Toiletries

Did you know that most people do not go into the first toilet stall in a public bathroom? Reasoning behind this is they think it is an unhygienic place crawling with germs. Think again. It is actually the cleanest, as research says, and probably the least used out of them all. This is true of businesses who have gathered up the courage and ventured off into an idea that has never been done before. Much like going into the first stall, lurking with germs and danger, there are successful businesses out there who have plunged into the market with differentiated ideas and have made it a success. Etsy’s recent IPO is proof of this risky dive.

In a much similar way, Glambot, a startup out of San Francisco, is a first timer in the makeup industry. Essentially, what this company has exploited is the idea of the hoarder. Encouraging them into a barter system to sell their old cosmetics and engage in a two-way exchange. This includes old, discontinued or limited-edition products. The company uses a five-step sanitization process and qualifies only certain brands and products to be sold, in order to assure authenticity and hygiene.

Although the idea is great, the execution of the strategy has been less than par. From a digital standpoint, the organization has not been as active for a company that started off its venture through a blog. Its processes are essentially driven by the digital platform that is where their customers are coming from. Now let’s look at the numbers – digital is quantifiable.

Glambot has more potential to be opportunistic of this growing trend. How many brands, companies and Instagrammers are we hearing about these days? I mean I know I find a makeup artist every day. That isn’t even an exaggeration. The average following I have been noticing are six digit figures. That is almost ordinary, nothing of a 100 thousand-follower status jumps out at me. Now compared to the progression of Glambot, their numbers are less than impressive. Standing at only 14K followers, you would think they were a popular high school cheerleader.

Some suggestions for my friends at the Glambot headquarters. Fix your website and make it more authentic and make me believe that you are a well-run organization. Not a couple of girls out of Brooklyn, selling their old makeup with the girlfriends from high school and decided to make it a business. Make sure your webpage logic is all in place. If you are going to put a link to your blog, make sure I am actually being directed to it and the landing page is the Glambot blog. An extension of this idea is the actual blog page, make it more attractive, make it more professional, and make me believe you are professionals in the beauty industry. Your website lacks professionalism and is still encountering errors. Your visual appeal is absent; the website which serves as a business portal for creative is not exactly that creative. Twitter is sad, really sad with only 303 followers. REALLY?! You should be tweeting all the time, meeting people, reaching out to them and creating a bigger following on all your social media channels. Facebook is not that far off with a little over 4400 likes. Have you guys not heard of omni channel marketing? Being active on all social media platforms and creating that synergy? For a company that has been operating since 2013, that is almost two years, much of their digital activity is seems lazy and almost stagnant from what I can see.

The idea is risqué and might even be flawed, but there is a lot of potential behind this idea. But the ineffective execution of their strategy is costing this brand a lot more than I am assuming they hoped. The positioning could have been much more clear and direct. I know I am more hesitant of the idea of using someone else’s makeup, someone I have no idea was using the makeup before. Talking to a classmate, she highlighted insights on the potential legal complications that may arise or the ambiguity behind all this. Present your company in a positive light with a strong outlook. Make me believe you. This doesn’t go without saying that the company has used effective tactics like reaching out to prominent Youtubers, i.e. Irene Sarah, to promote their company. You can see advertisements on reddit.com and the name Glambot does come up in all searches. But, honestly speaking there are more negative reviews about how the company operates and what they offer, than the good. I understand it is a low cost model, but in the age of digital, expensive mediums and investment into advertising isn’t even that beneficial as digital. Use it wisely.

Etsy’s dive into their differentiated venture proved their risk-taking behavior and how “stepping into the first stall” was a good idea. But did Glambot get unlucky and entered the first stall that is malfunctioning? I guess we will have to wait and find out.

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Mobile-tini on the Rocks

Long gone are the days of traditional market research. Much like out-of-the-box marketing strategies comes innovative ways to gain insights and target the intended audience. This is what today’s biggest players are looking into. From giants like Facebook to e-commerce fashion start-ups like Open Sky, companies have been advantageous of the strength and pull of consumer data available through the high performing marketing support systems.

