Back in June, I wrote a post about the merger of two of the most well known and rivaling toolsin the PR industry: Vocus and Cision. In the post, I offered up my advice to Cision chief Peter Granat, VoCision’s now CEO, on what he should keep in mind as he established a new direction for the company. In case you missed it you can read it here: VoCision: The Merger of Two Well-Known PR Tools.
Even though the merger is still in the very infant stages, we are learning more about plans for how the new company will operate and have been given some clues about what the new powerhouse tool might look like. In fact, within a timespan of about a month, Washington Business Journal reporter Bill Flook published two articles titled “Vocus' new focus: CEO Peter Granat maps out a post-merger future for the PR software powerhouse,” and “Goodbye, Vocus: Merger Claims a Venerable DC Brand,” both providing details straight from Granat about where things are headed.
Here’s a recap:
- The company will take on the Cision name (Granat was former CEO at Cision)
- The company will be headquartered in Chicago.
- The company, post Vocus layoffs, is sitting at about 1,500 employees and Granat said he could not infer about future layoffs at this point
- In September, Vocus and Cision announced they will acquire Seattle-based Visible Technologies, a social analytics platform and consultancy
- Granat said the main focus of the business “will be around the top of the marketing funnel…where brand, reputation, awareness, buzz are built, and really all of those attributes around the brand.” (Taking them further from the former lead gen/ sales focus of Vocus)
The announcement from Granat focused mostly on the organizational structure, rather than the capabilities to assist with PR efforts I was hoping for. However, Flook did mention that the company hopes expand and see growth in additional services like content marketing and social to address the evolving PR landscape.
Either way, once the plans are even further unveiled, they will surely impact how we provide valuable editorial information to our clients. Now, having less diversity in choosing between two big players in the space, most agencies will at least be trying out the new Cision. This means there will be a unification of data so more agencies will work with the same data.
Additionally, with a monopoly in the space, will this lead to higher costs and lower quality? It will be interested to see if other options emerge in this space, but for now the only big alternative seems to be Meltwater.
My quest to break down the top social media platforms continues this month with Google+. In case you missed any of my past posts, I’ve already taken a look at LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Now, let’s focus on Google+. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride.
The basics: Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook. Per Wikipedia, “Google has described Google+ as a ‘social layer’ that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author.”
Demographics: According to this blog post from Jeff Bullas, getting exact user demographic data from Google+ is nearly impossible, yet he still managed to pull the following numbers together:
- There are now over 1 billion users with Google+ enabled accounts
- It has reached 359 million monthly active users
- Google+ is growing at 33% per annum.
- The 45 to 54 year old bracket increased its usage on Google+ by 56% since 2012
While Google may not release their numbers, globalwebindex recently completed a survey of more than 42,000 adults aged 16-64 in 32 countries and compiled this infographic of the results:
One thing to watch out for with Google+ is that since it is basically now built into all of Google’s properties, the 540 million monthly active user number could be inflated. So what constitutes a Google property? Per this Marketing Land article from Oct. 2013, it “could include leaving a comment on a blog or website that has Google+ comments embedded, commenting on YouTube, or clicking the +1 button on an article or some other web content.”
Access: As with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, Google+ can be accessed either via a mobile app or directly through your web browser. While this data is a bit old, per engadget, in June 2012 Google+ was touting that it had more mobile users than desktop. However, according to this Digital Trends article from November 2013, Google+ user numbers tell an incomplete story. Remember that caveat above about Google’s numbers being a bit inflated because they take in to account all the different properties that Google owns and operates? The same is true for calculating the number of people who access Google+ on a mobile device.
How it’s being used: In theory Google+ is being used in a similar manner to Facebook. Its users (whether individuals or enterprise) are using the service to share status updates, news, and photos.
One differentiator between Google+ and other platforms, namely Facebook, is the use of Circles. Circles allow users to organize people into groups or lists for sharing information. And, unlike on Facebook, you don’t have to be “friends” with someone to add them to a Circle. I’d say that Google+ Circles are where Twitter followers and Facebook lists intersect. An added benefit of Circles over Facebook lists is that once you’ve added someone to a Circle you can participate in Hangouts with that person. Google+ users can create Circles of other users based on vertical, industry, content, etc.
Like Facebook, Google+ users are able to interact directly with any brand or company that has a page on the platform. Also like Facebook, this access is a double-edged sword. While it can be great if managed properly, it can also be disastrous in the event that someone has a complaint they want to share and ends up feeling it is not being handled properly.
