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QR Codes Promote Coke's Campaign Despite Challenges

ScanBuy will support QR codes appearing on "tens of billions of Coca-Cola cups" available at 7-Eleven, Subway and other locations. The codes will promote the beverage maker's commitment to the "Save the Polar Bears" campaign, Mike Wehrs, ScanBuy CEO and president, told MediaPost.
 
Wehrs expects the "Polar Bears" effort to experience heavy traffic to landing pages tied to the campaign. "We're expecting at least 500,000 scans, but that could easily double," he said, noting the campaign will only support scans on Apple devices.
 
Aside from the cups, the QR codes will appear on posters. The code leads to a landing page on Facebook that allows users to throw snowballs at friends. A recent Taco Bell campaign generated 460,000 scans in three months, of which 7% of the traffic came from people without smartphones, he said. 
 
The back-end data that Coca-Cola gains from mobile QR code scans range from handset type by model and carrier to the frequency of scans by user.
 
Wehr said the challenge of putting the QR code on a cold drink cup stresses the scanners. It's not only a curved surface, but has condensation running down the side. Anything with an irregular surface, something wrapped in cellophane or bad lighting will affect the scan.
 


Facebook's New Analytics Reminds Businesses To Engage Fans

In the past several years, businesses large and small have come to realize the positive impact of engaging their brand-loyal public and—more importantly—potential customers, via Facebook pages. While fan pages are typically seen as a destination for users to remain privy to brand news, a recent comScore report shows that a page is really just the place where content resides, as fans are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded material in their news feeds than on the actual fan page itself. This discovery led to Facebook’s expansion of its page "insights," including new metrics and analytics designed to constantly remind business owners of what truly matters: engaging content.
 


3 Steps To Generating More Buzz About Your Business

You can't control whether or not people talk about your business.
 
Or can you?
 
Do some businesses simply get lucky and enjoy an abundance of word-of-mouth buzz? Or do they make decisions and take actions that generate buzz?
 
I believe that you can actually control how much buzz your business generates by addressing a few simple—but crucial—issues. In fact, there are three primary "buzz problems" that every business needs to address.
 
1. Figure out what your business does. It is surprisingly common for businesses to not have one clear goal and approach. Here's how it often happens: business owners have one good idea (the thing that will make them money), but then they have a few decent ideas, as well (things they like, but that won't really fly off the shelves).
 
Because business owners believe in their ideas, they end up running with all of them. They justify this decision by telling themselves that they are now offering a range of products for different consumers and that they are supplying additional features and creating added benefit and value for the customer.
 


Designing Social Media Feed Widgets

Raise the bar to build custom, branded feeds that fit your website

As social media has become a stronger component of our clients’ marketing efforts, we’ve had the opportunity to use several of the standard social media widgets when building websites to add the various feeds into pages. This past week I decided to push the bar and not settle for what I was being provided by the masses. After spending some time online researching various treatments, I found a few that went above the standard widget. The styles of those feeds didn’t really fit with what I was going for, but it did show me that the mold could be broken and designed a lot better.

After looking through the different sites, I chose a feed that I thought was close to what I wanted functionality wise, but it needed some design help. Once I had the feed on the page and it was running like it should – pulling our BLU feed and rotating accordingly - I started ripping apart the old design and rebuilding it to fit the overall look and feel of the website. Everything about the feed was customized - the size of the feed, background colors, images, font, etc. It took a while to figure out where all of those styles needed to go, but once I figured it out the build went quickly.


Sell Like Apple: 5 Ways To Create A Product That Sells Itself

Are you trying to create a product that sells itself? The type of products that Apple creates? If you want your product to be the next hot thing, here are five things you can learn from Apple.
 
1. Attractive design
 
A great product has a great design. But don’t confuse beauty or coolness with functionality. For a product to be truly wonderful, it has to fulfill a useful function and work well.
 
You’ve probably seen products that look great but are not useful. Take a toothbrush, for example. When I was growing up, toothbrushes were pretty dull. But that didn’t matter because they functioned well.
 
Today, there are hundreds of cool and unusual toothbrushes. The truly beautiful ones are those that do their job well…and look good.
 
But why is design important? It’s an issue of trust. A well-designed, attractive product immediately conveys a sense that somebody took the time to get this product right.
 
Steve Jobs was notorious for his perfectionism, but it worked. The craftsmanship of an Apple product is beyond dispute.
 