The marketing function follows a funnel method. All us marketers know this; it is etched in our minds. So for those who are still thinking let me tell you. We start off at a broad target market, break it down into segments and narrow into the ideal population that we can effectively serve and vice versa. In order to be masters at this and serve marketing justice we need to understand whom we are going after. Their ideologies, personalities, how they sleep, eat, live or anything that exposes us to the inner beings of our target market. We are almost like stalkers, but in a much more professional way, of course. The placement of the cookie and the benefits reaped from it has been supportive in this journey.

Now, lets fast-forward to right now. Customization, self-identity and the individualistic culture are more prominent than ever. We, as marketers, focus a lot of our energy in satisfying this thirst of our consumers to be considered the most important person in our eyes. Every single client’s attitude demands that a particular business needs to gear their strategy solely towards them. In essence, mass marketing is antiquated and advertising messages are more colloquial – more tailored.

Marketers and data scientists had hit the jackpot when they discovered the concept of the cookie. Installing these intangible mechanisms on personal computers allowed the interested parties to gage consumer behavior and discreetly target them through social media. These tools followed the consumer’s mouse every where it went, making note of behavior, choices and preferences of what they were surfing. Ever, accidentally that is, click on a website that you weren’t supposed to and constantly see ads following you on every website you visited? Yeah, that’ s the power of the cookie. Beware.

But what about the revolutionizing landscape and the shift towards mobile? We see it and live it daily, especially in a city like New York. Currently, cookies cannot be installed on mobile friendly websites. It has become harder for brands to follow their target audience and effectively cater to them. Adding to the complexity of this concoction is the ultimate market of millennial. Mix the two and you have a strong cocktail for marketers to indulge in.

Monitoring clicks and website visits is not what is driving today’s marketing campaigns. The upcoming products and services and the world of apps and start-ups are targeting the mobile sector. Everything we use on a regular basis is so convenient that it is literally at our fingertips. In conversation over the weekend, a friend mentioned “we live in such a microwave society.” Quick fixes and convenience is what drives us and motivates our actions – quintessential of also the millennial generation. Part of that is the connection that has been cultivated via the mobile medium. Businesses in every vertical have had their opportunistic tendencies tickling of this huge media trend.

In the United States, the growing Hispanic population is the ultimate market to tap into. I come from a very multicultural city and I can already see the affects of this growing phenomenon. One of the greatest challenges and obstacles that might stop a business from growing and seeing their true potential is the absence of culturally targeting consumers. Consumers want it and companies are taking this as an opportunity to strike a chord with people who are the future face of America. However, the challenges posed by the shift in mobile have forced more of creative problem solving. For example, Facebook identifies mobile users who have set their language to Spanish, post content or articles in Spanish[1] to place them into the Hispanic subset. Spotify uses the genres of artists being streamed to differentiate its customers, and consequently, effectively expose them to particular advertisements. On a broader scale, organizations have restructured their executive hierarchy by introducing multicultural strategists and professionals looking at how to culturally look at the intended audience, like Twitter.[2] This idea to culturally target consumers is an imperative element that every organization needs to implement. Statistics show that minorities will be the majority of the population; especially, the North American continent of a melting pot of various cultures. The American Census predicts the Hispanic community is said to be 50% of the population.[3] With a number like that a generic strategy that doesn’t culturally fit in with these consumers is wasteful for any company.

[1] http://adage.com/article/digital/reach-mobile-obsessed-multicultural-millennials/297913/

[2] http://adage.com/article/digital/reach-mobile-obsessed-multicultural-millennials/297913/

[3] http://adage.com/article/hispanic-marketing/tipping-point-majority-minority-2044/297911/

Fashion Forward

Oh fashion, how I love you. Designer handbags, shoes and the trendiest of clothing have my heart palpitating more than a cute guy smiling at me walking down 42nd street. Last week, New York City hosted the Fashion 2.0 Awards, honoring the biggest fashion houses that have implemented best digital media strategies. Nominations mapped all over the fashion hierarchy, from prominent fashion houses like Dior to promising start-ups like Cosmic Cart.