Where Google+ really trumps the competition is that it is “such an inherent part of the Google algorithm,” meaning that content that gets posted there gets indexed by Google much quicker than content from other social networks. In fact, due to the privacy restrictions on other social networks it’s entirely possible that what you post there will never get indexed – meaning it will never show up in a Google search.
Analytics: From what I can see, Google+ analytics are somewhat lacking. On a basic level you can see who is following you and who has +1’d your posts. Another measurement is to see who has added you to Circles as users can only see your posts after they’ve added you to a Circle. Truthfully, I don’t have much access to what other kind of analytics information is available in Google+ for companies, but this post from Jeffalytics has a good breakdown of how to measure activity within Google+.
Pros: Due to its integration with the rest of Google’s properties, creating and maintaining a Google+ account can be beneficial for your business – allowing the content you post there to be rapidly indexed and easily found when someone searches for your company (assuming they are using Google Search). This is actually a really big pro for Google+ and one of the main reasons I would advocate for why you need to use it. Additionally, Google+ Hangouts are a free alternative to hosting a webinar and make it possible to connect with up to 10 others on an active video stream.
Cons: Despite its own reports that it’s thriving, actual user numbers haven’t been updated in almost a year and even when numbers are provided, many question how accurate they really are since practically every person who uses Gmail could be considered part of the Google+ Stream. There has also been a lot of chatter about Google doing away with Google+ since Vic Gundotra, the founding father of the social channel, left the company earlier this year.
Final thoughts: I think like all social networks you have to take the good with the bad. In the case of Google+ the good is the rapid indexing of posts while the bad is that it’s not nearly as thriving as other platforms. Personally, I have an account and Google does force all of the photos I upload into their cloud over to the Google+ platform, but I don’t think I personally know anyone who is actively using the service. However, despite my lack of enthusiasm for the platform, I do believe that if your company maintains a Facebook page it should also maintain a Google+ account, if for no other reason than its ability to integrate easily into Google’s portfolio of properties and into Google Search. If you’re actively posting comments and content to Facebook it will only take an additional few minutes to post the same content to Google+ and what you may lack in active engagement you will likely make up for with the indexing that Google provides.
Last night, I attended Bisnow Ventures’ first-ever Trending40 event, honoring and celebrating local women in technology who are launching or running innovative tech firms. The company featured forty of these women in their online tech newsletter leading up to the event that was held at Disruption Corporation’s office in Crystal City, VA.
Amazon’s Teresa Carlson was on hand to welcome the women and the nominees were each presented with a plaque naming them as a 2014 Power Woman in DC Tech. The turnout was fantastic; in fact there were so many attendees that it was hard to hear each other while networking and chatting!
At the event I got to talk with Lucie Leblois, co-founder and CEO of Crumbdrop, she said: "Tonight's nominees are an impressive group of women and I'm flattered to be recognized among them. Events like this are important for the next generation of women to see what a career in technology is like or where the entrepreneurial mindset can take them."
Women in technology has been a hot topic for some time with the conversations ranging from women deserving more respect to pay discrepancies and also a little more positive - how to help women succeed in today’s tech world. It’s no secret that women are lagging behind men in technology jobs. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s recent statistics, women held 56% of professional occupations in the 2013 U.S. workforce, but filled just 26% of the U.S. computing jobs.
History shows that not enough was being done to encourage women at a young age to engage with computer science and technology. The Bureau for Labor Statistics reports that by 2020, there will be 1.4-billion computer science jobs available and not nearly enough people to fill them. Companies like Google and Yahoo! and organizations like and Code.org are now launching initiatives to further promote computer science education.
The Washington region is at the forefront some of those initiatives with programs like TechWomen.org (a U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program) and Women in Technology (WiT) offering support of programs and resources for women in the technology industry.
"Bisnow's Trending 40 is a great way to recognize many of the women who are paving the way in technology and entrepreneurship," said Shana Glenzer – Social Marketing VP, SocialRadar. "I'm honored to be among the nominees and thrilled to see the Washington area embrace and support women in tech through events like these. Together I’m hopeful we can lower barriers to entry and provide opportunities for all women interested in technology."
As a woman who has worked for technology companies, now working for a woman-owned firm that represents many technology companies (a few of the nominees, in fact), I was really excited to see this event pulled together. I’ve had my eyes and ears glued to the DC tech scene for the past few years and enjoy learning about how these women are pushing the boundaries and giving new light to a predominately-male industry. Here at SpeakerBox, we are constantly looking to build relationships with companies that are changing the industry for the better and are thrilled to see so many of our peers recognized for their incredible minds and dedication to their passion.
