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The Back Deck

Our view on navigating today’s marketing landscape

28 Aug
2014

Campaign of the Week: The Release of Western Star’s Aerodynamic New 5700 Truck

Like a well-sharpened axe, a well-planned teaser campaign knows how to make a clean cut, making a product launch announcement even more exciting.

The anticipation began building as Western Star prepared to release its newest truck model – the Western Star 5700. CMD also swung into action, creating a teaser campaign designed to generate the excitement for the new truck launch.

The teaser campaign is focused on the key elements of the truck- being both rugged and aerodynamic- using an axe as a symbol of Western Star’s heritage in logging.

Western Star releases the official teaser for the new 5700

Western Star releases the official teaser for the new 5700

With the all-new Western Star 5700 being released in September 2014, the teaser campaign is building buzz for this innovative truck that is unmatched when it comes to aerodynamics and efficiency. The CMD team also is creating a microsite, digital marketing content, print ads, banner ads and posters to target truckers and drivers to help support the launch.

The Western Star 5700 campaign is a sharp addition to CMD’s portfolio of game-changing projects.

Check out our new teaser campaign here and watch for the September launch coming soon.

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26 Aug
2014

#TryingStuff: Columbia Sportswear & CMD Step Out of Comfort Zone with OmniTen Jordan Documentary

The new Columbia Sportswear documentary “I am #OMNITEN” is about one thing and one thing only: Trying Stuff.

Trying Stuff captures the mantra of 10 ordinary people who were selected by Columbia for a trip of a lifetime to the Kingdom of Jordan, a country the locals lovingly call “a beautiful home in a rough neighborhood.” The company sent these virtual strangers on an outdoor travel thrill ride together, where they were able to test their personal limits and kick some major firsts off their bucket lists.

Behind the scenes with the CMD crew for the making of Columbia Sportswear’s “I am #OMNITEN” documentary.

From snorkeling in the Red Sea, and journeying through the desert on camel back, to exploring ancient cities, the number of moments outside the comfort zone for the OmniTen participants were too numerous to count. So Columbia and CMD decided to capture them on film instead.

10 OmniTen adventurers. 5 film crew members. 13 days. 2.6 terabytes of footage.

The Jordan OmniTen adventure also became a Trying Stuff moment for CMD filmmaker and master editor, Pedro Peraza. Traveling with the team to capture the spirit of the OmniTen group as they explored this remote part of the world, Pedro got a chance of a lifetime to direct and edit not just the typical :30 or :60 ad or short corporate video, but a complete hour-long documentary.

It was all about pushing the boundaries from that moment on.

“This wasn’t your typical agency shoot. There was no setup, no pre-production,” said Pedro. “Everything was spontaneous. Our goal was to balance how to tell the personal stories of the participants, while not taking anything away from their journey. In the end, we sorted hundreds of hours of footage – from slow motion, time lapse, b-roll and interviews – to capture their spirit of embracing new challenges.”

Part of the thrill of the project was also working with a client that believed in the philosophy from the start. Columbia pushed CMD to not play it safe and to go far beyond the brand to focus instead on the individual OmniTen members themselves.

“This was never about making a corporate video,” said Pedro. “In fact, when we played it safe in the editing process, the client pushed us to dig deeper and take bigger risks.”

In the end, Pedro says being behind the camera inspired him just as much as the people in front of it. Whether it was hiking for 12 hours or navigating a rocky cliff, the crew undertook all of the same challenges the OmniTen participants did, often rising earlier and staying up late to try and capture those final magical moments on film.

Back at home, Pedro has been inspired to live the Trying Stuff life as well, embracing the spirit of getting outdoors to explore things he’s always wanted to see right here at home.

“Whether in making a film or living your life, the lesson for me was to not let what others think hold you back. Go out there and try. That’s when those special moments happen.”

“I Am #OMNITEN” premieres at the Columbia Flagship store in downtown Portland, Wednesday, August 27 at 5:30 p.m. Open to the public; space is limited.