I remember speaking to an acquaintance about my aspirations of working in fashion and then telling her what I was studying, marketing analytics, she gave me hope saying that what we knew of fashion as little girls is revolutionizing as we speak. The world of creativity and artistic imagination had been enhanced by the growing technological advancements. Even success in such a field is quantifiable; whether it is through increasing likes on a brand’s Facebook page or downloading the most haute couture app on your smart phone, a field devoted to aesthetics and visual appeal has become thirsty for analytical responses.

Every business and tech publication is roaring about the digital take over. Where we knew “digital” to be websites and computers, this far-reaching concept is spreading through our lives like wild fire. Use of cookies and tracking people’s buying patterns are becoming more and more useful to businesses. Information derived from online behavior patterns is proving to be more useful than a traditional survey. Traditional techniques might never become obsolete, but the importance of a technological footprint is far more beneficial to a company’s competitive strategy in today’s market place.

In a different light, we are seeing an inclination of mobile behavior, turning the infamous ‘cookie’ distasteful to marketers looking to target the primary users of this medium. Thus, fashion powerhouses need to be more cognizant of this fact and implement strategies that tackle this phenomenon. So why wouldn’t this multi billion dollar fashion industry be opportunistic of this trend? I mean for industry forward professionals, you would almost think some of these brands have done themselves more harm than good by not acting fast enough in this digital race.

But we see differently in the nominees of these awards who exemplify the growing trends in the marketing world. Using digital and the personalized tactics that made them winners. More importantly, you see a mobile component in all their strategies, making the brands so accessible to the target audience and increasing more digital presence. The best online campaign was awarded to #castmemarc by Marc Jacobs, a campaign that encouraged users to upload pictures of him or herself through Twitter or Instagram with the matching hash tag. Now some might think that introducing a hash tag and asking people to upload pictures of him or herself is becoming generic. But, I would beg to differ. I mean it is a tactic that is beneficial. It is a tactic that brings brands closer to their audiences and removes the barrier of a big organization versus a consumer. In Marc Jacobs’ case, the campaign is initiated to find a suitable model for their upcoming campaign. It allows fans to become closer to the brand and gives them hopes of representing a major brand. The process is almost colloquial, eliminating a formal process of finding an agency model for a campaign and more importantly putting everyone in the same playing field.

The best Instagram was awarded to Opening Ceremony and Dior took home the title for best Twitter. Both brands exemplify the concept of curating content and the importance of consistency. A social media platform requires a constant fuel of content and relevant information for its audience. Taking a back seat with your digital attendance and audience base dependent on the fact that your generation long image in the fashion world is well taken care of is social media suicide. Scrolling through both pages you can see the frequency and content presented through these posts connects consumers with the attitude and vibe of the brand

Thus, making it more evident that in a world of piercing noise and over arching competition, even the most deeply rooted brands cannot jeopardize their existence in the digital world by staying silent.

For full list of winners of this year’s winners visit fashion20awards.com.

#RaceTogether

“Sunrises, messy hair, good music, vogue, coffee…and racial conversations?” Walking into your neighborhood coffee shop you would not think to be greeted with a hello and a thought-provoking conversation about the racial issues that surround us. But, that was a bold step that Starbucks took. One that has received more backlash than any positivity the company had hoped to stir up. A radical move? I think so. Starbucks has been in the news multiple times swimming in controversy; whether it is political or social or taboo, like same-sex marriage in the days news like this was hot, Starbucks doesn’t shy away from bringing light to these matters.

My thoughts about Starbucks as a company might be biased. Everyone around me mostly is aware about my love-hate relationship with the brand. But, my feelings this time around are not invalid. More so, they have been justified by the actual concerns and outcry by the public. Business publications and the likes of Bloombergs are questioning Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, and his motivation to even introduce this campaign. Saturday Night Live included a skit mocking #RaceTogether. Needless to say, the campaign has attracted nothing but mockery to the brand.