As mentioned before, Bisnow profiled each of these women and I encourage you to click through the profiles (linked below) to learn more about these rock-star women.
Here are the 2014 Bisnow Trending40 nominees:
- Pamela Arya – co-founder/CEO, Optensity
- Susan Tynan – founder/CEO, Framebridge
- Kellee James – co-founder/CEO, Mercaris
- Amber Wason – co-founder/COO, Riide
- Stephanie Nguyen – co-founder, Silica Labs; co-founder, DCFenTech
- Jordan Lloyd Bookey – co-founder/chief mom, Zoobean
- Tiffany Hosey Brown – founder/CEO, BuilDATAnalytics
- Tammy Cho – co-founder/product VP, Encore Alert
- Shana Lawlor – founder/CEO, YOPP
- Leah Bannon, founder – Tech Lady Hackathon, brigade co-captain, Code for DC, product lead, 18F
- Jenny Abramson – president/CEO, LiveSafe
- Brooke Salkoff – VP, Disruption Corp, venture partner; Crystal Tech Fund; co-founder, CampEasy
- Alison Salvin – co-founder, Alarm.com; SVP, Creation Lab
- Elise Whang – co-founder/CEO, SNOBSWAP
- April Pedersen – co-founder, Frankture
- Tammy Mank Wincup – COO, Everfi
- Abigail Seldin – innovation and product management VP, ECMC; co-founder, College Abacus
- Shana Glenzer – social marketing VP, SocialRadar
- Elana Fine – managing director, Dignman Center for Entreprenuership
- Donna Harris – co-founder/co-CEO, 1776
- Kristin Muhlner – CEO, newBrandAnalytics
- Melinda Wittstock – founder/CEO, Verifeed
- Shavanna Miller – co-founder/CEO, Bloompop
- Tatiana Langseth – founder/CEO, Augaroo
- Anne Balduzzi – founder/CMO, SameGrain
- Carol Politi – president/CEO, TRX Systems
- Ximena Hartstock – co-founder/president, Phone2Action
- Bonnie Bogle – COO, Mapbox
- Katherine Novikov – founder/CEO, Diamond Mind
- Lucie Leblois – co-founder/CEO, Crumbdrop
- Uyen Tang – founder/CEO, STYLECABLE
- Aliya Rahman – program director, Code for Progress
- Jamie Ratner – founder/CEO, CertifiKid
- Mili Mittal – director and head of product, Capital One Labs; co-founder/CEO, mor.sl
- Anthea Watson Strong – civic innovation, Google
- Karolyn Abram Dector – product VP, Optoro
- Alexis Juneja – VP, Vox Media; co-founder, Curbed LLC (sold to Vox)
- Song Pak – general counsel, Revolution LLC and Revolution Growth
- Roz Lemieux – co-founder/CEO, Attentivel.ly
- Maria Thomas – chief consumer officer, SmartThings
- Taryn Sullivan – founder/CEO, Efficiency Exchange
Fall must be here. There’s a slight nip in the air and MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute just released the 2015 Content Marketing Report, the fifth version of this annual research project. This year, more than 5,000 global B2B marketers were surveyed.
They’ve modified some of the questions in this year’s report – but the insights are just as interesting as in previous years.
I. Content Marketing and Effectiveness
86% of B2B marketers use content marketing. This is down from last year’s 93%, but the researchers have changed the definition to reflect the maturity of the discipline. Last year’s definition focused on the creation and distribution of content to attract/retain customers. This year’s definition is, “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
83% of respondents have a content marketing strategy, but only 35% document their strategy. And despite the popularity of content marketing, only 38% of content marketers consider their program to be effective, down from 42% in 2014.
One of the big findings of this year’s survey is that the 35% of marketers who document their strategy have more effective content marketing programs than those who don’t. That rings true to me. We at SpeakerBox are in the middle of updating our documented content marketing strategy (thanks Ali Robinson) to focus on fewer but higher quality pieces. Our company goals align with that strategy and so far, everyone feels accountable and is excited for our new marketing challenge. Stay tuned for some surprises in 2015.
How exactly do marketers determine the effectiveness of their content marketing programs? 63% of marketers rely on website traffic as their top metric followed by sales lead quality and higher conversion rates. Though web traffic may be a key indicator for some companies that are able to quantitatively tie web traffic to demos and downloads – others may be using web traffic as a generic catch-all. And if that’s true, then it’s not surprising that only 21% of marketers are successful at tracking the ROI of their content marketing program. (These numbers increase to 35% for those with a documented content marketing strategy.)
