Bank of America Marketing….Promoting cooking tips and home improvement over financial services?

It’s true. Bank of America is engaging in a digital storytelling campaign on video streaming platform Hulu Plus to connect with viewers on a more personal level. How does cooking or home improvement relate to banking? It doesn’t directly; but the message establishes that we are all connected and the archetypal human experience does share certain key elements.

For example, here is one of their recent spots featuring Chef Byron Talbott’s easy ways to get the most out of your measuring cups:

The idea of the campaign is not to pitch a hard sell on why you should use Bank of America for your financial needs. Instead, the company is incorporating a human experience message into their video ads to establish a connection with you. Almost all of us cook at some time, in some way, even if you are just using the microwave. We have all encountered a measuring cup at some point, and this tip is a quick and easy way to help improve your daily life in the kitchen. Since the message adds value, the consumer is more likely to tune in and actually listen to what is being said versus tuning out yet another commercial trying to sell something. The message is concise and relatable, and at the end it clearly ties back to Bank of America with a Call to Action about gaining cash back rewards at the grocery store.

This week, our graduate school lesson explained, “Talk like a human. I cannot stress enough that social media is social! Be real! Talk in the way you want others to talk to you. Respond, react and hold real conversations. Engage your community and be ready to celebrate when they engage back with you.”

This message is not fact-based; it is experience driven. Sure, Bank of America could produce a spot telling you exactly what services they offer. But, would it be memorable? No.

Along the same lines, Bank of America also offers every day tips for people on a budget, such as renovating an old bookcase versus buying a new one. The storytelling messages do relate to the Bank/saving money, which is important. Marketers cannot count on totally random messages to sell a product or service, but note how these messages are focused on YOU and your life versus the Bank itself.

Finally, check out today’s corporate Facebook post for Football Sunday:

Skip the full meal and serve snacks at your next football party to save money without missing any of the fun. See all 8 tips here: http://44d.info/ec9a8

Bank of America's photo.
Marketing Lesson Learned: Meet the target audience right where they are. Others will create the buzz on Football Sunday, so rather than creating a new conversation, an effective marketer will simply join in, in this case with some timely snacking advice to maximize engagement.
Digital storytelling is the wave of the future for integrated marketing communications. The product is taking a backstage while the story forms the main protagonist. You can read more about this revolutionary concept here. Our case study Bank of America currently has more than 2 million Facebook fans and counting, and their YouTube channel has more than 26,000 subscribers. With social media and the trend of video marketing, human experience stories are not only compelling but also easier than ever to produce!  A small company can engage in these same tactics with just an iPhone and a social media profile.
Questions for You:
What commercials or digital storytelling messages are most memorable to you? Why do you think these types of messages stand out amidst the clutter? Let me know in the comment section below or via Twitter.
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Are you smarter than your watch? Internet of Things and Enchanted Objects

Mobile Internet and connectivity is the way of the future. The flagship of newspapers, The New York Times, recently stated that their future hinges on their ability to develop content for mobile devices. The desktop is considered to be dead, whereas wireless Web use is expected to surpass wired use this year! However, despite the constant connectivity we are currently experiencing, some believe we have only touched the tip of the iceberg as of yet.

The Internet of Things and Enchanted Objects

The Internet of Things has the potential to fundamentally shift the way we interact with our surroundings. Enchanted Objects can best be described as new technologies that make our life easier; technologies that offer solutions, according to our graduate school lesson this week. Think about a home thermostat that adjusts to the temperature you desire or a GPS tracking system that lets you know when your loved one is almost home so that you can start dinner!

One example is Apple’s innovative idea of linking up iOS products to communicate with home appliances, such as thermostats, light bulbs and garage openers.

While the initial framework of HomeKit was unveiled alongside the release of iOS in September 2014, manufacturers have been waiting to bring out HomeKit-enabled products to consumers over the course of the Spring of 2015. If you are wondering what home appliances are compatible with your iPhoneiPad or, one day, the Apple Watch, this article has compiled a comprehensive list of upcoming (and a few already-released) products expected to bring Apple connectivity to a home near you.. Examples include thermostats, door locks, garage door openers and lighting systems.

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The mobile Internet is also being offered in entirely new formats, such as wearable devices. The idea of wearable devices greatly interests me with the FitBit trend craze and the recent launch of the Apple Watch and the impact that these devices have to alter the world in which we live, which includes marketing.