Forbes said this campaign was set up for disaster. Well, no fudgesicles! A campaign that claims to have sincere intentions reeks of nothing but ingenuity to me. It is a vague campaign that lacks clear logistics and inadequate execution. Just looking to claim its stance as an organization that targets critical issues in our society. In efforts to connect with it customer base by bringing up ideas like this does nothing for Starbucks other than vouch for the narrow-minded ideals that are behind this business.

Now playing devil’s advocate, I can see what they tried to do here. Racism, as much as we sweep it under the rug, exists. A conversation needs to be stirred up, actions need to be taken and mind-sets need to be altered to bring about change. But where a company itself says that “90% of wealth is amongst white people”[1], how do they plan on bringing this change about within people who are most unaffected by it – the people who are in most of their stores. I get that many might disagree that awareness needs to be raised within people who aren’t exposed to the issue at hand to gain support and guide the movement in the right direction. However, for people who are unaffected by it will also be not moved by efforts like this either.

Part of my doubt about the campaign in its entirety is the fact that mostly Starbucks are located in predominantly affluent areas with a certain demographic profile. Take New York City for example, we can find a Starbucks at possibly every corner. From Wall Street to West Village, lower to mid Manhattan is almost infested with the green mermaid logo. As you go into the outer boroughs or even into upper Manhattan, we see less and less opportunities to invest in an over-priced cup of coffee served by the green-aproned baristas. So, the question and intended conversation is also being brought up with people who are merely affected by the social issues of racism and anything racial–associated. The people who truly fall into this category are not targeted. More of a chance to miss the bullet or not to hit the nail on the head. In a different light, if customers who truly do believe and associate with this message, the last thing you want to hear is about racism the first thing in the morning. The execution was completely off and training was not where it should have been.

Amidst the controversy that surrounded Starbuck a story about a student, Vernicia Colon from Parsons, had initiated this idea surfaced. A South-Bronx pop-up coffee shop project started for a thesis assignment brought on an interesting idea that categorized walk-ins according to their race. Choosing drinks based on your cultural identity and being misjudged for who they really were based on their race. [2] This was a powerful idea that provoked the right attention with the right direction and a more genuine concern for the rising racial issues. This also takes us back to the issue of big corporations taking ideas from smaller entities and marketing it for their own benefits. In this case, a complete contrast to Starbucks’ original intentions.

[1] http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/mar/31/starbucks/its-race-together-campaign-starbucks-says-white-pe/

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/nyregion/before-starbucks-a-south-bronx-cafe-used-coffee-orders-to-talk-about-race.html?_r=0

Daughters

India’s Daughter, a movie that was banned by the Indian government officials, based on the theory that they believed would drive away future tourism income. A disappointing message from a country that I unfortunately identify with. The video validated the community being male-centric and derogatory representation of women. A video that was banned by its home country, also further validated the power of digital. The documentary went viral. I remember sitting at work, talking to everyone in my path knowing about this film. All of a sudden, it felt New York City was taking charge and especially the South-Asian community was raveling with rage.

Countries like India, get the label of a “developing nation” and all of a sudden the wrongs that are done within this community are almost justifiable and we, as Westerns, remark by saying that it’s understandable – “things like these happen in countries like this.” I am guilty of having heard it too many times. But my question is, what about the developed western world? Are we saved from the hidden messages we hear in almost all marketing campaigns? We scream of equality and claim to be advocates of balanced gender representation in our everyday lives; however, someone looking from the outside in would not think that there is still a biased target towards women.

Walking home from the subway, I noticed the following advertisement in the window of a salad shop. I guess this hypersensitivity to marketing messages has almost become innate. A woman, from the looks of it someone who would not be walking down a Victoria’s Secret runway show, being ecstatic to be showcased in a salad ad campaign. Tag line read – “Make Your Salad As Epic As You Are.” Gee thanks! Two things struck me. Firstly, it is a woman not a man. Why is it that a female is presented in this campaign as opposed to a male? Why is it that women are constantly bombarded with image issues or messages reminding them to diet and look a certain way? Salad in a more literal matter is connected to being the “skinny food”. Obviously, women can only eat salads because God forbid if we were to ever put a more solid morsel of food in our mouth. In contrast, men are saved from this stigma and are free to be whom they are. Growing up we have seen these and learned about it constantly through music videos, pop culture and mainstream media. This carries into my second point – women should eat salads. More specifically, heavier women because duh! you have no other identity other than being a skinny person who should fit in with the societal ideals of a “perfect body”. The fast-food eaters and carb queens are dismissed and looked down upon since we’re idiots for liking food. And thanks to organizations like Metro, we have constant reminders of these notions.