II. Content Execution
In spite of these concerns about ROI, marketers are spending more money to produce more content than ever before. In fact:
- 70% of marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago.
- 42% of content marketers publish new content daily or several times a week to support their content marketing program.
- The average organization spends 28% of its overall marketing budget (not including salaries) on content marketing
- 55% plan to increase content marketing spending in the next 12 months.
A lot of energy and time are going toward these initiatives, which brings me to my next point. The only way to achieve this frantic pace is to create a dedicated content marketing group – and 47% of organizations have done just that. The rise of these dedicated groups may also be due to the popularity of marketing automation tools and the need for content to feed the marketing automation beast.
In terms of content distribution, the average marketer uses 13 content marketing tactics. The four most popular tactics are: social media, e-newsletters, articles on a company website and blogs. Infographics had the biggest jump in usage from 51% to 62%, but ranked 11th overall. Illustrations/Photos, a new choice this year, were leveraged by 69% of content marketers. I’ve written before about the importance of visuals in the PR process, so I’m heartened to see that marketers are taking big steps to create visual content that can stand alone or accompany text-heavy content.
When asked which marketing tactics are the most effective, the number one response for the fifth year in a row is in-person events (69%). The next three are webinars (64%), videos (60%) and blogs (60%).
III. How Content Marketing is Changing
Though marketers struggle to produce engaging content on a consistent basis, many marketers are trying to up their game. It’s not enough to simply produce and distribute content, today’s marketers are also focused on: creating higher quality content (69%), repurposing content (63%), creating visual content (60%), better understanding what content is most effective (55%), organizing content on their site (62%) and creating a greater variety of content (54%).
Clearly, there’s no rest for the weary content marketer, which may be why the challenge of finding a trained (and willing) content marketer jumped from 10% to 32% in 2015.
Take a look at the full report for additional thoughts on social media that aren’t covered here. Also, be sure to check out the “Profile of a Best in Class B2B Content Marketer.” I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the full report.
Our own Katie Hanusik reached her 10-year milestone at SpeakerBox this past weekend. To commemorate the occassion, the Washington Nationals tried to top her by playing the longest baseball game in Major League Baseball post-season history :)
I've had the pleasure of working with Katie since she started October 4, 2004. She started in a business development role for her first few years with us and then made the transition to the account oversight side of our business in the Fall of 2008. She knew our clients and team like the back of her hand, so it was a natural fit and she's embraced and been wildly successful in the role ever since.
Katie is probably one of the most likeable people you will ever meet. She is a really unique combination of practical, straight-forward, honest, kind, thoughful, and caring and also has a great sense of humor. Her approach to work and life is one that inspires the best in everyone. We've shared a wide range of successes and challenges, and through it all she's been a dedicated cheerleader and teammate.
The inside scoop is that she's most driven by clients and technologies that would cause most people to run scared in the other direction. She loves a good challenge, and our team and our clients are all stronger for her tenacity and drive toward results. Oh, she also makes a mean quinoa salad.
She's so great that I've long since looked past her allegiance to Duke basketball. Even the best people have their flaws, right? ;)
Happy 10th Anniversary, Katie! Thanks for everything! We are so grateful to have you on our team.
"Now, Rebecca, if you look closely, you'll notice that any computer running Google -- and we were very careful about this -- ANY computer running Google can be turned off, or even crushed with cinder blocks if you're concerned about privacy."
Regular Sounding Board readers will recall we recently covered Tim Cook's uncharacteristically vicious attack on personalized advertising -- which is of course the life blood of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and pretty much everyone else these days west of Korea.
To recap, Cook (basically) said that if "a company" makes its money by collecting a user's personal data, then the user -- for all intents and purposes -- has become the product.
Well... Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt wasn't about to take that lying down.
Instead, he reponded to those remarks from what can only be described as a seated position on ABC's Real Biz program with Rebecca Jarvis last week:
"I think that’s not quite right. The fact of the matter is Google allows you to delete the information that we know about you and in fact, Google is so concerned about privacy that you could in fact, if you’re using Chrome for example, you can browse in what is called ‘incognito mode’ where no one sees anything about you. So I just don’t think that’s right.”
Now, I know I'm sometimes quick to board the hyperbole train to exaggeration town. But this may honestly be the worst rebuttal in the history of rebuttlery. Am I wrong?