There are many variations of the smart watch, but let’s first consider Fit Bit. According to the website, the Fit Bit watch is an ultimate fitness super watch that includes GPS tracking of distance, pace, and elevation of routes, and the ability to split routes, Pure Pulse technology which monitors heart rate, all-day activity monitoring which keeps track of steps walked and calories burned, and wireless syncing to smartphones and computers.

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Many of my friends in the healthcare field have Fit Bit watches, and I am encouraged that this new trend will help to make America more fit as obesity rates are at an all time high.

Meanwhile, Apple recently launched its own smart watch known simply as The Apple Watch.

Apple Watch makes all the ways you’re used to communicating more convenient. And because it sits right on your wrist, it can add a physical dimension to alerts and notifications. For example, you’ll feel a gentle tap with each incoming message. Apple Watch also lets you connect with your favorite people in fun, spontaneous ways — like sending a tap, a sketch, or even your heartbeat, according to the product website.

Some people are already critiquing the new Apple watch and state that the charger is not practical for a watch, as the watch must be charged daily, just like the iPhone.

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This article explains some of the limitations, particularly when it comes to battery life.

While the Apple Watch and Fitbit both fall into the consumer wearables category, they are very different devices.

While the Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone and can do a lot of things in addition to tracking your health. Fitbit’s wearable is mainly focused on tracking health. You can read more about the differences between these devices here.

So, which one is more valuable? I guess that would depend on your lifestyle. Some tech researchers believe the fitness angle is the way to go and where the real money will lie.

To date, wrist-based wearables tend to fall into one of two product categories: notification-based watches or fitness trackers. The fitness trackers have a head start on the watches and have a clearer purpose for consumers. You can learn more about the pros and cons here.

Does that mean the Apple Watch will fail? Although Apple sold 3.6 million smart watches in the second quarter of this year, the figures have fallen far short of the projected 40 million in sales that was touted prior to the launch. However, falling short of 40 million does not necessarily doom Apple’s fate in the wearables category.

Device analysts such as CCS Insight’s Ben Wood described the notion of Apple Watch being a flop as “absolute nonsense” and said it would easily be the “most successful smartwatch ever”. Early smartwatch pioneer Pebble, which recently launched its new Time andTime Steel, only sold 1m watches in three years, and Google’s Android Wearwatches, which are produced by a variety of manufacturers, only sold 800,000 before the end of last year. Even Samsung, which is Apple’s number one rival in the smartphone space, only sold smartwatches in their hundreds of thousands.

Speaking of Samsung, this popular tech brand is creating a sensor module implementation known as Simsense for its latest Smart Watch device.

This sensors on this watch will include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) for recording the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Bio-Impedance (Bio-Z) sensor which is a method for estimating body composition, especially body fat.
  • Photoplethysmogram (PPG) is a volumetric measure of an organ obtained by using a pulse oximeter that illuminates skin and measures change in light absorption.
  • Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) used to measure the electrical conductance of skin through sweat.
  • Accelerometer is a standard sensor found in many smartphones which measures tilt and motion.
  • Thermometer measures skin temperature.

The possibilities are truly endless with the growth of mobile Internet and Enchanted Objects. My brother is a Management Information Systems major at the University of Alabama, and one of his recent projects was to create a unique solution for a business using mobile technology. My brother designed special smart watches for theme park visitors. The concept was that each Walt Disney World visitor would be given a temporary smart watch that could be used as a hotel room key, theme park pass, and dining pass. The watches would contain GPS technology to help navigate the park as well as an app that shows guests which ride lines were the shortest and longest. People could even use their watch as a fast pass for favorite rides! As a theme park lover, I immediately fell in love with this idea. Now, think of the marketing potential! Vendors could use geo fencing to entice tourists to their food trucks when they are on that side of the theme park; restaurants and shops could do the same thing! Based on purchasing behavior, the visitor would see a lot of Mickey Mouse ads pop up on their watch, or Icee ads or ads for newlywed attire. I am interested to see how marketing evolves through widespread use of these smart watch devices.

Questions for You: What is your favorite brand of smart watch (if you use one)? Why would you purchase a smart watch (or choose not to)? Let me know in the comment section below or via Twitter.