IMG_5045

So my point comes back to the fact that yes the unfortunate events in these developing countries explicitly announce their views and how women are treated in these patriarchal societies. But, the countries we live in aren’t too far off. We see more subliminal messages even in progressive countries like the United States. We, as marketers, need to be more cognizant of the messages we are sending out and putting into the market. A careful construction is needed in not furthering this behavior. Yes, we don’t hear about explicit and graphic incidents like the one mentioned in India’s Daughter more frequently in our country; but placing such advertisements we almost comply with the standards that are not too far off from the ones offered in the documentary.

The New Yorker meaning of oxygen = Coffee

Stepping into a virtual market place, we as consumers are pushed into, what seems like an endless pool of brands and marketing messages. With the constant blaring of promotional material and advertising jargon that we are inflicted with each and every day, it becomes almost stressful as consumers for us to stay loyal and choose one brand over another.

New York City – the world of endless opportunities, a country within a country and a land that defines the true culture of the food service industry. Numerous options for restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges surround us. At every corner, neighborhood and intersection. Hidden speakeasies, secretive passages, exclusive barbershops concealing the coolest bars, this is just all part of the food culture in New York City. When I arrived in the city, the first thing I was told that – “you could eat at a different restaurant every meal for the rest of your life and still not have covered everything this city has to offer.” So how do so many businesses offering the same passion for food and entertainment stay alive?

I stumbled upon a blog that highlighted the 21 best coffee shops in New York. Now, being a huge coffee lover and after the cannibalization of Starbucks in the Big Apple, I have become hyper sensitive to pick up on things like this. I started reading through the article and instantaneously my marketer mind was activated. How was this list created? With a bottomless pool of these businesses obviously a lot of energy must be exuded in efforts to stay afloat, and definitely make lists like these to go unnoticed.

As I went through the list, I started noticing certain trends and peculiar tactics that these shops had implemented. Many promoted education and knowledge behind the beverage. Names like Toby’s Estate Coffee and Gimme Coffee use an informational strategy to leverage business. Where one offers coffee classes to immortalize the culture, the other uses qualified coffee experts to heighten the customer’s coffee experience. This served as their competitive advantage and core competency. On the other hand, Devicion promotes freshest coffee. Not advocating their regularly brewed pots and selling it as “fresh”, but literally serving coffee beans that were hand-picked a few days ago. The coffee beans are Fedex-ed within ten days of being harvested from the coffee capital of the world, Bogotá, Colombia. Another aspect the coffee shop was able to play up to attract potential customers.

A point of difference at Fair Folks and a Goat that distinguished itself from others was a membership. $25 a month gets you unlimited coffee beverages and discounted prices for their baked goods and treats – an intelligent tactic to induce traffic, as a result sales, and promote brand loyalty. Sweet Leaf combines the concept of old is gold with the new and happening. Providing a record room and a library of vinyl records with a great cup of coffee, the café offers its customer base a vintage caffeine experience. In a different light, a variation of cultures and countries also offers a twist on selling coffee. It serves as an attractive aspect to market as these countries are not traditionally known for being coffee lovers or home to the best of coffee in the world like Vietnam or Japan. Businesses have been advantageous of enticing cultural palettes much like Budin NYC.