2. Serves a broad market
 


Don't Sweat The Small Things—Or, Well, At Least These 4 Things

Your business is your baby. Well, at one distant time in the past it was. If you’ve been running it for awhile, it has probably grown up.
 
And like a grown-up, a developed business is resilient, probably more resilient than you think. But many entrepreneurs refuse to believe their businesses can withstand one bad day, one unforeseen expense, one minor mishap. In their minds, problems start small then blossom out of control. It’s the classic Mom’s slippery slope: First it’s dirt behind the ears, next it’s sleeping in the gutter. For the entrepreneur, first it’s one bad sales day; next it’s selling your office fixtures on Craigslist and eating Ramen Noodles for dinner.
 
Sweating the small stuff, one can really hurt your business by keeping you needlessly fixated on minor problems while ignoring the important stuff. Below are four things business owners commonly fixate on when they should be treating their business like a grown-up who can tie their own shoes, thank you very much.
 
1. One bad day, one bad week or even one bad month
 


How 'The X Factor' Vote-by-Tweet Partnership With Twitter Has Affected Its Social-TV Footprint

Earlier this month, "The X Factor" became the first-ever reality-TV competition show to allow voting by Twitter. (See "How to Vote for Your Favorite Act on The X Factor" in the Twitter Help Center.) What's that done for its social-TV footprint? Ad Age asked our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, a Cambridge-Mass.-based social-media analytics company that specializes in social TV, to give us a view into the data it's been collecting on the show all season. Some notes about the charts below:

The chart shows social-TV activity for each episode of "The X Factor" this season (except for last night's airing, for which data is still being parsed). The fat red bars, labeled "Total Comments" on the top left, represent volume of commentary about a particular episode of "The X Factor" across social media, as tracked by Bluefin (with the lion's share of comments, as usual, appearing on Twitter and in public Facebook updates). The little blue square points, labeled "Avg # Comments / Commenter" on the top right, show just how active each unique commenter is on average.


The Art Of Creating Buzz

Few people would argue with the notion that the most effective kind of marketing is word-of-mouth. Most of us would love to have all the world talking about our products or services, but how many of us know how to create that kind of buzz?
 
Until recently, I thought that achieving the desirable but elusive tipping point of viral world-of-mouth was more luck, mystery and magic than anything else.
 
Then I met Jonathan Kay, the ambassador of buzz at Grasshopper, an award-winning virtual phone system for small businesses. Grasshopper bills itself as "The entrepreneur's phone system."
 
Three years ago, Kay created a buzz department. During those three years, he generated more than 500 mentions of Grasshopper in premier media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, TechCrunch, Mashable, ForbesInc. magazine and Fast Company. More than a third of Grasshopper signups come from word-of-mouth referrals.
 
Grasshopper's buzz department was so successful that Kay now helps others by teaching his methods in a short e-course called Learn2Buzz. I recently spoke with him and asked him a few questions about the art of creating buzz.
 


Aaron Rodgers Ad Lifts Up State Farm Among Football Fans, Wisconsinites

Since the early October release of a State Farm commercial featuring Green Bay Packers Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, State Farm’s Buzz score—a measure of consumer perception—has increased among two groups: football fans and Wisconsin residents.

In the ad, which promotes State Farm’s “Discount Double Check” program, Rodgers confronts a State Farm employee and several customers who have adopted his signature touchdown dance to represent the “Discount Double Check”. The customers—incredulous that he is in fact an NFL player—end up mocking the star quarterback.

The ad comes as part of a larger salvo of media efforts this year by State Farm, with spots ranging from the comedic to the sentimental. Perhaps thanks to this, State Farm’s Buzz score is top among property and casualty insurers in BrandIndex, but its overall score has not moved significantly among U.S. consumers since the debut of the Rodgers ad a month and half ago—or since the beginning of the year for that matter—hovering since January in the low 20s.


How Apple's Siri Could Destroy Local SEO

 
Have you met Siri yet? If not, it's worth taking the time to learn more about the iPhone 4S's digital ambassador, as she could represent the future direction of local search engine optimization.
 
On the surface, Siri -- the voice recognition app that allows iPhone users to control their cell phones verbally -- seems like a cool party trick, sending text messages from your spoken instructions, checking the weather and setting up calendar reminders. But does this added functionality really mean the end of traditional local SEO as some experts are predicting?