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22 Aug
2014

Inside Instagram Ads: How Social Media Advertising Paired with Relevant Images Makes for a Successful Campaign

The growth in digital and social media advertising has presented companies with a huge challenge. Strength in TV, magazines and billboards is no longer enough. Companies must now engage with customers online. They’re learning that social context takes precedence over content, and that you have to be a real person with an interesting point of view to make a lasting impression. In fact, in a recent interview with Business Insider, Instagram’s director of market operations, Jim Quires, laid out a few rules that advertisers must follow before they’ll even be considered to run a campaign.

Nearly one in five American adult smartphone owners use the Instagram app. (Photo courtesy: TIME via Getty Images)

Nearly one in five American adult smartphone owners use the Instagram app. (Photo courtesy: TIME via Getty Images)

Instagram’s goal is to make any advertisement you see feel as natural to the channel as the photos and videos you already enjoy from particular brands. In this case, relevance is key. So far, we’ve learned from brands what makes an Instagram campaign most successful:

  • Brands must begin by drawing a focus on being true to the image they’re trying to obtain. The last thing a company wants is for their campaign to feel staged. They must focus on their natural brand image and allow audiences to absorb what they’re comfortable and most familiar with.
  • Sharing meaningful experiences is critical to the success of past Instagram ad campaigns. The customer images and videos shared by brands like GoPro, Nike Running and Ben & Jerry’s are unmatched and offer a unique view into the world and lifestyle of those specific brands. Brands must remember who their audiences are and go from there to ensure relevancy.
  • Brands need to want to be eager to inspire action. Whether this is through imagery or untold stories, the ability to start a movement around a brand will set it apart from the rest.
  • Knowing the audience and finding a way to showcase a brand in a meaningful way is the key to successful messaging. The great thing about Instagram is that it offers users the ability to not only share experiences, but also understand and relate to the visually meaningful memories behind those experiences.

The introduction of advertising to Instagram was anything but inevitable. According to Time Magazine, nearly one in five American adult smartphone owners use the Instagram app. Similarly, ads continue to appear everywhere, and ad-supported products are becoming the norm. One thing is for sure – Instagram has chosen to go at a slow and steady pace, carefully choosing the first companies to enjoy its ad services. Make no mistake about it, though, they will take advantage of every opportunity they can when the time is right.

Stay tuned for more on Instagram Ads, where we’ll take a dive into the effect of ads on user experience. We’ll take a look at well-known brands rolling out advertising efforts and learn about the strategies behind them.

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18 Aug
2014

What We’re Reading Now: Creative Advertising, Result-Driving Campaigns & 10 Ways to Measure Someone’s Social Influence

We’ve got hot new reads for your next coffee break. Here are the top social media marketing articles we love this week:

  • Cracker Jack makes a crunch that leaves an impression: Cracker Jack, the childhood munchie of choice, has found a way to capture the digitally integrated hearts of American millennial families. Jon Agee (@JonAgee) spotted this nutty read from Event Marketer featuring The Surprise Inside Project, a nationwide campaign with a mission to deliver surprises to deserving families.
  • How Facebook made a heart-stopping “thumbstopper” of a campaign: In an age where content passes quickly through news feeds, it isn’t easy to come up with a campaign that’s a “thumbstopper.” Darcie Meihoff (@DarcieMeihoff) may have stumbled upon gold after finding this New York Times article explaining how paid social campaigns are driving results for brands.
  • What you need to know about Generation Moth: Children flock to touch screens like “moths to a light.” It’s no surprise that we’re already looking into the future to see what experiences are going to be like in 4-D. Here’s a digitally rich read via Wired from Ian Bragg (@IanBragg).
  • The social influence lifecycle: Who we let influence us says a lot about who we are. Megan Krzmarzick (@Megan_krz) dug up a piece from Social Media Today about the 10 ways to measure someone’s influence.
  • The future of choosy Facebook ads: Ever heard of “dayparting?” Soon, you’ll be able to choose which times of the day to advertise, and eliminate the times you don’t. Thanks to Laura Lundberg (@Laulundberg) we’ve got the scoop on Jon Loomer’s take on the hot advancement in Facebooks ads.

 

WWRN Choosy Facebook Ads | CMD Blog

Laura Lundberg (@Laulundberg) reads up on the Digital Marketing trends this week, including new dayparting capabilities on Facebook Ads.