Employing non-traditional tactics have almost also become imperative for a company’s success. As I wrote this blog my roommate told me about an app called Cups. A collaborative platform that congregates all the coffee shops in the city and provides special offers or promotions used through the app. Deals can be tailored to the interests of the app users, various payment plans are provided and different options could be included based on your preferences. This serves as a win-win scenario for both coffee lovers and these coffee shops. As a customer you have the opportunity to try the different cafes around the city and allows for a chance to explore. For small business owners it offers them an opportunity to promote their business, primarily increasing brand awareness. One of the greatest challenges a business endures is the act of inducing traffic and numbers coming into the store. Through this app it provides them with an opportunity to prove themselves and establish a loyal customer base.

Another growing trend in big metropolitan cities much like New York further supports these businesses is the foodie trend. Where we knew food critics as a our prime source of information for quality upcoming restaurants or cafés, that has been revolutionized by the foodie culture. People are gravitated towards the new, non-mainstream, hole in the wall places to try new foods and indulge in varying experiences. The foodie culture has become a huge phenomenon. It has helped businesses boost sales and drive traffic. This might be advantageous or harmful to businesses. This is because consumers are more boisterous than ever now. My voice can be heard just as loud if not louder than a big prominent brand in the market place. Social media platforms and the huge emphasis placed on consumer satisfaction has led people to ignore the self promotion by corporations. Consumers are focusing their attention on past users and are more interested learning about their experience was.

Source: http://ny.eater.com/maps/best-cafe-coffee-shop-new-york-city-brooklyn-queens

If You’re Reading This You’re In the Same Boat With Me

Forbes calls surprise albums the new normal. Why? Because it seems like big players in the industry are carving the way by releasing unannounced musical pieces and reaping huge benefits. The recent biggest surprise release is attributed to the Canadian star Drake. The famous rap artist released his mix tape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, on iTunes without a big marketing campaign leading up to it. It is being said that the mix tape, which was intended to be a free release, is actually being called a true album. Similarly to Beyoncé who initiated this trend when she released her album on iTunes about a year ago; however, the numbers that were a result of her tactic were not as comparable to what Drake has triggered. A thing common about Beyoncé and ChampagnePapi, Drake’s Instagram handle, is that all it took was a single upload on Instagram to trigger a stampede on iTunes. The 17 tracks have created uproar in the rap industry and fans could not have been happier to indulge in this musical treat. Raising funds of over $700,000, selling 495,000 copies in the first week and placing as the record-breaking debut album on Spotify,[1] the mix tape has definitely hit some big numbers to go unnoticed.

Traditionally we have grown up with the culture of a mix tape release with much anticipation. Heavy advertising thought out and creatively constructed marketing campaigns and continuous reminders of the album being released would haunt us. The culture consisted of people waiting in lines to get their albums and/or to meet the particular musician to get their copy signed. Today, social media has changed that game. The speed of news communicated via digital platforms is unmatched. I’ve talked about the power of social media before and how rapidly this new trend has revolutionized business. It only makes sense that businesses have used this shift to leverage business and drive traffic. One of the greatest gifts has been in the music industry and our generation has been the witness of it all. Benefit number one of social media and the Internet, everything is quantified. Maybe not everything, but success of a particular or album much like this one can be easily gaged.

Rumors have it that Drake found a loophole in his contract with famous record label Cash Money. His contract outlined that Drake is bound to the label for four albums and in order to break way from the record label Drake released this mix tape to qualify as a music compilation to get him out of the contract. True or not, the artist has created enough media buzz and sales for the mix tape have been soaring on iTunes.

Artists used various creative schemes to promote themselves and their music or upcoming endeavors. Nostalgia hits me when I think back to the sneaky tricks when artists would be making promotional radio and TV appearances. Even when artists take us back to the good old days it’s heavily aided by the power of social media. Today hole in the wall venues host big artists and the news goes viral. This is what has become “cool.” Something similar happened in a small bar in Uptown Manhattan when a small DJ battle turned chaotic as Major Lazer and Diplo, two prominent artists in the House genre, showed up in an anonymous bar. Within seconds the news went viral, fans swarmed the bar like bees causing crazy ruckus and leading the party to be shut down. Consumer trends and preferences have a huge impact on how artists and any business for that matter carries out its operations. Nowadays we are faced with the more “hipster” trend – avoiding everything and anything that is mainstream. Not to say that even that has become mainstream. Thus, we see more antics like this occurring in the music business. Surprises and unexpected events are helping artists become noticed; similarly, increased competition has forced music professionals to stand out from the noise. In Drake’s case, he stood out by staying quiet, not making a noise at all and complying with the non-conformist culture of today.

