Altruism: A Marketing Strategy for the People

Altruism: A Marketing Strategy for the People

FEBRUARY 8, 2019

When thinking of ways to market your company, nothing tops free publicity. Many of the best guerrilla marketing campaigns have involve publicity stunts like re-branding announcements. Looking at you, IHOP. But what if I told you there is a way to generate lasting social buzz, revenue, and customer loyalty virtually without spending a dime? That's right, I'm talking about altruistic marketing!

There is no better way to connect with your audience than by tugging at their heartstrings with good ol' genuine compassion. People love to talk about nice things, especially with all the not-so-nice things going on. So when a company reaches out and takes the time to offer assistance to those in need, you can guarantee news will spread fast and customers, old and new, will pour in.

For example, let's say a printing shop offered free black and white resumes for those who provided proof of unemployment. Not only will this deal generate enormous buzz and revenue, but you also get good karma points by helping people down on their luck.

Now, it's not just giving things away for free. Of course that's nice and all but to the idea is to help others in a way that resonates for years to comes.  It's about doing something impactful. Giving out free slurpees for a day does not guarantee returning customers nor social buzz. Selling slurpees that donate 15% of every sale, on the other hand, is way more likely to get people to stop by your shop as opposed to the 7-Eleven across the street.

Altruistic marketing shows that you care about the wellness of society in ways the competition does not. And even if it doesn't get as much buzz as you may have liked, you've still done a good thing with no risk. Now, that's a publicity stunt I can get behind.


4 Reasons Why Google+ Never Took Off

4 Reasons Why Google+ Never Took Off


So, Google recently announced that they will be shutting down Google+. There statement goes as follows:

"To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.”

Interesting though that may be, one could argue that this fate has been inevitable since day one. Here are four reasons why Google+ couldn't figure it out.

1| Poor Timing

This, to me, was the main obstacle Google+ faced. From the very beginning it was an uphill battle against Facebook. Despite numerous attempts, such as data transfers and app-linking incentives, no one was really willing to fully migrate from the social media titan that is Facebook.

2| No Niche

Twitter has tweets. Instagram has photo-sharing. LinkedIn connects businesses. What I'm saying is, every social media site serves a purpose that allows you to uniquely connect and share with others. The developers of Google+ could not find a unique social experience, that would appeal to a large audience. In fact, what makes them most unique is exactly what brings me to my next point.

3| User Error

The thing is, everyone technically uses Google+ everyday. This is because you have to log into your Google+ account every time you sign into Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, and the rest of Google's apps. So while we were utilizing some aspects of it, no one was touching the social media part.

4| Too Far Behind

In a sense, Google+ could never really catch up to any of the other social media platforms. Going in with a competitive disadvantage is never a good thing.

Simply put, Google+ spent too much time innovating the product and not enough time on development from audience listening.

So long, G+. Say hi to Myspace and Friendster for me!

Is Amazon the new North Pole?

Is Amazon the new North Pole?


Let me just start off by saying this: I freaking LOVE Amazon. So I may come off a tad biased in this article. 

I have completed the entirety of my Christmas shopping at home, from my PHONE. So, what do I need Santa for anymore? He takes all year to get me what I want. That's a bad deal. All jokes aside, when it comes to the battle of in-person vs online shopping, online shopping seems to win the holiday season.

I'm not alone of course. My family and friends are also PRIME examples of pro-online shoppers. Some of them simply use Alexa to shop without ever even lifting a finger. There is no feeling quite like coming home to a brown package waiting just for you. I don't think it will ever get old for me.

Objectively speaking, being able to obtain exactly what you need/want without have to leave your toilet is better than going to multiple stores before settling for the best thing you can find. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the Amazon drones of Christmas future were to drop our packages right down our chimneys! But this is all to say that no matter how you acquire them, the holidays are not about giving gifts. The holidays are about getting gifts.

Have a Happy Holidays from Black Rhino!

Free Idea Friday: The Splurge

Free Idea Friday: The Splurge


Seeing the Purge, a movie-turned-franchise about all crime being legal for 24 hours, inspired a similar, albeit less violent, idea that I believe could actually benefit society.

This idea I have dubbed the Splurge, goes as follows: For one day, every five years or so, the 99% was given the opportunity to be in the 1%. This would be achieved through a bank transaction triggered at midnight, granting  an extraordinarily large sum of money (let's say $1 Million, as an example) to the designated splurgers.

Those granted this million then have 24 hours to spend all or as much of it as possible. You can fund your next start up or pay off the debts of your old one, but no matter what you do with the money, you CANNOT save any of it. Any remaining "Splurge Dollars" will be taken back.

The idea is to boost the morale of the 99% by giving them a taste of the good life while also cycling money right back into the economy.

Obviously, there would have to be regulations put in place. You'd need all of your receipts so you don't purchase anything illegal or dangerous. Splurge dates would be assigned individually. I imagine the money would come from some type of tax paid by those who register to splurge, similar to how paying life insurance works.