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5 Aug
2014

CMD Tool Review: Opal Moments

Just when we all thought we nailed time management, savvy new tech tools pulled a fast one on us. The folks at Opal, a Portland, Oregon-based startup company, came up with a concept that brings some welcomed sophistication to the editorial content calendar process.

Opal Moments is a social enterprise app designed to take the scrambling out of content planning. It keeps a brand’s content organized and serves as a versatile management tool to best leverage content and tell stories across multiple social media channels. Opal also enables teams to plan social content and work in real-time together on a cloud-based platform — saving time and adding efficiency and effectiveness to the process.

CMD’s Earned Media team recently adopted Opal for a global Microsoft program, where content marketing across geos and business groups is an ongoing challenge.  Some of our favorite Opal features include the in-task collaborating tool and the ability to track changes live.

Opal makes it easy to open chat within active tasks and alerts the user when actions are needed

Opal makes it easy to open chat within active tasks and alerts the user when actions are needed.

For example, if a coworker is editing a task, they can easily open chat within the document to give suggestions and feedback in real-time. Having the ability to chat within projects saves time and eliminates delays by allowing teams to work in parallel.

Opal Moments - Content Marketing

The calendar feature enables the user to see what tasks are mapped out daily, weekly and monthly.

Another useful feature is the ability to collaboratively brainstorm and map out content campaigns, promotions and events to create consistent narratives for each. Anyone using the tool can see what other team members are working on and when, so tasks never overlap, which uses less time and leaves more room for productivity.

Opal is a subscription-based service, and in our opinion, best for larger brands with multiple content and social initiatives to organize and manage. That said, the time and frustration it can save as part of the editorial planning process can offset the annual investment in a hurry.

Check out some of the additional features Opal offers that might help you solve your own content planning and management issues. Opal is just one example of some of the great new tools that are emerging in the content mapping space — what others do you rely on?

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24 Jul
2014

What We’re Reading Now: Advertising, Branding and 10 Things You May Not Have Known About Social Media

From updated right-rail ads on Facebook to 10 things you likely didn’t know about social media, this week’s “What We’re Reading Now” is all about new discoveries. Here are the some of our favorite reads:FB-f-Logo__blue_144

  • 10 Significant Things You Likely Didn’t Know About Social Media but Should: We’re not going to give them all away, but did you know that your biggest advocates on Twitter often are those with the smallest followings? Read the rest of the top-10 social tips, as found by Megan Krzmarzick (@MessengerBird85).
  • Facebook Right-Rail Ads Update: The stepchild of Facebook ads is finally getting some attention. If you’re interested in how Facebook is optimizing right-rail ads (hint: bigger), take a peek at the article Laura Lundberg (@LuaLundberg) found.
  • Asset Branding on Social Media: For some great reminders and helpful tips on social media branding, check out this online asset guide that Elizabeth Johnston (@Liz_John) dug up.
  • The Future of Digital Marketing: Mashable’s “Mashie Awards” are right around the corner. Check out what Mashable had to say and where they think the future of digital marketing is headed per this Twitter chat found by Scott Horlbeck (@scott_horlbeck).

What was your favorite marketing or social media news of the week? Let us know by tweeting @CMDCreates with #GoodReads.

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14 Jul
2014

CMD Adds Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Expands Leadership Team

Jon_McAnnis-edited

PORTLAND, Ore. – CMD, one of the leading marketing agencies on the West Coast, has added Jon McAnnis as vice president, chief technology officer to the agency’s leadership team.

With expertise in strategic planning and software development, McAnnis will oversee the Information Systems and Technical Services groups at CMD, leading the agency’s digital practice and technical infrastructure initiatives.

Prior to joining the agency, McAnnis served for three years as the chief information officer at Optum International, where he was responsible for all IT-related functions as well as providing technological leadership for development programs, software delivery and architecture. McAnnis also worked at OptumHealth as the director of web development, and LifeEra as the chief information officer.

“Jon is an integral part of implementing our technology vision, which is vital when it comes to not only our expanding operations, but also to growing our digital capabilities,” said CMD President Phil Reilly. “His wealth of experience across different industrial segments will be a tremendous asset for us.”

