Category Archives: Branding

What went wrong with Marketing Madness 2016? (and a game plan for 2017)

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2016 NCAA Championship trophy

Source: 9News

Drumroll please. The Madness is over, the results are in, and the official 2016 March Madness winner is … Villanova! It was a back-and-forth game that really came down to the wire.

As we admitted in our Final Four weekend video, our predictions were off. Actually, our Marketing Madness overall bracket only hit the 22nd percentile when it comes to all brackets submitted to ESPN. Please pause for a moment while we hang our heads in shame ….

Okay, done. Now let’s examine our #bracketology: what worked and what fell short. Read More

Battle of the bad basketball brands

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Battle of the bad NCAA basketball brands

Here at EKR, we’re all about two things: building brands and #bracketology. We recently released a few March Madness brackets which we crafted based on teams’ social media presence, design strength and overall branding. However, we don’t just want to identify the good brands. We also want to show off our skills and actually improve some brands. So we took the three lowest scoring teams from our Marketing Madness design bracket and had two of our designers, Clint Savage and Ashley Wilkinson, take a look at them. Without further ado, let’s give Southern University and A&M College, Stephen F. Austin State University and University of Wisconsin—Green Bay some much-needed brand coaching. Read More

Marketing Madness: Final Four Weekend

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We’ve made our bracket, suffered a couple of losses, and had a blast cheering on our favorite teams. We’re now down to the Final Four—Villanova, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Syracuse. Want to know who we think will take it all? Watch EKR’s Brandon “The Jet” Jeppson and Ryan “Automatic” Adkins debate the merit of the Final Four’s design and social media skill set and predict the winner of March Madness 2016.

The Blue Devils and Ducks lost the ballgame but won the brand game

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Oregon Ducks vs. Duke Blue Devils

The brackets are finished. The teams are playing. The madness has begun. We recently based our #bracketology on the strength of each team’s brand. On March 24, our two top picks, Duke (the winner of both our social media and overall bracket) and Oregon (our design bracket winner) lost in the Sweet Sixteen, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped being fans. Instead, we decided to provide a more in-depth look at what makes these two teams brand bosses and to offer our predictions for the rest of the tournament. Read More

Unlike Tay the teenage chatbot, you weren’t born yesterday

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I'm not a robot

For 16 hours, the chatbot Tay terrorized Twitter. Tay was programmed by Microsoft to speak and react to Twitter users as if she were a teenage girl. This chatbot was designed to learn from human conversation so that she would become smarter over time, but she was not fed content and keyword filters or background knowledge. She naively repeated back what she learned. It was as if Tay were born yesterday.

Racists and trolls quickly fed Trump-supporting, Bush-hating and genocide-promoting material to Tay through Twitter. In less than a day, @TayandYou went from loving humans and trying to be helpful to advocating genocide and spewing hateful messages. Microsoft quickly put Tay to “sleep” and deleted her more problematic tweets.

Luckily, you are not a Tay. Read More

Marketing Madness: The marketer’s ultimate guide to winning the office pool in 2016

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EKR Marketing Madness

March has arrived once again, which means it’s time to put on your jersey, load up on junk food and represent your team in the 2016 NCAA March Madness tournament. Over the next few weeks, approximately 40 million Americans will hope they’ve predicted the outcome of the NCAA tournament. Everyone around you—family, friends, coworkers and strangers—is betting on their bracket’s strength and sharing their #bracketology on social media. Even President Obama gets involved—in 2015 he picked Kentucky to take it all (for the record, he was wrong, but this year he hung his hopes on Kansas). Warren Buffett put up $1 billion of his own money in 2014 to anyone who could create a perfect bracket. Luckily for him, the odds of making a perfect bracket were slightly in his favor at around 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Needless to say, nobody claimed the prize.

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Your company holiday card or gift will stand out when you follow these 5 steps

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#20Helps Gift Package Contents

The #20Helps holiday gift contained chocolate bars and a guide to enjoying fine chocolate as well as a $20 bill tucked in the card.

Bill Brady stepped out of his office holding a package. “Have you seen this?”

The package contained 2 chocolate bars along with a guide to enjoying fine chocolate. But Bill’s reason for showing us the package was something else: the holiday card.

Why did the card from our partner digital marketing agency 97th Floor stop us in our tracks? It wasn’t the photo or the intriguing hashtag. The first thing that caught our eye was the $20 bill folded origami-style into a heart and tucked into the card. And the next thing was the message. “$20 is just the beginning. This holiday season, we at 97th Floor invite you to find some simple way you can help those around you. 20 may not seem like much, but $20 helps.” Read More

11 steps to building brand value

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Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the chance to consult with a lot of companies, big and small, about the authenticity, impact and reach of their brands. Through those opportunities, I’ve learned that a company’s long-term success is inextricably attached to its brand—the way it’s perceived, valued and experienced in the minds of consumers. And I’ve observed that even well-established companies struggle with essential pieces of the equation from time to time.

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