The quote that any publicity is good publicity stems from acts like this where silence around the release of a movie or album would be suicidal; however, that trend is long forgotten.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2015/02/21/drakes-instant-gold-why-surprise-albums-are-the-new-normal/

50 Shades of…Not sure Yet

I was one of those girls that got “tied up” in reading the popular 50 Shades of Grey. The more I read the book, the more I realized how terribly written this book was. There was no sense of literature, no actual plot and the author, E.L. James, had clearly chosen the cost-efficient way by not getting the manuscript edited. The book was infested with bad grammar and spelling errors, dripping of cheap references and absolute no imagery. Actually, taking back the part about imagery as she somehow was able to crank out explicit sexual scenes very well. However, that doesn’t go without saying that it wasn’t an enjoyable piece of writing.

Before writing this blog, I was convinced on exuding my anger towards an author who destroyed one of my absolute pleasures of reading and literature. But then the marketer in me consoled my anger and triggered a thought process about the business implications that came along with this book. As, I scrolled through Twitter and read articles on the astounding and record-breaking phenomenon this movie had become, I was left confused and not so angry towards James. I continued to read these new facts popping up on Twitter, my Facebook exploding with advertisements and Buzzfeed articles screaming the popularity of this book.

My anger subdued and a smirk appeared on my face. Many things that we do in today’s world are not because of the love and appreciation of the art. One blog mentioned that if an author was to write a book like Shakespeare in today’s world, he or she would be far away from earning millions of dollars or be considered best seller. I could not have agreed with this statement more. E.L. James knows how to stay relevant in today’s market place. I believe she thought more along the lines of a business woman, determined what would sell and tapped into the insights of her target audience – young women. She also hasn’t lagged behind in her character development. The passive Anna and the iconic Christian Grey is every woman’s fantasy and maybe still gives us some hope that chivalry isn’t completely dead. With the help of the right marketing and PR techniques these characters have been marketed well. Prior to the release of the film the audience was given a chance to vote for an actor they believed would be a good fit for the role. Appropriate marketing campaigns complimented with audience engagement, maintained excitement for this movie as viewers highly anticipated the release. The numbers are nothing but extra-ordinary as the movie ranked on top at the box-office and beating previous records. Christian Grey even booted records for Jesus at the theaters.

Where sex tapes and provocative photo shoots has made Kim Kardashian THE iconic woman of our time and superficiality speaks to the majority of our generation than ambition, James has been advantageous of the this artistic evolution. The biggest buzz nowadays is the tweet wars between self-proclaimed celebrities, Miley Cyrus’ crazy shenanigans and the most recent troubles JB has gotten into. Literature, art, political and social issues are not the topics making headlines – nothing that is making it big in the eyes of the media. I mean what holds substance anymore? So to expect that an author has done literature wrong by not writing anything meaningful may also be too far-fetched. She might not know what literature is but she surely knows what it takes to be a good business.

#InstaPower

Social media – possibly one of the greatest innovations to spiral from technology has created differentiated opportunities for all businesses. The number of new emerging outlets and the advantages associated from the digital act are endless. The social media realm has reduced barriers between people all around the world, opened up new doors for businesses and essentially made this world a smaller place. The biggest benefit has been for artists and non-traditional business owners. This can be validated through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but the social media platform of the moment goes to Instagram. The power of Instagram comes from the ability to share visuals. I guess the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” really becomes true through this outlet. Users are able to upload their images with the option of adding a caption that highlights their thoughts about the picture or maybe explain the reference behind the peculiar upload. This creates an engaging environment for the users, as they are able to express themselves both visually and through written word.