About CMD

With an arsenal of specialized disciplines, CMD takes a synergistic approach to tackling the toughest marketing challenges in a new era of communications by using the right blend of powerful solutions – including digital, advertising, social media, PR, promotions, film and video, and more. Headquartered in Portland, Ore., and ranked among the nation’s top 20 independent agencies, CMD works with some of the world’s leading brands including Microsoft, JELD-WEN, Intel, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, NW Natural and Timber Products. CMD also has offices in Seattle, Charlotte and San Francisco, and can be found online through the CMD website, Twitter, Facebook or blog.

 

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1 Jul
2014

Putting Social to Work: Learnings from Social Media Strategies Summit, NYC 2014

Learnings from Social Media Strategies Summit | CMD Blog

Soaking up the latest in social media strategy in NYC, June 15, 2014.

I could start off this post with some great social media stats – stats are, after all, quite prevalent in conference sessions presentations – but sharing how many Facebook posts are published every day doesn’t get us anywhere. We’re left with, “Great. Now what?”

Enter the Social Media Strategies Summit. Packed with higher-level strategic sessions, case studies, collaborative labs and so many opportunities to learn, here are my top five conference takeaways:

  1. Build your social presence first, learn who your audience is and then crowdsource content ideas. This one really stuck with me because it feels like a reversal to common practice. A Twitter handle, for instance, is commonly created after a company has some type of web presence. Stephanie Ramirez, social media manager for FLAMA, a new Univision website, advised the opposite. Build a social presence first, then create content to fit that audience based on their interests and conversations.
  2. Free?! There’s no such thing as free social media anymore. The time of organic reach and impressions has exited stage left. Due to more online users, more content to consume and fragmented social networks, there’s an increased need for a social media ad strategy and budget. CMD has been ahead of the curve in pairing both organic and paid strategy, and it was great to hear multiple speakers emphasize the importance of this change. Cory Padveen, director of global social business strategy at t2 Marketing x International even stated that building a social ad campaign is no longer an option, but a necessity.
  3. If your business’s success is measured in sales, so should your social media campaigns. You may say “duh,” but the truth is, the marketing industry has struggled with proving ROI for social media. We understand impressions, engagement, even conversions, click-through rates and sentiment – all of which take place in an evolving environment – but for many, this is where reporting ends. To earn the approval, support and continued budget from the C-Suite, reporting needs to track back to business-level goals.
  4. Your customers expected a response…20 minutes ago. Social media users are increasingly turning to social to vent, for customer service help and to find answers. And, they expect it immediately. To provide excellent service quickly and effectively, here are a few key takeaways:
    • Plan for the unexpected. Plan for that one question you never thought you would get.
    • Identify internal resources now so you’re not scrambling later.
    • Finally, if you don’t think you can solve the issue in two public back-and-forths, take it offline immediately.
  5. If you’re not thinking about the law, you should be. Pedram Tabibi, social media lawyer, explained, don’t let your amazing campaign or company get hit with a multimillion dollar lawsuit that could have been avoided if you just hadn’t posted that one tweet.

Interested in more? Stayed tuned for my deeper dive into social analytics as I look at what it takes to build a social business plan, the move to predictive insights and the new team role of social analyst.

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20 Jun
2014

Business Journal CEO Marketing Roundtable: Perspectives from CMD’s President Phil Reilly

What happens when eight top execs from some of the region’s largest agencies and corporations sit down together to discuss the future of the marketing industry? One thing is for certain: you can count on a lot of different opinions, viewpoints and spirited conversation.

That’s what happened recently when CMD President Phil Reilly was invited to be part of the Portland Business Journal’s CEO Marketing Roundtable this week. While the group didn’t have time to cover all of the planned questions, here are just a few of his thoughts on the state of the business and the industry.

Phil Reilly PDX Biz Roundtable | CMD Back Deck Blog

CMD President Phil Reilly discusses the state of the industry and business.

Q: After lean times during the recession, are any/all of you rebuilding capacity or maintaining or adding staff? What’s different, if anything?

(Reilly): “Two things happened during the recession: the financial markets tanked, but also the marketing industry itself was in the midst of massive transformation. Social media was in its infancy, as was the idea of data-driven metrics to inform marketing strategies.  With budgets hit hard, clients were looking to these new solutions to make their marketing dollars go further and work harder. As with any market shock, some agencies were too slow to react. CMD took a different approach and invested early on, adding critical services, such as social media, metrics and analytics, along with additional capacity in our strategy group. That set us up well for the future, gave us a lead on the competition and we’ve continued to grow since.”