What Schmidt is saying is that sure, Google is "designed" to collect as much personal user data as it possibly can and then to sell that data immediately and indiscriminantly to a horde of smarmy and possibly Nazi-affiliated advertisiers -- but you can always turn that part off.
Except, no, we can't all turn it off. Because if we all turned it off, Google's business model would collapse -- which is the whole point of Tim Cook's attack.
It would be like GM saying, "If you're worried about safety, just disable and replace the ignition system. No one's honestly suggesting you drive these cars the way they're BUILT."
Now I'm not saying that Google is evil for collecting and selling data.
Before today, I might have even defended Google's practices by pointing to the company's transparency. This transaction was never intended to be secret -- Google gives you free stuff in exchange for your data.
So why is Schmidt now pretending the whole thing was all just a big misunderstanding? Probably because he was instructed to do so by his crack team of crisis communications communicators.
So here's Jonathan's first rule of non-idiotic crisis comms: Take your lumps.
Yes, Google, you comb through people's personal emails, and it's creepy as hell. You also provide us with some pretty amazing software for zero dollars, so we understand why you have to be a creep about it.
Enough with the obfuscation. It's exhausting, and it does literally nothing for my attachment upload speeds.
I'm part of the founding group of DCFemTech, a collective of 25+ women in technology organizations in the Washington DC/Metro area that formed earlier this year to worktogether to collaborate, support and streamline technology education and events in the community.
The gender gap in tech is real. Women make up only 26% of the computing workforce, which has large technology companies focused on improving their diversity numbers. Big challenges have been identified, from pipeline to retention issues, and the good news is that big opportunities exist as well. There are myriad programs to help women develop their technical skills and determine whether to change careers, advance in their current job, or better understand others working in their tech company.
This coming Thursday night, from 6-8pm at Google (25 Mass Ave., NW), there is going to be a Meet & Mingle to get to know the leaders of the organizations that comprise DCFemTech, and for the community to learn more about more ways to get involved in the growth and support of women in tech in the DC area. The current list of DCFemTech affiliated organizations can be found here: http://dcfemtech.github.io/organizations.html.
Post the kick-off on Thursday, there is a full month of "Tour de Code" programs that are planned around the region and will be hosted by organizations in the DCFem Tech collective.
Stephanie Nguyen, Co-Founder of Silica Labs and DCFemTech organizer will tell you that when she was looking for opportunities to broaden her technical skills in DC, she was surprised by the fact that these communities were collaborative rather than competitive. Tour de Code is an opportunity to spotlight the numerous support mechanisms in place for women in tech and hopefully give our organizations a bigger voice than they may have on their own.
This promises to be an inspirational October filled with workshops and events to help beginners learn how to code and design! Follow @DCFemTech on Twitter for all of the details.
So, if you are a women interested in coding and design (from beginner to advanced), you have the entire month of October, to get involved. The schedule can be found here: http://dcfemtech.github.io/tourdecode.html
Hope to see you at one or many of these awesome events!
Lately it seems that infographics are on every marketer’s must-do list. However, creating an infographic is only half the challenge, and many marketers struggle with how best to promote and leverage this content asset for lead generation and awareness building.
We’ve compiled this handy list to help with infographic promotion. Our tips are organized by category: owned media (properties that you control), earned media (PR) and paid media (sponsored posts or paid content discovery tools).
1. Post the infographic on a landing page on your website. Allow people to download and embed the infographic to encourage social sharing.
2. Share on social media. Use one frame or data point from the infographic as a teaser to drive downloads. Create a series of tweets and/or Facebook posts that highlight data from the infographic.
3. Promote the infographic in your newsletter.
- Promote the infographic daily for the first week and then 1-2 times per week for a 3-month period.
- Remember to thank everyone that tweets or shares your infographic.
- Ask employees to share the infographic on their own LinkedIn pages or personal blogs and retweet the company news.
- Post your infographic on SlideShare – remember SlideShare accepts formats other than PowerPoint.
- Write a blog post (or two or three) expanding on some of the themes mentioned in the infographic.
- Use ClickToTweet in your blog post so readers can easily tweet key data points.
4. These days, many companies are issuing news releases to announce infographics. (Here’s an example from SCORE about crowdfunding that was issued today). It’s not cheap, but if you believe your infographic is really of value, then it’s worth considering.
5. Pitch the infographic to your target media. Though we’ve gotten feedback from some editors that they won’t run vendor infographics, they are still popular among bloggers. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note feature infographic, issued today, has been picked up many, many times.