One of the greatest opportunities Instagram has offered its users is to increase their business ventures, primarily through increasing brand awareness. This I believe is the foundation to any business. As long as people know about your business and know what you do, you have the potential to drive traffic, make profits and simultaneously, grow your business.

Moreover, this has initiated a new on spur of professionals to take the limelight. Today, we see a plethora of makeup artists, fitness professionals and other freelancer and/or artistic professionals using Instagram to its fullest potential to market themselves. I am a freelance makeup artist so I am always on the look out for upcoming artist to see their work, learn from it and grow my network and knowledge of the people out there in my profession. Although, blogging and forums have been around for a while, Instagram stars have newly emerged. With global popularity, artists like Dress Your Face, Amrezy and many others have been able to create a network online and actually launch products specific to them. Both artists have worked closely with cosmetics brand Anastasia Beverley Hills to create and launch eye shadow palettes. This is amazingly powerful for them as they are now affiliated to a major beauty powerhouse. This not only drives more followers to their Instagram pages, but increases their brand awareness and ultimately creating more business opportunities for them. Countless fitness gurus, nutrition and workout pages and fitness models are seen every where on Instagram. It’s like all of a sudden, the profession to be is only personal trainers and makeup artists. It has introduced an avenue for artists to exhibit their art; something that wasn’t necessarily available for them and also not as acceptable. Now these artists are able to show off their work and have an appreciation for it.

Instagram is molding the world of business in a different way than what we know of. Entrepreneurs are able to create a personal relationship with their intended audiences through this platform, where the information comes straight from the source. As a result, the nature of the customer-business relationship has been revolutionized.

Queen

“Queen,” my classmate’s response, when I told her that my first blog would be dedicated to the infamous Kim Kardashian West. The woman who has created global buzz because of her ‘ass-ets’. Kim has consistently been in the news for many reasons good and bad, but mostly ugly. From her amateur “film-making” days to her most recent controversial shoot for Paper magazine, the star is a household name. Kim Kardashian holds a love-hate relationship with many. I am not here to talk about the unrealistic and superficial ideals she presents for women or to praise her for all that she is. Despite all the negativity that surrounds her, one thing is definite that Kim Kardashian is a powerful business and with absolutely no talent, she has become one of the most successful brands of our generation.

Taking advantage of the right timing, the star landed a deal with E! to be showcased on a reality TV show with her family. At the peak of reality TV, the ratings for the show sky rocketed landing Kim and her subordinates, her other family members, a number of corporate deals and endorsements. This was just the tip of the iceberg, as Kardashian became the face and owner of many future business ventures. This included a fragrance, clothing line, an actual role in a Hollywood production and becoming the face of prominent couture names in the fashion industry, i.e. Balmain, just to name a few.

The right PR and staying current with business trends, Kim has become one of the most successful celebrities. She has a powerful social media presence; with one of the largest following on Twitter and Instagram, this celebrity has gotten her hands on the industries best social media strategists.

Fast forwarding to her recent media tactic. This past weekend, we were all participants in celebrating every marketers’ big night and not to mention a crucial night for the athletes- the Super Bowl. The Football game is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. With commercial time slots going for larger than average prices and every company eager to be featured during this prime time, Kim Kardashian landed a commercial with the telecommunications giant, T-Mobile. Now this might be just as good as her landing the half-time performance. The satirical commercial featured the usual self-absorbed Kim raising the serious issue of us, the disadvantaged everyday person, not having enough data to keep track of her selfies. The commercial initiated a hash tag campaign that has taken over Instagram and trending on Twitter: #KimsDataStash. Fans are encouraged to take selfies and tag with the particular hash tag. This served as a clever strategic move from Kim’s end. The celebrity is soon to release her book titled Selfish, a compilation of her selfies. Both T-Mobile and Kim created a commercial correlating the idea behind the book to create awareness and buzz about her new endeavor, a tactical PR move and killing two birds with one stone. The campaign extended to Instagram as Kim slowly released some of her selfies from her book to lucky fans.

The Super Bowl and #KimsDataStash served as another effective marketing and PR avenue for the star to become more popular and validate herself as a powerful brand.