Q: What is the biggest difference between marketing today and marketing five years ago?

(Reilly): “It’s no secret, digital has changed everything. To say there are digital agencies and traditional agencies is a misnomer; all agencies need to be vested in digital at this point. Also, marketing solutions have grown more complex and are evolving every day–and it’s all moving faster. Just when you think you’ve figured out one tool or solution, a better one comes along. You have to be quick, nimble, adaptable to change and never get married to just one way of doing things. Today’s best marketers know they constantly have to be testing, learning, discovering and adapting.”

Q: Marketing is often more complex than people realize. I’ll ask each of you to finish this sentence: My job is to….

(Reilly): “Do the best job possible for our clients. That includes being aware of changing trends in the marketplace related to clients’ needs. Our goal is to always make sure we are adding value to our client relationships and align the agency’s resources and culture to support those objectives.”

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3 Jun
2014

The Art of Telling Stories: Insights from the Portland Communicators Conference

The tables quickly filled up in the conference room, and participants chatted eagerly about the day’s event as they flipped through the pamphlets. Tales of past conferences were swapped by rookies and veterans alike. The words “Storytelling. Storymaking. Storydoing.” were emblazoned across the ballroom’s ceiling. Everyone had gathered here for one reason; to master the art of storytelling.

The 2014 Portland Communicators Conference may be over, but the insights and takeaways still remain. Focused exclusively on storytelling, the conference had a slew of innovative and interesting keynote and session speakers who stressed the importance of always telling a good story.

Jim Olson, VP of global communications for Starbucks, kicked off the conference with a keynote that emphasized the importance of highlighting the humanity behind your story and utilizing visuals to focus your reader on the message. He had several key points and pointed to Starbucks for his prime examples. storytelling[1]

  1. Public relations continues to evolve. Even though press releases are still required, they don’t have to be traditional. He suggested pairing a press release with a man-on-the street video or short profile stories. By pairing the press release with these additional media, your release will be brought to life and the message will have a better chance of sticking with your audience.
  2. Create a dedicated news handle on Twitter where journalists can easily access your press releases, announcements and other important company information.
  3. Create a news section on your brand’s website that displays large images and videos that help put a face to your writing. 

Tight, focused, and with plenty of examples that emphasized Starbucks’ growth in the storytelling world, Olson wrapped up his keynote by explaining that it’s not just about telling your story, it’s how you position it.

I particularly enjoyed the session on “How to Become a Master Storyteller,” led by Melissa Havel, executive vice president of Waggner Edstrom. She explained that while almost anything can be a story, it’s not worth talking about if it doesn’t leave an impact. This key point is pivotal if you want to cut through all of the other brand noise and connect to your readers. A few additional key points I found useful were:

  1. Word-of-mouth is always more powerful than any ad.
  2. Our brains are hard-wired for stories, but in order to cut through all of the brand noise, you have to ask yourself, “What can I do to make my story a pass-along story?”
  3. While your story should always be unique and relevant on individual channels, each facet of your story should contribute to the master narrative.

The lunch keynote, run by Jim Signorelli, author of Storybranding, was another invigorating session full of laughs and ideas that resonated with me. His unique keynote session went beyond storytelling – to teach the audience how to do storybranding. He pointed out that humans are willing to give up a lot for stories, and if your brand tells an emotional and effective story, that story will rub off on the brand itself. People will begin to associate your brand with the story and the emotions the story conveyed, like with the many heartwarming Bud Light commercials. His three major points of the keynote: 

  1. Storybranding is an all-in process – everyone should be on board and willing to do whatever it takes to tell stories and make them stick to the brand.
  2. Every customer touch-point is a chapter of your brand’s story – regardless of where they are in the purchasing decision, there is always an emotional story to tell.
  3. If you have a birth certificate, you are a brand.

Overall, the conference was filled with new ideas and important lessons.

So, what was my biggest takeaway?

Although storytelling has evolved from cave paintings on a wall, we are still willing to huddle around a campfire to listen if the story resonates with us. 

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