6. Post the infographic to sharing sites such as: Daily Infographic, Infographic Directory and Cool Infographics, though be forewarned that you may open yourself up to negative comments about the design.
7. Consider content discovery services such as OutBrain or Taboola to maximize the reach of your infographic.
8. Write a sponsored post for an industry blog. You may have to hunt a bit for these opportunities, but they are definitely out there.
Good luck with your infographic. I hope these tips will help you maximize the ROI of your content projects. Feel free to share any other suggestions in the comments.
October may be a record month for networking events this year. I've got eleven on my list and on a few days, there are a couple to choose from!
Here are the events that are on my radar:
8:00AM – 11:00AM, Wednesday, October 1
AOL - 22000 AOL Way, Dulles, VA
Throwback Thursday with TandemNSI
6:00PM - 9:00PM, Thursday, October 2
Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA
Tour de Code Kick-off Mix and Mingle
6:00PM - 9:00PM, Thursday, October 2
Google - 25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Startup Weekend Washington, D.C. - Women's Edition
Friday, October 3 - Sunday, October 5
1776 and General Assembly, 1133 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC
DC Tech Meetup
6:30PM - 8:00PM, Monday, October 6
MLK Library, 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC
8:00AM – 11:00AM, Wednesday, October 8
Loyola Columbia - 8890 McGaw Rd #130, Columbia, MD
Startup Grind Washington, DC Hosts Keith Clinkscales (P. Diddy's Revolt TV)
6:00PM - 9:00PM, Tuesday, October 9
R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center at St. Elizabeth's East - 2730 Martin Luther King, Jr Avenue, SW, Upper Marlboro, DC
FounderCorps Coffee & Donuts with Jenny Abramson, CEO & President of LiveSafe
7:30AM - 9:00AM, Wednesday, October 15
Arlington Economic Development, 1100 N. Glebe Road, Suite 1500, Arlington, VA
DC Tech BreakfastDC Tech Breakfast
8:00AM – 11:00AM, Wednesday, October 15
Washington, DC Economic Partnership - 1495 F Street, NW, Washington, DC
TandemNSI's Hacking the Government: How to Get Your First Government Customer
7:30AM - 9:00AM, Tuesday, October 21
See Registration for Location
1776's Challenge Cup: Washington, DC
5:30PM - 9:30PM, Tuesday October 21
1776, 1133 15th Street, 12th Floor, NW, Washington, DC
What did I miss? Where will you be networking this month?
Well here it is, the latest tech drama of 2014: Bendgate. I’m sure by now you’ve heard the commotion associated with Apple’s latest launch. When the iPhone 6 was first released two weeks ago, people lined up for hours – only to discover a few days later that the device was unintentionally quite flexible.
Though it was a serious blow to Apple, Bendgate has become creative marketing fodder for brands across the board, and no one has been shy about calling out the incident on social media.
It seems to me that any time a tech brand has the opportunity to poke fun at a tech giant they jump on it. The Bendgate incident gave brands the chance to casually capitalize on Apple’s unfortunate press.
A few examples…
LG has gotten 9,436 retweets to date on their Bendgate post, which calls out the LG Flex for bending too…but on purpose.
Samsung got in on the conversation without even mentioning Bendgate by posting a tweet of a picture of the Galaxy Note Edge and the simple text, “Curved. Not bent. #GalaxyNoteEdge”
Even consumer brands have gotten in on the Bendgate joke. Heinekin’s “Dear Apple…” post garnered 11,424 retweets
Dockers tried to get in on the action as well, with a picture of the “Smartest Khakis Ever Made.”
Overwhelmingly, the most successful brand to capitalize on Bendgate was Kit Kat. Only two days after the Bendgate story started to brew Kit Kat posted a tweet saying, “We don’t bend, We #break. #bendgate #iPhone6plus”
After being live for only 10 minutes the post was retweeted 100 times, after an hour it had over 1,000 retweets. Now, Kit Kat has surpassed the success of Oreo’s famous “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.
Despite the bendable blunder, Apple proudly announced that more than 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models were sold in 10 countries during the three days following the release. On September 25th the tech giant released a statement that disputed Bendgate and claimed, “With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare." It’s also worth mentioning that following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s stock has reportedly lost $23 billion in value.
Even if this phenomenon is just the overblowing of an issue that only nine customers reported after the first six days of sale, it goes to show how quickly brands will devise a creative ad or campaign to capitalize on the opportunities that come along with bad press.