The Splurge can be used as a motivator to keep working to achieve a higher lifestyle or a reminder that money really isn't everything. I know they say money can't buy happiness but there are some things you can't know for sure without seeing for yourself. 

Being able to look past material possession would really save us "less-endowed" folks a lot of time. So what would you spend on your Splurge Day? Hopefully, not marketing. Black Rhino fits every budget.


I Haven't Seen That Commercial

I Haven't  Seen That Commercial

OCTOBER 26, 2018

It has come to my attention that I have essentially been living commercial-free for some time now. As a premium subscriber of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Spotify and Youtube (a collection of logins from friends and acquaintances), the only time I encounter a commercial is when I listen to the radio or watch someone else's television (I don't have cable).

And I'm not alone because I know quite a few people with just one subscription who prefer mindlessly scrolling for something to watch over changing channels or worse, sitting through the commercials. Generally speaking, no one enjoys sitting through commercial breaks during a show they love. That's why binge-watching is a thing.

Humankind has historically opposed commercials. Ever since the invention of DVR, the prototype for home streaming, we gravitated more and more toward ways that would allow us to skip all the ads and enjoy our shows in peace. And as streaming services expand, and they are (here and here), the opportunity to watch commercial-free content also expands. This all leads me to believe that commercials, one of the most effective methods of advertising, are slowly dying. And the internet is to blame.

No, not just online streaming services. The world wide web as a whole. Nowadays, we are overloaded with content and information just from our cell phones. With commercials, repetition is key and with all the memes, scandals, and "fake news" going on, there is little room to generate buzz without being overshadowed.

It might seem strange now, but if you think about it, commercials are definitely not as impactful to pop culture as they used to be. But what will replace commercials in the future? My guess would be social media based campaigns ran through publicity stunts and other guerrilla tactics.



America Runs on Donuts!

America Runs on Donuts!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

I have been noticing a trend starting, particularly in the service industry.  Businesses are looking to re-brand to generate social buzz and avoid pigeonholing themselves. Sounds like a bold claim, right? Hear me out first, I have three examples for you.

Exhibit A:

Image result for ihob

Now, we've already discussed the IHOb stunt in a previous post, but it is indeed a strong start for my argument.

Did it create buzz? Yes.

Did it sell burgers instead of pancakes? Definitely.

Did it work? Well...

The problem is, now that the campaign has ended and all the IHOb talk is over, I feel I can safely assume that no one is running to IHOP for one of their crazy burgers. That being said, if the objective was just to get the word out, I'd consider this, albeit temporary, re-branding stunt a successful idea. Which brings me to-

Exhibit B:

Logo of Domino's

I'm sure you've already read our article covering Domino's recent marketing antics. Rather than roll out the new brand with one marketing campaign (i.e. IHOb), Domino's ran several campaigns. None of them were very good.

But did it create buzz? Meh.

Did it sell something besides pizza? Possibly.

Did it work? Technically.

Dropping the "Pizza" was kind of a no-brainer because I'm pretty sure everyone was already calling them "Domino's" so there's very little room to backfire.  Moving on to our final example...

Exhibit C:

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for a fresh label on an old business. It's a great way to stay relevant and up to date with a growing industry. This, however, is the first example of a re-brand that I believe will fall flat on its face.

Dunkin' Donuts is considering dropping the "Donuts" and testing it out on about 50 stores across the country. They have yet to make a final decision, but I have a feeling America will be running strictly on Dunkin' come next year.

Now, I understand that Starbucks is a big competitor of theirs and I like that the name "Dunkin'" does better associate with coffee, however, I don't believe any one is going to stop saying "Dunkin' Donuts" simply because everyone appreciates alliteration.

Furthermore, Dunkin' Donuts is the oldest company to use the phrase "donut". How many people don't know how to spell doughnut because of Dunkin'? That's a pretty valuable word to toss away.

I refer to this recent re-branding spree as a trend because I really do think this is only the beginning. Before you know it, we'll be ordering pizza from Hut and eating burgers from King. I suppose only time will tell.

3 Big Ideas For Your Next Project

3 Big Ideas For Your Next Project

JULY 20, 2018

Entrepreneur are entrepreneurs because we're constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to change the world. That's what makes us successful. Here are a few things to consider when you're contemplating that next big idea.

1 | Don't do it

This is counter-intuitive because you are hardwired to believe you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. But sometimes the smarter choice is not to take the risk or at least wait for a better time to execute. There are many things to consider before starting a new project. Just because an idea sounds good in theory, does not mean it will work out in practice.

2 | Okay, do it, but only like this

Knowing that is it too hard to walk away, you need to make sure you are truly ready to take on this next idea. You must be mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally prepared to follow this opportunity. So before you take the leap, do your research. Make sure you've really looked into whether or not this is is a viable idea and if you are the one to do it.

3 | You did it anyway, didn't you?

Ask yourself this, did you even read #2? My guess is, like most entrepreneurs, you got distracted by the shiny penny and you've already set things in motion to make it happen. Though that is what makes you successful, let's think about all the things you tried to do and if they really make sense. Learn from your mistakes quickly and don't be afraid to try a different approach.

