor

I recently had the chance to attend my first PR + Social Media Summit. I enjoyed every minute, especially Caitlin Moyer’s presentation, “Go #Brewers! Using Social Media to Engage Fans and Build the Brand.” Caitlin shared the overall objectives of the Brewers’ social media program, what kind of content is shared on each channel and how ballpark pup Hank, who appeared out of nowhere during Spring Training, performed better than any thought-out plan could have.

Despite being the smallest of the MLB’s 30 markets, the Brewers are ranked 17th in Facebook fans and fifth in engagement per Facebook fan. Bernie Brewer is the most followed mascot on Twitter. Clearly, Caitlin has a strong fan base to engage with and continually present new content to. She’s a one-woman social media team who knows what she’s doing. Here’s what I took away from her presentation:

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Posted under Social Marketing, Social Media, Tips & Tricks

Overcoming the organic reach decline on Facebook

By Monica Lawton, integrated marketing specialist

Brands that utilize Facebook (which is essentially all brands, these days) have most likely realized a decline in organic reach – that is, how often a post will be seen without help from the Facebook algorithm or paying to promote it. There is more competition in the newsfeed than ever before, with content from friends, family and businesses competing for attention. Facebook must provide some level of filtration, and as a result, it’s becoming more difficult for any brand’s story to gain exposure. Social@Ogilvy reports that only six percent of followers currently engage with brand pages, and this number is expected to approach zero in the near future. All signs point to Facebook becoming more and more friendly toward users instead of brands.

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Posted under Advertising, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media