Guerrilla Marketing: Is the b for bananas?

Guerrilla Marketing: Is the b for bananas?

JUNE 15, 2018

IHOP recently announced that they will be changing their name to IHOb (flipping the P upside down). After leaving everyone to speculate what the "b" would stand for, the International House of Pancakes revealed that they will now be the International House of... Burgers.

A bold, yet brilliant move. Bold, because not a lot of people eat burgers for breakfast. Brilliant, because it is an impressive use of guerrilla marketing.

Guerrilla marketing can be defined as an unconventional ad campaign that generates enormous social buzz for little to no money. Examples range from breaking a world record to creating your own holiday. But how does it work? And does it work?

It is important to note that all guerrilla marketing campaigns, like all marketing strategies, have a risk of failing. What worked for one company, may not work for you. In fact, it could backfire entirely. In 2007, Todd Davis, the co-founder of a fraud protection company called LifeLock, advertised his social security number to prove his company could protect him from identity theft. Todd's identity was promptly stolen thirteen times.

There is a such thing as bad press. This is why primarily bigger businesses find the most success with guerrilla marketing. Successful companies can afford to step out and take that risk. The purpose of IHOb's campaign was to promote their new line of seven Ultimate Steak Burgers which includes: The Mega Monster, The Big Brunch, and The Classic with Bacon.

So, was this publicity stunt a success?

Let's take a look at some of the results thus far. One IHOb customer had only good things to say about his experience.

Reviews like that, are signs of a successful guerrilla marketing campaign because now consumers are praising a product that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Although, there can be some backlash-  people have been suggesting that even the critical acclaim is part of the stunt.

Other companies, such as Burger (formerly Pancake) King, tried to jump on the bandwagon, and IHOP got it right with the response. Their competition is noticing, and other major brands are wondering if they should adopt a similar campaign, or just participate as much as possible through association while this continues to create a viral sensation.

All of this attention only enriches IHOb's campaign, exactly as intended, and we all know that attention is the first stage of a good communication campaign.

But was this media grabbing, re-branding idea worth it in the end?

Simply, it's a gamble. The executives at IHOP knew that, and signed off on this stunt with the hope that it pays off in a big way. Ultimately what matters to IHOP executives is seeing an uptick in sales on burgers and other items, preferably as a long term growth strategy vs. just a short lived spike that eventually falls flat, or worse, drops off completely.  So far, the stunt has been successful at achieving step one: attention/awareness. Will this lead to a strong enough conversion from awareness to adoption to make a big impact for the restaurant chain?  That remains to be seen. And don't forget that depending on the outcome of the next 3, to 6 months, IHOP executives will have to review the data and also ask themselves, "would a simple commercial have accomplished the same results?"

It's difficult to predict the future in marketing, and IHOP took a big chance. So far the awareness stage is paying off and they have gained significant recognition from their customers, competitors, and marketers. Let's hope for their sake that it continues to be a positive move.

One thing's for sure, it did inform people that IHOP sells more than breakfast. Which is exactly what you thought the b stood for- be honest.

Video Marketing 101

Video Marketing 101

MAY 11, 2018

Why you should implement video advertisements into your marketing strategy

In this current day and age, the most impressionable advertising comes from video marketing. We as consumers love to watch videos. It goes without saying that online streaming, whether it’s YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or what-have-you, has become a central staple in how we live our lives. YouTube recently revealed it’s viewing figures, showing that approximately one billion hours are spent streaming videos daily. You know how much a billion is. That’s roughly 17,500 hours of people around the world watching cat videos every MINUTE. That almost doesn’t make sense.

But we do more than watch these videos. We love sharing them too (arguably just as much). We share the videos that use laughter, emotion, or intrigue to distract us from life. And that is the key to successful viral video marketing. Generating click-worthy content that your audience enjoys and shares with friends. In other words, the video allows customers to advertise for you.

“Okay, I’m interested. But what exactly am I supposed to put in this video?” you say, taking an inquisitive sip of coffee.

Great question. First things first, you’re going to want a short and sweet concept. The shorter and sweeter, the better. I can’t stress the shorter part enough. It may be hard to believe, but you leave a better impact with a 30 second hook than a 3 minute short film. Our attention span decreases by the day, so it is important to get your message across as quickly and effectively as possible.

The concept itself, needs to always focus on story over sale. There are a lot of commercials that get skipped or ignored simply because they aren’t appealing to the customer’s interests. No one likes to watch commercials that only try to sell you a product.  The commercials that stick, don’t concern themselves with selling. A memorable story is a memorable sale.

Once you’re ready to post the video, the next thing you want to do is tag the crap out of it. Anything that even slightly relates to your content is fair game. You really can’t have too many tags. Don’t limit your customers’ ability to discover your content. Descriptions are important too. Having a unique, eyebrow raising title alone garners a click or two.

What do you think about video marketing? Sound off below in the comments